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California

Equality California to Co-Sponsor Tiered Registry Bill

Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, announced today that it has agreed to co-sponsor the Tiered Registry Bill (SB 695). The organization joins the California Sex Offender Management Board, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault as co-sponsors of that bill.

“Equality California is a powerful and welcome ally in the creation of the state’s first tiered registry,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “ACSOL looks forward to working together to revise the state’s lifetime registry which significantly harms members of the LGBTQ community.”

The Tiered Registry Bill was introduced on February 17 by co-authors Senators Ricardo Lara and Holly Mitchell. The bill is expected to be referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee for consideration in April although a firm date for that hearing has not yet been announced.

Join the discussion

  1. KM

    Yeah….this bill is going to pass.

    • Roger

      KM, your assumption that SB 965 is guaranteed to pass is WRONG!

      Legislators have demonized RCs for so long that they fear being accused by their constituents and election foes of being soft on Sex Offenders. They are really going out on a limb to vote for this bill. It is safer for them to keep one-tier inertia going.

      We have to fight harder than ever RIGHT NOW to get this bill passed!

      Californians, please support our efforts NOW by writing letters supporting SB 695. The deadline for letters to reach Sacramento is March 10 if you want to have them influence our lobbying (March 31 if you only want them to reach the senators in time for the hearing).

      • David Kennerly

        Well, I certainly have my own serious reservations about 695 but, on balance, I think that it is probably the best thing we could achieve now and into the foreseeable future, that is within a time frame of roughly two-to-three years.

        So, I have indicated my support to my Representative, Scott Wiener, my Assemblyman David Chiu (if it should get to the House), as well as to all of the other members on the Senate Public Safety Committee.

        I tend to think that, given the level of activism which ACSOL brings to the table, the deficiencies of the tiered registry can be overcome with time and level three Registrants might well attain relief in the next iteration of registry reform.

        I am also factoring in, what appears to be, an unstoppable juggernaut of criminal justice reform which makes the experiences of other states with tiered registries less relevant in the near term and which should mitigate our concerns for legislative stasis through the legitimation of the registry in which it acquires a fortified equilibrium.

        I pay very close attention to the media (of all kinds, this is a full-time job for me) and am very attuned to the zeitgeist of our day and I can see that something remarkable is going on, amidst all of the horrors with which we are all familiar: people are actually getting better informed about “sex offenders” AND people are getting uneasy with the extreme levels of punishment in American society.

        I will not, however, dismiss the concerns of others who believe them so serious that they cannot support the bill. I certainly understand their position and will not castigate them for it.

        However, I believe, and after a lot of reflection, that this would be a positive step forward as well as an important triumph for ACSOL in which it demonstrates, both to the Statehouse and to the public, that we are a force to be reckoned with. We need that, too. That may seem intangible but it is really important for this wider movement.

        While the bill isn’t perfect, I honestly don’t see how it could be any worse than the current Registry (and I’ve read all of the arguments, including my own, for why it might possibly be worse). I think it unlikely to be tangibly worse if, for no other reason, than what we have now is horrible.

        We often have to act with incomplete knowledge and uncertainty for the future and simply roll the dice. This is one of those times.

        • David Kennerly

          While no one responded to the above-post in which I offered a lukewarm endorsement of ACSOL’s endorsement of the bill, simply because it is the only thing that is possible now and does inject just enough opportunity into the Registry that might be exploited, I have found that it has cost me a Twitter Follower as well as a very nasty confrontation with another Twitterer and several other nasty emails.

          The thing is, I really don’t think it matters all that much what we think of the legislation. Our support is unlikely, in my estimation, to matter at all. The bill will pass or not without our opinions being expressed.

          A bigger problem with this bill may be for its potential to cost this organization some of its own support because some perceive it to be selling-out. I really don’t think that their concerns are well-founded. The Registry is a very long game and one that needs to be played shrewdly. We have to do what we can as opportunities become available.

          While there are areas of legitimate disagreement with ACSOL, it really is the only player making genuine progress in the fight against sex offender laws.

          So, unfollow me if you must.

        • Ranger11bv

          Remember, California is NOT the only place where they are trying to dislodge the registry. Please keep that in mind.

        • David Kennerly

          Sorry, I’m missing your point.

        • Henry

          David – As much I usually agree with your comments, I am of the opinion that those of us that disagree with the concept of a “tiered registry” actually have well-founded concerns. I know that you “don’t think that [our] concerns are well-founded.” But you also said, “[You] will not, however, dismiss the concerns of others who believe them so serious that they cannot support the bill.” That was in your earlier post. I also remember a post in which you eloquently wrote that this tiered registry will only provide a “tool kit” for the state to further oppress many of us. That is one of the many reasons why a few of us oh so vehemently disagree with the concept of a tiered registry. Maybe if the tiered law was written more straightforward, without the many loopholes that may very well drain much of our individual resources, I could personally get behind it. But that is not the case (as surely you’ve read the bill). The registrants I personally know (we are close-knit building productive lives) believe the same.

