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Schwarzenegger Signs Chelsea's Law

Rebecca Buddingh |
September 9, 2010 | 3:45 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to San Diego Thursday morning to sign Chelsea’s Law, which imposes tougher restrictions on sex offenders.

The bill was named for Chelsea King, a 17-year-old who was raped and murdered by parolee John Albert Gardner III in February.

King’s parents joined Schwarzenegger and the bill’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego), as the bill was signed in front of a crowd of 200 people in Balboa Park.

“Because of Chelsea, California’s children will be safer,” Schwarzenegger said.

The new law mandates that people found guilty of violent sexual crimes against a minor under the age of 14 will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibly of parole.

In addition, sex offenders will be tracked with GPS for longer periods of time (possibly life if they are habitual offenders), forbidden to enter parks, and forced to have their risk assessment scores posted on the Megan’s Law website.

Some have criticized the law because it could add further stress to the state's overcrowded prison system. Others have said the gain in public safety from the law outweighs the extra costs it will bring to the state.

In addition to the violent slaying of King, Gardner also pleaded guilty to killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois one year earlier. After a speedy trial, he was sentenced to life without parole in June.

Schwarzenegger addressed his sympathy to the parents of both girls at the signing.

“Very few things bring Democrats and Republications together these days, but your daughters,” he said.

Reach staff reporter Rebecca Buddingh here.

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