Smart Voter
Orange County, CA June 2, 1998 Primary

First Anti-Stalking Law in Country

By John M. Watson

Candidate for Judge of the Superior Court; Office 21

This information is provided by the candidate
As a judge, I wrote the first anti-stalking law in the nation and it provided for state prison sentences. It has since been copied by every state in the country.
While I was a Municipal Court Judge in Newport Beach in 1990, five women were murdered by ex-lovers, estranged husbands, or would-be suitors. All the victims had restraining orders and were terrified for their lives. Each told friends that they believed they would be killed by the person named in the orders.

After the killings, there was a feature article about the tragedies. A police office was interviewed and was asked why their department hadn't taken any steps to protect these innocent victims. He answered that until a crime was committed there was nothing they could do.

Therefore, I drafted the first anti-stalking law in the United States, Penal Code Section 646.9. This section makes it a felony to cause another, or their family, to be in reasonable fear for their safety and carries a state prison sentence.

I presented my idea to then State Senator Ed Royce(R). We went to Sacramento together and made a presentation to the appropriate Senate and Assembly Committees. The law passed and within three years was copied in every state in the United States.

Thousands of stalkers are in prison now because of these statutes and, undoubtedly, lives have been saved.

When Senator Royce became United States Congressman I wrote the first federal stalking law in history. It can be applied, among other places, on military bases.

I am as pleased and proud of this as anything I have accomplished in nine years as a judge.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 13, 1998 12:08
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