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California’s sex offender list is so harsh it’s useless, lawmakers say as debate ramps up

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The California Sex Offender Management Board, which oversees the state’s sex offender registry, is recommending that lawmakers in Sacramento overhaul registration laws so that some offenders can be removed from the list after 10 or 20 years.

The list — which currently includes almost 100,000 registered offenders — is too large to be useful to law enforcement or the general public. Under current laws, all sex offenders must register for life regardless of the offense they committed. California is one of only four states that require lifetime registration for sex offenders.

According to the California Sex Offender Management Board, it includes many offenders “who do not necessarily pose a risk to the community,” including almost 900 who have not committed a sex-crime in more than half a century. Moreover, the assumptions on which the list were created have turned out to be incorrect, the Board argued in its report.

Ninety-five percent of sex-crimes are committed by individuals who are not on the registry, and the existence of the registry has not worked as a deterrent, as the number of sex-crimes committed in the state has not significantly decreased.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, chairwoman of the state Sex Offender Management Board, told SFGate that “what we are proposing won’t jeopardize public safety or unleash sex offenders who are dangerous in the community. If done correctly and if done in a way that isn’t so broad that no one is held accountable, then the public doesn’t have to fear about their safety or their children’s safety.”

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The board wants to institute a system similar to those already in place in the other 46 states, in which the nature of the offense, the risk of re-offending, and the amount of time already spent on the registry determine how long a particular offender remains on it.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said that “there is no need to continue to monitor some low-level offenders and waste those resources. We have to prioritize.”

Lawmakers, not surprisingly, are wary of seeming soft on sex offenders. “I think all sex offenders are dangerous, period,” state Sen. Jim Nielsen (pictured above) told SFGate. “I’m willing to work in a responsible way on legislation that builds in the highest level of protections for the public. This proposal concerns me enormously. I think the risks are too great to try to intellectualize this stuff.”

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Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who supports the Board’s proposed changes, acknowledged the difficulties ahead. “It’s a radioactive issue to a lot of people,” he said. “But, this can’t be ignored.”

[Screen capture of state Senator Jim Nielsen via YouTube]


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Trump picks Antonin Scalia’s son to replace disgraced former Labor Secretary: report

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On Thursday, NPR reported that President Donald Trump is naming Eugene Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to take over as Secretary of Labor.

Scalia, who served on the court from 1986 to his death in 2016, was known as one of the staunchest conservatives on the bench. His seat was deliberately kept vacant by Republicans for over a year to deny President Barack Obama the ability to make an appointment to it.

The Department of Labor was until this month run by former federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who resigned in disgrace amid renewed questions about his role in brokering a potentially illegal sweetheart plea agreement with hedge fund manager and accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

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DOJ policy blocking Trump from being indicted ‘factored into’ the end of the Stormy Daniels case: report

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Federal prosecutors decided to close the investigation into the 2016 criminal hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that benefitted the Trump campaign because, in part, of the policy that prevents the indictment of a sitting president, according to a new report from USA Today citing an anonymous source.

Michael Cohen has already pleaded guilty to the violation of campaign finance law. He said that he carried out the effort in coordination with and at the direction of then-candidate Donald Trump in order to increase his chances of victory in the 2016 presidential election.

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Trump’s Pentagon spokeswoman forced staff to run errands — and even help her adopt a foster child: report

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On Thursday, the Department of Defense Inspector General released a scathing report on ex-Pentagon spokesperson Dana White, the result of an investigation that began last year following ethics complaints from her staff.

The IG concluded that White used federal staffers to help her run personal errands both during and outside of work hours. Officials were forced to book her personal travel, deliver lunch and snacks to her office, act as her chauffeur, handle her dry cleaning, and book a makeup artist to come to her house.

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