New Legislation Seeks Tougher Punishments For Sexual Assaults of Unconscious Victims

On the heels of the rape case involving former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, a state Assembly panel approved two bills that carry harsh punishments for people who sexually assault unconscious victims, according to the Mercury News.

Monday's unanimous decisions come in the wake of the controversial decision by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky to sentence Turner to six months behind bars and three years on probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in January 2015.

At present, California law stipulates that sexual assault committed against a conscious victim comes with heavier forms of punishment compared to an attack on an unconscious person, according to the Mercury News. The state assembly panels set out to alter that legislation.

Assembly Bill 2888 aims to curb the sentencing flexibility afforded to judges when it pertains to sentencing sexual assaults committed against conscious versus unconscious victims. Approved 6-0, it was written by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and carried by Assemblymen Evan Low, D-Cupertino, and Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and state Sen. Jerry Hill, the Mercury News said.

Meanwhile Assembly Bill 701 seeks to redefine rape as any form of penetration into any body part, according to the Mercury News. Penned by Assemblywomen Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, and Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, the bill received a 5-0 vote.

The two new bills will be considered on the California assembly floor next, the Mercury News said.

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