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International Megans Law Moves Forward in US House

April 29, 2010 Comments off

sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com: International Megan’s Law Moves Forward.
lifesitenews.com: International Megan’s Law Moves Forward in U.S. House.

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved legislation Wednesday that would establish an international database of registered sex offenders and traffickers – an international version of the U.S. “Megan’s Law” – which its sponsors say would greatly assist authorities worldwide in preventing the exploitation of children by international sex tourists. (and would also ban registered sex offenders from traveling outside the U.S.)

The measure, sponsored by U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, is called “the International Megan’s Law of 2010” and would establish mandatory reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and registered sex offenders against children who intend to travel overseas.

The House committee cleared the legislation to go to the floor of the full U.S. House of Representatives in a unanimous voice vote.

Currently the fight against keeping sex predators from exploiting children abroad depends on cooperation between national governments and international police agencies, such as between Interpol and U.S. border and customs officers.

But Smith, a longtime human rights leader and author of anti human-trafficking legislation in 2000, 2003 and 2005, said international cooperation is largely “ad hoc” and leaves wide gaps for sexual offenders to travel to and from international destinations largely unnoticed and anonymous. Despite the “sincere effort” of U.S. and foreign agencies, Smith said that international sharing of information about traveling child sex predators only happens occasionally.

The proposed bill takes specific aim at child sex tourism. Smith’s proposed law would require that the United States provide advance notice of a “high risk” individual’s intended travel to the government authorities of their destination, and would request foreign governments to notify the United States when individuals with known records of sexually preying upon minors seek to enter the United States.

If approved by Congress, the International Megan’s Law would establish a sex offender travel notification system for U.S. authorities on the look-out for sex offenders intending international travel to and from the United States, non-public sex offender registries in U.S. embassies to keep critical information on U.S. sex predators living abroad, and would provide the U.S. Secretary of State with the ability to revoke or severely restrict the passport of an individual convicted overseas of a sex crime against a minor.

The proposed bill would also provide financial assistance to other countries to help them establish systems to identify and report child sex offenders to U.S. authorities.

Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) urged his colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle to support the bill, which is expected to come before the full House before the summer recess.

IMPORTANT:
The politicians play-up this bill in the media to make it sound like it is targeted on child sex exploitation, which of course is hideous, but arouses public support of it. But the fact is that this International Megan’s Law will prevent virtually anyone ever convicted of a sex offense involving a minor from traveling outside the United States !

See previous post: A Move to Register Sex Offenders Globally

We have previously reported that any registered sex offender can now be banned from entering Canada if they run your passport at the border. If this bill becomes law, anyone ever convicted of a sex offense which involved a minor will be banned by our government from overseas travel. Anyone ever convicted of a sex crime who lives abroad will be on a U.S. sex offender registry to monitor their locations overseas. This is unconstitutional to disallow hundreds of thousands of American citizens from the ability to vacation or travel to Europe, Asia or any other destination. Yes, even sex offenders have dreams to see other parts of the world.

We must all immediately contact our US House Representatives to tell them to stop this bill !

Read text of bill here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1623/text

Our Sex Offender Laws are CRAZY

April 29, 2010 Comments off

Freerangekids.wordpress.com: Our Sex Offender Laws are CRAZY.

This story was just sent to me and I am stunned and going out of my mind. A 34-year-old Nevada woman who was convicted of making a 13-year-old boy touch her breasts — I agree, gross and totally wrong — was sentenced to MANDATORY LIFE IN PRISON.

She will be eligible for parole in 10 years. As her public defender said: ”She is getting a greater penalty for having a boy touch her breast than if she killed him.”

No one — Free-Range or not — is in favor of adults molesting minors. But the idea that “public lewdness” can carry a mandatory life sentence just highlights the hysteria of the times we are living in — times when we are so sex offender-obsessed we fail to consider whether we are really making children any safer with our over-the-top laws and our “zero tolerance” for common sense. As one commenter named “justthefacts” wrote beneath the original news story:

“Humor me please… a man leaves a bar intoxicated, gets behind the wheel of his vehicle, chooses to drive off and ultimately gets in an accident and kills a 13 year old boy, unintentionally, but still is blatantly guilty of vehicular manslaughter. He is charged with the following in Nevada: $2000-$5000 fine, 25 years – Life prison sentence with a possibility of parole after 10 years. This is the actual sentence for a crime of this caliber. With that being said, should this woman really, seriously, get the same exact sentence?”

Wouldn’t community service and some rehab or therapy have made a lot more sense? Or maybe a week in jail? We’ve got to change these laws. If anyone is more versed than me in how we go about this, tell all.

Sex Offenders : Sex Offender Mp3

April 28, 2010 Comments off

We try to always stay focused on topic here at ConstitutionalfightsFights.org.
But we veer off the road momentarily to post an Mp3 audio file by a female-fronted punk rock band called “Sex Offenders”.

Download Mp3 here.

Okay, so perhaps we have other motives, like increasing traffic to our blogs to those who would never search for us… and demonstrating how ludicrous the term “sex offender” has become in our culture.

And if this doesn’t convince you of how ridiculous the sex offender label has become, you can watch a spoof music video called “The Sex Offender Shuffle” from Scott Gairdner. History has shown that when things get mocked in popular culture, it is often the beginning of the end for them.

Utah Towns Rape Sex Offenders

April 27, 2010 Comments off

abc4.com: Utah Towns Charge Fee to Sex Offenders.
Related post: Ohio County Sheriffs Rape Sex Offenders.

Sex offenders will now have to pay more money to live in certain Utah communities. Some towns are now charging sex offenders $25 a year to make sure offenders’ vehicles or places of residence are listed on the sex offender registry. South Ogden, Roy, and Riverdale have started charging. The new fee is in addition to state fees.

Ohio Still Only State Stupid Enough to Enact Adam Walsh Act Requirements

April 27, 2010 Comments off

pittsburghlive.com: Ohio only state to meet federal Adam Walsh requirements.
kypost.com: Ohio Only State To Comply With Sex-Offender Law.

One….That’s how many states in the U.S. have fully complied with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act of 2006. The nationwide law is aimed at creating an across-the-board method of registering and tracking sex offenders throughout the country, where, a recent study found, a total of 704,777 sex offenders reside.

So far, only Ohio has complied.

Previously, each individual state created and followed their own tracking and registration formats. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and federally recognized Native American tribes were supposed to be in “substantial implementation” of the law by July 2009.

But all jurisdictions received an extension last year, said Scott Matson, a senior policy advisor with Florida’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. “And they have another year if they request it,” he added. That means the final deadline could be July 2011 — five years after the measure became law.

In the meantime, Coffee said Florida did submit a compliance package at the end of last year and that she hopes to hear from the SMART Office within the next few weeks.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as of January there were 7,900 sexual predators, 45,325 sexual offenders and 93 juvenile sexual offenders in Florida.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children President Ernie Allen said he thinks the primary issue boils down to money and there are some states weighing the cost of losing federal funds versus complying with the act.
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Ohio is the only state to meet the requirements of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.

The Justice Department rejected the state’s first application over how juveniles appear on the list.

The implementation cost about $400,000.

Ohio relies on county sheriff’s departments rather than state police as in Pennsylvania to enforce registration of sex offenders and predators.

Mercer County, Ohio Sheriff Jeff Grey, who was part of a task force to hammer out changes, said most were good, but not all. “I don’t like that the (law) took discretion away from judges,” he said. The Walsh Act requires uniform sentences.

“In Cleveland, Anthony Sowell was in compliance. He apparently was also a serial killer,” the sheriff said.
Sowell, 50, of Cleveland, is accused of killing 11 women whose remains were found in or around his Imperial Avenue house.

Social Networking Ban on Sex Offenders Could be Unconstitutional

April 26, 2010 Comments off

sfgate.com: Bill to ban social networking for sex offenders.
sfexaminer.com: Harris’ social network ban could be unconstitutional.

Sex offenders in California would be barred from using social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace under a proposed law aimed at making the Internet safer for children.

