Georgia HB720 moves to floor for vote.

– From NARSOL’s Georgia advocate

Yesterday in Georgia, House Bill 720 moved out of Committee by a 6-3 vote and is headed to the floor for a vote.  THIS IS A TERRIBLE BILL for registered persons in Georgia.  The intent is to protect the vulnerable citizens of Georgia from roughly 400 Tier 3 registrants that are no longer required to wear an electronic monitoring device (ankle monitor) once they have completed their sentence.  Unfortunately the legislature has chosen to “fix” the issue by introducing legislation that would overwhelm the Department of Community Supervision and impose unnecessary burdens.  In a nutshell, the bill would restrict Judges from deviating from mandatory minimum sentencing, require that lifetime probation be implemented upon conviction of a second sexual offence, remove first offender eligibility for all sexual offenses (it is up to the court’s discretion today), and make it lawful for law enforcement agencies to place Halloween signs.

Rep. Sainz, who is the lead sponsor on this bill, incorrectly stated that “we know that a sexual offender is most likely to reoffend within a period of around five years.”

Here is what this BAD BILL would do:

  • Any person convicted of a sexual offense shall be sentenced to a split sentence which shall include the minimum term of imprisonment specified in the Code section applicable to such sexual offense.
  • No portion of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed shall be suspended, stayed, probated, deferred, or withheld by the court.
  • Any such sentence shall include, in addition to the mandatory term of imprisonment, an additional probated sentence of be followed by probation for at least one year
  • No person convicted of a sexual offense shall be sentenced as a first offender
  • For convictions that are felonies and that are for a second or subsequent conviction for a sexual offense arising out of events that are different from events of a previous conviction, such probation shall be for life.
  • Any law enforcement agency of competent jurisdiction may, on October 30 and 31 of each year, post a sign upon the front of the residence of any person on such probation, stating the following: ‘No candy or treats at this residence.’ Such signs shall further be in the form as provided for by the department.
  • When a probationer is on probation for life as provided for in Code 310 Section 17-10-6.2, The Department of Community Supervision (DCS) shall file a petition to terminate his or her probation if, after serving ten years on probation, the probationer has:
    • Paid all restitution owed
    • Not had his or her probation revoked during such period
    • Not been arrested for anything other than a nonserious traffic offense
  • If a petition for a probationer who is on probation for life as provided for in Code 323 Section 17-10-6.2 is not granted, a petition shall be filed every five years thereafter

We are encouraging everyone in Georgia to contact their State Representatives asking them to vote NO on HB 720.  If this bill crosses over next week, we will fight to stop it from being voted on in the Senate. You can find your State Representative by clicking here.

You can watch a recording of the committee meeting here (Starts at 50:42):
https://livestream.com/accounts/25225474/events/8737140/videos/202562368

Media coverage of this can be found here:

https://georgiarecorder.com/brief/house-committee-wants-to-restore-lengthy-gps-monitoring-for-sex-offenders/

Brendan Spaar
Georgia Advocate

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