Bipartisan Bill Would Add Attempted Murder to List of Crimes Requiring Jail Time

The measure was needed, its Assembly backer said, because mental health diversion has let some convicted individuals avoid prison.
Bipartisan Bill Would Add Attempted Murder to List of Crimes Requiring Jail Time
The bill was co-authored by 13 Assembly members of both parties and two Republican senators. Above, the state Capitol in Sacramento on April 19, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Travis Gillmore

A newly introduced bill led by a Democratic Assembly member and co-sponsored by members of both parties seeks to make attempted murder a crime that would require jail time instead of alternative mental health diversion programs.

Written by Assemblywoman Stephanie Nguyen, Assembly Bill 2576 adds attempted murder to a list of charges—including murder, voluntary manslaughter, and rape, among other things—that prohibit a defendant from qualifying for pre-trial diversion.

The bill is necessary because some individuals charged with attempted murder have been released back into society without consequences, according to the bill’s author.

“This bill is needed not only in Sacramento but statewide,” Ms. Nguyen said in a press release announcing the legislation. “Those who attempt a violent act to end someone’s life should serve their sentence in addition to receiving their mental health diversion.”

Co-authored by 13 assembly members of both parties and two Republican senators, the bill would amend the penal code that currently allows those charged with attempted murder to avoid jail time—and have records of arrest and criminal charges expunged—by completing mental health treatment programs.

Citing public safety concerns with the status quo, law enforcement experts said the bill is needed to protect communities across the state.

“Often the difference between attempted murder and murder rests not only on the culpability or danger of the defendant but on other circumstances such as the victim’s proximity to a hospital, or the availability of bystanders to intervene and help,” Greg Totten, chief executive officer of the California District Attorneys Association, said in the press release. “Therefore, the California District Attorneys Association is proud to sponsor and support Assemblymember Nguyen’s measure to close a loophole that treats people who attempt murder differently.”

The number of attempted murder cases in California is obscured by data collection techniques that lump the crime with second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in an “aggravated assaults” category. Approximately 129,000 such incidents were reported in 2022—an increase of nearly 5 percent from the previous year—according to the most recent data from the state’s attorney general’s office.

Attempted murder charges are based on the forethought and intent of action, with first-degree charges carrying a potential penalty of life with the possibility of parole for those that deliberately attempt to take another life. Second-degree charges are reserved for crimes committed without premeditation and can result in imprisonment of up to nine years.

AB 2576 awaits committee assignments and will be considered by the Legislature in the coming weeks.

Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.
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