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What Is a STATIC-99 Report? How Is It Used and Why?

In sex offense cases, it is not uncommon for a judge, the prosecution or a defense attorney to request a STATIC-99 report to further document a defendant’s danger to society.

Defense attorneys are wise to request it early in the case when they believe the report will show their client is unlikely to re-offend.  This can help in negotiating a plea bargain that amends the complaint or information to allege a non-strike offense or an offense that does not require registration under Penal Code § 290 as a registered sex offender.

What to Take Away:  The Static 99 report has been updated with the Static 99R report, which is scored more accurately for Americans, using a sample size of nearly 10,000 sexual offenders from the U.S. mostly and their incidence of re-offending, whereas the original Static 99 statistics were based only a studies of European sex offenders and their rate of re-offending.

Prosecutors often ask for a STATIC-99 report to document how dangerous a defendant is and to support a longer sentence or before a more onerous plea bargain.

image descriptionSanta Ana Courthouse

Judges can request such a report under Penal Code § 290.03-08 for sentencing purposes if the defendant is anticipated to plead in the open, go to trial or if the judge wants to nudge the attorneys toward a plea bargain.

Yet what exactly is a STATIC-99R report?  STATIC-99R is a risk assessment tool provided for at Penal Code § 290.04(b(1).  It is usually a one or two page report designed specifically for adult male sex offenders.  Its purpose is to evaluate a defendant’s danger to society.  It is most often used with registerable sex offense pursuant to Penal Code § 290.

The report is distinguishable from a “pre-plea report” or probation officer’s report that is available in most felony cases, the most serious cases being the exception.  The STATIC-99R report does not usually describe the sexual conduct at issue or summarize the police report as a pre-plea report will.

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The STATIC-99R is based on follow-up studies from Canada and the United Kingdom with a total sample size of 1,301 sexual offenders.

The STATIC-99R consists of 10 items and produces estimates of future risk based upon the number of risk factors present in any one individual.  The risk factors include:

  • 1) The presence of prior sexual offenses;
  • 2) Having committed a current non-sexual violent offense;
  • 3) Having a history of non-sexual violence;
  • 4) The number of previous sentencing dates;
  • 5) One’s age;
  • 6) Having male victims;
  • 7) Having never lived with a lover for two continuous years;
  • 8) Having a history of non-contact sex offenses;
  • 9) Having unrelated victims, and
  • 10)  Having stranger victims.

The report usually states, in boilerplate format, when presenting the results:

“The recidivism estimates provided by the STATIC-99R are based upon the number and groups studied.  Levels of risk are derived from the frequency of recidivism of individuals with certain patterns within these groups.  As such, the scores and levels in the STATIC-99R are estimated statistical probabilities of the likelihood of recidivism for the individual that is assessed.  As with any statistical estimate that measures tendency, some cases will exceed the estimate and some will fall short of the estimate.  It should also be noted there may be other factors that the instrument does not measure that may impact recidivism.”

A defendant is then assigned a score between 1 and 12.  A score of 1 indicates that the defendant has a very low risk of recidivism and, conversely, a score of 12 indicates that the study predicts the defendant most likely will re-offend in the future.

Such a report is often not available until, ironically, after sentencing in Ventura County, but in Los Angeles County, most judges will allow such a report at any time in the proceedings.

For more information about sentencing issues in sex crimes, click on the following articles:

  1. Court Decides California Sex Offender Law Is Unconstitutional by Barring Those Convicted of Misconduct with Persons under 14 from Relief from PC 290 Registration

  2. Enhanced Sentence Upheld on Appeal for Sex Crime Defendant Who Already Was a Penal Code § 290 Registrant

  3. Appellate Court Denies Equal Protection Challenge of Lifetime Sex Offender Registration Requirement for Possession of Child Pornography

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