CA sex offender laws suddenly shaken up

CA sex offender laws suddenly shaken up

California Department of Corrections SealLife is about to get a little easier for Californians on the state’s sex offender registry.

Substantial changes to the law are underway at both the legislative and judicial levels. In Sacramento, lawmakers are seriously considering a plan that would pare down California’s sex registry rolls. At the same time, a high-profile court decision has triggered a wave of legal activism successfully targeting city and local ordinances banning offenders from some public areas.

The state’s sex offender registry is overseen by a body known as the California Sex Offender Management Board. In a report issued last month, the Board recommended that the Legislature alter the way it maintains the registry, which has ballooned to nearly 100,000 names. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the Board reasons that perhaps thousands of registrants “do not necessarily pose a risk to the community,” including about 900 who have not engaged in a sex crime for over half a century.

Registry

California began its sex offender registry in 1947 — the first state to institute such a program. Today, 46 other states have sex registry programs that use a tiered system to differentiate between types of offender, based on factors such as time spent on the registry, risk of re-offense, and the severity of the initial offense.

As legislators expected, however, floating changes to California’s registry process is highly controversial. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, supports the Board’s plan, but admits the mere notion of slimming the registry is “radioactive.”

Opinions may be poised to shift, however. California is one of a handful of states that opted out of the so-called Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a registration mandate that included juvenile offenders and was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2006. To secure state compliance, Congress threatened to withhold millions of dollars in federal enforcement grants.

Now, some compliant states are questioning whether the law makes it effectively impossible for once-youthful offenders to reintegrate into society even if they never offend again. The same logic is at work in the recommendations of the California Sex Offender Management Board.

Constitutional questions

Even more important than public opinion, however, is the latest turn of events in the courts. Last month, the California Supreme Court allowed a lower court ruling to stand that struck down local ordinances meant to keep sex offenders away from children in public places. Instrumental in the ruling was the case of a registered Irvine sex offender. By visiting a tennis court at a local park, he violated a local ordinance. Despite pleading guilty, his public defender successfully claimed that state law trumped the ordinance.

In California and other states, public park rules have taken on a strange life of their own. In areas where sex offenders are clustered — thanks to widespread legal restrictions on where they can live — parents have pushed to create public parks simply to keep them away from their children. The strategy underscores a simple yet nettlesome dilemma: pushing sex offenders to the margins of society keeps them at bay in the immediate term, yet increases the kind of nothing-to-lose attitude many communities fear most from predators.

The California Supreme Court’s implicit stance on the matter has emboldened advocacy groups keen on rolling back similar ordinances statewide. An organization called California Reform Sex Offender Laws has contacted cities around the state, warning of federal lawsuits if public-places ordinances are not eliminated or changed.

In response, cities in Orange and Kern counties have already taken action or likely soon will. As many as half of Orange County cities have public-park rules of the kind affected by the Supreme Court’s inaction.

The future of California’s approach to sex offenders may depend on the momentum of similar debates in the state over drug crime, punishment, and the possibility of rehabilitation. The constituency supportive of drug abusers is larger and more powerful than the constituency willing to push for an agenda that is, by any measure, softer on sex offenders.

14 comments

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  1. Emanuelle Goldstein
    Emanuelle Goldstein 28 May, 2014, 18:40

    I have no doubt that someday, in California, there will be no sex crimes. After all, sex is natural and good and virtuous no matter who does it, when they do it, and to whom they do it to, voluntary or involuntary. NAMBLA will be legal, as will polygamy and bestiality. After all, who are we to judge who loves and whom they love? And, YES, that is absolutely SARCASTIC SNARK.

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  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 29 May, 2014, 12:31

    Teddy Steals is having a coming out party right now 🙂

    Reply this comment
  3. Queeg
    Queeg 29 May, 2014, 15:32

    You’re beyond disgusting!

    Teddy is fair and balanced and an asset to CWD.

    Reply this comment
  4. Wolfman
    Wolfman 30 May, 2014, 02:58

    Just what is a sex offender ?

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 May, 2014, 07:59

      Just what is a sex offender ?

