October 31, 2013 By Stephen Klarich

On Oct. 12, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 57, which imposes tougher penalties on sex offenders tampering with tracking devices. The new senate bill, authored by state Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Sex Offenders Tampering with Tracking Devices

In 2006, California voters enacted a new statute, creating a requirement for certain convicted sex offenders to wear electronic tracking devices. Senate Bill 57 now mandates that sex offenders who remove their ankle-mounted GPS bracelets while on parole will not be eligible for early release from county jail. In addition, those removing their devices will receive an additional 180 days in county jail.

What Does the New Law Attempt to Accomplish?

Sex Offenders Tampering with Tracking Devices
Sex offenders tampering with tracking devices will now be subject to harsh punishment.

The new law strengthens the deterrent for removing electronic monitoring devices. Senator Lieu advocated for strengthening the deterrent for convicted sex offenders because “there are little or no repercussions for cutting off their monitoring devices.” The Los Angeles Times published a number of stories earlier this year which documented an increase in the number of incidents of sex offenders removing their tracking devices. According to the Los Angeles Times, 5,000 warrants for GPS tampering were issued in a 15-month span. As Senator Lieu noted, the new law “now gives these sex offenders second thoughts about roaming free while on parole.”

The goal of the new law is to attempt to reduce the number of preventable crimes by decreasing the likelihood that these sex offenders will commit another crime in the future. In recent months, there have been a number of stories of sex offenders cutting off their GPS devices and then committing new crimes, including rape and murder. For example, in September 2012, one convicted sex offender removed his leg-mounted bracelet and was later charged with molesting two girls in Stockton. The recently signed law should help reduce recidivism rates and increase public safety. For these reasons, the law was supported by a number of law enforcement groups.

What are the Drawbacks to the New Law?

Many people argue that increasing sentencing times and preventing early release will contribute to the problem of overcrowded county jails. Currently, county jails are already facing severe crowding issues.In an effort to alleviate this issue, early release has become a common practice in many county jails. Due to the severity of the problem, Gov. Brown introduced his prison reduction legislation in 2011.

Under his legislation, penalties for violating parole were reduced and county jailers were charged with housing new parole violators. For these reasons, some organizations opposed Senate Bill 57, arguing that it “only adds to the existing problem of overcrowding.” Organizations opposing the new law include the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union.

How do you feel about this new law? Do you think California and the Governor made the right decision increasing penalties for sex offenders who tamper with their electronic monitoring devices while on parole?

The California Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Can Help You

Many laws have been passed recently that restrict where convicted sex offenders may travel. At Wallin & Klarich, we have been helping people facing sexual offenses for over 30 years. We know the laws and we can answer your questions without facing financial obligation. If you have been accused or convicted of a sex offense, our experienced defense attorneys are here to assist you every step of the way.

Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance and Sherman Oaks. Give us a call today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.

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