Patterico's Pontifications

2/18/2008

Juvenile Sex Offender Registration under the Adam Walsh Act

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 10:32 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 requires sex offenders as young as 14 years old to register with state sex offender databases. Legislators in some states object to implementing the law as to juvenile offenders, saying it is too harsh and costly:

Texas officials may soon begin ignoring a new federal sex offender law that would require some juveniles as young as 14 to register on a national Web site.

A federal community notification act approved by Congress and signed by President Bush is so sweeping, it’s raising concern among even those who traditionally have pushed for greater public sex offender disclosure. Scores of prosecutors, victims’ rights advocates and normally get-tough lawmakers say provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 are Draconian and costly and may end up harming the victims they’re supposed to protect.

“We think our laws are strong enough,” said Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, a leading advocate of sex offender registration laws in Texas.”

States risk losing federal funding if they don’t implement the new law by 2009. In addition, some are troubled by the lack of local control:

“Texas’ sex offender registry has for years included juveniles. But it’s not automatic, giving judges broad discretion in deciding which ones are placed there. Of the more than 47,000 people listed on the state’s Department of Public Safety Web site, only 275 are under 18, while 3,853 are registered based on offenses they committed as juveniles, according to DPS data.

Judges would lose all discretion under the federal act. The national registry would include everyone 14 or older convicted of a sex offense. A 14-year-old boy convicted of having sex with his 12-year-old girlfriend, for example, would be treated the same as a repeat adult predator who attacked a 3-year-old. Both would fall into the most severe category, Tier III, requiring them to register four times a year for at least 25 years and possibly for the rest of their lives.

Unlike adults, juveniles could petition to be removed from the registry after a quarter-century.”

The article provides anecdotal evidence from both sides of this contentious issue. It will be interesting to see what the Legislature ultimately decides.

— DRJ

8 Responses to “Juvenile Sex Offender Registration under the Adam Walsh Act”

  1. Time to register perverts not guns

    krazy kagu (2afdbd)

  2. “Judges would lose all discretion under the federal act.”

    That’s bad how?

    Kevin (3efe14)

  3. the walsh family sure got a lot of mileage off their dead child, didn’t they? not all of this mileage represents good policy.

    assistant devil's advocate (c08424)

  4. Sounds like Texas elected officials have actually thought this over – which is more than we can say about our Ohio legislators who passed these Constitutional violative laws in a hurry to get the funding. Hopefully, yet sadly, it may be that other states will wait to see what comes out of the thousands of lawsuits being waged on the state of Ohio currently before implementing such a draconian law. See ConstitutionalFights.org for a torrent of information and joint the fight for the Constitution!

    ConstitutionalFights (763430)

  5. This legal battle is going to do on for years and cost Ohio millions of dollars. If you watch the vote video (on my site) you can see they voted this an an “emergency vote” in order to get the 10% federal funding. Because they drafted this law so irresponsibly, it will cost the state of Ohio many times more than this in legal defense costs alone ( not to mention vastly increased costs to sheriff departments). Beyond all of this, the law does nothing constructive. It re-classes 8000 previously low tier offenders are dangerous overnight and statistics are clear than sex offenders have much lower recidivism rates than other offenders and offenders are almost always known by the victim. It is all just political pandering. See ww.constitutionalfights.org for real info

    constitutionalfights (763430)

  6. The worst part about this Adam Walsh registration law is that previously, the laws relating to registration were based upon the risk of re-offending. If the risk was low, the registration requirement was lenient. And of course, as the risk increased, the burden of registration also increased. Under these Adam Walsh laws, the level of registration is based upon the crime, and this is an unchanging factor, which is always ominous and demonizing and can never be changed.
    http://www.proselaw.net

    Norman L. Sirak (09d594)

  7. I fully don’t agree with this law,when you force somebody to have sex is one thing when you have sex with consent is another.A female, that was of the age 15 and had a child by a young man that was of the age 17,still dating and gets the girl pregnant again when the young man had turned 18 years old ,the young lady had an abortion with the mothers consent,the grandmother contacts Social Services they ordered to get dna.Thats all they needed to charge him with child molest. so now he is a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.The young lady continued to date other boys of the age .This young mans life is ruined for the rest of his life,he in prison till this day,he will never be trusted,barely growing up. everybody makes mistakes some need some punishment but not a punishment that considers him a rapist and that is a huge embarrassment for him and his family.I’m sure he’ll have plenty to think of and he’ll realize it was a bad choice he made but how many young,dumb boys don’t do these things when they are experiencing puppy love.It takes two to tangle ,why did the parents allow them to continue to see each other after the first child,the young lady still visits the boy in prison.

    blacky64 (10c739)

  8. This is ridiculous. A 14 year old IS a child and should not be treated for 25 years like a pedophile, even if they fondled children. It’s wrong, but kids do grow out of these things most of the time, or you could also jut use therapy and assessment. The myth that a 14 year old “child molester” continues to be dangerous for 25 years will ruin these people’s lives for something they didn’t know any better to do.

    Jan O'Neil (37f6c9)


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