CALIFORNIA, USA — On Jan. 1, things will be a little different with the California crime laws when it pertains to certain drug offenses. Here is what you need to know about the new laws coming to the books starting on Jan. 1, 2022.
Summary: This bill allows a court to grant probation for specified drug offenses which are currently either ineligible or presumptively ineligible for probation.
What's new: SB-73 is an amendment that would end mandatory prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
This amendment removes specified drug offenses from the prohibition against granting probation or suspending a sentence except those offenses involving minors.
This amendment authorizes the court to grant probation for drug offenses involving minors only where the interests of justice would best be served.
This amendment would also provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs will be granted.
Why is it needed:
Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the author of the bill, said the war on drugs and mass incarceration are policy and public health failures that hurt people.
He agrees that this is why this bill is necessary and that we need to give discretion back to the courts to ensure we are not incarcerating people unnecessarily who might be better served by probation or treatment for addiction.
"Mandatory minimums contribute to the crisis of mass incarceration, which costs California billions of dollars each year that the state should be investing in schools, infrastructure, healthcare, and other nonprofits to make our communities and economy stronger," Wiener said.
The California Police Chiefs Association argue that the bill "sets a dangerous precedent in California court of law, and would jeopardize the health and safety of the communities we are sworn to protect."
Advocates for the bill say it will "provide judges the discretion to grant probation or to suspend a sentence in the interests of justice, and consistent with local values and local resources"
Summary: This bill adds nonconsensual condom removal (NCCR) to the existing civil sexual battery statute.
What's new: This bill expands an existing law that would add NCCR to the existing civil sexual battery statute, making it a civil sexual battery for a person to: a) Cause contact between a sexual organ, from which a condom has been removed, and the intimate part of another who did not verbally consent to the condom being removed; or b) Cause contact between an intimate part of the person and a sexual organ of another from which the person removed a condom without verbal consent.
Why is it needed: Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens), the author of the bill, said that the "occurrence [of stealthing] is on the rise." NCCR, also known as “stealthing,” is the practice of removing a condom during sex without the consent of a sexual partner.
She agrees that this bill is needed because it exposes the victim to physical risks of pregnancy and disease and is a grave violation of one's dignity and autonomy. The author believes that existing law does not clearly define sexual battery to include stealthing.
According to the Alameda County District Attorney, writing in support of this bill, this practice exposes people to physical risks of pregnancy and disease and is a grave violation of one’s dignity and autonomy.
There were no arguments on file opposing this bill.
Summary: This bill eliminates all distinctions between spousal rape and rape by eliminating the crime of spousal rape.
What's new: This bill expands the definition of rape to include the rape of a spouse, thereby making a state prison sentence mandatory in most circumstances, and requiring the convicted spouse to register as a sex offender.
Why is it needed: Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens), the author of the bill, said rapists who are convicted under spousal rape law may face less severe sentencing.
She agrees this bill is needed because rapists who are convicted under spousal rape law may face less severe sentencing.
"It should not matter if a rapist is married to the victim, rape is rape, regardless of marital status," Garcia said. "When spousal rape is not treated as seriously as other forms of rape, it invalidates the victims' traumatic experiences and continues to promote rape culture. Moreover, a rapist should not be shielded from punishment simply because the rapist is married to the victim."
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, in support of the bill, say the existing law "is rooted in an antiquated view that the marital relationship is an automatic mitigating factor when a husband rapes his spouse."
The California Public Defenders Association argues that the bill "is bad public policy because it takes discretion away from judges and it imposes a one size fits all sentence on individuals in the criminal justice system."
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