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NE: Fed Judge Refuses to Elevate Case to State High Court

April 16, 2010

journalstar.com: US judge won’t ask Nebraska Supreme Court to review law.

Omaha — A federal judge won’t ask the Nebraska Supreme Court to review the state’s revised sex offender registry law.

In an order issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf said no legal reason has been presented to justify a high court review.

The request stemmed from a federal lawsuit filed in December on behalf of 20 sex offenders, their relatives and employers. It sought to stop the law from taking effect, saying it violated federal and state constitutions.

Kopf has blocked portions of the law, including provisions that sought to monitor convicted sex offenders’ computer usage and prevent them from visiting certain Web sites. But he did leave most of the law intact, saying it came close to meeting criteria set for the state by Congress. The revised law went into effect in January.

Attorney Stu Dornan asked in a motion filed last month in U.S. District Court to have the Nebraska Supreme Court review the law for conflicts with the state constitution.

Nebraska lawmakers changed the law earlier this year, saying the revision was needed to comply with federal legislation passed in 2006. That legislation said that if Nebraska and other states don’t publicly register all people convicted of sexual offenses and make other adjustments, they could lose out on federal grant dollars for local law enforcement.

At least 30 states have passed legislation in an effort to comply with the law and many others are studying it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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