A bill that creates a tier-system which ranks sex offenders based on the severity of their crimes and allows the least dangerous a path to remove the label from their name is making its way through the California state Assembly.
Senate Bill 421 passed in the California Senate due to strong support from law enforcement, but a political wing of law enforcement, San Jose’s powerful police officers association, is expected to publicly condemn the bill.
There are 100,000 registered sex offenders on California’s online registry. The bill calls for violent offenders to be listed as sex offenders for the rest of their lives, for less violent offenders to continue their registration but have their name dropped after 10 years, and for misdemeanors and non violent offenders to stop registering after 10 years.
San Jose Police Officers Association President Paul Kelly believes these tiers are too broad.
“You talk about someone who is convicted of child pornography in 10 years coming off the list,” Kelly said. “You talk about an adult who has sex with a minor, or rape, is taken off the list in 10-20 years. It’s a major problem.”
State Sen. Scott Weiner, who authored the bill, believes it to be beneficial to law enforcement, and is disappointed by Kelly’s take. Weiner’s goal was to free cops from unnecessarily monitoring thousands of low level, non violent offenders, as the state “needs a system focusing on high-risk and violent offenders.”
Kelly believes there is no such thing as too much monitoring.
“Whether it’s him or her as a sex registrant, narco registrant, had been involved with gangs, whatever it is, it allows us to handle investigations on the street more efficiently,” Kelly said. “And less people are hurt. It’s that simple.”
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