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July 26, 2005

Sex offenders bills moving forward

In Alabama, the national panic over sex offender recently found expression last week, as discussed here and here, in a proposal for a mandatory sentence of castration and amazingly heated rhetoric.  (A Public Defender has a thoughtful discussion of these developments in this recent post.) As detailed in this story, today the Alabama legislature passed a sex offender bill with many tough terms but without the mandatory castration provision:"We don't want to pass something that will be declared unconstitutional, although I personally think these people who do this to little kids should be shot on the spot," said Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery.

At the federal level, as detailed in articles from the AP and local papers, a sex offender bill is also moving forward in the House of Representatives.  A bill entitled the Children's Safety Act of 2005 (HR 3132; available here), which is actually a package of separate bills aimed at cracking down on sex offenders, is slated for full committee mark up on Wednesday.  Here's a description of the bill from one of the press accounts:

[The Children's Safety Act of 2005] collects numerous previously proposed bills targeting sex offenders under a single proposal.  Among them is a bill introduced earlier this year and co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., dubbed "Dru's Law" in honor of Sjodin, a 22-year-old Minnesota woman who was abducted, raped and murdered in Grand Forks, N.D. in November 2003. Dru's Law would create a national database of registered sex offenders that would be searchable via the Internet by the general public and would ease the transfer of sex offender records across state lines.

In addition to the Dru's Law provisions, the bill would broaden the legal definition of "sex offender" to include anyone guilty of a felony or misdemeanor sex offense, increase the level of monitoring sex offenders receive after their release, and increase mandatory minimum sentences for sex crimes against children.  "America's Most Wanted" host and longtime child safety advocate John Walsh, speaking at the press conference, called it "the most important piece of child protection legislation in the history of the United States."

July 26, 2005 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

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» more sex offender legislation from a Public Defender
Alabama's legislature passed a slightly less-strict sex offender law yesterday. What did they leave out? The castration requirement [previous commentary]. Prof. Berman also reports a Federal Sex Offender bill, which is slated for full committee mark-up... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2005 10:11:54 AM

Comments

this is great make sex offenders really pay for their crime

Posted by: criminal background checks | Nov 14, 2005 5:51:20 PM

I totally agree that sex offenders need to pay for their crimes and fulfill all sentences to their full to protect the general public. I found another article on a bill that would keep sex offenders in jail up to 25yrs on Sex Offenders Report.

Posted by: Jeff Johnson | Dec 18, 2005 8:57:44 PM

While I agree that TRUE SO should pay for their crimes, what about the people that are convicted by taking a plea agreement, where the prosecution and their own lawyers scared them into taking said plea, even though they are innocent? Those lives have to be taken into account as well, do they not?

Not everything is Black and white. And a huge scarlet letter, in essence is a form of harrassment, in the end. I see a lot of lawsuits against states in the very near future.

Posted by: Sophia | Sep 4, 2006 4:00:10 AM

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