Briefcase

Briefcase: Bad Samaritan Law

Guest: Professor Zachary Kaufman

Bad Samaritan laws require individuals with knowledge of certain crimes to notify authorities. Zachary Kaufman, with The University of Houston Law Center, is a criminal law scholar and tells of us some problems with these laws.

“California’s law is problematic in that it only mandates reporting the sexual abuse of victims thirteen years or younger,” Professor Kaufman said. “The law also states that the perpetrator’s spouse, children and extended family are exempt from notifying authorities if they know such a crime is being committed.”

Kaufman outlined reasons he felt changes need to be made.  “Age restrictions should be removed from these laws,” he said. “None of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims, including a 16-year-old, were young enough to be protected by mandatory reporting. Also, spouses and children of perpetrators should be the only groups exempt from reporting. Children may not understand the nature of the crimes and spouses are already afforded special legal privileges. However, extended family should not be granted these same exemptions.”

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