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Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: Beware of False Prophets….and Some Lawyers’ Letters, Too

Attorneys have sent letters to registrants for many years. In the past, the rate and regularity of those letters has been slow and uneven. In the past, such letters were often sent after an important case was decided by a state or federal court.

That appears to be changing now as the rate and regularity at which attorneys are sending letters to registrants has increased significantly. In addition, some attorneys are even sending letters to registrants in a different state.
In California, the rate and regularity of attorneys sending letters to registrants appears to be increasing significantly. Many of those letters attempt to explain the new Tiered Registry that was signed into law late last year. This is a law that will not go into effect until 2021, three years from now, and could be revised several times before then.

Some of the letters sent by attorneys to registrants are clumsy. Others contain false and/or misleading statements. For example, a recent letter sent by an attorney to thousands of registrants in southern California falsely claims that 90 percent of registrants “will no longer be required to register and/or be posted online for life.” The same letter also falsely claims that most registrants may be removed from both public and police registries “10 to 20 years after their conviction.”

Why would an attorney send a letter containing false claims and misleading statements? The answer, almost always, is money. The attorney is primarily interested in generating business, not in explaining the law, reforming it, or helping you personally.

In addition to false claims, there are many other dangers to be found in letters from attorneys. For example, the letters are often full of fine print that registrants who are desperate to be removed from the punishment of the registry may overlook. It is not uncommon for some attorneys to “promise” they will help a registrant obtain a Governor’s pardon. This means that the attorneys will prepare a file on behalf of a registrant and send it to the Governor. It does not mean, however, that the Governor will actually grant the pardon, because no California Governor, regardless of party, has ever pardoned a registrant.

Second, the letters could result in financial losses, as well as a loss of confidence in other, ethical attorneys who have the best interests of registrants in mind. Finally and most importantly, the letters could result in a loss of hope for registrants and their families.

So what can you do if you receive such a letter? First and foremost, use common sense. If an attorney’s letter includes claims that appear too good to be true, they probably are. If a change in the law really did produce good news for registrants, an attorney’s marketing materials are probably not the only place you would hear about it. If you are still interested in what you read, share the letter with a trustworthy and knowledgeable person before responding to it. This could include another attorney in your area, since no single attorney can guarantee a result, or claim to be your only option. Finally, you could also share the letter with the State Bar of California, which as an ethics hotline for such matters. Attorneys are required to advertise truthfully and with integrity, and you have a right to demand that they do so.

— by Janice Bellucci

Read all Janice’s Journals

Join the discussion

  1. T

    Correct me if I’m wrong but this could also get registrants setup for trouble of “failure to register” right?

    • j

      One could never change their registration requirements or assume there was any relief from status quo, by interpreting an ad or by what someone would only claim to be able to do for a registrant.

      Only If and When your case was brought before a judge, and a formal court order issued, or applicable legislation change to one’s terms of registration with explicit terms and guidelines, could one be in proper compliance.

      So follow Janice’s advise and never make any assumption that things that “might” apply to any individual registrant.

      Pardon any grammatical errors.

      You can always ask the local registration officer exactly what if anything may have changed according to your registration requirements that would lessen or reduce your requirements.

      Always err, if you must, on the extreme side of caution and show up on time for your registration until notified formally of a need not to.

  2. AlexO

    Thank you, Janice.

  3. Is "Risk" Really Any Better?

    Thanks Janice.

  4. Q

    I experienced just about every land mine Janice described; with only two attorneys! I had borrowed and lost a tidy little sum of money while seeking relief. I had given up hope like so many do. Then I came across this site. I had no idea a group like this existed and it was like finding an oasis in a dry and dusty desert.

    When I met Janice, Chance and others it was nice to know there were attorneys that were actually ethical. When Chance told me he could help me I really didn’t believe him at first and drug my feet for months before I finally took action and retained him. I now think I’m on my way to being relieved of my forced obligation to register as a “sex offender” (I still can’t resolve in my mind how looking at some pictures can be equated to something sexual considering the retribution taken out on me) although I realize nothing in life is guaranteed; I still feel like I made the right decision.

    It’s taking allot longer than I like but what have I to lose? Perhaps I can undo some of the damage this has done to me by extortion sites and the registry in general while there is yet time. I totally agree with Janice. If you get one of these letters the first thing to remember is good and reputable attorneys usually don’t solicit business by mail. Take the letter to someone you trust and get a second opinion. If I got one of these letters I would just trash it. That’s probably the best thing anyone can do.

    Fortunately for me Chance spanked one of these shysters in a hearing and got back a few grand that I had borrowed from my sister. I couldn’t remember the other shysters name so that is the one that got away with it.

  5. Nicholas Maietta

    It pisses me off that some attorneys see this list as fair game for unwanted solicitation of services.

    If attorneys can use this list for advertising services then why can’t I?

    • David Kennerly

      Agreed although some of these mailings, such as the ones from Lorgio Coimbra, are pretty funny. He wraps himself in the Bible and makes assurances that we have a solid shot getting off the Registry. That’s probably the funniest part. However, as I have noted before, their manifestly unconstitutional law is not going to keep me from using the website. A bad law is no law at all.

      • C

        That’s so funny. I was about to mention the same smarmy lawyer. He should be disbarred.

        • 6KFM

          Coimbra is based in L.A. and claims to have basis in Concord, which is a rented office that MANY Share, that’s okay, but NOT when they are NEVER there AND as Q and prior mentioned the scripture quotes and he will get his in HELL! misleading statements, think they can’t get caught!

      • Marty

        I just got my last letter from Coimbra yesterday. It made wonderful scratch paper after I tore it into eight equal parts. I should really send him a thank you note on one of them… or maybe not.

        • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

          I’m saving them and will eventually scan them and throw away the hard copies. But then I am something of a hoarder. They’re just too funny to throw away. I always wonder which Bible passage he’ll toss in. They usually seem to have a crucifix on them, too. The photos of him are pretty scary. And the promises, promises… A lawyer who puts scripture in his advertising mailers is pretty much not the guy you want to hire.

    • Q

      What’s scary is that allot of these mail order attorneys really don’t understand the process/sequence of events they need to navigate to be successful or to even come close to success. When Chance was representing at the hearing he gave the attorney an education in that area; made it pretty cleat that guy didn’t know what he was doing. I didn’t attend the hearing but my sister did and she said the mail order attorney had the most bewildered look on his face. After Chance was through it was a no brainer for the judge; the attorney was ordered to give back the money 🙂

      • 6KFM

        that’s why we have Chance and JANICE!
        THEY DO!
        it will prob be tough for them to carry out all requests for service in 2021, even spread out with B-Days.
        What a year that will be! Wow
        Thanks to Ira and the others in this all together including one of us, Frank.
        Love the Book Frank!

  6. Eric

    Just more reasons why the registry is bad and hostile. Anybody can glean names from it and get all the personal information for their own personal use and abuse.

  7. MJ

    After a 5 year lock up, I recently completed my 5 year stint on Supervision and have no problem at all keeping things safe ,clean and legal. But, you know, expecting a lifetime of the insanity of the SO registry I was taken by complete surprise and totally overwhelmed at receiving a letter from the DOJ in January saying I am no longer required to register-#%*! Well I am sure anyone here would feel the same, but I’m kind-a tripped out because I don’t read anywhere on this blog that anyone else received a letter like this, and mine was a federal class 3 felony case involving a minor. What’s up people? Has anyone else gotten a letter like this?

    • James

      Thanks for posting this!

      The letter is pretty astounding.

      I get the lawyer advertisement letters all the time…like I got three from the same office this week, but they are nothing like what you got…and again, I am not sure I would have understood what you were saying to us as a group without you posting the actual letter as you have.

      Was this a second of a three sheet insert maybe?

      Maybe I get them, but I have thrown away the following pages without seeing what they said.

      In any case, this is astounding!

      However, and yet and further…You did come here for advice…were I to receive this letter…I would seek clarification from my registering agency…immediately, like this week. Or, maybe call Cal DOJ…

      I would not let it pass.

      But maybe that’s just me…if you can, find out what is going on and let us know.

      Best Wishes, James

      • MJ

        Thank for replying. James, I have never received a letter from any lawyer regarding my case, thankfully. Also, the letter I posted for download above is the only one received from DOJ and the signatures are hand written in real ink. The baffling complexity of the legal system has prompted me to follow advice by Decade below to contact Janice. Have not heard back yet. At any rate, I am with you to proceed cautiously.

    • MJ

      Follow up:
      As a follow up to anyone interested in this, the crime I was convicted of is Title18 §2423(c), oddly under the heading of “TRANSPORTATION OF MINORS”, which was not related to my crime. There is the description in PDF:

  8. Decade

    Hello MJ,

    I received a similar letter years ago. I can tell you what your next steps are.
    PRIVATELY send a contact email address for you to the moderator or Janice Bellucci.

