A new California law, Assembly Bill 488 (Nicole Parra), sponsored by the Attorney General now provides the public with Internet access to detailed information on registered sex offenders.
This expanded access allows the public for the first time to use their personal computers to view information on sex offenders required to register with local law enforcement under California's Megan's Law. Previously, the information was available only by personally visiting police stations and sheriff offices or by calling a 900 toll-number. The new law was given final passage by the Legislature on August 24, 2004 and signed by the Governor on September 24, 2004.
For more than 50 years, California has required sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agencies. However, information on the whereabouts of these sex offenders was not available to the public until the implementation of the Child Molester Identification Line in July 1995. The information available was further expanded by California's Megan's Law in 1996 (Chapter 908, Stats. of 1996).
California's Megan's Law provides the public with certain information on the whereabouts of sex offenders so that members of our local communities may protect themselves and their children. Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states now have a form of Megan's Law.
The law is not intended to punish the offender and specifically prohibits using the information to harass or commit any crime against an offender.
To access the State of California's Megan Law webpage click HERE
On November 4, 2008, the People of the State of California approved Proposition 9, the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law. This measure amended the California Constitution to provide additional rights to victims. This card contains specific sections of the Victims’ Bill of Rights and resources. Crime victims may obtain additional information regarding Marsy’s Law and local Victim Witness Assistance Center information by contacting the Victims of Crime Resource Center at 1-800-Vict ims or 1-800-842-8467.
A ‘victim’ is defined under the California Constitution as, “a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act. The term ‘victim’ also includes the person’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, or guardian, and includes a lawful representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or physically or psychologically incapacitated. The term “victim” does not include a person in custody for an offense, the accused, or a person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a minor victim.” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(e).)
Local Resources and Support Groups
Your local Victim Witness Assistance Center can provide advocacy and specific information on local resources, the Victim Compensation Program, and support groups. To obtain information on the Victim Witness Assistance Center nearest to you contact:
Victims of Crime Resource Center
1-800-VICTIMS or 1-800-842-8467
California Statewide and National Resources
The following are some of the resources available to victims and their families. This is not an exhaustive list. The Attorney General offers these references for informational purposes only.
Victim Compensation Program
Help for victims* of:
||• Drunk Driving
||• Sexual Assault
|• Child Abuse
||• Vehicular Manslaughter
|• Domestic Violence
||• Human Trafficking
What potentially can the Victim Compensation Program help pay for?
|• Medical and dental bills
|• Mental health counseling
||• Crime scene cleanup
|• Funeral costs
||• Loss of income
For more information contact your local Victim Witness Assistance Center or:
Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
* The definition of victim under the Victim Compensation Program may differ from the definition under the California Constitution.
Victim Services Unit • 1-877- 433-9069 • ag.ca.gov/victimservices
Victims’ Bill of Rights
California Constitution, Article I, Section 28(b)
In order to preserve and protect a victim’s rights to justice and due process, a victim shall be entitled to the following rights:
- To be treated with fairness and respect for his or her privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.
- To be reasonably protected from the defendant and persons acting on behalf of the defendant.
- To have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in fixing the amount of bail and release conditions for the defendant.
- To prevent the disclosure of confidential information or records to the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, which could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family or which disclose confidential communications made in the course of medical or counseling treatment, or which are otherwise privileged or confidential by law.
- To refuse an interview, deposition, or discovery request by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, and to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interview to which the victim consents.
- To reasonable notice of and to reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding, the arrest of the defendant if known by the prosecutor, the charges filed, the determination whether to extradite the defendant, and, upon request, to be notified of and informed before any pretrial disposition of the case.
- To reasonable notice of all public proceedings, including delinquency proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at all such proceedings.
- To be heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including any delinquency proceeding, involving a post-arrest release decision, plea, sentencing, post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue.
- To a speedy trial and a prompt and final conclusion of the case and any related post-judgment proceedings.
- To provide information to a probation department official conducting a pre-sentence investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and the victim’s family and any sentencing recommendations before the sentencing of the defendant.
- To receive, upon request, the pre-sentence report when available to the defendant, except for those portions made confidential by law.
- To be informed, upon request, of the conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition of the defendant, the scheduled release date of the defendant, and the release of or the escape by the defendant from custody.
- To restitution.
- It is the unequivocal intention of the People of the State of California that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to seek and secure restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes causing the losses they suffer.
- Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss.
- All monetary payments, monies, and property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution shall be first applied to pay the amounts ordered as restitution to the victim.
- To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence.
- To be informed of all parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to provide information to the parole authority to be considered before the parole of the offender, and to be notified, upon request, of the parole or other release of the offender.
- To have the safety of the victim, the victim’s family, and the general public considered before any parole or other post-judgment release decision is made.
- To be informed of the rights enumerated in paragraphs (1) through (16).
A victim, the retained attorney of a victim, a lawful representative of the victim, or the prosecuting attorney upon request of the victim, may enforce the above rights in any trial or appellate court with jurisdiction over the case as a matter of right. The court shall act promptly on such a request.
(Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(c)(1).)