There is a new bill going through Sacramento that would change the law that allows people convicted of violent sex crimes against their spouses to still be awarded support payments, community property, or other financial benefits.

The bill is being promoted by Carlsbad stockbroker Crystal Harris.  Harris is responding to the fact her husband, Shawn Harris, who was convicted of sexually assaulting her, was able to convince a judge that she should cover his legal costs.  She may also be liable for spousal support when he is released from prison.

Harris is urging the Assembly Judiciary Committee to approve legislation carried by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego, that is crafted to bar that possibility in future cases.  San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a candidate for San Diego mayor, is the measure’s primary sponsor.

Opposition to the measure has been registered by the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.  In a letter to the committee, the alliance of attorneys argued that violent sex crimes could be considered a factor in determining support issues but should not necessarily be a black and white rule, thereby obliterating any discretion by the courts to consider mitigating factors or circumstances.

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