Assemblywoman Karnette Introduces Bill To Make Witness Intimidation Automatic Felony, Provides Add'l Four Year Prison Term If Done For Criminal Street Gang
(Feb. 27, 2007) -- Assemblywoman Betty Karnette (D., LB) has introduced a bill that would change current CA law to make witness intimidation an automatic felony (instead of the current misdemeanor or felony) and would provide an additional four year prison term if the witness intimidation is "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in affiliation with a criminal street gang."
LBReport.com posts the text of Assemblywoman Karnette's proposed AB 790 below:
BILL NUMBER: AB 790 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Karnette
An act to amend Section 136.1 of the Penal Code, relating to
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 790, as introduced, Karnette. Witnesses: intimidation.
Existing law makes witness intimidation, as specified either a
misdemeanor or a felony.
This bill would make witness intimidation, as specified, only a
felony, and would provide an additional 4-year term of imprisonment
for a person who intimidates a witness, as specified, for the benefit
of, at the direction of, or in affiliation with a criminal street
Because this bill would increase the duties of local prosecutors,
it 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
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated 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 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 witness or
victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding,
or inquiry authorized by law.
(2) Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any
witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any 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 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 report of that victimization to any peace officer
or state or local law enforcement officer or probation or parole or
correctional officer or prosecuting agency or to any judge.
(2) Causing a complaint, indictment, information, probation or
parole violation to be sought and prosecuted, and assisting in the
(3) Arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of any person in
connection with that victimization.
(c) Every 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 the act is accompanied by force or by an express or
implied threat of force or violence, upon a witness or victim or any
third person or the property of any victim, witness, or any third
(2) Where the act is in furtherance of a conspiracy.
(3) Where the act is committed by any person who has been
convicted of any violation of this section, any predecessor law
hereto or any federal statute or statute of any other state which, if
the act prosecuted was committed in this state, would be a violation
of this section.
(4) Where the act is committed by any person for pecuniary gain or
for any other consideration acting upon the request of any other
person. All parties to such a transaction are guilty of a felony.
(d) Every person attempting the commission of any act described in
subdivisions (a), (b), and (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
defense against any prosecution under this section.
(e) Nothing in this section precludes the imposition of an
enhancement for great bodily injury where the injury inflicted is
significant or substantial.
(f) The use of force during the commission of any 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.
(g) Notwithstanding Section 186.22, every person who violates
either subdivision (a) or (b) for the benefit of, at the direction
of, or in affiliation with a criminal street gang shall be, upon
conviction of a violation of subdivision (a) or (b), sentenced to an
additional and consecutive term of four years.
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