Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) today introduced a measure to reinstate the felony-murder of a police officer as a crime in California.
“Criminals willing to kill, or be involved with the killing of a police officer, are some of the most violent,” stated Senator Brian W. Jones. “We need to get them off the streets, and keep them off the streets. Unfortunately, Governor Newsom and Democrat legislative leaders have been lowering sentences and allowing early release of these dangerous criminals. Our Senate Bill 1129 will provide a greater deterrent, and tougher punishment, for those involved in killing a police officer.”
Until 2019, any criminal involved in a serious (felony) crime that also resulted in someone being killed, could have faced murder charges, even for those criminals that did not directly murder the victim. The long-standing legal doctrine known as the “felony-murder rule” or “natural and probable consequences” meant that, for example, even the getaway driver for a gang committing an armed home invasion should have known that using firearms during a robbery is dangerous and could lead to death of the robbery victims, innocent bystanders, or responding police officers.
In 2018, Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) authored Senate Bill 1437 which eliminated the felony-murder rule from California law. Then last year, Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) authored Senate Bill 775 which allowed the sentences from previous felony-murder convictions to be lowered, and the criminals to be released early from prison. Both measures were heavily opposed by law enforcement yet were still signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Jones’s Senate Bill 1129 would simply reinstate the “felony-murder rule” in California to those murder prosecutions of individuals involved in a serious crime resulting in the killing of police officer.
SB 1129 is sponsored by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC).
Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) is a coauthor of SB 1129.