        • David Kennerly

          Thanks Henry. I shouldn’t have said that your concerns are not well-founded. That was hurriedly stated and is not my true opinion. What I should have said is that I think that our concerns with the bill are valid but that, upon a great deal of reflection, I believe that this bill, were it to become law, is unlikely to form a barrier to our efforts to dismantle the Registry, as a whole.

          Given that there is no possibility for dismantling the Registry today, however (given that there are certainly no legislators who will be introducing such a bill) this bill represents a significant opportunity to chisel away at it and not just with the reforms of the law itself.

          For example, the Static 99 inclusion in the law may actually represent one such opportunity. After the bill is passed, we can challenge that provision in court and have a very good basis for doing so.

          My thinking currently is that the idea of a “tool-kit” goes both ways and we are as likely to benefit from the tool-kit this bill represents.

          When some county d.a.’s/judges start denying petitions for removal, as they no doubt will, then we can start hammering them with lawsuits. I think that we will have an organization, with contacts amongst law schools and legal clinics, that will make that happen, regardless of personal resources.

          No doubt Janice and Chance can see other opportunities (such as 14th Amendment challenges) which I have missed.

        • Timmr

          I agree, this bill will open up lawsuits, but by whom? When it comes to challenging the static 99, or the petition process, wouldn’t the government point to ASCOL and say, “you knew it was there and what it was when you gave your approval.”

        • David Kennerly

          Well, ACSOL supports it as a better alternative than the present law but has had no role in drafting it or altering it, from what I can tell, and certainly wasn’t the author of the bill. Further it has criticized aspects of it which can then become the target for legal action. So no, there is no such basis upon which to dismiss any cases brought against the state in which ACSOL is or is not a party. That, I’m sure of. The government is responsible entirely for the bill’s elements and implementation, not us.

          This new law will form a much better target for challenge than the present registration law, in part due to the present regime’s uniformity of administration, i.e. everyone’s at one level and on it for the same time period, i.e. life so that there are virtually no opportunities to catch it out in, say, equal protection under the law claims or, in the case of the Static-99, alleging individual misclassification or even challenging the state’s use of a forensic instrument to a purpose for which it is clearly ill-suited. In addition, the statistics for recidivism can be profitably used to challenge the registry durations, including, of course, Tier III. The New York Times article that just came out is absolute dynamite for us in regard to recidivism rates. We’ve been waiting for such a high-profile revelation to reach into the minds of the judiciary, attorney generals, D.A.s, defense attorneys et al for a long time and now we finally have it.

          So this is my current thinking, that we get to raise holy hell with them when this thing passes. That’s not something we can do very well now.

          We need to consider that we now have an organization with lawyers, academics, a law school professor and growing legions of pissed-off Registrants and their families well-organized and ready to be mobilized in our fight. This is a very different position than we have previously occupied and makes California’s situation, were it to become a three-tier state, very different than any other with a tier system. I do think that the rest of the country will fairly quickly begin to similarly organize, however.

          We cannot judge today’s developments by what has been our experience for so many years; the times they are a changin’. And that means we have to be ready to act on the opportunities which are beginning to unfold.

        • Roger

          Thank you for your considered thoughts, David. Well said. SB 695 is FAR from perfect–the whole registry is a horrible idea–but this bill the ONLY way to begin moving the glacier of California registry reform.

          I was hoping others would reply to your comment.

  2. G4Change

    This is great news!

  3. Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

    There are some serious logical fallacies in this three tier strategy. The most glaring one is the belief that this is somehow “chipping away” at the registry. How silly! If that were true, then the 40-odd states with tiered systems should already be light years ahead in terms of abolishing the registry.

    When you say you are chipping away, is the goal to shatter the rock or turn it into a monument?

    • New Person

      To be fair, this registry was created without ACSOL involved. In fact, it was created to have no outside influence at all as it was set in stone, or so originally stated.

      Now, ACSOL has voiced their opinions and the “already set in stone” tiered proposal altered a bit. Remember, this bill is in its early stages and nowhere near its completion to become a bill. So the addition of Equality California with ACSOL now increases the lobbying pool to continue to “chip away” at this proposed tiered bill system.

      Janice and team’s small victories have added to the bigger war of overthrowing the registry. The presence restrictions and housing restrictions (for parolees) are wins for Janice and team for Californians. The presence and housing restriction wins were cited in the Michigan brief (well, I recall re:Taylor being cited specifically).

      The Michigan brief, in a nutshell, states that any added penalties, restrictions, or disabilities away from the original form of the 2003 “regulatory scheme” is deemed punishment. If the SCOTUS agrees, then the registry system gets abolished in Michigan and everywhere else. There is no point to the registry as all the restrictions, penalties, and disabilities will be abolished.

      Back to the Equality California, the tiered proposal, and chipping away. The tiered proposal is being sent forth by the state, not by ACSOL. Yet ACSOL is there to lobby against several factors, lobbying for use of research based information to mold the tier proposal. 17 years is the max surveillance under Dr. Hanson’s research, but the state still has lifetime registration. In fact, the tier possible release terms per three tiers are 10 years, 20 years, and no release. The arbitrary lifetime term has no research based analysis for continued use of such an archaic and irresponsible term. If 17 years is the max, then the corresponding terms for the lower two tiers also drops. Also, in light of Michigan’s Snyder case, any new added penalty, restriction, or disability is now considered punishment. Thus, any new harm imposed in this tiered proposal will be struck down.

