Governor Schwarzenegger announced over the weekend that he signed bills to increase protections for crime victims in California.
The following bills have been signed into law by the Governor.
AB 1172 by Assemblymember Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster): Requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) or Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) to notify prescribed persons when CDCR or the Department of Mental Health (DMH) is scheduled to release a sex offender. Increases to 60 days the period that DMH has to provide notification of a petition for conditional release scheduled for court hearing, specific placement location proposed by DMH to the court and court-ordered placement of an individual in the community by DMH. It also requires that copies of related documents be provided to the court and DMH.
AB 1509 by Assemblymember Todd Spitzer (R-Orange): Includes the crime of continuous abuse of a child in the list of specified violent felonies which prohibit a parolee from being returned to a location within 35 miles of the actual residence of a victim or witness.
SB 172 by Senator Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose): Makes clarifications and corrects technical errors in Jessica’s Law so it can be more effectively implemented. The bill also codifies the recommendations of the State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (SARATSO) Review Committee, comprising of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Justice.
SB 449 by Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley): Expands the list of sex offenses where victims may request their names to be withheld, to include, among others, abduction of fraudulent inducement for prostitution, sale of person for immoral purposes, incest, aggravated sexual assault of a child, and arranging meeting with a minor for lewd or lascivious purposes.
The Governor said:
“We must do everything we can to protect Californians and keep crime victims shielded from their offenders. Ensuring that crime victims are treated with dignity and respect is a top priority in my administration and this package of legislation will protect them while helping to make our streets safer from dangerous criminals.”
Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger established a Crime Victim Advocate within the Governor’s office. This position coordinates state victim service programs, collaborates with key stakeholders and is the lead state advocate on policy impacting crime victims.
In 2005, the Governor sponsored Jessica’s Law and approved legislation to increase penalties for child rapists, child pornographers, and Internet predators. He also approved measures to: create a sex offender management board to help better track dangerous parolees.