California Assembly committee passes new 'Son of Sam' bill
By The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO An Assembly committee unanimously passed a bill late last week that would allow victims to sue criminals for monetary damages long after the crime.
The state Supreme Court struck down the original version of the "Son of Sam" law in February, declaring it a violation of free-speech rights. That law, enacted in 1983, banned felons from profiting from their criminal actions with books or movies, diverting their profits to the victims instead.
SB1887, which passed the Assembly Judiciary committee on Aug. 16, attempts to circumvent the court's ruling by simply extending the statute of limitations for victims' lawsuits from one year after the crime to 10 years after the felon is freed from prison and completes parole. That would allow time for victims to sue for any money made by the felon as a result of the crime.
The "Son of Sam" bill, authored by Sen. Bruce McPherson, D-Santa Cruz, is named after the first such law passed in New York, inspired by "Son of Sam" serial killer David Berkowitz, who was offered a substantial sum for his story. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down that law in 1991.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill in June. It will move next to the Assembly floor.
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