California has seen a great deal of negative publicity in recent months due to a case involving a college swimmer and his sexual assault of a woman who was reportedly unconscious. Because some people believe that the sentence he received was too light, they have sought to change state law regarding certain sex crimes. Recently, two bills were signed that could result in harsher consequences for those convicted of such crimes.
Previous laws regarding rape were allegedly very narrow. Those laws defined rape as non-consensual sex. The recent changes allow juries and prosecutors to consider sexual assault involving penetration -- including penetration with a foreign object -- as rape.
The second law prevents judges from granting parole in cases that involve the rape of a person who is unconscious or intoxicated. Despite these changes, law professors are still pushing the state to make more changes. For example, they are asking that lawmakers require colleges and universities to provide data regarding reports of certain crimes, such as stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Sex crimes are serious and deserve a thorough investigation. However, in all criminal cases, there must be sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to gain a conviction. Because of the recent changes in California law, those facing such accusations may be even more motivated to ensure that there is a professional with experience with criminal law willing to examine their case and fight on their behalf. With such an attorney on their side, those accused can feel confident knowing that they are better equipped to make important decisions about their case that will likely impact the rest of their lives.
Source: yahoo.com, "California toughens rape laws after Stanford case uproar", Alex Dobuzinskis, Sept. 30, 2016