How Far Away Do Sex Offenders Really Have to Live From Schools?
If you are a registered sex offender it can be difficult to find housing, and a recent court ruling proves how difficult the rules are for sex offenders. Charles Christman was convicted of “multiple sex offenses against boys under the age of 15 in public parks.” 1
After serving a prison term and 15 years of inpatient treatment at Atascadero State Hospital, he was deemed fit for conditional release. However the Department of State Hospitals could not find housing for him in San Francisco County, so they had to widen the search. They finally found a house they deemed suitable in Contra Costa County, but it was near an elementary school. A hearing was held to determine whether this housing placement would be allowed.
Determining How Close Sex Offenders Can Live to Schools (Welfare & Institution Code Section 6608.5 2 (f))
The code states that a person convicted of improper sexual conduct with a minor under
- Penal Code section 288 (a), (b), or (c)(1) 3
- Penal Code section 288.5
- Or with a history of sexual misconduct with children
may not live within a distance of one-quarter mile of a school for children in grades kindergarten through 12. However, the code doesn’t say how the distance is to be measured.
If the distance is to be measured by a pedestrian route — for instance using the route one walks down the street to get from the school to the front door of the convicted sex offender — the allowable distance where the sex offender can live will be much closer to the school.
If the measurement is a one-quarter mile radius around the school measured in a straight line from school property boundaries to the front door of the registered sex offender, that is a much stricter prohibition restricting where a convicted sex offender can legally reside.
Court Ruled One-Quarter Mile Radius Using GPS
The initial ruling allowed the pedestrian route measurement, but Contra Costa County appealed the decision, seeking stricter guidelines to prevent sex offenders from living near schools. The appeals court ruled that the one-quarter mile measurement would be applied using a handheld GPS to measure in a straight line from any boundary of school property to the door of the convicted sex offender’s residence.
What Does this Ruling Mean for Sex Offenders?
If you are a registered sex offender convicted of unlawful sexual contact with a minor and you are being released into the community, you are not allowed to live within one-quarter mile of a grade school, middle school, or high school, even it actually takes a longer distance to travel to the school.
The People v. Christman ruling imposes the strictest measurement guidelines on the quarter mile limit. Because of this ruling, your options for where you are allowed to live are limited. Many densely populated California neighborhoods have at least one school nearby.
Call Today for More Information about Sex Offender Rights
A conviction of sexual misconduct with a child or children carries harsh punishment that doesn’t end with a prison sentence. The punishment includes being forced to live on the outskirts of the community. Anybody will be able to look up your name and address on a public access website that lists registered sex offenders, and you will face ostracism for the rest of your life.
That is why you need to speak to an experienced sex crimes attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending people accused of sex crimes. We will meet with you immediately and plan a defense strategy that will get you the best possible outcome for your case. You don’t have to face this alone.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2014/a138287.html ]↩
2. [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=WIC&division=6.&title=&part=2.&chapter=2.&article=4. ]↩