Court Ruling Allows Opportunity for Individuals Convicted of 288(a) To Terminate 290 Registration

A recent decision by a California appellate court has created an extraordinary opportunity for those convicted of violating Penal Code section 288(a) to terminate their requirement to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290.  While it is unknown how long this opportunity will last, the ruling is welcome news for those whose lives are negatively impacted by the registration requirement imposed on 288(a) offenders in 1997.

On November 15, 2013, in People v. Tirey,  the California Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that current state law, which allows a defendant convicted of a sex offense against a child under the age of 10 to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation (Penal Code section 4852.01) while denying that same opportunity to one convicted of molesting a child under the age of 14, is unconstitutional.  The holding makes offenders convicted of Penal Code section 288(a) eligible for a Certificate and to terminate their registration requirement.

Penal Code section 288(a) prohibits lewd or lascivious acts with a child who is under the age of 14 years, while section 288.7 prohibits sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years of age or younger.  Under the current statutory scheme, persons convicted of violating section 288.7 are eligible to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation under section 4852.01 and relief from the registration requirement under section 290.5, while persons convicted of violating section 288(a) are not eligible and therefore remain subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement.


The Court of Appeal held that there is no rational basis for the unequal treatment of these two similarly situated groups of sex offenders.   The Court in its published opinion presented three possible remedies: (1) completely throw out the current statutory scheme and allow all sex offenders to apply for the certificate, (2) add Section 288.7 offenders to the list of those who cannot apply, or (3) add Section 288(a) offenders to the list of those who can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation.

The legislature could choose again require registration for 288(a) offenders by exercising any of the three options the court discussed.   If the and when the legislature acts on this issue is anybody’s guess.   In the meantime, current Penal Code 288(a) offenders are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, but the court’s opinion emphasizes that the legislature may wish to amend sections 4852.01 and 290.5 to treat section 288(a) offenders and section 288.7 offenders equally.

There are many questions that remain unanswered.  If an when will the legislature modify California law?  Will the the appellate decision be appealed to the Supreme Court, and if so, what will the outcome be?   What happens if the law does change after someone has their registration requirement terminated?

The Tirey case is now back to the trial court where the judge will review the request for a certificate of rehabilitation on the merits of the case.  If the court finds that Tirey is rehabilitated, a certificate of rehabilitation will be granted and the Department of Justice will be instructed to terminate Tirey’s registration requirement.

Those prior offenders who were convicted of section 288(a), who wish to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation, are urged to seek that relief immediately as we wait on the legislature to act on this matter.  It is unclear at this time how long this relief will remain available.  Therefore, we strongly encourage people to act quickly and take advantage of this opportunity now.

Watch Video About Changes to CA Registration Law Affecting 288(a) and the Tirey case 

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15 Responses to Court Ruling Allows Opportunity for Individuals Convicted of 288(a) To Terminate 290 Registration

  1. rs says:

    How does one file for the Cert of Rehab

  2. Dan says:

    OMG! I don’t have to be Unemployable anymore, I can get my life back!OMG, I can die without any more shame 30 years later, when my crime was well before Jessica’s law and have NOT committed any more crimes nor problems.

  3. Raul says:

    I received regarding the important legal change to California Law. I think I understand it(?) after viewing the tape. I tried to click on taking the eligibility test but get only my status site. I will try it again, I am still having PC problems.

  4. Shawn says:

    Like to apply for this ASAP ,and also apple for the removal of my info on the world wide web. {THE INTERNET}. Can you please help me with these issues? THANK YOU . Shawn

  5. Neil says:

    I got your E-mail on the ruling of the 4th district court and the 288.a making it unconstitunitional not to allow for a Certificate of Rehabilitation on this conviction this is great news for the many thousands of persons with this charge in California. The bad news is that this information is not well known to the thousands of persons who need to act ASAP.
    As fo myself i will attempt to be in contact with your agency in a couple of days to get started on this important news.

  6. Harold says:

    I received my certificate of rehabilitation in 2010, but still have to register. Does this change in the law mean that My registration requirement can be lifted?

    • Jenna Thorne says:

      This change opens up the eligibility for certain offenders to apply for a certificate, but unfortunately it has not changed the effect of a certificate that was previously granted.

  7. rs says:

    Assembly Bill 702 affected by this ruling?, any know status on bill 702?

    • Jenna Thorne says:

      To find the current status on the bill, you can go to and type in “AB702” in the upper right to look up the bill. It seems that unfortunately this bill stalled in the appropriations committee last May, and they never voted on the bill. We will post any updates in the news section of this website as we hear about them.

  8. Lamont P. says:

    I need help now

    • Jenna Thorne says:

      Hello Lamont, if you would like to discuss your case with us and see if we can help you, please call our office at (877) 573-7273. We look forward to assisting you, thank you.

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