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Convicted Sex Offenders Petition For Changes To Jessica’s Law

Audio

Aired 2/4/11

The number of homeless sex offenders has increased dramatically since Jessica's Law passed in 2006. The law prevents convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park. We discuss why the law's requirements are making it difficult for sex offenders to find places to live, and why some convicted sex offenders in San Diego are challenging the law's residence restrictions.

The number of homeless sex offenders has increased dramatically since Jessica's Law passed in 2006. The law prevents convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park. We discuss why the law's requirements are making it difficult for sex offenders to find places to live, and why some convicted sex offenders in San Diego are challenging the law's residence restrictions.

Guests

David Rolland, editor of San Diego CityBeat

Kent Davy, editor of the North County Times

JW August, managing editor for 10 News

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

PENNER: A few months ago, Editors Roundtable, featured a segment on the unintended consequences of the 2006 California proposition called Jessica's law. It requires that sex offenders who are paroled cannot live within 2000 feet of a school or a park. A group of San Diego parolees are arguing that the residential restrictions of Jessica's law have driven them into homelessness. So David, this week, hearings were held on that complaint. Who's holding the hearings for what purpose?

ROLLAND: Well, the hearings were basically compelled by the Public Defender's Office. And responsible Public Defender Laura Arnold, who has sort of been a Crusader on behalf of parolees, many of whom -- well, I think all of whom were paroled after -- their sex offenses happened years and years and years ago, but because they committed another offense, they were paroled after Jessica's law came into effect, and sort of got swept into its residence restrictions. And so four of them, she was representing four of them in court this week who were petitioning the Court for relief from the residence restrictions. Of.

PENNER: Okay. So the essence of this -- these complaints were what?

ROLLAND: That it's sort of cruel and unusual punishment to be driven into homelessness of it's like you said, we use the headliner, unintended consequences of and that's what this is. So they're being driven into homelessness because under Jessica's law, you can't live within 2000 feet of a school or a park. And that wipes out, actually, much of the land mass of the State of California. Particularly in urban areas. So what happened after Jessica's law? Before Jessica's law, there was I believe 88 sex offenders parolees state wide who were considered homeless. And afterward, or now, there are nearly -- over 5000 of them. So it has --

PENNER: Where? Where?

ROLLAND: All over the state.

PENNER: In California.

ROLLAND: In San Diego, there are well over a hundred of them that Laura Arnold knows about. And so what happened was last year in Los Angeles, they petitioned hundreds of them petitioned the Courts to -- for relief from Jessica's law's restrictions. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the law could be applied retroactively. However, they said -- the Court said we're not saying that these people cannot petition. So what was basically happening in this court this week in San Diego was the Public Defender's Office was creating sort of a record, basically establishing a record for this case to go forward. It'll probably eventually get back to the state Supreme Court, where it will have to rule again. And in the case of these four parolees, a local judge will rule on their specific petitions. But it's really -- these are sort of test cases for a larger group of people who have become homeless because of this of.

PENNER: JW, before I go to you on this, I want to ask our listeners, okay, now here you have it laid out, according to David Rolland and his reporting and the staff's reporting, Jessica's law pushes sense offenders into homelessness because they can't live within 2000 feet of a school or a park, and that makes it really tough in urban areas to find a place to live. Do you think Jessica's law should be changed? Do you think it should be amended or do you think it should be abolished? Our number is 1-888-895-5727. 895 KPBS. JW?

AUGUST: Yeah, I -- y'all sent me the CityBeat article to read before this -- we had the show today, and I read it, and when I was done, I was really conflicted. Because it -- you read this, and you feel for these guys, but it's, hey, they're human beings. But -- and then you wrestle with this, well, they're pedophiles. But were they -- were their victims children?

ROLLAND: But they're not, and their victims aren't children. The people that Laura Arnold is representing, their victims were never children. Which was the intent of Jessica's law.

AUGUST: It radio, right exactly.

PENNER: JW.

AUGUST: And I'm not disagreeing with that at all. Anyway, it got me thinking about a story we had done where we had found four pedophiles living -- not pedophiles, sense offenders, living in a hotel off of Rosecranz. And why were they in that particular place? First we were shocked because the hotel was trying to track tourism traffic for sea world. But there was four offenders in the hotel, and the hotel staff would not tell families coming in there who was there. That was our first story. Then we did our second story, and we went to the probation department and looked at the map for the city, you start seeing where are these guys gonna stay? Because it closes everything down, and it turned out, if you want to live in any part of the city in that area around Rosecrans, you had to live in that hotel or out in the parking lot because there's no other place for these guys to go. So when we're done with that story, reading the City Beat story brought that conflict up to me again, that, hey, well, what do you do here?

ROLLAND: I need to comment on that story, the first story was outrageously sensational. The second story was better. It provide provided a lot more context. It's important to note, we don't know what these four men did. Actually, I know what one of them kid. Nathan Moore was convicted in 1982, 29 years ago, of a sexual assault, I believe on an adult woman. So that was 29 years ago. Then subsequent to that, he -- there was a petty theft, which -- and that is why he is subject to Jessica's law's restrictions, because of a petty theft. Now he is diabetic and other he is an amputee in a wheel chair.

PENNER: Okay, well, with that, let's turn to our callers because we have some interesting comments and questions. From Kiera in Coronado. Kiera, you're on with the editors.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi, thanks for taking my call.

PENNER: Yes, go ahead. Of.

NEW SPEAKER: Okay, I have a question, why don't they just limit the 2000 feet law from parks and schools for sex offenders that only have cases against children and of the sort? Not people who are, you know, doing things to full-grown adults because obviously adults are not the ones that are in that law?

PENNER: Okay. Thank you very much, Kiera. Do you have a response for that Kent Davy?

DAVY: Yeah, I think part of the problem with this statement, this is true of many other states as well, the sexual offense laws are written almost always in reaction to horrific crimes. The public and the legislatures, because it's easy to campaign on the bases of anti crime, over react and create what amounts to irrational legislative schemes that in fact don't make anybody safer. One of the unintended consequences of Jessica's law is to drive sex offenders outside of urban course to rural areas where they're much harder to keep track of. And if you were really gonna be -- try and fix something about this, I think you'd sit down and try and go across the board and do a number of fixes at the same time.

PENNER: Let's take one more very brief call, and then we'll get final comments of James from Point Loma, James will you make it brief please?

NEW SPEAKER: Yes, good morning, I will be brief. I just wanted to say that as a father, I really believe that Jess's law was put there for I really good reason. It was to protect the innocent victims. I understand the humanity of the situation. People need to find a place to live. But the truth of the matter is, these laws are put in place there for a reason. To protect the innocent. I think priority definitely needs to be given to that.

PENNER: Okay, thank you very much, James, gentlemen, I'm gonna ask for your final comments on this, we'll start with you David.

ROLLAND: James is missing the point. Prior to Jessica's law, there were restrictions that really only -- that dealt with people who were victimizing children. What Jessica's law did, and Kent's right, it was a response to a horrific crime. What it did was it was overly broad, now it is impacting people that were never intended to be impacted by this law. And the thing about homelessness is it makes it harder to manage sex offenders. So it makes it harder to rehabilitate people who need it because they become unstable.

PENNER: JW?

AUGUST: I think the mood in the state is it, they are gonna do something about the law, because I knowledge law enforcement and even politicians are realizing it was a reaction to a terrible crime. And it's now -- and there's unintended consequences when you do knee jerk legislation.

PENNER: Okay. So you get the very last word, Kent.

DAVY: And take a look in the brown budget and see who got whacked in terms of state employees. It is the parole officers who got whacked. And those duties are turned back down to the county and there will be even less -- fewer people watching people that we may want watched.

PENNER: Thank you very much, Kent Davy New York Times, from Ten News we thank JW August, and David Rolland who came to us from San Diego City beat. Thanks to our listen uppers and our callers, I'm Gloria Penner, this has been the Editors Roundtable on KPBS.

Comments

Avatar for user 'olsentm'

olsentm | February 4, 2011 at 9:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps the "plight" of sex offenders who find themselves homeless because of Jessica's should be a lesson to aspiring sex offenders. The easy solution is to not be a sex offender. I have no pity.

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Avatar for user 'AnnOminous'

AnnOminous | February 5, 2011 at 1:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

To Olsentm,

You are just as ignorant as the people who wrote Jessica's Law. It's bad enough that the recession had created homelessness across the state that even I'm starting to see the homeless in neighborhoods that NEVER had them before, both sex offenders AS WELL as mothers with children at tow. It's worse when people like you don't see with opened eyes and how this kind of attitude is turning America into Dystopia.