    I will contact them and send you an email!


  9. Decade

    Hi All:

    MJ received that letter because California’s registration laws specify that to be registered in CA you have to have committed an offense that “based on elements or facts, would have been punishable as a registerable offense in California”. Obviously illicit conduct in foreign places doesn’t fit that bill, so after completion of his probation the DOJ officially dropped him!


    • MJ


      Thanks for suggesting to contact Janice. I did and am awaiting reply

      I am very interested in your take on this letter from DOM since you also received such a letter. Please feel free to contact me:

      The download link you shared on US_DOJ_SORNA_SMART is full of leagalese and difficult to read, but you may be correct that registration requirements were dropped in my case due to “Sex in Foreign Places”. Also interesting is “Section C Registering Federal Offenders” on page 4 of 20 where it says:
      “California will register a federally-convicted offender for the duration of their time on probation if that offender is court-ordered to register, even if the offender was not convicted of a California-comparable offense.” This seems to indicate that California would drop all Federal convictions following completion of court ordered probation. So, I find it strange that all the others here who went down on a federal charge did not also receive a letter similar to the one I received. Maybe this is something everyone on a Federal charge should look into.

  10. David

    That’s great, MJ. Congratulations!
    (So despite “Sex in Foreign Places” with a minor, no specially-marked IML passport for you? Go figure, as they say.)

  11. Decade


    Please reread my comments above…. I will repeat the important part here again to make it clear:
    “to be registered in CA you have to have committed an offense that “based on elements or facts, would have been punishable as a registerable offense in California”. Nearly all federally registerable offenses have a similar elements or facts that are similar to a California offense. For one example CP. So no everyone with a Federal charge will not get off… You just happen to be one of a VERY few lucky ones… but don’t count your chickens too fast! The new 290 registration laws that go into effect in the next decade here in California have probably closed that out.

  12. Matt

    Forget about false prophets… last night I got a call from a guy saying I wasn’t compliant with registration, that a warrant was out for my arrest. (I had documentation saying I was.) Neverthess, he insisted saying the computer said I wasn’t. I asked who he was, his badge number, etc. He knew everything about me, even people’s names at registration. He told me that I was required to go downtown to a police office immediately. HE WAS VERY CONVINCING… IT SCARED ME. i felt compelled to do what he said to drive to the police station. I got dressed, got in my car while he was stlll on the phone. That’s when he told me I had to bond out so I wouldn’t have to spend the weekend in jail… he told me I had to pay 10 percent or $1000 in dollars not a credit card. He told me to go to my ATM to get the money. This is when I questioned him about how odd it was to do this. He got angry… this is when I decided to go to a local police station to “turn myself in”. It was closed, so I told him I wouldn’t go to the destination and that I would call the non-emergency police number. He got angry again… I hung up. I called the number and the officer said it was a SCAM and there wasn’t a warrant out for my arrest… so this is a warning for registrants to beware of calls like this. I thank God I had the courage to challenge the con-artist… who knows what might have happened once I met with him… I hate to think of it. I HOPE THERE ARE GUIDELINES FOR REGISTRANTS TO DEAL WITH THESE TYPES OF SCAMS!

    • LS

      Wow, I am pretty “scam” savvy, but never thought about this one. I am so sorry that you had to go through this, but thank you for sharing your story! Im sure it will help many others, if this should ever come up.

    • Renny

      I love getting those calls. I am so incredibly rude and crude and offensive to those people. I find it like therapy to see just how much of my verbal molestation and abuse they will endure to try to get me to give them my money.

    • MJ

      I you were not in compliance you would not get a phone call – the hit squad would be showing up in riot gear at 3AM, bust down your door, stick automatic weapons in your face, yell at you to get out of out of bed, cuff you in your underwear and haul your butt downtown. If you resisted you would be shot on site. Knowing how law enforcement operates, try to be free to do as Renny and speak your mind to these scoundrels.

  13. Renny

    I consider those harassment.
    Therefore using the registry to harass me is illegal.
    Let’s sue them, class action, for harassment.

    Or perhaps, we should establish a registry of lawyers who use the registry to send unsolicited mail….. so people on the registry can protect themselves from lawyers on the shitbag lawyer registry.

  14. Decade


    as MJ says and as Michael Clayton says:
    “[Phone rings]
    That’s the police, isn’t it?
    Michael Clayton:
    No. They don’t call.

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