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ACSOL Submits Formal Comments Regarding Proposed Tiered Registry Petition Forms [Updated 6/18 with Ellman comments]

[Updated 6/18 with Ira and Tara Ellman comments]

The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) has submitted formal comments regarding proposed Tiered Registry petition forms to the Judicial Council of California. The deadline for submitting formal comments regarding the proposed forms is June 9, 2020.

“The comments submitted by ACSOL are based, in large part, upon input received from ACSOL members,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.

ACSOL provided a total of eight comments in an eight-page letter to the Judicial Council. The letter includes as an enclosure a document issued by the California Department of Justice which supports some, but not all, of ACSOL’s comments.

“The most significant comment made by ACSOL is the apparent lack of consideration for individuals who were convicted in federal, military and other non-California courts,” stated ACSOL President Chance Oberstein. “The Tiered Registry Law states those individuals are eligible to petition and therefore the proposed forms need to be modified accordingly.”

ACSOL’s comments also include a request to clarify that evidence of rehabilitation is not required when an individual submits his petition. Instead, that evidence can and should be provided only if the district attorney objects to the petition and a court hearing is scheduled.

Further, ACSOL’s comments include a request to specify what documents an individual can or should submit with his petition in order to prove he is currently registered. For example, individuals could provide a copy of their annual registration form and/or any other form, cards or confirmatory documents created and provided by registering agencies.

“ACSOL appreciates the opportunity to provide formal comments regarding the proposed Tiered Registry petitions,” stated Bellucci. “Petitions can be filed starting July 1, 2021.”

According to the California Department of Justice, registrants can obtain a copy of their Tier Assignment Letter on January 1, 2021, and later. The letters are important because they will notify registrants when they may be eligible to petition for removal from the registry.

Petition Forms – ACSOL Formal Comments – June 2020

Detailed comments that you can download below were also submitted by law professor Ira Ellman, a member of the ACSOL board, providing the statutory analysis showing why the current law does not exclude removal petitions from individuals on the registry for a federal, tribal, or non-California state offense. His comments, submitted jointly with his wife and coauthor, also provided guidance for how the forms could be revised to make them more clear to petitioners

Comments by Ira and Tara Ellman, as submitted (download PDF)

 

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    What about actually assigning people based on individual assessment by experts rather than arbitrary assignment via penal code? Or is this a different sort of thing? (I’m not sure what kind of comments ACSOL is looking for here). Given the current giant spread of the actual type of crimes committed that are all being assigned to Tier 3, there seems to be little difference between everyone now being shoehorned in lifetime as a whole.

    • TS

      @SR

      An assessment by a forensic psychiatrist who is not on the state’s preferred list would be best for those seeking an assessment. Foxes guarding hen houses isn’t needed.

      • SR

        I don’t know. CASOMB, the official state board, seems to be pretty clear on their below 1% recidivism report. The state seems to ignore everyone, regardless if the person/organization is on their preferred list or not. Does the state even have a single person with expertise that agrees with them registering anyone? Even the Static-99 Dr. Hansen does not seem to be advocating what the state is doing. Hell, the state even chooses to ignore half the Static-99 rules and guidelines that state the person’s recidivism fairly quickly goes down to nothing.

        At this point, it seems pretty clear the state law makers simply have a vendetta as they’ve simply ignored every single thing that doesn’t support their stance. And I’m honestly not sure if they even have a single thing that does support their stance. Have any experts stated the registry works and is needed?

        • TS

          @SR

          Wouldn’t be hard to find one who does it with a little online research and will provide a report with all the details one needs.

  2. Bay Area Resident

    Still no word on 1204.3.

    I know these things take time, but there needs to be something to address the discrepancy between a dismissed record and registering for life.

  3. HopingForHope

    Wondering if there is a master list someone has put together that segments penal codes into Tier 1, 2, and 3. Some of us might be guessing exactly which Tier we’re going to be assigned to. Also, this might be helpful for those who get mis-assigned, which I can practically guarantee will happen. Some codes that existed 30 or 40 years ago may not even exist today. This could get complicated. I, for one, would love to have a resource such as this so I can have at least something to point to if I am assigned to the wrong tier.
    Maybe something like this is already out there. If so, can someone direct us to it?
    Thank you!

  4. HopingForHope

    Looking at the Q and A:

    When and where do I petition for termination of my sex offender registration requirement in California?

    On or after July 1, 2021, registrants who meet the mandated minimum requirements may petition the superior court or juvenile court in the county in which they reside.

