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!

6 comments:

  1. This actually doesnt do much at all. the code was already in affect last year and the year before. If it was relief from registration after "x" years then yes. Especially if there was no need for the prosecuting attorney or the victim.
    We need real reform not mamby pamby bulshit. Take churches off the list unless it has a licensed daycare. only places that pertain directly to children should be in the law. No where else.

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    1. I'm late to the comments on this post and in order to tell you what's going on in Alabama I need to know what county you're in Bob.

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  2. If you knew who I was, you'd know I'm far from namby-pamby. I don't know what your idea is of "real reform" but real reform takes people willing to actually work to reform, and in the five years of hosting this blog, I haven't seen too many Alabamians step up.

    I'm not too concerned with HB 316, although I think registering Internet Providers could lead to problems like denial of internet service to registrants.

    I am more concerned with SB 272, as it increases the ways by which an individual lands on the registry. Alabama SB 272 will revise sexual misconduct law to require lack of consent or obtaining consent through the use of fraud or artifice if it passes. By the way, SB 272 will also open the door for anyone under 16 to land on the public registry. This bill must be opposed.

    So if you come back to this blog, I'd love to hear your big plans on reform without the benefit of having a large group of people willing to fight. I run this blog as a service but I don't have the resources to much on my own to stop these shitty bills from passing. Maybe you'd like to pick up the slack, Bob?

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    1. I would love to. if i knew a way, or whom i could gather to cause a movement i would. I was not saying that you were the slack, i was speaking of how government only adds to the problem rather than giving sex offenders the ability to "rehabilitate". I will come back to you with a more defined purpose. I know of a few others who also feel these laws are a travesty to "justice".

      "Real reform" would be a total rewrite of all sex offender laws and allow such to rejoin society without such harsh sanctions on them. whom do i need to annoy a trillion times a day to get voices and needs heard? i will do whatever is necessary

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    2. By all means guide me. I will do whatever is necessary. if i had money i would throw all that i had at it.

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    3. I don't have any better answers, Bob. I've been at this since 2004 and even now, the Anti-Registry Movement is a small movement that is understaffed and underfunded.

      I was lucky I even had anyone going to Montgomery with me a couple of years ago to stop the anti-clustering bill. I have even fewer Bama contacts than I did in 2013. I'm lucky if anyone responds to these action alerts, but you'd be amazed how few people it takes to stop a bad bill.

      What you must understand is bills in Alabama get passed because NO ONE challenges the laws. If we challenge these laws, we are more likely to stop these laws. But stopping legislation is a yearly cycle. Every election means a few new faces in need of educating. Just like the big boys up on Capitol Hill in DC, legislators rely on special interest groups to analyze bills. Well, that is where we come in.

      If you want to get involved, then trying to stop bills at the legislative level is a good place to start. Perhaps if you are looking for action, maybe you'd like to join me in Tallahassee FL on April 22 at the Florida State House (corner of Monroe & Alapachee) at 3:30pm to protest the registry. Public demonstrations also help raise awareness.

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