Janice’s Journal: Glimmers of Hope

There are glimmers of hope on the horizon for registrants and their families.  Most of that hope is based upon recent court decisions.  However, one piece of hope comes in the form of a recently published newspaper article.  Both will be discussed below. One form of hope comes from a recently published newspaper article about a person charged with shooting and killing another person.  The headline of that article identified the suspect in that killing as a parolee.  It was only upon reading the full article that the suspect was also identified as a person…

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Janice’s Journal: It’s the End…It’s the Beginning

Today is the last day of 2023.  It has been a year full of progress.  And it has been a year full of challenges. One form of progress in 2023 was a growing number of people whose petitions have been granted and are therefore no longer required to register in the state of California.  This progress was due in large part to an appellate court decision, that shifted the burden of proof from the person required to register to the district attorney.  Specifically, the decision stated that a district attorney…

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Janice’s Journal: Bullies Come in All Sizes

Bullies come in all sizes.  There are schoolyard bullies who steal children’s lunch money.  There are gang members who steal people’s cars.  And there are terrorists who hijack airplanes. What these bullies have in common is that they threaten and intimidate others.  And when their threats and intimidation don’t work, they sometimes resort to violence. In the registrant community, bullies abound.  Sometimes they come in the form of a parole officer who threatens to return a registrant to prison if he does not do what they are told to do. …

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Janice’s Journal: This Federal Court Got It Right — Mostly

Note:  The beginning of this column was written on Friday, October 27.  The end of this column was written on Monday, October 30. The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, got it right today when they granted our motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).  The court looked at the facts presented to them and asked the right questions.  In doing so, the court shifted the burden of proof to the government. That is, the court required the government to provide solid evidence that a sign on the front…

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Janice’s Journal: The Glass Is Half Full

Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?  It’s a question many have asked when they believe not all of their needs or desires have been met.  The answer to that question often depends upon whether the person who asked it is an optimist or a pessimist. I am an optimist and I declare that the glass is half full.  That is, the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) has approved two proposed changes identified by the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) and CASOMB plans…

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Janice’s Journal: Where Should They Live?

Officials in Placer County, California, are up in arms and complaining mightily that a 66-year-old registrant who has been designated a Sexually Violent Predator is about to be released in that county.  Never mind that he was convicted more than 30 years ago and has completed many years of treatment.  Never mind that experts have determined he no longer poses a current risk. Instead of relying upon these facts, Placer County officials and other government representatives are crying “not in my back yard”, otherwise known as NIMBY.  And they appear…

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Janice’s Journal: Incrementalism: The Pros and the Cons

Incrementalism can be defined informally as taking one small step at a time.  Incrementalism can be defined formally as a method of change by which many small changes are enacted over time in order to create a larger change. Regardless of the definition applied, incrementalism has both pros and cons. Advocates of incrementalism believe that small changes can be used to form a solid foundation upon which larger changes can be based.  They argue that a solid foundation is necessary in order to survive expected future challenges. Opponents of incrementalism…

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Janice’s Journal: CASOMB Moving Too Slowly on Proposed Changes

The California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) is moving slowly toward recommending that the state legislature make three significant changes to the Tiered Registry Law.  If the legislature adopts those changes, tens of thousands of individuals required to register in California will become eligible to petition for removal from the state registry. It is sometimes difficult to watch CASOMB’s slow progress.  After all, these changes were originally posed by ACSOL in January 2023, more than five months ago.  And during the intervening months, ACSOL has provided CASOMB with a lot…

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Janice’s Journal: Best Way to Serve and Protect Victims is to Better Serve Offenders

The United Kingdom (U.K.) is not known for having an open mind regarding individuals required to register.  Instead, the U.K. is known for stopping and returning to the country-of-origin individuals required to register even if the individuals have entered the U.K. via airport on their way to another destination.  In such cases, the U.K. has returned the individuals to their country-of-origin at the individuals’ expense. Therefore, it was surprising, perhaps even shocking, to hear the voice of reason in a government report issued recently in the U.K.  First, the report…

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Janice’s Journal: Are California Judges Getting Smarter?

