December 27, 2007
Sex offender laws as a "hot topic" for states in 2008
Lawmakers across the country continue to mete out harsh punishments to sex offenders — from satellite tracking to the death penalty — but a handful of states have eased up on penalties in cases of youths prosecuted for consensual sex.
Connecticut, Florida, Indiana and Texas enacted laws in 2007 that make a distinction between sexual predators and adolescents who do not pose a risk, such as those caught in so-called “Romeo and Juliet” relationships, in which one partner is of consenting age and the other is not. The case in Georgia of former high school football star and homecoming king Genarlow Wilson served as a rallying symbol for supporters of more nuanced state laws, and could have lasting repercussions in statehouses nationwide, criminal justice experts said.
Though not discussed in the Stateline piece, this AP article discusses a notable new New Jersey law that might become popular (and also might prompt some legal challenges) in 2008:
New Jersey enacted legislation on Thursday banning some convicted sex offenders from using the Internet. In signing the restrictions into law, Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, who is filling in while Gov. Jon S. Corzine is vacationing, noted that sexual predators were as likely to lurk at a computer keyboard as in a park or playground. No federal law restricts sex offenders’ use of the Internet, and Florida and Nevada are the only other states to impose such restrictions.
The bill applies to anyone who used a computer to help commit the original sex crime. It also may be applied to paroled sex offenders under lifetime supervision, but it exempts work done as part of a job or search for employment.... Under the new law, convicted sex offenders will have to let the State Parole Board know about their access to computers; submit to periodic, unannounced examinations of their computer equipment; and install equipment on their computer so its use can be monitored.
December 27, 2007 at 09:24 PM | Permalink
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hmmm, maybe people are starting to realize the absurdity of some of this sex laws. When half of all sex convictions involve people under the age of 18, I think politicians should drop the whole "For the Children" rethoric. I wonder when is the media going to open their eyes and report the other side of the coin.
Posted by: EJ | Dec 29, 2007 11:47:57 AM