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California

CA: Sex Offender Compliance Checks Conducted In Marin County

[msn.com – 11/13/20]

MARIN COUNTY, CA — Authorities this week checked to see if sex offenders in Marin County were in compliance with the terms of their probation.

Marin County sheriff’s detectives, county probation officers and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation K9 units conducted unannounced searches Tuesday across the county, contacting 19 registered and non-registrant sex offenders.

One offender admitted using illegal substances and was arrested, according to the Marin County Probation Department. After searching his home, officers seized his electronic devices for further investigation. A court date to address his violation is pending.

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  1. Ric

    California..Ridiculous …..”promote community safety”

  2. Roger

    Wow! HUGE bust! Out of 19 guys they spent $$$$$$ checking up on, the flood of violators endangering public safety was…ONE?????

    This is why we all need to support ACSOL in helping to change both the laws AND the attitudes of the government and public.

  3. Lake County

    They checked on “registered and non-registrant sex offenders”? Who is a non-registered sex offender? I thought everyone with the label had to register?

    • bruce ferrell

      The actual article looks pretty thin as to what was actually happening. The line about registered and unregistered made me suspect the “journalist” that wrote this was trying to make a routine parole check into a SO check… The better to whip up public sentiment.

      Unfortunately, there is a LOT of this kind of “journalism” in the Bay Area the past decade or so.

      I hate to say it, but it’s the flip side of the same coin we’re wading through today in other areas of the public.

      Without an properly informed public… And no side is even trying to do that even a little.

  4. Detroit

    But did they have a warrant to “seize” his electronic devices?
    What a huge waste of taxpayer money.

    • bruce ferrell

      If it was, as I suspect, a routine parole check… Those usually come with what is known as a four way search agreement. No warrant required.

  5. Detroit

    Doing “compliance checks” of sex offenders no longer on the registry is a major Fourth Amendment violation.
    I have found that sex offenders taken off the registry no longer care about the issue. They need to care. They can always be placed back on the registry due to a change in the law, or like here, the local police don’t believe they have rights because they were once on the registry.
    I hope ACSOL picks up a lawsuit out of these violations of their constitutional rights.

    • NorthEastPENN

      @Detroit:
      “I have found that sex offenders taken off the registry no longer care about the issue.”

      This is not true in all ex-registrants. I for one.

      My registration term expired in Penn and I still make donations to some of the organizations that fight for our “Cause”. I still read on a daily basis this website and a few others.

      On the flip side I know of a Penn registrant who is still on the registry and will be for “life” and does not know the first thing about any of the laws etc. All he knows is he has to show up in person for updates when he gets his letter from the state police. Other than that he has no clue. He also does not realize how good he has it here in Penn compared to other states. He was spouting how he can’t stand the registry and wants to move to WV because he won’t have to register there because he committed his crime here in Penn – he really has no idea. You can talk to him until you are blue in the face and he still does not get it.

      • w

        @NorthEastPENN

        Yep. Unfortunately being the smart one is doubly stressful. Consequently, who is living a better life? You with the 1,000,000 worries…or Mr Ignorant who doesn’t know or care to know. Lol.

        Same thing with the rest of the country, as long as the sex offender agenda doesn’t involve or affect them directly they could care less what happens. Many are just happy to read about “compliance checks”, not realizing it’s a big waste. But you put the phrase “sex offender” in it and it will sell!

        Ex convict would at least be a better and more accurate descriptor. It seems some really smart people figured out how to manipulate “shock and awe” and “democracy”, while those who are ignorant are just too blind to argue with. Help them in whatever way you can but just accept that some people can’t connect the dots.

      • M C

        @NorthEastPENN, I second that. I’m not on a registry either currently and support the cause. At the same time, even if I didn’t have a strong opinion on the cause I would still be concerned because as long as the rules can continue to be applied retroactively, one can be added back to a registry very easily by simply changing the registry rules on a whim. Further, my choices of travel are severely restricted because traveling to certain other places in this country would result in me being placed back on a registry regardless of the time passed.

        • NorthEastPENN

          @MC
          Yes, retroactive new laws can definitely have an impact on someone who was once on the registry. This has already happened in Penn back in DEC 2012 (SORNA). I went overnight from 10 year to 15 year and some former registrants were placed back on again without due process.

          Luckily Penn Supreme Court rule unconstitutional and I went back down to 10 years and some were immediately taken off the registry.

          So yes, until laws can not be retroactive this is still a very big concern to everyone.

          I too feel very limited in my ability to just travel even in the US. I am retired but working a part time office job. My boss and his wife know of my background but could care less because they respect me as a person. They are Christians and believe highly in second chances. My boss has in the past asked me to travel overseas on business (I have an extensive business background) but he understands the difficulty of this.

