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ACSOLCaliforniaJanice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: The California Supreme Court has spoken but what have they said?

The California Supreme Court has spoken but what have they said?  The Court published two decisions today that were expected to determine whether residency restrictions are constitutional and if so, to whom do they apply as well as whether the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) may issue a blanket residency restriction to all registered citizens in San Diego while on parole.  These issues are of vital importance to more than 100,000 registered citizens and their families.  Unfortunately, the Court did not meet expectations because they failed to address these vital issues in a meaningful way for all but a few.

In the first of the two decisions, People v. Mosley, the Court ducked entirely the issue of whether residency restrictions are constitutional.  Instead, the Court relegated to a footnote that the issue is not yet “ripe”, that is, it is not ready for the Court to decide.  How can that be?  The rate of homelessness for registered citizens has tripled since passage of Jessica’s Law.  And, according to the CA Sex Offender Management Board, there were more than 6,000 homeless registered citizens in 2012 and that number continues to grow.

Also in that case, the Court did briefly discuss the issue of residency restrictions and concluded that they are not an “added penalty”.  Not a penalty?  Tell that to the homeless registrants forced to live in their cars if they are lucky and to live on the streets if they are not.  The only rays of light in this case shine from the dissenting opinion in which Justice Liu criticizes the majority of the Court for ducking this issue as well as the issue of whether residency restrictions apply to registered citizens who are not on parole.  In the dissent, Justice Liu states unequivocally that residency restrictions apply to all registrants and constitute punishment.

In the second of the two decisions, In re Taylor, the Court appears to hand registrants a solid victory by boldly and correctly declaring that residency restrictions violate the Constitution.  The Court bases this declaration on a finding that residency restrictions infringe upon a registrant’s liberty and privacy interests and that they constitute unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive official action.  Amazing, right?  YES…..but only if you are a registered citizen on parole in San Diego and only as a blanket restriction levied by CDCR.  The Court granted CDCR the authority to apply residency restrictions that are “more or less restrictive” than those found in Jessica’s Law provided that they do so on a case-by-case basis.

And what if you aren’t on parole and you don’t live in San Diego?  What if you completed parole decades ago and/or live in a county, that unlike San Diego, is not densely populated?  The answer to those questions will be determined in the future…..perhaps in a courtroom near you.  In the meantime, how many more registered citizens will suffer as they are forced to live separately from their families and become homeless?  How many more times will the Constitution be violated by Jessica’s Law, a law that is unreasonable, arbitrary, and oppressive?

Cities and counties can prevent the continuation of these violations in their jurisdictions by repealing their ordinances that include residency restrictions.  Any city or county that fails to repeal such restrictions faces the possibility of a legal challenge from California RSOL or other like minded organizations.

Join the discussion

  1. longlive

    I was ordered by the judge to register even tho my conviction didnt require it.. I to would join a class action.

    • Lance Mitaro

      There is many that are dealing with the opposite; whereas the judge determined non-registry status at time of sentencing, but the state DA will not honor the request and summarily they have to register under a compliance or prison ultimatum. I’m willing to hazard a guess and say 35% of those on the registry have non-contact, no victim offenses. Insanity.

  2. Timmr

    There is a constitutional argument out there that places equal emphasis on the word “cruel” and “unusual” and that the article only makes sense when the concept of “unusual” applies to punishment laws that don’t have a long history of trial and error in the common law.  Cruel and unusual means cruelly innovative. There is nothing more innovative than registering a large group of individuals and then legislatively  applying  restrictions based on a perceived dangerousness that somehow applies, without regard to individual differences within the registered population.  Our forefathers must have been keenly aware of how the sovereigns in Europe enacted several innovative laws against declared enemies within the state to please the masses and to amass their own political fortunes. Many of those enemies built this country to be free of these punishments that were arbitrary and had no precedent in the evolving common law.  I said registration has no long standing  precedence, but segregation and public shaming, other names for it does. From the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to the Japanese Internment of the 40’s to the sundown laws of the 50’s and 60’s, this country has tried and failed to permanently dispossess people of their rights and property. All were eventually declared unconstitutional, after first being sanctioned by the high courts.  Wholesale registration will in turn be declared unconstitutional, but when, who knows.

