Chapter 2.4. Child Abusers 999q-999y of California Penal Code >> Title 6. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 2.4.
999q. The Legislature hereby finds that child abusers present a
clear and present danger to the mental health and physical well-being
of the citizens of the State of California, especially of its
children. The Legislature further finds that the concept of vertical
prosecution, in which a specially trained deputy district attorney or
prosecution unit is assigned to a case from its filing to its
completion, is a proven way of demonstrably increasing the likelihood
of convicting child abusers and ensuring appropriate sentences for
such offenders. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature intends to
support increased efforts by district attorneys' offices to prosecute
child abusers through organizational and operational techniques that
have already proven their effectiveness in selected counties in this
and other states, as demonstrated by the California Career Criminal
Prosecution Program, the California Gang Violence Suppression
Program, and the Repeat Sexual Offender Prosecution Program.
999r. (a) There is hereby established in the Office of Emergency
Services a program of financial and technical assistance for district
attorneys' offices, designated the Child Abuser Prosecution Program.
All funds appropriated to the agency for the purposes of this
chapter shall be administered and disbursed by the executive director
of that agency or agencies, 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 Office of Emergency Services 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 agency is
prepared to offer grants pursuant to statutory authority. The
guidelines shall not constitute rules, regulations, orders, or
standards of general application. The guidelines shall be submitted
to the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature prior to
(b) The Director of Emergency Services is authorized to allocate
and award funds to counties in which child abuser offender
prosecution units are established or are proposed to be established
in substantial compliance with the policies and criteria set forth
below in Sections 999s, 999t, and 999u.
(c) The allocation and award of funds shall be made upon
application executed by the county's district attorney and approved
by its board of supervisors. Funds disbursed under this chapter shall
not supplant local funds that would, in the absence of the
California Child Abuser Prosecution Program, be made available to
support the prosecution of child abuser felony cases. Local grant
awards made under this program shall not be subject to review as
specified in Section 14780 of the Government Code.
999s. Child 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 999t. Enhanced prosecution efforts and resources shall
include, but not be limited to:
(a) Vertical prosecutorial representation, whereby the prosecutor
who, or prosecution unit which, makes the initial filing or
appearance in a case performs all subsequent court appearances on
that particular case through its conclusion, including the sentencing
(b) The assignment of highly qualified investigators and
prosecutors to child abuser cases. "Highly qualified" for the
purposes of this chapter means: (1) individuals with one year of
experience in the investigation and prosecution of felonies or
specifically the felonies listed in subdivision (a) of Section 999l
or 999t; or (2) individuals whom the district attorney has selected
to receive training as set forth in Section 13836; or (3) individuals
who have attended a program providing equivalent training as
approved by the Office of Emergency Services.
(c) A significant reduction of caseloads for investigators and
prosecutors assigned to child abuser cases.
(d) Coordination with local rape victim counseling centers, child
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 child abuse and
child sexual abuse programs, local rape victim counseling centers and
victim witness assistance programs.
999t. (a) An individual may be the subject of a child abuser
prosecution effort who is under arrest for the sexual assault of a
child, as defined in Section 11165, or a violation of subdivision (a)
or (b) of Section 273a, or a violation of Section 273ab, or 273d, or
a violation of Section 288.2 when committed in conjunction with any
other violation listed in this subdivision.
(b) In applying the child abuser selection criteria set forth
above: (1) a district attorney may elect to limit child abuser
prosecution efforts to persons arrested for any one or more of the
offenses described in subdivision (a) if crime statistics demonstrate
that the incidence of such one or more offenses presents a
particularly serious problem in the county; (2) a district attorney
shall not reject cases for filing exclusively on the basis that there
is a family or personal relationship between the victim and the
(c) In exercising the prosecutorial discretion granted by Section
999v, the district attorney shall consider the character, the
background, and the prior criminal background of the defendant.
999u. Each district attorney's office establishing a child abuser
prosecution unit and receiving state support under this chapter shall
adopt and pursue the following policies for child abuser cases:
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), all reasonable
prosecutorial efforts will be made to resist the pretrial release of
a charged defendant meeting child abuser selection criteria.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the
application of diversion programs authorized by law. All reasonable
efforts shall be made to utilize diversion alternatives in
(c) All reasonable prosecutorial efforts will be made to reduce
the time between arrest and disposition of charge against an
individual meeting child abuser criteria.
999v. (a) The selection criteria set forth in Section 999t shall be
adhered to for each child 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 office establishing a child abuser
prosecution unit and receiving state support under this chapter shall
submit the following information, on a quarterly basis, to the
Office of Emergency Services:
(1) The number of child abuser cases referred to the district
attorney's office for possible filing.
(2) The number of child abuser cases filed for felony prosecution.
(3) The number of sexual assault cases taken to trial.
(4) The number of child abuser cases tried which resulted in
999w. The characterization of a defendant as a "child abuser" as
defined by this chapter shall not be communicated to the trier of
999x. The Office of Emergency Services is encouraged to utilize any
federal funds which may become available in order to implement the
provisions of this chapter.
999y. The Office of Emergency Services shall report annually to the
Legislature concerning the program established by this chapter. The
office shall prepare and submit to the Legislature on or before
December 15, 2002, and within six months of the completion of
subsequent funding cycles for this program, an evaluation of the
Child Abuser Prosecution Program. This evaluation shall identify
outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of the programs
established under this chapter, which shall include, but not be
limited to, both of the following, to the extent that data is
(a) Child abuse conviction rates of Child Abuser Prosecution
Program units compared to those of nonfunded counties.
(b) Quantification of the annual per capita costs of the Child
Abuser Prosecution Program compared to the costs of prosecuting child
abuse crimes in nonfunded counties.