California Democrats shot down a proposal that would have increased criminal penalties for rapists and criminals found guilty of other types of sexual assault.
Democrats in the Public Safety Committee in the Assembly voted against the Republican-backed Assembly Bill 229 last week.
The proposal: AB 229 would have expanded crimes that are considered violent felonies to include additional forms of sexual crimes, human trafficking and felony domestic violence.
- The additional forms of sexual crimes include rape of an unconscious or incapacitated person.
- Rocklin Republican Joe Patterson authored the bill, and several Republicans signed on as coauthors, including Bakersfield’s Vince Fong, Visalia’s Devon Mathis and Fresno’s Jim patterson.
The backstory: California’s use of the term “violent felony” including enhancing punishment for felonies under the Three Strikes Law.
- Criminals who have already been found guilty of two violent or serious felony offenses will see a minimum prison sentence of 25 years with a third conviction.
- Human trafficking is defined as a non-serious and non-violent crime under current state law.
What they’re saying: Asm. Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D–Los Angeles) serves as the committee chair and defended the move by his fellow Democrats to slash the bill.
- “The bill was broad recategorizing non-violent crimes, and even misdemeanors, as violent felony acts,” Jones-Sawyer told Fox News. “This is another attempt to revive a version of the three-strikes mentality of mass incarceration, which was a failed policy. We need to look at ways to reform our criminal justice system while advocating for diversion and rehabilitative programs that end crime cycles of all categories.”
- Patterson took to Twitter to voice his frustration with his Democratic Colleagues.
- “Call me crazy, but I think dragging a woman out of the bedroom by her hair, punching her in the face and then beating her with a belt should be considered a ‘violent crime,’ Patterson wrote.
- Asm. Tom Lackey (R–Palmdale) coauthored the bill and posed a simple question on Twitter: “Why is rape not considered a violent crime in California? It simply defies logic.”