Archive for April 22, 2008

Tenn: Online DUI & Animal Abuse Registry

April 22, 2008 1 comment

Classify this one under the “we warned you this would happen” tab:

Tennessee may add more online crime registries Bills would keep tabs on drunken drivers and animal abusers. Looking up names of methamphetamine makers and sexual offenders in Tennessee is already just a mouse click away. The ability to look up animal abusers and drunken drivers may be just a vote or two away. This year, legislators have proposed doubling the number of crime registries in Tennessee, adding Internet databases of people with animal cruelty and repeat drunken driving convictions to existing registries of people convicted of sexual crimes and making meth.

Jack McDevitt, associate dean of Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice in Boston, said there’s significant debate over the benefits of crime registries. The information they provide may not be useful to the public, and could stand in the way of rehabilitation, he said. “The stigma becomes so concentrated and widespread that people can’t ever get away from it, don’t feel like they can leave it behind and change their life,” he said. “From the offenders’ perspective, these kinds of lists don’t make it any easier to change their lives around.”

Tennessee’s proposed drunken driver registry would also be a first. That bill would require court clerks to report second DUI offenses to the state Safety Department, which would maintain the registry. About 8,000 people per year would be added to the database, according to an estimate by legislative staffers. That proposal is advancing in the House. On the Senate side, it appeared all but dead in a committee until it was revived on Thursday. Lawmakers closely questioned Rep. Frank Niceley, a Strawberry Plains Republican who’s sponsoring the House version. In the end, they voted in favor of it.

The registry would serve much the same purpose as the sex offender registry, bringing “an element of shame” to people on it, as well as awareness for the people who live near them, Niceley said.

Tennessee Lawmakers Explore Animal Abuse Registry Once reserved for sex offenders and meth addicts, Tennessee lawmakers may soon extend a cyber scarlet letter to those convicted of animal abuse. Several Chattanooga area residents like the idea. Kenneth Pickat says “Its right, they should pass that law.” While Kathy Brady feels “its probably a pretty good idea”.
Under the proposal, anyone convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals, felony animal fighting, or bestiality would automatically be placed on an on-line registry for all to see.

Like sex offenders, animal abusers would also be required to inform authorities when they move, but would only face a fine for violating the law.

The bill sailed through Tennessee’s Senate, but faces more debate in the House where some lawmakers say the state needs a registry for drunk drivers first.

If lawmakers sign-off on the “animal abuser registry” bill, it would launch July first. After creating a database of previous convictions, authorities estimate they would add three new offenders each year.

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