Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MA - Close loopholes in sex offender registration

Original Article


A reasonable person would believe that a person convicted of a sex crime would have to register as a sex offender. But that's true for all of them, as a recent case in Massachusetts illustrates.

[name withheld] recently pleaded guilty to indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14 and received two years of probation. The more serious charge of rape was dropped. The judge granted [name withheld]'s lawyer's request that [name withheld] not have to register as a sex offender.

State laws in Massachusetts and some other states allow some sex offenders who plead guilt or no contest, or who are not sentenced to jail time, to avoid the Sex Offender Registry Board.

It's legal loopholes like these that make victims advocate Laurie Myers' blood boil. She believes giving judges the discretion to let a convicted sex offender avoid the registry flies in the face of the sex-offender law's intent: to inform the public about sex offenders living in their community.

"I've seen this loophole used many times, and it's pretty much a get-out-of-jail-free card for offenders," Myers told us last week. "They got a break with their sentence, because the only way to qualify is to get probation. They didn't serve any jail time, then they're relieved of the obligation to register."

She also believes the Sex Offender Registry Board can do a better job categorizing sex offenders -- Level 1 is less likely to reoffend, Level 2 might reoffend and Level 3 is more than likely to reoffend -- because judges often might have only the specifics of the case before the court, rather than a more complete history of the offender. The board, on the other hand, considers more than 20 factors when classifying a sex offender.

"All of the victims we work with don't want another person to be victimized," Myers said. "The whole registration part of it is almost, to them, as important as the sentence ... or lack thereof."

State legislatures must close these loopholes. Convicted sex offenders don't need an escape clause from a law developed to keep the public informed about potentially dangerous people living next door.

1 comment :

Mark said...

Over and over and over again. The registry law that was enacted by the Massachusetts Legislature is WHAT they wanted to enact to begin with in the first place so that a judge can look at the case in front of them to determine if a defendant's crime "QUALIFIES" as registrable. And there are certain circumstances that do not warrant registration. And of course Laurie wants to make yet another quest for womanhood to close this so-called "LOOPHOLE" when in fact, once again, and again, and again, IT WAS THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT to provide that escape proviso to a judge. And just because the man's rape charge was "dismissed," not "dropped," it is "Nolle Prose" in Massachusetts. it means there was a lack of evidence to proceed with an indictment on the rape allegation and the state could not meet proving all of the elements of the rape allegation. I just grow so weary of these victim advocates twisting every fact, word, and emotions to substantiate there own personal agendas. It has become the ruination of America.