Chapter 2.5. Spousal Abusers of California Penal Code >> Title 9. >> Part 1. >> Chapter 2.5.
The Legislature hereby finds that spousal abusers present a
clear and present danger to the mental and physical well-being of the
citizens of the State of California. The Legislature further finds
that the concept of vertical prosecution, in which a specially
trained deputy district attorney, deputy city attorney, or
prosecution unit is assigned to a case after arraignment and
continuing to its completion, is a proven way of demonstrably
increasing the likelihood of convicting spousal abusers and ensuring
appropriate sentences for those offenders. In enacting this chapter,
the Legislature intends to support increased efforts by district
attorneys' and city attorneys' offices to prosecute spousal abusers
through organizational and operational techniques that have already
proven their effectiveness in selected cities and counties in this
and other states.
(a) There is hereby established in the Department of
Justice a program of financial and technical assistance for district
attorneys' or city attorneys' offices, designated the Spousal Abuser
Prosecution Program. All funds appropriated to the Department of
Justice for the purposes of this chapter shall be administered and
disbursed by the Attorney General, and shall to the greatest extent
feasible, be coordinated or consolidated with any federal or local
funds that may be made available for these purposes.
The Department of Justice shall establish guidelines for the
provision of grant awards to proposed and existing programs prior to
the allocation of funds under this chapter. These guidelines shall
contain the criteria for the selection of agencies to receive funding
and the terms and conditions upon which the Department of Justice is
prepared to offer grants pursuant to statutory authority. The
guidelines shall not constitute rules, regulations, orders, or
standards of general application.
(b) The Attorney General may allocate and award funds to cities or
counties, or both, in which spousal abuser prosecution units are
established or are proposed to be established in substantial
compliance with the policies and criteria set forth in this chapter.
(c) The allocation and award of funds shall be made upon
application executed by the county's district attorney or by the city'
s attorney and approved by the county board of supervisors or by the
city council. Funds disbursed under this chapter shall not supplant
local funds that would, in the absence of the California Spousal
Abuser Prosecution Program, be made available to support the
prosecution of spousal abuser cases. Local grant awards made under
this program shall not be subject to review as specified in Section
10295 of the Public Contract Code.
(d) Local government recipients shall provide 20 percent matching
funds for every grant awarded under this program.
Spousal abuser prosecution units receiving funds under this
chapter shall concentrate enhanced prosecution efforts and resources
upon individuals identified under selection criteria set forth in
Section 273.83. Enhanced prosecution efforts and resources shall
include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(a) (1) Vertical prosecutorial representation, whereby the
prosecutor who, or prosecution unit that, makes all major court
appearances on that particular case through its conclusion, including
bail evaluation, preliminary hearing, significant law and motion
litigation, trial, and sentencing.
(2) Vertical counselor representation, whereby a trained domestic
violence counselor maintains liaison from initial court appearances
through the case's conclusion, including the sentencing phase.
(b) The assignment of highly qualified investigators and
prosecutors to spousal abuser cases. "Highly qualified" for the
purposes of this chapter means any of the following:
(1) Individuals with one year of experience in the investigation
and prosecution of felonies.
(2) Individuals with at least two years of experience in the
investigation and prosecution of misdemeanors.
(3) Individuals who have attended a program providing domestic
violence training as approved by the Office of Emergency Services or
the Department of Justice.
(c) A significant reduction of caseloads for investigators and
prosecutors assigned to spousal abuser cases.
(d) Coordination with local rape victim counseling centers,
spousal abuse services programs, and victim-witness assistance
programs. That coordination shall include, but not be limited to:
referrals of individuals to receive client services; participation in
local training programs; membership and participation in local task
forces established to improve communication between criminal justice
system agencies and community service agencies; and cooperating with
individuals serving as liaison representatives of local rape victim
counseling centers, spousal abuse victim programs, and victim-witness
(a) An individual shall be the subject of a spousal abuser
prosecution effort who is under arrest for any act or omission
described in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 13700.
(b) In applying the spousal abuser selection criteria set forth in
subdivision (a), a district attorney or city attorney shall not
reject cases for filing exclusively on the basis that there is a
family or personal relationship between the victim and the alleged
(c) In exercising the prosecutorial discretion granted by Section
273.85, the district attorney or city attorney shall consider the
number and seriousness of the offenses currently charged against the
Each district attorney's or city attorney's office
establishing a spousal abuser prosecution unit and receiving state
support under this chapter shall adopt and pursue the following
policies for spousal abuser cases:
(a) All reasonable prosecutorial efforts shall be made to resist
the pretrial release of a charged defendant meeting spousal abuser
(b) All reasonable prosecutorial efforts shall be made to persuade
the court to impose the most severe authorized sentence upon a
person convicted after prosecution as a spousal abuser. In the
prosecution of an intrafamily sexual abuse case, discretion may be
exercised as to the type and nature of sentence recommended to the
(c) All reasonable prosecutorial efforts shall be made to reduce
the time between arrest and disposition of charge against an
individual meeting spousal abuser criteria.
(a) The selection criteria set forth in Section 273.84
shall be adhered to for each spousal abuser case unless, in the
reasonable exercise of prosecutor's discretion, extraordinary
circumstances require departure from those policies in order to
promote the general purposes and intent of this chapter.
(b) Each district attorney's and city attorney's office
establishing a spousal abuser prosecution unit and receiving state
support under this chapter shall submit the following information, on
a quarterly basis, to the Department of Justice:
(1) The number of spousal abuser cases referred to the district
attorney's or city attorney's office for possible filing.
(2) The number of spousal abuser cases filed for prosecution.
(3) The number of spousal abuser cases taken to trial.
(4) The number of spousal abuser cases tried that resulted in
The characterization of a defendant as a "spousal abuser"
as defined by this chapter shall not be communicated to the trier of
The Department of Justice is encouraged to utilize Federal
Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) funds or any other federal funds that
may become available in order to implement this chapter.
Administrative costs incurred by the Department of Justice
pursuant to the Spousal Abuser Prosecution Program shall not exceed 5
percent of the total funds allocated for the program.