Senator Bates Authors Measure to Reclassify Heinous Crimes as Legally "Violent"

SB 75 Addresses Potential Fallout of 2016’s Proposition 57
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Citing potential fallout from Proposition 57 that allows the state to release prisoners early for crimes not deemed “violent” under state law, Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) has authored Senate Bill 75. Her bill would expand the definition of “violent felonies” to include additional offenses deemed to be serious and violent in nature by most Californians, including rape of an unconscious person and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer or firefighter.
“Californians approved Proposition 57 last year with the intention of showing leniency to offenders who are truly non-violent,” said Bates. “Unfortunately, many voters were not aware that the state’s definition of ‘non-violent’ includes deeply troubling crimes that most would consider violent due to the physical and emotional harm inflicted on victims. My bill would help address a major weakness of Proposition 57 and keep California’s communities safe.”
Californians passed Prop. 57 that increases parole and good behavior opportunities for prison inmates convicted of “non-violent” crimes and allows judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults in court. Opponents of the measure lacked the financial resources to broadly convey the argument that several serious crimes are legally considered “non-violent” and could make such offenders eligible for early release.
Though Prop. 57 was intended to save the state money, it could lead to more crimes being committed by criminals released early from prison. SB 75 seeks to address this weakness in law by expanding the definition of “violent felonies” to include:

  • vehicular manslaughter
  • human trafficking involving a minor
  • battery with personal infliction of serious bodily injury
  • throwing acid or a flammable substance
  • assault with a deadly weapon
  • assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer or firefighter
  • assault with a deadly weapon by a state prison inmate
  • discharging a firearm at an occupied dwelling, building, vehicle or aircraft
  • rape where victim is legally incapable of giving consent
  • rape of an unconscious person
  • rape/sodomy/oral copulation of an unconscious person or by use of date rape drugs
  • inflicting corporal injury on a child
  • domestic violence
  • arson of a structure or forest land
  • arson of property
  • solicitation to commit murder
  • grand theft of a firearm
  • any felony involving the personal use of a deadly weapon
  • holding a hostage by a state prison inmate
  • exploding a destructive device or explosive with intent to injure

SB 75 is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee.