Sex Offender Registries: Common Sense or Nonsense?

By Christopher Zoukis . . . In October 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped at gunpoint and never seen again.

When the boy’s mother, Patty Wetterling, learned that her home state of Minnesota did not have a database of possible suspects—notably convicted sex offenders—she set out to make a change.

Wetterling’s efforts led to the passage of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Jacob’s Law was the first effort to establish a nationwide registry of convicted sex offenders, but it was not the last.

Soon after Jacob’s Law was enacted, 7-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a neighbor with a previous conviction for sexual assault of a child. This heinous crime led the state of New Jersey to pass Megan’s Law, which required anyone “convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for commission of a sex offense” to register with local law enforcement upon release from prison, relocation into the state, or after a conviction that did not include incarceration.

Two years later, Congress enacted a federal Megan’s Law. The bill, which passed in the House by a 418-0 vote and in the Senate by unanimous consent, required that states provide community notification of sex offender registry information “that is necessary to protect the public.” By the end of 1996, every state in the nation had some form of public notification law for sex offenders in place.

In 2006, Congress adopted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named in honor of 6-year-old Adam Walsh, who was abducted and murdered in Florida. The Adam Walsh Act repealed and replaced both Jacob’s Law and Megan’s Law. The comprehensive Adam Walsh Act created a national sex offender registry and mandated that every state comply with Title I of the Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) or risk losing 10 percent of federal law enforcement funding. SORNA requires, among other things, that states establish a three-tiered sex offender registry system, with “Tier 3” offenders required to update their registry information every three months, for life. SORNA also created the National Sex Offender public website, which had nearly 5 million visits and 772 million hits by 2008.

Full compliance with SORNA has proven costly, and many states have opted out. As of 2014, only 17 states were in full compliance; the remaining 33 states have foregone their full federal law enforcement funding while remaining partially compliant.

Despite many states choosing not to comply with SORNA, a tremendous amount of sex-offender registry legislation has been enacted across the country since the 1990s. These laws have gone well beyond keeping a registry of convicted sex offenders, and now regulate where sex offenders may live and work, with whom they may have contact, and even where they may be present. Illinois, for example, created a law enforcement registry in 1986. Since it was created, the Illinois Legislature has amended the registry 23 times, each time adding new offenses, restrictions, or requirements.

Read the full article at Criminal Legal News

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar admin 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #40680 Reply
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    admin

    By Christopher Zoukis . . . In October 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped at gunpoint and never seen again. When the boy’s mother, Patty
    [See the full post at: Sex Offender Registries: Common Sense or Nonsense?]

  • #40701 Reply
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    TS

    I hope all of this good data and articles with data you are publishing up of late are making its way to CO for the Tenth Circuit appeal. Keep making the hammer bigger for the Millard team!!

  • #40703 Reply
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    Maestro

    “When the boy’s mother, Patty Wetterling, learned that her home state of Minnesota did not have a database of possible suspects—notably convicted sex offenders—she set out to make a change.”

    First thing people do wrong is assume that a crime is committed by someone who has a prior record. If there’s no prior criminal record, you’re not going to find “possible suspects” no matter how many photographs you look at. When will they learn? Also, just because a child is abducted does NOT mean that SEX is the motive (as with Jason Wetterling’s case). People who are not able to have children have abducted children to have as their own. This is reality.

    Also, say what you will about me “judging” people’s crimes but how does a consensual act with a teenager qualify as a “danger to society”? The perpetrators in the Wetterling and Kanka cases were MURDERERS. Not just sex fiends. So when a student consents to having an affair with a handsome or beautiful teacher, how is that the same as the Wetterling and Kanka case where the public is in “danger” and NEEDS to be notified? I’d like the lawmakers to explain that one.

    “that every state comply with Title I of the Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) or risk losing 10 percent of federal law enforcement funding”

    Why can’t this be considered bribery? It’s no different that getting pulled over for speeding and offering the cop money to let you go without a ticket.

  • #40731 Reply
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    Saddles

    Common sense or non sense? You know my dad when he was alive told all of us kids gowing up if you do anything that is wrong don’t bring it into my house. Sure we all have common sense and sure we all do non sense. Heres the thing about this type of follow the dots issue to see who’s area is a good place and who’s area is not or were are the most sex offenders located. I wonder how all this goes with real estate agents or selling a house.

    Its for protection of others which makes sense in a way, but it also makes confusion and nonsense. It goes against moral ethics of trespassing others rights if you want to look at it that way, but it is what it is right now. You tell me one person on this NARSOL fourm that wanted to to be on the registry.
    You know maestro I like you and you sort of bring the spit fire out in a lot of this issue we comment about. I know we have had our ups and down’s on here and agreeing and disagreeing is a no nonsense game, but boy this sex offender issue is trying, isn’t that what this sex offender registry is all about. You even brought up a name Traci Lords a name I haven’t heard in decades.

    Back in the late 60’s early 70’s one of our theaters wanted to start showing porn flick or adult films at that time so they invited all the business men in town to a free showing to intoduce the sex issue in our town. The movie was “Behind the Green door”. My dad wasn’t interested in seeing it. While dad knew the owner of the theater well and had done business with him in the past maybe did a tax return for him or something he wasn’t interestred in the idea.

    Me myself am really not interested in this paint by numbers sex dotting stuff. And remember the names are changed to protect the innocent. Safety feathers are good to an extent but who know’s about whats going to happen tomorrow. Sure mothers will try to protect their kids and fathers will explain things to them but at times kids will be kids but one can be over cautious. The idea is good but that doesn’t protect anyone even from a Hurricane or a Volcano or something like that but it is what it is. A lot of those people were never even around a kid to do anything.

    Its just a small measure to say we can protect and you should of looked at the map before these thing occured with your child or him or her being missing if it ever does. Protecting is good but over protecting isn’t.

  • #40759 Reply
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    T.D.A.L

    Holding man A accountable for the wrongdoings of man B, C, and D is patently wrong. In fact such actions are contrary to any sustainable social contract.

  • #41084 Reply
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    WearethePeople

    Jacob was found, but he was killed by someone that may not have wanted to commit Murder. This man had problems with his identity. He spotting a Police car, and he knew he was going to get into trouble, because of what he had done. I am not saying what he had already done was right. What I am saying It wasn’t going to end in Murder. That is what I see for the big cases, the ones you hear on the News. What I don’t hear is Murder, but what I do hear is Sex Offender. This is where our Legislation are getting recurrence, multiple victims from a few cases.

  • #41432 Reply
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    Mack

    If you want to learn the real story or how the local Sheriff’s bungling in the Jacob Wetterling case lead us to where we are now you MUST listen to the Podcast: “In the Dark”…it will make your blood boil!

  • #41881 Reply
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    Saddles

    I listened to that In the dark podcast and it was interesting to listen to. Dont’ get me wrong the crimes of kidnapping as it is henious but I also noticed from listening that they were looking for a missing human persons that was kidnapped at gun point and they went too fast with leads and everything else when the whole thing was right under their nose. Sure its common sense to check out everything in these intances but still is the sex registry non sense or common sense.
    .
    This computer ordeal is a lot of non sense and yes the computer ordeal needs very much cleaning up. As far as the actual sex ordeal or killings, rapings, or other means of touching physically that is the real evil of this whole ordeal. Sure we all have thoughts but who know’s the thoughts of others. One could say this computer thing with law enforcement is like priming the pump and law enforcement are in a terrority that they shouldn’t be into. If they stick with serving the public than nature will take its course but when they do something like this who is guilty. The jezebel whore trying to con with the opportunity or the person that says sure I’m be right down to snuggle up with you.

    As far as punishment goes we have commented about that. Now a long term lifetime of punishment is like those walking beside one to keep them from screwing up. In other words legalism is a bit hazy in that department as no man needs to be condemned by another for life and that is what the registry does. Yes all this registry is man made. Is nature taking its course or is man taking devious measures in all this. Maybe we all should start casting the first stone or who is playing the jezebel in a lot of these ordeals.

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