Democrats Kill Public Safety Measure to Add Crimes to the List of “Serious Felonies”

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SACRAMENTO, CA— On a strict party-line vote, Democrat legislators killed legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) today that would add human trafficking, solicitation to commit murder and felony child abuse to the list of “serious crimes” in the Penal Code. Assembly Bill (AB) 1321 was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

“I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not,” said Assemblyman Jones. “The Democrats are more fearful about prison overcrowding than they are of dangerous felons roaming the streets.”

AB 1321 would add 18 felonies that are inherently serious crimes to the list of “serious” felonies in the Penal Code. It also makes a conforming change so that these additional felonies will be considered “strikes” under the state’s Three Strikes law.

“Believe it or not, individuals who take a hostage to be used as a shield, solicit murder, possess a biological weapon or explode a weapon of mass destruction are considered to have only committed ‘lower level’ felony offenses. This has no business being a partisan issue – it’s incomprehensible to me that the Democrats think these crimes – plus stalking and felony elder abuse should not be considered serious felonies.”

If passed, AB 1321 would have addressed some of the many problems with the state’s flawed public safety realignment law, by better aligning the definition of a ‘serious’ felony in the Penal Code with the truth that some very severe crimes are sadly lacking from the current definition.

“Since designation of whether a felony is, or is not, a “serious” felony has a number of important consequences, it is critical to ensure that the definition encompasses crimes that are – by nature – inherently serious and which ought to be treated as such under the state’s laws. In particular, it is important that these offenses be classified as serious for purposes of the Three Strikes law, the state’s realignment law, and the limitations regarding who can work with children in our schools.”

The original lists of “serious” felonies was added by Proposition 8 of 1982, and were designed to detail which offenses were sufficiently serious that a prosecutor’s ability would be limited to plea bargain away charges relating to those offenses. Since 1982, a number of offenses have been added to the list.

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