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California

CA Supreme Court Decision Regarding Residency Restrictions Due March 2

The California Supreme Court has officially announced that it will publish on Monday, March 2, two decisions regarding residency restrictions. The decisions are expected to determine the following issues: (1) whether residency restrictions are constitutional, (2) to whom do the restrictions apply and (3) if the restrictions can be applied to every registered citizen while on parole. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on December 2 in Los Angeles.

During oral arguments in the case of People v. Mosley, the Attorney General’s office argued that residency restrictions are constitutional but that they only apply to registered citizens while on parole (not to those on probation or who have completed parole). The attorney representing Mosley argued in the alternative that the restrictions are not constitutional but if they are, they apply to all registered citizens. During oral arguments in the case of In re Taylor, the Public Defender argued that residency restrictions cannot be applied to every registered citizen while on parole, but must be done on a case-by-case basis.

Related:

Case Info

SUPREME COURT DECISION COULD DECREASE PUBLIC SAFETY, INCREASE HOMELESSNESS FOR REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS

Join the discussion

  1. Mjk

    From the recently posted CASOMB report: “If, as seems likely, the Court holds that the (Jessica’s) law applies to all sex offenders released from custody since the law was enacted on November 7, 2006, instead of just to sex offenders who are on parole, the law could be enforced against the majority of sex offenders in California. Prior to the enforcement of the residency restriction against parolees in 2007, transients made up only 1% of the registry. Today, nearly 10% of registrants (many of whom are parolees and therefore restricted by the current application) are transient.”

    The CASOMB has little hope the Court will be helpful here.

  2. Michael

    Why would the attorney for Mosley argue that if the restriction are constitutional they should apply to ALL RCs?
    Why stick it to everyone?

  3. MS

    I wish I wasn’t but I’m scared. I don’t know what we (me, my family, and other other RSOs) are going to do if the courts rule in favor of subjecting all RSOs to the residency restrictions. I live too close to a school. Lived there (own not rent) for years before I was arrested for CP. I’m still on probation. Live there with my wife and our two kids. Local PD said I could stay since I’m on probation not parole. Probation in my county doesn’t appear to enforce any residency restrictions. This WILL tear families apart if they decide against us. Probation and law enforcement will have no choice but to enforce?

    • Tired of this

      Oh, I know exactly what I will do if this happens. Nothing.

      You see, there is a school almost directly across the street from my complex. I would certainly be told to move, which is something I would flat-out refuse to do.

      After being arrested for refusing to comply, I would ask the court to explain to me how destabilizing my life and forcing me into homelessness benefits anyone (and homelessness is exactly what would happen- I sublet from a friend who knows and accepts my situation, and I have nowhere else to go- I don’t expect strangers or landlords to be as accommodating). I would ask the court to tell me who was in danger all this time I’ve been quietly living here going about my business, bothering no one. I would ask the court where in the constitution is banishment of a former offender to the fringes of society, who’s already paid his debt, allowed. I would ask the judge to explain, pray tell, exactly how being forced out of my stable residential situation (and collateral job situation) isn’t punishment.

      I will not take this lying down.

    • Kyle Cooper

      MS and All Who Post Here:

      You and/or your family can submit an inquiry to habeaspetitions@gmail.com requesting professional assistance drafting a Writ of Habeas Corpus(for those in custody, on parole or probation) or a Writ of Mandate (for those not currently serving any kind of criminal sentence). You may be able to get a “stay of enforcement” of Jessica’s Law while the court considers your case. Be sure to include email and telephone contact info, so an attorney can contact you to provide a no-cost evaluation before you have to pay for anything.

      I did, and I got a stay of that stupid law that lasted all the way through my parole. Now that I am off supervision, I will definitely spend the money again for this service, if needed, so I can avoid the hassle of complying with residency restrictions for as long as I can, if the courts rule the 2000 foot law is constitutional and applies to every one of us.

  4. Paul

    It is widely known that the law doesn’t specify a punishment. Is it an infraction? A misdmeanor? A felony? Is imprisonment required and, if so, for how long? These are questions that the law literally does not provide an answer to. It is also very well known that, for this reason, the law is unenforceable.

    If the court rules not in our favor, technically, it is still unenforceable, isn’t it? Wouldn’t the legislature have to go back and rewrite the law to define the type and punishment, BEFORE it can be enforced?

  5. steve

    So if applied to all is it all who were convicted after 11/7/2006? I thought I read that was the case a while ago. I can’t believe they are going to tell me to sell my house after living there 18 years.

