Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Feds Release New Adam Walsh Act Guidelines

U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Justice Programs: New Adam Walsh Act Guidelines.

On July 1, 2008, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey released the National Guidelines on Sex Offender Registration and Notification. These Final Guidelines, designed to assist jurisdictions with their SORNA implementation efforts, will be published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2008. Following the public comment period on the Proposed Guidelines, the SMART Office reviewed the more than 275 comments received and incorporated several suggestions in the Final Guidelines. In conjunction with the release of the Final Guidelines, the SMART Office published a set of frequently asked questions about the Final Guidelines and Fact Sheets to explain significant changes from the Proposed Guidelines, including revised minimum registration requirements for juvenile sex offenders. (Changes can be read here)

At the end of April 2008, the SMART Office awarded more than $11 million in funding to state, local, and tribal governments. This funding will be used to create or enhance sex offender registration programs, improve law enforcement and other justice agency information sharing as it relates to sex offender registration and notification, and collect, store, and link sex offender biometric data or submit for analysis DNA data for investigative purposes.

Later this month, the SMART Office will host its 2008 National Symposium (July 30-August 1, 2008 ) on Sex Offender Management and Accountability. The symposium will bring together state and federal lawmakers, top state, local and tribal government officials, policy advisors, law enforcement, parole and probation officers, prosecutors, and frontline professionals who monitor, register, track, and manage sex offenders. The symposium also will include special tracks focusing on policy, enforcement, emerging issues, and topics related specifically to tribal governments and sex offender management in Indian Country.

(These laws are to apply to children as young as 14 years of age.)

(Read full text of guidelines .)

(Read FAQ of SORNA guidelines.)

Regarding Retroactive application:
Section 113: "(d) Initial Registration of Sex Offenders Unable To Comply With Subsection (b)- The Attorney General shall have the authority to specify the applicability of the requirements of this title to sex offenders convicted before the enactment of this Act or its implementation in a particular jurisdiction, and to prescribe rules for the registration of any such sex offenders and for other categories of sex offenders who are unable to comply with subsection (b)."

(Section 113(d) ensures that there will be a means to resolve issues about the scope of SORNA's applicability, including any questions that may arise concerning the retroactive applicability of its requirements to sex offenders convicted prior to its enactment.)