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Judge Denies TRO in Websites Case

Federal district court judge Bernal denied an application for a Temporary Restraining Order in the lawsuit against three websites that list the names of registrants and family members on May 10. One of the reasons given by the judge is that there was insufficient evidence of irreparable injury despite the statements of 6 plaintiffs in separate declarations.

“The judge in this case ignored the evidence presented in the case that people have been significantly harmed by the defendant’s reckless and intentional acts,” stated attorney Janice Bellucci. “Further evidence will be presented to the court of that significant harm which includes physical and emotional harm as well as financial damage.”

A troubling component of the decision is the judge’s statement that defendants may have a right under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. constitution to publish information about sex offenders. Fortunately, the judge also stated, ‘The Court does not hold that Defendants will necessarily success on their First Amendment defenses.”

The judge’s denial of a TRO does not mean that the judge will rule against us in this case. Specifically, he noted that a ruling on a TRO is not a final decision on the merits.

The defendants in this case have filed a motion to dismiss and a hearing on the motion is scheduled for June 24.

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That judge might feel differently if one of his relatives was one of those websites! It is just common sense that there would be the potential for harm…does this person keep up with the news? How could they NOT know about people listed on those sites being murdered by total strangers simply because their information could be found online and on sites such as the ones in question? Is he really that uncaring about others? How can a person like that be qualified to sit in judgement of others? Really blows your mind the sort of people who out there… Read more »

Well, this case could actually do a lot of good. In summary, its First very disturbing to think that someone who has been convicted of a crime and paid their debt to society continues to have their name, address and personal information online along with a photograph? This is just asking for trouble. Then, we now have certain cities or states requiring individuals to post a sign on their lawn? This is surreal and something out of a movie or Nazi Germany? I mean, be real. Can you ever imagine this happening 10-years ago? Or, what if someone had told… Read more »

This case, on the surface, is the hardest one that Janice is litigating, because there is a strong First Amendment argument that the opposition will be using that must be overcome. For instance, in the Prop 35 case we are asserting the First Amendment because of a registrant’s right to free, anonymous speech. However, the extortion issues haven’t been addressed in court, and at this point, the judge sees no reason to grant a stay until the oral arguments are given. Now what the judge didn’t say was that the information on California Megan’s Law site could NOT be used… Read more »

I cannot understand how the family members of registrants can be dragged through the mud and get no relief from the courts. The intention of public disclosure – at least according to the legislatures – was to provide public safety. Now that this has gone beyond the realm of the original subject to include family members, that seems to be a case where these members can claim slander against these sites. How is this even conceivable in any stretch of the imagination? Damage has clearly been done to my children in the years since this ill conceived law at the… Read more »

I have never been to one of these sites and don’t care to but I’m curious J, how do they find information about relatives to post? Facebook and etc?

What’s happened to me is probably typical of most RSO’s as a result of these public postings. I’ve had my work truck tires slashed 3 times (all 4 of them), garage windows shot through, house egged and graffitied and one death threat. Police did NOTHING! I figure it is just a matter of time before someone tries to physically harm me. RSO’s aren’t the “objects” of hate crimes, because we’re not a race or gender, we aren’t part of the general public anymore; RSO’s are not afforded the same level of protection as the general public, even though legislators, lawmakers,… Read more »

Wow, I am so sorry this has happened to you.
What kind of an area do you live in? Sounds like it might be the same group of people doing this to you, Can you move to a nicer area?

I am sure you have thought of putting up cameras, etc.

What good will AB 702 for those of us who come off the registry when these sites can still list our names and whereabouts?

That’s my question. I’m off the registry but sorarchives & mugshots still have me up. I hope a win can be used as a precedent to mop up all the others. At the very least, a win would produce a foundation for a Google petition.

Maybe the best approach is wait until ab702 passes and then see if our legislature will do what Georgia’s legislatures is doing bout these sites.

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the article here to tell us just what the court was told and presented on this matter. All we know from this is that the judge ruled “it” is not enough. If we knew what “it” was, we might even agree, and have a hundred details with which to elaborate in order to satisfy the court. That said, as for the judge noting that it does not mean he is likely to rule against the plaintiffs, well, that goes without saying, that is the law, not the judge’s personal feeling about the matter. In fact,… Read more »

Don’t forget the issue that PC 290, from what I understand, does not allow for the information to be taken from the Megan’s Law site and used on a private site. However, I believe that the only liability is civil, not criminal; however, that still means there is an ordinance in place as tenuous as it may sound. I do know that a couple of phone app sites (“Hide yo kids, hide yo wife!”) chose to exclude California registrants from their databases for that reason.

Which section number is that? I just trolled through many of the sections and could not find the one pertaining to posting on the Website, although I know its there. There are more than 40 sections of this damn thing! (This is another of the big problems with this entire SOR bit: the registration statutes are so long and voluminous, and constantly changing, that I don’t think ANYONE at all knows all the details in them. And SORs keep getting busted on some minor detail here or there that no one could possibly keep track of. This is so voluminous… Read more »

From California Megan’s Law:

Legal and Illegal Uses. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability.

Thanks. That language does nothing to affect this Website, even if they posted the SOR information themselves. Posting that info is not a crime, and if the stater posting the info is not harassment, neither is this.

Yes, but here’s the problem… what ARE the penalties for committing the crime?

Nick, that depends on what crime is committed. That language is referring to using the info on the Website to commit a crime presumably against the SOR, such as assault him or her, or to do something that might bring a lawsuit.

The penalties for committing a crime against a registrant is an additional one year in county jail for a misdemeanor and and additional five years in prison for committing a felony. There is no distinct definition regarding harassment and as you know, it would be very hard to prove and most likely with very little help from LE. I hope this clears things up somewhat.

Can we beat them on a technicality? Our shots aren’t booking mugshots like EVERYONE else’s on those sites.

There is no law that says they have to use a mugshot. They are not limited to what is on the Megan’s Law Website. They can do whatever they want — except cross a legal line. And in fact, their defense is that it is not even them doing it.

Janice, what about the Hobbs Act? This isn’t RICO, but it’s something else i’ve been researching: Extortion by fear The Hobbs Act covers extortionate threats of physical, economic and informational harm (i.e. blackmail). To be “wrongful,” a threat of physical violence must instill some degree of duress in the target of the extortion. Furthermore, it is unlikely an economic threat is “wrongful” for Hobbs Act purposes unless a defendant purports to have the power to harm another person economically and that person believes the defendant will use that power to deprive him of something to which he is legally entitled.… Read more »

What’s right and wrong. My state has a direct law that says released records can not be redistributed or sold or profited from. It is a criminal act with penalties listed. But if they claim they “personally” don’t download the info (bull)then how are we to bring someone to justice. I’m not on a registry. My state says a person off the registry is not a sex offender. From definitions at the Code. This is a good example of showing a corporation is not a person. The shell game goes straight to Google and the other search engines. Noone is… Read more »

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