Citing horrific cases in which children were sexually assaulted by men they met online, Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona (Los Angeles County) introduced the bill last month, which would make it a crime for Californian’s 63,000 registered sex offenders to use any social networking site. The proposed law defines those as a Web site “designed with the intent of allowing users to build networks or connect with other people and that provides means for users to connect over the Internet.” (which could be virtually any web site which requires a “log-in” or registration)

Assembly Bill 2208 is similar to legislation passed last year in Illinois, but doesn’t go quite as far as a New York state law that additionally requires sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and online aliases with state authorities, who can then turn over the names to the companies that run the social networking sites. After the New York law passed, 3,500 sex offenders were purged from MySpace and Facebook by the Internet companies.

All of the laws depend to some extent on the assumption that sex offenders will police themselves.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who is sponsoring the measure, acknowledged that the proposed law isn’t a fail-safe measure, but said it will offer a deterrent to sex offenders who do not want to return to jail.
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Is there an argument that District Attorney Kamala Harris’ push to ban sex offenders from social networking Web sites is unconstitutional? At least one legal expert thinks so.

Chris Hoofnagle is the director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology’s information privacy programs and an expert in information privacy law.

Social networking sites are primarily designed help people communicate with each other and a ban of sex offenders from them would be overbroad, considering a majority of users of Facebook, for example, are over the age of 18, Hoofnagle said.

“Cutting a class off from a very important communication medium could implicate first amendment issues,” Hoofnagle said. “For instance, what if a law was proposed that sex offenders couldn’t use the telephone, or the mail. I mean that clearly would be overbroad and problematic. Well, social networking sites are the new mail, right?”
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Harris’s logic is dumbfounding. If it is acceptable to take away access to Internet technology from anyone who has committed a sex-related crime, let’s do the same for anyone who has committed a crime against another human (any form of assault, murder, physical abuse, ect.). The facts are these:

1. Enforcing such laws is impossible. Anyone with half a brain can figure out how to create a false user name or secondary email address to register with any social network.

2. Social networking sites who claim to remove sex offenders are simply practicing public relations. Sure, they may find and remove a few of the really stupid ones who register their real names, but most people do not register on these sites with their real full name.

3. As we have written many times in these blogs, it is very rare for any sex offense to occur as a result of meeting a stranger on a social networking site. This is an urban myth. When rare contact is made between teens and strangers, it is sought out by the teenagers. The study “found that children and teenagers were unlikely to be propositioned by adults online. In the cases that do exist, the report said, teenagers are typically willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems”.

4. Research shows that the median age for facebook /myspace is 27/26 years of age respectively. In other words, social networking sites are not the Internet equivalent to children’s playgrounds, as the media would have us believe.

5. Hysteria about these social networking sites has long ago been proven to be overblown.
See our postings “Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown”, and “Sex Offender on Social Site = Felony”
——————————————————————
Bill Summary:

This bill would, in addition, make it a misdemeanor for any person
 required to register as a sex offender   who
is on probation or parole for the conviction of a crime that requires
him or her to register as a sex offender  to use any Internet
social networking Web site, as defined  , during that period of
probation or parole if the victim of the offense was   under
18 years of age at the time of the offense or the Internet was used
in the commission of the crime  . The bill would authorize the
person to seek an exception to the prohibition for legitimate
professional purposes by applying through the appropriate parole or
probation supervising agency  when that person is on parole
or probation or by applying through the Department of Justice when
that person is not on parole or probation  . Approval would
be valid for one year, unless revoked. The bill would authorize an
annual application for renewal. By creating a new crime, this bill
would impose a state-mandated local program.

Flaws Found in State Child-abuse Registries

April 25, 2010 Comments off

foxnews.com:Flaws Found in State Child-abuse Registries.

Combatting child abuse is a cause with universal support. Yet a push to create a national database of abusers, as authorized by Congress in 2006, is barely progressing as serious flaws come to light in the state-level registries that would be the basis for a national list.

In North Carolina, an appeals court ruled last month that the registry there is unconstitutional because alleged abusers had no chance to defend themselves before being listed.

In New York, a class-action settlement is taking effect on behalf of thousands of people who were improperly denied the chance for a hearing to get removed from the state registry.

And the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case this fall arising from the plight of a California couple whose names remain on that state’s registry years after they were cleared of an abuse allegation made by their rebellious teenage daughter.

