Posted on September 2, 2020

Report: CA District Attorney Issues Guidance to Police: Consider Needs of Looters Before Charging Them

Hank Berrien, Daily Wire, September 1, 2020

A California district attorney allegedly issued guidance to law enforcement in her county that required them to consider if looters needed their loot before the police charged them with a crime.

Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton’s guidance reportedly also included consideration of whether “the target business open or closed” at the time of the looting and “what was the manner and means” by which the looter gained entry to the target business.

As Jennifer Van Laar of RedState wrote, here are Becton’s charging guidelines for looting:

Theft Offenses Committed During State of Emergency (PC 463)

In order to promote consistent and equitable filing practices the follow[ing] analysis is to be applied when giving consideration to filing of PC 463 (Looting):

  1. Was this theft offense substantially motivated by the state of emergency, or simply a theft offense which occurred contemporaneous to the declared state of emergency?
  2. Factors to consider in making this determination:
  3. Was the target business open or closed to the public during the state of emergency? ii. What was the manner and means by which the suspect gained entry to the business? iii. What was the nature/quantity/value of the goods targeted? iv. Was the theft committed for financial gain or personal need? v. Is there an articulable reason why another statute wouldn’t adequately address the particular incident?

Van Laar also quoted from the Shouse California Law Group: “Under Penal Code 463 PC, California law defines ‘looting’ as taking advantage of a state of emergency to commit burglary, grand theft or petty theft. Looting charges can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony and is punishable by up to 3 years in jail.”