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February 10, 2007

California Sex Offender Statute Not Subject to Retroactive Application

A federal district judge held that "Jessica's Law" -- a ban on sex offenders living within 2000 feet of certain places where children are likely to go -- cannot be applied retroactively. The opinion is from Judge Karlton, apparentl from the Eastern District of California (I didn't know it had such a thing, but that's what Google telsl me), but I can't find it on line. But, an article about it is here.

February 10, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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From the WaPo article:

"A federal judge ruled Friday that California's ban on sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of places where children gather can't be applied retroactively."

"A day after the election, a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the 2,000-foot residency requirement from applying to current registered sex offenders who are not on parole or probation."

How is it that this law is "retroactive"?

If a state passes a law saying that it is illegal to kill people, and a person has been killing people for the last 10 years, is the statute being applied "retroactively" if it says he can't kill people going forward, since he's been killing all along?

The statute would be "retroactive" if it penalized child molesters for living within 2000 feet of children BEFORE its enactment. Stating that, going forward, they cannot live within 2000 feet of children is hardly what I'd call a retroactive application of the law. But I guess "substantive" due process now engulfs a right for child molesters to live near children. I don't know if the WaPo article is an accurate summary of the case, but if it is, I hope it's reversed on appeal.

Posted by: andy | Feb 10, 2007 10:33:24 PM

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