      Janice and team want as many registrants off the registry as soon as possible while still trying to overturn the legality of the registry system. That’s why she continues to fight here on the tier proposal as well as recently earned the status to speak at the SCOTUS level. Janice has a plethora of research based work, which includes California’s own team of CASOMB reporting less than 1% recidivism rates for the past two years (now that we’re not including not registering as a re-offense offense) as well as have Doctors Ellman and Ellman as part of ACSOL.

      Ellmans’ research work proved that the SCOTUS did a hack job of substantiating the statistical recidivism rate was “frightening and high”. The research work discovered the high recidivism rate was a false fact.

      Janice and team have slowly been adding quivers to its arsenal to combat the registration regulatory scheme. They are going to make public safety go on record to record all the research based information and probably ask them why is this tiered system the way it is now as well as were they got the research base information for these set terms and penalties, disabilities, or restrictions.

      Remember, this tiered proposal was stated to be “set in stone”. Enough chipping away at the foundation could bring the house down. Increasing the pool for lobbying means more people chipping away. Equality California increases the voice to “Stand up. Speak up.”

      • Chris F

        I am confused with this part:

        “The Michigan brief, in a nutshell, states that any added penalties, restrictions, or disabilities away from the original form of the 2003 “regulatory scheme” is deemed punishment. If the SCOTUS agrees, then the registry system gets abolished in Michigan and everywhere else. There is no point to the registry as all the restrictions, penalties, and disabilities will be abolished.”

        Why does calling the registry “punishment” negate the registry? It merely makes it so you can’t retro-actively apply the laws. People that get convicted (or even deferred apparently) will still be held to all of the SORNA revisions if conviction was after the law was created.

        Not until the “punishment” of the registry is deemed unconstitutional on other grounds will it be struck down for all. We need it struck down for “Bill of Attainder”, “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”, “violating Due Process”, and whatever other violations apply to everyone going forward.

        I think we are at a point where it could be challenged even back to the 2003 Smith V Doe and Conn Dept Pub Safety V Doe cases since those were based on false information and less intrusive laws than they exploded into. The Connecticut case dealt with the registry being public, and was approved by SCOTUS only because the list wasn’t meant to indicate a level of dangerousness. Well, that argument can’t be used again since all of the laws added on specifically mean people on the list are dangerous.

        • New Person

          Here is why the registry will be struck down, from my POV.

          In 2003, Justice John Roberts called all the possible escalation from this registry “conjecture”. Also, the “frightening and high” recidivism rate was the key point for keeping surveillance.

          In the Michigan Snyder case, it states anything ABOVE what was specifically and originally set in 2003 Doe v Smith decision will now be deemed punishment. If this agreed so by the SCOTUS, then Justice Roberts has admitted his mistake on calling what a “regulatory scheme” will not do as it has come to pass.

          Then, with ample evidence that the 2003 decision was based upon false facts to drive the narrative that ex-offenders need to be under surveillance, the SCOTUS will need to take a pause. In the Peckingham case, NC’s attorney kept reiterating “high recidivism rates”. Fortunately, many research studies have recorded recidivism rates and found them to be very low.

          So…
          1. Anything above the original standard of registry is punishment.
          2. The narrative to be under surveillance has been disproved on two fronts:
          ……. a) The SCOTUS used false facts (Thanks, Dr Ellman and Ellman!)
          ……. b) The plethora of recidivism rates are very low. (Thanks, CASOMB… for no longer including ‘not registering’ as a re-offense statistic. This is what drove down the reoffense rate to under 1%.)

          .
          See. So going in person at the local police dept to do your registration is punishment b/c in 2003, you simply had to mail in a form. Well, that’s how I read the intent of the PDF file. So we could be envisioning or interpreting different things.

      • DPH

        OMG NEW PERSON, you got it right. A4CSOL needs a Comm. Director/PIO/PR Director and I believe you are the right individual. Facts stated and covered bases. Thanks.
        EqCa.org brought my Marriage together in 08′
        And everyone not getting it is they are kinda like ACLU in L.A. They see some positives in the Tiered System Bill. And flaws. But this is The Closest for mist RC’s in CA. In the right direction. Although the 3rd or lifetime needs alot of proven research that portion is wrong to do without alternatives, the bill writer is prob trying to please John Q Public…because; you and I bith know they are gonna Screammm…OMG-Their gonna release all the SO’s!
        And Calif. Is gonna cave in and our children are going to be worse off and exposed to high risk! Oh NO, No Tiered Bill to their Reps and Senators. Dont pass the bill. If we dont start somewhere, RC’s will always be lifetimers on Cali Reg and websites.
        New Person must have a Master’s and should participate more often.
        We need to be less emotional in response and see the whole picture as Janice and Chance and Ira and THE Board sees it. For the future and more civil rights restored and carry it out. This way RC’s, newly released or long termers will be treated more fairly.

