UPDATE - December 21, 2010

UPDATE - December 21, 2010

As we count past our family member's 10th month of incarceration, and our first Christmas in 21 years without him, we are struck even more so with the cruel reality of these charges he faces, and the seeming unfairness of an antiquated system that would punish our young people, who have acted consensually, in the context of loving relationships, under the same broad-stroked brush as violent and predatory sexual offenders.

We have been informed of his possible sentencing within the next month, and the likely outcome of that sentencing.

We go forward this week with the knowledge that despite his lack of a previous record, and lack of a "troubled" past; with proof of his model behavior, proof of his ability and determination to accomplish things in the face of adversity, with a "psych" evaluation which came back "perfect" (in the words of his attorney), showing no signs whatsoever of anything out of the ordinary; he may likely receive the harshest of punishments in the form of lifetime registration status.

Although we work every day, through this website, to address these issues, inform ourselves and others regarding these issues, and hope valiantly for change with regard to this specific cause...we are still just an ordinary and loving family, who could have never truly been prepared enough to be dealt such a devastating blow.

We know we share this feeling with so very many good families across the nation who have gone through this, or are going through this very same heartache and pain. It is with them, and sadly, the families that may come along before we can change this draconian system, that we join virtual hands in solidarity, and vow to continue to fight for justice for our young people.

To all of our readers, whoever and wherever you may be, we wish you a blessed season of the year, and as always, thank you for your readership~~

Awareness~Advocacy~Change
California For Romeo and Juliet Law 


 UPDATE - November 30, 2010

We are exceptionally proud to report that despite overwhelming odds, and daunting circumstances, at best, we have just received the news that our son/brother has achieved the honor of earning his high school equivalency graduation diploma this past week!

Working and studying through the program he was instrumental in bringing back to the pod, he passed his courses and the final exam with flying colors! Another goal set, and successfully achieved!

 It is with great respect for his strength and determination that we applaud this outstanding accomplishment!

Awareness-Advocacy-Change
California For Romeo and Juliet Law


UPDATE - October 29, 2010 -


As we continue on, over nine months into our journey, we find ourselves hoping and praying ever harder for strength in the weeks ahead.

The coming days will be filled with change, for our son/brother, and for us. He will be moved to another facility temporarily for the upcoming psych evaluation. We must prepare ourselves to talk with the evaluator as well. Although we are confident in the outcome, it is still a time of quiet contemplation amidst the pain of re-hashing an entire lifetime of memories; of a happy, outgoing, bright, amazing child who has somehow come to this unfortunate point on his path.

He continues to amaze us with his attitude. Filled with hope, and holding on to dreams (new ones now, more focused, refined, determined) of what he wants to accomplish once he is again able. His strength and courage are inspiring.

Never one to stay down for long, he has been extremely proactive during his time behind bars, making it a personal quest to ensure that the GED classes (which had once been taken away) would be brought back to the pod, and encouraging enough interest, and commitment from other pod members to attend, that the classes are now back on a regular schedule, with the first of the final tests just completed.

His letters are filled with will and determination, as well as reflection upon his time in the county jail. Amazingly, he is not bitter, but takes a rather philosophical view; surmising that, despite the hardship and interruption to his young life, he has come away stronger, more focused, and more empowered than ever to go out into the world and make a difference in his life.

Beyond the heartbreak, hope lives on. Beyond the clouds, the sun is streaming down. Beyond the protective custody pod, there are still little blessings to be found in each day.

And we continue, as California For Romeo and Juliet Law, to speak out, to educate, to write letters, to spread the word to those who can make a difference, to fight this fight. To ensure that our young people,to whom our future belongs, will someday soon have a law to separate their consensual, intimate acts, in the context of loving relationships, from those of violent and predatory sexual offenders.

As always, we appreciate your support.

California For Romeo and Juliet Law
Awareness-Advocacy-Change



































Unlawful Sex With A Minor - What It Really Means

One of the most common misconceptions we have encountered in our studies, conversations, and networking around the country has been the mistaken idea that Unlawful Sex With A Minor charges apply only to those who have been involved in a relationship in which one partner was a minor, the other partner, an adult (over eighteen years old in California).

