SACRAMENTO, CA – In the wake of the San Bernardino Colonies bribery case, Senator Norma Torres (D-Pomona) has introduced a package of bills aimed at strengthening the laws governing bribery of public officials. The center piece of her reform package, SB 950, would alter the statute of limitations so that it does not commence until the discovery of the bribery offense.
“I am shocked by what happened in the Colonies case,” said Senator Torres. “The case serves as an example of why we need stronger statutes. Bribing a public official is a serious crime that should be heard in court regardless of how long ago the offense occurred.”
Torres’ bill package was crafted in close collaboration with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and State Attorney General’s Office. Current law prohibits prosecution of individuals who bribe government officials if more than three years have elapsed since the crime was committed. In the Colonies case, prosecutors could not bring forth bribery charges against the accused because by the time the offense was discovered the statute of limitations had expired. SB 950 closes that loophole by changing the statute of limitations so that the time clock for prosecuting a bribery case starts once the offense is discovered.
Also included in the package of bills is SB 951 which would require prosecution for conspiracy to commit a crime to be commenced within the time required for the commencement of prosecution for the underlying crime. The final bill, SB 952, would prohibit an individual from aiding or abetting a public officer or person, and expand penalties to also apply to those individuals who willfully aid or abet.
Contact: Alex Barrios (916) 651-4757
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