Jessica's Law does not protect anyone, not even my father. He got caught up in this bullcrap over some child pornography accidentally downloaded several years ago via dial-up in unmarked zip files; he was originally trying to collect tasteful nudes of both sexes when I asked for some references for potential self-taught life drawing. It was only by sheer chance of a timeline loophole that, thanks to our lawyer's reasoning, since the FBI discovered his home computer containing unsorted and unlabeled child pornography few hours before the law was put into effect non-retroactively, he did not get the full penalty of Jessica's Law. If fate had been crueler, he would have been either evicted from our house, separated from his family, or sent to jail where he would more than likely die within a week under the fisticuffs of 'high-moral' murderers.

Jessica's Law was set up to demonstrate to the public that 'they' were doing something about these recent medial banterings of sex offenders. This law specifically targets innocent bystanders who are not violent by nature but know nothing about how serious possessing child pornography is. Even a sex-related spamertisement email, if accidentally opened and shows a nude teenager and your hard-drive writes it down into its cache, will get you into so much trouble -- yes, over one f#@$ing picture!

In addition, the homeless sex offenders, who are extremely hard to track down BECAUSE they have no home, are more than likely to cause more crimes unrelated to their original offense, or even molest the aforementioned homeless child in front of the defenseless, homeless mother. The increasing number of homeless sex offenders is endangering the public.

Jessica's Law had made me lose faith in the justice system, because I know very darn well while they prosecute innocent people like my father for being a pervert, the smarter criminals who really ARE child molesters and sex demons are still out there doing their thing unnoticed by anyone. And I'm sure one day, one of those perverts will come for me at random. I do not want to go down being attacked by a sex offender made homeless under Jessica's Law.

There is no solution to control the sex offenders, and laws do not change people; they just do things quietly and hope to God they don't get caught. It protects no one, not the children, not the victims, and definitely not the falsely accused ones. Your lack of pity will one day bite you in the butt when you have a run-in with the law in the most surreal dystopian manner.

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Avatar for user 'rokeee'

rokeee | February 5, 2011 at 9:17 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Yah, Yah, I know someone living under those restrictions for being caught peeing on the side of the freeway. They called it Indecent exposure. He is treated like a chester now. He is an MMA cagefighter who can't train now because of that GPS monitor on his damn ankle. If if it breaks, he's toast. Anyhow, the fact that a judicial system of the USA that allows laws like that to be granted to where people are made to be homeless is still alot to fathom. The next thing you'll know you'll be shot on sight for not paying your traffic tickets, let the people vote for that one, there will be plenty of open seats for politicians to replace after that. Yep, the law makers are out of control now.

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Avatar for user 'mrbegood007'

mrbegood007 | March 13, 2011 at 1:12 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm not going to lie here. I'm a sex offemder. Don't get confused about me thinking I touched a child dead wrong. my charges had nothing to do with child related issues. mine was because to 20 year olds have been droning sleeped with one another and the next day that person felt used. so since this person happend to be the victim I become the suspect.
anyways this law has done nothing for anybody not even close. this law is what the politicians like to call a safe haven. meaning that nobody actually is safe it just a feeling that u think u have. everybody wasted there hard earned money for this law and now u have homeless people on the streets. way to go America. you could have just let people live there lives but no u just did not want that at all. I can't believe u actually trusted the government to help u. I used to be in the military and saw things you should not have and heard things that should not have been said. everybody needs to realise that some people make mistakes like me and others that beef help. let's lock them away or shoot them. that means you are no better then them. sorry to keep dragging but a voice needs to be heard. just like the second comment I'm sorry the father had that happen to him. him and I are in the same boat. just bad timing with people around us.

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Avatar for user 'kjustus'

kjustus | August 15, 2011 at 8:32 a.m. ― 3 years, 2 months ago

To my neighbors, the defenders of these registrants, and to the registrants:

Absolutely ridiculous. Neighbors, you should read the full charges on each of these cases. I personally recommend you look up the files of your local sex offenders. These cases are public record and you should know what you are protecting your families from. These sites can help you make informed decisions about your registrants. Of course registrants are going to tell you they are not that bad. They want to be the victims. Do not assume what they are telling you is truth.

Registrants, if you were innocent -- you should have plead 'NOT GUILTY.' Does anyone remember Dale Akiki? His face and his name were plastered all over the news for months. The man who was accused of sexually assaulting young children while in his care at a Sunday school class. This was a witch hunt case -- Dale plead "NOT GUILTY" and the public defender’s office proved he was "NOT GUILTY." This man has my pity.