    • Janice Bellucci

      IF the Court decides that residency restrictions apply to all registered citizens, it would still be legal to OWN a home near schools and parks, however, it would be illegal to actually RESIDE there.

  6. David

    Many other states’ high courts seem to be ruling that such restrictions cannot be placed on individuals not on supervision because they are either unconstitutional or ex post facto punishment. I hope our California Supreme Court will make a similar ruling that the restrictions are unconstitutional.
    I cannot understand how it can be viewed in any other way.
    Are we truly an entirely different population to whom both the U.S. and California Constitutions do not apply?? So vastly different even from every other group of ex-felons (murderers, drug dealers, etc) that we warrant special exclusion from the Constitution??
    (If so, then the only other such group is non-U.S. citizen Gitmo detainees.)

  7. MM

    There are so many thoughts, feelings going through me. I’ve lived and owned my home in Orange County, CA … since 1989. We met five years ago and my husband moved in four years ago and we’ve been fighting this battle with Cypress with Janice Bellucci since they tried to make my husband leave almost two years ago, thank you OCDA office, NOT! EVERYTHING weighs on the decision on Monday. Are we forced to sell and find a “pocket” of land we can live in? Or, we can pray/hope for one of the following outcomes … First would be that every registered citizen can choose to live where they want … Second, if not that, then have the residency restrictions apply to those on parole. IF, that is the case … There IS AN END TO THEIR RESTRICTIONS. Once they are off parole they can live where they want … It’s a small step, but … It’s a step, THERE IS AN END. one brick at a time.

    I am so … On edge …. I’ve been physically sick since attending the court on December 2nd … I can’t believe 90 days is here.

  8. Clark

    The Constitution will prevail …ride with us..The Constitution ..!

    • John B

      I absolutely think you are correct – ultimately.

      And therein lies the problem. Take a look at the history of Jim Crow Laws which were clear Constitutional violations of the human rights of every Black citizen of this nation – for nearly 100 years before SCOTUS finally overturned them in 1965.

      People with residency restrictions placed on them right now can’t wait even 2 years for relief, let alone a decade, or a century.

      As bad as this is, it could quite easily slide into something much worse before it finally gets corrected Constitutionally.

  9. David

    MM,we’re in this together. I was also there to hear the Dec. 2 arguments. I fear that my dreamhouse my be taken from me and if that happens where will I be able to live? I’ve worked diligently to rebuild my life, but this decades old S.O. cloud is always looming nearby.

  10. ca

    So if you were convicted and released from custody before Jessica Law was past, then the residency issue does not apply right? It would be only for people convicted and released after it past right?

    • Janice Bellucci

      The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2003 that the requirement to register is not punishment and therefore sex offender laws could be passed at every level of government — federal, state, county and city — and applied retroactively. Until that decision is overturned, we can expect Jessica’s Law to continue to be applied retroactively.

      • ca

        If they do apply it to all RSOs, can we stay in our residence, if we were there before the law passed? Can anyone find actual proof of that?

  11. Marie

    Why does the CASOMB say the below statement? What do they know? Was there a clear indicator at the hearing on dec 2nd? Are they guessing? Do they have inside info?

    “If, as seems likely, the Court holds that the law applies to all sex offenders released from
    custody since the law was enacted on November 7, 2006, instead of just to sex offenders who
    are on parole, the law could be enforced against the majority of sex offenders in California.”

    • FED UP

      Marie,
      I believe they were trying to make a point that it would be a disruption to a large population of people.

  12. Avig

    Well, we are only a couple days from the actual announcement, but here is what the court should say: we favor law enforcement blah blah, therefore we rule for the Attorney General. As a result, nobody needs to move or sell their house. Once you are off parole no restrictions. End of problem. We are a tough Supreme Court and we go with law enforcement here.

    —-with a little luck, that last sentence should be the headline. It will pacify the wingnuts and leave registered citizens to go about their normal law-abiding business.

    It has been this way for years and none of us is jumping off the tops of buildings. The public is not menaced by it either.

  13. Doug

    I was at the hearings . Several of the judges said ” Jessica’s law is a stupid law”
    it causes more damage than good.
    They will rule in our favor !

    • CA

      Obviously if the judges themselves said it was a “stupid law” then I say about 95% chance our favor 🙂

  14. Harry

    Worrying does NOT change the outcome, it just make people sick.

  15. Jo

    Why worry about what you can’t control? You’re not one of the justices so just let it go. All has been done that could be done and the outcome will be what it is regardless of how much stress and worry you exude. Let it go. If you HAVE to express an emotion then why on earth choose the negative? If you can’t control it at least control your emotions and choose to be optimistic. It’s such a waste to be negative and stressed out, especially it it goes logic and common sense’s way. Buck up!

