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SB 612: Identity Theft Trial Location (2007)


Senate Bill 612 allows the crime of identity theft to be tried in the victim’s county of residence.  The bill would enable prosecution of an identity theft crime in the county where the theft occurred, the county in which the victim resides, or the county where the information is used for an illegal purpose.  This bill would allow local prosecutors to help local victims who have had their personal information stolen.

For more information, you can read the SB 612 "Fact Sheet" prepared by a member of Senator Simitian's staff.

Final Status and Text

SB 612 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Signed into Law

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

What the bill does:

Federal and state courts have ruled that the right of vicinage, or where a trial is to be held, is limited to a requirement that there be a reasonable nexus between the crime and the county where the crime is tried.  Current law (Penal Code Sections 777, 781, 784, 786, and 790) provides for multiple jurisdictional options for a variety of crimes including rape, child abuse, burglary, carjacking, theft, embezzlement and murder.  In the case of identity theft, the impact of the crime is often felt at the victim’s residence where credit card fraud, electronic theft, pretexting, or other theft of intangible property must be addressed.  This bill would allow local prosecutors to help local victims who have had their personal information stolen.

The bill does not mandate that the crime be prosecuted in the county where the victim resides, but allows the victim’s county of residence to be considered as an option for trial.  Although many acts of identity theft occur in large urban areas, many cases are not prosecuted because of the magnitude of crimes in these locales.  Less populous counties are oftentimes much more aggressive about prosecuting identity theft crimes.  SG 612 will enable local prosecutors to pursue these crimes.

Laws relating to theft of property originally dealt with horses and tangible property.  Crimes involving intangible property have different characteristics.  Seventeen states including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Washington have recognized those differences and allowed identity theft cases to be tried in the county of the victim’s residence.  SB 612 makes similar provisions.

News & Press Releases about SB 612

07/15/2008 - Gov. Schwarzenegger Reinforces Commitment to Protect Identity Theft Victims

07/02/2008 - California Expands Identity Theft Prosecution

07/01/2008 - Governor Signs Simitian Bill To Toughen Identity Theft Prosecution

02/01/2008 - Calif. Senate Passes Identity Theft Bill 40-0

02/01/2008 - Simitian Bill Toughens Identity Theft Prosecution