As California Attorney General, Kamala Harris discarded a widely popular state law prohibiting sex offenders from living close to children.
The Washington Free Beacon’s Yuichiro Kakutani reports:
In a confidential legal opinion, Harris ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2015 to stop enforcing residency restrictions that prohibited sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools. In doing so, Harris upended a key provision of Jessica’s Law, an anti-sex offender law that 70 percent of California voters approved in a 2006 statewide referendum.
Harris lifted the residency restriction for sex offenders after a 2015 state supreme court ruling that relaxed the restriction in San Diego due to the area’s high population density. While the ruling applied only to San Diego parolees, Harris stopped enforcing the residency restriction throughout the Golden State, ignoring claims by criminal justice advocates that the residency restrictions could still be enforced in the vast majority of counties. George Runner, one of the sponsors for the ballot initiative for Jessica’s Law, said that Harris’s decision jeopardized the safety of California kids.
“The head law enforcement officer in California was more concerned about protecting the rights of sex offenders than she was of parents and children,” Runner, a former state senator, said.
Harris’s leniency toward sex offenders stands in contrast to her reputation as a tough prosecutor who cracked down on criminals, especially sexual offenders. The vice presidential candidate touted on the campaign trail that she pushed to shut down popular website Backpage.com for facilitating sex trafficking—a claim that is receiving renewed scrutiny after revelations that the website actually served as an invaluable tool for law enforcement to catch predators. Harris also defended Jessica’s Law when she was running for election as California’s attorney general in 2010, smearing her Republican opponent as a “sexist coddler of child molesters” for making dismissive comments about the law.
Neither Harris’ office nor the Biden campaign has responded to requests for comment.
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