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CaliforniaJanice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: Tiered Registry Bill Could Help More Than 90 Percent of Registrants

It has happened at last!  A tiered registry bill has been introduced in the state legislature.

Before looking at the substance of the bill (Senate Bill 695), it is important to look at those who are offering and supporting it.  The bill’s authors are two powerful members of the state Senate — Senator Ricardo Lara, who chairs the Appropriations Committee and Holly Mitchell, who chairs the Budget Committee.   The bill’s sponsor is the most powerful district attorney in California, Jackie Lacey of Los Angeles.  And the initial supporters of the bill are law enforcement organizations who wield significant power in the state capital.

It is important to note that the sources of this strong level of political support have not always been our allies in the past.  For example, we remember clearly when Senator Lara voted in favor of a bill we opposed (Senate Bill 267).  We also remember that law enforcement led the charge to defeat two previous tiered registry bills.

Therefore, it was with a sense of skepticism and concern that we analyzed the tiered registry bill that was introduced yesterday.  Could a bill with such a pedigree actually help those on the registry today?  The answer is a resounding yes.

While not perfect, this tiered registry bill could provide relief for more than 90 percent of those on the registry today.  The bill would automatically terminate the requirement to register for more than 10,000 individuals convicted prior to 1987.  In addition, the bill would make more than 90 percent of today’s registrants eligible to petition for removal from the tiered registry after 10 or 20 years provided they don’t re-offend.

The imperfections in the tiered registry bill must be addressed.  For example, the bill requires Tier 3 registrants to remain on the registry for a lifetime.  This requirement is not supported by empirical evidence which clearly establishes that a registrant in the community who has not re-offended in 17 years is very unlikely to re-offend.

In addition, we believe the bill provides district attorneys with too much discretion when they object to a petition.  The bill also treats those who offend as juveniles the same as those who offend as adults.  Further, the bill increases the tier level of an individual based solely upon risk factors that adversely impact young gay men and others.

We will address these and other imperfections as an advocacy organization, however, we need your help to obtain a tiered registry that helps as many registrants as possible.  Please send letters now to members of the Senate Public Safety Committee.

by Janice Bellucci – Read all of Janice’s Journals

A list of Senate Public Safety Committee members (.doc) and Talking Points (.doc) to address in your letter are available below:

SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

Senator Nancy Skinner (Chair)
State Capitol, Room 2059
Sacramento, CA  95814
Phone:  (916) 651-4009
Fax:  (916) 327-1997

Senator Joel Anderson (Vice Chair)
State Capitol, Room 5052
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.651.4038
Fax: 916.651.4938

Senator Steven Bradford
State Capitol, Room 4085
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4035
Fax: (916) 651-4935

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 2032
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4019

Senator Holly J. Mitchell – Co-Author
State Capitol, Room 5080
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4030
Fax: (916) 651-4930

Senator Jeff Stone
State Capitol, Room 4062
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 651-4928

Senator Scott D. Wiener
State Capitol, Room 4066
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4011

REASONS TO SUPPORT A TIERED REGISTRY

  • Tiered registry bill (Senate Bill 695) introduced on Feb. 17
    • Senators Ricardo Lara and Holly Mitchell authors
    • Bill supported by CA Sex Offender Management Board
  • Current registry provides public with “False Sense of Security”
    • More than 90 percent of those who assault a child are family members, teachers, coaches, clergy and are NOT on sex offender registry
    • Less than 1 percent of sex offenders on parole commit another sex offense – CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation
    • Only 5.3 percent of all sex offenders commit another sex offense – U.S. DOJ
  • Tiered registry for sex offenders would increase public safety and save $115 million annually for state and local governments
    • The registry includes many individuals who pose little threat to society such as those convicted of the non-violent crimes of “sexting” on a cell phone, urinating in public, and engaging in consensual teen sex.
    • The registry also includes individuals who pose significant threat to society such as those convicted of multiple sexual assaults against children and adults.
  • Tiered registries exist in 46 of the nation’s 50 states and successfully protect the citizens of those states
    • California is only 1 of 4 states with lifetime registries along with Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.
  • Tiered registry would end a life-time sentence for registrants who do NOT pose current harm to society
    • Registrants often lose their jobs and/or housing solely because they are registrants.  Section 8 housing not available to individuals listed on a lifetime registry (like California).
    • Some registrants are physically harmed, even murdered, by vigilantes.
  • All individuals required to register under Penal Code Section 290 would remain on the registry for at least 10 years
    • Those convicted of low level offenses could leave registry in 10 years
    • Those convicted of moderate level offenses could leave registry in 20 years
  • A tiered registry would continue life-time registration for those who pose a current significant harm to society

Join the discussion

  1. Anonymous Nobody

    I must say, all other problems with this tier proposal aside, consider the times of these tiers.

    Tier 1, for which the federal government does not require registration for any of those offenses, must go for 10 years! The tier 2 offenses, for which at least some of those the federal government does not require registration, get 20 years of registration — even for those offenses the feds do require registration, it is only 10 years. And with these tiers, it can be a LOT longer than 20 years, you do not necessarily get to stop at that time, you can be denied the same as a COR.

