Call Me Unenforceable

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California's version of Jessica's Law, passed with about 70 percent of the vote by a Chris Hansen-rattled electorate, has already been knocked for making sex offenders more secretive. More news about the law: It's damn near unenforceable.

The difficulties include the impracticality of tracking sex offenders who no longer must report to parole or probation officers, the lack of any penalty for those who refuse to cooperate with monitoring and the question of whether such widespread tracking is effective in protecting the public.

The biggest issue, however, is that the law does not specify which agency or government should monitor felony sex offenders—and shoulder hundreds of millions of dollars a year in related costs.

And the biggest weakness in the law is a mandate for round-the-clock, satellite-based GPS tracking of creeps.

"I don't know of any agency that has the resources to track and monitor… in real time," said Vacaville Police Chief Richard Word, president of the California Police Chiefs Assn. "You'll need an air traffic controller to track these folks."

Word and other law enforcement leaders said the global positioning system satellite technology probably would never be used for full-time electronic surveillance of sex offenders as the law suggests. They said GPS is more effective for acting on tips about potential crimes or investigating incidents that have already occurred than for blanket monitoring that reveals a location as a blip on a map but not what the subject is doing there.

Honestly, who didn't see this coming? Oh…

[Gov.] Schwarzenegger, former state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and law enforcement groups throughout the state supported the measure, and public officials have been reluctant to acknowledge its faults.

But they obviously knew that the law was garbage. If a pol as popular as Schwarzenegger (whose re-election was a fait accompli after the Democrats nominated an unelectable, primary-weakened left-wing challenger) isn't going to stand up to this paranoia and legislation-by-terror, who will?

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  1. If a pol as popular as Schwarzenegger (whose re-election was a fait accompli after the Democrats nominated an unelectable, primary-weakened left-wing challenger) isn’t going to stand up to this paranoia and legislation-by-terror, who will?

    Perverts and libertarians.

  2. The problem with sex offender laws (thinking about this from a politician’s point of view) is that opposing them is the best way to alienate all of the little soccer parents who vote in mindless droves. Therefore (also thinking about this from a slightly less savory politician’s point of view) the best way to get elected is by proposing increasingly stringent and pointless laws and then, should you happen to come up against a reasonable and principled opponent who thinks that making sex offenders wear GPS systems for the rest of their lives is a bit much, you can accuse him/her of having a “soft spot for sex offenders” or being “anti-child.”

    I live among soccer parents, and I’ve concluded that suburbanites acquire some sort of organic brain disease after having children.

  3. John & Ken (KFI-LA) took the Keith Richard’s/Nike approach…..

    Just ‘Effen Do It!

  4. I live among soccer parents, and I’ve concluded that suburbanites acquire some sort of organic brain disease after having children.

    That’s known that as Dan T syndrome. It’s when an adult who should know better actually starts believing that everyone else’s life should also revolve around their children.

  5. Schwarzengroper is a dog weenie whose latest fait accompli is to propose mandatory health insurance that works just like mandatory car insurance. Everybody knows there are no uninsured motorists in Californicate. Not to mention his spending spree that has gone south now that the loot stream has dried up. [turns and spits]

  6. A politician’s future is dependent upon the illusion of progress, not actual measurable progress.

    Such is life in the world of sound-bite debate.

  7. If a pol as popular as Schwarzenegger (whose re-election was a fait accompli after the Democrats nominated an unelectable, primary-weakened left-wing challenger) isn’t going to stand up to this paranoia and legislation-by-terror, who will?

    Arnold is popular because 1) he saved John Connor in two out of three movies 2) he does not veto anti-sex offender legislation.

  8. Since my password to read the LA Times mysteriously changed (got to get a new computer) I can’t get to the article.

    However, it was my understanding that the GPS system is for *paroled* sex offenders for the duration of parole and is not a lifetime ordeal.

    As a paroled sex offender you are out of prison before you have done your time and are therefore subject to whatever indignities the MAN can think up. The trade off is to finish out your sentence and walk.

    On principle, I am against parole. I am in favor of clear, concise, reasonable sentences that are commensurate with the offense.

  9. so TWC. did you ever find any Georgian wine?

  10. my password to read the LA Times mysteriously changed (got to get a new computer) I can’t get to the article.

    Bugmenot.com — there’s even a plugin for firefox that lets you login with bugmenot passwords from the context menu

  11. “On principle, I am against parole. I am in favor of clear, concise, reasonable sentences that are commensurate with the offense.”