Registrants, you were either found guilty or plead guilty -- you are CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS. As far as low risk (what a joke) charges you are REPEAT OFFENDERS!!!! Not the first time dad has been questioned about related issues. These are added to the website because it has been proven statistically that this is a pattern for sex offenders.

I support my law enforcement agencies, the victims of the people who went through great lengths and costs, to help prevent these crimes from ever happening to another child/person and I will stand up against any movement to change these laws, if not for the protection of my own children for the memories of the children and people who have been victims of such predators.

Registrants and defenders of registrants, you should be ashamed of yourselves if you feel otherwise. If you are a registered sex offender, you should adjust your life to stay away from the innocent and weak. Personally, my family does not think it is too much to ask for you to stay away from schools, parks, beaches where children play. Nor do we think it too much to ask for you to keep away from the vulnerable on every level of your life. You are not in jail. You can still live a relatively free life. Maybe some of your dreams have been revoked or made more difficult to attain --- THAT IS YOUR FAULT!!!!

In our society today, both parents are working and there are risks we must take everyday sending our children out into the world. Known predator should not be on that list.

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Avatar for user 'kjustus'

kjustus | August 15, 2011 at 8:47 a.m. ― 3 years, 2 months ago

With regard to being a registered sex offender, homeless and on the streets, changing our registrants laws is not the answer. As a community, we may want to consider having these registrants placed back into jail or some other controlled system to protect the innocent families being hit so hard from the current economy. Just because they cannot afford an address more than 2000 feet away from a school, park, or place where children frequent, doesn't mean we should change the laws.
For the innocent families being dislocated and placed on the streets, we may consider some public camp grounds, like during the great depression, with clean running water and bathrooms. No predators allowed!!! These dislocated families are not even allowed to live in their cars. How sad is this.
I wish I had more to give - we too lost our home, cars, jobs and are living in a one bedroom (praise God for that).

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Avatar for user 'concerned'

concerned | October 31, 2011 at 12:54 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

The law is horrible especially if you have been wrongfully convicted. I know someone that was and he now is sentenced to 60 years in a Texas prision because of it. The sentence with no option for parole is very extreme. And to top it off he can not have any visits from anyone under the age of 17, not even biological children, neices, or nephews. This is horrible!

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Avatar for user 'ahora007'

ahora007 | August 26, 2012 at 10:13 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

KJUSTUS. I am 43 now. I was 20 years old when I was dating a 23 year old. She asked me the day she met me how much money I made and I lied and told her I had a great job and I was buying a house in La Jolla etc. I knew she was a gold digger and she was hot so I decided I would take a shot. Something people do in clubs and bars all the time.

To make a long story short, We dated a few months and she wanted to get married. I was working at 7-11 and I knew she wwas gonna find out and I didnt want any drama. At this time she was sleeping at her parents house in Mexico but she was basically living with me. We were in a sexual relationship since about 4 hours after I met her. I told her I was not ready and she got pissed. I wanted to see if she really liked me and told her I decided I was going to move back to michigan. I wanted to see if she just left or if she was gonna beg me to stay. She left and I went to work and called her but she was not available is what her brother said. I figured I needed to tell her the truth and we would deal with it.

I got off work and at 6 am I went home and was surrounded by the police in front of my house. I had no idea what happened. They asked me my name and I told them and they said I was under arrest for rape. I told them they had the wrong guy. I was working all night and they said it happened about 12 hours ago. I told them no way I was with my girlfriend all day and they could call her. They asked me what her name was. Yep she was the "victim". I went to jail. This is how the criminal justice system in our great country works.

Ironically there was no trauma to her and no semen or anything as that day was the only day since I met her that we didnt have sex. They did find some semenal fluid on the sheets but since I dont wash my sheets every day thats no surprise. I got to the preliminary hearing with a public defender. She brings her friend and I never met her friend but her friend fucked up and told the court that she picke her up at my house but added in something my x did not. She said when she picked up my gf she asked her to take her to La Jolla. She took her to a house and they went to the door and she asked the owners if they were selling their house to me. They said they didnt know me and they were not selling their house. She got in the car and told her friend that she was raped by me. The court dropped the charges but a year later under a new DA I think the charges were refiled and I was arrested. I made it through court. This is where your comment "If you are not guilty, you dont plead guilty."

