REGISTRANTS SUE CA DEPT OF JUSTICE — DEMAND IMPROVEMENTS TO, OR END OF, MEGAN’S LAW WEBSITE [updated with media]

California Reform Sex Offender Laws (CA RSOL) and two registrants today will file a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court requesting immediate changes to, or in the alternative, the ending of, the state’s Megan’s Law website. The request is based upon the failure of the California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) to comply with a state law that required the agency to add conviction and release dates to individuals’ profiles on that website by 2010.

“The California Department of Justice continues to act illegally and in violation of state law,” stated CA RSOL president and attorney Janice Bellucci. “The agency has failed to meet a legislative mandate to correct the Megan’s Law website and that failure has resulted in several deaths as well as homelessness and unemployment for thousands of California residents.”

Roy Matagora, a plaintiff in the case, is one person who has suffered and continues to suffer due to the agency’s failure to comply with state law. Matagora is a recent victim of vigilante violence who was shot twice on September 21 by a neighbor who told police that he shot Matagora because he is a “sex offender”. The Megan’s Law website profile of Matagora lacks both the date of his conviction and the date of his release.

“The combination of an individual’s current photo and home address as well a lack of information regarding when he was convicted can be lethal,” stated attorney Chance Oberstein. “Unfortunately, the public often jumps to the conclusion that the conviction took place recently even though it may have occurred decades ago.”

About 92 percent of the profiles on the Megan’s Law website lack the year of conviction and year of release, according to the lawsuit. In fact, the older the conviction is, the less likely it is that the date of conviction appears on an individual’s profile.

“California DOJ is acting unlawfully and irresponsibly,” stated Bellucci. “They have put, and continue to put, at risk of significant harm, the lives of more than 50,000 individuals. The lack of this information disguises the fact that these individuals are unlikely to commit a subsequent offense. According to the Outcome Evaluation Report released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in July 2015, the rate of re-offense is less than one percent.”[1]

And according to Dr. Karl Hanson, a renowned international expert regarding the re-offense rate of registrants, a registrant who has not committed a subsequent offense in 17 years is no more likely to commit an offense than an individual who has never done so.[2]

[1] See CDCR Outcome Evaluation Report, page 30.
[2] See California Sex Offender Management Board report, “A Better Path to Community Safety”, dated April 2014, page 16.

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Video from KRON4 TV (article & video)

National News articles (mostly from the AP)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Lawsuit-California-breaks-the-law-on-sex-6623370.php

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/10/lawsuit-california-breaks-the-law-on-sex-offender-/

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/state/article44194080.html

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/11/10/lawsuit-california-breaking-law-on-sex-offender-website-leading-to-vigilante-violence/

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article44263749.html

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/offender-691524-law-sex.html

http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/registered-sex-offender-involved-in-lawsuit-with-the-state/36398306

http://fox40.com/2015/11/11/sex-offenders-file-suit-against-department-of-justice-for-failing-to-update-megans-law-website/

… and across the globe

http://24indianews.com/california-breaks-law-sex-offender-website/

 

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Thanks mch idk I’d I can do that because although I only have one count of 664/288 they tacked on a 288.2b and a 647.6 after i refused their plea deal. My public pretender offered absolutly no defense or rebuttal against any of the charges at jury so of course I was convicted on all counts. Instead of the 8 months of work project if I took the deal I ended up with 5 years 4 months in prison. So word of caution to anyone that wants to fight be sure you can afford a real attorney or take the deal. Sad but true. Anyway thanks mch I’m still going to look into it. And Janice you made headline news here in sacramento last night on fox with this suit. Way to go and god speed on it.

Guys, I actually filed my own 17 (B) and PC 1203.4 as well. Both were granted and I actually never came to court for the 1203.4. Good luck.

Are they doing this? Wouldn’t it be helpful to show EVERYONE”S assessment so people know who’s dangerous and who’s not.

“Beginning January 1, 2013, the Department of Justice is required by law to post static risk assessment scores for sex offender registrants who are eligible to be scored (Penal Code § 290.03-290.09). For information relating to risk assessments, eligibility, and scoring, please visit the State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (SARATSO)”

JANICE: The below cited articles (one from 2003 and one from 1998), from major news organizations (i.e., SFGate.com and a cited study conducted by the AP), indicates and serves to prove that the State of California, and local police departments, have been aware of the inaccurate information contained on their publicly-available database dating back at least 17 years. Their pattern and practice in response to the issue has been to do nothing more than provide ‘lip service’ to those who make inquiries or voice criticisms. I know that you and your ‘team’ will research and chart the yearly expenditures and allocation of funding by the State to operate the database and website. I believe this will prove that the State’s only concern is the $$. As we are all aware, a pattern and practice of reckless disregard as to (a) publishing inaccurate information that (b) places the safety of registered citizens at increased risk resulting in (c) proven acts of violence and vigilantism will need to be proven during the course of litigation. I hope this information proves to be helpful.

Further, the 1st article is from 1998, which pre-dates the establishment of the internet website. In the article, the then-CA Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, cites a “lack of resources” as the cause for not being able to update the information, and/or keep the information current.

