Wednesday, May 23, 2007

BIG TROUBLE AHEAD (action needed)

From the U.S. Department of Justice:


Department of Justice Announces Proposed National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today released proposed National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification, as required by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.

These proposed Guidelines detail the minimum national standards and offer key guidance to the states, the District of Columbia, territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes, as they implement their sex offender registration and notification policies. By providing an effective and comprehensive national system, the proposed Guidelines will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to track and monitor sex offenders. Complementing the release of the proposed Guidelines, the Attorney General also announced $25 million in assistance for communities to implement these proposed Guidelines and take other steps to guard against sex offenders.

“Too often, sex offenders continue to harm children even after a previous conviction,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “By establishing minimum national standards, these proposed Guidelines will assist all levels of government in working together to more effectively monitor sex offenders, and will equip parents to better protect their children from unwittingly interacting with sex offenders.”

Today’s announcement comes as the Department marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. ...


Okay. We have politicians weighing in on The Easy Issue, deluding parents into thinking they'll somehow be safer so they can let down their guard. (It will be a hard awakening for some.)

The bad news is here. It's long and complex, but a necessary read. This is a MAJOR expansion of Megan's law. A few selected points ("SORNA" by the way, is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006):

As noted in the rulemaking document for the cited regulations, the application of the SORNA standards to sex offenders whose convictions predate SORNA creates no ex post facto problem “because the SORNA sex offender registration and notification requirements are intended to be non-punitive, regulatory measures adopted for public safety purposes, and hence may validly be applied (and enforced by criminal sanctions) against sex offenders whose predicate convictions occurred prior to the creation of these requirements. See Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003).” 72 FR 8894, 8896 (Feb. 28, 2007).

Very nicely done. "Intended to be non-punitive" translates directly to "non-punitive" (George Orwell, you were so visionary!), and it's for "public safety purposes" (hmmm... where have I heard that before? A few times back in the 20th century?) so it's okay.

Now note in the following a rather extreme increase in the jacking up of offense levels. No longer is it tied to ANY measure of likelihood of re-offense, it is tied directly to the conviction. This isn't about public safety, it's about punishment.

V. CLASSES OF SEX OFFENDERS

Section 111(2)-(4) of SORNA defines three “tiers” of sex offenders. The tier classifications have implications in three areas: (i) under section 115, the required duration of registration depends primarily on the tier; (ii) under section 116, the required frequency of in-person appearances by sex offenders to verify registration information depends on the tier; (iii) under section 118(c)(1), information about tier I sex offenders convicted of offenses other than specified offenses against a minor may be exempted from website disclosure. ...

Registration information is another cute element. They're wanting pretty much everything except your bank account and credit card numbers (and how long until they demand that too?). And look at the really specious reasons they want for various things: "may help in investigating crimes", "may help to discourage them", "to facilitate communication between registration personnel and a sex offender in case issues arise relating to the sex offender’s registration" (that's for *requiring* cellphone numbers), "it is valuable to have information about other places in which sex offenders are staying, even if only temporarily."

VI. REQUIRED REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Section 114 of SORNA defines the required minimum informational content of sex offender registries. It is divided into two lists. The first list, set forth in subsection (a) of section 114, describes information that the registrant will normally be in a position to provide. The second list, set forth in subsection (b), describes information that is likely to require some affirmative action by the jurisdiction to obtain, beyond asking the sex offender for the information. Supplementary to the information that the statute explicitly describes, section 114(a)(7) and (b)(8) authorize the Attorney General to specify additional information that must be obtained and included in the registry. This expansion authority is utilized to require including in the registries a number of additional types of information, such as information about registrants’ e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and the like, information concerning the whereabouts of registrants who lack fixed abodes or definite places of employment, and information about temporary lodging, as discussed below.

And there's more. Professional licenses?!?

# EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION (§ 114(a)(4), (a)(7)):

* EMPLOYER NAME AND ADDRESS (§ 114(a)(4)): ...

* OTHER EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION (§ 114(a)(7)): ...

* PROFESSIONAL LICENSES (§ 114(a)(7)): ...


VEHICLE INFORMATION (§ 114(a)(6), (a)(7)): ...

Every single vehicle a registered sex offender might ever drive today or in the future. Oh yes. This includes boats and aircraft. I guess if you're a registered sex offender and an airline captain, you're out of a job and out of luck. But let's look on the bright side; you'll have a whole better access to children flipping burgers in that burger joint than you will sitting in an airplane cockpit in front of a whole planeload of people.

For the next item, talk about a total waste of time and money. You have these already. Even if the photo taken in the "registration" environment is older than 102.3 hours, you already have drivers' license or state ID photos. Dragging these folks down for renewals will be immensely destructive of any rehabilitative efforts (meaning you're encouraging them to go straight and be productive and law-abiding citizens).

# CURRENT PHOTOGRAPH (§ 114(b)(4)): ...
# FINGERPRINTS AND PALM PRINTS (§ 114(b)(5)): ...

Finally, there is the information REQUIRED to be published on websites:

* The name of the sex offender, including any aliases.
* The address of each residence at which the sex offender resides or will reside and, if the sex offender does not have any (present or expected) residence address, other information about where the sex offender has his or her home or habitually lives. If current information of this type is not available because the sex offender is in violation of the requirement to register or unlocatable, the website must so note.
* The address of any place where the sex offender is an employee or will be an employee and, if the sex offender is employed but does not have a definite employment address, other information about where the sex offender works.
* The address of any place where the sex offender is a student or will be a student.
* The license plate number and a description of any vehicle owned or operated by the sex offender.
* A physical description of the sex offender.
* The sex offense for which the sex offender is registered and any other sex offense for which the sex offender has been convicted.
* A current photograph of the sex offender.

It goes on and on. My prediction: If this passes you will see formerly-registered sex offenders go underground en masse, turning to "predatory behaviors" (robbery and murder) in order simply to survive.

This may sound really good to John Walsh, who exploits the death of his murdered son (nobody knows who or why)for financial andpublicity gains, and for politicians looking for an easy boost in the polls but it's a bad, bad deal for the American public. The latter will pay the penalty for this law.

But there is good news. One can act:

The proposed Guidelines and a frequently asked questions sheet about them are now available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/smart/guidelines.htm. This posting will soon be announced in the Federal Register, and the public will have until Aug. 1, 2007, to comment on the proposed Guidelines. The Department urges all interested parties to consider the proposed Guidelines carefully and submit comments to assist in the release of final Guidelines. Comments may be submitted to GetSMART@usdoj.gov.

Read it, digest it, pass it on and respond.

3 Comments:

Anonymous The Angry Offender said...

I just wrote up an article that exposes proof of ever-lowering reoffense rates for sex offenders. The most interesting part? A Registry actually proves itself to be worthless! Check it out: http://angryoffender.com/registry_proves_worthless.html

10:10 AM  
Blogger ZMan! said...

http://www.whiotv.com/news/13392593/detail.html

Brother Of Jessica Lunsford Faces Sex Charges

POSTED: 4:37 pm EDT May 25, 2007
UPDATED: 4:45 pm EDT May 25, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- The brother of 9-year-old rape and murder victim Jessica Lunsford was in a Clark County courtroom on Friday facing criminal charges.

Joshua Lunsford, 18, pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred in March with a 14-year-old girl outside the Upper Valley Mall.

Joshua’s sister, Jessica, was killed by her Florida neighbor, John Couey, in 2005. Jessica’s family, including her brother live in Clark County.

A judge set Joshua’s bond at $5,000.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous the angry offender said...

Dang, zman beat me to it. :P

12:21 AM  

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