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The California Court of Appeal issued a decision today (April 25) that increases the eligibility of registered citizens who may apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. That is, the court determined that individuals convicted of Penal Code 288(a) may apply for such a certificate.

“The court’s decision today is important to a small group of registered citizens who wish to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation,” stated CA RSOL President Janice Bellucci. “Unfortunately, it does not guarantee that any registered citizen will actually obtain a certificate.”

The appellate court’s decision is the result of an appeal filed by Attorney General Kamala Harris in which she contested the eligibility of a registered citizen to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. The court’s decision was based upon the equal protection clause of the state and federal Constitutions.

The court noted in its decision that a bill is pending in the California Assembly that if passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor could impact and perhaps reverse the court’s decision. The bill, AB 1438, was passed by the Assembly on April 24 and referred to the Senate for its consideration.


More about Certificate of Rehabilitation: #9 & #10

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Although this court decision has limited application, it is important because it will provide an opportunity for some registered citizens to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. The window of opportunity may be short, however, depending upon when AB 1438 becomes effective. Now is the time to act for anyone convicted of PC 288(a).

Which one is 288(a)? Vs. 288a?

How long do we have to act, how much does it cost and what are the hurdles to success of the petition? Are there any attorneys doing these pro bono?

Its been almost 30 years since my 2-count conviction. However in 1998 I moved, updated my address, and then did not go back a few months later on my birthday to re-register because it had been less than a year. Result was a new conviction for failing to register.
Does the subsequent conviction make a certificate of rehabilitation unlikely? There was also a probation violation around 1990 because following the firearms law change, instead of advising me that my .22 rifle was no longer legal to own, my Probation officer decided to simply come search for it and arrest me on it. (I had of course disclosed owning it to him when being placed on probation in ’86)

We do not provide legal advice on this website. Please consult with a criminal defense attorney regarding your specific circumstances.

I noticed in response to my petition for Cert. of Rehab. The DA’s office stated that it was my burden to prove I’m rehabilitated. That seems like nonsense. The burden should be on the DA to prove I’m not.

Janice that matter of demand would make getting a Cert. of Rehab. much easier.

In 1990, with my first computer I looked and downloaded some CP pictures, was arrested, convicted and haven’t been in any kind of trouble since. Up until very recently, unbeknownst to me I was eligible to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. I started going for it and discovered through the attorney I was working on this with that there has been an addition to this law that makes it impossible for me to get relief; for looking at some pictures; never touched anyone; never even considered touching anyone! Now this! If I would have seduced a child 14 years old or under and simply committed a lascivious act I would be eligible for relief!?! This does not seem fair.

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (i), any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years. – See more at:


I have a 288a from 1980 and was never informed about the COR so I missed out. In 2006 I failed to register a second address and was convicted along with a trumped up 311.4c. I am out (2010)and off parole now. How do I apply for the Certificate or is it too soon. Also they have me listed as a 4 on the static 99, but when I take it myself and answer the questions honestly I rate a zero. They have me on the site as high risk but its incorrect. I think they did that just to help impose stricter parole conditions. I would really like to get that certificate. How long do you have to wait after release before you can apply and what do you have to do to prove you’re worthy.

Thanks Janice, You and your people do a fantastic job.


They put bogus stats on the site. They have me rated as a 3 yet I have never taken a Static 99 assessment for the state(the site says I did in 2010…I did not), and the ones I took years ago(2007) rated me as 0. In other words, the state will assign whatever number they choose, regardless of the facts.

I note, whiel this opens a WINDOW for at least now toapply for the certficate, if the legislature passes that law barring the certficate for thos convicted of this offenese, then that very well couldserve to take away any certificate you might get prior to the enactment of that law (which, if passes thi session, would take effect next Jan. 1.)

With that in mind, part of people’s consideration of whether to pursue this at this time should be whether the substantial cost of a lawyer and the other things you would have to prepare (probably a shrink too), plus the ungodly intrusiveness of the investigation by authorities, including contacting your neighbors, current and former employers, searching your premises, etc., is worth it only to lose any benefits of the certificate come 2015.

It is not clear at this time whether that bill going through the Legislature would take away any benefits regarding registration that you get from the certificate prior to its enactment, and the bill could be changed between now and when it might be passed. But if history teaches, it teaches that in the past they have done just that — taken away the relief you earned, applied for and were granted. They did that when they took away the relief from 290 registration from those who had obtained the relief by meeting the then standard of obtaining 1203.4 relief after probation — the language in the law was changed in a way that left those who had been able to stop registering because they got 1203.4 relief to have to start registering all over again years later.

So, even if you managed to be granted a certificate before the end of this year, you could lose the relief come Jan. 1 anyway. I know it sounds impossible that such a thing could happen, but it has happened at least twice before.

I am in the process of an application for a COR. My attorney has me scheduled for a hearing for the first step, expungement of my 288(a) conviction from 1993 in June.

I began this once the initial court decision came down and this ruling has re-enforced my decision. I’m waiting to obtaining sealed portions of my case file for a professional assessment to show that I’m not a threat.

The attorney fees aren’t cheap, but not as expensive as I had anticipated and the assessment will be costly as well.

My question is this, Is groundwork being laid to challenge the law that would result should AB-1438 be signed into law?

What?!!??? Thank goodness the composers of the Bill of Rights were not like present day California lawmakers. Is this written for the common man to understand? No wonder people don’t understand rules that govern their lives.

Okay, I am now totally confused. My husbands conviction was 3/26/85 for 1 count of PC288(a) with step-daughter. He was sent back to jail for 90 days because he did not
complete his counseling in a timely manner. The only other thing he was arrested for
was failure to register in San Diego when he moved, after we married in 1998. He stupidly did this because he did not want me to know of his past…well I found out.
Needless to say we are still married and has not been in any trouble for the past 16 years. Is it worth it for us to try for a COR? And another thing will there be people coming to our home and his work to do interviews? Nobody at his work knows and I would not want him to lose his job. Any input? And names of good lawyers in Northern California? Thank you for any input

Please call me at 805-896-7854 as we do not make referrals online.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x