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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GPS-tampering bill clears first state legislative committee

LA TimesA pared-down bill that would send sex offenders who repeatedly remove their GPS tracking devices back to state prison cleared its first legislative committee Tuesday, making progress where broader measures failed.

In a deal struck with Democratic leaders who seek to protect Gov. Jerry Brown's prison realignment plan, Sen. Ted Lieu amended his GPS-tampering bill to make first offenses punishable by a mandatory 180 days in county jail, the maximum penalty currently on the books.

Second offenses would require a year in county jail, and on the third offense, the parolee would be required to be returned to prison. The legislation would apply only to some 8,000 paroled sex offenders who are required to wear electronic monitors. It does not address gang members, domestic stalkers and other parolees the state may be tracking.

"To me this is not an issue that deals with realignment. It deals with the integrity of our GPS monitoring system," Lieu (D-Torrance) told the Senate Public Safety Committee just prior to a passing vote. He cited a federally funded study that shows sex offenders who are monitored by GPS systems are less likely to commit a new crime while on parole.

The amended bill had broad support from state law enforcement agencies. Earlier opponents, including public defenders, said they would consider the amendments. continue reading...

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