Posted by: bridget | 6 November 2006

California Prop. 83

The pachyderm recommends voting against Proposition 83. While she is very sympathetic to the idea of tougher sentences for sex offenders, she thinks that Prop. 83 has a few problems:

  • definition of sex offenses: an 18-year-old guy who has sex with his minor girlfriend could be stuck in jail for 25 years. Can we please distinguish the predators from teenagers with bad judgment?
  • GPS tracking: please, let’s not start down this road. The pachyderm has no desire to tag people like animals in the wild. As a libertarian, she gives a big elephant shudder at the idea of tracking people for life.
  • Mandatory jail time: good idea in theory; excellent idea if you happen to be a victim and your judge happens to be a Vermont whack job; bad thing if you are a prosecutor and are trying to get a conviction. Sex offenses are difficult enough; most juries are reluctant to send anyone away for 25 to life with the questionable proof that comes with such trials.  Most prosecutors will tell you that the conviction rate is going to go down after implementation of such a requirement.
  • Residency requirements: as much as the idea offends people, sex offenders have to live somwhere. Once you are done excluding them from a half-mile radius from any school, park, or public library, you are giving them very few options of places to live. In one state, sex offenders are homeless, forced to live illegally in their old homes, pushed into other states, or forced into the rural areas. The pachyderm wonders if there is a Constitutional violation in there somewhere – right to travel? Freedom of association? Assembly?

Pachyderm trunk down to Prop. 83.



  1. […] blog archives to find a warning from the California elections in 2006, which proposed to put GPS tracking units in all convicted sex offenders:  “GPS tracking: please, let’s not start down this road. The pachyderm has no desire to […]

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