CA: Terminating Sex Offender Registration

Source:  California Attorneys For Criminal Justice

By Pat Ford, Esq.
Effective January 1st, 2021, Senate Bill 384 restructured the sex offender registration requirements, establishing three tiers of registration, primarily based on the offense of conviction, for periods of at least 10 years (tier one), 20 years (tier two) or life (tier three).  (See Penal Code section 290(d).)

Section 290.5(a)-(c) provides the procedure for a person to seek termination from the sex-offender registry if the person has completed the mandated minimum period.  Once the termination request is made, the prosecution may seek a hearing and present evidence to establish that community safety would be enhanced by continued registration.  (Section 290.5 (a)(2)(3).)

This week, the Court of Appeal published a case explaining the nature of the inquiry that must take place when the prosecution argues for continued registration in this context. 

In People v. Thai (G060963) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, the court found the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s petition for termination of his registration requirement.  The court accepted the prosecutor’s argument that the tier two defendant’s termination after 23 years would result in safety concerns for the community.

The court’s ruling was focused on the facts of the offense, which the prosecutor had argued were egregious.  But the appellate court found the facts of the offense alone do not establish that the defendant was a risk to the community 23 years later.  The original offense was a lewd act committed on a 12 year-old victim.  The prosecution presented no evidence of prior offenses, and no evidence that defendant refused to complete counseling.  Defendant’s comments to the probation officer demonstrated remorse and willingness to participate in a treatment program.  The attorney general faulted the defendant for not providing any evidence that defendant completed a treatment program or a current risk assessment.  But it was the prosecution’s burden to establish that defendant was a current risk and it could have sought an assessment.

The new law will likely result in many petitions seeking termination from the registry.  This case makes clear that a prosecutor seeking to block the termination can’t rely on the facts relating to the original offense, and must make a more thorough showing focusing on current facts relating to dangerousness.

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I wish my case in Fresno County would just be brought before a judge so my petition can be signed! I filed a petition many months ago, the DA Didn’t object, and it’s just sitting at the court, with nothing else set! The last filing in the case was the DA not objecting way back in September!

This should be a automatic process like theat level assessment (I still don’t have a level)

Even when the prosecution must seek the assessment, it’s still good to have the petitioner have one done and ready to show if needed.

This is a ruling that will help all those whose petitions are challenged. The Court of Appeal made a reasonable and just decision, just my opinion.

I think its a good thing registration can be terminated. That’s was a point made by justice Stevens when he signed the matter. No off ramp suggested to him a punitive intent.( Smith V Doe)
However, the new found termination opportunity itself is a response to inevitable forces at play that are a direct result from sweeping thousands of people into the database regimes avoidable overreach!
In other words, the errant belief that a database driven regime could be used across the broad crimes spectrum to circumvent interpersonal violence. Why is it so many believe the DDI is a “fix all” for every problematic human condition?
No doubt! there is measurable catharsis for those who’ve been granted release from the obligation to register. And those relieved of the duty are still very aware of just how FUBAR the database driven registration regime is to the human condition. They ( some) continue to post here at ACSOL and continue to support the conflict after process. This is quite remarkable.( given the audience) IMO that’s denotes a quality found only in fine leadership. Reasonable people could argue otherwise.

Is there any recourse for a tier three SO?

That!!!: “The attorney general faulted the defendant for not providing any evidence that defendant completed a treatment program or a current risk assessment. But it was the prosecution’s burden to establish that defendant was a current risk and it could have sought an assessment.”

That’s right, State’s attorney – don’t come to the courts empty handed, … or just don’t come at all! 😝

Excellent ruling!!
👍🏻 👍🏻 👍🏻 👍🏻 🥳 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

(Hey, maybe we’re getting closer to automatic removal after one Tier term expires!! 😃 )

Last edited 5 months ago by David🔱

After reading this, I can’t help but wonder why an offense 288(c) with a 14-15 year old that is a wobbler is Tier 3. I don’t mean to take away from the fact that 288(a) is Tier 2 but it still seems unfair. Maybe I am the only one in this boat who is concerned and feels gipped but it does not logically make sense to me.
Any thoughts?

Can prosecutors present allegations of offenses, but no convictions, that occurred PRIOR to the one the person was convicted for.

For example, let’s say in one year the person was convicted for misdemeanor child pornography but the prior year 15-year-old girl alleges that the individual had sex with her. He was arrested in that case but the DA never brought charges.

Now it’s 20 years later and the Tier 1 petitioner is trying to get off from the misdemeanor child pornography charges, but the DA is saying the person should not be let off because he’s a bad guy based on that prior alleged incident, which she presents to the court in her rebuttal to the petition as if the individual had indeed been tried and found guilty of it.

Since this on the topic of early release…Just talked to an attorney to attempt to get released from supervision. (One count of CP which is Federal). The attorney is saying that even though I have a Tier 1 from the State of CA my case is Federal so I can’t apply to be released from the list? That I will still have to register even if I get off supervision because my registration was Federal. And, it seems to me like I once saw someone say that Federal has a rating system (similar to tier) and after so many years you can petition to get off? Does any of this make sense to anyone?

I’m still crying out for help I read the story’s of registrants greeting off the registrant list Im glad for them, Im 63 years old been fighting my conviction since 1981 no luck each opportunity I get I use to ask for a right to due process and equal protection but unfortunately I Am block by the DA who wont allow my case to be heard,, even in this situation this new tired law I don’t have no risk assessment from the COURTS.. only though they interpretation of the charge do I now have a risk assessment. level three I’ve have not committed any serious or violent felonies since 1985. I was giving custody of my daughter in 1992, yet the PD and the DA wont take my case because of my record and the way its written I only have 1 conviction not 2. I’ve pleaded with attorney to help me non wants to ask for a correction in to the abstract of judgement. they just go by what they read and that’s wrong I got proof of all the thigs I say but no one wants to hear me.. Im denied employment housing.

Too many people are on Tier 3 and deemed dangerous, just because of the crime they were convicted of. Many of them were promised they could submit to have their convictions reduced, but that was later denied by the California Law makers. Now we have many in Tier 3 with no convictions for over 20 years. How is it possible to call these people dangerous? This makes no sense.

Does CASOMB or ACSOL have the official numbers for how many people are categorized in tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3? As well as how many tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 get off the registry.

Also, how many registrants were granted 1203.4 since 2007, the start of PC 290.007.

Thx in advance on who can give the info.