April 23, 2015 By Stephen Klarich

Overturning Jessica’s Law in San Diego Leaves California Confused

In a recent ruling, the California Supreme Court overturned Jessica’s Law, a law enacted in 2006 that prohibited convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, in San Diego County. In re Taylor (S206143), the court ruled that blanket residency restrictions imposed by the law were unconstitutional. However, because the decision involved a case in San Diego, the ruling only applied to San Diego. This has left the rest of California confused.

Court Overturns Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

In re Taylor, four convicted sex offenders on parole in San Diego, including Earl Taylor, challenged residency restrictions as unconstitutional. They argued that because they are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a school or park, it is impossible for them to find suitable housing. Taylor said he often sleeps in the back of his car.

Jessica's law living regulations.
Under Jessica’s Law, registered sex offenders are forbidden from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

The court agreed with the parolees, deciding that Jessica’s Law infringed on the rights of sex offenders and failed to achieve its stated goal of protecting the community from those convicted of a sex crime. Instead, the law forced offenders to live on the streets because they could not find suitable housing.

However, the decision did not eliminate residency restrictions completely. The ruling makes blanket enforcement of the law unconstitutional, but residency restrictions can be imposed on a case-by-case basis. Parole officers will have the ability to levy residency restrictions on offenders when they find it necessary.

Does Jessica’s Law Still Apply Beyond San Diego?

The court’s ruling has left the rest of California confused. While the decision is specific to San Diego, Jessica’s Law applies throughout the state, so the ruling is expected to have a ripple effect. After the decision was made, the Attorney General’s Office advised the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that blanket residency restrictions would be found to be unconstitutional in every county, and the CDCR told parole officers to stop enforcing these restrictions.

According to the CDCR, high-risk sex offenders and those convicted of sex crimes with minors are still subject to residency restrictions, but parole officers will evaluate whether to impose such restrictions based on the individual. Factors that will be considered include:

  • The nature of the sex crime committed
  • Whether the individual has a criminal history, and
  • Whether the individual is likely to commit a future crime

However, residency restrictions have not been completely banned in California, and the ruling leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Many cities and counties impose their own residency restrictions on convicted sex offenders, and those laws remain in tact for now. Additionally, the decision only affects sex offenders who are currently on parole, not the large number of sex offenders on California’s registry.

Want to End Your Sex Offender Registration Now? Call Wallin & Klarich

If you are a registered sex offender, this recent court ruling could have a major impact on you. You need to speak with an experienced sex crimes attorney immediately to find out if you are eligible to end sex offender registration. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully helping our clients obtain post-conviction relief for over 30 years. We can help you end the devastating consequences of sex offender registration.

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 be there when you call.

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