2005 California Penal Code Sections 273.8-273.88 CHAPTER 2.5. SPOUSAL ABUSERSPENAL CODE
273.8. 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. 273.81. (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. 273.82. 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 agency or agencies designated by the Director of Finance pursuant to Section 13820 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 assistance programs. 273.83. (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 offender. (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 defendant. 273.84. 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 selection criteria. (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 court. (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. 273.85. (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 conviction. 273.86. The characterization of a defendant as a "spousal abuser" as defined by this chapter shall not be communicated to the trier of fact. 273.87. 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. 273.88. 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.
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