Assemblymember Steven Choi Introduces Bipartisan AB 2027 to Reinstate Sentencing Enhancements for Hate Crime Convictions

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SACRAMENTO, Calif., February 14, 2022 – Today, Assemblymember Steven Choi, Ph.D. (Irvine), introduced Assembly Bill 2027 along with his colleague Assemblymember Evan Low (Campbell), which will exempt hate crime sentencing enhancements from the provisions of SB 81 (2021) so that, in hate crime cases, a judge has the ability to add a hate crime sentencing enhancement so that those convicted of a hate crime may serve longer sentences.

“Tragically, individuals are targeted due to their race, gender, religion and other factors even in a state as rich with diversity such as California – and we must do more to stop these hate crimes,” remarked Assemblymember Steven Choi. “Members of my own Asian American community saw hate crimes more than double in 2020 – representing the greatest increase across all demographic groups. AB 2027 will restore one tool to bring justice to victims of hate crimes by allowing judges to enhance sentencing against these criminals,” added Choi.

Assemblymember Evan Low added, “I am proud to Joint Author AB 2027 with my colleague Dr. Choi. Nobody should fear being targeted by a criminal because of the color of their skin, or because of who they choose to worship, or who they choose to love. This bill will help bring justice to victims of hate crimes including so many belonging to my Asian Pacific Islander Community.”

Hate crimes in California have reached their highest reported level in a decade, reaching 1,330 offenses in 2020. According to the LA Times, “African Americans, who are just 9% of the county population, accounted for 42% of racial crime victims. A total of 169 anti-Black crimes were reported, an increase of 35%. Anti-Latino crimes were up 58% to 106 and report’s statistics also reflected the trend of hate crimes targeting Asians. Crimes involving sexual orientation increased 17% to 122 and 84% targeted gay men.”

SB 81 (2021) created a loophole in California’s sentencing laws by allowing offenders to avoid having additional penalties imposed for hate crime-related felonies. AB 2027 closes this loophole.

Assemblyman Steven Choi serves the 68th District in the California Legislature, which includes Lake Forest, Irvine, Orange, North Tustin, Tustin, and Villa Park.