Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Do Legislatures Use Victims as a Cover?

Posted on: July 24, 2008 at 11:24 a.m.

A bill proposed in February of this year in the California State Assembly, AB 2417, would supposedly strengthen victims' rights by paying out more money for witnesses accounts in certain circumstances, provide leeway in "hear-say" rulings and increase prison time for certain offenses.

Amongst other provisions, this bill was proposed in order to:
- appropriate $10,000,000 annually, adjusted for inflation as specified, from the General Fund to the Safe Neighborhoods Compliance Enforcement Fund.
- expand the definition of "unavailable as a witness" to include a situation in which a declarant is present at a hearing and refuses to testify concerning the subject matter of the declarant's statement despite a court order to do so.
- provide that any person who possess methamphetamine, as specified, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years.

While some of the plans in this proposition seem fine, it also seems that the legislature is looking to turn communities against each other, and imprison those convicted of certain crimes for longer periods of time. Many of those in jail currently in California are drug users, not violent offenders or otherwise.

Crime bills often use such terms as "victim's rights" and "safe neighborhoods." However, rarely are the terms "rights of the individual," "guilty until proven innocent" and "constitutional rights" brought up or discussed at all.

If you find yourself accused of committing a crime, contact the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP. The attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP are skilled in all manner of criminal defense and can help guide you toward a proper defense.

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