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Neb Sex Offender Laws Blocked by Judge

January 2, 2010 Comments off

action3news.com : Sex Offender Laws Blocked by Judge.

Part of a controversial law aimed at protecting families from sex offenders is on hold. State lawmakers wanted photos of all sex offenders posted online. It was supposed to happen Friday, until a Sarpy County judge, said not so fast.

In a last minute move, Sarpy county district court judge William Zastera signed a temporary restraining order preventing the state from posting information of lower level sex offenders online.

“We were really pleased that the court saw merit in our argument, says the attorney who filed the lawsuit Stu Dornan. The restraining order expires Monday morning at 10 a.m. when another district court judge will make a final ruling.

The new law still includes a bunch of changes, such as extending the length of time convict must be registered and extending the identifications requirements, including DNA samples and full palm prints.

Omaha.com : Online sex offender list blocked

Current state law only makes public on the State Patrol Web site the names of offenders judged to be at high risk to reoffend. It notifies schools, day care centers and religious and youth organizations of offenders at moderate risk to reoffend.
Under the new law, the names of moderate and low-risk offenders would also be included on the Web site.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf earlier this week handed down a ruling blocking two parts of the new law: one requiring registered sex offenders to consent to searches of their computers and another barring people who have committed sex offenses from using social networking Web sites such as Facebook.

Dornan said it’s inappropriate for the State Patrol registry to make no distinction, for example, between a violent sex offender and a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend and who would be considered at low risk to reoffend.

“You dilute the whole purpose of the registry by lumping everyone together,’’ Dornan said.

He has made several legal arguments against the registry changes, including the view that they constitute new punishment after the fact for offenders previously sentenced for sex offenses. He said courts in several states have struck down similar laws on that basis.