In the late 1980s a boy was attempting to escape a home of physical and mental abuse. His troubled journey led him to the world of home robbery, assault, and parts unknown. Although this young man was able to hold his resolve not to ever participate in drug use, he was losing his connectedness with others. In 1991 he was arrested, charged, and convicted as a juvenile, just barely 16 years old, with robbery and sexual assault. While in the custody of the California Youth Authority he made a remarkable decision. On a day that he still remembers with clarity, he decided to walk out the door someday as a very different man than he went in. And he did. The young man grew into a hard-working family man with integrity and a strong belief that justice is a Right for all races, genders, and ages.
30+ years later, a stranger called our office and asked for help. He’d heard that SB-384 could possibly free him of registering as a sex offender. Our office was very familiar with SB-384 and had already been working with many people interested in the process. However, this man’s story was different because his case was originally held in juvenile court. His identity is not a public record and never should be. However, the Superior Court of Solano County had not yet received any juvenile petitions to terminate sex offender registration. Their answer was to hear this matter in Adult Court, where it would be public.
Maas & Russo did not accept this. We advocated having the matter privately heard in juvenile court where our client’s identity would remain out of public record and privileged. We created and submitted never used petition forms, made many phone calls, emails and in person appearances to the Court Clerks, Judicial Assistants, and the District Attorney’s office. Working together, we successfully advocated and won in Juvenile Court. Early in September 2023, a juvenile court Judge signed the order to remove this man from the obligation to register as a sex offender. He is no longer the juvenile he was at the age of 16.
This achievement highlights the importance of legal advocacy and the potential for positive outcomes when individuals are given a chance to rehabilitate themselves. It's also worth noting that changes in legislation, like SB-384, can provide opportunities for individuals who have made significant changes in their lives to be relieved of certain legal obligations. Don’t hesitate to contact our office if we can do the same for you.