“Nobody wants to be seen as soft on child abuse — and that’s gotten us where we are,” said Carolyn Kubitschek, a New York attorney who has waged several court battles over the registries. “In the state of New York, it is still almost impossible to get off the list.”

More than 40 states have the abuse registries — which are distinct from the better-known registries of convicted sex offenders that every state makes publicly available on the Internet. The abuse lists aren’t accessible to the public, but are used by day-care centers, schools, adoption agencies and other entities to screen people who want to adopt, be foster parents or get a job working with children.

Even critics of the registries say they can serve a vital purpose in barring perpetrators of serious abuse from roles where they would interact routinely with children. It’s the process underlying many of the registries that has come into question — and their potential to entangle innocent people as well as wrongdoers.

A person doesn’t have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to get listed. Under the general practice in most states, entries are based on a child protection investigator’s assertion that the person committed an act of abuse or neglect; hearings or appeals, if granted at all, often come long after the name is entered.

Anybody can call a child abuse hotline and report abuse — anybody, including your ex-spouse who hates you, your landlord who’s trying to evict you,” Kubitschek said.

By law, she said, child protection services must investigate each call — and their subsequent reports can lead to a person’s placement on an abuse registry before they are notified or allowed to defend themselves.

The problems with due process were highlighted last year in an interim report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has been directed by Congress to assess the feasibility of a national child abuse registry.

“Strong due process protections could necessitate significant changes to CPS investigation processes in some states that could be costly to implement and may discourage participation in a national registry,” the HHS report said.

The report also questioned whether a national registry might be plagued by “false positives” affecting innocent people sharing a name with a perpetrator.

The potential problems will be assessed by a new HHS-commissioned study over the next two years, examining the state registries, gauging the states’ interest in participating in a national registry, and trying to determine if one is indeed needed.

“Would a national registry in fact be useful to states?” said Barbara Broman, an HHS official who oversaw preparation of the interim report. “We do not know the answer to that question.”

Congress authorized a national child abuse registry in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy abducted and murdered in 1981. His father, John Walsh, hosts the TV series “America’s Most Wanted.”

Among those urging faster progress toward a national registry is Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who says such a list would help track child abusers who cross state lines to avoid detection and offend again in the new location.

“It doesn’t make any sense at all that while we try to watch sex offenders like hawks, we let child batterers, who physically batter children, slip through the cracks,” he told a news conference last month.

However, Howard Davidson of the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, said most people on the state registries are accused of neglect, not battering or other physical abuse.

Davidson supports use of the registries to screen potential adoptive or foster parents. But he questions whether they’re a suitable tool for employers to vet job applicants because of inconsistencies in the level of proof required to register a name.

A disproportionate number of people on the registries are poor, Davidson said, decreasing their chances of successfully challenging an unfair inclusion on the list.

Even the National Child Abuse Coalition, a major player in Washington in advocating on behalf of abused children, is cautious about the proposed national registry.

Tom Birch, the coalition’s legislative counsel, said there are many unanswered questions about the registry’s costs and how it would reconcile differences in the states’ definitions and handling of child maltreatment.

“Rushing ahead to create a national registry is not the way to go at this point,” he said. “It would need to be done right.”

While the abuse registries remain out of the spotlight in most states, there have been some notable recent developments. Among them:

___

California has had a series of cases involving people who were exonerated of abuse allegations yet struggled to get their names off the state’s Child Abuse Central Index.

One such case is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. Lawyers say it will draw attention to the registry debate even though the issue before the justices involves a dispute over Los Angeles County’s position in the case — not some of the more fundamental issues raised during their nine-year legal battle.

The couple, Craig and Wendy Humphries of Valencia, were arrested in 2001 after their daughter, then 15, accused them of abuse; their younger children were placed in foster care. State courts ruled the allegation was false but they remain on the list of 800,000 names.

In 2008, a federal appeals court found the registry system unconstitutional because there’s no way for the innocent to clear their names. The ruling empathized with the Humphries as “living every parent’s nightmare.”

Esther Boynton, the Humphries’ attorney, is frustrated by what she considers a slow, piecemeal government response to the ruling.

“It shows how the defendant is circling the wagons, how hard they will fight,” she said. “This goes on and on and on. My clients are living through that.”

