One bill requires out-of-state sex offenders to register when they move to California. SB622 also will require the state Department of Justice to review out-of-state offenders’ entire criminal records — not just their last crime — to determine if they must register as sex offenders.
Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, said her bill will help authorities track sex offenders such as Phillip Garrido, who was convicted of rape in Nevada and moved to California after his release from prison. He was convicted earlier this year of kidnaping Jaycee Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years at his Antioch home.
Another bill, SB179, closes a loophole in state law that lets some violent sexual predators avoid parole supervision when they are released into the community. Currently, sex offenders are considered to be on parole even while they are incarcerated in state mental hospitals undergoing evaluations after their release from prison.
In some cases, the mental health commitments can last years. By the time they are done with treatment, their time on parole may have run out.
The bill by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, will start the parole clock ticking only after inmates are released from the mental hospital back into the community.
“This is a public safety no-brainer,” Pavley said in a statement.
A third bill, SB534, also by Corbett, brings California into compliance with federal law by certifying that sexual assault victims can receive free medical exams. The bill makes the state eligible for more than $12 million in annual federal funding for the exams.
Corbett said victims often have to pay for their own examinations unless a law enforcement agency requests the exam. Victims who won't cooperate with law enforcement and can't afford the exams themselves may not get any medical care, she said. To conform with federal law, victims can't be required to seek reimbursement from his or her insurance carrier for the exams, which can cost up to $300.
Another bill, AB813 by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, makes it clear that certified sex offender management professionals and members of the state's Sex Offender Management Board cannot be sued if an offender who has received treatment or is under supervision commits a new crime.
SB756 by Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, clarifies who can bring charges against a sex offender who fails to register with the state each year as required by law. The bill says the charge can be brought by the district attorney in the county where the offender was supposed to register.
The five bills related to sex offenders were among 10 public safety bills, several of them technical in nature, that were signed by the governor.