Sex-Offender Treatment Disclosure Not Self-Incrimination

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By Jessica DaSilva

Requiring sex offenders on probation to disclose incriminating information about their psychological treatment to parole officers doesn’t violate their rights when law enforcement can’t use it to charge them with more crimes, the California Supreme Court said ( People v. Garcia , Cal., No. S218197, 3/20/17 ).

Under a California law, sex offenders are required to undergo treatment designed to determine and deter the risk of re-offense. That requires psychologists to communicate private information from treatment with parole officers and lie-detector examiners.

But Ignacio Garcia argued that sharing such information under that scenario violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and his right to privacy.

The court disagreed on March 20, pointing to the fact that this model was adopted for the purposes of treatment and reducing risks of re-offense. Additionally, the court acknowledged that officials are all legally required to keep that information confidential.

Garcia’s assertion that “these goals can be achieved without disclosure of any privileged information” is inconsistent with what the state Legislature adopted and “is supported by no evidence or even an explanation,” wrote Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar for the majority.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica DaSilva in Washington at jdasilva@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bna.com

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