Doe vs Harris Decision

“… requiring the parties’ compliance with changes in the law made retroactive to them does not violate the terms of the plea agreement, nor does the failure of a plea agreement to reference the possibility the law might change translate into an implied promise the defendant will be unaffected by a change in the statutory consequences attending his or her conviction. To that extent, then, the terms of the plea agreement can be affected by changes in the law.



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The opinion is now out,and it is a MAJOR, COMPLETE loss. The state high court says no matter a plea agreement, the law can subsequently bee changed retroactively and applied regardless.

The opinion is at:

Complete loss. And as people who have seen what I have written so many times about the court, it is not surprising. In fact, I’m sure it is why the plaintiff filed in federal court in the first place, and why it is so wrong that the Ninth Circuit already said it would basically make this ruling its own.

The only possibility now would be an appeal tot he US Supreme Court — but that is only more right wing than the state court. And since this ruling is being based on the state court interpretation, SCOTUS is not likely to overturn it without some overriding federal issue that the Ninth Circuit does not see.

The damn Ninth Circuit never should have abrogated its duty and sent the matter to the state court.

I want to cry BS to the court… It looks like they are protecting the state no concern to the citizens..

@Staying Positive

The LAST thing that you want to have happen is to have the present CONSERVATIVE SCOTUS pick up ANYTHING to do with retro-activity or constitutionality of SORNA laws. The folks that supported proposition 8 found this out the hard way.

@Anonymous Nobody

This case was VERY CLEARLY a state law issue. While we may not like the decision, the courts upheld the law as it is written. It is not the job of the court to save us from bad public policy.

send it to the supremes!!!

This is a complete slap in the face of justice! This is completely unconstitutional, yet these insane judges fail to see it that way. Unbelievable!

This current case just decided should NOT be sent to Supreme Court ….
the case ripe for the Courts’ decision though are the beyond parole
punishment …those are clearly in gross violation of person’s civil
rights….registry for further punishment / restrictions……
discrimination harassment ………..putting free citizens / Americans
under lifetime parole conditions on the fly…………….there’s HomeRun for
that….the Constitution ……its ripe.

What did I tell you?

This decision was carefully worded…Look! it never used the phrase SEX OFFENDER!!
But it was aimed at us.

Look how carefully they shot themselves directly in the foot:

From now on, any trial lawyer will be obliged to advise his client that a plea bargain, no matter how cleverly constructed, isn’t worth the paper on which it had better be printed.
So defense and prosecution will have to go to extraordinary lengths to detail every possible nuance of future law (impossible) in order to arrive at an acceptable plea agreement…and then it could be rendered useless the next day.
Everybody must go to full trial as a result.

The system will collapse. You heard it here first.
Thee right to a speedy trial before a jury of one’s peers will go out the window.
Not just for “sex offenders”, but for everyone arrested for anything.

No more plea bargains because decision rendered in S191948 made the entire concept of the only process that has kept the justice system functional, moot.

Watch them squirm now.
The next three years will be very interesting.
Meanwhile: They hate you. SOR is animus law. It’s based on hatred and fear, just like what America has become; a Land Terrorized and trembling..quaking in fear. They will never legislate their way out of it. They live to hate, and the recent gains made by minorities are only gains against hatred.

Leave the country.
Or get every voting citizen on the Sex Offender Registry. The more the better.
After all, even Jesus Christ was guilty, and look what they did to Him.
You’re in good company.

I was watching this closely since I had a plea on a charge which was not registerable at the time and became registerable later. I’m heartbroken(not suprised) and not looking forward to telling my wife this decision.

Not shocked, not surprised, not outraged…this “decision” is similar to the ancient Roman gladiators when they fought captives in the arena. All the Roman leaders were in their seats of honor waiting to give the thumbs down to the captive slave who had just been beaten down by the gladiator. The court’s decision is nothing more than another legal thumbs down. The good thing is, I know karma, and it’s a *****! Karma’s coming and they better look out!

From now on, any trial lawyer will be obliged to advise his client that a plea bargain, no matter how cleverly constructed, isn’t worth the paper on which it had better be printed.

maybe we should forward this to all those lawyer blog and ask them what they think.

