Los Angeles District Attorney (DA) Jackie Lacey has agreed to co-sponsor a tiered registry bill along with the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB). A copy of the draft bill was distributed during today’s CASOMB meeting.
As expected, the draft bill proposes dividing registrants into three tiers based upon the offense for which the registrant was convicted as well as his/her risk level. For registrants in the first two tiers, their duty to register would end in either 10 or 20 years after release from incarceration provided that they have not committed a subsequent sex offense. Registrants on the third tier would continue to be required to register for life.
In addition to tiering, the bill proposes that registrants convicted before 1987 would be automatically removed from the registry. It is estimated that about 10,500 registrants are eligible for automatic removal.
Registrants convicted in 1987 or later would be required to petition for removal from the registry near the date of their annual registration requirement. The petition would be reviewed by law enforcement to ensure eligibility and then sent to the DA’s office in the county in which the registrant resides. The DA’s office could either agree to removal or object based upon a belief that “community safety would be significantly enhanced by the person’s continued registration”.
If the DA’s office objects to a registrant’s removal, the final decision would be made by a Superior Court judge. The bill provides judges with guidelines for his/her decision such as the nature of the offense(s), the age and number of victims, whether any victim was a stranger, criminal and relevant noncriminal behavior before and after conviction, current risk of sexual or violent re-offense and completion of a CASOMB-certified sex offender treatment program.
According to CASOMB, the District Attorneys, Police Chiefs, and Sheriffs (in large jurisdictions only) have agreed to the draft bill, however, minor changes could be made to the bill prior to its introduction in January 2017. An author for the bill has been selected, however, the identity of that author was not revealed during the meeting. The tiered registry bill is expected to be modified during the legislative process.
Superior Court Judge Brett Morgan, a new CASOMB member, expressed concern during today’s meeting regarding the role of judges in the proposed bill which he described as an unfunded mandate similar to that found in Proposition 47. Judge Morgan added that despite his concern, he believes the state’s judges will be able to adequately address the requirements of the tiered registry bill.
During the public comment section of the meeting, ACSOL president Janice Bellucci acknowledged that a large amount of effort was required to draft the tiered registry bill. She added that ACSOL members, including registrants and family members, will lobby in the State Capitol regarding that bill, however, it has not yet been determined whether ACSOL will support or oppose the bill.