Stoneleigh Fellow Nicole Pittman is quoted in an article examining Simon Liu’s case as one example of potential challenges inherent in California’s expanded sex offense registration laws.
Search for Zhuo “Simon” Liu in California’s online database of registered sex offenders and you’ll see a snapshot of his offenses. You’ll learn that he was convicted of “rape in concert with force or violence” and “assault with intent to commit a specified sex offense.” You’ll also see his photo, his home address, and his birthdate, showing that he’s now 38.
But you won’t learn that Liu was labeled a sex offender for an assault that someone else committed. Or that Liu was 16 at the time, a recent Chinese immigrant who spoke little English. And there’s no mention of the good that he has done for his community since his release on parole in 2017. To the California Department of Justice, which publishes the database, Liu is just another one of the state’s 106,000 registered sex offenders, someone the public should fear and be warned of…
Nicole Pittman, an expert on sex offender registration laws at Impact Justice in Oakland, said the expansive scope of California’s registry and the restrictions it levies on offenders are “hugely problematic” and give people a false sense of security. “The way California uses the registry, it makes registration futile and absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “The state [board] knows it, the legislature knows it, and that’s why they’ve started to make some reforms.”