The father of a 14-year-old girl who was raped and murdered backed legislation Tuesday to require marked driver's licenses for registered sex offenders in California.
The endorsement by Maurice "Moe" Dubois was the latest development in the push to overhaul the way California punishes and tracks sex offenders. It came more than a month after convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner pleaded guilty to murdering Escondido High freshman Amber Dubois and 17-year-old Chelsea King, a Poway teen whose body was found in a shallow grave in Early March.
Dubois announced his support at a news conference. His daughter Amber vanished while walking to school in the San Diego suburb of Escondido in February 2009. She was missing for 13 months before her remains were found.
"What can we do to prevent this from happening again? Try to monitor them, keep track of them, keep them in lockup in cages longer where they need to be," Dubois said. "These are predators who are gonna hurt our children."
Gardner, 31, was sentenced May 14 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He had been required to register as a sex offender after a conviction in 2000 for molesting a 13-year-old girl.
Chelsea's parents, Brent and Kelly King, are leading a campaign for the proposed Chelsea's Law, which would allow life sentences for some convicted child molesters in California and lifetime electronic monitoring of others. The bill, which cleared its first legislative committee last month, also would ban sex offenders from parks.
The bill authored by Assemblymen Pedro Nava and Paul Cook and endorsed by Dubois would require sex offenders to carry the driver's license or a Department of Motor Vehicles identification card when they leave home. It could include a distinctive stripe or color. Nava said the marked licenses and ID cards will put law enforcement officers on alert when they stop and question people.
Nava, who is running for state attorney general in the June 8 Democratic primary, said he would be willing to impose the requirement only on those who committed the most serious and violent offenses instead of all registered offenders.
He said he was unaware of any opposition to the move but anticipated critics will consider it an encroachment on civil liberties.
"We believe it is going to enhance the chances for successful recovery of a child before they are killed or abused," he said. "I think that's a small price to a pay."
The measure is part of a series of bills by Nava and Cook, a Republican, that also call for a rapid response team in the state attorney general's office to handle reports of missing children and the creation of uniform guidelines on how law enforcement agencies should respond to such reports.
The murders of the San Diego County teens put California's parole system under the microscope. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered a state board to review the system.