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New California Law Now Limits Where Violent Sex Offenders’ Reside

July 24, 2017

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new legislation that creates more restrictions for violent sex offenders released under a court’s conditions to reside in counties where they aren’t employed or where they have no family ties.

California Assembly Bill 255 now will require judges to consider additional factors when reviewing where to release offenders who fall under the Sexually Violent Predator Program. These factors include residential, family, or employment connection.

Sexually Violent Predator Program includes those offenders who’ve been convicted of a sexually violent offense and diagnosed with a mental disorder… making them likely to repeat their crime. The inmates assigned to this program must complete rehabilitation treatment at a state hospital after completing their prison sentences prior to their release into the community.

Under the provisions of Assembly Bill 255, courts must make a determination that there are extraordinary circumstances in a case to place offenders outside the county where they previously lived. The law states that “county of domicile” means the following:

The county where the person has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home and principal residence and to which he or she has manifested the intention of returning whenever he or she is absent. For the purposes of determining the county of domicile, the court shall consider information found on a California driver’s license, California identification card, recent rent or utility receipt, printed personalized checks or other recent banking documents showing that person’s name and address, or information contained in an arrest record, probation officer’s report, trial transcript, or other court document.

The state of California has wrestled with removing obstacles to housing for sex offenders in recent years after controversial blanket restrictions, approved by voters, such as one prohibiting all sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. The new statute states that a person released under this section isn’t be placed within a quarter mile of any K-12 public or private school, if either of the following conditions exist:

1. The person has previously been convicted of a violation of Section 288.5 (an adult who resides with a minor under 18 that commits more than three lewd acts or “substantial” sexual contact with a minor within three months); or subdivision (a) or (b), or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 288 (oral copulation) of the Penal Code or

2. The court finds that the person has a history of improper sexual conduct with children.

Assembly Bill 255 received the strong support of police and county officials all over California. The bill enjoyed smooth sailing through the legislative process with little to no opposition.

Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), the sponsor of the bill, said violent inmates are often placed in rural counties like his own.

“These repeat sexual offenders pose a serious threat, and rural counties shouldn’t be a default dumping ground for them,” he said in a statement.

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