    As I have said all along, we should be demanding to conform to federal — and that approach gives the state politicians cover for taking the action! By conforming to federal we are saying only have registration for those offenses for which the federal government requires registration – everyone else is dropped. (We can’t get less than the federal requirement, but we can’t accept anything more — and then we can take a full fight to federal.) And those people who would still have to register only have to register for the amount of time the feds require, which is 10 years for most of them, no 30 years or lifetime, and you don’t need the standard of a COR to stop!

    Consider how insanely much more draconian this tier proposal is that that! Even the feds disagree with how harsh we are being here. And WE are pushing it! WE are pushing cruel and unusual punishment for ourselves.

    And in approaching this tier proposal, we won’t say anything about this, we just SUPPORT such an insane and cruel and unusual tier proposal. That’s right, no matter the lying courts saying that registration is not punishment, all of us here know this tier proposal is cruel and unusual punishment.

    And again, this tier proposal is doing nothing for us other than extending the relief if you get a COR to those people who would be in tier 2. IF you get the COR. Tier 1 people already can get out of registration with a COR. And this tier proposal establishes the standard for relief at your tier level to match that for a COR — this is not tiers, it is a COR with relief from registration extended to those in tier 2.

    If this passes, the legislators will NOT come back to do anything later, they will just say we already have tiers, even though we don’t.

    And this idea that 90% of registrants will get help from this is BS. Frankly, I am very offended to hear that be said here. Please just tell the truth, we can go to the courts if we want lies. Gee, people here are being led to believe they are about go get out from under registration, but they are not, unless they can meet a COR standard and convince the court — good luck with that.

  2. Anonymous Nobody

    This stop to this bill gives us a new chance to get things right — we failed abysmally to do so in our effort here. This bill was very wrong, and let us please learn from that.

    I pointed out a lot of the very serious problems and smoke-and-mirrors this bill was in Janice’s Journal on it, problems that would make so we get just about nothing, not what has been wrongly asserted this would give. This bill did nothing but extend the relief via a COR to those who would be in Tier 2; those in Tier 1 already get that. But it took away a lot, and undermined us from ever getting anything better. It established the same requirements to stop registering as those for a COR — and falsely called it a tier. And the tier times were so long as to be cruel and unusual punishment, far longer than even the feds call for, and no certainty you could stop even then — the times completely unfounded for any assessment of potential recidivism since hardly anyone for any offense, including sex offenses, recidivates after five years.

    Jackie Lacey is a devious prosecutor, I have watched her time in office. She is NOT our savior, she is our worst enemy! She is promoting this as a fake tier bill in order to prevent us from ever getting real tiers, or realistic tiers. This bill can be used exactly like the COR to prevent anyone from ever getting any relief, just as they do with the COR. There is no reason under this bill to think the prosecutors would handle it any other way.

    We should simply ADVOCATE to do what I have promoted for years in these threads — simply conform to federal. We grossly failed in this effort to take advantage of that forum to advocate what we really should have, and as a result, the lawmakers have not even heard of such ideas! They need to hear the ideas, to consider them, have time to sleep on them, to let the ideas come to seem reasonable. We have not even started that, we have not even broached the idea of simply conforming to federal — that is a clean, reasonable thing to sell, and the best we can get.

    As I have said all along, we should be demanding to conform to federal — and that approach gives the state politicians cover for taking the action. By conforming to federal we are saying to have registration only for those offenses for which the federal government requires registration – everyone else is dropped (and that’s, I think, most of everyone who now must register. We can’t get less than the federal requirement, but we can’t accept anything more — and then we can take the full fight to federal.) And those people who would still have to register only have to register for the amount of time the feds require, which is 10 years for most of them, not 30 years or lifetime, and you don’t need the standard of a COR to stop under the federal standard!

    Consider how insanely much more draconian this tier proposal is than that! Even the feds disagree with how harsh we are being here. And WE are pushing it! WE are pushing cruel and unusual punishment for ourselves. WE should be pushing the state to conform to the far lesser federal standard.

    If this bill were to pass, the legislators will NOT come back to do anything later, they will just say we already have tiers, even though we don’t, we will only have a COR under a fake name. They will NOT consider conforming to federal later, they are not going to tinker with tiers after this bill, it is fantasy to think they will, this issue is in a category unto itself.

    And this idea that 90% of registrants will get help from this is BS. Frankly, I am very offended to hear that be said here. Please just tell the truth, we can go to the courts if we want lies. Gee, people here are being led to believe they are about to get out from under registration, but they are not, unless they can meet a COR standard and convince the court — good luck with that.

    • Steve

      You are absolutely wrong about tier 2 and the cor business. I would bet the majority that would be in tier two do not qualify for a cor. I hope someone else takes the lead.

    • pgm111

      What does ‘conform to federal’ mean? Please provide specifics in the U.S. criminal code. Thanks.

  3. John M

    So, I am guessing that SB 421, is replacing SB 695 (Lara), that does the same thing, but wasn’t going anywhere? WHY did SB 695 not advance?

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