Laws Protecting Against Sexual Offenders by 46tqAwZv


									                  Laws Protecting Against Sexual Offenders
   The Trilogy of Federal Sex Offender Laws:

    1. Jacob Wetterling Registration Act
       a. Passed in 1994, the Jacob Wetterling Act was the first law that instituted any sort
          of state sex offender registry. This law, originally designed to protect children,
          requires any individual who is convicted of a criminal offense against a minor or
          who is convicted of a sexually violent offense to register their current address. In
          addition any individual that is deemed a "sexual predator" is required to register
          their address.

    2. Megan’s Law
       a. This act amended the community notification provisions of the Wetterling Act,
          resulting in mandatory community notification regarding the private and personal
          information on convicted sex offenders.

    3. Pam Lychner Act
       a. The third law in the federal trilogy is the Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking
          and Identification Act of 1996. It provides a national database at the FBI to track
          the whereabouts and movements of convicted sex offenders. It also requires the
          FBI to handle sex offender registration in states which lack a minimally sufficient
          sex offender registration program. Finally, it amends the Wetterling Act to
          prescribe more stringent registration requirements (i.e. Wetterling required some
          offenders to register for 10 years; Lychner requires them to register for life)

   A Sampling of Sex Offender Laws at the State Level

    1. Washington State’s 1990 Community Protection Act (1990, WA)
       a. This was America’s first law authorizing public notification when dangerous sex
          offenders are released into the community.

    2. Two-Strike Law for Sexual Offenders (1996, WA)
       a. Resting on the idea that one can be falsely accused and possibly even falsely
          convicted of such crimes once, but not twice, Washington enacted a mandatory
          life in prison sentence after a second sexual offense conviction.

    3. Jimmy Ryce Act (1998, FL)
       a. This law providing for the involuntary civil commitment of certain violent sexual
          predators, rather than releasing them into the community following their

    4. Chemical Castration Law (1997, FL)
       a. This statute mandates court-ordered weekly injections of a sex-drive-reducing
          hormone to qualified repeat sex offenders upon release from prison. It may also
          be administered to first-time sex offenders.
       b. Thus, in 1984 a Michigan judge ordered a convicted sex offender to submit to
          medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) injections as a probationary condition. In
          1996, California became the first state to enact legislation providing for chemical
          castration of certain sex offenders. Florida’s Legislature enacted its chemical
          castration statute approximately six months after the California bill was signed
          into law.
       c. The administration of MPA is, however, contingent upon a determination by a
          court-appointed medical expert that the defendant is an appropriate candidate for
          the weekly drug injections. The defendant does, however, have a choice: he may
          choose surgical castration in lieu of chemical castration.

    5. The Volunteers for Children Act (1998)
       a. This federal act encourages the states to pass legislation that will mandate
          criminal history background checks for individuals who have unsupervised access
          to children as part of their employment or volunteer activities. Most states have
          failed to comply.

    6. Joan’s Law (2004, NJ)
       a. A successful effort to reform New Jersey’s prison sentencing policy with “Joan’s
          Law,” which eliminates the possibility of parole for anyone 18 years-of-age or
          older convicted of intentionally murdering a child younger than 14 in the course
          of committing a sex crime.

    7. Jessica Lunsford Act (goes into effect on December 1, 2005, FL)
       a. Sexual predators and offenders must report in person twice a year to the sheriff’s
          office in the county in which he or she resides. Offenders must also provide
          address verification letters, valid vehicle, and employment information. The law
          also makes it 3rd degree felony for anyone attempting to hide sexual offenders or
          predators from law enforcement officials.

   New Developments

    1. Operation Predator
       a. Operation Predator is a new initiative developed by the Department of Homeland
          Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to protect
          children world-wide. This comprehensive DHS program will identify child
          predators and remove them from the United States (if subject to deportation).
          Operation Predator will also work to identify children depicted in child
          pornography to help rescue them, and to assist in prosecuting the people
          responsible for making and distributing the pornographic material.

    2. Truth in Sentencing
       a. Since 1960 and 1993, violent crime in our country increased by 500%.
       b. Eight out of ten Americans will be victims of violent crime in their lifetimes.
       c. This 7% had five or more arrests by the age of 18, but for every arrest made, got
          away with about a dozen crimes. 75,000 new, young, persistent criminal predators
          are added to our population every year.
       d. In 1990, the typical murderer was sentenced to a prison term of 20 years and 3
          months, but only spent approximately 8 years and 9 months (43% of imposed
          sentenced). In 1998, the typical murderer was sentenced to a prison term of 21
          years and 9 months, but only spent approximately 11 years and 4 months or (52%
          of imposed sentence).
       e. Of inmates incarcerated in state prisons in 1986, 95% of all state inmates were
          either violent or repeat offenders.
       f. The one change that would have the greatest impact is the passage by states of
          truth-in-sentencing laws, which require convicted violent criminals to serve at
          least 85% of their sentences.

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