Archive for February 13, 2009

More Adam Walsh Act Reports Leaked

February 13, 2009 Comments off : WikiLeaks Releases Two Adam Walsh Act Reports.

WikiLeaks, a wiki-style website that distributes sensitive documents anonymously, has released thousands of reports authored by the Congressional Research Service, including two reports discussing the Adam Walsh Act from April 2007. The first is entitled: Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: A Legal Analysis and can be viewed here. The second is entitled Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: A Sketch and can be viewed here.

Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: A Legal Analysis, April 6, 2007 (PDF file):
The act’s provisions fall into four categories: a revised sex offender registration system, child and sex related amendments to federal criminal and procedure, child protective grant programs, and other initiatives designed to prevent and punish sex offenders and those who victimize children.

Direct link to PDF.

Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: A Sketch, April 17, 2007 (PDF file):
Reformulates the federal standards for sex offender registration in state, territorial and tribal sexual offender registries, and does so in a manner designed to make the system more uniform, more inclusive, more informative and more readily available to the public online. It amends federal criminal law and procedure, featuring a federal procedure for the civil commitment of sex offenders, random search authority over sex offenders on probation or supervised release, a number of new federal crimes, and sentencing enhancements for existing federal offenses. It creates, amends, or revives several grant programs designed to reinforce private, state, local, tribal and territorial prevention; law enforcement; and treatment efforts in the case of crimes committed against children. It calls for a variety of administrative or regulatory initiatives in the interest of child safety, such as the creation of the National Child Abuse Registry.
Direct link to PDF

Unfortunately, the reports pays little attention to the constitutional problems posed by the Act.

Update Feb 14, 2009: More Released Documents found:

Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Law: Recent Legislation and Issues, June 3, 2008
This report provides details of the Walsh Act; analyzes legislation introduced
in the 110th Congress; and discusses continuing policy issues related to sex offender
registration and community notification. It will be updated as events warrant.
Direct link to PDF

Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism, July 11, 2008
Potential issues facing Congress include the adequacy of the federal government’s existing grant programs, the lack of current national-level statistics on recidivism, whether other outcome measures should be considered, whether more funding should be allocated toward program evaluations, and whether enough coordination is taking place among the various federal agencies that manage programs used to fund offender reentry.
Direct link to PDF

Sexual Offender Registration Acts: Supreme Court Review of the Connecticut and Alaska Statutes in Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe and Otte v. Doe, March 24, 2003
In one, it concluded that as a matter of due process registrants under the Connecticut statute need not be afforded the opportunity of a hearing to establish that they should be released from the burdens of the statute because they are not currently dangerous. In the other, it held that the ex post facto clause does not ban application of the Alaska statute to convictions for misconduct occurring prior to enactment of the statute. The Justices left open the possibility that such statutes might be subject to constitutional attack on substantive due process grounds and possibly on equal protection grounds.
Direct link to PDF

Rethinking Adam Walsh Act Law

February 13, 2009 Comments off

CNN : Rethinking Adam’s Law.

NEW YORK — The fear that sexual predators are hiding under every rock and around every corner has led to a nationwide effort to hunt them down and keep track of them – in most cases for life.

Put aside for the moment the fact that most children are abused by a family member and that in child abductions and murders fewer than one percent of the perpetrators are strangers. The more immediate concern is this: Our national obsession with sexual predators is actually getting in the way of effective law enforcement.

Good intentions have been clouded by bad information perpetuated by those who would gain the most — not the victims, but television talk show hosts hungry for ratings. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the people who know best — the police. Across the country police are pushing back against a federal law that requires all states to adopt stricter sex offender laws.

Of course state officials agree with the intent. But, in many cases their state laws are more effective. In other cases, Adam’s Law isn’t specific enough to each state to be effective. In many cases, it contradicts tough laws already in place.

OH Sex Offender Challenges State Registry

February 13, 2009 Comments off : Sex offender challenges state database.

Federal probation officers are demanding that sex offenders in Ohio register their names with a state database even if the state doesn’t require it.

A Cincinnati man challenged the practice in a federal lawsuit Wednesday, claiming it was unconstitutional and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The man, identified only as “John Doe” in the suit, was convicted of sexual battery in 1993 and completed his sentence for that crime in 1997.

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center sued on the offender’s behalf after his probation officer ordered him to place his name on Ohio’s registry of sex offenders, even though the state exempts him from the database because he served his sentence before the registry law took effect in the late 1990’s.

The lawsuit says the registration requirement violates the offender’s rights and also is unconstitutional because it allows the federal government to trump a state law.

“There is no question he does not have to register under state law,” said Margie Slagle, an attorney with the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. “The feds think they can ignore Ohio’s wishes and make him register. It’s just bizarre.”

Federal officials declined comment Thursday. But a lawyer for Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis, who maintains the registry in Hamilton County, confirmed the county has been registering offenders at the request of federal probation officers. Stevenson said Hamilton County has opted to register those offenders even though some other Ohio counties have refused.

Slagle said few offenders – maybe a dozen or so – were required to register under orders from the probation officers. But she said the practice should end because it is illegal and costly, especially in a county struggling with budget cuts and layoffs. “The sheriff should not be wasting tax dollars chasing down offenders that the state of Ohio does not require them to chase,” Slagle said. “It’s a waste of money.”

Sex Offender Clusters

February 13, 2009 Comments off

Okay, let me see if I get this right ;
You ban sex offenders from living near parks, schools, daycares, libraries, and any other public place where children are.
In most cities, this leaves sex offenders with very limited places in which they are permitted to live.
Now you are surprised when you see sex offenders cluster together into these limited areas? : Colonie forms a task force to break up sex offender clusters.

The Colonie, NY town board voted to form a task force to address the over-concentration of sex offenders at a meeting tonight, according to Town Official Peter Gannon.

Town Supervisor Paula Mahan is proposing a law that would restrict level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of one another. The law would also keep them from living within 1,500 feet of place where children gather.

Gannon says the task force will look at the proposed law and the issues regarding sex offenders in Colonie.