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Sunday, March 20, 2022

California's Anti-Affluenza Defense Bill

     [In December 2013], after a 16-year-old boy said to be suffering from "affluenza" was sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison for killing four people and maiming two others in a drunk-driving crash, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced a bill that would prohibit attorneys from invoking "affluenza" as a defense at trial or as a mitigating factor for sentencing.

     Gatto knows there is no universally agreed upon definitions for the term. [There is also no case law that establishes affluenza as a criminal defense.] In the bill, Gatto defined affluenza as "the notion that an affluent or overly permissive upbringing prevents a defendant from fully understanding the consequences of criminal actions." [What is and what is not a viable criminal defense should be left to the courts to hammer out. This politically feel-good legislation was aimed at fixing a problem that didn't exist and usurped the discretion of judges and juries. The proposed bill was voted down in 2017.]

Robin Abcarian, the Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2014    

1 comment:

  1. Intoxicated driving is a senseless, preventable, and pervasive problem across the entire United States. What do you think would be the most effective way to enforce current laws and enact stricter ones?