Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sex Offender Certificate of Rehabilitation

A California Court of Appeal issued a decision this week that expands eligibility for registrants to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. The decision, People v. Tirey, states that a registrant who was convicted of PC 288(a) and who completed parole 13 years ago is eligible to apply for a certificate.
“This is an important decision for many registrants,” stated attorney and CA RSOL vice president Chance Oberstein. “It will significantly expand the number of registrants who can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation.”

In this case, the appellate court clarified that it was not making a decision whether Tirey would obtain a certificate. Instead, that decision is to be made by a trial court.

According to the Court, equal protection principles were violated when Tirey was declared ineligible to apply for a certificate. These principles have the possibility of being applied to convictions for similar sex offenses such as PC 288 and 288.5. In its decision, the Court rejected all arguments offered by the Attorney General who had requested a rehearing of the original case.

“A certificate of rehabilitation currently is the only realistic method for registered citizens to be removed from the sex offender registry,” stated Oberstein.

The decision to grant a certificate of rehabilitation is a discretionary decision by a state judge who faces re-election. In order to maximize the possibility of obtaining a certificate, registrants must provide the court with a psychological evaluation as well as letters of support.

Judge Thompson disagreed with the court’s ruling and in his dissent stated that the court’s decision “will allow thousands of serious sex offenders to escape their lifetime parole and sex offender registration obligations.”     ..Source.. by CA-RSOL

Judge Thompson's opinion is indicative of public opinion. Although judges are supposed to be more informed, the fact of the matter is they are not informed about the psychological processes and statistics behind sex offenders.

The California sex offender’s registry was enacted in 1947 and made it retroactive to 1944. We have been registering people for 72 years, which is longer than any other state. The media coverage of these registered sex offender's has created additional unnecessary fear from both the public and the judicial system. The idea of what a sex offender is like is shaped by the media. The problem with this opinion or the dissent in this opinion is that it reflects the way judges feel. Judges who face election adopt this mindset when reading through a psychological evaluation and the effort an offender has made to rehabilitate themselves.


California Court of Appeal, certificate of rehabilitation,  
Sex crimes, California criminal law, sex offender registry, Orange county criminal defense,
Attorney Andrew Lloyd   

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