There are some small movements in the state and throughout the nation which are seeking to change plea bargaining as it currently operates today. One of the problems with plea bargaining is that the judge is usually out of the picture, so a lot of dealing under the table goes on behind the scenes (i.e. “I’ll drop the charges on that armed robbery case if you’ll get your client to plead guilty to one count of 288(a)…”, to which the DA knows very well that the defendant will have to register as an SO and be subject to Megan’s Law, Jessica’s Law, plus Tom, Dick, or Harry’s Laws in the future, and will make the defendant’s life a living hell…etc…)

Judges are supposed to decide upon matters of law – something they simply cannot do when they are removed from the adjudicatory process. Some movements propound that judges need to be in on the plea bargaining to ensure that there is no double-dealing going on. Others say we should do away with plea bargaining altogether as it seems to violate the 5th and 6th Amendments. (See United States vs. Jackson.) In plea bargaining, the prosecution is given an unfair advantage since they can bluff the defense with trumped up charges, employing fear and intimidation as a means of coercing the defendant into pleading to a lesser charge for which they may have been acquitted altogether if judged by a jury of their peers. Plea bargaining severely limits defendants’ rights on two fronts: 1) The 5th Amendment goes out the window when you become a witness against yourself, and 2) The 6th Amendment goes out the window when you waive your right to a jury trial.

What’s worse is that in cases involving juveniles (like mine), you can be bluffed into waiving your rights, which adversely affects the outcome since juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial. On that note, a bench trial may be more favorable for a juvenile since your counsel only has to convince the judge of your age and maturity level at the time of the offense, whereas the burden of proof rests with the prosecution to prove that you should be charged as an adult.

Several things that all people should keep in mind when accused of a crime:

1) Do not say anything. When the authorities come to your door and start asking questions, DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. Many cops will ask if ‘you can step outside?’ Don’t oblige their request. If they ask to come inside, ask them why? If they say they need to search the premises, ask if they have a warrant. If they respond in the negative then tell them you’re invoking your 4th Amendment rights and do not wish to invite them in. Remember that even if a family member consents to a search, if you do not consent then your 4th Amendment right has been invoked and they must cease the search immediately.

2) If they say they “need to speak with you”, or “ask you some questions”, hit back with “Am I being placed under arrest?” If they respond in the affirmative, then they MUST read you your Miranda Rights, neglecting to do so could cost them the case if you do slip up. If they respond in the negative and you confess to anything before they arrest you, then they can prove that you knew you were not under arrest and so chose to answer their questions freely, by your own will and without coercion. So keep your mouth shut! Whether they respond in the negative or the affirmative, reply with “I’m invoking my 5th Amendment rights and do not wish to answer any questions until I speak with my attorney.” At this point, expect to be arrested and interrogated “downtown”, but answer no questions. No matter what they say, no matter what “evidence” they claim to have, remember – THEY ARE LYING. DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS. It is your right to remain silent, but it is their right to coerce you into a confession.

3) Don’t let anyone talk you into waiving any rights with the promise of getting out of jail sooner or anything. If it makes it easier on the court to try you then that is code for “make it easier for us to screw up your life.” Don’t do it. You don’t want to make things easier on the court, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Make it hard on them, make them prove it!

4) For the love of God, do not enter a plea bargain since Doe vs. Harris now invalidates them. This decision definitively settles the question as to whether or not a plea deal is worth the paper it’s printed on.

People that can vote need challenge these laws for election reasons. such as equal right to form a campaign party, equal access to government meetings. it would not be as easy for the courts to agree with the state if the subject was based on elections and not sex offenders. If your town or city limit where you can live, then they also limit how many people can vote at their polls. Flood the courts with law suits. fill buses with people and then have them register in just one town as being homeless, it will start a panic.

Fight the law for election reasons. it would be harder for the courts to up hold these laws. if your town limits where you live, it then also limits access to the polls.

The acceptance of a plea bargain which guarantees a young man will stay out of jail needs to be read in context with the Human Rights Watch report, ‘No Escape Male Rape in US Prisons’. They estimate that as many men are raped each year in the US as women are due to the endemic of prison rape.

