Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NV and NY Scrap Sex Offender Restrictions : Legislators Kills Sex Offender Bill. : Sex offender residency rule off the table in Ulster County.

Carson City, Nevada- A bill that would have changed lifetime supervision requirements imposed on convicted sex offenders has been killed by the state legislature. Initially introduced by the Division of Parole and Probation, the bill is one of two that would change how sex offenders -- sentenced to a lifetime of parole -- are tracked, while a second bill would not automatically restore the civil rights of those offenders.

Legislators and officials from the American Civil Liberties Union said the bills would violate constitutional due process protections and goes too far. They added that the parole board should focus on the "host of other problems they face," which was recently outlined in a legislative audit.

Kingston, NY — Acting on the recommendation of the county attorney, Ulster County Legislature Chairman David Donaldson has pulled the plug on an effort to restrict where in the county registered sex offenders may live.

During a meeting last week, Donaldson, D-Kingston, ruled out of order a resolution to schedule a public hearing on a proposed local law to prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day-care center. He said a ruling in Rockland County that an almost identical law there is unconstitutional calls into question the legitimacy of Ulster’s proposed law.

“When we compared what their law was against what was being proposed, it was determined that our law would likewise be declared unconstitutional under the same facts and circumstances as in Rockland County,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson added that county law-enforcement and mental health officials have said such a law would be impossible to enforce and could be counterproductive because it could force sex offenders to choose not to register, making it impossible to monitor their movements.

In a court decision dated Jan. 22, state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly struck down the Rockland County law, saying it “impermissibly conflicts with the state enactments.” The lawsuit was brought by a sex offender who is an orthodox Jew and said he must live within walking distance of a synagogue.

Similar laws have been adopted elsewhere the state, but many of those — including laws in Albany, Washington and Rensselaer counties — now are facing court challenges.