Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nevada Sex Offender Law Overturned Nevada Sex Offender Law Overturned Sex Offender Law Dropped

Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge kept a new state sex offender law from going into effect. The law would have forced other offenders - who committed crimes and served their time long ago - to sign up with the state's sex offender registry, even though the registry may not have been around at the time of their conviction.

A federal judge ruled that changes to Nevada's sex offender law are unconstitutional. The changes would have grouped all of the offenders together so that, no matter how minor the offense, everyone convicted would have to register as a sex offender, dating all the way back to 1956.

Cameron Wolter was convicted 22 years ago. "My offense was with an adult. She said it wasn't consensual after the fact." Camerson says he obeyed all of the registration rules, yet was afraid that the new law would cost him again.

The ACLU agrees, and that's why it brought the lawsuit against the state of Nevada.

"I think the court recognized that the state of Nevada is safer under the old statutory scheme because it does provide an assessment of each individual law," explains Robert Langford with the ACLU. "We need to go back on the table and really think about re-victimization. And also, do we set ourselves up for failure by putting a law that they all become tier three - and parole and probation could not possibly keep up with it?"

Because these changes are not going to be implemented, Nevada could lose about $300,000 in Justice Department grants. It's possible that the federal government will appeal the ruling or try to pass the laws again.