Violent sex offenders deserve life without parole, [Assembly Feltcher] says
Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.
Hundreds of people heard a call for action last night at a public forum hosted by the parents of slain Poway teen Chelsea King and a local lawmaker who plans to soon introduce a bill in Sacramento designed to strengthen laws against sex offenders.
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, said Chelsea’s Law will have as its starting point the simple premise that “a sexual offender that targets a child is not someone who can be rehabilitated.”
Fletcher and others said the sorrow, grief and anger that has followed the death of Chelsea must be channeled into something positive.
What the bill will call for exactly is still being developed, but Fletcher said “gaps” in current laws and the way they are enforced have been identified.
He said a cornerstone of the law should be life sentences without the possibility of parole for violent sexual predators as well as lifetime parole for those who do manage to get out of prison.
He also said “safe zones” should be created which convicted sex offenders will be forbidden to enter.
Fletcher said laws now forbid offenders from living within a certain distance of a park, for instance, but there is nothing preventing them from sitting in that park all day.
The forum was sponsored by Chelsea’s Light Foundation, which was created by Brent and Kelly King in the wake of their daughter’s death and was held at the Maranatha Chapel in 4S Ranch, just a few miles from where Chelsea died.
Chelsea, 17, a senior at Poway High School, disappeared Feb. 25 after going for a run near Lake Hodges in Rancho Bernardo. Her body was found in a shallow grave nearby five days later.
John Albert Gardner III, 30, a convicted sex offender, is charged with rape and murder and has pleaded not guilty.
Gardner is also a suspect in the death of 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido, who disappeared Feb. 13, 2009, while walking to school. Her remains were found six days after Gardner’s arrest in a rural and rugged area of North County a few miles south of the Riverside County line.
The Kings said little during the forum. Brent King began it with a few words.
“Everyone in this audience has a voice,” he said. “Moms have a voice. Dads have a voice. Grandparents have a voice. Women have a voice. Men have a voice. A voice gives us power.
“The only ones who don’t have this power are our children. That’s what Chelsea’s Light is all about.”
Fletcher said the quickest way to get the law changed is to pass it in the Legislature. He said he is just weeks away from introducing a bill. But if resistance is met, Fletcher said he and the Kings will go the ballot initiative route.
The mood of the audience was one of anger at the system in general and anger at Gardner in particular.
“He should never have gotten out. … If you touch a child, you have lost every right in that Constitution,” said one of several dozen speakers, Tom Meyers, whose comments were met with loud applause and cheers.
Calls from the audience for a one-strike law were almost as numerous as condolences expressed to the Kings.
At the conclusion of the forum, Kelly King thanked everyone for coming and for their prayers.
She said every day is a struggle for her and her family.
“They say the system is broken,” she said. “My heart is not broken. My heart is shattered. The system is shattered.”
"The system is shattered", because ballot initiatives don't provide training by itself. Ballot initiatives, like Jessica's Law didn't require any training by Parole Officers and mental health workers. Ballot initiatives are not a substitute for preventing a "failure to train".
The prior example is Phillip Garrido. Not only did the Parole Officers fail to thrash the premises and find Jaycee Dugard, but since Jessica's Law was in effect in 2006, it didn't stop Garrido from living where he was at, didn't stop him from going to UC Berkeley, and it wouldn't stop him from going 500 miles across the State into South Lake Tahoe and kidnap her in the first place.
Gardner also didn't register all his residences under Megan's and Jessica's Laws, and he wasn't sent back to State Prison, and then to Atascadero State Hospital! In fact, mental health officials let Gardner out of prison, knowing full well he qualified for the then-two year stay at Atascadero.
In other words, Fletcher, Feltcher, or what the fuck he is, is threatening another waste our money ballot initiative without fixing the current loopholes in Jessica's Law and elsewhere. With all the parole violations and failures to prevent Gardner from getting out and troll for victims, AND with Parole Officers not supervising Garrido by sticking their fingers up their collective asses and refusing to do their job, Jessica's Law is a super-failure. It's time for the GOP to start over.
Remember, who co-sponsored Jessica's Law in California?
San Diego County D. A. Bonnie Dunamis.
Jerry Brown, please prosecute Gardner.