Calif Gov signs Adams Law; Fresno family celebrates
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A valley families' quest to see harsher punishment for the worst child abusers has come to an end. Adam's law became reality Monday with the stroke of Governor Schwarzenegger's pen.
Adam Carbajal was just one when he was shaken and left permanently paralyzed. Now he's almost seven. His family has gone back and forth to the capitol over the past few years trying to get Adam's Law passed. Their persistence has finally paid off.
"Look it, look. What is this? What is that? That's a bus."
Unlike most six year old boys, Adam Carbajal can't walk or talk. Still, his voice is louder Monday than it's ever been before. This after, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Adam's Law which will impose up to a life sentence in extreme child abuse cases like his.
"You just don't slap these animals on the wrist and say, don't do it again. You gotta make these guys pay for it."
Alfredo Garcia is Adam's grandfather. He, along with his wife, Maria, has been fighting for this bill for years.
In 2004, Adam was left paralyzed after his mother's then-boyfriend shook him as a baby. "He shouldn't be here because he was given a less than 5 percent chance of survival. But he was here for a reason. I believe things happen for a reason."
The man who beat him is still in prison, and will likely be out by 2015. Dissatisfied with the sentence, Adam's family approached valley Assemblyman Mike Villines, who went on to author the bill. "It's a great way to end my legislative career to know that we got the right thing done and I'm really excited about it."
Villines lobbied for the bill several times, but lawmakers previously rejected it twice because of concerns over budgetary issues and prison overcrowding.
Bill Simon, a community activist in the central valley says those concerns are valid. "We have our priorities wrong. We spend all of our money on prisons and military and that doesn't do anything to solve the problems in our society."
Simon says the money will be better spent on rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, Adam's family hopes this law will make abusers think twice. "With this law, even if we save at least one child, it was worth everything we went through. It was worth it."
In a statement released to Action News, Governor Schwarzenegger said in part quote, "Adam's law means harsher punishment for child abusers and greater justice for our children."
fresno, fresno county, arnold schwarzenegger, politics, shannon handy
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