Monday, March 15, 2010

MD House Approves Numerous Sex Offender Bills MD House committee approves mixed bag of child sex offender laws, politics a factor.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a slate of sex offender bills late Friday. The raft of bills appear to be a mixed bag when it comes to enhancing Maryland’s sex offender laws, some good, others mere political window dressing for the 2010 election.

Governor O’Malley got the political window dressing he desired in the form of HB 473 a bill filed on his request that ostensibly requires lifetime monitoring of serious child sex offenders. However, the bill allows offenders the ability to petition for release from lifetime monitoring after three years. The committee amended that period to five years—a distinction with no real difference given the nature of child sex offenders. Smigiel said labeling the bill as lifetime supervision intentionally misleads the public. “There is no reason to call it lifetime supervision,” Smigiel said. “It’s simply semantics.”

Other measures approved by the committee include a juvenile offender database accessible by law enforcement only, changing legislative language to mandate state agencies post identifying information about offenders, and expanding the definition of an offender to include decent exposure and possession of child pornography.

To view the bills not mentioned in our post, see the original news article. We are not contending sentencing bills. We only oppose the unconstitutional application of sex offender registries.