Friday, August 29, 2014

People v. Deluca (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 14, 2014)

If you're a registered sex offender, and sufficiently poor that you don't have enough money for a home, you're going back to prison.  Pure and simple.

Maybe not de jure.  But de facto.  Because you've got to register and tell the authorities every single place you "sleep, eat, work, or engage in leisure activities."  If you forget one, you go to jail.  If you wait longer than five days after changing a residence, you go to jail.  Your "residence" being defined broadly as any place you regularly reside; a curb, a bush, a shelter, anything.  Just like in this case.

You're going to screw up.  Inevitably.  Because it's an infinite hassle to tell the police every single spot in a city in which you ever hang out or "engage in leisure activities".  You're homeless, after all.  You move around.

So if they want to put you back in prison -- say, here, for another seven to eight years -- it's not a problem.  At all.  You'll have messed up at some point.  And back in you go.

Oh, one more thing.  You're a sex offender.  You're not popular.  They'll want you back in.

I don't know what the empirical data is on homeless sex offenders in California.  But my gut tells me that a huge portion of them -- huge -- are violated and put back in prison for failing to keep up with the constant reregistration requirements.  It's an easy bust.  Why not make it?

Rich sex offenders with homes stay out.  Poor sex offenders without 'em go back in.  That's basically the rule.

It's not that I don't get why people support sex offender registration.  I do.  But at some point, when we know that virtually everyone in a certain class of people (i.e., homeless) can't, and won't, comply with the onerous requirements we put on them, doesn't that just seem a little wrong?  Almost like we don't have the guts to simply sentence them to infinitely long prison sentences, so we instead give 'em a particular (long) sentence, let 'em out, then put 'em back in at our leisure.  With the "short" sentence as proof that we tried to let them rehabilitate themselves but they just weren't up to snuff.

Seems like something they're not going to look back on especially favorably in, say, 2114.