California Supreme Court Says Sex Offender Residency Law is Unconstitutional

Earlier this Week, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously that blanket, statewide bans on where sex offenders may not live (“Jessica’s Law”) violate the constitutional rights of parolees in San Diego County.  Jessica’s Law (aka Proposition 83), named after a 9-year-old girl who fell victim to a sex offender who failed to report his whereabouts, was proposed via a ballot initiative in 2006.  Due to Megan’s Law, those who have been convicted of a sex crime must register with their local law enforcement agency.

Jessica’s Law therefore barred registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather, regardless of whether the crimes actually involved children.  Sex offenders subsequently challenged the law in court, claiming that it made it impossible for them to find a place to live.  The court recognized that the law made over 97% of rental housing in San Diego unavailable, and ruled that the consequences of the law were so severe, it hampered rehabilitation and caused homelessness.  Although the unanimous ruling immediately affects only San Diego County, it will certainly pave the way for the same policies in major metropolitan areas, including San Francisco.

What to Do If You Are Charged With a Sex Crime

There are various laws that cover acts which constitute sex crimes in the state of California.  This includes:

  • Rape and date rape (California Penal Code 261): nonconsensual sexual intercourse between strangers or people who know each other.
  • Spousal rape: One spouse forces the other spouse to have sex.
  • Statutory Rape: (Penal Code 261.5) A sex crime whereby an adult has sex with a minor, even if it is consensual.
  • Sexual Battery/Assault (California Penal Code 243.4): Touching someone in a sexual manner without his or her consent.
  • Soliciting or engaging in prostitution (California Penal Code 647(b): Both the prostitute and the person accused of receiving sexual services can be charged with prostitution.
  • Child Molestation/Lewd Acts with a Child (California Penal Code 288): This can include touching the child’s clothing and not bare skin
  • Pornography: Possessing, making, or distributing pictures, writing, video, or art of sexually explicit material.
  • Indecent exposure  (California Penal Code section 314)
  • Lewd acts in public (California Penal Code section 314): May also cover public urination
  • Failure to register as a sex offender (California Penal Code 290): A person convicted of certain sexual offenses must register with the local enforcement agency

While this week’s landmark ruling certainly reaffirms the constitutional rights of parolees, being charged with a sex crime is no laughing matter.  If not for the court decision, a simple mistake or miscommunication with who you thought was a consenting adult could have severely limited your housing options and wrecked your future.

California Sex Crimes Lawyer

The Law Offices of David Boertje will thoroughly investigate your case, including DNA and other forensic evidence, and determine whether any witnesses for the prosecution are unreliable, if the alleged victim lied about what happened, if the case is one of mistaken identity, or if other evidence exists that strengthens your defense.  If you have been charged with a sex crime, do not hesitate to contact us today for your free and confidential consultation.