Thursday, February 7, 2013

MO - New bill would allow some sex offenders to be removed from sex offender registry

Original Article

See the video at the link above.


By Lauren Pozen

JEFFERSON CITY - A new bill introduced today would allow some sex offenders to request to be removed from the lifetime sex offender registry.

There are more than 21,000 registered offenders on the registry. Offenders are required to register every 90 days.

A representative from Kimberling City wants to allow some offender to be removed from the registry, based on a three tier system:

Tier I

The first tier would have the lowest risk sex offenders. These are criminals least likely to re-offend like those convicted of indecent exposure. They would be able to petition a judge to take their name off the list ten years after their conviction.

Tier II

The second level would be for offenders with intermediate offenses and a moderate risk of committing another sex crime. They could ask a judge to remove their names, but only after 25 years.

Tier III

The third level would list severe offenders, who would remain on the registry for life. One exception would allow only those adjudicated as juveniles to petition to be removed after 25 years.

Registered sex offender, [name withheld] says if the bill passes, it would be life changing.

"It would change my life. I would not have this burden on me for the rest of my life. I am only 23," he says.

At 17, [name withheld] was charged with statutory rape. He pleaded guilty. a probation violation sent him to prison for two years. Now he is out, but he says it still feels like he is behind bars.

"I am not the same kid that I was when I was 17. I mean yeah, I was bad. I learned a lot, but come on," [name withheld] says.

Every three months, he re-registers as a sex offender.

"I have to go up there, fill out more paperwork. Get my picture taken, retina scan, fingerprints," says [name withheld].

House Bill 462 (PDF) could change that for [name withheld]. He would fall under Tier I.

"The registry can be a small piece of a tool. But, the danger of it is that it does create a false sense of security," says Barbara Brown, executive director with the Child Advocacy Center.

Brown says changing the registry for either crimes against children or adults is a slippery slope.

"If you commit a crime against children that is serious enough to get you on the registry, I see no reason to take your name off at anytime," Brown says.
- I'm sure you'd not be saying that if one of your own children were on the list, and what about all the other criminals who harm children?

As for [name withheld], he would like to see some changes.

"I would like to see everybody with a lesser crime get off. I know several people that are my age and are in the same position I am in," he says.

Representative Phillips says if House Bill 462 passes, there will be no direct cost to the state, federal funding is available for the administrative expenses to remove people from the registry. Massachusetts already has a similar law in place.

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1 comment :

Loneranger said...

This would be good for some but not all. If a person has a crime that lists him as tier three he is still left on the list for life with no consideration for their current age, length of time since they committed the crime and level they may have been assigned by using the static 99 test. This may release persons that poss a much higher risk and retain ones that have proven they are of little danger. What they did in the past may be a way to determine levels but not as effective as evaluating the person for who they are now. Given age and time since crime with no re-offence is more reliable then Just what they did 15 years ago. Given some have plea bargained away from what would have placed them at tier three they maybe releasing people that really do need to be tracked and retaining many that don't. A tier system is only as good as the tools used to establish where a person falls and for how long. Granted this does reduce the number of people they need to register it still doesn't do anything for their perceived requirement of public safety. If they release people that they have not deemed safe through the static 99 test or something similar they are just looking at the past crime and not the individual. One thing does not equal the other. If they want to use this then they need to make it a bit more reliable and take more then just the past crimes as the final determination of how long a person remains required to report and be listed. For example a person that committed a crime that would be considered tier three that is now 60 plus years old and the crime was committed 20 years ago could be much less likely to re-offend then someone that is say 40 and committed the same crime but plea bargained down to a lessor crime but has complected the requirements and released after 15 years. One should question if he is more or less likely to commit another sex crime then the person 60 years old and has been crime free for 20 years?

One would think the younger man would be more likely but in reality they both could have little risk. However due to the plea deal the younger man will be released even though he did the same exact thing as the older man. Not so sure this is really what they want to be going after if they want to reduce the number of people listed and have this be effective. Using past crimes and not risk evaluations is meaningless when it comes to this. They need to be looking at the person not the crimes listed. Granted if the person is deemed a predator or is a repeat violent offender sure as they will show this with the static 99 test. However the ones that are of little risk maybe placed on the lifetime requirement and seen as high risk for no reason other then what they did once 20 years ago.

I guess they need to figure out what they are really trying to do here. Are they just looking for a way to clean up the numbers or are they really looking to place people where they need to be in this thing.

IMO they are going about this wrong. Setting the populous up to be disappointed when they release the wrong people. Just to have a list and confuse the populous with miss information as who is dangerous and who isn't as they base this solely on past convictions.

What would be better is if they used the static 99 test to evaluate and set the level accordingly. flexibility in changing the placement on the tier as the static 99 evaluation changes over time. A person that has a clean record for 20 years and is 60 years old has the same score as a person that committed a lessor crime and then is afforded relief. Both have same score and should be viewed the same.

If a person has a high score at first but later in life it goes down he should be placed in a lower tier with the possibility for relief.

But like all things this is just my opinion