Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that allows low-level sex registrants to be removed from a lifetime law enforcement registry. The new law will keep violent offenders on the list, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Under the new law, 90 percent of the state’s sex registrants will no longer be required to register as sex offenders for life. The measure is Senate Bill 384 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
“With this reform, our law enforcement agencies will be able to better protect people from violent sex offenders rather than wasting resources tracking low-level offenders who pose little or no risk of repeat offense,” Wiener said in a statement.
“Our sex offender registry is a tool used to prevent and investigate crimes, and these changes will make it a better and more effective tool for keeping our communities safe,” Wiener added.
Beginning in 2021, sex offenders can petition the government to be deleted from both public and police registries 10 to 20 years after their release from prison, as long as they haven’t committed a serious, violent or sexually based crime, said the article.
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The state’s registry contains some 100,000 sex offenders. That’s one in 400 Californians registered. The law categorizes the registry into three tiers and allows these offenders to petition the government to be removed from the registry.
Tier one includes 65,000 offenders convicted of sexual battery, misdemeanor possession of child pornography and indecent exposure. They can petition 10 years after their release from prison.
Tier two has 24,000 offenders convicted of such crimes as lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, oral copulation with a minor under 14 years old, and non-forced sodomy with a minor under 14 years old. They can also petition 10 years after release from prison.
The third tier includes 8,200 offenders convicted of crimes like rape, sex crimes against children 10 years old and younger, repeat sex offenders, and sex trafficking of minors. It requires them to be on the registry for life.
Equality California supported the bill because it protects LGBTQ persons from law enforcement officials who target them, for example, for having consensual sex in parks.
“Gov. Brown’s signature will restore livelihoods and help restore the registry as a tool for investigating those who pose a real danger to society,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.
The newspaper reported 650 sex offenders were convicted in the 1940s and 1950s, according to the Sex Offender Management Board. An additional 3,000 were last convicted in the 1960s and 1970s.
Law enforcement officials documented that they spend two-thirds of their budget on monitoring low-risk sex-offenders, the story reported.
Law enforcement’s efforts should be on higher-risk individuals, according to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’ Malley.