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Following the alleged rape and murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King, one California lawmaker is proposing legislation to stiffen the state’s existing sex offender laws.
The legislation will be named after King, who disappeared on February 25 while running in a park near San Diego. On March 2, her body was found near a shallow grave. It is believed that John Albert Gardner III, a known and convicted sex offender, raped and then killed her.
Now, with the support of King’s parents, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is proposing to review the state’s current sex offender laws and revamp them, this time making them much more stringent. Fletcher plans to introduce “Chelsea’s Law” sometime in early April, which he says will focus on a “one-strike” provision and parole reform. He also wants to focus on including GPS tracking for registered sex offenders. He said the current laws only inform authorities where registered sex offenders live, but not where they go every day. Through GPS tracking, authorities can watch if a convicted sex offender goes near a location frequented by children, such as a school, park, or playground.
“I’m really concerned where these sex predators go because where you live is one thing, but where you go is another matter,” Fletcher said. “We’re looking at the possibility of using technology. Using a GPS device that’s a passive device, but the minute you cross into one of these safe zones it immediately pings a 911 call and you’ve committed a crime by violating it.”
Gardner, who pleaded not guilty to the rape and murder of King, was previously convicted of molesting a 13-year-old girl and is currently suspected in the death of a 14-year-old girl from Escondido. He served five years in prison for the first offense.
If you have been charged with a sex offense, such as rape or child molestation, it’s extremely important that you speak with an experienced defense attorney right away. Sex crimes carry heavy penalties, including years in state prison, thousands of dollars in fines, probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. Furthermore, because of California’s three strike laws, if you are facing your third violent felony offense for a sex crime, you will face a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison, even if your first two felony convictions were not sexual in nature.
At Okabe & Haushalter, we understand the serious toll a sex crimes conviction will have on your life, and feel we have the experience, skills, and resources to put up an aggressive fight against your charges. If you’re interested in learning more about our defense services, please feel free to contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our office today by calling 310-430-7799.