There are two recent court decisions, one from an appellate court and the other from a trial court, that may be evidence that California judges are getting smarter on issues of importance to the registrant community. In the appellate court decision, three judges decided that the District Attorney must prove that a person required to register poses a current risk before a court can require continued registration beyond the minimum amount of time required under the Tiered Registry Law. In doing so, the appellate court overturned a trial court decision…

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Janice’s Journal: SCOTUS Made a Terrible Mistake

The U. S. Supreme Court made a terrible mistake 20 years ago.  As a result of that mistake, millions of Americans who are required to register and their families have been harmed, some even killed by vigilantes. The mistake to which I refer is the decision, Smith v. Doe, in which the Court found that the requirement to register was the same as applying for membership in Price Club.  That registration is an administrative requirement, not punishment, and therefore new sex offender laws could be passed and applied retroactively. The…

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Janice’s Journal: Judge Rejects DA’s “Because We Can” Argument

Just a few months ago, I wrote a column about a deputy District Attorney (DA) who stated that he was objecting to a registrant’s petition “because we can.”  At the time of writing that column, I stated that I was shaken to my core due to this flippant response which was not based in law, but instead was based in hubris.  Today that deputy DA and hopefully his boss learned an important lesson.  That is, DA’s who object to a petition “because they can” will lose in court.  The hearing…

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Janice’s Journal: New Year, New Hope

It is the beginning of a new year.  It is also the beginning of new hope. The new hope is based upon ACSOL’s commitment to improve the California Tiered Registry Law this year.  We will do this by lobbying the state legislature in Sacramento. Although this is only the third day of the new year, lobbying efforts are already underway as ACSOL reaches out to other organizations who are likely to support the improvements we request.  ACSOL is also reaching out to YOU because it will be your participation in…

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Janice’s Journal: Don’t Feed Oxygen to a Fire

ACSOL is aware that articles have been published and TV reports have been broadcast that are spreading misinformation about alleged early releases from prison of several hundred registrants in California.  These false articles and reports claim that the registrants pose a current danger to the public.   ACSOL has decided not to publish these articles and TV reports on its website because they are not based on reality.  Instead, they are based on unsupported allegations made by an attorney in California who is a former prosecutor.  The same attorney is also…

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Janice’s Journal: Halloween Is Here Again

Earlier this week I was preparing to write a column about Halloween when I was interrupted by a more pressing matter. I am glad that I was interrupted because the message of that column is no longer true. The original focus of my message was about Halloween and that is the focus of this column. The difference, however, is that the original column was going to address the seeming lack of Halloween restrictions being levied against registrants as well as the lack of media inquiries. Unfortunately, the actions of two southern…

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Janice’s Journal: Because We Can

Have you ever been shaken to your core by an answer to a question?  That happened to me recently when I asked a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles county why his office had objected to a petition for removal from the registry. Without a pause, the deputy district attorney replied “because we can.” What?  A district attorney is objecting to a petition solely because he or she can.  Technically, that answer is correct.   After all, the Tiered Registry Law authorizes district attorneys to object to a petition, but their…

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Janice’s Journal: A Model Court Decision

A court in Pennsylvania ruled recently in favor of one registrant and that is a good thing.  The even better thing the court did was to provide the registrant community with a model that can be followed in other state courts. To be sure, this week’s decision issued by the Court of Common Pleas in Chester County, Pennsylvania, is binding precedent only upon courts in that state.  It is, however, a precedent that can and should be followed by state courts throughout the land.  And it provides a model that…

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Janice’s Journal: A Difficult Decision

The vigil planned for Washington, D.C., in March 2023 was my idea.  My idea was a vigil that would take place near the date of the 20th anniversary of a terrible mistake made by the U.S. Supreme Court.  A mistake that has led to significant harm experienced by at least one million families.  A mistake that had led to unemployment, homelessness, vigilante violence and even suicide. The purpose of the vigil was to educate the U.S. Supreme Court and the public regarding the tragedies that have flowed from this decision. …

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