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November 20, 2008

Notable new California appellate ruling about sex offender registration and trial rights

I just get an e-mail from a friendly readers forwarding me a new California Court of Appeal case which "finds that the residency restrictions in California's sex offender registration law are "punishment" for Apprendi purposes."  This notable new ruling comes in People v. Mosley, No. (Cal. App. 4th Dist. Nov. 19, 2008) (available for download below), and here is how the opinion begins:

This appeal sits at the intersection of two topical, controversial legal issues: sex offender registration and the right to a jury trial.  The Legislature and the voters have drastically expanded the reach and ramifications of sex offender registration in recent years, culminating in “The Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act: Jessica’s Law” (Jessica’s Law), approved in 2006 as Proposition 83.1  The United States Supreme Court has revitalized the right to a jury trial over the same period, culminating in decisions striking down the federal sentencing guidelines in 2005 and California’s determinate sentencing law (DSL) in 2007.  Juries, not judges, must determine any additional facts necessary to impose punishment beyond that otherwise provided by statute based solely on the jury’s verdict....

In this anomalous case — where the jury acquitted defendant of any sexual offense, but the court subjected defendant to the residency restriction by requiring sex offender registration based on its own fact-finding — we affirm defendant’s conviction on the underlying offense, misdemeanor assault.  But we must reverse the imposition of the registration requirement.  We modify the judgment by striking the sex offender registration requirement and affirm the judgment as modified.

Download cal_sex_offender_ruling.pdf

November 20, 2008 at 04:20 PM | Permalink


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Hello I have been on parole for 2 years with no problem . I was convicted of a sex crime In 2002 I was give 5 years and 3 years of parole. I am now being told I have 5 years of parole . I would like to know how my sentence can be changed .thnk you. Marc

Posted by: Marc edwards | Jan 25, 2009 11:04:10 PM

hi my husband was arrested and took a deal because he was scared it was his first time in real trouble they gave him 8 months in county jail and 5 years probation and has to register as a sex offender now for the rest of his life. In 2005 he was sentenced to prison for a probation violation not a new charge and served 14 months. he has gone in for not being in by cerfew but was found he had no other issues he will be off parole on october 7, 2010. his origonal charges when he took the deal was a sexual battery. he has been told that because he has no strikes he should have no problem getting this either sealed or take of the registration requiremnt. How do we go about finding this out. the stae this all occurred in is california.

Posted by: amy summers | Jun 16, 2010 2:44:42 AM

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