Sex Offenders

On the November 2006 General Election ballot, Proposition 83, sponsored by State Senator George Runner and Assemblymember Sharon Runner, will enact the Sexual Relations Punishment and Control Act: Jessica’s Law which (1) increases penalties for violent and habitual sex offenders and child molesters, (2) prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of any school or park, (3) requires lifetime global positioning monitoring of felony registered sex offenders, (4) expands the definition of sexually violent predators, and (5) changes the current two-year involuntary civil commitment for a sexually violent predator to an indeterminate commitment, subject to an annual review by the Department of Mental Health and subsequent ability of a sexually violent predator to petition the court for the sexually violent predator’s conditional release or unconditional discharge.

During the regular session, a number of bills were enacted proving similar conditions as above. These included SB 1128 (Alquist) enacting the Sex Offender Punishment, Control, and Containment Act of 2006 which increases the prison term for child rape to 25 years to life, expands the Megan’s Law database, toughens penalties for child pornography, toughens penalties for Internet predators, discourages prosecutors from offering plea bargains in sex offense cases, keeps sex offenders away from schools, parks, and other places where vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled congregate; and SB 1178 (Speier) requiring, on July 1, 2008, every parole and probation authority to place global positioning systems devices on all sex offenders found to pose a high risk to society.

Other important sex offender legislation enacted included AB 1015 (Chu) creating a Sex Offender Management Board to assess current management practices for adult sex offenders; AB 1683 (S. Horton) requiring the Department of Mental Health to provide the court and law enforcement with copies of specified data relating to the monitoring and supervision of a sexually violent predatory proposal for outpatient treatment in the community; AB 1849 (Leslie) enhancing the Megan’s Law database; AB 1900 (Lieu) expanding and clarifying the current prosecution against registered sex offenders working with children to include employers or independent contractors as specified; AB 1996 (Bogh) extending the existing procedures that apply when the sexual history of a testifying witness is offered to attack the credibility of the witness and to witnesses testifying about prior sexual offenses of a defendant; AB 2049 (Spitzer) prohibiting a registered sex offender on parole, as specified, from having any contact or communication with the victim or the victim’s immediate family; AB 2196 (Spitzer) requiring child care facilities to give parents information regarding Internet-based state web sites with information about registered sex offenders; AB 2263 (Spitzer) requiring disclosure of a person’s status as a sex offender registered when applying for, or accepting specific employment; AB 2615 (Tran) allowing probation officers to receive victim identification information in sexual assault cases; AB 2875 (Pavley) prohibiting secret settlements in civil actions involving sex offenses; and AB 2893 (Mountjoy) seeking to ensure that before physical or legal custody of, or unsupervised visitation with, a child is granted to specified registered sex offenders and those who reside with specified registered sex offenders, the court must first state the reasons for finding there is no significant harm to the child either in writing or on the record.

Vetoed legislation of note included AB 96 (Cohn) requiring the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide a written report to the Governor and Legislature describing an action plan for employing global position satellite devices as part of the intensive and specialized parole supervision of high-risk offenders, as specified, and AB 2712 (Leno) providing that no duty toward tenants shall arise on part of a residential landlord solely for renting or leasing residential real property to a person who is registered or who is required to register under Section 290 of the Penal Code (Megan’s Law) or who is a person who has been convicted as a sex offender in another state or foreign jurisdiction.