(First 3 Pages)
In 1994, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a previously convicted sex-offender that lived in her neighborhood. In the ensuing weeks an uproar arose, and legislation was hastily crafted that would require all sex offenders to register their current address with the local authorities. On top of this, police would notify the immediate community of the offender’s presence in order to alert them to the possibility of future repeats transgressions. Critics argued that the bill would undermine the rights of criminals already punished for their crimes. Proponents toed a very utilitarian line, holding the wide benefits of increased public awareness of local danger to be greater than the damage to the rights of the offender. The law, which came to pass and is referred to as Megan’s Law has subsequently been emulated in dozens of states around the country, and has come under severe attack. These attacks do not focus primarily on whether or not Megan’s Law is effective legislation, but instead on its implications on civil liberty. Megan’s Law, though arguably useful in helping to decrease the rate of repeat offenses, is unsupportable because it discriminates against sex offenders, impinging upon their rights as American citizens. (Megan’s Law)
Megan’s laws have been advocated as dictatorial schemes to warn communities of the presence of individuals involved in committing serious sexual offenses. Courts have ruled that an individual should be allowed to explain that he or she does not present a long-term danger to the social order. Laws that did not offer persons a chance to challenge the condition to register or the level of public notification have been struck down as illegal of the constitutional requirement for due process. Our alteration would correct this deficiency in the present bill by permitting persons to appeal the Superior Court to rule that, because they are not ongoing dangers to society, (1) they are not required to register under the act or (2) the Metropolitan Police Department’s determination as to the level of community notification is not appropriate.
It is noteworthy to be very clear about the eagerness for our donation. Provoked by the federal Wetter ling Act enforced a few years back; each state has approved its own report of what is commonly recognized as “Megan’s Law.” The fundamental thought is to warn the society to the being there of precarious and criminal sex wrongdoer and pedophiles in their center. Even though the federal strategy unambiguously state that the state Megan’s Laws does not necessitate the registration and public announcement of each one found guilty of evil doings with a sexual ingredient, a number states have gone far ahead of these sensible guiding principle. Particularly, a number of states have misused Megan’s Law by sardonically aiming at gay men who pretense totally no hazard to public safety.
GLAA’s major intention in allowing for Bill 13-350 is straightforward: to make sure that no one wronged by uncontrolled officially-approved homophobia here or anywhere else will be additionally ill-treated by being forced to unnecessary registration processed and subjected to public declaration measures that should be restricted to grave sexual offenders and pedophiles.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suspended Connecticut’s online postings until the state rates individual parolees by the severity of their crimes, ranging from public exposure to rape and murder. Lower courts said the Constitution’s due process guarantee requires that, once someone serves his sentence, he deserves the same treatment as any citizen. Some 30 states have online registries, and 23, plus the District of Columbia, make no determination about the danger a person poses before individual information is posted. (Mary Deibel, 2002)
Some state description of Megan’s Law have recognized board of experts to assess sexual offenders to resolve the extent of danger (if any) they portray to the public and therefore how they should be registered and to what extent the public notification is in order. The first story endorsed by the Council and signed by Marion Barry in 1996 recognized a similar system. But no board of professionals was ever chosen even though the courts attempted to make conclusion about levels of announcement for some criminal lawbreaker anyway. It seems that, the District’s senior officials were leave to another time the budgetary costs of fully put into practice the system set up by the 1996 law.
It is worth noting in this situation that the Massachusetts account of Megan’s Law has been hit not once but twice by its state courts on the basis that there was no prerequisite for estimating the risk to the public presented by individual sexual offenders. Bill 13-350 may be defenseless to judicial defeat on similar grounds. The reality that a since departed Judiciary Committee staffers, who aided to guided the emergency and conditional bills passed in July, was strongly engaged with drafting the discredited Massachusetts Megan’s Law should give pause to every Council member.