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Defunding the Fight Against Sexual Predators

March 29, 2009

Heritage.org : Defunding the Fight Against Sexual Predators.

We like Heritage.org for all the work they do in supporting our Constitution. But on this issue, they have it all wrong. They approach this subject with a strong bias and therefore we must add our retorts.

Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech to the National Association of Attorney’s General this week. In that speech, he renewed the Justice Department’s support for the Adam Walsh Act. The Adam Walsh Act—passed by a wide margin in Congress—requires some convicted sex offenders to register with local authorities. But,to date, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice 2010 budget gives $0 to implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, and $0 to the SMART Office which implements the Act.

There is more to this than meets the eye. It is no secret that there has been a small but vocal liberal chorus of opponents to the Adam Walsh Act. They do not think dangerous sex offenders should have to register with local authorities.
(Wrong; we do think “dangerous” sex offenders should register, but most sex offenders are not dangerous or at substantial risk of re-offending. And we oppose the retro-active application of this law on those who satisfied all conditions of their punishment. Retro-active application of punishment is unconstitutional)

Of course, they know that their opinion is an extreme minority opinion (No, it is a growing opinion).
They also know that no politician will publicly endorse convicted sex offenders. (Yes, this is sadly true)

So, since the Adam Walsh Act passed in 2006, they have adopted a two-prong assault on the Adam Walsh Act.

First, they fought various provisions of the Act in court, attacking the retroactivity and juvenile provisions of the Act. There is nothing wrong with that, as many federal acts are challenged in court.

Second, they are working secretly behind closed doors with key Congressman to gut the primary purpose of the Act entirely—minimum national standards for sex offender registration.
(No, we are working very publicly to reform these laws)
They want to replace the conviction-based registration requirement system with a roll of the dice, so-called “risk assessments.” (In other words, a more fair case-by-case approach?)

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