      • Lake County

        New Person, that was very well written. You should speak up here more often.

      • Roger

        Very well said, New Person.

        Janice sees the big picture and has more experience than any of us. That’s why I support her unconditionally.

        I support 3-tier even though it will not help me until it is modified later for level 3s.

        I will not demand a perfect tiered bill. Three-tier can and will be chipped away at later once we have an actual law passed, which we don’t have now. Right now, everyone suffers forever.

        I will not say that I want tier 1s and 2s to suffer because the bill won’t help me now.

        I am focusing on the long-term.

        Which of my fellow tier 3’s in California agrees?

        • New Person

          Roger,

          As for tier 3’s, I’ve stated this before, California Constitution protects your inalienable right to pursuing and obtaining privacy.

          Currently, all registrants in California are subject to a “lifetime term” of loss of privacy. Inherently, there is no built-in process to for one to pursue and obtain privacy b/c the “lifetime term” means just that… a term without privacy for life.

          This should be a civil issue that infringes upon inalienable rights granted by the state of California. Because a regulatory scheme is not punishment, then there no form of “cruel and unusual” standards.

          We can take this statistically as well. This new tiered proposal will let about 10,000 off the registry once enacted. This means the state of California has purposely withheld the process to pursue and obtain privacy. The state cannot deny this b/c there will be 10,000 who will be relinquished from registering. So why now and not before?

          Then, if the tier still continues to force tier 3’s to register for life without an avenue to pursue nor obtain privacy. This is by far even more negligent as it reiterates the negation of an inalienable right granted by the California Constitution.

          I’m teed off that my 1203.4 does not amount to much b/c all the businesses, housing complexes, and foreign countries can treat me the same as if I never earned the 1203.4 that states I am a rehabilitated person. The state basically cut off my pursuit to regain (obtain) my privacy that I lost due to my offense by a standard they cite as rehabilitated as well as to return me to form before my offense. It doesn’t.

          I’m no lawyer. I’m just a laymen. But I’m trying my darndest to find anything within the laws to find a different avenue to beat registration in any way, shape, or form. The pursuit and obtaining (regaining) privacy is protected by the California Constitution and all tier 3s should be wondering why this issue hasn’t been brought up before. The constitution does not care whether you lost your privacy due to punishment or regulatory scheme as it is deemed as an inalienable right to pursue and obtain. The state of California has removed that option completely from tier 3s. Shouldn’t this be a civil suit as California isn’t following it’s own statute?

    • Chris F

      It’s definitely not chipping away at the core, other than to get some off of it.

      At best, it will get some off and create more issues that can be challenged in court, at worse it makes the registry more palatable so challenges to it being unconstitutional as a whole may now fail.

      If anyone gets added to the registry due to this bill, then it should be challenged as ex-post-facto for those individuals. There is now enough cases to site in other districts where the registry is considered clear punishment that can’t pass the tests even from Smith V Doe.

      Those who don’t get off because of convictions after the magical 1987 date should be able to challenge being on the registry after they have been on as long as those allowed off the registry. Otherwise, it violates Equal Protection for people in the same situation being treated differently due to an arbitrary date.

      As soon as enough data come up that judges aren’t allowing qualified people off the registry, I would think there could be some lawsuits due to that.

    • Anonymous

      As with any civil rights movement in American history, progress is never made in a single bound. I would know – I worked for years to secure LGBT non-discrimination laws in the State of Maine. I agree the registry in any form must be completely and unequivocally abolished, but it must come with incremental steps. Save for an unlikely death blow from the Supreme Court, I don’t know expect the registry to disappear overnight. The pendulum of public policy and opinion is moving in our favor, albeit slower than any of us would like. I do believe one day our society will look back at the registry much the way we now view other civil rights violations of the past like Japanese American internment and LGBT discrimination, the latter of which is still a work in progress. In Maine our law specifically allows judges to increase sex offender sentences if the offender is the same gender as the alleged victim (see MRS Title 17-A Sec. 257(B)). In Maine, the Static-99 is only applied to men and as many of you know, your risk score is increased if the alleged victim is the same gender as you. In light of still-existent sodomy laws across the nation (including California, where underage sex between heterosexuals is not registrable but homosexual underage sex remains a registrable offense) and an array of criminal laws and policies that disproportionately impact LGBT people (see Journal of Pediatrics, Dec 2010; Nonheterosexual youth more likely to be punished and criminally charged), there is an apparent link between LGBT discrimination and the perpetuation of the registry.

      • Trader Joe's

        It’s quite ironic that this pro LGBTQ group wants a “tiered” registry. But do they even know that the Static 99 used in this bill will discriminate against the same people they purport to help?

    • Timmr

      Beautiful image. Looks like the other registries have evolved to this tiered shape and that’s it. It is done. I guess it looks a little more thought out than just lumping everyone together, and it satisfies the courts that it is being tailored.
      I brought up that question about the states with tiered registries and are they any closer to abolishment. All I could get as an answer was really a condemnation, and that was I was condemning people to be on the registry forever by wanting abolishment.

