On November 3, 2009, the California Supreme Court will hear a case that will affect thousands of paroled sex offenders who are forbidden by Jessica’s Law from living within 2,000 feet of places children regularly gather.
The law, since its implementation in November 2006, has made as many as 1,300 sex offenders homeless. This situation, some say, makes them more likely to commit new crimes.
The petitioners are seeking to have the law found as unconstitutional because “[a]lmost every residential neighborhood in the cities in which Petitioners live is off limits,” attorneys from the Prison Law Office in Berkeley and Rosen, Bien & Galvan in San Francisco wrote in a brief for the parolees.
Thus, the petitioners challenging the law argue that Jessica’s law “creates an unlawful choice between homelessness and violating parole.”
In the meantime, trial judges around the state have granted 47 paroled sex offenders, who have filed habeas petitions, “stays” of the Jessica’s Law housing rules because this rule leaves many convicted sex offenders homeless. A “stay” is an order from the judge to disregard the law pending the outcome of the California Supreme Court case.
Voters and victim-rights advocates find these rulings troubling; despite the constitutional issues this law creates. However, what is even more troubling is the indication from the state’s Sex Offender Management Board that homeless sex offenders are particularly hard to monitor and therefore, more likely to re-offend. If the parolee was able to obtain housing, then the parolee would be easier to monitor and significantly less likely to re-offend.
The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will be waiting for the outcome of this case. If the law is found unconstitutional, several parolees will have the ability to find housing but will need to do so without violating parole.
If you or someone you know was accused of a Sex Crime in California and subject to Jessica’s Law, they need the legal counsel and representation of an experienced California Sex Crime defense attorney who will be following all developments in Jessica’s Law. Wallin & Klarich has been aggressively defending the constitutional rights those accused of crimes in California for over 30 years. With offices throughout the state of California, our lawyers can provide you efficient assistance. Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (877) 466-5245.