I founded California Reform Sex Offender Laws, the predecessor of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) eight years ago in September 2011. I did so after reading the book, “We’re All in This Together”, by Frank Lindsay who was convicted of a single sex offense in 1979.
My decision to create this organization was based upon the outrage I experienced after learning that not only Frank’s civil rights, but the civil rights of a large group of people in this country were being violated every day, 24 hours a day. That group of people included not only individuals convicted of a sex offense but also their families.
The initial challenge was where to begin. Which civil right could and should be challenged first?
The answer was to start small, to achieve success in the courtroom and/or the State Capitol. And although it was our intent to begin with the issue of proximity restrictions, that is, where a registrant can visit, a more pressing issue arose that we could not ignore. That issue was the requirement to post a sign on the front door of your home on Halloween that “outed” you as a registrant not just on that day but for always.
We succeeded at stopping the Halloween sign requirement by convincing a federal district court judge that the signs posed a real danger to the registrants who lived there as well as their families. We then moved on to our first case challenging proximity restrictions. After “only” 31 lawsuits, we rid the state of California of such restrictions. In doing so, we established our credibility in the courts and demonstrated our determination to restore the civil rights of registrants and their families.
Our next target was to challenge residency restrictions, that is, laws that limit where registrants and their families can live. This campaign began in the city where Frank Lindsay resided, in part, because that city chose to double the area where registrants could not live despite written and verbal warnings from ACSOL. We have now filed 40 lawsuits and every city we have sued thus far has repealed, revised or agreed not to enforce their residency restrictions. We will continue this campaign until we rid the state of residency restrictions.
This is a great track record, right? Then why do so many people continue to question ACSOL’s dedication to restoring the rights of registrants and their families?
Many such questions come in the context of the Tiered Registry Law which was passed in 2017 and will become effective in 2021.
ACSOL lobbied the state legislature for 6 ½ years before the Tiered Registry Law was passed. Did we get everything we asked for? No! But we did win the ability for about 70 percent of the people on the registry to petition for removal from the registry. Given that there are at least 100,000 people on the California registry, that means that there will be more than 70,000 people who will be able to petition for removal from the registry.
And for those who are not included in this large group, ACSOL will continue its efforts so that you, too, will be eligible to petition for removal from the registry. We cannot guarantee when that will happen, but we can guarantee that we will continue to work toward that goal until it is achieved.
Please understand that ACSOL cannot do this alone. We need YOUR help! We need YOU to participate in hearings in the State Capitol as well as to write letters and to make phone calls.
Over the past 8 years, we have seen what a huge difference 15 people can make at a legislative hearing. And we have seen that number grow to 100. Even so, this is only a small percentage of people affected by legislation that affects the lives of more than 100,000 families.
President John F. Kennedy proclaimed in 1961, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I proclaim in 2019, “ask not what ACSOL can do for your, ask what you can do for ACSOL.”
The answer is SHOW UP – STAND UP – SPEAK UP as well as to make whatever financial contribution you can afford. ACSOL has a $10 challenge which we know you can meet or exceed. Imagine what ACSOL could accomplish if every person on the registry contributed only $10 or those who can contribute more than $10 did so.
If that happened, ACSOL would have a “war chest” of at least $1 million which could be used for challenges such as Facebook pages for any registrant who wants one, the opportunity to serve on a jury, no wearing of GPS and overseas travel without restriction.
It’s time to see the BIG PICTURE. It’s time to contribute to make that big picture a REALITY. And it’s easy to do so using the “Donate” button on this page or to mail a check to our headquarters at 1215 K Street, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. Do it TODAY!