  4. John Coffey

    WOW, we didn’t see this coming…surprised and Thankful. Many Gay related RC’s out there. EQ has listened. Thanks Janice for adding this important backer to SB-695.

    • Lake County

      Janice did not add this important backer to SB-695. Only the Bill’s author can add a co-sponsor.

  5. mike r

    everything you said is spot on chris..theres so many issues and ways to attack the registry and this tiered bill just makes one more hurdle for the next big case..but its a very weak argument and doesn’t come close to negating all the other issues…

  6. H.p.

    Wait a minute. Equality California, the largest LGBT organization is supporting this terrible tiered registry. Yet do they not realize that it is going to use the flawed STATIC-99/R test? The STATIC-99 increases “risk factors” / points for those with male victims. The inference being that those with male victims are likely gay.

  7. mike r

    it seems as though common sense is completely absent when it comes to sex offender laws…

  8. Janice Bellucci

    Below is an explanation from the Equality California website today regarding why they have chosen to support the Tiered Registry bill:

    SB 695, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) and Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), replaces California’s existing universal lifetime registration requirement for sex offenses with a tiered system based on the seriousness of the crime, the risk of reoffending and criminal history. There are over 100,000 registrants in California, far more than any other state, and California is one of only four states with a universal lifetime registry. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill to address the unfair circumstance of LGBT people who were targeted and often entrapped on charges that required registration when their actual actions hurt no one, including for simply engaging in same-sex contact when that action was criminalized in the past. These members of the LGBT community were required to register as sex offenders for life even though their convictions are now decades old and the law and its enforcement have changed, and the basis for many of these arrests was due to anti-LGBT discrimination and police entrapment. This bill would remove these people from the registry along with others in similar circumstances and put a new, efficient, risk-based system in place.

    • Hmmm...

      But is this bill *really* a “risk-based system?” The tiers are still very much organized according to crime. And the “risk” they speak of is determined by the very limited and flawed Static-99R. As mentioned above, it’s the very same Static-99R that discriminates against gay people:

      Look at risk factor/question number 10:

      http://www.static99.org/pdfdocs/static-99rcodingform.pdf

      • Melissa

        That’s a smoking gun; it clearly discriminates against gays. Why not ask Equality California to take a position against the Static 99R (since it clearly disadvantages gay people). Last weekend, my husband and I listened to the November 30th conference call recording on the tiered registry. Almost everyone brought up their disagreement to the Static 99R. If so many people are against the Static 99R, then it has no place in this law. I feel instincts are often correct. The Static 99R is the one thing we can all seem to disagree with.

        • Roger

          QUESTION FOR YOU, Melissa and “Hmmm”: Are you or are you not willing to commit to joining us NOW in writing letters and making calls in support of this IMPERFECT bill that would become a law that will be the foundation for our freedom?

          No disrespect intended, but your negative comments are read by many silent readers, and it tears down their hope. We are in the middle of a battlefield, and you guys are debating whether or not we should fight!

          Discussing issues like Static-99 is perfectly fine, AS LONG AS YOU TAKE ACTION WITH US RIGHT NOW. We have hard deadlines. The time for inaction, fence-sitting and intellectual nit-picking on this bill is over.

          Once this bill is a law, we can use all our resources to fix it. WE HAVE HAD INCREDIBLE SUCCESS IN MODIFYING LAWS. But during the next weeks we will be in a battle for our future survival. Static 99 can be adjusted later.

          REALITY CHECK: If this bill dies due to lack of support, it will be AT LEAST 2 YEARS before we get another chance. How many RCs will become homeless, lose support, and even commit suicide because we intellectually nitpick this bill from the comfort of our computer screen?

          REALITY CHECK: Your lack of support because Static-99R has imperfections could mean tens of thousands of RC families suffer. Can you live with that?

          Please support our efforts now by writing letters. The deadline for letters to reach Sacramento is March 10 if you want to have them influence our lobbying (March 31 if you only want them to reach the senators in time for the hearing).

        • Hopeful

          I agree with u roger. We have to start somewhere. If the tiered states had advocates like Janice maybe their laws would be more reasonable. We should not squander this rare opportunity. Letters outbound.

  9. Lll

    Other states have adopted the tiered registry been labeled “punishment” and continue to get more droconian every year amounting to banishment. And alas you need deep pockets for Any type of appeals process. Retroactive in nature and post ex facto in purpose.

  10. NotLikingCA

    I’m so glad Janet and company have decided to support this bill that is a step in the right direction instead of listening to all of the my-way-or-the-highway comments that inevitably come up in these discussions.

    • it's true for both sides

      The “my-way-or-the-highway comments” come from both sides it seems.

      • Roger

        Let’s hear your practical plan of action, based on current political realities.

    • NotLikingCA

      I should say “Janice”*

  11. Roger

    Here is a REALITY CHECKLIST for idealistic Californian RC armchair critics who refuse to work with ACSOL to support California Senate Bill 695:

    REALITY CHECK #1: This bill is not perfect–especially Static-99R and the potential costs–BUT it’s NOT like we get a lot of chances to support a bill that stops all RCs from leaving the registry. It took YEARS to get legislators to seriously back a tiered registry bill! Politicians didn’t want to touch it!

