County Board Endorses Chelsea's Law Proposal

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors went on record Tuesday in support of Chelsea's Law, an Assembly bill that would toughen penalties against sexually violent predators.

The bill sponsored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, was introduced after the Feb. 25 death of Poway High School senior Chelsea King.

A registered sex offender, John Albert Gardner III, pleaded guilty to murdering Chelsea and Escondido High School freshman Amber Dubois.

"The recent deaths of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois are a reminder of the sheer evil that these sex offenders are capable of inflicting on these young people," Supervisor Dianne Jacob said before the resolution was passed as part of the board's consent agenda.

AB 1844 calls for mandatory life sentences for forcible violent sex crimes against children. It would also tighten sex offense parole guidelines and require life-long tracking of certain sex offenders.

The bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee last week and been endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The president of the Board of Supervisors said officials overlooked "warning signs" about Gardner. He had several run-ins with the law while on parole after serving prison time for sexually assaulting a girl in Rancho Bernardo, but was never returned to custody.

"He's a predator. He's evil and he never should have been out on the streets," Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said.

The measure goes before the Assembly Appropriations Committee next month.