2003 article headline reads: “Sex offender tracking criticized / Victims, police say Megan’s Law Web site outdated, inaccurate”
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sex-offender-tracking-criticized-Victims-2642468.php

Article from 1998. Headline: “Flaws Cloud Effectiveness of Megan’s Law”
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Flaws-cloud-effectiveness-of-Megan-s-Law-3081628.php

To those advocating inclusion of Static-99/R scores into the registry: the Static-99/R is often inaccurate. “Static-99 scores do not predict the severity of potential future offenses, however. Rapes involving extreme violence and the abuse of young children are lumped together with crimes like voyeurism and indecent exposure.” Peter Aldhous, “These 10 Questions Can Mean Life Behind Bars,” BuzzFeed News, Apr. 22, 2015. This is the main reason a tiered registry is dumb; it’s based on the Static-99/R! Under a tiered registry endorsed by CASOMB, a violent rapist and/or child molester may not be subject to lifetime registration — yet a non-violent voyeur and/or exhibitionist may be subject to lifetime registration because of one’s static score. The Static-99/R score is mostly reliant on number of charges and number of victims, in which felonies and misdemeanors are scored with equal weight. Equally, the Static-99/R scam scores non-violent and violent victims with equal weight! The Static-99/R is not scientific!

How about the information be true? They show my loved one living at my address. He does not. He comes here just about everyday but he lives in another city. So the site shows him living at two addresses.

If they don’t abolish the registry altogether, they should at least include one’s booking photo to help show how much time has passed since the crime was commited.

Very true. The information on this site should be updated! If they are so serious about continuing the site, they should at least maintain it. The date of convictions are missing/assessments are almost non existent and so on.

I absolutely agree with Tobin’s Tools. The Static-99/R is a scam. I disagree with “steve,” in that the Static-99/R inaccurately flags both first-time sex offenders and repeat sex offenders. Like Tobin’s Tools said: the Static-99 scam is highly dependent on number of charges/convictions and number of victims — as both are given most points compared to the other so-called “Risk Factor[s].” Thus, misdemeanors are given equal weight to felonies. Also, victims of non-violent crimes are treated with equal weight as victims of violent crimes. Again, a first-time non-violent exhibitionist and/or voyeur should never score higher than a violent rapist and/or child molester. How absolutely stupid, when all categories of sex crimes are lumped together into one so-called scientific ‘risk assessment.’ Andrew Harris, Amy Phenix, R. Karl Hanson, and David Thornton are all scam artists that must be exposed for being frauds (as they are the Static-99 creators)!

To correct steve’s claim, the “developers” of the Static-99/R (David Thornton, et al.) claim their fraudulant actuarial applies at moment of conviction. Hence, even a first-time offender is subject to Risk Factor scoring. The problem with the Static-99/R scam, as Tobin’s Tools and Hanson said, is all sex crimes are lumped together in the samples. Exhibitionism and voyeurism, crimes of non-violence, are not equal to rape and child molestation. Yet the Static 99 developers sell their scheme as applicable to all sex crimes. This is disingenuous at best. The Static 99 scam just tries to make the fortune telling process seem more scientific than it really is. Fact: no test can predict human behavior, not especially when the scam relies on only eight to ten questions. The CANADIAN (not American) Static 99 developers ought to be jailed for the fraud they continue to sell. People’s lives — and sometimes even freedom (in cases of indefinite detention and SVP hearings) — are harmed because of junk science!

Will CA RSOL challege missing scores as well? And if so, will the legitimacy of the Static-99R be challeged? I pled to five misdemeanor sex crimes in 2003 when I was 24 years old (first time offense). In 2005, right after probation, my record was expunged by the judge under 1203.4. Yet expunging it didn’t stop my status as a sex offender and having my info published! Last year, I applied for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The judge denied the C of R because I have a 6 score on the Static-99R! The judge ignored that I have never been arrested since, the letters and good reports I had, and my academic/treatment/employment progress. I appealed and lost because the judge has ultimate discretion. Why rely on the Static-99R? The Static-99R is a fraud! I made a mistake for God’s sake!

Just to add, a 6 on the Static-99R classifies me as a “high risk sex offender,” which I disagree with because I made a stupid mistake about 12 years ago (and learned from it). Under the tier-registry proposal, which relies on the Static-99R scam, I would be required to register for life! Contrastingly, a violent rapist who scores 3 would not be subject to lifetime registration under tiered registration. Any one see disproportionality? (BTW, John Gardner scored a “3.” So much for the Static-99 being accurate! /sarcasm)

Hi,
Awesome website. Thank you for all you do.
I just had a comment on the registry information being public. If part of the argument against it is the fact that when my brother was in prison he (and all inmates with the same crimes) were separated from the other population because of the fear of attacks and killing? I realize that being in prison is different that in the community but the same people that are in prison are in every community.
If the state of California has a reason to house them separately and take certain precautions, isn’t that an admission that the website and registry is a very dangerous thing?
Thanks,
Christina

The Static-99 needs to be revised to take into account: 1. treatment received/counseling completed, and 2. time/years since the offense occurred.

Is there any news on this lawsuit?

I found this memo today, from 2013, from the IT Director of the CA DOJ.

http://oag.ca.gov/sites/oag.ca.gov/files/info_bulletin_retire_clets_esa_usa_message_keys_0.pdf

It appears they have plenty of resources to work on this web site for ease of use, but apparently not for legal compliance dating back to 2010.

any update on this ?

I guess where this thing sits is maybe it is a very expensive lawsuit. I could sure believe that. Wasn’t back there in 2010 some push to get them to fix this? I can’t find, but the reply back then was lack of funding I think.

And last November Kamela’s spokesperson, Kristin Ford, said “the statute requires….., but there is no requirement that local law enforcement tell the department when an offender is released.”

Then maybe it isn’t good to press the issue, as Janis has a good relationship with them. Her offer to all of you who want the info added has been honored many times, which is a wonderful thing.