    REALITY CHECK #2: Your refusal to write letters in support of this bill may mean IT COULD BE YEARS BEFORE ANOTHER BILL IS BROUGHT UP. Won’t you feel great being the cause of tens of thousands of RCs and their families suffering on the registry when they could have gotten off? The same goes for level 3 RCs who don’t want level 1 and 2 RCs to have a chance to get off until 3’s can.

    REALITY CHECK #3: Banishing the registry today IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, despite the long intellectual legal arguments I have read by some people on this website. Tiers are a necessary, imperfect first step in bringing sanity to how sex offenders are treated. We have to start with something concrete and then lobby for incremental improvement.
    Consider this historical parallel: Should black slaves have not wanted the civil war to end slavery because they expected continued discrimination even after being freed? Of course not! They wanted whatever freedom they could get. They then fought for a century to gain basic civil rights in in the 1960s.

    REALITY CHECK #4: We didn’t write the bill. We don’t get to choose what we want in it. This isn’t a menu you can pick and choose from.

    REALITY CHECK #5: Just because the tiered registry that almost all other states have is not being incrementally improved at a rate we would like to see does not mean the registry in California is fated to do the same, because ACSOL will continue to lead the fight! And remember that California strongly influences other states, so an incrementally-progressive registry here could help RCs in other states.

    WE RC’S HAVE TO TAKE WHAT WE CAN GET AS A LEGISLATIVE STARTING POINT.

    THIS BILL IS OUR STARTING POINT.

    California RCs and supporters, please join us in writing letters and making calls in support of this bill. Ideally, they need to reach the legislators BEFORE March 10. That will support our lobbying efforts.

    That’s for your support. We are all in this together. Divided, we fail. United, we can make awesome change.

    • steve

      Great post

    • Lake County

      Wow, that was another well said statement in support of this bill. I couldn’t agree more with all of your points. This bill is only a first step in removing everyone from the public registry. Our families have suffered enough and expect each of us to try and get removed from this horrible stigma as soon as possible. This is our first chance, don’t let it pass us buy just out of fear of details that can be worked out later. Even with all our support, the State Legislators are still likely to not pass this Bill, especially if victim advocates speak up against it.

    • H.p.

      REALITY CHECK for you Roger: Blacks did not fight to be broken up into 3 tiers. The North fought to bring the unfair law down for ALL. Ever heard of something called the Emancipation Proclamation? I don’t ever recall the Emancipation Proclamation splitting blacks into 3 tiers, then making them “petition” to be freed, silly. Secondly, I think you are wrong in saying tiers are “a necessary, imperfect first step in bringing sanity to how sex offenders are treated.” IF that were true, why do the other states with so called “tiered” registries” generally have more harsh sex offender laws than CA? It sure seems that having a tiered system has made it worse for the tiered states! Finally, you want us to ignore the two facts that many of us have a problem with: 1. The probably very expensive “petitioning” process that may likely cost THOUSANDS in attorney fees; and 2. The fact this bill will rely on the junk science STATIC-99/R. Let people make up their own minds about this terrible bill.

      • Lake County

        “why do the other states with so called “tiered” registries” generally have more harsh sex offender laws than CA?”

        Simple answer, because other states in the past did not have Attorneys willing to stand up for us. In the past, attorneys and the ACLU did not want to fight for us because of fear of getting labelled as a supporter of sex offenders. This label could definitely hurt their income and in the case of the ACLU, cause them to loose support and donations towards all the other constitutional issues they fight for.

        Now that the registry has gotten so much harsher, it’s becoming easier to show how that many parts of it is unconstitutional. With each court case win for us, the more attorneys have become willing to start to get involved with our fight. Also most law schools nationwide are stating that these laws are not constitutional and are teaching the new generation of law students about this issue. And most importantly for us, we have people like Janice and Chance who our actively fighting and winning these fights for us. There are other advocacy groups out there, but ACSOL has been the leader for us in California trying to restore our civil rights. No other state has an organization working so hard and successfully in this effort.

        We can send our support to this bill but also mention the many issues we have in it’s details. This in no way changes our goals of abolishing this and all registries used to publicly shame American Citizens.

        • H.p.

          It just SEEMS awfully coincidental that the tiered states evolve to become WORSE that CA. What is your motive for selling this TERRIBLE “tiered registry” bill? I can read. I’ve read the bill, and all our arguments for/against it. As long as this bill keeps the likely expensive petitioning process and the junk science STATIC-99/R “risk assessment,” then there is NO WAY I can support this so called “tiered registry.” Like I said, let people make up their minds about this terrible bill. Over the years, I’ve learned to trust my gut. And guess what? My gut tells me that the tiered registry is a bad idea. There is nothing intellectual about that.

        • Roger

          H.P., all the defects in the bill you bring up are valid issues. It has plenty of problems.

