Senate Approves "Justice for Victims Act"

SB 813 Eliminates Statute of Limitations for Rape in California

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, the California State Senate passed important bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that seeks to end the statute of limitations for rape and related crimes in California.  SB 813 specifically aims to ensure justice for victims and survivors of felony sexual offenses by allowing the indefinite criminal prosecution of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation, and sexual penetration.

Existing California law presently generally limits the prosecution of a felony sexual offense to only 10 years after the offense is committed, unless DNA evidence is found which then offers a victim additional time.  According to the United States Department of Justice, only two in 100 rapists will be convicted of a felony and spend any time in prison.  The other 98 percent will never be punished for their crime.

“SB 813 will help to prevent rapists and sexual predators from evading legal consequences in California simply because the statute of limitations has expired,” Senator Leyva said.  “Regardless of when a rape or sexual assault is reported, survivors must have an opportunity to pursue justice in a court of law for the unthinkable crimes committed against them.  SB 813 does not change the burden of proof and allegations will still have to be proven in court, so all this bill does is extend the opportunity for victims to have their voice heard and prosecutors the chance to ensure justice.  I thank SB 813 coauthors on both sides of the aisle, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, California Women’s Law Center Executive Director Betsy Butler, women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and all SB 813 advocates and supporters for standing strongly on the side of justice for victims.” 

Principal coauthors Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) and Assemblymember Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood)—as well as coauthors Assemblymember Rocky J. Chávez (R-Oceanside) and Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale)—have signed on in support of SB 813. 

The “Justice for Victims Act” is co-sponsored by San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and the California Women’s Law Center (CWLC) and supported by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, California Police Chiefs Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Crime Victims United of California, End Rape SOL, among others.

Following the Senate’s approval of SB 813 earlier today, the “Justice for Victims Act” now advances to the Assembly for consideration.