SAN DIEGO–Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed today a bill aimed at protecting the privacy of murdered children was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Deceased Child Victims’ Protection and Privacy Act was authored by Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth at the request of the DA’s Office on behalf of the families of two teen girls who were murdered in San Diego County.
“This was truly a collaborative effort to protect crime victims’ families,” DA Dumanis said. “I’m very proud of the work done by our office on this law and appreciate the strong support of lawmakers, including State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth and Governor Schwarzenegger for their unwavering commitment to children and victims of crime.”
The murders of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois led to this bill, after the high-profile nature of the cases resulted in intense media coverage, including nearly two dozen requests for the autopsy details. It pointed out the importance of protecting victims’ families from having disturbing details of an autopsy released publicly. The law took effect immediately following the governor signing it over the weekend.
Dubois, 14, was abducted as she walked to Escondido High School in February 2009. She was then raped and killed by convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner. A year later, Gardner grabbed King, 17, as she jogged at a Rancho Bernardo Park. He then raped and killed her and buried in her body in a shallow grave near Lake Hodges.
Only a parent, guardian or spouse of a child who is killed during a crime can request the autopsy be sealed and the request can be made only after someone has been convicted of the crime and is sentenced.