A judge in Sacramento Superior Court today stopped the first challenge to the Tiered Registry Law. The action was taken during a virtual hearing held before Judge Shama Mesiwala.
The case in question involved a challenge to the assignment of individuals convicted of Penal Code Section 288(c)(1) to Tier 3, the highest tier. The basis of the challenge was the equal protection clause of the state constitution.
“Today’s decision will be appealed,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “Until this decision can be overturned, individuals convicted of PC 288(c)(1) will continue to be assigned to Tier 3 and must register for life.”
According to the court’s decision, individual convicted of PC 288(c)(1) are not similarly situated to individuals convicted of PC 288(a) although both offenses involve identical conduct. Under the current language of the Tiered Registry Law, individuals convicted of PC 288(a) that involves a victim under the age of 14 are assigned to Tier 2, however, individuals convicted of the same conduct with a victim who is 15 or 16 are assigned to the highest tier (tier 3). Because these individuals are not similarly situated, the equal protection does not apply, according to that decision.
The court’s decision also focused upon the requirement of a 10-year age gap for those convicted of PC 288(c). In its decision, the court ignored the fact that two additional offenses requiring the same 10-year age gap (PC 289(i) and PC 286(c)(1) are assigned to Tier 1 and Tier 2, respectively.
“It is possible that today’s decision is based in part upon the fact that this is the first challenge to the Tiered Registry Law,” stated Bellucci. “If an appellate court agrees with this challenge, lower courts will follow that precedent.”
Law Office of Janice M. Bellucci