          BUT all of your arguments against the bill assume that it is carved into stone, forever locked and unchangeable. That is NOT what is going to happen. Even though ACSOL is not the one writing the bill, ACSOL is going to continue to successfully fight to make those improvements INCREMENTALLY. That is how real-world politics works.

          Would you refuse to get on a rescue boat in a flood because it didn’t have comfortable seating? Would you refuse emergency field surgery for a life-threatening wound because the stitches were not perfect? Would you refuse cancer treatment if your doctor could not guarantee you perfect health in a specific amount of time?

          California originated the registry, and will be the hardest to reform. SB 695 is the necessary first step.

          Join us in our fight. Please don’t spit on our work and tell 105,000 RCs to give up hope.

        • ONE DAY AT A TIME

          Roger, I applaud your effort to not tire on your effort to respond to those that are afraid of their own shadow. This Bill is a crucial first step against those that want to forever condemn us.

      • NotLikingCA

        I really wish fellow sex offenders would stop comparing themselves to persecuted minorities. It makes us look so terrible. Committing a sex offense is NOT the same as being born with black skin.

        • Roger

          NotLikingCA, focusing on whether discrimination is caused by skin color or by someone’s actions is avoiding the point. I tremendously respect the centuries-long fight minorities have fought for civil rights, and we can learn a lot from their battles.

          Censuring me for showing parallels means you are focusing on the differences rather than the strong parallels in the ways the public and politicians discriminate against ANY group of people. Human emotions and the political process discriminate in common ways, no matter what the discrimination is for.

          For example, a key way to discriminate is to dehumanize people. Many classes of people have faced this, such as minorities, gays, certain religions, and—yes–we RCs.

          As a result, many groups have faced discrimination in housing, difficulty in finding employment, being verbally assaulted, and many other ways. That includes RCs.

          Let’s learn from the parallels and be united in taking action for our freedom.

        • Not Really

          NotLikingCA, on the one hand you have a point to a degree, on the other hand, Google “Paragraph 175” to learn about the Nazi penal code. Yes, it was a about sex. In fact, there are some good documentaries about it. So while RCs maybe could avoid comparing themselves to the Jews, there is historical relevance.

        • David Kennerly

          We ARE a persecuted minority. I defy you to name a minority in the U.S. today who is more persecuted and by any measure of persecution.

          The comparison to Jews in Nazi Germany is obvious as there are a great many parallels.

          We are not monolithic and there are many reasons one could end up on the Registry but, once on it, we share many of the same disabilities with one another and, indeed, the Jews of Nazi Germany.

          I think that your concern for looking “terrible” suggests that you believe that we all share a common, and deserved, fate of perpetual contrition and abject servility. You may believe it but I do not.

        • ONE DAY AT A TIME

          “Committing a sex offense is NOT the same as being born with black skin.” Maybe not exactly the same situation, but many have been placed on the list through no fault of their own because of a false claim by an angry ex-spouse or a criminal justice system gone bad. Many take a plea deal because the DA is threatening decades in prison if you loose on a he-said, she-said case, but take the plea and you’ll get no jail.

    • C

      Awesome – we’ll said!

  12. M.

    If some of us choose to “intellectualize” whether this is a terrible bill, then it is a good sign.

    Many of us are in the position of being labeled a “sex offender” not only because of our own past failures and bad decisions, but also because the politicians did not ‘intellectualize’ our current law in the first place. The tiered registry is an intellectually dishonest bill! It relies on a potentially expensive petitioning process without guarantees, with minimum time periods that aren’t backed by evidence, as well as the Static-99R scam.

    In regard to Roger’s comment: since you bring up the slavery analogy, I do *not* remember Abraham Lincoln or Frederick Douglass believing the South should split blacks into three tiers so that they can be “divided and conquered.” In case it isn’t clear to you, that is what this law intends to do. As Abraham Lincoln said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

    Since you brought up the slavery analogy, here is another quote; this time by Frederick Douglass: “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

    By accepting this ridiculous tiered registry, you are giving our lawmakers the message that a registry is acceptable when it is not. When a person completes parole or probation, there should be no registration scheme that follows! (As is true for those who are discharged after committing robbery, murder, or more egregious crimes.)

    • Roger

      I’m glad you agree this a battle is not an intellectual one, but an emotional one. People rationalize what they feel they want to believe with contorted logic and rhetoric, ignoring reality. Your statements show that.

      Janice has a real strategy based on the real world considering real political limitations. You are not an expert, you have no legal skills, and you don’t understand how change occurs in real-world politics.

      Most of what you wrote was a rhetoric-filled fantasy world constructed of “should”s and “ought”s that don’t help anyone. You want a perfect solution immediately, so you will accomplish nothing. You just tear down our efforts to incrementally help 105,000 people. Are you really so selfish that you would let 105,000 people suffer forever due to your limited knowledge of how real-world politics and law works?

      “Should be no registration scheme” is like saying there should be no poverty and injustice. They DO exist! You ARE registering! Deal with it! The politicians and public have ALREADY assumed the registry is acceptable since the 1940s! We want to use a tiered system to show them that we are not all alike. Then we can push for changes. You want them to magically shed their fear, give us hugs, and abolish the registry.

