Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When Mooning is a Sex Crime

In 1993 JM turned around, dropped his trousers and told his sister-in-law to “kiss my black ass!” The younger sisters laughed, compounding the indignity. To make JM pay for this rude affront, the sister-in-law called the cops. He did three days in the county jail and pled out to misdemeanor indecent exposure and credit for time served.

Sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it? Three day and nights for mooning your sister in law?

Fast forward to 1998 when the voters of California passed “Megan’s Law” (PC 290) requiring those convicted of certain sex offences to register with the local police for the rest of their lives.  Indecent Exposure (PC 314) is listed under PC 290 and is applied retroactively. Required to register under penalty of felony, combined with a taste for illicit substances, JM picked up a new state prison term.

California’s Proposition 83, voted and enacted in 2006, prohibits registered sex offenders from living within a certain distance of a school or a park. Most urban areas have no places to live within the required distance. The new law has been determined by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to apply retroactively once a parolee violates parole after the election of 2006, no matter when the 290 offenses took place and even if, as with JM, it wasn’t a felony requiring state prison and parole. Until recently the parole officers have been looking the other way to a certain extent, given the impossibility of actually complying with the law, which explicitly forbids a parolee from spending a night in a non-compliant place.

JM was paroled to a Bay Area city where there are no compliant places. A brand new rule laid down by the CDCR is that one cannot be in the same non-compliant place for two hours. This is very recent, as we’ve been seeing these two-hour-rule violations for about the past week or two. JM is fortunate enough to have a trailer and a truck, so he and his wife have been moving his home around the clock. This is probably not a healthy environment for someone with substance abuse issues.

This is the current state of paroled sex offenders: to stay out of prison they have to drift from place to place within two hours, twenty four hours a day. I wish I were making this up. Most of these people have no evidence in their history to show they are a threat to children, and many don’t have a record of putting their hands on anyone else.

Things have gone beyond irrational into the realm of insanity. During JM’s parole revocation hearing one of the Corrections Officers said that a “college streaker” had recently been at a hearing subject to this madness.

Granted, there are people who have done horrible things and JM’s benign example is being used to show the breadth of the dragnet, but these laws are counterproductive in every way and from any angle given how difficult they make it to  supervise the parolees and provide treatment, housing and employment opportunities, in addition to public safety issues arising from the unendurable stress that they’re put through.

If the voters of California don’t want child molesters living near schools or playgrounds then Section 290 of the California Penal Code has to be drastically overhauled so that it actually applies to convicted child molesters, although it is difficult to imagine any efficacy to a law which foments homelessness and helplessness.

MARC GARDNER is a defense lawyer in the Bay Area. He can be reached at: marcgardner@earthlink.net

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
Samantha Krop
Questioning Our Declaration on Human Rights
Morna McDermott
Classrooms, Not Computers: Stop Educating for Profit
Patrick Walker
Today’s Poor People’s Campaign: Too Important Not to Criticize
Julia Stein
Wrestling With Zionism
Clark T. Scott
The Exceptional President
Barry Barnett
The Family of Nations Needs to Stand Up to the US  
Robert Koehler
Two Prongs of a Pitchfork
Bruce Raynor
In an Age of Fake News, Journalists Should be Activists for Truth
Max Parry
The U.S. Won’t Say ‘Genocide’ But Cares About Armenian Democracy?
William Gudal
The History of Israel on One Page
Robert Jensen
Neither cis nor TERF
Louis Proyect
Faith or Action in a World Hurtling Toward Oblivion?
David Yearsley
The Ubiquitous Mr. Desplat
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail