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TRAFFICKING BILL CLEARS ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE SACRAMENTO — State Assembly Bill 22, which seeks to more specifically define human trafficking as a crime of force, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 13-5 vote Wednesday. The measure, by Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, has the opposition of the California Public Defenders Association for what the association has described as the bill’s overlap with other state crimes. Association leaders have said they support the bill conceptually, but are seeking amendments. Other than CPDA, the bill has no stated opponents, but has received only one Republican vote of support in any of its committee hearings. Wednesday’s vote in the appropriations committee was true to form, with all 13 Democratic committee members supporting the bill and all five Republican members opposing it. Among other things, AB 22 would levy felony charges against anyone who subjects a person into forced labor, entices anyone into forced labor or benefits financially from forced labor. Prison terms would run three to six years for anyone found guilty of trafficking in adult labor and three to eight years for anyone trafficking in child labor. According to information presented in support of the bill, a 2005 UC-Berkeley study found 57 forced-labor operations in a dozen California cities between 1998 and 2003. Committee analysts estimated that AB 22 could cost the state general fund about $700,000 if just 10 additional prison terms were served lasting an average of 34 months. The bill next moves to the Assembly floor, where it will be heard some time next week. — Jill Duman TYCO PROSECUTORS BASH DEFENSE IN CLOSING NEW YORK — In closing arguments Wednesday, the prosecution said former top Tyco International Ltd. executives L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz had told a “ludicrous” story in their defense, one which they “made up as they went along.” “If you heard a story like that outside the confines of this courtroom,” you would have laughed,” Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Owen Heimer told the jury. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has charged both Kozlowski, Tyco’s former chief executive, and Swartz, the former chief financial officer, with grand larceny, securities fraud and falsifying business records over their alleged theft from the company of more than $150 million in unauthorized loans and bonuses. Defense lawyers for the pair have argued that both men, already lavishly compensated, had no motive to steal from Tyco and had demonstrated no criminal intent. They also have argued that the prosecution’s contention that the two schemed to steal money made no sense given the number of other people involved in the company’s compensation process. They claim all of the pair’s compensation, including loans and bonuses, was approved by Tyco’s board of directors. The jury is expected to get the case after Memorial Day. — New York Law Journal

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