Attorney General Lockyer's Statement on Today's U.S. Supreme Court Rulings

Wednesday, March 5, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(LOS ANGELES) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding Megan's Law and California's Three Strikes law:

"I am pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings upholding California's Three Strikes Law and the ability of states to post sex offender information on the Internet.

"The court's Three Strikes ruling affirms California's authority to enact strong public safety laws to protect our residents from repeat offenders. Because state law allows district attorneys and judges to disregard prior convictions in the interest of justice, there are safeguards in place to that ensure lengthy sentences are given only to habitual criminals. I urge judges and prosecutors to use this discretion when appropriate. Under this ruling, it is clear that California can continue to ensure that those who have made a career out of crime are taken off the street for a long time.

"The Court also gave the California Legislature a green light to enact legislation that will put important information about sex offenders on the Internet. Because this information already is in the public domain through court records or by visiting a police or sheriff's office, it makes sense to put it on the Internet. I have long supported posting Megan's Law on the Internet so that families can conveniently access critical information about sex offenders from their home computer instead of having to visit their local police or sheriff's station during limited hours.

"Making the information available to more citizens will provide valuable assistance to local law enforcement agencies. Citizens will have better access to this information and be able to quickly notify their local police and sheriff when they learn of sex offenders who have not registered as required by law, or are no longer living in the community in which they were last registered. Working together, law enforcement and California citizens can better protect our children and our neighborhoods from sexual offenders."

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