Monday, October 25, 2010

OH - Proposed Bill To Ensure Sex Offenders Properly Register

Original Article

10/25/2010

By Alex Mazer

COLUMBUS - State Representative Nancy Garland announced her plans to introduce legislation that will ensure all sex offenders will fulfill their registration requirement, Monday.

The bill, developed by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, was created as a fix to an unintended consequence of a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision.

A fix, Rep. Garland says is crucial for maintaining the safety of the members of the community.

"Fixing the unintended loophole from the Supreme Court decision will give the legal system the tools they need to effectively track offenders and will provide Ohioans a piece of mind," said Rep. Garland.

The bill is designed to give prosecutors the ability to effectively prosecute any sex offender who fails to comply with the registration requirements.

The situation began in January 2008 when the Adam Walsh Act replaced the previous legislation known as Megan’s Law, which covered sex offenders.

The Walsh Act required the Ohio Attorney General to reclassify sex offenders into Tiers I, II or III. The previous classifications under Megan’s Law were “sexually oriented offender, habitual sex offender, sexual predator” etc. As a result, several sections of the sex offender registration requirements were repealed.

The need for this legislation arose from the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling on State v. Bodyke in June.

The decision from this case exempted sex offenders convicted under Megan’s Law from the need to comply with registration requirements, which wasn’t the original intent of the Adam Walsh Act. The new legislation will correct this situation, according to Rep. Garland.

The proposed bill will only affect offenders who were classified by the courts prior to Jan. 1, 2008 when the Adam Walsh Act became a law, approximately 20,000 Ohio sex offenders.