Monday, February 10, 2014


Original Article

In 1989, then Governor Booth Gardner formed a task force to study community protection. See Governor's Task Force on Community Protection, Final Report, at I-1 (1989). As a result of the Task Force's recommendations, the Legislature passed the Community Protection Act of 1990. Laws of 1990, ch. 3. Part 4 of the act provides for the registration [123 Wn.2d 493] of adult and juvenile sex offenders. Laws of 1990, ch. 3, §§ 401-409. The Legislature stated that its purpose in requiring registration was to assist local law enforcement, declaring:

The legislature finds that sex offenders often pose a high risk of reoffense (Studies), and that law enforcement's efforts to protect their communities, conduct investigations, and quickly apprehend offenders who commit sex offenses, are impaired by the lack of information available to law enforcement agencies about convicted sex offenders who live within the law enforcement agency's jurisdiction. Therefore, this state's policy is to assist local law enforcement agencies' efforts to protect their communities by regulating sex offenders by requiring sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies as provided in [RCW 9A.44.130].

Laws of 1990, ch. 3, § 401. The requirement for sex offender registration, codified at RCW 9A.44.130-.140, became effective February 28, 1990. RCW 18.155.902(1). In 1991, the Legislature amended the statute to clarify and amend the deadlines for sex offenders to register. Laws of 1991, ch. 274, § 2.

The statute requires all persons residing in Washington who have been convicted of any sex offense, as defined by RCW 9.94A.030(29),1 to register with the county sheriff in the county where the person resides. RCW 9A.44.130(1). When registering, the person must provide name, address, date and place of birth, place of employment, crime for which convicted, date and place of conviction, aliases used, and Social Security number. RCW 9A.44.130(2). Any person required to register under the statute who changes residence must either send written notice of the change of address to the county sheriff, if the person relocates within the same county, or register with the county sheriff in the new county, within 10 days of establishing the new residence. RCW 9A.44.130(4). The county sheriff must also obtain a photograph of the individual and a copy of the individual's fingerprints. RCW 9A.44.130(5). The county [123 Wn.2d 494] sheriff must forward the information and fingerprints obtained to the Washington State Patrol for inclusion in a central registry of sex offenders. RCW 43.43.540. A person who knowingly fails to register is guilty of either a class C felony or gross misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the prior conviction. RCW 9A.44.130(7).

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