By Mike Burkholder
SACRAMENTO – Without a single “No” vote in the Senate or Assembly, an important bill authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that would eliminate the statute of limitations for rape and related crimes in California cleared its final legislative hurdle earlier today. SB 813 now advances to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration.
Seeking to ensure justice for victims and survivors of felony sexual offenses, SB 813 would allow the indefinite criminal prosecution of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation, and sexual penetration. California law presently generally limits the prosecution of a felony sexual offense to only 10 years after the offense is committed, unless DNA evidence is found which then offers a victim additional time.
“I introduced SB 813 earlier this year for a simple reason: To ensure that rape victims always have the opportunity to seek justice in a court of law,” Senator Leyva said. “Rapists and sexual predators should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because the statute of limitations has run its course. Rape victims have to live with the horror of the violent crime committed against them every single day, so I fully believe that victims should always have option to come forward and authorities should never be denied the opportunity to seek legal justice for rape victims. I am grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support for SB 813 from legislators, sponsors and advocates at every step of the way and am truly hopeful that Governor Brown will sign this critically important bill.”
Only two in 100 rapists will be convicted of a felony and spend any time in prison, according to the United States Department of Justice. The other 98 percent will never be punished for their crime.
Beyond the strong bipartisan support in both legislative houses, principal coauthors Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), Assemblymember Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood), Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) and Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria)—as well as coauthors Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte), Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside), Assemblymember Rocky J. Chávez (R-Oceanside) and Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale)—have signed on in support of SB 813.
SB 813 is co-sponsored by San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and the California Women’s Law Center (CWLC) and supported by California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, California District Attorneys Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Crime Victims United of California, End Rape SOL, among others.