Lawmakers, district attorneys at odds over violent crime bills

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Lawmakers, district attorneys at odds over violent crime bills

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – California lawmakers and prosecutors disagree over two controversial Senate bills suggesting how to define a violent crime and the punishment behind it.

Senate Bills 81 and 82 both come from the current Criminal Code, which defines what is considered a violent crime. However, some lawmakers and prosecutors are telling FOX40 it needs to be changed, especially given the mounting attacks on Asian Americans.

“It’s a huge problem,” said El Dorado District Attorney Vern Pierson.

SB 81 was introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and would reduce the time behind bars for those convicted of nonviolent crimes. SB 82 illustrates the differences between theft and robbery under certain circumstances.

Some prosecutors across California say these two bills are a major problem as attacks against the Asian-American community have increased recently.

“Senate Bill 82 would result in a robbery, a major robbery, being reduced to minor theft. With all of these stories of robbing older Asian women, these cases are now becoming mere petty theft cases, ”said Thien Vu Ho, Assistant District Attorney for Sacramento County.

Elk Grove Congregation Leader Jim Cooper introduced his legislation in response to attacks against the AAPI community.

Assembly Bill 266 challenges Sen. Skinner’s bills.

“It’s not crazy,” said Cooper. “It just goes, ‘Hey, if you commit these crimes and because they shock the public conscience, you won’t get an early release from prison or jail,'” Cooper said.

FOX40 asked Sen. Skinner for an interview, but their spokesman declined, saying instead that these two bills were from the state’s criminal code.

Additionally, Senator Skinner says her two bills have nothing to do with recent attacks against the AAPI community, and she urges prosecutors to stop making false claims about laws they dislike.

“A lot of the videos you watch over and over now would be offenses or nothing in their legislation, and I’m sorry she doesn’t get it, but those are the facts,” said Pierson.

A spokesman for Skinner’s office adds that anyone who commits a violent crime or hate crime will be charged accordingly at the State Capitol.

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