Acosta introduces three public-safety bills

Dante Acosta
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Back in 2011, the so-called “realignment bill” known as AB 109, that’s now state law, sent prisoners guilty of non-violent felonies from state prisons to county facilities, and made some eligible for early release under probation or rehabilitation programs.

It was a way for the state to obey a federal court order to reduce the prison population.

Now Assemblyman Dante Acosta wants to realign the realignment.

Acosta, the newly elected Republican from Santa Clarita’s 38th Assembly District, introduced three public-safety-related bills on Monday – one of them, AB 537, designed, in Acosta’s words, to “undo much of the damage done by realignment to the justice system.’’

“AB 537 will add to the list of serious crimes a host of offenses from child abuse to use of a hostage as a human shield in order to evade arrest,’’ according to a release from Acosta’s office.

“We send the wrong message to criminals and their victims when crimes such as human trafficking, child abuse likely to result in great bodily harm, and terrorism through use of an explosive device, among others, are treated as ‘non-serious’ offenses,” Acosta said in a statement.

Indeed, an on-line check shows that, among the crimes that apply under “AB 109” reclassification are “use of explosives in acts of terrorism’’ and “inflict cruel/inhuman corporal punishment on a child.’’

David Creager, Acosta’s chief of staff, said some of the language in AB 109 was “sloppy,” resulting in crimes like that being eligible because they were not specifically added to the list of “serious” felonies.

“It’s crazy,’’ Creager said. “I know it seems like an alternate reality, but that’s the truth of the situation. It boggles the mind that anybody would consider those offenses non-violent.’’

Acosta also introduced AB 538 – which would require criminals who receive an aggregate sentence of over three years for felonies to serve that time in state prison instead of county jails.

“Often criminals who serve time in county jails are much more likely to secure early release,’’ Acosta’s office said. “Requiring that time to be served in prison will ensure that victims receive the justice they deserve.’’

Acosta’s third bill, AB 539, would give law enforcement the right to seek a warrant in cases of so called “revenge porn” or other similar situations.

“This is when a person distributes across the internet malicious images or video of a sexual nature without the consent of the person on the image or video where privacy was expected by the victim,’’ Acosta’s office said.

“Currently this is illegal, but law enforcement has no right to seek a warrant even if enough evidence exists to expect one.


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