It is important to note that Unlawful Sex With A Minor charges include any circumstance in which both partners involved in "consensual" intimate relationships, have been minors, as well.

Many parents, as well as their young teens, were unaware that these charges existed, and were just as serious for two sixteen year olds (for example), or a fourteen and sixteen year old, or any combination of "teens" under the age of eighteen years old.

California law is clear on the fact that anyone under the age of eighteen years old is "incapable" of giving consent, making any intimate contact, even within the context of a loving, boyfriend/girlfriend (or boyfriend/boyfriend, girlfriend/girlfriend, as the case may be) relationship illegal.

Please see our "California Law Statutes" for the precise letter of the law. Educate yourselves, as well as your teens. While teen sexuality may seem a commonplace subject, and teen sexual activity may seem accepted, amongst teens, and in certain circles, "tolerated" to a degree by adults; these charges are extremely serious; their consequences, life altering.

What Is Needed To Convict ? Common Misconceptions

A common misconception amongst teens, as well as some adults, with regard to Romeo and Juliet cases, is that it must be either the underage minor in the relationship or his/her parents that "press charges" in the case.

The truth is that only the District Attorney can actually bring charges against a person to make a case. However, the actual information, or initial "tip" can be passed along to the Police Department by ANYONE.

Countless cases have been charged and prosecuted despite the fact that the minor in question and his/her parents:

-had known of the relationship

-had acknowledged it was consensual in nature

- had actually objected to charges being brought.

Whether or not the other parties object to the bringing of charges is of no consequence, as once it has been reported to the police (and the District Attorney has determined there is enough evidence to bring charges) it becomes the complaint of the state, and is out of the hands of the citizens for good.

While there are mandated reporters; teachers, counselors, doctors, nurses, and daycare providers among them, whose duty it is to report anything of this nature to police, absolutely ANYONE can make a report regarding Sex With A Minor charges.

It is important to note that once charges have been brought, there are only 3 things needed to convict:

1. The "victim's" (legal terminology) initial statement.

2. The "responsibility of assumption" of the "victim's" age by
the defendant.

3. The "victim's" testimony.

Another common misconception is that there must be physical evidence to convict.

Many people assume there must be identifiable DNA (such as a "rape kit", a pregnancy, or other means of identification, such as a shared STD).

However, unlike murder, unlike just about every other type of crime, this "crime" requires absolutely NO physical evidence to convict.

Add to that the Statute of Limitations for "Statutory Rape" and related charges, being up to 3 years in California, and perhaps a picture is beginning to form of just how easily charges can be brought in these Romeo and Juliet cases.

We urge you to read the California Penal Code, as well as the Statutes relevant to these charges for yourself.

Take the time to speak with and educate your teens about the seriousness of these charges, the possible ramifications they may have on their lives, and how relatively easily these charges can be brought.

Each family teaches their own ethics, their own morality, with regards to their teenagers becoming sexually active. But until we can incorporate the facts and fundamentals of teen-related California Sex Crime Law into our student's Sexual Education classes, where we can ensure the broad spectrum of our youth will absolutely be informed; it is our duty as parents and educators to do so.

With the proposed Romeo and Juliet Law for California, we hope to bring a voice of reason to our Sex Crime laws.

We want to save our teens and young adults from mandatory prison sentencing, mandatory lifetime sex offender registration, possible "aversion" therapy, possible lifetime mandatory GPS tracking, and any and all other punishments that were originally created and meant for violent and predatory sex offenses, primarily against children.

Please join us by reading the materials here, sharing with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and signing our petition!

We need to make the California Romeo and Juliet Law a reality, for the sake of all our young people!

California For Romeo and Juliet Law
Awareness-Advocacy-Change

Unlawful Sex With A Minor Vs. Lewd And Lascivious Conduct - the Differences

Under California law, there are two separate categories that one may be charged in with regard to Romeo and Juliet scenarios.

The first is "Unlawful Sex With A Minor" (formerly known as "Statutory Rape").

The second is the far more serious of the two, "Lewd and Lascivious Conduct".

These are the two main categories from which other charges (such as "Oral Copulation" or "Sexual Battery") may stem.

Although the general subject matter is similar, the distinct definitions, circumstances, and consequences are vastly different.

