In the months since Stanford student Brock Turner was issued a lenient sentence for alleged sexual assault of an unconscious woman, there has been a lot of talk about changing the way California handles sex crime cases. Now, a new law is in place that lawmakers believe will fix the issues with rape and sexual assault sentencing in California.
Mandatory Sentencing for Rape (AB 2888)
Lawmakers introduced Assembly Bill 2888 – along with a number of other bills, including AB 701 – to redefine “rape” in California under California Penal Code Section 263.1 as any form of rape or sexual assault. AB 2888 requires that anyone convicted of these crimes face a minimum prison sentence.
Recently passed into law in California, AB 2888 and AB 701 makes it so that a judge cannot grant probation or suspend the sentence of a person who is convicted of:
- Penetration with a foreign object, or
- Oral copulation
This law applies if the alleged victim was incapable of giving consent, either due to being unconscious or as a result of intoxication.
Previously, the law only prohibited judges from granting probation to someone convicted of rape by force or pandering, aggravated sexual assault of a child, and other more serious sex crimes.
Brock Turner, who was sentenced to only six months in jail and served just three months due to good behavior, would have faced a harsher punishment under this new law. He would have faced a mandatory three-year prison sentence for his crime of sexual assault. A judge would not have been able to grant probation or any sentence less than three years in prison.
Less Room for Judges (PC 263.1)
Before this law passed, judges had much more input when it comes to sentencing. Judges had the option to grant short sentences or probation. They often accepted the recommendation of prosecutors or probation officers when determining sentences, which could have come as part of a plea bargain with the defendant.
Now, probation can only be granted to those who commit serious sex crimes such as rape and sexual assault in “unusual cases where the interests of justice would be served.”
In cases where a judge grants probation, the judge must specify the circumstances for granting probation in the court records. Doing so places more duty on the judges to explain the specific reasoning behind the decisions they make in serious sex crime cases.
What do you think about this new law?
Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one is facing charges of rape or sexual assault, you should speak to a skilled lawyer who has experience defending against these serious charges. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients in sex crimes cases.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Torrance, Victorville, and West Covina you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.