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September 19, 2006

Consequences of California's new proposed sex offender law

This Los Angeles Times article provides interesting background on the provisions and likely impact of California's Proposition 83, a ballot initiative that would restricts where the sex offenders can live, requires electronic monitoring for life, and lengthens sentences. Here are some highlights:

Proposition 83 on the Nov. 7 ballot — dubbed Jessica's Law by proponents — would lengthen prison and parole terms for the most violent sex offenders and make possession of child pornography a felony.  In addition, its most controversial provision would ban all released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.  Local governments could declare additional locations off-limits, and sex offenders would be monitored for life with an electronic tracking device.

If passed, the measure would cost the state at least $200 million annually within a decade, according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst, largely because of the satellite tracking and police needed to enforce it.... Citing the experience of other states, some scholars say the residency rule would banish the former convicts from urban settings that offer the services, jobs and family connections that help them remain law-abiding — and dump them on rural communities ill-equipped to supervise them.  In Iowa, prosecutors who once backed such a law said the residency limit had backfired, and they now want it repealed.

According to maps prepared by the state Senate, the initiative would bar sex offenders from living in nearly all of San Francisco and much of urban Los Angeles, while they would be allowed to live in many less densely populated suburbs around the state.  State Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), whose farm-belt district in the Central Valley is one area where sex offenders could legally live, said the measure would legalize "predator dumping."  The Bakersfield Californian newspaper agreed, and editorialized against it under the headline "Our children deserve same rights as city kids."  Such worries have prompted one supporter, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, to lose much of his zeal for the measure. Although he supports the tougher sentencing it offers, Cooley says, "the potential unintended consequences — like burdening our rural areas — have not been well thought out."...

The initiative has been endorsed by GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the ballot argument in favor of it, and his Democratic opponent, Phil Angelides. It is also endorsed by Crime Victims United and statewide associations of police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors. An August Field Poll showed the proposition with a lead of nearly 7 to 1, a reflection, analysts say, of the public's deep unease about a category of offenders often linked to heinous, headline-grabbing crimes.

September 19, 2006 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I am a 290 registrant in California. Convicted of PC 220 attemted sexual assault. I was offered a deal of 8 years for kidnapping or 6 years with half time for the 220 and register as a sex offender. At the time the latter deal sounded best. Registering is not a problem I simply could not see losing the full 8 years of my life. Now with the passage of prop 83 they have changed what I agreed to in the deal. On the six with half they even changed that when I went to prison and made me serve 85%. What can I do immediatly? I am hoping that this will be held up in courts and if so am I legally required to move right this moment?

I dont know where to turn.

Posted by: Michael | Nov 8, 2006 11:15:20 AM

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