One of the horrible things about pedophile sex offenders is that, unlike ordinary opportunistic, amoral offenders, they are driven by an overwhelming compulsion. They’re not the smelly old man living in the broken down house. They’re the pre-school teacher, the scout leader, the priest hosting youth groups, and the nice looking man who coincidentally moves into the condo next to the elementary school. In 2006, California voters tried to block that last pedophile behavior by voting for a law holding the convicted sex offenders may not live within 2,000 feet of a school or a park (that’s a little more than 1/3 of a mile or so).
California voters just lost on this one, although I hate to admit that there is a constitutional logic to the Court’s ruling. An appellate court determined that, as to those sex offenders who were convicted before the law’s passage, it’s unconstitutional to force them out of their homes as a result of the law’s passage:
A voter-approved law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park amounts to additional punishment for the offenders’ original crimes, a state appeals court has ruled in a case that could affect thousands of parolees.The ruling Wednesday by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana was the first by a California court to find that the residency restrictions in Proposition 83, a November 2006 initiative, are not just public safety measures but would also punish ex-offenders by forcing them out of their homes.
Prop. 83, called Jessica’s Law by its sponsors, imposes “traditional banishment under another name,” the court said.
The ruling leaves the law in effect but could limit its application. The U.S. Constitution forbids laws that retroactively impose criminal penalties or increase punishment for past offenses.
A lawyer for four men who are challenging Prop. 83 before the state Supreme Court said Thursday that the ruling should prevent the state from imposing the residency restrictions on parolees who committed sex crimes before the ballot measure passed.
The attorney, Ernest Galvan, said the state now is applying the 2,000-foot buffer zone requirement to any former sex offender who has been paroled since Prop. 83 passed, even if the parolee committed a sex crime many years earlier and was serving a sentence for an unrelated crime. He said at least 2,000 parolees fall into that category, and the number is growing by hundreds each month.
“You can’t criminalize conduct after it’s already happened, can’t increase the punishment, because everyone’s entitled to notice of what’s criminal now,” Galvan said.
You can read the rest here.
Jessica’s law is a great idea because it separate’s compulsive actors from the objects of their twisted desires. However, the Court was right that America does not indulge in retroactive criminal penalties, and driving from their homes people who have served their time does fall into that category. It’s just another reminder to guard your children, keep them street smart, and watch out for single guys hanging around in parks.
By the way, if you want an insight into the mind of pedophiles — who are often charming people outside of their bizarre and dangerous compulsion — you should read Bob Hamer’s The Last Undercover: The True Story of an FBI Agent’s Dangerous Dance with Evil, about an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated NAMBLA.Email This Post To A Friend
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