    • Timmr

      What we can and should do is some sort of concerted action if these restrictions are declared constitution. There would be a lot of pain inflicted all at once. No one wanted to be part of this registered community, but we are all going to suffer one court decision one law at a time if we choose to spend our time worrying and not out there fighting.

  16. MJ

    I have heard several people say that CPC 3003.5 does not provide for punishment, therefore it is unenforceable. Can one of the attorneys that attend the CARSOL meetings respond? AI would be more interested in the opinion of someone who is an officer of the court, but if someone has first hand experience…

    • Janice Bellucci

      Although there are no “penalties” to enforce Jessica’s Law, some law enforcement officials created an obstacle that could not be overcome by refusing to allow individuals to register at addresses within 2,000 feet of a school or a park.

    • MJ

      Thank you Janice. And thank you for all of the hard work and hours you have committed to helping us. Your response caused me to think. If the law has no penalties, and can only be enforced by not allowing us to register, then would this only be something to “worry” about at the time of our next registration? Or can they decide that we are in “violation” of our registration even though it is not specified in the numerous conditions I initialed during registration?

  17. anonymously

    Clark said “The Constitution will prevail …ride with us..The Constitution ..!”

    It’s too bad Tupac Shakur was killed. He would have had to register and he could have shown that most registrants had a one time bad judgement and never reoffend and focusing on a population with an under 2% re-offense rate makes no sense.

  18. Anonymous

    HOW is this not punishment? Forcing ALL people on a list REGARDLESS OF THEIR CRIME into HOMELESSNESS ISN’T PUNISHMENT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE COURTS IN THIS STATE?

    This is ABSOLUTELY PUNISHMENT!
    punishment: the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.

    Unbelievable… Just unbelievable.

    • http404

      Ever since the early 1990’s when the nation began riding the sex offender registry crazy train, I’ve done my best to stay on top of the legislation, the court rulings, etc mainly so that I know what absurd curveballs are being lobbed in my direction. Finding CA RSOL has been a Godsend because I really believed no one gave a crap about me or my family and what these laws were doing to us. What a relief to learn as bad as it feels what is happening, you are not alone.

      Anyways, to the topic… somewhere around 2005, in one of the other states that followed Iowa’s residency restrictions a federal judge had made a ruling against residency restrictions with the following (paraphrased) narrative: “The question is whether this is regulatory or punitive, and while this law is regulatory by design, it is punitive by effect.”

      I think each and every person subjected to residency restrictions can speak as to the punitive effect against their persons and their families and the collateral damage that has resulted.

    • Timmr

      Regardless of this 2000 foot residency exclusion being punitive or not, how can it be considered to be regulatory, when it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do? It’s supposed to keep people who have committed a sex crime from committing another. There is no evidence that it does that. There is evidence it drives people to homelessness. There is evidence that this homelessness does make it harder for law enforcement to “regulate” the registered community. So, if a law is known to not regulate, and yet hamper regulatory effort, it is no longer regulatory, it is arbitrary. Orange is not green unless you lack color recognition. An arbitrary law which even inconveniences anyone to any degree is nothing more than state induced meanness not civilized policy. Unless you can’t see the difference between fascism and constitutional democracy.

  19. ca

    CAN ANYBODY PLEASE FIND OUT, IF WE CAN STAY AT OUR RESIDENCE, IF WE WERE THERE BEFORE THE LAW WAS PASSED!!!. I HAVE BEEN LOOKING ON THE INTERNET, AND HAVE NOT FOUND ANYTHING SOLID. I HEARD THAT THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, SAID THAT WE COULD STAY AT OUR RESIDENCE BUT IF WE MOVED WE WOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE RESIDENCE PROVISION. IF ANYBODY GETS IT, PLEASE POST THE LIGITAMATE LINK. THAT WILL GIVE AT LEAST SOME OF US RELIEF, JANICE PLEASE RESPOND IF YOU KNOW ABOUT IT, THANK YOU

    • Janice Bellucci

      Until the CA Supreme Court issues its decision, we don’t have the answer to your important question. Please be patient another 36 hours. The decision will be published on Monday, March 2, at about 10 a.m. We will post the decision on this website as soon as we have it. We will need at least an hour to read and understand it after which I expect to write another “chapter” for “Janice’s Journal.”

  20. mike

    It feels like we are in the 17 or 1800’s where we all are going to have to stand up and yell give me liberty or give me death.

