Does California’s 290 Residency Restriction Violate Federal Law?

People required to register under Penal Code section 290 are also subjected to the 2,000 foot rule.  That rule prevents anyone who is a registered sex offender from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.  The effect of this law is to force many 290 registrants to live on the fringes of society, making it harder for them to re-integrate into society and making it harder for law enforcement to keep tabs on their location and their activities.

Today the California Supreme Court announced that oral arguments in People v. Mosley will be heard on December 2, 2014 in Los Angeles.  Mosley asks if the discretionary imposition of lifetime sex offender registration, which includes residency restrictions that prohibit registered sex offenders from living “within 2000 feet of any public or private school, or park where children regularly gather” (Pen. Code, § 3003.5, subd. (b)), increase the “penalty” for the offense within the meaning of Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, and require that the facts supporting the trial court’s imposition of the registration requirement be found true by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt?

California’s sex offender laws needs to be overhauled.  The residency restriction is draconian and counter-productive.  California should adopt a tiered washout system of sex offender registration consistent with the federal regulatory scheme known as SORNA.  California judges should be given more discretion in determining which offenders should have to register and for how long.  Hopefully the Cal Supremes will take a step in the right direction by finding that Penal Code section 3003.5, the residency restriction, violates Apprendi.  Residency restrictions don’t lower crime or keep people safer.  More