California Proposition 222, Sentencing Mandate for Second Degree Murder of Police Officers (1998)
The two main provisions in Proposition 222 were:
- Changing Section 190 of the Penal Code so that if a second degree murder of a peace officer is committed intentionally, with intent to commit great bodily harm, or with personal use of a firearm or dangerous or deadly weapon, when the defendant knows or should know that the peace officer is performing official duties, the murder will be punishable by life in prison or without parole. (Prior to Prop 222, such a crime was punishable by 25 years to life in prison.)
- Altering the Penal Code so that people convicted of any murder could not earn credits in prison to reduce their sentence.
Supporters of Proposition 222 spent $31,786. The top contributors to pass the measure were:
- California Correctional Peace Officers Association: $10,222
- McNally Temple Associates, Inc.: $15,000
No contributions to oppose the measure were reported to the California Secretary of State.
Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The official ballot summary for Proposition 222 was:
- Amends Penal Code section 190, which provides that second degree murder of peace officer who defendant knows or should know is performing official duty, is punishable by 25 years to life in prison, to provide that such murder, if committed either intentionally, with intent to commit great bodily injury, or with personal use of a firearm or dangerous or deadly weapon, is punishable by life in prison without parole. Eliminates duplicative provision in Penal Code.
- Persons convicted of any murder may not earn credits in prison to reduce the sentence.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 222. That estimate was:
- "Probably minor additional state costs."
- Under California law, there are two "degrees" of murder.
- First degree murder is generally defined as murder that is intentional or deliberate, or that takes place during certain other crimes, including arson, rape, or robbery.
- All other types of murder are second degree murder. It is generally punishable by imprisonment for 15 years to life with the possibility of parole. An exception is provided in some cases involving the second degree murder of a peace officer.
- State law provides that certain prison inmates who participate in work and education programs or who demonstrate good conduct while in prison shall receive credits that reduce the time they must stay in prison. However, any person convicted of second degree murder of a peace officer is ineligible to receive these credits.
- State law also provides that if a peace officer is killed in the line of duty and the person convicted of the murder knew or should have known that the victim was a peace officer, the crime is punishable by a prison term of 25 years to life. Under a law that was enacted in September 1997, the second degree murder of a peace officer is punishable by a longer term of life in prison without the possibility of parole if it is also found that the murderer specifically intended to kill or greatly injure the peace officer, or used a firearm or other dangerous weapon in the crime.
Path to the ballot
Proposition 222 was voted onto the ballot by the California State Legislature via AB 446 (Proposition 222).
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