  3. NPS

    I, too, was ordered to register by a judge without providing any reasons for the findings nor reasons for requiring registration (pursuant to 290.006) other than because he could. Count me in with the class action.

  4. Molly

    Just a thought but California’s 1994 law was passed to “Unencumber law enforcement officers from restrictions that prevent them, even for public safety or investigative purposes, from revealing that certain persons are registered sex offenders” and while there was some discussion in 1996 about the law being necessary to help law enforcement that language didn’t make it into the legislative findings. As far as I can tell there was no reference at all in the 2006 bill analysis regarding law enforcement’s need for registrant’s information so extrapolating the only reason over 100,000 people are forced to register every year under threat of incarceration is to protect public safety because (and I am quoting) “Sex offenders pose a potentially high risk of committing further sex offenses after release from incarceration or commitment, and the protection of the public from reoffending by these offenders is a paramount public interest.” In 2013 the department of corrections reported a total of 111 registrants were re-arrested for a new sex offense, 111 out of 100,000 is 0.11100000000000001%…

  5. mike

    Great input timmer and Molly this is what this site needs intelligent minds contributing their thoughts and input to come up with practical effective measures to fight these lunatic legislators. You know after fully digesting the decisions made by the court both of their ruling make perfect sense. The court made it perfectly clear that there is no chance that any of these laws are ever going to be considered punishment so any challenges on ex post facto or cruel and unusual punishment will never prevail. The court have giving us three wins in just the last year the internet indentifiers the presence restrictions now the residence restrictions for parolees. Now with the Taylor case they have giving us grounds and precedent to continue to challenge registration as a whole and any other law the legislators pass. The key point and main challenge to registration and residency restrictions or presence restrictions is that all of it serves no legitimate legislative purpose because they fail to reduce crime or prevent recidivism in any way. No matter how much political rhetoric or mass media hype is used it cannot refute all the evidence based facts created in the csomb year end report or all the credible studies performed and documented by professional institutions across the US and the findings and conclusions by the supreme court in Taylor that none of these laws reduce crime or prevent crime or increase public saftey and in fact they all increase recidivism and hamper law enforcement with a overburdened registry that infringe on our liberties and privacy rights while they are actually counter productive to the legislative intent. And the blanket enforcement of these laws violate our right to be free of unreasonable arbitrary and oppressive official action. I really hope rsol or anyone else that tries to challenge any of these laws in the future realize these are the only issues that will prevail in our state. Rsol did a great job with using the pre emption clause in the presence restrictions ordinances a.d the ACLU or who ever argued the free speech clause in the internet disclosure case but moving forward I strongly believe that what I stated above is the only way we will ever prevail in this state.

    • steve

      I am pretty sure the same argument in Doe vs Harris was cruel and unusual punishment, but i do recall a remark I read after the opinion that the justices left it open to challenge again. Can’t remember where I read it but it seems you are correct another avenue will need to be pursued. With so many studies coming out now and saying registration is counter-productive, the regulatory scheme seems invalid.

  6. sadandmad

    this is nice, for San Diegoans. what about me?

    why is it that on PROBATION, i can live next to a school and park, but if i go to prison for the same charges, now i’m treated like scum and have so many restrictions.

    2000 ft, gps, AND a curfew?! thats too much!

    and how is this for “police surveillance”? it doesn’t prevent me from re-offending if i really wanted to (i dont, im just saying this “supervision” is easy to get around)

    so i can’t live at my moms, because the elementary, middle and high school i went to, plus 4 parks are all within 2000 ft. and whats with the 2000 ft being “as a crow flies”? im not an frickin crow, i’m a human!

    i will be donating to this site as soon as i can, and often!

    thank you for fighting for my rights, and realizing that restrictions should be case by case!

  7. Marie

    I’ll be a plaintiff.

    I’m a mom who’s crime was 18 years ago when I was 18.

    Had I known then (registry was on paper, you had to go to each town to view it) what the registry would become I’d have done much differently.

    How could I know that in my state now 18 years later I wouldn’t be able to: take my kids to the zoo, library, mcdonalds, on a hike , to a beach or the fireworks on the 4th of July. I can’t watch their Christmas concert or tball games. When they get sick at school and need me I have to get written permission by the superintendent to pick them up (state law). How can I be a mom?

