If you are a registered sex offender, the Megan’s law website provides certain information about you to members of your community. Anyone can visit www.meganslaw.ca.gov, search his or her zip code or address, and see which offenders live near him or her. Here the public can also access details on your crime as well as see your photo.
What if individuals do not have access to high-speed Internet or do not know the name of the website? How would they know that a registered sex offender is living in their community?
As a registered sex offender, you are forced to give up certain rights, especially since the passing of Megan’s Law. Your right to privacy is certainly forfeited to some extent. But should police send out individualized warnings to the community when you move in? Does law enforcement notify the neighborhood that you choose to move into?
The ‘Pillowcase Rapist’
Recently, a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge issued a brief order saying that Christopher Evans Hubbart would be released from prison. Hubbart admitted to raping and assaulting 40 women between 1971 and 1982, according to Fox News. 1 He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. In 1990 he was paroled, and just two months later attacked another woman. 2
When residents near the city of Palmdale discovered that Hubbart would be getting released to live in their community, they were appalled. Many of them drove 350 miles to Northern California to protest the Court’s decision.
Because of Hubbart’s notoriety, Los Angeles County police say they are, “(doing) everything within (their) authority to protect the residents of Los Angeles County from this dangerous predator.” This means accompanying him with security for the first six months of his release and keeping the public notified of his whereabouts. Hubbart will wear a GPS tracking device on his ankle, 24-hours a day, seven days-a-week. 3
Most registered sex offenders are not going to command this type of attention. Hubbart’s case was so controversial that it was discussed on news stations. The Palmdale and Lake Los Angeles communities were already aware that he would be released to their neighborhood. However, law enforcement feels that, if you pose a risk to the public as a sex offender, they can take further action.
What Does This Mean For You? (California Penal Code Section 290.45)
California Penal Code Section 290.45 says that law enforcement can inform the public of a registered sex offender’s personal information if he or she is deemed a risk to public safety. If the offender is deemed a risk to children and the rest of the public, police may post on the Internet his or her:
- Race (including photographs);
- License plate number and vehicles;
- Relevant crimes; and
- Date of release from prison. 4
In most cases, the police do not notify the public when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood. It is simply not practical for them to knock on every door and let each family know. 5 However, if a case is particularly extreme, authorities may notify the public.
Ultimately, this means that members of the neighborhood probably will not know when a registered sex offender is moving into a community without doing their own research. The police’s main method of notifying the public is through the Megan’s law website.
You May Be Eligible To Have Your Sex Offender Status Removed
If you are required to register as a sex offender, finding a new place to live can be difficult. In addition, it can be hard to live with the embarrassment of being a known registered sex offender in your neighborhood. However, you may be eligible to have your sex offender status removed from the Megan’s Law website. In fact, you may be qualified to have your registration requirement removed altogether. If you or a loved one has been convicted of a sex offense and is required to register as a sex offender, you should call an experienced attorney today.
With over 30 years of experience helping our clients get their names removed from the Megan’s Law list, our knowledgeable team of attorneys can help you move forward with your life, without your sex offender status.
With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our skilled attorneys is available for you, no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will get through this together.