CA: Californians can petition to be removed from the sex offender registry

Source: 9/4/21

In 1947, California was the first state to create a sex offender registry. Until July 2021, anyone convicted of being a sex offender in the state had to register for life with no exceptions. Now, for the first time, offenders can petition to be removed from the list.

Tami Martin is the legislative director of Equality California, a LGBTQ civil rights organization that helped sponsor the legislation altering the sex offender registry.

“The registry, I’m sure you know, has catastrophic consequences for people who are on it. It affects where you’re allowed to live, it affects whether you’re able to get a job, (and) it increases the likelihood you’ll experience homelessness,” Martin said.

She said there is context many people forget.

“One thing that’s important for people to know is that California’s registry was created in the 1940s. So, it was constructed around all of the stigma and the discriminatory laws that existed at that time, including laws that criminalized same sex conduct. Right now, you have people who are in their 70s and 80s who have been on the registry since the 50s or 60s for example – just because of discriminatory laws that are no longer around. So, those people will now be able to petition to come off of the registry and get their lives back on track,” Martin said.

Prior to 2021, California was one of just four states with a lifetime sex offender registry. The others were South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.

Now, the registry is divided into three tiers. Tier one is for low level offenders, tier two is for mid-level offenders, and tier 3 is for violent offenders, repeat offenders, and those deemed likely reoffend.

SB 384 is the legislation responsible for the tier system. It was passed in 2017 and signed into law by former governor Jerry Brown. It was co-authored by State Senator Scott Wiener who explained why change was necessary.

“It made the sex offender registry so massive, like 120,000 people in California, that law enforcement couldn’t even use it for its intended purpose, which is to monitor dangerous people,” Wiener said.

He said the bill was lauded by many disparate groups.

“We had a lot of support in passing this law, including from law enforcement, because law enforcement doesn’t want low level offenders clogging up the sex offender registry. They want to focus on the real bad actors, so we had a lot of support. But any time you’re talking about sex offenders, there’s going to be controversy because people jump to conclusions,” Wiener said.

ABC10 asked Senator Wiener about the belief that sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated.

Anyone can be rehabilitated with very few exceptions, and the real sex predators are not coming off the registry. They will be on for life,” he said.

Wiener said the legislation means positive change for Californians.

“It means we will be more in line with the rest of the country, where we keep the real bad people on. But for low level offenders, we give them a pathway off,” he said.

It’s possible that very few people know as much about the legislation or its roots than Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, Bradley McCartt, who helped write SB 384 after hearing about the need, perhaps most vocally from law enforcement.

“The Los Angeles Police Department did a study and found that 60% of their sex offender and tracking resources were being spent registering, at their annual registration, doing paperwork for no risk and low risk offenders,” McCartt said.

He said Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration created the California Sex Offender Management Board to study the issue. He explained that the science doesn’t support peoples’ fears.

“The period for recidivism is, after 10 years, there is a significant decrease in the chance of recidivating at all. At 17 years, it becomes a flat line of them recidivating,” McCartt said.

This is how the new system works: people in tier one can petition (beginning in July 2021) to be removed from the list after 10 years in the community with no additional offenses. People in tier two can petition to be removed after 20 years in the community with no additional offenses. People in tier three still remain on the sex offender registry for life.

McCartt said people’s lives are already beginning to change.

“I spoke with one of our major law enforcement agencies last week who told me about their first petition that they’d received and evaluated and it was for an individual who committed a misdemeanor 30 years ago, who has never committed another crime,” he said. “It was a low level misdemeanor that required registration, and they have done that analysis and submitted to the district attorney’s office.”

People do not automatically come off the list after 10 or 20 years. That’s just when they’re allowed to petition the courts to be removed. The courts will make the final call.

Stephen Munkelt is the Executive Director with the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, an organization for criminal defense lawyers, which provides education for members in criminal law subjects and advocates for criminal justice reform. He knows the new law well.