Out of interest, does/has the state ever sent women anywhere as a punitive measure where they, and the rest of society knows they’ll probably be raped?

The guarantee of staying out of prison in light of this report confirms the above posters theory that a bargain plea faces the prosecution at an unfair advantage and coerces the defendant.

Unfortunately, when the difference may be between, say, a year of jail and 10 years probation for a plea vs. 25 to life for a jury conviction, the penalty is much too severe to risk in this case. I am not dismissing the advice, but even a plea deal with the subsequent lifetime registration punishment is preferable to a ~98% conviction rate that results in long prison sentences plus all the ensuing law restriction.

A question, perhaps one already answered above (I will read the posts and decision soon): Why does the CA High Court apply their ruling on the basis of contract law? Contract law seems to be predicated on the notion that both parties have some say in the matter–this is rarely, perhaps never, the case in plea bargain “agreements” which tend to be coerced and a “meeting of the minds” is just a chimera behind which prosecutors hide in such cases.

Hey Janice
I have a suggestion for a counter lawsuit against this, I plead guilty to indecent exposure in public while in a drunken stupor-I was told by the public defender don’t worry about being a sex offender, you won’t be on the public web site-the cops-the system aren’t going to Hassel you.

I was read my Miranda rights for my offense, but there was no Miranda rights warning me that if I plead guilty to becoming a sex offender, that it didn’t matter, one size fits all.

%99 of those who a accept plea deals-become sex offenders have no knowledge of the nightmare world they are about to enter!

How about filing a motion mandating the state/prosecution??? To read some type of sex offender Miranda to a defendant explaining the night mare world they will be entering if they plead guilty-become a sex offender, I bet this would stop a lot of plea deals- a jury would know why
Keep Up The Good Fight!
Anthony Jones/San Diego Ca.

Hello Janice
I have interesting idea how you could waltz back into the 9th court-say “I AM BACK! “
I read an article online where tier#1 sex offenders in England filed a class action suit- had the high court remove them all from the S.O.R in England?
File a multimillion $class action lawsuit against the state of Ca, on behalf of tier#1 sex offenders, similar to what was done in England. What would this accomplish?
PLENTY OF FREE PUBLICTY FOR THIS ORG.> would wake Californians up by exposing to them that this registry has turned into a new gold rush for the States to get big money from the Feds for making someone a sex offender –now everyone in Ca. can become a sex offender for fun-profit for the state for minor infractions!
Wars are won by winning small battles; – I know this would put the 9th court clowns on the hot seat!

Anthony Jones/San Diego Ca.

I’m curious as to the applicability of the “NO STATE SHALL PASS ANY LAWS IMPAIRING


I believe this case is not a loss but an opportunity.

For any individual whose conviction was by way of a plea agreement the California Supreme Court’s decision flies in the face of the Legislature’s intentions regarding the disposition of plea agreements. Read Penal Code § 1016.5. This statute allows any alien convicted by way of a plea agreement the right to withdraw that agreement if the court, prior to plea, failed to inform the alien defendant that this conviction may in the future affect their residency rights. The warning is required by law and refers to future legislation being applied retroactively. No such warning regarding future legislative impact for prior convictions is required for actual citizens. Wait there is more.

In Padilla v. KY, the U.S. Supreme Court held that if an alien is not informed prior to plea that the conviction might result in an impact on your right to remain in the U.S. then the alien defendant was denied his constitutional right to effective counsel.

The residency restrictions and the P.C. 290 compliance checks without probable cause that an individual in not in compliance are both issues that affect liberty interests. As such the grounds for a constitutional fight are in the decision of the Doe v. Harris opinion. A person from a foreign country who commits a sex offense in California and agrees to a plea agreement must be told about the “mere possibility” of immigration consequences as a collateral consequence of the conviction. That same person must by law be informed of the immigration consequences of the conviction by his defense counsel or the plea can not stand.

Therefore, I believe there is an equal protection claim against the Doe v. Harris decision. The challenge is to determine the correct argument and the correct venue for the motion.

Any lawyers in the house?