    For those of us who no longer reside in California, are we SOL? Or, does this mean we petition our county court in the state where we live? Will we need to move back to Calif to petition for relief??

    • Interested Party

      @Hoping for hope.

      The am not a lawyer so take my read as just one opinion. If you are currently out of state I do not think SB 384 will apply to you – you are not a resident of California and therefore not required to register in California. I would expect there will be challenges to no path for people who have moved out of state.

      There are several law firms which have published a breakdown of offense codes and tier placement, the information is also in the law itself if you want to try and track which sub paragraphs apply to which code.

      Hope I am wrong for your case about being out of state. But as I read it it is like application for a CoR you have to be living in California and meet a minimum time frame in the state prior to application.

      • SR

        CA is currently one of few states such as FL and NY who never remove people from the registry whether or not you live here. You don’t have to register annually with the state, but you’re still on the books as being on the registry for the purposes of anything that checks that such traveling. And I believe unlike the COR which required you to have continues residency in the state to qualify for it, the tiered registry doesn’t. It just looks at how much time has passed since your conviction to qualify you.

        • Janice Bellucci

          California removes individuals from its registry after they leave the state on a permanent basis provided that the individual reports his/her departure to local law enforcement. In that way, California is not similar to Florida and New York.

        • SR

          Thank you for the correction, Janice.

      • HopingForHope

        @Interested Party. I hear ya, but the ONLY reason I am required to register in my home state right now is because California says I have to, under the “long arm of the law”. My home state does not have lifetime registration, only 20 years. They can’t have it both ways. California cannot require me to register for life in other states that don’t have lifetime registration while at the SAME TIME denying my ability to petition for relief. Seems to me you cannot fall under one law, ie, the law that requires registration, but then NOT fall under another law, ie, the one that allows you to petition. That doesn’t seem to make much sense
        ?

      • AJ

        “But as I read it it is like application for a CoR you have to be living in California and meet a minimum time frame in the state prior to application.”
        —–
        It’s (still) my belief this is unconstitutional. See: Saenz v. Roe (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/526/489/).

    • Brian LaForce

      It’s my understanding that if you’re living out of state you are under the laws of that state. With most states being SORNA compliant, in those states the register ‘for life’ requirements have been removed for tiers 1 and 2, and you will have to register for the maximum time frame for your tier. For instance, Tier 1 max is 15 years

  5. NPS

    I didn’t see this issue brought up: Rule 4.530. Intercounty transfer of probation and mandatory supervision cases. Of note is this part: “Upon transfer of the case, the receiving court must accept the entire jurisdiction over the case.”

    I was convicted in Orange County and served 3 months in county jail. Just prior to my sentence, I made arrangements to move to San Francisco because I learned of this pending rule before it was enacted. The county is mandated to transfer probation to where the probationer lives. The rule above went into effect 3 days before my release.

    Orange County transferred the entire case to San Francisco and they had complete jurisdiction of my case. It was SF that granted my early termination of probation, 17b and 1203.4. I now live in Contra Costa County. I’ll be filing my CoR this year, so it’s likely I will not have to petition to be removed once tiering goes into effect. From what my attorney told me, OC will not have a say-so in my CoR filing. Contra Costa could only contact SF.

    But for anyone else who may have the same issue of intercounty transfer, the question is, who will they need to inform regarding the “original conviction”. OC doesn’t have my case anymore. In fact, if someone were to do a search of my case on the OC courts site, OC will say they don’t have jurisdiction and would need to contact SF.

  6. New Person

    Thank you, Janice and team!

    ***
    ACSOL’s comments also include a request to clarify that evidence of rehabilitation is not required when an individual submits his petition. Instead, that evidence can and should be provided only if the district attorney objects to the petition and a court hearing is scheduled.
    ***

    But how do you prove you’re not doing anything wrong when you haven’t done anything wrong for the period of time that you qualify for? How does one have prove their innocence? I thought you’re innocent until proven guilty? If you’re clean for a decade for tier 1 or two decades for tier 2, then why should the DA object at all? There would be no factual reason for denial.

    If the the DA wants to extend the registry period, then isn’t this another bite at the apple? We’re revisiting the original case again to extend a penalty as per tiers are set. Isn’t that now punishment as other people get off the registry and some don’t from the same tier?

    After 8 years, I finally applied for a 17b. (Probation said I needed more time for the reduction after earning my 1203.4, which was an additional 5 years.) Yet the DA opposed. Fortunately, probation did their background check and recommended I get the reduction. The judge on the case granted the reduction (thanks to the probation recommendation), but gave the caveat that it doesn’t change my status on the registry. The vitriol remains high against sex offenders in my area. No one cares that CASOMB reports under 1% recidivism. The courts still cling to “frightening and high” recidivism rates.

  7. Matthew

    thank you so much for listing these options.
    i think if something that looks like is “Missing,” it is because it is not the time or place for it.
    We all know their stance on issues they want to change. If they felt like this where they should put it, then they would of.

  8. nah

    Is there a way to read all the comments from everyone online at their site? I couldn’t find anything pro or con.

  9. Anon

    There are several dynamics going on right now. First, we have a tiered registration system and frankly, I’m skeptical. I have seen so little willingness to give an inch regarding prosecution, probation, parole, prison, etc. I just won’t believe they will let us out of their clutches without a fight. To those who find relief, I am genuinely glad for you.

    Secondly, we are in the middle of a pandemic and the state is going to face reduced revenues and added expenses. The budget is going to be a mess for several years–at least.

    Third, there is a giant wave of support to change policing as we know it. Some call it defunding the police or disbanding the police. I don’t know what we will end up with, but there is a an opportunity to harness our issues with others to change policing.

    In the coming budget debates, I think we should be prepared to propose major cuts in the criminal justice system so that we are devoted to fighting crime and not chasing ghosts.

  10. td777

    Once again, those of us who were sacrificial lambs with the last minute move from Tier 1 to Tier 3 are again ignored. There is absolutely no legitimate reason that I should be Tier 3 when five manipulated felonies that only resulted in 14 months in custody (12 of them in county jail) and 3 years of parole. But yet, we continue to be ignored by the efforts to change the tiering.

    • SR

      I’m currently looking at Tier 3 as well. I plead to a felony and a misdemeanor for taking an upskirt photo of a minor. I did 60 days in county via weekends (would’ve been easier to do it all at once, but it allowed me to keep my job and all that comes with that). Did 3 years of mandatory group therapy, 2 years of mandatory individual therapy, plus I did an extra year of voluntary group because it was helpful for my life overall.

      Three other guys in our group who are also looking at Tier 3 were their for straight possession. Non of them were even required to do any time.

      I still remember when the bill was first introduced. Something like 90% of the people were gong to be Tier 1. Tier 2 was going to be for repeat offenders. And Tier 3 was going to be for the absolute worst kind of crimes.

      They definitely reduced the number of lifers with the tier system, but they did not, in any way, narrow down the scope of crimes that will be lifetime. It’s what we have now but just smaller. They’re still lumping everyone mentioned above with the likes of Epstein and worse. I guess needing another notch on the belt of pretend community safety was vital.

    • Interested Party

      @td777

      I am sorry to see the obvious pain you feel. ACSOL continues to fight to for everyone on the registry. This process you are commenting on was one for a very limited scope. It was requesting comments on the form for people requesting to be relieved of having to register. This was not an opportunity to reform the tiers or registration.

      Unfortunately, until the tiered registration goes into affect it seems the vast majority of our representatives are content to wait and see. If/when ACSOL does the next lobbying day will be the next/best opportunity to push for the actions you are looking for. Alternatively if a representative could be persuaded to take up our cause that much better – but for now there does not seem to be anyone willing.

      Out of curiosity in your post you mention being a sacrificial lamb … who do you think sacrificed you?

      Many have doubts and fears about the new tiers. I am struggling to remain hopeful, the first major change to a system that has been lifetime for everyone for decades.

      Did it do enough … no. But the fact that changed at all is a major reason for hope.

    • Saddles

      @Td while I will admit i’m not to familiar about teir ordeals that much but is it an off shoot from military ranking of a human being. Seems to me this tier thing is a bit overshadowing. Say you stold a car and modified it a bit would their be different teir levels for that person, or is it like branding cattle or how many suggestive pictures one has or hasn’t or how many off colored jokes one can mustard.

      One might say Groucho would fit the bill or maybe Mr. T. or either an obscene phone caller. Much of this registry is not using common understanding or would they let a sex offender out of prison to go and fight for America today if that was the case. One wonders what book police are using today.

    • Tom Adkins

      @Td777,
      And you can thank Lorena Gonzales for your sacrifice. That bitch and only that bitch put CP offenses at tier 3. ACSOl has had several capital runs to fight for change. It’s not over. But until we all fight these vendetta type politicians, I am afraid more tier changes are in store.

      • w

        It’s an easy shoo-in for reoffense. They hope to catch people in online stings and get them for as long as they can. Ultimately they’ll system manipulate people back up to a higher tier. Tier 1 people will have to walk on eggshells, hopefully they know the basics on how to survive but sadly the system already has the board covered with their dirty tricks.

        At Mike below

        The time is a way the law makers figured so that the system survives. Politics, elections, judicial terms, scandals, protests, etc. They hope to tie people up in a waiting game so that the courts change, judges change, attorneys change, so that cases just become names on paper.

        Registrants that believe in their “right to be forgotten” unfortunately forfeit the chance that their case could be the proverbial “wrench in the system”. So the ones pulling the strings are more than happy to see registrants wait their 10 or 20 years. They created a system of shame and oppression to further subdue people into not wanting/caring to fight their case.

  11. Mike

    Hello, what I’ve always want to know is why on the tier registry why do they have tier 1= 10yrs , tier 2= 20yrs, tier 3= lifetime. Whats the reason for the length of time you must register on each tier. To me it seem like length time is way overboard. Compare the length of probation of 1,2,3,5 years, when compared to registration which is 3 to 4 times longer than probation. Why does tier 1 have to register for 10 before they can petition, if your granted. Why does tier 2 have to register for 20 years. What is tier 2 twice as long as tier 1. Then there’s tier 3. For lifetime, which is odd for what ever the reason becase tier 1= 10yr, tier 2= 20yr, then by there numbers tier 3 should be 30yr. If anyone knows the answer i would love to why they chose 10yr, 20yr, lifetime. Makes no sence to me.

    • Will Allen

      It’s not supposed to make sense. All of it is based on idiocy. It’s known that the Registry Hit List isn’t needed or beneficial. All of this is just for theater, to get some people their jollies, and to get some people paid.

  12. Catch 22

    In California 6/12/2020 With all of the recent uproar over Covid and Now the BLM riots the level of anger towards LE is higher than ever culminating with calls to defund the police . As this continues to be pushed At the very least all departments will be looking at what things that do not contribute to public safety and eliminate them . Wouldn’t it be great if the registry itself was on the chopping block . We are looking at a situation where there will have to be cutbacks due to budget shortfalls on top of the number of registrants gets bigger and bigger and more unwieldy If there are conversations to speak up it would be to our benefit to point out how much money they would save by dropping the registry since there are some early releases it also would be the time for us to push this issue . A lot has changed and will continue to change with defund the police actions am hopeful that this would would put the fear of god in LE , if there is some way the total costs of the registry can be submitted to the powers that be to wake them up to what they can save from deleting the entire registry and actually fund things in LE that actually make people safer . we need to keep our eyes open during this turmoil .

  13. Saddles

    The interesting view’s on here are good in many ways. From Cash 22’s view to Will Allen’s soap spoon evaluation to those that use this teir factor as a determining factor of this registry tier level ordeal and even this life time of confusion. One might wonder what level the lady caught in adultry would be in or even the level of say a murder ordeal nor even a bank rober in many cases.

    Today is a day to remember as one article is mentioned on here. Well everyday should be a day to remember and yes even governments can be just as guilty. Even court cost or paying’s of different traffic fines can be a bit much. Yes saving a life is good whether that person is good or bad, thats not for another to judge. Sure we can all make righteous judgement, or is it a today shoot first and ask questions later type of affair in many of these involvements.

    I didn’t really want to bring this up but I’m going to if Janices permits. My dad was a charactor wittness to a murder trial. Whether this has meaning to this registry ordeal I don’t know.
    Its a part of Appalachian History and you all can go to look up the Mamie Thurman trial and read about it and my dad was working at the bank during that time with Harry Robinson. Yes it was hard times back that. Banks could hardly keep their doors open. He told us about that black guy being framed. You all can read the story about that time. And yes we had our Hatfields and McCoy feud’s back than.

    Are things getting more or less out of hand even with riots and even the criminal justice systems today. Course don’t tell Will Allen but I think we all are getting much of this raw type of justice that is overrated in many ways. Some may say its computers or how you use and abuse but taking advantage over another is no good or were is true justice today or even divine justice.

  14. MLinCA

    Hello Janice and Chance,
    I was listening to the phone conference and tried to get through to ask a question but I couldn’t.
    My question has to do with approved offender programs that will be accepted for the purpose of petitioning for relief from registration.
    Is there a list? I went through a program from a L.A. County court and was wondering if it will be accepted.

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