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California Lawmakers Want to Close Rape Law Loophole

Some California lawmakers are outraged over a recent appeals court ruling overturning a rape conviction based on the victim's marital status.

Aired 1/14/13 on KPBS News.

Several California lawmakers are introducing legislation that would expand the definition of rape. The move comes after an appeals court overturned a rape conviction based on the victim’s marital status.

The case involved a man who impersonated his victim's boyfriend to have sex with her while she was sleeping. An archaic statute states that person is guilty of rape only if the victim was married and the perpetrator was pretending to be her spouse.

Republican Assembly member Katcho Achadjian has authored legislation to expand the definition of rape. He tried to pass a bill two years ago as a result of a similar rape case.

"This was a direct result of a case happening in Santa Barbara County few years ago and was brought to my attention by the district attorney, and at that time it was a no brainer. Why do we have this loophole it was enough to make you sick in the stomach," commented Achadjian.

That bill failed in a committee, which was holding all bills that could potentially exacerbate California prison overcrowding.

Achadjian said he thinks it has a better chance of passing this session.

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