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October 8, 2017

New California law limits reach of registry for lower-level sex offenders

As reported in this local article, headlined "California will soon end lifetime registration of some sex offenders under bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown," some significant changes are now in the works for the sex offender registry in the Golden State.  Here are the details:

Thousands of Californians will be allowed to take their names off the state’s registry of sex offenders as a result of action Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.  Brown signed legislation that, when it takes effect Jan. 1, will end lifetime listings for lower-level offenders judged to be at little risk of committing new crimes.

The measure was introduced at the request of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and other law enforcement officials who said the registry, which has grown to more than 105,000 names, is less useful to detectives investigating new sex crimes because it is so bulky.

“California's sex offender registry is broken, which undermines public safety,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who introduced the bill.  “SB 384 refocuses the sex offender registry on high-risk offenders and treats low-level offenders more fairly.”

The registry currently requires law enforcement officials to spend hours on paperwork for annual evaluations of every offender, including those who are low risk and have not committed a crime for decades, Wiener said.

Brown declined to comment Friday, but his office referred to a statement put out last month. “SB 384 proposes thoughtful and balanced reforms that allow prosecutors and law enforcement to focus their resources on tracking sex offenders who pose a real risk to public safety, rather than burying officers in paperwork that has little public benefit,” said Ali Bay, a spokeswoman for the governor, last month.

The measure was opposed by many Republican lawmakers and Erin Runnion, who in 2002 founded the Joyful Child Foundation, an Orange County advocacy group for victims, after the abduction, molestation and murder of her 5-year-old daughter, Samantha.  Runnion said parents should be able to check a comprehensive registry to see if a potential teacher, youth league coach or babysitter for their children has ever been convicted of a sex crime.

California is one of only four states that require lifetime registration of sex offenders. The others are Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.

The new law signed by the governor creates a tiered registry, with high-risk offenders on the registry for life and others able to petition to be removed after either 10 or 20 years without re-offending, depending on the offense.  Offenses for which registrants can be removed from the list after 20 years include include rape by deception and lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under 14.

Offenders who petition for removal after 10 or 20 years will be assessed by a judge — with input from the local district attorney — who can grant or deny the petition.

October 8, 2017 at 02:56 PM | Permalink

Comments

This appears to be a step in the right direction. It may also protect the lives and safety of police and parole officers who might have to otherwise deal with embittered ex-sex offenders' desire for revenge against the registry. Many former sex offenders might want to take their bitterness on police, politicians, prosecutors, judges, and parole officers, some of whom who have used these laws for their own personal political and financial gain.

With Halloween coming up, several municipalities and states have sex offender laws that pose a real danger to law enforcement personnel who have the duty of enforcing the laws that require former sex offenders to stay in their houses with their porch lights off.

In one scenario, which I call the accidental scenario, a former sex offender who hears a mid-night knock on his or her door might mistake the police officer for a burglar or a vigilante and decide to use an illegal firearm to kill whomever the door-knocker is, only to discover that he or she has inadvertently killed a police officer.

The other scenario, which I call the deliberate scenario, a former sex offender might want to use this law as an excuse to booby-trap his or her house with the intent of inflicting injury or death on the unsuspecting officer who pays a visit.

If I were a police or parole officer (or even an overzealous prosecutor, judge, or politician for that matter), I would be understandably scared of this law if I had to enforce it in a dark deserted neighborhood.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Oct 8, 2017 3:40:14 PM

The entire idea of registries is regulatory quackery. It protects no one, except the jobs of worthless, government make work workers. Little Jessica was taken by a known sex offender. She was alive in his closet when police knew him, and visited him. They did not bother to check out the place. The police needs to know where these people are and do. PA registry says, if you harass a criminal, you get arrested. You may not even criticize one, so what is the purpose?

Statutory rape should be removed, its not even being a crime. Rape by deception would have everyone prosecuted who bullshits a new date, including women wearing falsies. I have PTSD from a couple of these encounters.

Then the kid peeing in an alley way, and the police sees his weewee. That is a urinary crime, not a sex crime. Stop the listing. All those convicted for rape in the absence of physical evidence. All males accused by feminists, should be removed. All their allegations are false, and politically motivated. No heterosexual male could even function sexually in the face of a feminist, hairy, whiny, unable to shut up,spewing hate for males, for whites, for blacks. Pass.

I did not see these problems addressed.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 8, 2017 5:20:28 PM

It’s about time👍

Posted by: Docile the Kind Soul | Oct 8, 2017 7:32:18 PM

Oklahoma can be added to the list of states with lifetime registration. Over 90% of those on Oklahoma's registry are required to register for life, regardless of risk of reoffending

Posted by: Oswaldo | Oct 9, 2017 5:47:05 AM

Our Public Employees are bigger offenders of sexual crimes but will convict an innocent with no physical evidence, here in Texas.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Oct 9, 2017 11:41:20 AM

Actually since the passage of Megan's law all states are now functionally lifetime registration

Posted by: Rodsmith3510 | Oct 9, 2017 1:03:14 PM

Hopefully any people who are eventually removed from the Registries do not forget the civil war or their fellow soldiers. All people who support the Registries in America must be identified and, by any and all means that are legal, neutralized, marginalized, and made to suffer. Registry supporters/terrorists deserve no rights.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 9, 2017 2:32:48 PM

FRegistry. I have nothing against violence as a remedy. I can even justify it, to the ultimate degree, in formal logic.

The problem is that violence has not worked. Learn from the numerous riots in black neighborhoods. Did not help anyone.

You will have to do the hard work. There is no alternative. Litigate. Legislate. Lure the public.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 9, 2017 9:41:28 PM

Horse pucky David violence applied correctly always works. If it didn't we would still be part of England! If it didn't during ww1 we would now be part of greater Germany. Uncontrolled violence does not work. But trust me if it was arranged for every government stooge involved in this farce to face immediate personal violence. Trust me the survivors would change their tune.

Just think that in 1946 when the retards in California passed the very first sec crimes law it had resolted in immediate violence including the capture and execution of the politicians involved. These mutatent scheme would have died at birth

Posted by: Rodsmith3510 | Oct 10, 2017 1:27:13 AM

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