          I have also wanted to buy a travel trailer just to drive across country but that aint going to happen. I don’t want to take a chance that some state I end up in changed their laws and bang – I’m off to prison for failure to register in that state as a visitor.

          So now I am anchored in Penn forever (so far) unless there are major changes for the better. But then again if it is does happen whats to say it won’t be reversed again.

          We are all being held (detained) against our will no matter our situation in one form or another.

      • jm from wi

        To all of you no longer on the registry and still active, a big thanks for your help and support.

    • M C

      @Detroit, technically it depends on what they do when they do a so called “compliance check” on someone who is no longer a registrant. The former registrant has nothing to comply with so first off there isn’t anything to check. If by “compliance check” on a non registrant means checking to see they are at the address last reported or the address listed on their drivers license there is nothing that stops law enforcement from knocking on someone’s door to see who answers. You have no obligation to identify yourself or anyone else who lives there however. They can knock on anyone’s door to engage in conversation in the same way any member of the public could, provided they access your front door in the same manner one from the public would. I’m not sure that is unconstitutional.

      • Dustin

        I would argue a “compliance check” is unconstitutional in the first place, and am not persuaded that they are simply because they are mandated by statute in most states. I read them as an investigation into a crime (registry violation) without probable cause. In other words, unless LE has cause to think there is a violation, there’s no reason to investigate a registrant’s compliance unless the probable cause is that registry law is so convoluted and/or ambiguous that full compliance isn’t possible.

        • M C

          @Dustin, I think it all depends on what the scope is. I don’t think it is unconstitutional for a police officer to knock on a door just as any other stranger could and attempt to engage you in conversation even if their goal is a compliance check. That doesn’t mean you must answer the door and if you choose not to there isn’t much they can do about that and certainly could not conclude that you are in violation of your registration. They would have to have reasonable suspicion you were not in compliance to investigate non-compliance with your registry duties and, to me, failing to respond to their door knocking is not reasonable suspicion. If you choose to answer at that point it is my opinion that it is a consensual encounter and you have a right not to identify yourself or engage in conversation and you have a right to end the encounter at any time and not be detained. If they do not let you terminate your encounter with them as you wish they would be conducting an investigation which without reasonable suspicion is unconstitutional. If it becomes investigatory in nature, that is, they require you to answer questions about your registry status, updates to information ect, then it crosses into an area whereby if you choose to cooperate there is still nothing unconstitutional about it but there is no requirement that you must cooperate and if you don’t without the reasonable suspicion it would be unconstitutional to make you even provide your name. The probable cause you speak of is for an arrest. It would be unconstitutional to arrest you without probable cause and any questions they ask you under the consensual encounter or a stronger reasonable suspicion would be for the purpose of establishing this probable cause. So in short, I don’t see any reason they can not attempt a compliance check but that when they do so there is nothing they can do to you if you refuse to comply with them during a compliance check.

          I think I’ve brought this up before but there might be reasons you should comply with a compliance check anyway because refusing to do so might result in even greater harassment by law enforcement officers and they may even try to arrest you for being non-compliant anyway which could make things quite inconvenient legally for you even if you can win in court. Personally, I wouldn’t comply with them at all but that doesn’t mean everyone else should do that.

          Just my take on their right to do this. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows.

        • @Dustin

          Read SCOTUS’s words in FL v Jardines (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/569/1/):

          “We have accordingly recognized that “the knocker on the front door is treated as an invitation or license to attempt an entry, justifying ingress to the home by solicitors, hawkers and peddlers of all kinds.” Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U. S. 622, 626 (1951) . This implicit license typically permits the visitor to approach the home by the front path, knock promptly, wait briefly to be received, and then (absent invitation to linger longer) leave. Complying with the terms of that traditional invitation does not require fine-grained legal knowledge; it is generally managed without incident by the Nation’s Girl Scouts and trick-or-treaters. [ 2 ] Thus, a police officer not armed with a warrant may approach a home and knock, precisely because that is “no more than any private citizen might do.” Kentucky v. King, 563 U. S. ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 16).”

          A reading of KY v. King (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/563/452/) wouldn’t hurt, either.

        • @ @Dustin

          In both of the cases linked, there were exigent circumstances leading to the question of whether or not the ensuing searches were permissible (marijuana odor and a reacting drug dog). But there are rarely comparable circumstances indicating a registry violation to warrant a “compliance” check, unless the exigent circumstance is the difficulty or impossibility of full compliance due to the (unnecessary) complexity of (equally if not more unnecessary) registry law. Not sure if it’s what you intended or not, but thanks for helping make my point.