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Avatar for user 'ahora007'

ahora007 | August 26, 2012 at 10:14 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago


They came at me with a deal. Remember the public defender does not want you to go to trial unless it is high profile and he can get famous. Less work to plead you out. So they say we can give you 30 years in priison if we convict you but if you plead guilty to sexual battery which is like walking down the street and grabbing someones ass then we will give you 2 more months. I told them no because I didnt do it and I would never register as a sex offender. The attorney tells me that he thinks we can win but their is no 100% chance and that if I plead guilty to the lesser charge that I would be home in 2 months. They also wrote down on my plea agreement that I would not ever have to register as a sex offender. I was scared they would believe her and I would get 30 years. I was 20 years old. Thinking about being in jail one more day let alone 30 years as a rapist was to scary. I plead peoples vs west which says you are not saying you committed the crime but you are taking advantage of the plea bargain.

I did a couple more months and stayed out of trouble for 17 years. Never had to register as a sex offender. 6 years ago I had someone that was stalking myself and my family but he didn t know my sons name. He sold cars and knew people at the DMV and tracked us down every time we moved. I figured out how he did it. I sold my car and motorcycle and bought new ones and put them under my sons name and moved. I was arrested because my son is a minor and although I can sigh his name I have to put "for" before the signature. I was told when I was arrested that the law changed and now I have to register as a sex offender. I told them and showed them my sentencing paperwork with my agreement that UI would never have to register but the ;laws changed and I was fucked. I went to prison for 6 years at 80% for the DMV controlling case. When you have a sex charge you almost always get the max because the judge does not want to be the guy that lets you go with 3 years and you get out and rape or kill someone. I just got out of prison january 29th. I have to wear a ankle monitor 24/7 for 3 years while im on parole. I dod not have to be on the website because my charge was not considered violent. It is the only charge that you do not have to be on the megans law web site.

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Avatar for user 'ahora007'

ahora007 | August 26, 2012 at 10:14 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I have 5 kids the youngest one is 9 and he lives with me which although my charge had nothing to do with children I had to get permission from parole because they got in alot of crap because they werte not watching those guys that killed and raped several girls like chelsea king and amber dubois. I have a limit on how far I can live from parks and schools although it is not 2000 feet like a child molester it still poses a problem. I cannot take my kid to an amusement park, baseball game or anywhere else that kids go to. I have to get pemission to go to his school. I get treated like a child molester. I have to charge my leg twice a day and cannot have a job, friend or girlfriend without telling them that I am a convicted child molester. Do you think that is fair? If I am telling the truth ... You dont know but if I am telling the truth can you imagine the hell I am in? I am begging to work for minimum wage. I was upper management making 60,000 a year and now Im begging to wash dishes. I cant get a job once I get to the part where I have to tell them Im a sex offender. Even the places that help felons to get jobs do not help sex offenders.

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Avatar for user 'ahora007'

ahora007 | August 26, 2012 at 10:15 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I have some car thefts in my past so I am no angel. I was a greedy person when I was younger and a con artist wanna be. That being said I am 43 years old and have never been convicted, arrested, questioned or suspected of any crime with violence. No domestic violence or problems with how I treat my kids. I have never even had the police come to my house for loud noises. Rapists are peices of dirt and I believe when you go through a 43 year old rapists history there is bound to be violen ce there. They hate women is what I hear so they would have something I would think. They have had my DNA for 23 years now and I have never been questioned or anything. The "victim" goes to my older son house and laughs at him and tells him to give me messages. He ignores her. A few months ago there was a guy who got arrested for rape at his high school and did 5 years in prison. He was on parole and the girl facebook messages him and says shes sorry for lying and meets him where he has a private investigator wire his house and she says straight out that she is sorry she lied but she cant help him because if she told the truth, she would have to give back the one and a half million that the school district gave her and her mom. they cleaned his record but his life is ruined. Know what they did to her?.....Nothing.

His name is Brian Banks. Look it up. Its a crazy story. It does happen. It happens with mistaken identity and it happens in cases with mine with a pissed off wife or girlfriend. I have done stupid things n my life but I would never do anything to a woman or a child. Or a man either obviously.

If anyone is looking for a good employee I work hard and I am willing to provide you with my records from the court and many references and you would have to talk with my parole officer where you can ask questions if you want to hire me. All I want to do is put it all behind me so I can support my children and pay my bills.

My e-mail is ahora007in@hotmail.com

Thank you

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 27, 2012 at 11:54 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Soemthing's definately wrong with the system when a guy in Florida is sentecned to life for child porn, as bad as that is, or New Orleans "registered sex offenders' are obligated to report EVEN in the wake of Katrina.

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