Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sex Offender Law Controversial

NevadaAppeal.com (Nevada) : Sex Offender Law Controversial

If a new Nevada law concerning sex offenders goes into effect, Carson City will go from zero, to an estimated 23, Tier 3 offenders — a term once used to identify an offender who was believed most likely to commit a sexual crime again.

The increase in Tier 3 offenders won’t be because those people suddenly moved here.

They’ve lived here all along, deemed either Tier 2, “moderate risk” or Tier 1, “low risk” under Nevada’s former system based on a individual assessment of an offender’s risk to the community.

Buckling under the pressure to enact the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act rather than lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in federal funding, Nevada legislators adopted the new system which replaces the individualized risk-based assessments with tier levels dictated by the type of crime committed.

No longer will the tier levels indicate whether or not a sex offender is low risk, moderate risk or high risk to the community.

That, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, is dangerous to the community and in violation of a number of rights afforded individuals in the U.S. and Nevada constitutions.

“The new system is totally divorced now from risk to the community,” said Lee Rowland, northern coordinator for the ACLU of Nevada. “Now all of a sudden the designation of Tier 3 no longer has any relationship to risk.”

On Thursday, Las Vegas Judge David Wall issued a preliminary injunction in a case filed on behalf of two convicted sex offenders who challenged the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 579.

Wall granted the delay until Aug. 29, when he will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the law passed by the 2007 state Legislature.