Sacramento officials are considering a controversial bill that would make some robberies a misdemeanor and not a felony.
Senator Nancy Skinner’s Senate Bill 82 would turn robberies worth under $950 where the culprit did not use weapons or cause serious injuries into petty thefts. Authorities would give a maximum of a one-year penalty in a county jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. The legislature also allows offenders to qualify for a diversion program.
However, the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office criticized the proposal, arguing it was “insanely irresponsible,” saying it would negatively impact the region’s communities by allowing criminals to commit crimes with hardly any consequences.
Currently, the state classifies robbery as a violent offense and is punishable with time in jail. Residents of Asian American communities in the region are also expressing their disagreement with the proposal. They argue about the recent surge of attacks on Asian elders and that the proposal could motivate criminals to continue their misdeeds.
However, Senator Skinner continues to support her proposal, saying, “If enacted, SB 82 will not change or reduce the criminal penalty on violent assaults such as the one that happened Tuesday or any of the other violent attacks on elderly Asian residents that have occurred recently,” CBS Local reported.
The incident that Skinner mentioned was the death of 75-year-old Pak Ho on Tuesday after being attacked by a robber in Oakland. The suspect had a criminal history as far back as 2012, most of which were robberies.