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 their adoption.
  (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 phase.
  (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 alleged offender.
  (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 appropriate cases.
  (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 conviction.
999w. The characterization of a defendant as a "child abuser" as defined by this chapter shall not be communicated to the trier of fact.
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 available:
  (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.