“Realistically, nothing has changed yet. The system just began its implementation on July 1. Attorneys are being asked, ‘How do I do this?’ And attorneys are figuring out the system. There’s new paperwork from the judicial council to help petition the courts and so on,” Munkelt said.

He said the law also makes sense when you look at the bottom line.

“It’s also extremely expensive for the state and the counties. There’s over 104,000 sex offender registrants in the state and it’s tens of millions of dollars every year to register them, supervise them and, for those who might have some violation, to try to enforce the rules,” Munkelt said.

“Many, many people who are on the registration list, and currently on there for a lifetime, have very minor offenses. They’re a one-time affair. They learned their lesson probably before they even went to court that this wasn’t a good thing for me to do, and so there’s no reason for us to effectively punish them by this public declaration that they’re unsafe to be around,” he added.

SB 384 also modified Meghan’s Law, the legislation requiring sex offender information to be posted online on the Meghan’s Law website. It did two things: 1: it removed the numerous exceptions allowing people to NOT be on the Meghan’s Law website and 2. When someone is removed from the sex offender registry, they will now also be removed from the website.

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My offense was an online police sting with no actual victim or any physical contact. I even had a static-99 showing I was a low risk, yet I am a Tier 3 contradicting what they said that those on Tier 3 are only violent or high risk offenders. Someone should really fact check them on that and let them know that even low risk non-violent offenders are on Tier 3.

When I was 26 I made the biggest mistake of my life(getting involved with an underage mother). Though it was consensual and the victim in my case was against everything that was going on in court, the damage was done. It was no ones fault but mine, I pray for the mother I was involved with(now she’s an adult(20 or 21), I hope she could forgive me for what I did and I hope she finds happiness in her life. I continue to pray for my wife and our marriage(things are better today than 5 years ago). My relationship with my children is stronger. However, there isn’t a day that passes by that I wish I could take back what I did. Unfortunately, I can’t and can only look forward and keep my head above waters. I hope that I can petition the courts at some point(20yrs?) or am I not able to? The system is rigged and all I can do is have faith.

one day at a time!

Ruben H.

Now, the registry is divided into three tiers. Tier one is for low level offenders, tier two is for mid-level offenders, and tier 3 is for violent offenders, repeat offenders, and those deemed likely reoffend.”

For the love of god, can every news outlet stop repeating this outright lie and misinformation? There’s ZERO evidence to support this narrative. It’s all penal code based with no individual assessment.

It’s possible that the reason for this article is to assure the public that “monsters” are not being removed from the registry. Therefore, I recommend that we overlook for the time being some of the mistakes made in the reporting. Focus instead on positive comments made by allies including Senator Wiener and an assistant DA in Los Angeles.

I took a plea deal 21 years ago I remember being told by my Public Defender that if I took the deal i would have to register as a person convicted of a sex offense for the rest of my life and I’ll never be able to own a firearm, leave the country, get a job or rent an apartment your life would be over before it even started.
At the time I was scared as Hell I was a skinny little 100 pound 18 year old kid fresh out of high school theres no why I would’ve survived Pelican Bay State Prison with a sex charge on my jacket so I just took the plea deal.
So reading this article with politicians and Law Enforcement agencys admitting to all the pain and suffering Megan’s law is causing everyone in America not just people forced to register is amazing.
District Attorney Bradley Mcartt said after 10 years there is a significant decrease in the chance of recidivating and after 17 years it becomes a flat line of them recidivating at all
Iv spent more then half of my life on the registry next year on my birthday I’ll be 40 years old hopefully I can petition and be done with all this BS I’m over it

Good luck

I received my tier assignment last week tier 2, I went to courthouse to turn in file/petition , clerk was like you need to petition, im like *really!?!? I just finished telling you that,, that’s what I’m here for, he had no clue?!? clerk than asked fellow clerk about, came back with 10 pages in which 7 where to be filled out. than I need to return to courthouse with paperwork filled out, PD originally told me go to courthouse petition/file than courthouse would send me something in the mail, upon receiving I would than need to turn that I to PD for removal, so it’s not a simple step the where you turn your paperwork into courthouse & they send it out *GOOD LUCK TO ALL *

Does anyone know how exactly you get your tier level? My partner has been asking the officer they register with and the officer never has an update.

