Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CA: Public Park Cruisers Registered as Sex Offenders

queerty.com: The Ridiculous Attempt By Palm Springs Police to Get Public Park Cruisers Registered as Sex Offenders.
mydesert.com: Report: Police sought harsh penalties off sting

Palm Springs police, preparing to conduct a gay sex sting last summer, pushed the district attorney's office to agree in advance to pursue more severe penalties than in prior stings, court documents show.

All 24 men arrested in the 2009 Warm Sands neighborhood sting, which police say stemmed from complaints of sex in public, now face charges that would require them to register for life as sex offenders.

Some in the community — including a former Riverside County deputy D.A. familiar with the case — believe those charges are too heavy-handed.

Prior to the Warm Sands sting, Palm Springs police made it clear to the Riverside County D.A.'s Office they were dissatisfied with the “disturbing the peace” pleas that came from previous stings, according to sworn testimony from Palm Springs police Sgt. Bryan Anderson, who helped supervise the Warm Sands sting.
Jeandron said all 24 men, if convicted on the charges, would register on a sex offender list available only to authorities, not the public. They wouldn't appear in databases such as the Megan's Law Web site, he said.

Lawyers defending several of the men allege Palm Springs police singled out gay man in enforcing the city's laws against public sex, while ignoring the same behavior by straight people.