California Supreme Court Examines Jessica's Law

By Kamika Dunlap on February 01, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The California Supreme Court is questioning the legality of Jessica's Law violates and whether sex predators should be treated differently from other violent offenders.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Supreme Court ruled that a provision of Jessica's Law to lock up sexually violent predators indefinitely may violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection. Next, a fact finding hearing will examine the issue further.

Currently, Proposition 83, also known as "Jessica's Law," permits sexually violent predators to be treated differently from other violent felons, who can be held only for defined terms in mental health facilities after prison. It also increases penalties for repeat sex offenders and prohibits them from living near schools and parks.

Before Jessica's Law, sexually violent predators could be kept for a maximum of two, two-year terms beyond their prison sentence if prosecutors could prove to a jury the offender was still a danger.

Last week's ruling did not strike down Jessica's Law but the court said a fact-finding hearing must be held to determine whether valid reasons exist for treating sex predators differently. In addition, the state must provide some justification for creating greater obstacles for them to win their freedom.

As previously discussed, the California Supreme Court has been closely reviewing Jessica's Law, which was put in place after a 2006 ballot initiative.

California's Supreme Court is scheduled to rule a separate legal challenge to a provision prohibiting released predators from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

They will be looking at  whether the residency restrictions contained in Proposition 83 are so broad and intrusive that they violate the constitutional rights of registered sex offenders.

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