A lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 16 challenging a provision of the California Tiered Registry Law. Specifically, a registrant is challenging his assignment to Tier 3 based upon his conviction for violating Penal Code Section 288(c)(1). According to the lawsuit, the registrant’s tier assignment violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution. The lawsuit requests that the court prohibit the California Department of Justice from assigning individuals convicted of Section 288(c)(1) to Tier 3.
After his original conviction of a felony violation of Section 288(c)(1), the plaintiff obtained a reduction of that offense to a misdemeanor. In addition, the plaintiff later obtained a certificate of rehabilitation.
The lawsuit notes that individuals convicted of more severe offenses than Section 288(c)(1) have been assigned to a lower tier, that is, to either Tier 1 or Tier 2. For example, individuals convicted of violating Section 288(a) are assigned to Tier 2 after being found guilty of committing the same acts but with a victim of a different age. Specifically, the victim of those convicted of Section 288(a) is under 14 while the victim of those convicted of Section 288(c) is older — 14 or 15.
A similar lawsuit was filed in February 2021 in Sacramento Superior Court. The judge in that case granted the government’s demurrer and therefore the merits of the case were not decided. A notice of appeal has been filed in the Sacramento case and the opening brief of the appeal is due next month.