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Stanford Rape Case Prompts Swift Response From Legislature

melfoody / Flickr

melfoody / Flickr

It hasn’t taken long for California lawmakers to respond to the Stanford rape case.

The case drew national attention after a judge sentenced a former student-athlete convicted of sexual assault to six months in jail and three years’ probation. Prosecutors had recommended a six-year sentence.

Democratic Asm. Cristina Garcia has authored a bill that seeks to redefine “rape” to include any form of sexual penetration.

“Look at the way our laws are written and the fact that someone could be a rapist but is called something else,“ Garcia says. “It strips victims of a certain justice. And I think if we’re going to end the rape culture, we need to start calling rape what it is.”

Another measure, by Democratic Asm. Evan Low, would block California judges from sentencing anyone convicted of sexual assault to probation.

“The impetus for this, of course, was with the Stanford case, in which the individual received probation,“ Low says. “This bill would make sure that there is mandatory sentencing related to this issue on rape.”

Both measures have passed initial committee votes and will see further debate when the Legislature returns in August.

Several lawmakers have also called on the Santa Clara judge who handed down the sentence to resign.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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