What is Jessica’s Law?
Jessica’s Law is known nationally, but it’s a California law that was passed in 2006 as proposition 83. What the law did was to increase punishment for sex offenders and prohibited probation for some sex offenses. It also extended parole and allowed for GPS monitoring for many paroled sex offenders. It used to bar parolees from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park, but that was ruled unconstitutional in March 2015.
Who is Considered a Sex Offender and Who is a Sexually Violent Predator?
A sex offender is anyone convicted of a sex crime, while a sexually violent predator is somebody who has been civilly committed to a state hospital following release from state prison for a serious sex crime. As a person who is serving time for a qualifying offense nears their parole date, they’ll be evaluated by two different state-appointed psychologists to see if they have a diagnosable mental disorder that makes them likely to commit another sexual offense if released. If the state evaluators find that they meet the definition, they’ll be returned to the county courthouse to face a commitment hearing.
If the jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt at that commitment trial that the offender meets the qualifications, they can be committed indefinitely to a state hospital and will never be released even after serving time for the sex offense. After commitment to the state hospital, it used to be possible to return to court every two years to have the issue re-litigated, but that’s no longer the case; now, once you’re committed, it is a lifetime commitment. At the state hospital, there are treatment phases an offender can go through in theory to eventually be released, but the reality is, almost no one gets released from the state hospital after being designated as a sexually violent predator.
Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Sex Crime Lawyer
For more information on Handling Sex Crime Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (707) 636-3207 today.