Following the outcry over the lenient sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a pair of bills Friday that would both expand the definition of “rape” in the state as well as enforce mandatory jail time to those convicted of sexual assault, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Assembly Bill 2888 (AB 2888) would prohibit judges from sentencing convicted offenders with probation after they sexually assault someone who is unconscious or intoxicated, while Assembly Bill 701 (AB 701) expands the legal definition of rape to include nonconsensual sexual assault. California law originally only defined rape as “an act of sexual intercourse.”
Turner was sentenced to only six months in jail after being found guilty of three felony sexual assault charges; prosecutors had asked for a six-year prison sentence, still less than the maximum 14 years Turner faced after his conviction. However, Turner served only three months before he was released in August for “good behavior.” As part of his sentence, Turner must register as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Both AB 2888 and AB 701 will go into effect January 1st.
AP 2888 was co-authored by California assemblyman Bill Dodd, who previously said after the bill passed through the California state legislature in August, “Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that. This bill is about more than sentencing. It’s about supporting victims and changing the culture on our college campuses to help prevent future crimes.”
While California has made strides recently to do away with mandatory prison sentences, Brown said of his decision to pass AB 2888 into law, “I am signing AB 2888 because I believe it brings a measure of parity to sentencing for criminal acts that are substantially similar.”