  21. Paul

    3003.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when a
    person is released on parole after having served a term of
    imprisonment in state prison for any offense for which registration
    is required pursuant to Section 290, that person may not, during the
    period of parole, reside in any single family dwelling with any other
    person also required to register pursuant to Section 290, unless
    those persons are legally related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
    For purposes of this section, “single family dwelling” shall not
    include a residential facility which serves six or fewer persons.
    (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is unlawful for
    any person for whom registration is required pursuant to Section 290
    to reside within 2000 feet of any public or private school, or park
    where children regularly gather.

    Like so many people before me, I’ll point out that paragraph (b) does not spell out what type of “crime” it is, or what punishment is warranted. While I am not an attorney, if the ruling does not come down in our favor, I believe that it will take an act of our state legislature to resolve this section. Is it an infraction? Misdemeanor? Felony? Is the punishment a fine, or 3-5 years in prison? The law does not specify, which is why it is unenforceable. I’ll quote the following from the Fresno Police Department to support my position:

    “What are the restrictions, if any, sexual registrant are required to follow?
    Unless a registrant is currently on supervised release (e.g. parole or probation), they are only required by law to prove current registration. Absent supervised release programs, a sexual registrant is able to reside wherever they chose. Although Jessica’s Law (Penal Code Section 3003.5(b)) was enacted in 2006, no punishment exists in the statute. This law is still being challenged on the grounds of constitutionality.”

    Similar statements exist on numerous local law enforcement sites. Since PD doesn’t know what to book you for (do they write you a ticket, or arrest you for a felony?), they can’t take action.

    I believe, therein lays some hope. If the court rules that residency restrictions are constitutional, and can be applied to all registered citizens, the legislature is going to have to further define 3003.5. Perhaps they will show some leniency by failing to do so. If they do, then no changes will take place.

    On the other hand, they can fast track a bill, and resolve it immediately.

    At this point, it’s anyone’s guess! I’ve read the feedback provided by the numerous RC’s who were present at the hearing, and I am hopeful that the justices realize the stupidity of Jessica’s Law (their words). Fingers cross that Monday gives us all a reason to celebrate!

    • Vis I Tor

      Anyone with a legal, government or military background can instantly see the three “weasel terms,” that are used; may not, shall not, and unlawful. “May not” simply means “not permitted.” “Shall not” is an imperative command. “Unlawful” is not the same as “illegal.”

    • Clark

      The section code you noted is within parole control…within parole …outside of that would be putting free people in double jeopardy ..cruel unusual punishment ..deprived due process and more .

    • Joe

      While 3003.5 does NOT spell out what type of crime it is and what punishment is a consequence of its violation, it expressly authorized the individual jurisdictions to determine those two things.

      3003.5(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit municipal jurisdictions from enacting local ordinances that further restrict the residency of any person for whom registration is required pursuant to Section 290.

      And many cities have done so. Most often it is a misdemeanor – with regular misdemeanor consequences unless otherwise stated.

      What difference does it make who spells out the punishment?

  22. Hookscar

    I have been looking on this site for a while now and this is my first post. There is one common sense argument that I have not seen addressed in the argument on the constitutional value of being on a registry. If, as the Supreme Court has ruled, that the registry is not punitive, then why are punitive effects by not registering?

  23. mgm

    Wierd it says only applied to people on parole yet my son is on probation and they said jessicas law effects him and he cant live 2000ft from park/school. The heck? This is in SD county.

  24. Steve

    Maybe this will finally get the aclu involved. 30k people losing their homes would be something I would hope they will fight.

  25. MS

    This whole residency requirement is beyond stupidity. Currently the residency requirement ie Jessica’s Law only applies to those registrants while they are on Parole. It would not take you would think a rocket scientist to figure out while Registrants are on Parole they are required in California to wear a GPS monitor. That monitor is set up and alerts the Parole Office/Law Enforcement the minute the registrant is not in compliance. So what difference does it make where they live. Once they stepped anywhere near a park or school the monitor will alert the Parole Office? The accuracy range is less than 2000 feet.

  26. mgm

    It applies to people on probation to fyi. Which is bs.

  27. David

    Janice, thank you in advance for your legal analysis of the decision once the Court issues their ruling.

  28. MM

    MS … currently residency restrictions apply to every registrant … Whether on parole or not. SAD, BUT TRUE. Besides the fact that the court will rule on whether or not the restrictions are constitutional … I believe, they will finally answer whether if those restrictions apply to ALL registrants or those just on parole. Monday …

    • FED UP

      wrong

      • ca

        Why wrong?

