California Democrats Introduce "Immunity from Arrest" Law

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Senate Bill 233

SACRAMENTO – California Democrats have introduced legislation to shield a person from the consequences of crimes they commit in California, even violent ones, as long as the person reports the crimes to authorities.

California Senate Bill 233, authored by Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and coauthored by State Assembly members Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), states: “A person who is reporting a crime of sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, robbery, assault, kidnapping, threats, blackmail, extortion, burglary, or another violent crime shall not be arrested for a crime ...”

Senator Wiener and the San Francisco Chronicle would like us to believe that this legislation is all about protecting victimized sex workers. However, the truth in what is being said and reported about this bill is one thing, and what the actual text of the legislation states is an entirely different matter. The actual language of SB 233 would enact something completely different and absolutely unacceptable.

Here is how the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting it:

“California Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, will introduce legislation Monday that would prevent law enforcement from arresting and charging sex workers who come forward as victims or witnesses to serious crimes. The proposed law, SB233, would also prevent officers from using condoms as probable cause to arrest a sex worker in any situation.

“‘Right now, we know there are sex workers who are victimized or witness crimes and are scared to come forward because they think they are going to be arrested,’ Wiener said. ‘We want to create every incentive for sex workers to feel safe in reporting crimes.’”

Link: https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Sen-Wiener-to-introduce-CA-bill-protecting-13602631.php

But this is the actual language, the full text of Senate Bill 233:

“An act to add Section 647.3 to the Penal Code, relating to crime.

“LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

“SB 233, as introduced, Wiener. Immunity from arrest. [Emphasis here and below added by this writer.]

“Existing law criminalizes various aspects of sex work, including soliciting anyone to engage in, or engaging in, lewd or dissolute conduct in a public place, loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution, or maintaining a public nuisance. Existing law, the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act (CUCSA), also criminalizes various offenses relating to the possession, transportation, and sale of specified controlled substances.

“This bill would prohibit the arrest of a person for a misdemeanor violation of the CUCSA or other specified sex work crimes, if that person is reporting a crime of sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, robbery, assault, kidnapping, threats, blackmail, extortion, burglary, or another violent crime. The bill would also state that possession of condoms in any amount, in and of itself, is not probable cause for arrest for specified sex work crimes.

Digest Key – Vote: MAJORITY Appropriation: NO Fiscal Committee: NO Local Program: NO

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 647.3 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

647.3. (a) A person who is reporting a crime of sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, robbery, assault, kidnapping, threats, blackmail, extortion, burglary, or another violent crime shall not be arrested for a crime, including a misdemeanor violation of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act (Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code) or a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 647 or of Section 372 or 653.22.

“(b) Possession of condoms in any amount shall not, in and of itself, be probable cause for arrest for a crime, including a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 647 or of Section 372 or 653.22.”

Link: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB233