Court Expands Eligibility for Certificates of Rehabilitation and PC 290 Registration Termination

The California Court of Appeal issued an opinion on April 25 that expands the eligibility for a Certificate of Rehabilitation to a specific group of sex offenders. Prior offenders that were convicted of Penal Code section 288(a) are now eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which can terminate the lifetime registration requirement.

freedom from sex offender registration requirements

Freedom from Sex Offender Registration Requirements

Court Held that Current Laws are Unconstitutional

The appellate court held that the current state law, which allows a defendant convicted of a sex offense against a child under the age of 10 under PC 288.7 to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation while denying that same opportunity to one convicted of molesting a child under the age of 14 under PC 288(a), is unconstitutional.

The court had previously ruled the same way in this case (People v. Tirey) back in November of 2013. However, the Attorney General filed an appeal which temporarily rendered the ruling void. With the court’s decision last Friday, offenders convicted of Penal Code section 288(a) are again eligible to petition for a Certificate and to terminate their registration requirement.

Senate Considering Bill That Would Remove the Opportunity for PC 288(a) Offenders to Petition for Relief

There is currently a bill pending in the legislature that would reverse the court’s decision and remove the ability for these individuals to petition for this relief from the court. Assembly Bill 1438 would make changes to the laws governing Certificates of Rehabilitation and sex offender registration, specifically the bill would make those conviction of PC 288.7 ineligible for a certificate and registration termination

AB 1438 was passed by the Assembly on April 24 and has been referred to the Senate for consideration. The bill would remove the unequal protection problem that exists in the current statute, closing the opportunity currently available to those with a PC 288(a) conviction.

The court’s opinion reversed the denial of Tirey’s Certificate of Rehabilitation and remanded the case back to the trial court, where the court must consider the application on the merits but is not required to grant the certificate.

What Does This All Mean?

Penal Code 288(a) offenders are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and to terminate the registration requirement, and this decision requires the court consider the petition. It is unclear how long this relief will remain available and it is recommended you take advantage of this opportunity now. Because of AB 1438, individuals that are impacted by this case are advised to prepare and file a petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation as quickly as possible.

For more information, click here to watch a video, or click here to retake our online eligibility test and see if you now qualify for this relief.

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5 Responses to Court Expands Eligibility for Certificates of Rehabilitation and PC 290 Registration Termination

  1. Neil Fisher says:

    And does a person have to once again start registring again if Bill passes? even if you got your certificate ?

  2. Neil B Fisher says:

    My comment is what happens if I spend the time and effort and the money to get a Certificate Of Rehabilitation and it is granted then the AB1438 Bill is passed, does mine as well as all others who have a Certificate of Rehabilitation lose all and we all again are placed back upon the Sex Offender Web Site? I wish to have this question awnsered ASAP.
    I am waiting for my live scan paperwork from the state to get my full rapsheet then a lawer can go from there.


    • Jenna Thorne says:

      Hello Neil, it is impossible to say for sure. The issue will probably be decided by the courts. Courts have held that registration is not punishment, and therefore, if they continued to take that position, it would probably not be unconstitutional for them to again make a person register even after they have been relieved of the requirement. However, there are plenty of good arguments to be made that once the registration is terminated, that it cannot or should not be reinstated. If a law is passed, we will definitely post an analysis on our site.

  3. James says:

    I had just filed a Petition For Dismissal 1203.4 that was denied. Now I found out that 01 count 288(a)pc 1203.4 is ineligible for a dismissal. I was accused of this charge 8/14/1989. 26 years two months of this bondage that had been ruining my life over a total big misunderstanding. The only reason I took the probation back then isn’t because that I was guilty of this very serious crime. But it was because I don’t like being locked up, period. But I was told absolutely nothing about what followed behind taking the probation; until my probation officer told me about this life time sex registration issue. I was not told by counsel that I was charged with a 288(a) PC charge, let alone knew what a 288(a) charge was or what followed behind it. This was in violation of the Sixth Amendment; all of it was; charging a person with this very serious crime and counsel, district attorney and even the court itself don’t let a defendant know of this 288(a) charge. But I’m happy to know that I can file for this PETITION FOR CERTIFICATION OF REHABILITATION AND PARDON. Since all the years that I had been doing this sex registration of this accused of charge, I have met many of men and women that had similar cases like mine, that did not know what to do and still don’t. But I will let them know of this new court ruling; and I do give thanks that I came upon the People vs. Tirey Case No. G048369 221 Cal. App. 4th 549 (2013) 164 Cal. Rptr. 3d 472. Yes I must say over and over again Thanks to John Lynn Tirey that he was able to afford attorneys to look deeper into this situation and came out winning and finding violations that was wrong to people that had lesser charges or accused of charges and couldn’t seem to do absolutely nothing about it. And people that had more serious charges can have something to be done about their charge. Thank you for help me and other to go on now with their lives, and don’t have to be hindered anymore, with job, living conditions and all the other things in life that was done from it because and behind this cruel law. Although don’t get me wrong, I’m speaking to the ones that suffered with this 288(a) pc law and was accused of doing something that they did not do. Now is it really, really true that I can apply/file for a Petition For Certificate Of Rehabilitation And Pardon? Please let me know the answer to this question, in order that I may file my Petition next week!

    • Jenna Thorne says:

      Unfortunately, during the appeals process, the legislature under the court’s urging proposed and passed a new law that fixed the constitutional issues. Under the current law, those convicted of 288(a) are no longer eligible to apply for a Certificate.

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