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June 13, 2011

States persist in resistance to Adam Walsh Act sex offender rules five years latter

This effective local article, headlined "Region resists fed sex offender rules," spotlights the continued resistance of many states to the federal rules for sex offender registries created by Congress in 2006 through the Adam Walsh Act.  Here are excerpts:

Virginia, Maryland and the District are struggling to comply with a five-year-old federal mandate to create a national sex offender registry and critics say their failure could cause them to attract violent sex criminals to the region.

Despite two one-year extensions, only seven states have met the requirements of the Adam Walsh Act.  With a final, July 27 deadline looming, some jurisdictions are scrambling to get in compliance.  Maryland and Virginia have passed laws in recent years that keep better track of sex offenders through stricter reporting requirements.  But lawmakers have been reluctant to require violent juvenile offenders to register for at least 25 years and aren't happy with being stuck with a multimillion-dollar tab, either....

"We've seen evidence that sex offenders move from one jurisdiction to another because they may not be as closely monitored," Linda Baldwin, who runs the U.S. Department of Justice office that determines whether states are compliant with the Walsh Act, told The Washington Examiner.  "[The Adam Walsh Act] was designed to eliminate gaps and loopholes among states' sex offender registration regulations," she said.  "Gaps and loopholes allow registered sex offenders to fall off the radar."

A major sticking point for many areas, including Maryland and D.C., is the federal requirement that youths 14 and older found guilty of a violent sex offense by the juvenile justice system be put on a sex offender registry for at least 25 years.  The youth registry does not have to be public, but must be available to law enforcement agencies.  "The existence of a permanent registry for young people may have a chilling effect on reporting [sex offenses]," Daniel Okonkwo, head of D.C. Lawyers for Youth, recently told the D.C. Council. "Families may be more reluctant to report abuses to avoid further court involvement."

The cost of implementing the Walsh Act has also slowed states' progress.  Jurisdictions deemed by Baldwin's office to not have met the mandate by the deadline could lose 10 percent of a Justice Department grant that many states use to purchase equipment and provide training.  The dollars at stake -- about $200,000 for D.C., and $500,000 for Maryland and Virginia each year -- often don't outweigh the costs of meeting the mandate. In Virginia, it could cost $10 million to fully implement the federal law.  D.C. has not yet priced legislation introduced last month and cost isn't an issue in Maryland, which is nearly compliant.

At-large D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson, who is "working on the bill," said "the cost of implementation is likely to exceed the dollars at risk, and the dollars at risk may evaporate with budget cuts in Congress."  He added, "the idea that we might become a haven for sex offenders if we don't meet the requirements sounds like rhetoric to me."

This companion article, headlined "Trouble from the start with Walsh Act," starts this way:

A federal mandate to create a national sex offender registry passed by Congress left many states wondering whether it was necessary when it as passed in 2006.

The Adam Walsh Act was "an unfunded mandate and states were not part of the discussion when the bill was considered," said Susan Frederick, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "We were told here's what we've done for you and we're not happy about that."

The result is that only seven states have met the law's requirements, some have given up entirely and others are scrambling to meet a July 27 deadline.

June 13, 2011 at 09:52 AM | Permalink

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"We've seen evidence that sex offenders move from one jurisdiction to another because they may not be as closely monitored," Linda Baldwin, who runs the U.S. Department of Justice office that determines whether states are compliant with the Walsh Act, told The Washington Examiner."

Evidence, please cite your evidence. More useless hyperbole and horsesh-t being disseminated by the DOJ.

"[The Adam Walsh Act] was designed to eliminate gaps and loopholes among states' sex offender registration regulations," she said. "Gaps and loopholes allow registered sex offenders to fall off the radar."

Guess one of the 'gaps/loopholes' they're speaking of must also include homelessness too.

Posted by: james | Jun 13, 2011 4:37:47 PM

State's should forget about it. Period. Complying with some unfunded mandate that Congress passed so that they could look "tough on crime" for one news cycle should be pretty low on states' list of priorities.

At any rate, by the time the federal government even gets around to noticing non-compliance, the sex-offender witch hunt will have started to come full circle and many of these laws will have begun to be reversed, especially when members of Congress (such as Rep. Weiner) start getting placed on the Registry themselves.

Posted by: Jeremy | Jun 13, 2011 7:50:16 PM

"We've seen evidence that sex offenders move from one jurisdiction to another because they may not be as closely monitored," Linda Baldwin, who runs the U.S. Department of Justice office that determines whether states are compliant with the Walsh Act, told The Washington Examiner."

Yes, james, that is a funny statement.

The fact is that this SEX OFFENDER Witch Hunt is the Civil War of Registered Citizens. Just as the governments have done in their other wars, this war has had and will always have a constant stream of lies and propaganda.

And “closely monitored” is such a poor choice of words! Are there really any fools left who think anyone is actually being “monitored”? Really? The only Registered people who are being monitored are those who don’t care or who are truly stupid.

I am listed on a Registry and I guarantee you I am not being monitored. I pay attention to all the ways that the criminal governments brag that they are monitoring people and then if I wanted to do anything, I already know everything to avoid. I could do anything I wanted to at any time.

And there is literally nothing that makes me want to do something more so than the SEX OFFENDER Witch Hunt does. I am around children very, very often just because and only because of the Witch Hunt. I don’t even particularly like children but being around them is the right thing to do. The criminal governments and the terrorists who support them have shown their true colors. They are morally bankrupt and negating them is the moral choice.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 15, 2011 12:59:33 PM

I am presently registered on megans list for a crime that happened in 1999. I was only suppose to do this for 10 years from my release witch was 2003. Dec 20 I was sent a letter that stated that I now have to register for the next 25 years. my 10 years is up next month. I made a mistake 14 years ago and did my time and now I am being forced to do more time. This law isnt going to stop anyone from reoffending.

Posted by: Shawn | Dec 30, 2012 5:35:09 PM

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