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Misleading
misleading

CLAIM ID

4aeff7a5

A new law prevents the police from arresting someone who steals anything below $900 in California.

Under Proposition 47 an accused can still be prosecuted, and imprisoned for up to 6 months in county jail.

Under Proposition 47 an accused can still be prosecuted, and imprisoned for up to 6 months in county jail.A post circulating on social media claims that anyone who steals anything under $950 from shops will not get punished in California. Quoting Proposition 47: The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, the post claims that the "police cannot stop or arrest the thief as it is criminalizing poverty." The claim is misleading.

On June 17, 2021, a Business Today report claimed that California security officials have noted that the theft incidents in the state have increased after the passing of the proposition. The article embedded a video of a man entering a store on a bicycle, stocking groceries in a trash bag, and leaving without paying as a security official watched and filmed the incident. The report further claims that the new law has "emboldened criminals rather than making it safe for the general public."

According to the California Courts, "Proposition 47 created new misdemeanors and reclassified several felony theft offenses as misdemeanors. The new misdemeanor provisions do not apply to persons with one or more prior convictions for offenses under Penal Code section 667(e)(2)(C)(iv) or for sex offenses that require registration under Penal Code section 290(c)". Also, theft offenses like shoplifting, forgery, petty theft, receiving stolen property, where the value of stolen goods is less than $950, will be considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony. However, a person may be punished for up to 6 months in county jail for such offenses. The law also states that in case an accused fails to attend the court, they would get a bench warrant. The law upheld that entering into a commercial establishment by aiming for theft will be considered as burglary.

An Associated Press report dated June 24, 2021, quotes Alex Bastian, special advisor to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who co-authored Prop 47, saying that "most shoplifting was already prosecuted as a misdemeanor anyway." "What Prop 47 did is increase the dollar amount by which theft can be prosecuted as a felony from $400 to $950 to adjust for inflation and cost of living," Bastian said.

The Judicial Council of California passed Proposition 47 in 2014. The proposition was enacted to comply with an order issued by California Supreme Court in 2011, which upheld that California's overcrowded prisons violated incarcerated individuals' Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.

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