By Shelomith Stow
Chelsea’s Law, signed into California law on September 9, 2010, by then-governor Schwarzenegger scant months after the court sentenced John Gardner to two life sentences without parole for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King is, at the heart of it, a compulsory minimum sentencing law. It allows life without parole sentences for adults who, if while committing a sexual offense against a child, kidnap, drug, bind, torture, or use a weapon. Life terms could apply for both first-time and repeat offenders. It also increases other penalties, including requiring lifetime parole with GPS tracking for those convicted of forcible sex crimes against children under fourteen.
According to available information, 74 individuals have been charged under Chelsea’s Law since its beginning, and eight have had their sentences impacted because of it.
The father of Chelsea, Brian King, and CA legislator Nathan Fletcher, author of Chelsea’s Law, are now lobbying to extend the bill into other states with the goal being a version of the law in all states. Two organizations, Chelsea’s Light Foundation and Chelsea’s Shield, have been formed to further this agenda.