Its a step.

But even the DA admits there is no danger after 17 years. In that case, even tier 3, especially with 1203.4 and reductions, should be able to get off the hit list sooner.

Or just have the courts call a spade a spade and call it punishment.

“Now, the registry is divided into three tiers. Tier one is for low level offenders, tier two is for mid-level offenders, and tier 3 is for violent offenders, repeat offenders, and those deemed likely reoffend.”

I have been, after almost 25 years on the list, designated as Tier 3, even though my offense does not designate me violent, repeat or likely to reoffend, nor has anyone or any entity deemed me such. This is total BS!

Ah, once again the mainstream media lauds CASOMB, despite its conflict of interests among board members, as well as support for junk “sciences” like the Static 99R and even the so-called “lie detector.”

This article is too nice. The California government literally started the Megan’s Law Hitlist Scam to register homosexuals. This was also about during the time when Japanese were sent to internment camps by our government, interracial marriages were illegal, and racial segregation was legal.

When you think about the wrong you’ve done, and how you’ve hopefully changed for the better, maybe you could also reflect on how hypocritical our so called “government” has been in past and present.

Once again, I am convinced our country is governed by Scam Artists — and America is a total shit show.

So I crossed the border back into the USA. And I was forced to go through secondary check. The cbo told me Everytime I cross back into the states they will check me because I am a registrant. My crime was a misdemeanor so why are they doing this ?

Right off the bat,
“tier 3 is for violent offenders, repeat offenders, and those deemed likely reoffend.”
Fu&*^*$$% up man. I am a non-violent non contact one time offender from over 15 years ago yet I am level 3 because of the added charge of 288.2. Unbelievable, but not really with the insane policies going on in politics.
Then this has to be an issue for some type of constitutional violation for people like me, either state or fed
“Many, many people who are on the registration list, and currently on there for a lifetime, have very minor offenses. They’re a one-time affair. They learned their lesson probably before they even went to court that this wasn’t a good thing for me to do, and so there’s no reason for us to effectively punish them by this public declaration that they’re unsafe to be around,” he added.

My story: In 2000 I was arrested on a Sheriff sting and charge with 624-288(a) and served 22 months in Prison, released on Feb 2003 . In 2019 I applied for and received a Cert Of Rehab. Now I am on Tier 2 and am being told that I can do NOTHING until 2023? Anyone know of have any information that will allow off before that date. I would like to take a cruise at the very least. By the way my age is 74 years old, if anyone can offer advice or help from experience PLEASE

I keep hearing Chance & crew saying they want to create an “off-ramp” for Tier 3 folks but please fix the poor registered citizens stuck in Tier 3 for CP first.

I know I do not deserve or shouldn’t expect it, but an answer to my question what about us others that cannot by any objective standard be included in tier 3 without some kind of individual dynamic risk assessment?????? Non-violent, non-contact, first and only time offenders with over a decade registering and all kinds of mitigating factors to not re-offend??? I thought like the, I believe the Michigan court stated (not sure haven’t been up-to-date in this lately) stated you cannot declare one member of a class to be more dangerous than another of the similar class without some kind of dynamic risk assessment? please answer my ??? Janice and company…..I know you have no obligation or even a reason to be looking at these post, but man I would like to know what you think….

Hate to be pessimistic but all those in tier 3 should just be ready for quarterly registration, home compliance checks, no telling what else they will want to put on us “monsters” in the near future.

Just wondering if 3rd party registry sites would be willing to update their databases in 2022. I know real estate companies use these types of sister sites for their buyers. And how about the registry apps you can buy for your phone? Will there be a mandate for these companies to update their databases? I sure hope so or else your name can be floating around long after you’ve petitioned it off.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob

I have been on the registered list since 2010. 1 time offender. Sent to prison for 2 years. Had never been in trouble before and never been since. Consensual but of course inappropriate on the job affair. I am female. I am now a grandma of 4. Tier 3. I just got my assignment today. My officer contact stared blankly at me as I started tearing up and asked isn’t that tier for violent offenders? She said, “I know and you haven’t even been in any trouble right?” Im like in my head, “Dont you know?” Eleven years and NOT even a parking ticket, employed at the same company and earned two MASTERS degrees and Tier 3! I am simply, blown away at the ignorance and incompetence of this system.

I plead in 1997. Summary probation. Lost a professional license, spent time in LA county and I lived in fear that my neighbors would find out. Compliance would stop by my neighbors? I got a 17b, expungement and obtained a COR in early 2021, prior to July 1st. I’m off, no longer required to register and in the process of being re-licensed! I no longer live in fear. I was meticulous with my planning. I processed my 17b/expungement on my own and even a 851.8! I refused to give up. In LA, I used a private attorney who cost 1400! He was amazing. I never even came to court. Plus, Janice provided me inside info that made this happen. Im a new person. If this site didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be off. Not one (I contacted the administrative staff/informed me I was officially off) LE official called me informing me they where informed. Yet, the DOJ sent me an official letter and both LE agency admin staff confirmed this. Im now (as I type( traveling internationally and no longer live in fear of being harassed! You have to act now. I started moving over 2 years ago with my COR. If you live in LA county, move now! Plus, both LA paralegals aren’t fully aware of the laws. Neither knew you could still process a COR up until July 1st and get removed from the registry. I’ve continued to follow this site, but I think I’m signing off for good. Best wishes to everyone, make your contributions and don’t give up. I have 2 associate degrees, one BA and a graduate degree. I hope my license is re instated and I’ll get my 2nd BS and if my dream is fulfilled, a Phd. Best wishes and the race isn’t always won by the swiftest or fastest, but by those who keep running!

Also, rational basis review is not an unachievable bar. It was shown in the residency case here in CA that that law was not rational even though it could have been just as or more rational than a registry that puts non-dangerous people in a tier with demonstrably very dangerous/ violent and repeat offenders. It completely counters any efforts to increase public safety as it still dilutes the tier 3 registry with people that are demonstrably at extremely or no risk. It is not rational as it is completely counterproductive to the new tiered registry just as the residency law was determined and counterproductive to those extremely low to no risk individuals as it increases the chance of recidivism. There were plenty of incidences in which the residency law could have been considered rational (after all these were the most at risk segment of RSO as they were still on parole and in the highest risk stages. but yet the CA SC court carved out an exception and did not declare the law rational just because it might be rationally applied to certain individuals.

I plead no contest to a 243.4 (a) felony i was 18 and she was 16 in 1994 being told I would not have to register as a sex offender. I was sentenced to a year. I was sent to prison on a different commitment for a drive by shooting. This was when I was 18. When I got out in 2000 I was informed that I would have to register as a 290. I did eventually get excluded from Megan’s law website. Well unfortunately I did go back to prison 17 years later for a dui with a child in the car (my son). Sentenced to two years. I get out and I had to go through the mandatory sex offender program which I successfully completed and getting discharged a year early with not one failed lie detector test and working the program. Well now I just updated my annual registration and was informed I was a tier 3 lifetime registrant. All this for a case that happened when I was 18  for a case that I was told I would not have to register for.

Update: I obtained my COR earlier this year and obtained a new passport (expired) 4 months later. Expunged/243.4a misdemeanor/expunged. Removed from registry 2nd to COR. I just visited several foreign countries and I was banned from some and I would be harassed upon re-entry to the US. I went through customs without any questions/issues/or secondary screening. Very happy

Yes, whenever I would enter the country (US) and go through customs, the officer would scan my passport and I would be questioned by a secondary officer. Now, since I’m off the registry, I have no issues.