          I agree with M C on one point at least. Once I’m off paper, I simply won’t answer the door. If I do and there’s a compliance officer there, I’ll preemptively ask if they have cause to suspect a violation. If they say no, I’ll tell them to have a nice day and close the door. If they say anything else, I’ll tell them to come back with a warrant. I have no intention of aiding these investigations – it’s their responsibility to prove a violation, not mine to prove the absence of one.

  6. AERO1

    Let’s go bust some non sex offenders I wonder how much Federal funding went into these compliance checks wouldn’t it save time and money if they just contacted their probation officers.
    When your on probation or parole your subject to these compliance checks it’s just part of the game when I was on probation I just made it a fact to never be home when I lived in Orange County they would come by so much I just stopped answering the door.
    I always knew it wasn’t my probation officer because he actually had enough respect to let me know couple days ahead when he was coming.

    Good luck

    • Tim in WI

      AERO,
      WISOR agents have a gravy gig really compared to regular P&P agents. They get paid more too, evidently as all registration agents I’ve examined in FTR situation was formerly either a probation agent or a parole agent. Importantly SOR, PROBATION, PAROLE are collateral to each other under the Umbrella organization known as DOC DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS!

      Yes there is a difference between those on court demanded registration and those not. As is the difference between those still on P&P where a lesser expectations of privacy exists.

      That this unionized compliance checks were more or less started without doc agency knowledge highlights the jurisdictional overlapping of government agencies behavior. This truth is a facet always found in textbook inefficiencies in bloated bureaucracy.

  7. New Person

    I don’t understand this article, tbh. Compliance checks are often done during probation or parole. So why advertise something that’s common to ALL on probation or parole, but only share about sex offenders (regardless if you’re on the registry or not)? What will we find if Marin County reported how many non-sex offenders were compliant in their check?

    Hopefully, some legal personnel is collecting all of these reporting as a way to identify those who committed sex crimes are second class citizens that need scrutiny compared to any other criminal. The recidivism rates prove it is very low for those convicted of sex crimes.

  8. Detroit

    I worked in the military police and military police investigations in the army and for a civilian police force afterwards. I was trying to make a brief point but will clarify.
    Police are taught the lines that they cannot cross. If they cross those lines, evidence can get tossed out and cases lost though most prosecutors will save a case with a very favorable plea.
    A police officer can knock on anyone’s door and talk to them as long as they take the most direct route to the door, the yard is not fenced in (I have a fenced in front yard to keep out the Jehovah’s Witnesses not the police), the property is not posted “no trespassing” or something similar and the police have not received a previous no trespassing notice from someone who has an interest in the property. A police officer can ask general investigatory questions, however, once a resident of the house becomes the target of an investigation, it is best to obtain a warrant before questioning someone you may arrest for the matter you are investigating.
    When you approach someone’s house, they have a privacy interest in the curtilage of the home for Fourth Amendment purposes. You cannot approach the house with a drug sniffing dog without a warrant. It’s important to keep the rights involved in the curtilage in mind when you are making a search. If someone puts their trash out on the street and off of the yard, the police can seize the trash without a warrant. If someone sets their trash in their yard next to the street, the police must obtain a warrant to seize the trash. The grass between the sidewalk and street is called the “parkway”. The city can mow the grass and remove trees from the parkway without the owner’s permission. The police can seize trash on the parkway without a warrant.
    There are two things that you are looking at when the police go to your door for “compliance checks”. If the police are going to the door for investigatory purposes and a resident is the target of the investigation, it is a good idea to get a warrant (even though the police usually don’t). The second thing is the seriousness of the offense. FTR is a usually non-criminal conduct and is at most a status offense so the police are on thin ice when they go to your door for “compliance checks”. Dustin is probably right that compliance checks are unconstitutional even for registrants. The problem is that the registry is so new (except for California) that there is a paucity of law on the subject. And there needs to be significant case law to make it into police manuals and training.
    The point of my previous post being that police are on the curtilage of the house for investigatory purposes investigating possible criminal conduct of a resident which the constitutionality of is seriously questionable even if the person is on the registry. With this in mind, you realize that going to someone’s house who is not required to register to investigate for potential criminal conduct of a resident without any suspicion, you can grasp the serious constitutional gravity of the Fourth Amendment violation and hence a good lawsuit.
    If you want to know the future of registration, keep an eye on Michigan. Michigan has the most developed case law on the subject. Don’t be surprised to see the constitutionality of “compliance checks” being challenged in a Michigan court in the near future.

