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DA urges lawmakers to support changes to mental health law

Posted at 12:47 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 15:47:10-04

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow is urging state lawmakers to quickly pass amendments to a law the governor signed just weeks ago.

Assembly Bill 1810 went into effect on July 1. It vastly expands the number of suspects who can be diverted to mental health treatment programs and have their charges dismissed.

In letters sent this week to State Senator Bill Monning and Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, Dow says, "The law now in effect allows mental health treatment pre-trial diversion for every type of crime, no matter how violent, including serial rape or murder."

A new proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration would tighten the law, banning those charged with murder, rape and other sex crimes from participating and lets judges bar a much broader range of dangerous suspects. It also makes clear that counties must opt into the program.

The administration wants lawmakers to approve the narrower program before they adjourn at month’s end.

In his letters, Dow also urges Monning and Cunningham to support the proposal so it can be passed by the end of the current legislative session.

"This is a vital step towards creating a safer California," Dow says.