California Proposal to Redefine Robbery Draws Strong Opposition

Recently, California Democratic legislators introduced a bill to classify robbery without a weapon and without causing serious bodily injury as a misdemeanor theft. The bill has drawn strong opposition from the community. On Thursday, California leaders from all walks of life held a video conference to oppose the bill, see the detailed report.

On Thursday, members of the California judiciary and other sectors raised concerns about the bill.

John Lovell, chief legal counsel for the California Anesthesiologists Association: “(Under the bill), if someone doesn’t use a weapon (in a robbery), if they don’t cause serious injury, it’s not a violent crime, it’s a misdemeanor.”

Robbery is currently a felony in California, punishable by up to five years in prison. Once the bill passes, many robbery crimes will be downgraded to misdemeanors, which carry a maximum sentence of only one year.

Annie Esposito, President of the Asian American Prosecutors Association: “This bill is unquestionably irresponsible and unnecessary.”

Justice officials are concerned that the measures will encourage more crime and have a negative impact on the nation.

California District Attorney Vern Pierson: “There’s been this increasing tolerance for violent crime.”

California Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens: “It’s not going to help the victims who have been victimized. Victims will just wonder why responsible leaders are taking the lead in encouraging robberies.”

There are also concerns that the bill sets off a chain reaction that could lead to many robbers who have already been convicted, being resentenced.

Crime Survivors CEO Winskunas: “How can California afford, to redo the expenses of all the robberies? Especially when we’re facing a budget crisis due to the pandemic, it’s a big problem.”

The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Skinner, a California Democrat.

Supporters of the bill claim that the majority of California’s inmates who are serving sentences, mainly minorities, disproportionately affect such communities.

Experts who attended Thursday’s workshop hope more Californians will recognize the bill’s negative impact.