California “Lynching” Laws (Penal Code 405a & 405b PC)

Penal code 405 A and 405 B define the crime of lynching. Now when you hear the term lynching you think of these horrible images from the old south where people were murdered and hung from trees but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Under the current state of the law lynching refers to something very different lynching is when rioters take a person from the lawful custody of the police.

For example, maybe there’s a violent demonstration and the police detain and start to arrest one of the rioters then the rest of the riders sort of intervene and encircle the police and wrestle the person out of police custody in that situation both the rioters and the detainee who was freed could be charged with the crime of lynching. Now lynching is a felony if you’re convicted you could face up to four years in county jail or state prison so it’s very serious. But nevertheless, this is a crime where we see a lot of innocent people get wrongly accused. It may be a situation where the police were beating or attacking the person and you lawfully came to their defense. It may be a situation wherein the chaos and confusion of the events the police ultimately arrested some of the wrong people and you were one of them.