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