      • MM

        Unfortunately I beg to differ with first hand knowledge. Seeing as how my husband has a charge from 1987 (and nothing since), he’s obviously not on parole/probation … yet, the city where we live did demand (and sent the police to all houses of all registrants, including ours) because we are too close to a school/park and therefore in violation of the residency restrictions. That was a little more than 2.5 years ago. We hired Janice Bellucci and after much negotiating with the city Janice was able reach and agreement to get a “stay of enforcement” until the case in re: Taylor was decided on. That is tomorrow. So, I don’t believe I am wrong. They could have made us move if we didn’t choose to fight and if we didn’t leave he would have subject to arrest for being in violation, as well as all other registrants in the city (which BTW … half of them did move away back then), because the numbers went from just over 40 (within the six month move out deadline) to where they are now to just over 20 … and have remained that way. Where was I wrong?

        • Mosley&Taylor

          MM: Even though the decision is announced on March 2, Cal Supreme court decisions have a 30 day review period before they become effective, which can be extended to 90 days, as in the current Jan 29th Johnson vs. DOJ decision.

          So presumably, in a worse case decision, there will be a minimum of 30 days advanced notice for registrants before it can start to be enforced. Again, this is a presumption.

          This will also give time for Janice and the board to evaluate the implications and give some opinions and perhaps possible options.

  29. no comment

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you from the State of Illinois where any CSO or anyone convicted in a other state who moves here is subjected to a 500 foot statewide restriction. We can’t live within 500 feet of schools, daycares or facilities exclusively or primarily for children unless the offender owned the home in question prior to a particular date which is presumably to a avoid the ex-post-facto argument in court. We still have people here being forced from homes when a daycare plans to open down the street but all it takes is a daycare application to trigger this or so I understand. We will be watching your court’s decision here as will every state.

  30. someone who cares

    Can someone explain to me why this could even be considered. The Constitution applies to all of the US and if you read the article attached here from Vancouver, WA, it clearly says to the question where sex offenders can live: Unless court ordered restrictions exist, the sex offender is CONSTITUTIONALLY free to live wherever they choose. Individual States just can’t decide on what is constitutional or not. If one State says it is not constitutional, it applies to ALL States. You can’t pick and choose when it comes to constitutional rights.

    http://www.cityofvancouver.us/police/page/faqs-regarding-sex-offenders

    • Harry

      Apparently cleaner, wetter and generally cooler air in Oregon and Washington is better on the brain. This would be interesting study.

  31. Home = Castle

    There has to be a point where a person reaches their limit. I will register. I will struggle to find work. I will adapt to losing most of my friends and family. I will deal with the home verification raids. But I will not be removed from my home while I have a pulse. I will not be banished. It is worth dying for to me.

    • Janice Bellucci

      There is no reason for you to die regardless of the CA Supreme Court’s decision tomorrow. There will be a way for you to live in peace in this state. After the Court’s decision, we will learn the details of how that can be done.

  32. km

    I know that worrying won’t help change anything, but I just can’t help it. I am so terrified about what this might mean for my friend, and for so many others in this situation. More homelessness won’t help public health and safety and I hope the courts will realize this. I hear that the judges in March will be different than the ones in December, is that true?

  33. David

    KM, yes, there are some changes to the Court: Justice Baxter retired at the end of January. However, because he heard the oral arguments regarding residency restrictions on December 2nd, he will participate in the March 2nd ruling.
    Two new justices were sworn in by Gov. Brown on January 5th: Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Justice Leondra R. Kruger.

    http://www.courts.ca.gov/3014.htm

  34. CA

    SACRAMENTO – A federal judge ruled Friday that a voter-approved restriction on where sex offenders can live can’t be applied retroactively, potentially freeing thousands of offenders from a ban on living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or places where children gather.

    U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton said there was nothing in Proposition 83, commonly known as Jessica’s Law, that specified its provisions were intended to be applied retroactively. When that’s the case, California law requires that the statute apply from the date it takes effect, he added.

    “The court finds that the law does not apply to individuals who were convicted and who were paroled, given probation or released from incarceration prior to its effective date,” he wrote.

    that is from 2/09/2007- Well that gives some of us RSOs piece of mind.

  35. Nicholas Maietta

    The booze is on standby. If it is a negative, we’ll be drinking to numb the pain. If it a positive, we’ll be drinking in celebration.

  36. David

    CA, could you provide a link to that ruling?

    • CA

      Google- 2007 Jessicas Law retroactive ruling, check it out, reply back!

  37. mike

    Patrik Henry GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH I think its going to get real ugly if the courts don’t do what they’re supposed to do and keep the legislation ob check and protect the constitution.

  38. David

    CA: Yes, ‘found it. Thanks.

  39. Marie

    Good luck, CA. My fingers are crossed for you.

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