      In Webster’s, under “Sex Offender” you will find; “Theodore C. Steals” 🙂

      That is your answer my friend. Teddy offends himself multiples times a day 😉

      Reply this comment
  5. Fabio
    Fabio 22 July, 2014, 21:35

    To be honest, these laws need to be changed. I was convicted of a sex offense almost 19 years ago/I plead to the charge because the lawyer representing me told me I would no longer have to register once the charges where expunged/dismissed. He lied. I was initially charged with 5 serious felonies and eventually plead to a battery/summary probation. The charges have since been all dismissed, but I still have to register. Its rather embarrassing. I’m highly educated and would love to get on with my life. Ive never had any legal issues prior or since then. In most states, the charge would have required me to register for 10 years and I would then fall off the registry/not in California. Very sad, but true. The charge was in no way involving a minor/it was a massage parlor. Dumb me!

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    • Wolfman
      Wolfman 1 September, 2014, 16:56

      most of these sex offender laws are all bullshit and revenue enhancement for the local system as I got caught up in a local prostitution so called sting 15 years ago and it is still on my criminal record today this shaming experience almost cost me my family and job and I lost most my respect for the law and the corrupt system that supports it

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  6. Fabio
    Fabio 22 July, 2014, 21:42

    I think people need to realize there are a lot of convicted sex offenders out there that where victimless. In addition, its rather sad that some within the judicial system are attempting to sell the system as being unable to rehabilitate first time offenders. Ive gone back to school, obtained an MBA and the registration process inhibits me from doing much more. I highly recommend the tier system in California.

    Reply this comment
  7. t.
    t. 3 October, 2014, 18:06

    You know Emanuelle Goldstein and teddy you make me sick i was a one time offender and has changed went to counseling for ten years while I was on probation. I turned my life back to Jesus not just on this offence but all matters of my life. And people like Emanuelle Goldstein and teddy should be on the list forever you need to realize how serious it is to hurt children and take responsibility for it. I believe people like me and Fabio should be on a tier system and be able to serve our dues including up to 20 yrs on the registry. you Emanuelle Goldstein and teddy or the reason why it makes it hard for the rest of us who has changed and got it under control take responsibility and have complete empathy for the victims and all children to be able to be a productive member and be accepted society again and get off the registry. I say Turn to God get your life in Order take responsibility. And if you won’t do that then you need to stay on the list while the rest of us pass you by. Stop with your enjoyment of molesting and get out of the way if you won’t stop it.

    Reply this comment
  8. GOLDEN SPIKE
    GOLDEN SPIKE 10 July, 2015, 19:42

    I was convicted of 3 counts of attempted sex abuse in the 1st. degree. I was not previously convicted of any other charges. I was wrongly accused of my supposed crimes by a person with downs syndrome who had a mentality of a 12 year old. I am now required to register for the rest of my life. I spent 4 1/2 years in prison and have completed 3 years of parole but still have a lifetime sentence although I have done all that is required of me by the state. I am not able to get a good job, housing, or anything else that a normal citizen of this country is able to have. If the DNA sample had been processed like it should have been it would have shown that I was innocent. The criminal justice system is so screwed up that I am tired of how people are getting screwed over every day for the almighty dollar. They don,t care how your life is affected, all they want is your MONEY.

    Reply this comment
  9. Cherokee
    Cherokee 5 September, 2015, 18:29

    Let’s get everybody we can to register. I think sex offenders should report who molested them to start this domino effect, I think millions more people need to register, let’s have an Ashley Madison “like” movement. We can probably get another 5 million registered!

    Reply this comment
  10. Pissed off
    Pissed off 30 October, 2017, 01:32

    I was plead to sex charge brcause of a d.a. named lisa green who was a piss ant then bit know the da of kern county threaten the female at the time who i had sex with to testify for her lisa green or she was going to arrest her parents if she testify on my behalf when one of her colleague’s who was a deputy sheriff kern county sheriff had her living with him in his house and having sex with deputy son who is a yr younger than me when i was 23 the deputy son 22 yrs of age didnt do anytime and doesnt have to register like i do because the da gave his son a break because of health reason. The courts even took blood from both deputys son and i 99.993% test result proved the sheriffs deputy was babies father and he doesnt have to register or nothing and top the sheriff deputy at the time knew abt her living in the house and deputy didnt get in trouble this happened in 1998 and 99

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