California Penal Code Section 273ab Conviction

In People v. Basuta (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 370, the Court concluded a defendant convicted of violating Penal Code section 273ab was not similarly situated to other offenders who murder children. (Basuta, at p. 399.) The Court explained, "a violation of section 273ab requires not only an assault on a child that results in death but also that the defendant have care or custody of the child. The element of care and custody in section 273ab creates a meaningful distinction between those committing that offense and murderers. Those who have the care and custody of children not only have a particular responsibility and occupy a position of trust, they are also the persons most likely to kill children." (Ibid.) The Basuta court further concluded the rational relationship test applied, rather than the strict scrutiny test, and "treating murderers and those who violate section 273ab differently bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state interest." (Ibid.)