    • someone who cares

      Compliance Checks are not legal or anywhere in the law if you are off probation or parole. Granted, anyone can knock on your door, but when people mention Jehova’s witnesses or Girl Scouts, these groups usually visit every person and don’t single out a specific household. The police come to the registrant’s door for a so called compliance check, yet there is no reasonable belief that that person is out of compliance. Even if they saw the person opening the door does not proof that they actually live there. The registrant is only required, by law (which this law needs to be abandoned all together once the sentence was served), to report annually (or semi-annually, etc), and they show a proof of residence like a utility bill. That’s it! The police know that you don’t have to answer the door or answer any questions, and as mentioned before, they have to leave absence an invitation to talk. Why they still believe they can get away with these “compliance checks”, one can only wonder.

      • TS

        @Someone

        How else does one instill fear into someone who has completed their legal contract with the court? Through such bully tactics past applicability until called on it. That’s how they believe.

  9. Worried in Wisconsin

    Not sure how things work in California, but when I was on parole and probation the P & P agents were pretty much free to do a search whenever they felt it necessary. Sure, there were rules about time and manner, but those could easily be over ridden if the agent felt it necessary with a simply phone call to the supervisor. If the agent felt it necessary for his/her safety, they would bring along LEO when they did the search. Once a LEO is involved in the search, all bets are off as far as I’m concerned regarding what’s found.

    I was able to make it through 14 years of supervision without a single formal search of my home, although I had lots of home visits with the usual wondering eyes and questions.

    Now that I’m off supervision, the only way a LEO is going to enter my home to search is through the normal procedures for searching anyone else. Get a warrant or move on. They do come by for compliance checks, so far twice in the 5 years since I completed supervision. I wasn’t home for either.

    What I find most surprising is that this story was worthy of an article at all. They only checked on 19 homes, and the only single thing they found was not sex offense related. Where’s the newsworthy bits?

  10. Detroit

    Worried in Wisconsin:
    Through a series of state and federal court decisions most sex offenders whose offense date predates 2012 are no longer required to register in Michigan and the remainder will receive a date certain for removal after 10, 15 or 25 years of registration depending on what the person was convicted of, i.e., penetration of a child under 13 was 25 years compared to attempt or non-penetration of a child under 13 was 10 or 15 years. No matter where you live in Wisconsin, you are no more than a 3 or 4 hour drive from Michigan. The law firm enforcing Does II is the Oliver Law Group. You can contact them at 1-800-771-6689 to see if you are even required to register in Michigan or you can write them at 1647 W. Big Beaver, Troy, MI 48084.
    My former neighbor who was on the registry in Battle Creek from 1994 until he died in 2017 said the police never came to his door. My current neighbor who has been on the registry for over 20 years says the police never came to his door. I know most of the police in Detroit flat out refuse to do compliance checks and the Detroit police who do, usually only do them on occasion when the state police or U.S. Marshall’s request assistance during a sweep. Compare Detroit’s non-compliance rate of more than 30% with Cincinnati’s perhaps 1%. The Detroit police have better things to do than harass someone with a decade’s old sex conviction.

  11. Brandon

    When I lived in Floriduh the city police visited me every month even though I wasn’t on supervision. Twice I wasn’t home while they did the monthly visit, so the first time they called me from an unlisted number and the second time I got a flyer on my door to call. I had no idea I was supposed to wait by the door for our chat 24/7; while bending over for them to violate my rights.

    • jeff

      here in CALI Janice has told me in her OWN words and her OWN voice that since im NOT on paper PUT the blinds down and do NOT answer or talk to them AT ALL !

      In CAL you do NOT have to engage them at all…

      2 years in a row they KNOCKED (Im not on paper ) and I DID not answer they left with their tails behind their legs !

  12. Resident

    I’ve only had this one during probation and I was not home. I am not discounting that it won’t happen again, but it really did leave me fearful of unmarked white vans for a bit.

