A controversial bill making its way through the California Capitol is aimed at removing some sex offenders from the online registry.
California Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced Senate Bill 412, which would limit the amount of time sex offenders are included in the online registry based on the seriousness of their sex crime and the risk they pose to others.
Sex offenders would be divided into three tiers:
- Tier 3: Violent sex predators who will remain on the list for the rest of their lives
- Tier 2: Convicts who committed serious or some violent offenses would remain on the list for 20 years
- Tier 1: Misdemeanor or non-violent sex offenders would have to register for 10 years
“If someone, particularly the lower level offenders, if they’ve lived a clean life for 10, 20, even 30 years, there’s no point in keeping them on the registry,” Wiener said.
California has over 100,000 people registered as sex offenders.
“When that list grows large, law enforcement can’t use it,” Wiener said.
For Mika Moulton, it’s a sensitive subject. Her 10-year-old son Christopher Meyer was kidnapped and killed by a convicted, sex offender.
She agrees with reforming the current registry, but she hopes California does not make it easier to remove certain offenders from the list.
“I know that there are people on this system that probably shouldn’t be,” Moulton said. “But, let’s take it down a notch and slow down before we push things too fast.”
SB 421 has support from victim rights groups and law enforcement, like the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. They want a more effective system that focuses attention and resources on high-risk, violent sex offenders.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Bradley McCartt said they’re using 60 percent of their law enforcement resources on registering low-level sex offenders instead of monitoring high-risk offenders and solving crimes that have been committed.
“When you have a child who’s been kidnapped and you are trying to solve that crime quickly, you should be able to turn to the sex offender registry to look for suspects,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Bradley McCartt said.
No one is automatically removed from the list and the court can deny any petitions.
If approved, the law will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.