Kamala Harris let Filner escape without 'sex offender' designation

Kamala Harris let Filner escape without 'sex offender' designation

Megan's LawAnger over a criminal-justice system in which the affluent and well- connected seem much more able to avoid severe consequences for their lawbreaking is common across the ideological spectrum, but it is probably most intense among the “social justice” Dems who perceive life as rigged against the downtrodden. The “social justice” set in California most definitely includes liberals like state Attorney General Kamala Harris and former San Diego mayor and congressman Bob Filner.

But did Harris cut Filner a sweetheart deal in the recent plea-bargain over his serial sexual misconduct? A story in today's U-T San Diego raises that question and more by looking at how the courts dealt with another pervert.

“A man accused of groping three women in the Gaslamp Quarter at the height of former Mayor Bob Filner’s sexual harassment scandal will appear in court Wednesday to face three misdemeanor charges of sexual battery. …

“On the day of his arrest, around 2:25 p.m., two women reported to police that an apparently transient man grabbed their rear ends. About 10 minutes later, a federal officer saw a man grab a woman’s buttocks and chased the man down.

“Lopez has a long criminal history, including vandalism and weapons charges and a burglary conviction that landed him a 16-month prison sentence. …

“Lopez’s case was much lower profile than that of Filner, which played out on the front pages over a long political summer. But given his criminal history, it seems likely to end in more severe consequences.

“Filner, 71, has since pleaded guilty to three criminal counts related to sexual harassment allegations. He will serve three months home confinement and three years on probation. He won’t serve any jail time.

“Like Lopez, the Filner criminal case ended up with three victims, one of felony false imprisonment for being put in a 'Filner headlock.' Two were victims of misdemeanor battery, one for unwanted kissing and one for having her rear end groped while posing for a photo with Filner. …”

Filner avoided sex offender label

Bob_Filner_mayoral_portrait

“The biggest difference in treatment may be, Filner was allowed to plead guilty to plain battery charges, as opposed to the sexual battery faced by Lopez.

“The distinction means that Filner won’t be on the Megan’s Law sexual offender list. If Lopez is found guilty, he will be — for life.”

The article includes comments from one lawyer who thinks Filner was overcharged for his three offenses. But given that Filner was accused by about 20 women of misconduct and horrible behavior, that seems a selective reading of the circumstances. He could have faced far, far more charges.

And it's tough to read state Penal Code 290 — which covers the offenses that require sex-offender designation — and not have this sentence fragment jump out at you. Convicts go on the sex-offender registry if they are guilty of unwanted sexual advances “involving the use of force.”

Kamala Harris may have thought a plea deal to end the Filner spectacle and help San Diego move on was an appropriate use of her discretion. But would a poor defendant without a good lawyer facing accusations from 20 women have escaped the sex-offender list?

Please. If you believe that, I've got a subdivision in Lake Perris you might want to buy.

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Tags assigned to this article:
Bob FilnerChris ReedKamala HarrisSocial Justice

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