    Tell the SC that is like a membership to Costco. Tell my kids that.

    In my state I’m off the registry but all the above restrictions apply. For life. To everyone ever convicted.

    The tiers are great but the state restrictions stink. I’d rather be on the public list in a state that allows me to fully participate in my kids’ education.

  8. Paul

    The one big takeaway from all this is that, once again, the Supreme Court has reiterated its opinion that registration, and all that goes along with it, is nothing more than “regulatory” in nature, and not punitive. Tell that to those of us who live this hell every day!

    Unfortunately, they did send a strong signal that they are not willing to reevaluate its position despite all that has changed since 2003: from presence restrictions, to residency restrictions; lifetime GPS monitoring, to “civil commitment”. The transition from being nothing more than an annual update, to where we are today, is worrisome, and the fact that the Supreme Court is blind to this is ridiculous. To make matters worse, we must live with the annual “let’s win votes by attacking sex offenders” event! It seems as though each year, someone in Sacramento comes up with a new and clever way to “regulate” us and, as registered citizens, this brings about a new array of rules and regulations.

    How is this NOT punishment? Take, for example, an average weeklong trip. Before any one of us ever leaves, we must:
    1) Be familiar with the registration laws of the state(s) that we are traveling to.
    2) Be familiar with any ordinances in any county that we plan on being in.
    3) Be familiar with any municipal codes, for any city, we plan on being in.

    As a non-attorney, every single one of us is required to research mountains of law to ensure that we don’t stray too close to a park (500 feet in some cities, 1,000 feet in others); that we understand what actually constitutes a park (does a playground at McDonald’s count? What about a bus stop?); that our hotel is in compliance (god forbid a bored police officer stop in to check the hotel guest log!). The list goes on and on and, in the end, makes even weekend travel simply not worth it! Why would I risk a possible felony to spend the weekend somewhere? And THIS counts as nothing more than signing up for a Sam’s Club membership? Only to an idiot, I suppose!

    In the end, the issue of registration is clearly “not ripe” for another challenge. And THAT is what is sad this week.

  9. sadandmad

    here’s the other thing. since my conviction, i have moved on. i got a place, was working 3 jobs, got married, had a child, was doing great.

    then i get a violation of probation completely unrelated to a sex crime, go to prison for my previous sex crimes, now have all these conditions. one if which is the stupid sex offender “treatment” class. look, ive moved on, i dont need to sit in a class and listen to someone tell me i was wrong, and im scum. in 38 other states, the age of consent is 16, and most guys after getting out of high school still date and have sex with their girlfriends, but NEVER get caught.

  10. Michael

    You know, I’ve heard George Runner on about 3 radio shows now and each time he has admitted that “there is nothing magical about 2000 feet” & “We only picked it because that stood up to court challenges in other states”.

    So, you see, by his own admissions, the court was right when they said Jessica’s law is an arbitrary and irrational ( “no rational relationship to…”, is what the court said) law in that regard.

    I intend to point that out in future online news articles or editorials on the subject.

    The other fear mongering thing he likes to say is that, even now, because of this ruling, “some sex predator my be taking out a leas on a residence across from a school”.

    Really? well, what I also intend to point out, as the opportunity arises, is.

    1) Of all the schools out there, how many have residences across the street from the that are for rent?

    2) If a RC does rent one of those few places, how do you know it will be a SVP?
    Maybe it will be a 40 or 50-someting year old guy who, when he was 19, was having sex with his 16 year old GF. her parents found out; called the cops; and that’s all she wrote. But now he has a family, and kids of his own. Been in no trouble since and is, generally, consider an asset to those that know him.

    So when you same all the “perverted SOs on the registry need to be hung up by their balls” and /or need & deserve their ongoing punishment of these residency and presence restrictions, and don’t deserve a moments happiness for the rest of their lives (all being comments I have read in the comments section of online articles/editorials) Do you really mean THAT guy too?
    Do you really believe that someone like that is a threat to your little boy or girl?

    3) And these day, with the few clicks of the mouse, everyone can be their own private detective. So if the home owner runs a background on the guy, there is a good chance he wont rent to him in the first place.

    So I would say all that pretty much cuts down on the number of sex offenders, now scrambling over each other, to run and rent houses across from schools from which the can have a base to work evil on the kids that go to that particular school.

