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Court challenge to juvenile sex offender registration laws fails

Juveniles who are convicted of a sex crime in California and are sentenced to state custody can be required to register with police as sex offenders for life, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty and mandatory life sentencing laws cannot be applied to juveniles because of their lesser mental and emotional development. But the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said the same rationale does not apply to state sex offender registration laws, which are meant to protect the public rather than to punish the offender.

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  1. Registry Rage

    “The laws are “intended to assist law enforcement to maintain surveillance of (repeat) sex offenders, and have no purpose to punish for past misconduct,”


    They can no longer hang their hat on the recidivism argument (for youths or adults). There is no way to placate or ameliorate subjugation and oppression.. the registry IS punishment. Full stop. End of conversation.

  2. AlexO

    “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty and mandatory life sentencing laws cannot be applied to juveniles because of their lesser mental and emotional development. But the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said the same rationale does not apply to state sex offender registration laws, which are meant to protect the public rather than to punish the offender.”

    I don’t think my vocabulary is deep enough to express the amount of expletives this paragraph deserves, particularly that last line.

    I don’t care what the intent of the law is. It’s without a shadow of doubt the worst part of our sentence. I’m willing to bet even people that spent a decade or longer behind bars will say that having to register is a much harsher punishment than anything they went through up to that point.

  3. New Person

    I don’t comprehend this law:
    Under California law, youths sent to state confinement for rape, sodomy, forcible oral copulation or molestation are subject after their release to the same registration requirements as adults who’ve committed the same crimes.

    So they’re adults, not youths? I’m getting lost in these inconsistencies. Why is it convenient for the state to pick and choose who’s an adult and who’s not an adult when there’s been a chosen age set in CA law at 18?

    If it’s intent, then why can a minor not be a willing participant in other incidences? Is it age or is it intent? If it’s intent, then maybe there shouldn’t be an age limit. If it’s age, then the courts are wrong on this decision.

    I hate how the use of “for public safety” is being bandied about. It all stems from the 2003 decision and propagating the false, extreme notion that the recidivism rate is at 80%, which is frightening and high. Also, his lawyer should have contacted an SO specialist that reveals today’s registry is punishment, as per Snyder and the PA court systems.

    • Chris F

      I think Janice is one in a million as far as lawyers go. Other’s rarely impress, or even qualify as satisfactory.

      I’ve dealt with some expensive ones here in Texas, and there are way too many issues and Constitutional questions that they don’t know until I teach them. That should not be the case, but most lawyers don’t specialize and don’t spend 5 minutes on the history or current state of sex offender issues. They just wing it and use whatever they’ve got more knowledge about, even if is not the most relevant path. They also don’t usually care if they win, only that they don’t lose so badly that they violate the rules of the BAR. They have family, friends, and co-workers that may not appreciate them sticking up for the rights of a sex offender.

      Just look at the web site AVVO, where real lawyers try to answer questions about law and the constitution. You would think if a lawyer had a doubt, they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by answering, but look at these answers:

  4. Chris F

    arguments about public safety “are properly addressed to the Legislature.”

    Umm, no. They are the ones that keep flaunting the false “frightening and high” and “80% recidivism” to enrage the public and make their bills fly through without opposition regardless of the real harm caused to the country.

    This is why any lawsuit needs to include Bill of Attainder and point out the quotes by legislature that demonstrate they intend to punish and ignore the Constitution, as well as perpetuate the lies when they know the truth.

    Granted, this was a bad case. The kid either didn’t get the right treatment, or didn’t respond to it and may be a threat. That doesn’t make a registry ok though, and his inclusion should raise a Substantive Due Process concern if there isn’t a fair hearing to determine his level of dangerousness warrants lifetime disclosure of his acts.

    • Les Mis Life

      That’s my biggest gripe with some of the lawsuits that should help the cause: YOU PICKED A LOSER OF A CASE! Now, the court decision stands for one and all. You don’t pick the multiple aggravated offense client to challenge the law…this is a poster boy for why the law exists at all. Boogeyman vs state is a loser every time. It sometimes seems like the state gets to pick the cases for the challengers. Ugh!

    • New Person

      Chris F wrote:
      arguments about public safety “are properly addressed to the Legislature.”

      This reminds me of the movie the Waterboy. The Waterboy’s mother kept feeding her son all the information he needed to know. Then when the Waterboy started to attend college, the Waterboy would dispute the professor by stating, “well, my momma said…”. We have old fact that refute what the legislature stands by. We have new fact that support the old fact that refute what the legislature stands by.

      Will the country remain ignorant or will they abide by learned science?

  5. Mixed message article

    Maintain surveillance of repeat offenders? Hmmm

    So, if you are not a repeat offender then why is the registry there for you? Surely you don’t need surveillance then because you’re not a repeat offender. Oh, wait, just in case you do something or something happens and they need to find you. If it saves one child….

    Was this kid tried as an adult or a child? If a child, then how can adult crime sentencing, e.g. registry, be applicable? Aren’t they mixing fruit here?

    This young man’s history is not indicative of other young people either I bet. Hope he is getting the help he needs in all seriousness. Tragic he was a target then perpetuated that onto others.

    I see this getting appealed to CA SC, if that is the next step.

  6. Harry

    This kid was not the best candidate.

  7. Timmr

    So they are saying that regulation is for protecting the public and punishment is not? What a false contrast to save a bad law. What is punishment for then if not for a deterrent, which in turn is a benefit to protect the public? Is punishment solely to feed the sadistic emotions of those we want revenge against? Is that a valid policy for a civilized society. In turn how can one call something regulation that so resembles conditions of probation or parole? Gobbledygook.

  8. Joe123

    Well we can deduce two points here: the client’s attorney should have NOT taken this to court with his client being a repeat offender, that was just a stupid move. More importantly, now juveniles will suffer the same way as adults, they are not excluded. So this helps all of us because we have more participants in the ‘pool’. All we need now is more parents with money that are willing to file a lawsuit to help their boy, using the same angle and arguments that we know, which is that the 2003 law which applies to adults and juveniles was Wrong and based on false facts. This will only help all of us in the long run. The courts are just begging for a challenge to the 2003 ruling.

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