Monday, April 7, 2008

Targeting past sex offenders

Joplin Globe/Missouri: Senators back amendment targeting past sex offenders.

Senators endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday that could undo a Missouri Supreme Court ruling and restore the names and addresses of more than 4,300 past sex offenders to a state registry. They also voted to require sex offenders to stay in their homes on Halloween. The Senate’s effort to increase the tracking and public notification of people convicted of decades-old sex offenses came just moments after a registered sex offender urged a House committee to use restraint in imposing new restrictions. Aside from registering their names, addresses and other information, sex offenders also are prohibited under Missouri law from living or loitering near schools and child care centers.

“I am not for sex offenders,” Rep. Nasheed said. “However, I do believe we can go too far.”

The amendment seeks to undo a June 2006 Missouri Supreme Court decision that sex offenders convicted of crimes before Missouri’s registry law took effect in January 1995 cannot be required to register. The high court ruled the law violated the state constitution’s prohibition on retrospective laws.

As a result, the sex offender registry maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol no longer lists the addresses of 4,364 people whose most recent sex-offense conviction occurred before 1995, said patrol spokesman Capt. Tim Hull. The registry still listed detailed information for 6,995 other offenders as of Tuesday, Hull said.