Last month, the State of California made two significant changes to its sex crimes laws. One eliminated the statute of limitations on the prosecution of sexual assaults. The other made prison sentences mandatory for persons convicted of sexual assault.
Prior to its repeal, California’s statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes was 10 years in the absence of DNA evidence. Sexual assaults against minors currently must be prosecuted before the victim turns 40. The change has its roots in the pending sexual assault cases against actor Bill Cosby. The state cannot prosecute a number of cases brought forward by women who accuse the actor of sex crimes based on the age of their accusations.
The changes to the statute of limitations will take effect in 2017. The law also eliminates the statute of limitations for older cases whose prosecution window has not yet expired. The changes do not affect cases where the statute of limitations has already taken effect. California is the 18th state to abolish the statute of limitation for sex crimes.
Governor Jerry Brown also signed new laws that broaden a judge’s power to treat sex crimes as rape during sentencing, and that mandate a state prison sentence for sex crimes convictions. Brown said that he did not want to burden the state with more mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, but believed that the new sentencing requirements would bring sentencing parity to essentially similar crimes.
The bills were introduced following a negative public outcry about a six-month sentence given to former Stanford student Brock Turner, following his conviction on three felony counts, including assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. Turner could have been sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison. Turner was given credit for time served, and spent an additional three months in the Santa Clara County Jail. He completed his sentence last month.
Convicted sex offenders will also be required to disclose their Internet user names, email addresses and social media identifiers beginning January 1. Offenders will have 30 days to report new or modified Internet identity information. The requirement will apply to persons convicted of sex offenses after January 1, 2017.
Los Angeles Sex Crimes Lawyer
The changes to both the statute of limitations and the minimum sentencing requirements underscores the need to have an experienced sex crimes lawyer on your side, if you’re ever arrested for sexual assault or another sex crime in Los Angeles.
Robert Helfend is an aggressive defense attorney with more than 30 years of experience exclusively in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. He has represented thousands of Southern California residents, and will provide superior criminal defense for you.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County sex crimes case.
Photo Credit: Joe Gratz, via Flickr.com