UNLAWFUL SEX WITH A MINOR (formerly known as "Statutory Rape"):


Unlawful Sex With A Minor charges are the less serious of the two. The basic definition involves an act of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person below the legal age of consent, but above the age of a child (usually determined to be 14 years of age).


An Unlawful Sex With A Minor case can be charged as either a misdemeanor, or a felony. In legal terms, this is what is known as a "wobbler", and largely depends on the age of the minor involved as to how it will be charged.


With a minor not more than 3 years older or 3 years younger than the accused:

MISDEMEANOR/ Up to 1 year in County Jail/ $1000 in fines.

With a minor more than 3 years younger:

MISDEMEANOR or FELONY/ 1 year in County Jail or State Prison/ $1000-$10,000 in fines.

When the accused is 21 years of age and minor is 16 years of age or younger:

MISDEMEANOR or FELONY/ 1 year in County Jail OR 2,3, or 4 years in State Prison / $1000-$10,000 in fines.


"Consent" is not a defense to these charges, as California law deems that anyone under 18 years of age (a minor) is incapable of giving consent.


All of these convictions require probation/parole.


Unlike the more serious Lewd and Lascivious charges, Unlawful Sex With A Minor DOES have a provision that says if one honestly and reasonably believed that the alleged "victim" was over the age of 18 at the time, one CANNOT be convicted under this law.

The three requirements to prove this are:

Statements made by the "victim" that he/she was over 18 years of age.

General appearance or attire of "victim"(leading one to believe they were older).

Where the accused met the "victim" (as in an adult venue, such as an 18 and over club, or at an adult party).

However, these requirements, in many cases, are hard to prove.


If convicted of Unlawful Sex With A Minor in California, the law does NOT require Sex Offender Registration.


LEWD AND LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT:


Lewd and Lascivious Conduct charges are by far the more serious of the two.

The main reason someone in a Romeo and Juliet case would be charged with Lewd and Lascivious Conduct RATHER than Unlawful Sex With A Minor, is the age, as well as the age difference, of and between the minor and the adult.


Lewd and Lascivious Conduct involves touching a minor anywhere on the body (even on the outside of the clothing) "with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of either party".

Each independent act (each touch to different parts of the body, whether they are sexual parts or not) is counted as an "act", or a "count". This means that even if there were only one occasion, or one "incident", several "acts" could be charged.


Sexual Intercourse is not required to be charged under this law.


A Lewd and Lascivious charge is always a Felony charge.

Involving a Minor, below 14 years old/ 3, 6, or 8 years in State Prison/$10,000 in fines.

Parole/Possible GPS tracking device/Possible psychotherapy or behavior modification.

Mandatory Lifetime Sex Offender Registration.

Mistaken belief in the minor's age is NOT a defense to this charge.

"Consent" is not a defense, as California law deems that anyone under the age of 18 years old (a minor), is incapable of giving consent.


Although the exact definition of this law varies from state to state, in California, Lewd and Lascivious Conduct can be comprised of many different charges.

Prostitution, pornography, indecent acts, indecent exposure and co-habitating with an unmarried partner in a sexual relationship (this one is rarely used any more), all fall under the Lewd and Lascivious law.

Validity of the Victim's Testimony Clause

We have recently received mail regarding the question of the validity of the "Victim's Testimony Clause".

The victim's testimony is one of three things needed to convict someone in California in an Underage Sex With A Minor, or Lewd and Lascivious Conduct case.

It happens quite frequently in cases that would fall under the Romeo and Juliet Law, were California to have one, that the "victim" will refuse to testify against their boyfriend or girlfriend. There is a clause in California law that prevents the victim having to testify if it is deemed that their participation in testimony would be detrimental to said victim.

However, it is not often that this clause is upheld. Any aggressive district attorney will subpoena the victim, or at least their testimony (whether or not it is in open court or by deposition). In these cases, the testimony must be given, and to do it by deposition bypasses the clause in that it is reasoned that behind closed doors it is somehow less detrimental or traumatic.

Therefore, it is almost unheard of that the victim's testimony will not be taken, in one form or another, whether the victim initially wishes to grant it to the court or not.

Sociable

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