On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Sex Offender Registry on Friday May 31, 2013
The General Assembly passed on the last day of its session an important bill that relieves juveniles who commit offenses that require lifetime registry as a sex offender from the registry. The bill now awaits signature by the Governor.
Prior to the new bill, any juvenile who committed any sexual offense that would be subject to registration as a sexual offender would have to comply with the registry requirements for life, and his or her name would be on the sexual offender registry available to the public.
As a result of the new bill, all persons who committed the registrable offense while a juvenile (under the age of 18) will have their names immediately removed from the sex offender registry and no longer subject to the requirements of registration. Also, juveniles tried as adults for serious sexual offenses have the opportunity to petition for removal from the registry within five years of conviction and, as long as compliant with the registration requirements, must be removed from the registry.
The new bill is a welcome change to the harsh aspects of the sex offender registry. If the purpose of the criminal law is to allow offenders a chance to reform and rejoin society productively, placing a stigma of the scarlet A on their name for the rest of their lives does not serve that purpose. Many believe that only the most dangerous sexual predators should be listed on the sex offender registry. And in fact the General Assembly came close to passing a bill that would have removed many minor sexual offenses from the registry and allowed others the opportunity to petition for removal within five years of conviction, leaving only the worst on lifetime registration. Unfortunately, that bill did not pass this session, but hopefully will pass next year. In the meantime, juveniles can enter adulthood without the stain of a lifetime label as a sex offender – particularly if the offense involved consensual sex with another teenager.
If you have questions about the sex offender registry, contact us – we can help.