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California sex crimes convicts file lawsuit

Anyone who is convicted of a crime can likely expect some sort of punishment, ranging from probation and fines to prison time. However, sex crimes convictions often carry consequences that last much longer than a person's probation or imprisonment. For example, because of Megan's Law, those convicted of sex crimes are included on a publicly published website. Two such convicts have recently sued the state of California, claiming that the state has not kept the information up-to-date as required by law, which has adversely impacted them.

The purpose of Megan's Law is to allow people to have knowledge of sex offenders in the area. However, some people included on the website claim that out-of-date information, including the date of conviction and release, is leaving them open to vigilante attacks. According to a 2006 law that went into effect in 2010, the state is required to update this information.

The two plaintiffs in this case claim that the out-of-date information limits their employment and housing opportunities. One of the plaintiffs claims that he was denied a lease for his business due to the website. Both claim that they were attacked as a result of vigilantes, and that information regarding their conviction and release had not been updated. According to the lawsuit, the vast majority of the profiles are missing such information. Plaintiffs are asking that the Department of Justice be compelled to listed updated information on the website.

While allegations of sex crimes must be taken seriously, the rights of those accused must also be preserved. The stiff consequences of such a conviction make a criminal defense incredibly high stakes. Many of those accused might be inclined to accept a plea deal for lesser chargers to avoid sex offender registration. Because of the serious natures of such crimes, many defendants in California seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: sacbee.com, "Sex offenders sue California, claim Megan's Law website puts them in danger", Jeremy B. White, Nov. 11, 2015

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