    Here in Colorado, it is not possible to “kill your number” in prison. You have to do a certain amount of supervised parole before you are a free man.

    You can no longer do your time to pay for your crime, you have to be released so the system can continue to pester, harrass and annoy you.

    Of course, due to this policy, everyone is magically rehabilitated into productive and happy citizens. We aren’t throwing people right back in after minor infractions. /snark

  12. I think that Californians need to be informed about the biggest dangers facing their children today – their parents. Their parents or the parents of the neighbors next door. And BTW, haven’t suburbia’s parents demonstrated that they’re just as likely to hide behind false identities online and persecute innocent children as the perverts they intend to pursue and prosecute like yesteryear’s innocent witches. Didn’t California learn anything from the outbreak of false sex abuse accusations in the 80s. Aren’t the bigger problems domestic child abuse and public paranoia? And for every measure we take against actual criminal sex offenders, can’t we also educate the public about actual crime statistics? I’d love to see those statistics myself. This is another reason we need science.

  13. Aren’t the bigger problems domestic child abuse and public paranoia?

    Emphatically yes!

    But these don’t lend themselves to simplistic, feel good, ineffective legislation like lifelong persecution for teenagers convicted for heavy petting (17 year old H.S. junior, 14 year old H.S. freshman) does.

  14. But these don’t lend themselves to simplistic, feel good, ineffective legislation like lifelong persecution for teenagers convicted for heavy petting (17 year old H.S. junior, 14 year old H.S. freshman) does.

    Meh. That only felt good because the 17 y.o. was black. I would never say that out loud though, it’s just apparent by the fact that I don’t actively try to prevent the good, upstanding kids in my white neighborhood from doing stuff like that.

  15. “17 year old H.S. junior, 14 year old H.S. freshman.”

    I was that guy, about 30 years ago. Thank goodness for the statute of limitations.

    Where have all the good times gone? Where’s the love? I just had to ask.

  16. [barricading down door of zig zag man]

    [GUNSHOTS]

    SWAT 1: “Hey, this doesn’t look like that PERVERT zig zag man.”

    SWAT 2: “Oops, wrong house.”

    SWAT 1: “Just another isolated incident.”

    [chuckling]

  17. That’s known that as Dan T syndrome. It’s when an adult who should know better actually starts believing that everyone else’s life should also revolve around their children.

    When you have kids, you’ll understand.

  18. er, SWAT TEAM, you forgot to shoot a dog, you know, out of fear for your life.

  19. AND THEN EAT THE DOG. EAT IT! EAT IT!!!!!!!

  20. Meh. That only felt good because the 17 y.o. was black.

    OK, here is the story of an 18 year old white guy.

  21. and hier is the story of a bored teenager.

  22. The Wine Commonsewer-Nope, the GPS tagging device is supposed to be kept on for the rest of the offender’s life, even once they get off parole.

    But-get this-there’s no penalty if the offender merely cuts off the ankle bracelet after they are off parole.

    The proposition was complete crap, but everybody was afraid to say so, of course.

    I personally voted against it, but it passed 70/30.

  23. The crushing pile of legislation in this country has me thinking “anarchist” might be a more reasonable mindset than “libertarian”….

  24. My own take on this is that if “sexual predators” are THAT bad…maybe the thing to do is just shoot them. AND their victims, on the same principle as staking the corpses of those who fall victim to a vampire’s bites. After all, is it not conventionial wisdom that the victims of sexual predators often grow up to be predators themselves? Same logic applies.

    I do wonder how eager parents would be to bring hysterical accusations against a boy who they caught feeling up, or shagging, their perfectly-willing, nubile daughter if they knew that conviction would mean that their precious, virginal princess would _also_ be standing against a wall looking down twelve rifle barrels.

    We already HAVE laws against forcible rape; why not rely on those? I’d prefer that “statutory rape” either be taken off the books as an offense, or that the “age of consent” be brought more into line with reality, but I’ll be living in Galt’s Gulch before _that_ ever happens. Too many people have huge emotional stakes in the way things are.

  25. When you have kids, you’ll understand.

    But, hopefully, recognize this tendency as narcissistic, and be man enough to resist it.

  26. [SHOOTS DOG ON WAY OUT, JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE]

  27. Please tell me there is no RCDean Jr floating around. Please.

    Then again, RCD III might be drafted to go to Iraq.

  28. “…isn’t going to stand up to this paranoia and legislation-by-terror, who will?”

    Well, anyone who does stand up for it runs the risk of being smeared as a Hater of Children? and a possible pervert himself. So, somebody with principles and nothing to lose. So, nobody.

  29. This site is cool and all…until everyone starts defending child molesters.

  30. Thanks, Huh, for proving my point.

  31. And “stand up for it” should read “stand up against it.” My bad.

  32. You must be some perverted hater of children.

  33. or that the “age of consent” be brought more into line with reality

    It is 16 in a majority of states. What is your “reality” that it needs to be brought in line with?

  34. Please tell me there is no RCDean Jr floating around. Please.

    Not since we drained the pool for winter.

  35. Carrick, I am really intrigued by Georgian wine and I consider it a huge revelation to have learned from you guys that:

    A. Gerogia is where wine originated

    B. That wine was first “made” (discovered) when the early Georgians dug up their clay pots full of grape juice and discovered that the grape juice was now wine.

    But, I have not yet tracked any down nor have I written anything about it. YET.

  36. AND THEN EAT THE DOG. EAT IT! EAT IT!!!!!!!

    Sorry, no Vietnamese swat team members. All too short.

  37. I personally voted against it, but it passed 70/30.

    Wow, that’s a big margin. Only one worse was when school vouchers went down 4 to 1 in sunny Californicate a few years back.

  38. Huh | November 28, 2007, 3:13pm | #

    This site is cool and all…until everyone starts defending child molesters.

    “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”
    – Henry Louis Mencken

  39. Oh, and i had a much more disgusting image of how wine was discovered and tasted, wondering who was the first person to look at a puddle of fermenting, bubbling, smelly mash of what was once grapes and decided hey, I’m kinda thirsty, let’s drink THIS stuff.

    Happy to discover the truth.

  40. On the off chance that Huh is serious and didn’t read the comments I would have to say that nobody here is defending child molesters.

    I personally would be happy to pull the trigger on a 12 guage and save the state some storage fees for any get down real McCoy child molester. I volunteered but all it got me was a psych eval.

    You got two issues:

    Moral: If you served the time for the conviction you ought to be free to move about the cabin.

    Pragmatic: Serial sexual predators are never going to register or keep the registration current. I give you Ted Bundy, who left town every time the cops got to sniffing around too much.

    As an aside, my big bitch about this is the whole parole aspect. If, the person is a danger to the rest of us then he needs to be kept locked up. A sexual registry is about as effective at protecting my little girl as a restraining order.

  41. On the off chance that Huh is serious and didn’t read the comments I would have to say that nobody here is defending child molesters.

    I personally would be happy to pull the trigger on a 12 guage and save the state some storage fees for any get down real McCoy child molester. I volunteered but all it got me was a psych eval.

    I agree w/ all of Mr. Commonsewer’s comments. I’d like to add though that sloppy and unclear laws are allowing for ever-increasing prosecutorial discretion, and affecting ever more innocent people. Seems every week another child is being labled a sex offender for a hug or slapping an ass.

    Laws should be simple and clear.
    Sentences must be simple, clear, and appropriate.
    Prosecutors must not have sentencing guidelines to leverage, or discretion over what evidence is introduced.
    Judges must be given back discretion over sentencing.
    Other reforms I’m missing.
    Etc.

  42. agree w/ all of Mr. Commonsewer’s comments

    Thanks.

    ….child is being labled a sex offender for a hug or slapping an ass.

    Please don’t get me started on that stuff. 🙂

  43. ….child is being labled a sex offender for a hug or slapping an ass.

    I shudder sometimes, espc when I remember the slap, tickle, hug, tease, skirt lifting, button undoing, & childish innuendo games that I played with Nancy and Gail. I would have been expelled under today’s rules.

    [shakes head, wonders why it never occurred to him that Roberta W……..)

  44. Should have mentioned that this was in Jr High School and in the classroom.

  45. Chicago Tom, thanks for the heads up on the bugmenot password deal.

  46. Should have mentioned that this was in Jr High School and in the classroom.

    I never knew you were a school teacher.

  47. Happy: That’s pretty funny. 🙂

  48. What’s the difference between a soccer mom and a baseball mom? No punch line, I just wanna know. Is she related to a football widow?

    Also, am I the only one for whom “heavy petting” conjures up an image of rubbing one’s hand up the bridge of someone’s nose, over their head, and onto their back, really hard? I never understood what it meant.

  49. But, but, but…how can it be a bad law: it’s named after a child

  50. just checked back in..sorry. I wasn’t being serious.

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