A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge struck down a portion of Jessica’s Law this last week because he stated its restrictive nature was undermining the actual intent of the law. The ruling has temporarily changed things for sex offenders in the state, though many are saying the change won’t last.
At issue is the rule regarding just how close a registered sex offender can live to a school or a park. In 2006 Jessica’s Law was passed, creating very strict standards for registered sex offenders across the board. Prior to that law, such a residential rule was only applied in cases where the victim was a child.
The problem with the rule is that it has left many registered sex offenders with nowhere to go. In San Francisco, for instance, nearly the entire city is considered off-limits. In situations like this, sex offenders have had no choice but to resort to homelessness.
The whole intent of sex offender registration and Jessica’s Law was to protect the public from what they fear to be the worst criminals. But, because these people are being forced to live on the streets, the public is put at an even greater risk due to the difficulty of tracking the transient.
In Orange County, more than 1/3 of sex offenders are homeless. Since the passing of Jessica’s Law, the number of homeless registered sex offender parolees has jumped from 30 in 2007 to 259 last month.
For now at least, the Department of Corrections has called on parole officers to cease enforcement of the residency requirement, though it urges them to continue the use of GPS to track some offenders. The Department plans on appealing the decision according to this LA Times article.
Senator George Runner says he is “confident” the rules will be restored and surmises that cities may impose their own regulations to deal with the lack of residential restrictions now at the state level.
When you have been convicted of an offense considered a sex crime, your penalty is far from over when you walk out of jail or prison. Sex offender requirements are the harshest post release requirements of all. The key to avoiding such requirements is to avoid such a conviction in the first place.
When you are facing charges like rape, sexual battery, or lewd and lascivious acts you have a battle ahead. Faced with the stigma of a sex offense you have a lot to be scared of.
If you are facing charges like these, contact our offices today for a free consultation on your case.