BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                           AB 2351  
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                        THIRD READING
Bill No:  AB 2351
Author:   Hertzberg (D), et al
Amended:  7/20/98 in Senate
Vote:     27

AYES:  Vasconcellos, Rainey, Burton, Kopp, McPherson,  
  Polanco, Schiff, Watson

AYES:  Johnston, Alpert, Burton, Calderon, Dills, Hughes,  
  Johnson, Karnette, Kelley, Leslie, McPherson, Mountjoy,  

  ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  72-0, 5/26/98 - See last page for vote

SUBJECT  :    Computer crime

  SOURCE  :     Author

DIGEST :    This bill adds threats, or annoying  
communications made by electronic communication, such as  
through the Internet, to existing statutes prohibiting  
threats or annoying communications by other means.

The bill would require field peace officers to be trained  
in high technology crimes; and to provide for a study of a  
state-operated center on computer forensics.

  ANALYSIS  :    Existing law defines stalking as the willful,  
malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another,  
where a credible threat has been communicated to the victim  


with the intent of placing the victim in reasonable fear  
for his or her safety.  It is punishable as an alternative  
felony/misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county  
jail not to exceed one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000,  
or in state prison for 16 months, two years, or three  

This bill would expand the definition of "credible threat"  
to include threats communicated by any electronic  
communication device, including telephones, cellular  
phones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, or  

Existing law prohibits, regardless of the good faith of the  
caller, the making of telephone calls to others with the  
intent to annoy, where the caller either uses obscene  
language or makes threats to the other party's person or  
property.  Existing law also prohibits the repeated  
telephoning of another at the recipient's residence or,  
under certain circumstances, place of work, with the intent  
to annoy, except where the repeated telephoning is  
conducted in good faith.  An offense committed by use of a  
telephone may be deemed to have been committed either where  
the call was made or where it was received.  The offense is  
a misdemeanor.

This bill would expand these provisions to include the  
sending of electronic communications.  In the case of  
electronic communications, the violation would be deemed to  
be at the location from which the communication was sent,  
was received by the recipient's service provider, was first  
viewed by the recipient, or at the recipient's permanent  
address.  This provision would adopt the federal definition  
of "electronic communication".  The bill specifically  
states that the above provision shall apply to telephone  
calls or electronic contacts made in good faith.

The bill would require every city police officer or deputy  
sheriff at a supervisory level who is assigned field or  
investigative duties to complete a high technology crimes  
and computer seizure training course certified by the  
Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training by  
January 1, 2000, or within 18 months of assignment to  
supervisory duties.  Completion of the course may be  
satisfied by telecourse, video training tape, or other  
instruction.  This training shall be offered to all city  
police officers and deputy sheriffs as part of continuing  
professional training.  The training shall, at a minimum,  
address relevant laws, recognition of high technology  
crimes and computer evidence collection and preservation.


The bill would require the Office of Criminal Justice  
Planning (OCJP) to conduct a feasibility study regarding  
development of a state-operated computer forensics center  
to provide assistance to state and local law enforcement in  
the investigation of crimes involving computer technology.

The bill would appropriate $230,000 from the General Fund  
to the OCJP for purposes of the performance of this study.

This bill would become operative only if SB 1796 (Leslie)  
is also enacted.

  FISCAL EFFECT  :   Appropriation:  Yes   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
Local:  Yes

According to Senate Appropriations Committee:

                Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

  Major Provisions     1998-99      1999-00      2000-01     Fund

  Sentencing         Unknown increased costs for  
                   Unknown increased, mandated, Local
                   nonreimbursable costs for county
                   jail and probation
Training course    minor, absorbable - $50 one-time  
Study              $230       --         --        General

*Peace Officers' Training Fund  
  SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/19/98)

Attorney General
California District Attorneys Association
California Peace Officers' Association
California Police Chiefs' Association
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
San Francisco District Attorney
Sonora Police Chief
Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau
California National Organization for Women
California Alliance Against Domestic Violence
Sacramento Area Stalking Survivors
Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (San Francisco)
YWCA of San Diego County


American Electronics Association
Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International
L.A. Cellular

  ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author, "we live  
in an age increasingly dominated by computers.  AB 2351 is  
a measure to ensure that law enforcement keeps up with  
criminals and their use of new technologies in the  
twenty-first century.

"It is vitally important for law enforcement in the state  
to be adequately trained in high technology crimes if they  
are to investigate these crimes.  This bill requires law  
enforcement training in the area of high technology crimes  
and requests a feasibility study for a state-operated  
center for computer forensics.  If a patrol officer is  
inadequately trained, a high-tech crime may go unrecognized  
or unsolved.  If a computer examination is not conducted  
properly, valuable evidence may be lost and valuable  
property damaged.

"New technologies are greatly affecting the manner in which  
traditional crimes are being carried out.  Stalkers are now  
using computers, faxes, and other means to invade the  
privacy and the rights of their victims.  This measure  
expands the stalking and harassment statutes in the Penal  
Code to ensure that these criminals are not set free simply  
because the Legislature has not kept up with changing  

AYES:  Ackerman, Aguiar, Alby, Alquist, Aroner, Ashburn,  
  Baca, Baldwin, Battin, Bordonaro, Bowen, Bowler, Brown,  
  Bustamante, Cardenas, Cardoza, Cedillo, Cunneen, Davis,  
  Ducheny, Escutia, Figueroa, Firestone, Floyd, Frusetta,  
  Gallegos, Goldsmith, Granlund, Havice, Hertzberg, Honda,  
  House, Kaloogian, Keeley, Knox, Kuehl, Kuykendall, Leach,  
  Lempert, Leonard, Machado, Margett, Martinez, Mazzoni,  
  Migden, Miller, Morrissey, Murray, Olberg, Oller, Ortiz,  
  Pacheco, Papan, Perata, Poochigian, Prenter, Richter,  
  Runner, Scott, Shelley, Strom-Martin, Sweeney, Takasugi,  
  Thompson, Thomson, Torlakson, Vincent, Washington, Wayne,  
  Wildman, Wright, Villaraigosa
NOT VOTING:  Baugh, Brewer, Campbell, McClintock, Morrow,  
  Napolitano, Pringle, Woods

RJG:sl  8/21/98  Senate Floor Analyses
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