Boynton knows the ordeal firsthand — she was placed on the abuse index in 1990 after accidentally splashing her 17-year-old daughter with hot coffee. Only three years later, applying for a volunteer job, did she learn she was on the list; it took two more years of litigation to get removed.

Later, Boynton represented a Bakersfield stockbroker, Scott Whyte, who had been accused of child abuse by an ex-girlfriend in 1986. Whyte avoided contact with their son for years, worried that another allegation might land him in prison, before he was cleared and won a 2007 court ruling upholding his right to challenge the index system.

Despite the vindication, Whyte says being on the registry left lasting scars.

“I will never get over this — it is still oozing out of me,” he said in a telephone interview. “I think I’ve given up my anger, but I have to continually readdress that. Forgiveness was so difficult.”

Boynton says the officials responsible for the registries have good intentions, with the aim of protecting children, but often overlook the harm that can befall people wrongly placed on the lists.

“If they do look, they’ll see that parents and children have a shared interest,” she said. “Accurate information helps everyone. Inaccurate information can pull people apart unfairly.”

___

North Carolina’s Court of Appeals ruled in March that the state’s registry process was unconstitutional because it gave suspected abusers no chance to defend themselves prior to being listed. The ruling also required a higher standard of proof before a name could be entered.

Sherry Bradsher, director of the state’s Division of Social Services, said the legislature would amend the law to conform with the ruling. Temporarily, she said, the roughly 8,000 names on the list will not be made available — but their long-term status is uncertain.

The law was challenged by Kelly Holt, whose name had been on the list since 2007 even though he denied abusing his son and was never charged with a crime.

His attorney, Miriam Thompson, said the unanimous appeals court ruling brought tears to her eyes with its eloquent affirmation of the right to due process.

“I have two daughters — I’m all for protecting them,” Thompson said. “But you’ve got to provide a better system before you accuse someone and put them on that list. That’s a punishment, a state action with consequences. Before you do that, you’ve got to prove it.”

___

In New York State, lawyer Thomas Hoffman is representing thousands of people who may have been improperly denied the chance for a hearing to get removed from the state abuse registry.

Hoffman says somewhere between 17,000 and 25,000 requests for hearings were terminated prematurely by the Office of Children and Family Services between 2003 and 2007 — in many cases with the request letters simply shredded. Under a proposed class action settlement, the state has agreed to restore their right to a hearing and promised not to allow employers access to their names in the meantime.

However, Hoffman says it may take years for these hearings to be scheduled — which could leave many of the affected individuals in limbo while prospective employers get no response of any sort to screening requests.

“At least 50 percent of the people who get a hearing are exonerated,” Hoffman said. “There are a lot of people who don’t belong there, and it’s taking too long to exonerate them.”

“There’s a good purpose for these lists,” Hoffman added. “But you could have a divorce case, fighting over custody, the dad puts the kid in car with no seat belt on and the mom calls it in. Suddenly you’re on the same list as the pedophile, and the employer doesn’t know difference.”

___

Missouri’s Supreme Court, in a 2007 ruling, said the state’s method of placing people on the abuse registry was unconstitutional because it allowed a listing based solely on a state investigator’s determination. Now, a hearing is required beforehand.

Since the ruling, disputes have flared over how many names should be removed from the registry.

“It’s a horrible thing to be on this list,” said Timothy Belz, the lawyer who won the 2007 case. “You can’t get a job as a teacher, a nurse. You can’t volunteer for your church’s nursery duty.

“If you’re a sex offender, your name doesn’t go on the list until you’re convicted,” Belz added. “But if you’re a little late getting a kid to the emergency room after he cut his finger, you could be on the list for ever.”

Belz attributed the due-process problems to zealous legislators.

“You can’t find a lawyer or judge who isn’t shocked,” he said. “Yet you go to the legislature and it’s like pulling teeth to get it changed. All it takes is one kid to get molested, one horrible story, and the legislators just go nuts. The legislature ought to require itself to cool off.”

It is interestingly hypocritical how everyone seems to recognize that being listed on such a Child Abuse Registry is “punishment” , but refuses to see Sex Offender Registries as being “punishment”. This is the only way Courts across the nation have allowed Sex Offender Registry retroactive laws to stand ; by ruling that they are not “punitive”, but rather “civil’ in nature.

