Proposition 35 Proponents Chris Kelly and Daphne Phung ask Federal Court Permission to Defend Proposition 35, alongside the Attorney General

Nov 14, 2012   

Proponents seek to team with the vigorous defense planned by AG’s office of the initiative’s requirements that convicted sex offenders provide internet identifiers to law enforcement

San Francisco, CA – Proposition 35 proponents Chris Kelly of the Safer California Foundation and Daphne Phung of California Against Slavery filed paperwork in the United States District Court, Northern California District to join the Attorney General in her vigorous defense of one of the initiative’s requirements that convicted sex offenders provide internet identifiers to law enforcement. The Attorney General’s office has agreed that the proponents should be permitted to join the case.

81% of Californians voted for Proposition 35 on November 6, including its requirement that internet identifiers be added to the array of personal information that convicted sex offenders are already required to provide to law enforcement. This provision is tailored to help combat the rampant use of the internet and social media for sexual exploitation of minors and women.

The provisions of Prop 35 will go into effect once certified by the Secretary of State. The ACLU has filed a class action suit on behalf of those who have been convicted of sex crimes and received a temporary injunction on the implementation of the registration provision. The injunction applies only to this one provision.

Kelly and Phung view joining the lawsuit as a means to bring the voices of survivors and voters into the court room and to ensure that law enforcement has the tools necessary to combat sex offenses online just as they do in the off-line world. To that end, Kelly and Phung have also filed a related motion to contest the Plaintiffs’ desire to remain anonymous during court proceedings.

“Daphne and I worked with thousands of volunteers, peace officers, advocates and survivors to pass Prop 35 to protect vulnerable women and children. Now, we are asking the court for the opportunity to protect what an overwhelming majority of California voters have just approved. We thank the Attorney General for her defense of these common sense provisions. We will provide additional resources and expertise to ensure that survivors, advocates and the 81% of Californians that voted yes on Prop 35 will have their voices heard during the proceedings,” said Chris Kelly of the Safer California Foundation.

Under article II, section 8 of the California Constitution and the California Elections Code, “the official proponents of an initiative measure have a unique relationship to the voter-approved measure that makes them especially likely to be reliable and vigorous advocates for the measure and to be so viewed by those whose votes secured the initiative’s enactment into law.” The Legislature has also recognized that unique role by enacting numerous provisions placing upon the proponents the direct responsibility to manage and control the ballot- qualifying and petition-filing process, as well as authorizing proponents to control the arguments in favor of the initiative that appear in the official voter information guide published by the Secretary of State.

“The Attorney General’s office is mounting a forceful defense of this common sense law and we thank them. We wish to add our voices and expertise to this important effort. During the campaign, these provisions were endorsed by hundreds of groups as an important tool to stop human trafficking. We are grateful that the Attorney General and her team are moving so swiftly and surely against this baffling lawsuit,” added Daphne Phung of California Against Slavery.

In a related filing, Phung and Kelly have also responded to plaintiffs’ motion to remain anonymous during the proceedings. Phung and Kelly maintain that plaintiffs lost their right to prevent the release of their name and their status as sex offenders when they pled guilty to or were convicted of crimes that subjected them to California Penal Code section 290 registration. In this way, the plaintiffs are no different than every other registered sex offender in this State who must provide the State with substantial personal information to give law enforcement the tools necessary to prevent and investigate sex crimes.

Rulings on these filings and plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction are expected after a hearing, which has tentatively been set for December 17, 2012.

Relevant documents are available at: http://www.caseact.org/case/media/filings/

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