There are two significant dates about to converge in a few days. Both offer independence to some, but not all.
The first of the two dates is July 1 when some registrants in California will be able to petition for the first time their removal from the registry. The size of this group will expand during the next 12 months when eligible registrants celebrate their birthdays. That is because otherwise eligible registrants must wait until their first birthday on or after July 1 in order to submit their petitions.
There are many problems with the Tiered Registry Law. The focus of this column, however, is not upon those problems. Instead, its focus is upon the opportunities available to hundreds if not thousands of individuals who will successfully petition for removal this year. This means that there will be a significantly lower number of people who are punished by society solely because they are required to register.
I urge you to take time to celebrate this moment. A moment many of us have been waiting for more than 10 years when the first Tiered Registry Law was introduced.
Although imperfect, the current Tiered Registry Law is the key to freedom for many people. And that key will be made available to many more people as we continue to challenge its imperfections in court and lobby for necessary changes in the state capitol.
If you are not included in the group of individuals eligible to petition for removal from the registry this year, I hope that you can cheer on those who are eligible. To be grateful for their freedom.
What better time of year to celebrate the freedom of these registrants than July 4, the day our nation celebrates its freedom?