What If Brian Downing Lived In California? Significance of Jessica’s Law For People Facing Sex Charges.

What If Brian Downing Lived In California? Significance of Jessica’s Law For People Facing Sex Charges.

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If you’ve never heard of Brian Downing, a simple Google or YouTube search would generate a lot of hits under his name.  Be forewarned if you decide to take the latter route. Long story short, this rabid University of Alabama aficionado allegedly placed his nuts on the facial area and body of an inebriated LSU fan and I’m not talking about the complimentary honey roasted kind you get from flying Southwest.  Downing, who was indicted for sexual battery and obscenity, plead not guilty to the charges and currently awaits trial. If he is found guilty or pleads guilty (even if it’s No Contest, criminal courts still consider the plea as an admission of the facts alleged for sentencing purposes), he would be a convicted sex offender. [1]  What does it mean if this incident and subsequent conviction took place in California? [2] For one, Downing would have to register as a sex offender for life and he would have a very, very difficult time looking for a place to live in the Golden State.  According to California Penal Code section 290, any individual convicted of certain enumerated crimes must register as a sex offender.[3] Moreover, California Penal Code section 3003.5(b) states any parolee who spent time in prison for an offense requiring registration cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or park.[4] This provision also known as Jessica’s Law gives municipal jurisdictions further discretion to restrict residency conditions for parolees.[5]  So besides schools and parks, cities can add locations such as bus stops, public libraries, daycare centers, internet cafés, or even a McDonald’s playground to the buffer zone. [6] The crux of Jessica’s Law was to protect children from “predators” as you may notice by the youth-oriented places in the restrictive zone. Whether or not legislators wanted to shield kids from really drunk dudes who teabagged other really drunk dudes is anyone’s guess. However, the repercussions of being a convicted sex offender on parole remain clear: finding a place to live here will be extremely tough.

If you’re seeking legal advice, feel free to contact me here at the Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher: (800) 797-8406 or email me: hans.socaldefense@gmail.com

[1] The California statutes similar to the ones Downing is facing would be: California Penal Code Section 243.4 (sexual battery) & California Penal Code Section 314 (indecent exposure).

[2]Technically, the crime and its adjudication are not required to be in California for the law to take effect. See footnote 3.

[3] The crime wouldn’t need to be committed in California for people to register as sex offenders. If it’s a crime that can be charged in California as an offense requiring registration, then the law applies. See California Penal Code Section 290.005.

[4] The law only requires that parolees at one point in their lives have spent time in prison for the sex offense. So someone who was convicted of a sex offense in 1985 but is currently on parole for a non-sex offense such as burglary will be subjected to the living restrictions.

[5] California Penal Code Section 3003.5(c).

[6] Local Ordinances usually state these provisions as “commercial establishments” or “sensitive use sites.” See Bell Gardens Municipal Code Chapter 17.28 ; Hawaiian Gardens Municipal Code Chapter 9.90.

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