  13. Detroit

    What many here are failing to realize is that the U.S. Constitution protects you against state action. Girl scouts and Jehovah’s Witnesses’ don’t have to worry about the Fourth Amendment when they step on your property. The police do.
    If you are off paper there are 3 things you can do to keep the police off your property uninvited. You don’t have to do all 3, only 1 will suffice. 1. post “no trespassing” signs prominently on your property, 2. send the police a no trespassing notice (by certified mail is best), or, 3. fence in your property. And when the police do step on your property uninvited, sue them for trespassing.
    What makes compliance checks unconstitutional is that the police are entering the curtilage of your property to investigate you for criminal conduct without the least suspicion that a crime was committed let alone that you committed a crime. A police officer knocking on your door to investigate you for criminal conduct stands on different grounds than the girl scout or Jehovah’s Witnesses’.
    The police get away with violating your rights because you allow them to. The problem is sex offenders aren’t suing the police when they trespass on their property.
    I’m deeply offended by this whole sex offender registration mess and am to the point of getting involved myself. I do have a fair idea of what is developing in Michigan in relation to sex offenders asserting their rights in court. This is why I have confidence that Michigan will be the first state to find the registry unconstitutional in it’s entirety. It’s helpful that Michigan’s AG wants to remove most sex offenders from the registry.
    Even though I have never had to go through the registry drama myself, it amazes me that the police are getting away with so much and courts are so slow to respond. When this whole registry thing started in the 90’s, I didn’t think the registry scheme would last 5 years. I thought every court would throw the whole thing out and here we are 25 years later and registrants have barely made it to first base in fighting for their rights. What people don’t realize is that what the government can do to sex offenders, they can do to anyone. Today the police are knocking on the door of sex offenders. Who’s door will they be knocking on tomorrow?

    • Will Allen

      I appreciate your insights and work to convey information here. I definitely like your sentiments.

      But, I think you might have a couple of details incorrect.

      We have discussed at length on this site that a “no trespassing” sign is not sufficient to keep LE from coming to your front door. Some people here (not me!) pulled up numerous court cases about it. I think the simple reason is that simply going to a person’s front door is not trespassing. It is something allowed to anyone.

      I do think that all People Forced to Register (PFRs) should fence or wall off their property though. Although also it seems to me that if you just blocked off access to your front door, that should be enough. For example, if you have a porch, you could just gate that off. I expect that surely no one should be allowed to open the gate and go through it. So what would LE do? Stand in the driveway and yell? Maybe.

      Personally, I don’t have a HUGE problem with “compliance checks” just because of any effort related to it. But I have a problem with what they are and the reasons behind them. The Hit Lists are 100% unacceptable. PFRs have little recourse against the Hit Lists. So I don’t think any PFR should allow anything extra. I don’t think PFRs should ever allow “compliance checks”. Don’t allow LE to get near you or your family. Don’t allow them to speak to any of you. Where I live, LE knows to stay away from me. They know that we aren’t going to have any type of “relationship” or interacting. They know there will be no “monitoring” nonsense and lying. They can publish their Hit List information and play their BS games, but I’m not playing.

      I think you might be framing “compliance checks” a little off though as well. I don’t think LE is investigating for any potential criminal activity. They are simply checking that information is accurate. Remember that they lie that it’s all civil regulation. So how is a check any different than a code compliance officer coming onto your property to check anything? They can certainly do that and it is not “unconstitutional”. Meh, it doesn’t matter to me what they call it. It’s unacceptable. But, as you noted, they’ve been doing it all over America for well over 2 decades and haven’t been stopped yet. That isn’t because people haven’t tried.

      In a different posting you said, “FTR is a usually non-criminal conduct and is at most a status offense …”. Not sure exactly what you meant by that. In the state where I live FTR is a felony crime with very serious consequences. You’ll be put in prison. If you do it more than once, you’ll likely be put in prison for a long time. I expect FTR is a serious offense everywhere.

      I think a sign that said the following ought to work:

      Stop!

      Unless you have been explicitly invited onto this property you are requested to leave immediately. Do not approach the home. Do not attempt to contact anyone on this property. You are requested to leave now.

      Commercial delivery people are invited for delivery purposes.

      Lastly, as I said, I appreciate your fighting attitude and stance. But how about not calling people “sex offenders”? The immoral side of this war uses that phrase as a weapon.

  14. w

    I’ve been on here trying to keep up with things, like everyone else. I watched the world of politics, I’ve seen what’s happened. I urge people to get smart and get involved. I urge you all to find your strength and see yourself for the soul that no one will ever defeat.

    Unfortunately the system is in protection mode now and I’ve been identified as a threat. So they’re coming after me and my family, I’ve already seen the moves they’ve made. They don’t want the faults of the system to be exposed. I tried to make that happen but was blocked by my own family who just wasn’t smart enough to follow along and connect the dots.

    If you’re smart you must also be careful. Play defense like never before. Learn anything and everything that can help. If I never make it back here because they finally got me that’s ok. I can still try to fight even from wherever they try to put me.

    I sacrificed everything that was my old life in order to pursue solving this puzzle. The tide was always against me, and the days were rough. I was a warrior for the cause, and that meant always knowing that it could all fall hard on me at anytime. I gave up an easier life for a difficult one. I could’ve forgotten what I learned, what I heard, and what I saw. That’s what they want. Convict and then move along.

    So for now, good-bye and keep the faith. There’s people out there doing same as me so I’m not alone.

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