Beall Introduces Bill to Stop Serial Sex Offenders From Avoiding Apppropriate Sentences
SACRAMENTO –Serial sexual predators will no longer be able to slither through a loophole in California’s penal code to escape punishment under a proposal introduced Wednesday by Senator Jim Beall.
Beall’s Senate Bill 164 restores the intent of California’s “One Strike Law” by tightening a section of the code so that a conviction on a previously undiscovered sex crime will be considered as a “second strike’’ that can be used to put away serial sex offenders for 25 years to life, depending on aggravating circumstances.
Courts have interpreted the existing law’s language to mean that a second strike can only be applied if the conviction is obtained in chronological order or simultaneously . For example, if authorities discover through a DNA cold hit that an offender convicted of a sex crime in 2015 was also responsible for a previously unsolved sex assault in 2014, the conviction on the earlier crime would not count as a “second strike.’’
“This loophole allows a sexual predator to escape the appropriate punishment under the One Strike Law based on the timing of the conviction rather than the crime itself,’’ Beall said.
“SB 164 is designed to keep serial sex offenders off the streets. As Proposition 47 is carried out and non-violent offenders are released from prison, we must focus on reserving space in our correction facilities for violent criminals – especially repeat offenders.’’
The bill is sponsored by the members of the California District Attorneys Association.
"I strongly support the leadership of Senator Beall as together we continue to go after sexual predators,’’ Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “There is no greater obligation than to protect the public, especially from dangerous criminals.”
SB 164 continues Beall’s commitment to prevent crime and ensure justice for victims. Last year, Beall passed SB 926, which raises the age ceiling from 28 to 40 for victims of sex abuse to seek criminal charges against the people who assaulted them, and Audrie’s Law/SB 838 to reform juvenile sex assault statutes.