Why isn't this crime a felony?

So that you understand, your entire felony vs misdemeanor discussion will play no part is assisting your stepbrother.
A criminal prosecution in this matter would only get this guy locked up, which if anything would make it HARDER to collect from him, albeit slightly easier to sue.
In any case, assuming everything you’ve told us is true, your stepbrother’s only real hope for reimbursement is insurance he may have been carrying or the bar owner’s insurance.
The bad guy here is judgment-proof, and he’s really just a time-waster if you try to collect from him.

A reasonably high-ranking member of the SRPD is a family friend. My parents go to church with his wife, and from what I know, he is good, honest, and hardworking. I’m not sure exactly what that’s worth, but if your stepbrother tries persuing this through the police and doesn’t get anywhere, try escalating things.

I’ll help if I can.

But, as other people have said, going through the police might get this guy arrested and imprisoned, but it probably won’t pay the medical bills.

Well, maybe I’m being vindictive but I feel that if he can’t get any money out of this jerk then he could at least get the guy sent to jail. I guess the title of this thread is a bit misleading, I would really like to know any avenue to pursue some justice for this guy. The fact that serial assault with obvious intent to inflict major bodily injury is a misdemeanor and not a felony was just at the forefront of my mind at the time.

Of course you were complaining. You said

. If your stepbrother doesn’t want to help get this guy off the street, don’t blame the police. That was all I was saying. I’m sorry for your stepbrother’s injuries.

Wow, that sucks. Another reason I’m glad that I no longer live in California.

I took a quick look at the California Penal Code, and it does appear that simple battery is just a misdemeanor, regardless of the amount of damage inflicted. I see no indication that repeated violations move it up to a felony.

In Washington state (where I’m a cop), an assault which causes broken bones could be prosecuted as a felony.

We also have the Crime Victim’s Compensation fund. This pays for medical treatment (including therapy) needed by a crime victim. It doesn’t replace stolen property, but takes care of the medical bills. Everyone convicted of a felony has a contribution to this fund added to their sentence.

Perhaps you or your stepbrother can call the District Attorney’s office and ask if there is a similar program in California. Most DA’s offices have a victim’s assistance program of some sort that would have this information.

From the way you described things, it sounds like your stepbrother has several possible options. First of all, if the attacker is well known to be a trouble maker and the bouncers let him into the bar, that’s grounds for a lawsuit. Forget the monetary issues, here, by suing over this, bars will more inclined to keep this guy out, thus lessening the chances of it happening to someone else. If you find out that he’s attacked someone in the past (for example) 30 days and his victim was discouraged from prosecuting the matter because the police told them the same thing they told your stepbrother, and had the guy been arrested at that point, he would have been in jail and thus unable to attack your stepbrother, that’s a lawsuit against the police (again, it’s not the money that matters, it’s getting them to slap the guy in jail instead of saying, "Well, there’s not really much we can do. . . "). After all, they may not be able to ding him for a long time for simple assault, but if they bust him for that, pat him down, and find the right kind of contraband in the right amount, he’ll get to go to jail for a long time no matter what. Also, if the guy tends to frequent the same bars, then hanging out in them with your trusty cameraphone might enable you to catch him in the act, and thus make the police more inclined to make an arrest (if not then it’s evidence one of his victims can use in a lawsuit against the police).

The guy’s obviously a menace, and it’s entirely possible that he could kill someone one of these days if he’s not locked up. You might check and see if it’s a felony to carry a deadly weapon in a place that sells alcohol (as it is in many places) and if he’s known to carry a knife, then there’s his ticket to jail.

I’m fairly certain it’s not the police who decide how long someone stays in jail awaiting trial.

It depends upon the circumstances. Is he likely to be released on his own recogiznance? Or is he likely to be held for X number of days? If a person has a tendancy to commit the same violent offence over and over again, I’d imagine it’d be pretty hard for him to make bail. Some crimes (like drunk and disorderly) require the person to be held for a set amount of time after they’re arrested. If it’s 24 hours and he assaulted someone the day before and wasn’t arrested for that, you’ve got a case. Again, it doesn’t matter, really, if the case has much merit, if the police decide that it’s easier to bust him, than face a nuisance lawsuit (even though they’ll win it), there’s a better chance of him getting busted for something that will get him put away for a long time. (All he needs are a couple of crack rocks on him and he’s a felon.)

from here in the section under citizen’s arrest. This is Santa Cruz CA, there might be some differences in your jurisdiction. If you (the victim or witness) don’t make an arrest on the spot, you go and swear out a warrant later. Without that, the police can do nothing.

Hey, I’m not the one complaining. Go back and read the thread. It was other people saying the cops were being lazy, etc. Asking why they aren’t doing something about it is not complaining. I really want to know the reason why. Lay off already.

Above post obviously directed at samclem. Thanks to everyone else for their answers and suggestions. When my stepbrother gets back I’ll pass along all this info.

Keep in mind that those who perform citizen’s arrests can generally be sued for false arrest just like the police.

No, it isn’t. There is something called the Public Duty Doctrine that states that the police don’t owe a duty to protect the general public from all harm. Unless a person is given a specific promise to protect them from some threat, there is no duty to protect them.

From a recent ruling: To be actionable, the duty must be one owed to the injured plaintiff, and not one owed to the public in general. This basic principle of negligence law is expressed in the “public duty doctrine”. Under the public duty doctrine, no liability may be imposed for a public official’s negligent conduct unless it is shown that "the duty breached was owed to the injured person as an individual and was not merely the breach of an obligation owed to the public in general (i.e., a duty to all is a duty to no one).

If one can prove that the officers were neglecting their duty by not handling this loon, a complaint can be made to their superiors. But as I stated above, it appears that the officers were telling the truth - they could only charge the guy with a misdemeanor battery. From the OP, it didn’t sound like they said they wouldn’t do anything, they just said that there wasn’t much they could do. If Ghanima’s stepbrother files a complaint, they should follow through and write the guy a summons to appear in court. That seems all that can be done.

Again, my reasoning behind the suit against the police wasn’t for monetary purposes, but to get them to do their job. Even the bad cops I’ve known, would have ran that guy in the moment he put someone in the hospital. They’d have also kept him cooling his heels for as long as the law would allow, before turning him loose, and then every cop who would likely encounter him on their beat would be told to see to it that he got “extra attention.” Yeah, maybe they’d never find anything to get a big bust on him, but eventually he’d get tired of seeing police in his usual haunts or getting hauled in every time he broke the law and move on to some other town. It’s a simple CYA proceedure, because if he happens to hospitalize someone like the mayor’s cousin’s best friend, you can bet there’s going to be all kinds of hell to pay (for the police). And if he kills someone, ooh doggy!

Besides, this guy obviously sounds like he’s got mental problems and with enough arrests, it might be possible to get him into some kind of treatment program.

So, you want the cops to arrest someone who’s not been convicted of any crime before on the basis of what you think are the crimes he should’ve been convicted on?

Not to be snarky, did you see the event your step-brother related to you, were you an actual witness? If not, then you do not know what happened.

What’s your theory – Ghanima’s step-brother hit himself in the face?

Presumably Ghanima knows his step brother to be an honest person. If a guy who I know to be pretty honest tells me someone attacked him – and he has the fractured bones to prove it – I’d feel pretty well justified in taking him at his word.