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Living with 290

Living with 290: Is There a Silver Lining Somewhere?

In 2000 I was convicted of one count of 311.4, a misdemeanor, but lifetime on the registry, nevertheless. This transgression resonated from a relationship with a girlfriend who was six-months away from her 18th birthday, and me being three-months into my 21st year. Before all of this, the relationship lasted three years, and the victim’s parents approved – that is, until an altercation erupted that led me to impulsively strike her.

This miscalculation of emotion invariably caused the Tustin Police Department to introduce a domestic violence investigation into the significance of my relationship with the underage girlfriend. A few months before this event, however, it is important to point out that a videotape was produced between me and the victim. The video recorder was furnished by the victim, as she owned it, and we made a sex-tape on an evening that is well-celebrated between romantically involved couples. Ironically, a former roommate, who no longer lived at the residence but still possessed a spare key, stole the video recorder from the residence – tape and all. The victim filed a report with Tustin Police Department indicating who the alleged suspect was.

After a few months of the stolen recorder case pending, the domestic violence case prompted Tustin PD to follow-up with the missing video recorder. Per court documents, the video recorder was tossed on the front steps of Tustin Police Department in a condition that deemed the unit “unusable”. With the help of their forensic specialists, Tustin PD, per the report, pieced the videotape back together which led to the discovery of the sexual relationship, which led to my arrest, conviction, registration duties, etc., etc.

I do recall having been registered in Orange County Jail prior to my release in 2000; however, I DO NOT recall being given specific instructions by the deputy who registered me at the jail on what specific protocols were necessary upon my release, other than, “see your probation officer.” So, after seeing my probation officer the day after my release from jail, I learned this person was not going to be my official probation officer but in fact an “intermediary” probation officer who was going to assign me to my official probation officer eventually. I explicitly do not remember any sex offender registration obligations having been discussed during this meeting; nor did I possess the awareness to ask at this point in time.

In my ignorance, however, on the morning of the sixth day after my release, I was awoken to loud banging at the front door of the residence for which I was staying. A friend opened the door to six Tustin police uniforms, guns drawn, screaming my full legal name and for me to identify myself. After the residence was “secure,” a female detective appeared from far off and sweetly informed me I was in violation of penal code 290 – or failure to register as a sex offender. I think it was my response “What is penal code 290?” (I was 21) that prompted her to loosen up. At which point, she legally had to explain the procedures of registration and my obligations, a feat my “initial” probation officer failed to detail. Luckily, I was given an opportunity to register the next morning without penalty, which took all of fifteen minutes. My subsequent registrations have been far longer, however. So, yeah, that was my first overall registration experience.

I really can’t say what all this means other than I am waiting to re-establish residency here in California as I had to move out-of-state to accommodate family for a short while a few years ago. In order to apply for that elusive Certificate of Rehabilitation, however, I must be a state resident for at least five years. My fifth year comes up next summer. Unlike my anonymous registration classification in California, my registration information was posted online in the other state for which I registered, and SexOffenderRecord.com managed to “mine” my information off that state’s registry and post it on their “extortion” website.

Since my moving back to California I have had immense difficulty finding employment and/or housing as a result. I am investigating into whether or not I can change my middle name here in California. From what I gather it is extremely difficult to petition for a name change if you are a convicted sex offender. Hopefully I can convince the judge that I am not requesting a name change to avoid registration per se, but to actually secure myself the anonymity that I once was afforded per state law prior to my moving out-of-state.

I do not purport myself to be an angel. I made a mistake. If anything I am more remorseful for the domestic violence that I inflicted on the former girlfriend than I am of the actual sex offense. Regardless of what I think, however, the state reasons otherwise. Hopefully this time next year I can petition for that Certificate of Rehabilitation, and provide the court with my college transcript indicating my being an Honors Student with a 3.7 GPA – although, people seem to have a problem with educated convicts looking to improve themselves – or so I have noticed…

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  1. Q

    Welcome back to the stupid state. 🙂 Get used to the BS.

  2. td777

    I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, especially when you’re looking for a silver lining, of which there is none currently. To get a Certificate of Rehabilitation, from my understanding, you cannot move out of state within 10 years of your offense. Since you moved out of state during that time, I don’t think you’ll be able to get it after any amount of time. This is the reason I don’t take my family and move out of state, I intend to stay here long enough to at least try to get mine.

    • Austin

      Actually, to be precise, I believe that one must have been a resident of California for the 10 years immediately preceding the application for a certificate – meaning that if you become a resident of another state the clock starts over when you return and become a resident of California again – I don’t believe moving to another state disqualifies you forever from receiving a COR it just means that you have to wait ten years from the time you return until you apply for one.

      • td777

        You could be right, but my understanding is the 10 year period has to be immediately following conviction.

      • Joe

        Certificates of Rehabilitation, in general, are covered in PC 4852. The in-state residency requirement is covered in .01 and .06 (maybe others). http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/4852.01.html

        Everyone interested should read this. Spreading rumors is not helpful.

        • http404

          Governor’s pardon is something available on the lawbooks but let’s get real… ain’t gonna happen. A governor pardoning someone convicted of a sex related offense is waaaaay too toxic to their career.

          Aside from the COR path that is automatically forwarded to the governor’s office, has there been even ONE documented case of a registered citizen successfully petitioning the governor’s office directly for a pardon?

  3. G4Change

    There is always the governor’s pardon route. I believe you have to have completed all probation and parole for 10 years and be offense-free.

  4. Justfortoday

    I am currently on parole and I was wondering if anyone had any information on filing a Petition of Habeas Corpus to request for stay challenging enforcement of sex offender parolee residency restrictions in California.

    I have a beautiful home that I would like to move back into with my boyfriend, but the residence is not compliant with the stipulations of Jessica’s Law. I was planning on filing this petition when I was off parole. My POC psychologist mentioned to me today that I could speak with my local public defender to discuss this matter even being on parole. She told me to tell the PD that : I am a 290 registrant on parole and I would like to have them review my conviction. Does this sound right? I honestly think it’s wishful thinking, as positive as I try to stay. 🙂

    Even if I try to file this and it falls through, I am lucky that I will still have a place to stay. But, if I am given advice by parole, I guess I should try!

    If anyone has any experience with filing the petition, success or not, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you very much! God bless.

  5. Someone who cares

    I thought Jessica’s Law was still being challenged in court and as long as there is no ruling, it can’t be enforced? Janice, or anybody please chime in. Thanks.

  6. Justfortoday

    @Joe, thank you very much. You are very kind. 🙂

    @someone who cares, that is interesting. I will have to look into current court cases. Thank you as well!

    Such nice people. God bless!

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