I’m Just A Bill: Brilliant

21 Aug

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I decided to cut the middle-man and just go directly to Ammiano’s website for a list of all bills he authored so I could easily blog about the bestest crimlaw legislation in the works.  Brilliant.  Not that idea (though actually that kind of was), but the bills being presented by Ammiano.  I seriously heart this man.

Today’s I’m Just A Bill goes to AB702 which would change sex offender registration in California as we know it.  Right now, the dude who got drunk and slapped some girl’s butt in the bar must register as a sex offender for the same amount of time as the dude who kidnapped and raped a 4-year old at gunpoint. (Read: the rest of their lives).  This bill would seek to modify registration into to tiers where length of registration is variable depending on the nature of the offense and if the person re-offends.

By comparison, the bill’s analysis notes that California is only one of four states nation wide requiring lifetime registration for anyone ordered to register:

“According to a 2010 CASOMB review:

a) Half of the states require 10 years for the majority of
registrants, and life for the rest, using risk assessment
or offense-based classifications to determine who registers
for life.
b) Some states allow registrants to petition the courts for
termination of registration, often after 10 years of
c) Five states require registration for 15 years, 25 years,
or life, depending on the offense.
d) Other states use a combination of 15/life; 20/life;
25/life; 5/10/20/life, 10/25/life; 10/15/25/life; or
10/15/20/life, depending on risk or offense
e) Four states (California, Alabama, Florida, and South
Carolina) require lifetime registration for all
registrants, and one state requires 15 years for all

California has the most registered sex offenders in the
country, about 90,000, about 75% of whom are in the community.
The rest are incarcerated. This large number is due to the
population of the state, the length of time California has
registered sex offenders (retroactive to 1944), lifetime

The bill creates three tiers of registration that vary by length: 10 years, 20 years, or life.  Personally, I’d like to see length of probation, 5 years, 10 years if we are not going to abolish it altogether, but baby steps people, baby steps.

There are some other problems with the tiers including that any violent felony conviction subsequent to a nonviolent sex offense conviction would make someone ineligible for a 10 year registration period.

The specifics of which tier a given person falls in depend on the person’s SARATSO risk score, whether the offense was violent, whether the person picks up any new felonies, the nature of the original conviction and/or subsequent conviction, and more. Ironically, one rule is if you are SVPd you must register for life.  Um, who gets SVPd then gets out ever? Isn’t that the whole point of SVP?


JJC Verdict: Brilliant first step. Still problematic, but if we can make DOJ implement a system to remove people from the registry, and if the law starts to recognize that there are degrees of culpability in sex crimes, maybe we can start to chip away at the irrational scarlet letter that is the sex offender registration law.  Thus, WTG, Ammiano.  xoxo


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