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Penal Code 206 PC – The Crime of “Torture” in California

May 30, 2022 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Penal Code 206 PC is the California statute that defines the crime of torture. A person commits this offense when he or she intentionally inflicts great bodily injury on another person for a sadistic purpose.

The penalty for torture in California is life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

This sentence can increase to 25 years-to-life if:

  • the victim suffers paralysis, coma, or permanent brain damage; and/or, the defendant personally uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime.

Examples of acts that could lead to a torture charge include:

  • A man ties up his girlfriend and cuts her with knives for sexual gratification; A woman ties up her husband and cuts him with knives because she wants to see him suffer; A man ties up his wife and cuts her with knives because he wants to get information from her about where she hid money from him.

What Must the Prosecutor Prove?

In order to convict a person under PC 206, a prosecutor must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant inflicted great bodily injury on another person;
  • The defendant did so intentionally or with reckless indifference to human life; and,
  • When the defendant inflicted the injury, he or she intended to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any other sadistic purpose.

The crime of torture is defined as the intentional infliction of cruel or extreme pain and suffering on another person for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose. Torture can be committed in a number of ways including:

  • Burning;
  • Cutting;
  • Disfiguring;
  • Strangling; and/or,
  • Crushing.

The crime of torture is considered a serious felony offense in California. If you are convicted of torture, you could face life in prison.

In order to be convicted of the crime of torture, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • You intentionally inflicted great bodily injury on another person; and You did so for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion or for any other sadistic purpose.

Great bodily injury is defined as a significant or substantial physical injury. This means an injury that is more than minor or moderate in nature and one that could result in death or cause serious disability. The type and severity of injuries suffered by the victim will be taken into consideration when determining whether great bodily harm was inflicted on them during an act of torture. For example, if someone cuts off another person’s finger with a knife as part of an act of torture then this would likely be considered great bodily harm because it would cause permanent disfigurement to the victim’s hand and fingers.

What are the Penalties for Torture in California?

Torture is a felony offense in California punishable by up to eight years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. If someone dies as a result of torture committed by another person then that person may be charged with murder under Penal Code 187 PC . If someone suffers great bodily injury during an act of torture then that person may be charged with aggravated mayhem under Penal Code 205 PC . Aggravated mayhem carries a potential sentence of life imprisonment without parole if convicted.

What is the punishment for torture in California?

The punishment for torture in California is a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Torture is counted as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law that can be used to enhance future convictions. The life sentence can be imposed for those who aid and abet an act of torture in addition to the one who actually commits the tortuous act.

What are the elements of torture in California?

The elements of torture in California are as follows: (1) the defendant inflicted great bodily injury on another person, (2) the defendant did so with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering, and (3) the defendant acted under circumstances likely to produce such pain and suffering.

What are some possible defenses to a torture charge in California?

Some possible defenses to a torture charge in California include: (1) the defendant did not actually commit the torturous act, (2) the defendant did not act with the required intent, or (3) the defendant was acting in self-defense or defense of another.

Can a victim of torture get compensation in California?

Yes, a victim of torture can get compensation in California. The state has a Victim Compensation Program that provides financial assistance to victims of crime, including victims of torture.

What are some organizations that provide support to victims of torture in California?

Some organizations that provide support to victims of torture in California include: the Torture Abolition and Support Coalition, the California Coalition for Human Rights, and the Amnesty International USA.

What are some international treaties that prohibit torture?

Some international treaties that prohibit torture include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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