      You distorted the Douglass quote you MISUSED: you implied that he was saying blacks should just sit on their butts and suffer to out-wait oppressors until the perfect solution came along. WRONG! It took him three times to escape from being a slave! He also wanted blacks to take action, like ACSOL. He worked within the limitations of that time to make lasting change. For example, he spoke and wrote to change attitudes, just as ACSOL does to politicians and the public. He was a man of ACTION. You throw up smoke to hide from reality and to do nothing to encourage and help us.

      You said nothing that is actionable and helpful to us RCs.

      Armchair critics destroy good things with their pride.

      I pray you will swallow your pride and listen to Janice at the phone conference March 8. She is the expert, and can help you see beyond the issues that are blocking your vision.

      We can only succeed when we work united. Otherwise, those who hate us will laugh as we fragment into tiny, ineffective cliques who have their own agenda.

  13. Roger

    H.P. and M, your basic premise is INCORRECT. You assume that the problems with this bill cannot and will not be modified, and that its previsions are set in stone.

    EVEN IF FEW RC’S GET OFF THE REGISTRY in the first version of this law, it doesn’t matter, because we CAN and WILL have success in modifying it! Other states didn’t have ACSOL!

    Your desire to only support a perfect solution ignores human nature! There is so much fear about RCs that getting ANYTHING passed to start us on the road to eliminating the registry is a miracle. California has had a registry since the 1940s, so it is a whole lot tougher to change it.

    You try to push my slavery analogy to ridiculous extremes by bringing in the tiers. My point is this: LINCOLN WAS A PRACTICAL MAN WHO DID AS MUCH AS HE COULD GIVEN THE POLITICAL CLIMATE.

    ARE YOU UNWILLING TO TAKE ACTION THAT DOESN’T MEET WITH PERFECTION?

    What viable alternatives are there? Abolish the registry today? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

    Are you as knowledgeable and experienced as Janice?

    Armchair intellectual dissension is destructive to getting tens of thousands of RCs off the registry.

    Please write the letters even as you get more information on why imperfect SB 695 is our ONLY hope right now to build a better future.

    We need your support.

    • M.

      I will not support this ridiculous “tiered registry” bill. I’m sure others will.

      Good luck. Hope you get what you’re looking for.

    • M.

      I will *not* support this ridiculous “tiered registry” bill. It has way too many flaws that can end up backfiring. But I’m sure others will.

      Good luck. Hope you get whatever it is that you’re looking for.

      • Roger

        M., if you are a California RC, then this “ridiculous” bill is your ONLY way out. You are pretty good at pissing on what you obviously don’t understand, but what is YOUR plan?

        [crickets chirping]

        I see. That’s what I thought. It’s always easier to tear down than to build up. You’ve got nothing solid, just pie-in-the-sky rhetoric.

        I will be very interested in hearing your spin in the future on how it turned out you were wrong, but benefited from the hard work done by the rest of us who got away from our computer and took action.

  14. MH

    The tiered system would be far more effective in weeding the overburdened registry currently in use and eliminating those that have had a clean record for decades, when one uses the word ‘decades’ it carries with it a denotation of persecution thats gone way beyond the scope of ‘time served’ and presents a world of ostrasizim spanning ‘ decades ‘, what ever happened to the words so long ago uttered by our forefathers, ‘ justice for all ‘, where did that meaning evaporate to ?

    • Henry

      I disagree. This “tiered registry” does not represent “justice for all.” I am good friends with a close-knit of registrants (in that we live together and are building/rebuilding productive lives). This bill will either harm or make things uncertain for all of us. We used to carpool to every acsol meeting, but we are now wondering if the organization is truly looking after everyone’s interest. We are actually all quite worried about this bill and how it has the potential to destabilize the good home we’ve built for ourselves as we work to one day move out on our own ways.

  15. civil rights first

    Put lipstick on a pig and its still a pig!

    I live in a state that has a Tiered system.. and it uses that BS Static99R (life is not static). But guess what…. even with that Static99R I scored a Level II with a Risk management level of B (that is for probation). But the government is going to do what it wants to do. My conviction happened in a little podunk town that when I was being released from prison I didn’t have any family there or many friends left in that town so I requested to release to a larger City so I could have better chance of finding housing, job and schooling. The lovely Department of corrections granted my request but since I was releasing to a county of non-conviction and I didn’t have a “support system” in the city I was releasing to they arbitrarily raised my level to a Level III. I thought oh well I will show them and they will lower my level again and I can work towards getting off. I went back to school got my Bachelors of Science degree, got a job maintained housing developed a support group oh and did 10 years of Probation without one single violation.
    It’s now 15 years later and guess what? I am still a Level III. Good luck getting anyone to sign their name on a piece of paper supporting a lower level classification let alone to ever being released of the obligation to register.
    But like I said I don’t live in Cali so what you feel you need to do for your state I can only say good luck but I just gave you a real life example of what they can do and will do.

    I also have a hard time understanding how an organization who’s goal is to abolish the registry can support a modification of it. That is like saying it is ok to have it. Just doesn’t make since.

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