Chelsea’s Law is headed to the governor’s desk after the California State Assembly unanimously approved new, more stringent penalties for certain sex offenders this past week. The bill is named after 17-year old San Diegan teen Chelsea King, who was raped and murdered by John Gardener, a convicted sex offender, last year. Gardener also admitted to the murder of Amber DuBois, a 14-year old Escondido teenager, and was sentenced to two life terms in prison.
The measure calls for life sentences without parole for sex offenders who are deemed especially violent and target children. It also increases the parole terms for offenders who target children under the age of 14 and restricts their ability to enter parks, thereby protecting children from the dangers of being kidnapped during play.
Nathan Fletcher, the Republican Assemblyman who co-authored the bill, stated, “This legislation is an effort that will put California at the forefront of how it prevents sexual attacks against our children and how it deals with the system in a smart, thoughtful way,” he said. “AB 1844, Chelsea’s Law, is inspired by the spirit of Chelsea King, but is for all the children of California,” he said. Fletcher also added that the bill is cost free for taxpayers.
Assemblyman Marty Block, another of the bill’s authors, also expressed strong sentiment towards the issue in an interview with NBC San Diego: “In cases like these, with criminals like these, once guilt has been determined beyond a reasonable doubt, it may be best to just lock them up and throw away the key.”
If the governor signs the bill, it will become law, effective immediately. And, according to KPSB, while the Governator doesn’t generally make public statements about the legislation he must approve, he has stated that he is excited about signing this measure into law.
Photo from jurvetson via flickr