Friday, March 27, 2015

Bill Alerts for March 27, 2015 -- ACTION NEEDED!

A couple of new bills to watch out for in the current legislative session:

  • This bill would make technical revisions to the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act, would change certain references from the Department of Public Safety to the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency, and would update internal citations in various sections of the Code of Alabama 1975 to reflect the appropriate section under current law.
  • This bill would clarify that a petition for relief from registration, employment, or living restrictions must be filed in the civil division of the circuit court.
  • The bill would provide a penalty for a sex offender who absconds and fails to register in the county where the sex offender declared intent to reside.
  • This bill would require a sex offender to provide to law enforcement a list of all Internet providers used by the sex offender.
ANAYSIS: Most of the bill is merely administrative changes (such as changing "criminal" sex offense to "felony sex offense" and 'Dept of Public Safety" to "State Law Enforcement Agency" in places), but the part that bothers me is proposed requirement of providing a list of Internet identifiers. 

Apparently, this law will also add confusion as registrants living inside a municipality will be required to check in with the city police rather than the county sheriff, yet to get a travel permit, the registrant must go to the sheriff's office. 

On the upside, this bill will provide the means by which a person can petition the court to obtain relief from residency law requirements AND the requirements to stay away from the alleged victim under specific conditions:
  1. The person was convicted under 13A-6-62, 13A-6-64, 13A-6-65, or 13A-6-67 (Second degree rape, sodomy, sexual misconduct, or sexual abuse, or a similar conviction in another state. That means the alleged victim has to be at least age 12)
  2. The victim is now over 19 years old and appears in court at the time of the hearing and requests the exemption in writing.
  3. The prosecuting attorney in the original case gets a notice of the hearing. 
On the downside, it requires public posting of where a homeless registrant is planning to sleep. 

It is also good a registrant in need to assistant care can also petition for residency law relief. 

VERDICT: This bill is a mixed bag of the good and the bad. I'd like to see the Internet Provider part and the homeless notice removed. But the provision allowing some registrants to seek relief from Residency laws and the victim bans is a good thing. I'd say the good outweighs the bad.

  • Under existing law, sodomy in the second degree requires both lack of consent due to mental defect and that the perpetrator be more than 16 and the victim be under 16 years of age, but older than 12 years of age. Under existing law, sodomy in the first degree requires forcible compulsion or that the victim possess a mental defect or be physically helpless, or the perpetrator be more than 16 years of age and the victim less than 12 years of age. Under existing law, a person under age 16 is incapable of consent.
  • Under existing law, one circumstance in which a person commits the crime of sexual misconduct is when he or she engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under circumstances not covered by sodomy in the first degree or sodomy in the second degree, and consent is not a defense to prosecution under this circumstance regardless of the age of either party. This provision of the existing sexual misconduct law was declared unconstitutional by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in Williams v. Dallas County.
  • This bill would revise the sexual misconduct law to require lack of consent or obtaining consent through the use of fraud or artifice.
  •  This bill also would create the crimes of rape in the third degree, sodomy in the third degree, and sexual abuse in the third degree to apply to circumstances where the perpetrator of the crime is less than 16 years of age and the victim less than 12.
  • This bill would also add rape in the third degree, sodomy in the third degree, and sexual abuse in the third degree to the list of offenses defined by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as sex offenses.
ANALYSIS: This law is is horrible! This bill allows for teens under age 16 to land on the public registry. The state is creating a new "Third Degree" level of crimes which are misdemeanor offenses and applies to juveniles under age 16, and this bill will add these Third Degree crime to the registry. This bill needs to be stopped.

VERDICT: SB 272 must be stopped!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bill Alerts for March 10, 2015


SB 67 is a very long bill, so I won't post the whole bill here. Nor is this bill exclusively about sex offenders. I am merely going to highlight some of the key facts to watch.

It seems SB 67 is going to require the state to settle on an "actuarial" risk assessment test for "certain offenders;" I'm sure this means sex offenders, of course. Alabama currently lacks a standard for risk assessment. Also, this seems only to apply to juvenile offenders. 

SB 67 introduced a "Class D felony" with a maximum 5 year sentence and a maximum $7500 fine, half the penalty of a class C. It seems sex offenses are not given class D felon status, however. 

SB 67 extends the time by which alleged victims are notified of a registrant's release or pardon or parole review from 30 days to 45 days. 


HB 68 changes the time that an alleged victim can sue for damages from two years after the act to two years after the alleged perpetrator is convicted. 


ReFORM-AL opposes SB 67's extension of alleged victim notification from 30 days to 45 days, and opposes HB 68. However, neither bill has that much of an impact on the lives of Registered Citizens and is considered low priority.