Just another useless law. Something a politician can put his name on to look "tough" on ex-sex offenders. It's already a crime to report an invalid address on the registry, so this is not needed, in our opinion.
Sex offenders are supposed to register on a statewide database after conviction. The law says you have a right to know if an offender is living next door.
However, lawmakers said they found a loophole in the system. If a sex offender were to put down a false address in the registry, they could have gotten away with it, that is, until now. A bill pushed by Senator Ted O'Brien now makes it a felony to lie on the database.
- Depends on what you mean by "getting away with it." It's already a crime to report an invalid address, but I believe it's a misdemeanor, and by making it a felony, do you really think that is going to make a difference? We don't!
The bill was inspired by a case that happened right here in Rochester. When a renewal notice was sent to the home of a convicted child rapist. Police were immediately alerted when the notice came back in the mail. The sex offender did not live where he said he did at the time, but prosecutors couldn't file serious charges. That may change soon.
With more than 35,000 sex offenders throughout New York State, this registry couldn't be more crucial.
Senator O'Brien says, "It provides an opportunity to notify a community that there's a potentially dangerous person in their midst."
- If that is the case, then what about all the other dangerous people? Like murderers, gang members, DUI offenders, thieves, etc? Where is the notification about them moving into our neighborhoods?
So when he found out about a loophole in the system, he says, it didn't make any sense.
"If somebody doesn't provide accurate information," says Senator O'Brien. "Then the goal of having the community know that there is a potentially risky situation here is defeated."
He says if sex offenders were to put down a false address in the registry, it could have easily gone undetected. But how is that even possible?
- Really? Don't police do verification checks? If so, then it wouldn't go undetected, now would it.
The senator says, "One of the unfortunate realities is that there is a high volume now of sex offenders."
- That is because you are putting people on the public list who are not a real threat to the public, and those who are real threats to the public should've been sentenced to a longer time in prison, or not released until they get treatment and are shown to not be a threat anymore.
Senator O'Brien created a bill that would discourage offenders from lying. He considers that bill a success.
"We were able to get it through the committee structure and on to the state senate floor for a complete vote. It passed unanimously, so I'm really encouraged about that."
He says its all in the name of safety and your right to know who's living next door.
- Well, only sex offenders, not all the other crazy criminals who also live next door!
"Parents of children and young children want to know," says Senator O'Brien. "The law says they are entitled to know and they should know."
The next step, the bill will go on to the state assembly for a vote. Since the the senate voted on this unanimously, Senator O'Brien feels very strongly that it will go into law by next year.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
NY - Senate passes bill to close sex offender loophole