    There is NO WAY, these people can spend 5 seconds thinking about some of their statements or positions on this matter, or they would realize =just how foolish they sound/are.

    Of course, the other, more likely, thing is that they are just big liars and are conservatives stepping on sex offenders because it is no longer fashionable to do so to homosexuals.

  11. sadandmad

    what really ticks me off, is that Jessicas law is for CHILD MOLESTERS, not EVERY AND ALL person convicted of a 290.

    i had sex with my minor girlfriend with a 3-4 year age difference. parole conditions are supposed to be RELEVANT to the crime committed. parole tells me i cant go to a park because “minor females MIGHT be there”

    well NO SH!T. minor females are everywhere.

  12. Cheryl B

    My husband and I have been trying to help a man with a family who is registered 290. He can’t even live with his family because he never formally adopted his stepson who he has raised since he was 6. Now his son is 13, needs his father and not only isn’t allowed to live with them – but he also cannot see him, talk to him on the phone, write him a letter, but him a gift, or even have a third party give him a message!!!!! His son is at a tender age where he needs his dad and is beyond heartbroken. He doesn’t understand. He’s acting out at school. Everything children would do when they are being abused – – but the abuse is coming via the STATE OF CALIFORNIA and his parole officer. Isn’t that that horrible?! I just told him that Jessica’s Law has been overturned so maybe now he can find a job. His PO “fired” him from his job in the Dollar Store two weeks ago because of proximity to children. Two days, I guess because of this law being overturned, the PO called and said he could go back to his job. He went in and they said, too bad – we already hired a replacement. Even with the law overturned he will still be living in his car in a Denny’s parking lot where he has to be by 9:00 every night because he can’t go home for 5 more years. His life is a living hell. They have a new baby girl and when he babysits her for his wife to work at Taco Bell, he has to sit in his car with her. Inhumane! I don’t know if you have any ideas of what can be done for James, but if so, let me know. He paid his debt for a one-time offense and deserves to live his life in peace with his family. Do you know if he can go into a church?

    • Timmr

      I can surely relate to this story. My son went through the same thing. He was not a victim until I was banished from the house. Then the once likable and a good student became moody, angry and stopped doing his assignments. I blamed myself, but that didn’t do any good for him. How can these people know what guilt one carries for the rest of one’s life because of that? How can they say we need to be constantly reminded of it–the idiots. What did work was eventually having supervised visits and then overnight stays. My wife was designated my chaperone. His attitude improved immensely.
      I don’t know how it is done today or how a none adopted son plays into this, but back then they tried to facilitate reunification, unless the spouse wanted a separation. Therapists balanced between being surrogate law enforcement and healers, not an easy thing.
      Not knowing how it’s done now. I would think finding a sympathetic mental health professional to document the negative effects of the son’s loss of contact with his father. Have the professional talk to the PO and suggest some kind of supervised visitation. It’s all about the welfare of the children. So we are constantly told by strangers who know nothing or care nothing about how this affects real lives.

  13. Ostracized Witch

    I pay property TAXES. Do NOT want popularity craving politicians saying I cannot enjoy my property.

  14. Anonymous

    As we hear of the terrible inhuman treatment happening across the globe on a daily basis, the horrible things happening to fellow human beings in the Mideast, it is beyond any justification, whatsoever. This registry system puts lives at risk, by illustrating their pictures and addresses; particularly when other “human beings” use the ruse that it is to protect society, when in fact it does the opposite. All behavior is “learned” from other human beings. This is a human condition. Fact: Maybe, it actually only creates unnecessary jobs and more taxes.

    • Timmr

      I’ve heard that 50% of the future jobs will be done by machines. This leaves a lot of disposable people to be put on registries, using one excuse or another, and thereby denied a humane living and services. Is this country creating a class of untouchables that in turn will need to be kept monitored so they remain in their class boundaries? In turn the rest of the unemployed will be hired to monitor the undesirables? Sure looks like the age of leisure and freedom from a life free from a lifetime of doing menial tasks, which is the promise of technological advancement, is being supplanted by the surveillance economy.

  15. Gentry Newsom4

    Hi, I’m a truck driver. I have committed no sex crimes and I’m now bound by law to be gps banded and a 11hr driving limit in a 14hr period 24/7/365

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