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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