Sex Offenses Common Among Troubled Vets

April 24, 2010 Comments off

sltrib.com(Utah): Sex offenses common among troubled vets.

In multiple federal studies conducted over the past decade of inmates in U.S. prisons, Veterans were found to be more than twice as likely to be serving time for a sex offense as non-veteran inmates.

Former Marine Mark Peterson is serving time in the Utah State Prison at Draper for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl. He staunchly denies that his service was in any way related to his crime. Convicted in 2001, Peterson was released last year — only to return after his parole officer found he was viewing pornography, he said.
(Viewing any type of pornography while on parole/probation results in arrest as a “parole/ probation violation”. The pornography does not have to be illegal for this to happen.)

Some therapy may be available, but Lynn Jorgensen, who helps incarcerated veterans re-enter society, said he is limited in what he can do for sex offenders. For instance, Jorgensen said, he has helped many parolees find transitional housing at veterans homes in Salt Lake City — but those homes won’t take vets who have been convicted of sex crimes.

Sex Offender Sentenced to Life for Failing to Register Loses Appeal

April 24, 2010 Comments off

dailybreeze.com(California) :Sex offender sentenced to life for failing to register loses appeal.

A man sentenced by a Torrance judge to life in prison for failing to register as a sex offender lost an appeal of his sentence Friday.

Wynford Eugene Murray sexually abused two young girls in New York more than a decade ago and failed to register as a sex offender when he moved to California.

Last April, Torrance Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold sentenced Murray to the “third strike” term of 25 years to life in prison after a nonjury trial in which he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.

Murray claimed Arnold abused his discretion in denying his request to vacate at least one of his prior “strikes” from the New York case, but a three-justice panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down his appeal.

Murray, a transient who had lived first in Canoga Park and then Redondo Beach, contended that he did not know until after his arrest that California law required him to register as a sex offender, the justices noted in their eight-page ruling.

Make no mistake: This man was sentenced to life in prison NOT because of any sex crime , but because he failed to register his address with authorities when he moved to California. Does that punishment fit that crime? Of course not. It is insanity.

AL: Legislature Passes Limit on Housing Sex Offenders

April 24, 2010 Comments off

blog.al.com: Alabama Legislature passes limit on housing sex offenders.

The Alabama Legislature has given approval to a bill that would limit the number of registered sex offenders living together in Jefferson County.

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Priscilla Dunn, D-Bessemer, and in the House by Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, now goes to Gov. Bob Riley for his review.

The measure would bar landlords from housing more than one registered sex offender under one roof and would require offenders who live in an apartment complex to reside at least 100 yards from each other.

City officials in the western Jefferson County town of Mulga asked Dunn to sponsor the bill because a boarding house there has had as many as four offenders living there. State law prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care. Mulga has no schools or day care facilities.

Rosie Parker, who owns the boarding house, said she has only one registered offender at her home now, her brother. “I was trying to help them out,” Parker said.

Her brother, Samuel Washington, said it was disappointing to learn that the bill had been approved. Washington, 53, who was convicted in Texas of aggravated sexual assault, said he didn’t think the bill was fair because “everybody deserves a second chance at life.

“I can understand how they feel, but I’m human, too,” he said. “It creates a problem for those who are trying to resume a life.”

The bill would affect 122 convicted sex offenders and 23 addresses in Jefferson County that would not be in compliance if it becomes law, including apartments, hotels, a ministry and at least two boarding houses, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

David Gespass, a Birmingham lawyer who is a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said he believes the legislation has the potential to create a cycle because the inability to provide a residence could cause many sex offenders to fail to register, which brings additional convictions and jail time.

The bill does contain some exceptions. A landlord would not be in violation if the registered sex offender is a spouse or child, or the owner of the property. The landlord would also not be in violation if a registered sex offender does not provide written notice of his prior convictions.

Dunn said there was no opposition to the bill. It would become effective three months after it becomes law.
A state law that passed in 2007 doesn’t allow landlords in Birmingham to house more than one registered sex offender under the same roof.