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AB-578 Threatening a witness: threats to report immigration status.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/14/2017 09:00 PM
AB578:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 578


Introduced by Assembly Member Reyes
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Santiago)

February 14, 2017


An act to amend Section 136.1 of the Penal Code, relating to crimes.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 578, as introduced, Reyes. Threatening a witness: threats to report immigration status.
Existing law makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly and maliciously prevent or dissuade, or attempt to prevent or dissuade, a witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at a trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law or to attempt to prevent or dissuade a victim or witness of a crime to report that crime to law enforcement or seek the arrest of a person in connection with that victimization. Existing law makes the same actions a felony, punishable by 2, 3, or 4 years, if specified additional criteria exist, including accompanying the act by force or by an express or implied threat of force or violence, upon a witness, victim, or any 3rd person or the property of a victim, witness, or any 3rd person.
This bill would include in the list of circumstances that make threatening a witness or victim a felony a threat to report the immigration status or suspected immigration status of a crime victim or witness, or of a victim’s or witness’ family member or relative. By increasing the penalty for a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 136.1 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

136.1.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), any a person who does any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:
(1) Knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any a witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any a trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
(2) Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any a witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any a trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
(3) For purposes of this section, evidence that the defendant was a family member who interceded in an effort to protect the witness or victim shall create a presumption that the act was without malice.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), every a person who attempts to prevent or dissuade another person who has been the victim of a crime or who is witness to a crime from doing any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:
(1) Making any a report of that victimization to any a peace officer or officer, a state or local law enforcement officer or probation or parole officer, a probation, parole, or correctional officer or officer, a prosecuting agency or to any agency, or a judge.
(2) Causing a complaint, indictment, information, or probation or parole violation to be sought and prosecuted, and assisting in the prosecution thereof.
(3) Arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of any a person in connection with that victimization.
(c) Every A person doing any of the acts described in subdivision (a) or (b) knowingly and maliciously under any one or more of the following circumstances, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years under any of the following circumstances:
(1) Where If the act is accompanied by force or by an express or implied threat of force or violence, upon a witness or victim witness, victim, or any third person or the property of any a victim, witness, or any third person.
(2) Where If the act is in furtherance of a conspiracy.
(3) Where If the act is committed by any a person who has been convicted of any a violation of this section, any a predecessor law hereto or any law, a federal statute statute, or a statute of any other state which, that, if the act prosecuted was committed in this state, would be a violation of this section.
(4) Where If the act is committed by any a person for pecuniary gain or for any other consideration acting upon the request of any other person. All parties to such a the transaction are guilty of a felony.
(5) If the act is accomplished by threatening to report the immigration status or suspected immigration status of a witness or victim, or of a victim’s or witness’ family member or relative.
(d) Every A person attempting the commission of any an act described in subdivisions subdivision (a), (b), and or (c) is guilty of the offense attempted without regard to success or failure of the attempt. The fact that no person was injured physically, or in fact intimidated, shall be no is not a defense against any prosecution under this section.
(e) Nothing in this This section precludes does not preclude the imposition of an enhancement for great bodily injury where if the injury inflicted is significant or substantial.
(f) The use of force during the commission of any an offense described in subdivision (c) shall be considered a circumstance in aggravation of the crime in imposing a term of imprisonment under subdivision (b) of Section 1170.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
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REVISIONS:
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