Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Assembly rejects 3-tier plan for sex offenders

Assembly rejects 3-tier plan for sex offenders
By Jim Sanders
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 - 11:22 am

Legislation to create a tiered sex-offender registration system designed to focus attention on violent criminals was killed Monday by the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 625 died by a vote of 19-41. Its author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said he will propose a similar measure later this year.

California law currently requires people convicted of various sex offenses to register with the state for life.

AB 625 would have created three tiers of sex registration, with offenders in the first two tiers allowed to drop off into an inactive status after 10 or 20 years, respectively.

The most lenient tier would have applied to sex offenders who did not use violence, did not molest a minor, and maintained a clean record during the 10 years they were on the active registry.

Opponents of the bill claimed that allowing some sex registrants to be placed on an inactive status would weaken current law and make communities less safe.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/31/4226590/assembly-rejects-3-tier-plan-for.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Chastaine Law Office: Communication - the key to success

The Chastaine Law Office: Communication - the key to success: - Communication - the key to success. When I can I like to use Fridays to visit clients (whether in custody or out), return phone calls and...

Communication - the key to success

- Communication - the key to success.

When I can I like to use Fridays to visit clients (whether in custody or out), return phone calls and answer emails. This often leads to a feeling that it's not very productive time. But the truth is, it is some of the most important time spent.

It is often easy to forget that clients are anxious, frightened and very nervous. These emotions adversely impact a person’s ability to understand complex legal issues and fully appreciate their legal predicament. Lawyers have spent years learning the language, studying the law and analyzing the various scenarios. We some times forget that our clients just don't know what we know. And that the only way they will understand what is going to happen to them is for us to take the time to explain it. In truth we often need to explain it more then once and in different ways. The fear and anxiety of the situation often prevent a person from comprehending the true nature of the problem on the first go around. Especially early in the process people may be going through denial and hampered with hearing what they want to hear. They will often grasp on to one piece of favorable information to the exclusion of all else.

It is my belief and the philosophy of the Chastaine Law Office to do everything we can to help a client understand their situation and to help them make informed decisions. I specifically did not say the "right" decision because what is "right" for them may be different then what I think they should do. More then once I have been wrong about a judgment call. As I often tell clients, I'm not their dad, I'm their lawyer and my job is to give them as much information as I can so they can make an informed decision. Of course, I will offer my opinion about what they should do, but I always make sure that they understand that while we are a team they have to make the final call and I will support that decision.

To this end we endeavor to take as much time as needed to explain the issues, the facts and the options. We strive to be patient and to be willing to explain the issues as often as necessary. To be understanding of the clients concerns and to do everything we can to address those concerns. While we can not guarantee that we will always obtain the outcome the client wants, we can promise that we will do our best to achieve the most favorable outcome possible and to do our best to understand the clients goals.

At the Chastaine Law Office is all about the client.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A great week

Good weeks can be rare when you run a criminal law practice. But last week was one of those weeks that reaffirms the importance of what we do. We, at the Chastaine Law Office saved a mans driver license which allowed him to continue to work and support his family. We got a clients case expunged. It made a big difference to him. And we successfully defended a client against a unwarranted restraining order. While some would say these were not big cases they were very important to the clients and will make a significant positive impact on their life's.

An added bonus was the fact that the clients were very appreciative.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

update on change to Penal Code section 290.46

Penal Code section 290.46 deals with whether or not a person has can be put on the Megan's law website. January 1, 2012 Penal Code section 290.46(e)(4) was modified to state "no person shall be excluded pursuant to this subdivision unless the offender has submitted to the department documentation sufficient for the department to determine that he or she has a SARATSO risk level of low or moderate-low.

I have spoken with the Attorney General's office. I have been informed that any one who has NOT been given a SARATSO score to date will NOT BE REVIEWED and does not have to submit anything. This means that most persons who have already been excluded and were got given a Static 99 score by probation or parole will remain excluded.

Anyone that has a score will be reviewed to determine if that score is low or moderate-low.

If you have any questions about this be sure to give me a call at (916)932-7150 to find out what, if anything, you need to do to remain excluded from the Megan's law website.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Changes to the 290 Law. - Those that have been excluded may be placed back on the web

Over the years California has excluded some folks from the public registry, by a procedure, court orders or operation of law. However, since Prop-83 California has made several subtle changes to its laws which have not been well publicized.

However, as of January 1, 2012ANY former California sex offender who HAS ALREADY BEEN REMOVED from the public registry, will be automatically RESTORED to the public registry unless they file for EXCLUSION following a new procedure that has been added to California registry law.

There is no doubt that this will come as a surprise to these folks, and likely they are not watching laws as changes are made, and they will be blind-sighted by this change. I can see they may even be harmed in some way, like lose a job or housing. This is why we need every Advocate to announce this to their memberships and get folks talking about this so those folks can do what is necessary to remain off the public registry.

Here is the change that lawmakers have tucked into registry law:

Penal Code 290.46(e)(4) Effective January 1, 2012, no person shall be excluded pursuant to this subdivision unless the offender has submitted to the department documentation sufficient for the department to determine that he or she has a SARATSO risk level of low or moderate-low.

A reasonable reading of that change tells us that, even after following the procedure, unless the former offender's SARATSO risk level low or moderate-low, they will be restored to the public registry.

To date - as of February 3, 2012, none of my clients, that I am aware of have been placed back on the website after having been excluded. We will monitor the situation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Law Update: DUI and Drug Paraphernalia

New Law Update: DUI and Drug Paraphernalia
The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice would like to keep members updated about new laws.

Assembly Bill 520 (Ammiano) - Wet reckless with DUI prior

This is California Attorneys for Criminal Justice's sponsored bill. AB 520 (Ammiano) went into effect January 1, 2012. This bill reduces the driver's license suspension period from 1 year to 90 days for anyone who has a DUI prior and is convicted of a "wet reckless". This reduction applies only if the person agrees to install an ignition interlock device (IID). With the IID, the person may drive without any other restriction. This bill is an extension of SB 895 (Huff) of 2010.

Each applicant for a restricted license must also meet the following requirements:

Be enrolled in a 9-month DUI program.
Have no more than two prior alcohol-related convictions within a ten year period.
Cannot "bypass" or fail an IID rolling retest 3 consecutive times or two times before turning the vehicle engine off.
Drivers who were operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the violation are prohibited.
For the full bill language click here:


Senate Bill 41 (Yee) - Clean syringes

SB 41 is effective January 1, 2012. This bill eliminates the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia for any adult in possession of no more than 30 syringes (Health and Safety Code Section: 11364.1). SB 41 also permits physicians and pharmacists to sell or furnish up to 30 syringes without criminal prosecution.

For the full bill language click here: