Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Finally a sane court rules that these retro-active registration laws are indeed punitive in nature !
An appellate court has ruled that the state cannot require a West Feliciana Parish man to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life or carry a special driver’s license and identification card.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal overturns a District Court judge’s ruling against Jimmy L. Smith, who was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile and carnal knowledge of a juvenile when he was 19.
Charles Griffin II, Smith’s attorney, said Smith served his sentence for the 1995 convictions, completed his probation and complied with post-release registration requirements for a 10-year period after he was released from prison.
Smith said authorities told him in 2009 that he would have to register again as a sex offender for the rest of his life because the law had changed after he was convicted.
Smith complied, but challenged the order in 20th Judicial District Court. Unless the state decides to challenge the ruling, Griffin said, Smith will be able to get a driver’s license without “sex offender” written on it in orange letters. Driver’s licenses for sex offenders must be renewed annually.
The opinion, issued Friday by Judges Vanessa G. Whipple, Jefferson D. Hughes III and Jewel E. “Duke” Welch, says case records show that Smith fulfilled his duty to register as a sex offender for the period of time that was applicable when he was convicted.
The opinion says Louisiana’s version of “Megan’s Law,” has a legitimate civil purpose to alert and protect the public from sex offenders who might offend again.
In Smith’s case, however, the amendments adopted after his conviction are “so punitive in effect as to transform what was intended as a civil remedy into an additional punishment for him.”
The retroactive application of amendments to the law violates the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions, the opinion says.
This decision can be read here:
Case Numbers 2009 CA 1765 and 2009 CW 1169
JIMMY L SMITH VERSUS STATE OF LOUISIANA - March 26 2010
"Based on the particular facts of this case we find that the application of the amended provisions of LaRS51454 as amended by 2007 La Acts No 460 and as amended by 2008 La Acts Nos 462 and 816 to Mr Smith is so punitive in effect as to transform what was intended as a civil remedy into an additional punishment for him. Louisiana Megan's Law has a legitimate civil purpose - to alert and protect the public from sex offenders who may offend again. The provisions of Megans Law were already imposed on complied with and fulfilled by Mr Smith. Thus the purpose of Megans Law has been served. To now impose additional time on Mr Smith duty to register after his duty had already terminated either for his lifetime or for an additional five years imposes a
significant affirmative obligation on him. Because Megans Law's non punitive purpose has already been served by Mr Smith's compliance with the statute, this new additional affirmative obligation is excessive in relation to Megans Law's non punitive purpose as it is being applied without regard to Mr Smith risk of re offending. Thus placing the burden on Mr Smith to re register as a sex offender for the duration of his life or for an additional five years after his duty to register had already terminated constitutes another punishment for his offense."
"Additionally requiring Mr Smith either for the duration of his lifetime or for an additional five years to re register as a sex offender and to comply with the community and public notification procedures would also impose a new financial burden on Mr Smith.
"An offender who serves the entirety of his sentence and upon release is subjected to a new financial burden that was not in place when he committed his crime is not merely subjected to a regulatory cost but rather an affirmative disability amounting to punishment."
"As we have concluded that the application of the amended provisions of La RS 51454 as amended by 2007 La Acts No 460 and as amended by 2008 La Acts Nos 462 and 816 transforms what was intended as a civil remedy into a punitive one for him thereby increasing the penalty by which his crime is punishable the retroactive application of those amendments to Mr Smith violates the United States and Louisiana constitutional prohibitions of ex post facto. Accordingly the judgment of the trial court ordering Mr Smith to register as a lifetime sex offender pursuant to the amended provisions of La SR 51454 is hereby reversed."
"Furthermore because we can find no statutory authority nor have we been directed to any other applicable statutory authority by which the State can command Mr Smith to reregister as a sex offender for the duration of his life or any further time period as Mr Smith has already fulfilled his duty to register as a sex offender for the requisite period of time under the provisions of former La SR 51454 applicable to his case we hereby render judgment prohibiting the State from enforcing the provisions of LaRS 51450 et seq against Mr Smith
with regard to the convictions for the two sexual offenses addressed herein."
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
“We've learned that residency restrictions don't make any difference,” said State Representative Rich Glorioso , a Republican from Plant City, Florida. “They have not been shown to stop repeat offenders.”
He says there’s a better way and calls it the "circle of safety." His plan restricts where sex offenders can hang out. It’s designed to keep sex offenders from loitering near kids. The proposed law would keep them 300 feet away or the length of a football field.
“We don't care where these guys are sleeping,” said Rep. Glorioso. “I want to know what they're doing when they're awake.”
Rep. Glorioso has introduced a bill in Tallahassee. It doesn't eliminate residency restrictions, but he thinks if his "circle of safety" law passes, over time there will be no need for the current rules which force sex offenders to live together in tents, trailers or motels, and the general public will be safer for it.
Philly.com: Man shot dead in car in North Philly was sex offender.
A 35-year-old man found shot dead in a car in North Philadelphia has been identified as a neighborhood resident. Police say Hassain Griffin was shot in the head and left side following an unspecified argument while sitting in the car around the corner from where he lived.
Griffin pleaded guilty last July to indecent assault and corruption of minors.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Registered sex offenders will no longer be allowed to enter South Carolina’s state parks if lawmakers have their way.
State Rep. Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston) offered a bill last week that would ban sex offenders from parks, something he said was a response to the highly-publicized a response to the rape and murder of 17-year-old California girl. Limehouse said park-goers are vulnerable in rural areas where there is little law enforcement. The legislation currently has 39 co-sponsors.
Not only is this a constitutional violation of the rights of citizens, but it is also impossible to enforce. If you live in South Carolina, call this idiot (and the co-sponsors) to tell them to knock it off.
Bill -H. 4774: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess118_2009-2010/bills/4774.htm
Sponsors: Reps. Limehouse, Brantley, Simrill, Miller, McEachern, Sottile, Vick, Hayes, Knight, H.B. Brown, Hutto, Anthony, Bowen, R.L. Brown, Crawford, Daning, Hamilton, Horne, Jefferson, Littlejohn, Long, Lowe, Mack, Millwood, Mitchell, D.C. Moss, Nanney, Parker, M.A. Pitts, Rice, Sandifer, G.R. Smith, Stringer, Toole, Umphlett, Whipper, Willis, Wylie and A.D. Young
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ms\7739ahb10.docx
"TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 23-3-537 SO TO PROHIBIT A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER FROM ENTERING OR REMAINING IN A STATE PARK OR FACILITY UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, RECREATION AND TOURISM AND TO PROVIDE A PENALTY; TO AMEND SECTION 51-3-70, RELATING TO RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR STATE PARKS, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, RECREATION AND TOURISM TO ESTABLISH POLICIES FOR POSTING INFORMATION REGARDING UNSOLVED ATTACKS THAT OCCUR IN THE STATE PARKS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 51-3-145, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO CERTAIN ACTS WHICH ARE UNLAWFUL AT STATE PARKS, SO AS TO INCLUDE ENTERING A STATE PARK IF THE PERSON IS A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER. "
Topeka- A bill passed by the Kansas House on Wednesday would land people convicted of hiring a prostitute on the state’s sex offender list for 10 years.
Many states, including Kansas, already require sex offender registration for those soliciting minors. Some states, such as California, give judges the discretion to require registration in solicitation cases. But adding solicitation to the crimes requiring offender registration would be a significant expansion of the offender registry, critics said.
Slattery’s amendment passed the House easily, but it’s likely to run into trouble in the Senate. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican, worries that adding solicitation to the list of crimes requiring registration goes too far. “We’ve expanded it more and more and more,” Owens said. “It diminishes the impact. How far do we go?”
We are all for adding groups of citizens to online registries. This will join drunk driving, animal abuse, sex offenses, murders, gun crimes, child abuse and more as crimes deemed by our governments to be publicly shamed online. The more , the merrier. We have already diluted sex offender registries with almost one million offenders; most of whom pose little or no threat to anyone. With the online registries promulgating like this, they only become the butt of jokes, which will eventually kill them altogether.
Registered sex offenders who are parents or legal guardians of school children will be barred from school events like ballgames and will be required to receive written permission before entering school grounds, under a bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Barnes of Adams and Rep. Phillip Johnson of Pegram.
“Registered sex offenders have no business going to after-school events, and they shouldn’t be anywhere near a school without a principal’s knowledge,” Barnes said. “Parents and teachers should know that their children are learning and playing in a safe environment.” The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the bill Monday evening.
The bill (SB2988/HB3263) bans parents and legal guardians who are registered sexual offenders from their children’s school events like plays and ballgames. Those individuals will have to obtain written permission from a school principal or administrator before attending conferences, and provide written notice of their status upon their child’s enrollment in order to drop off or pick up their child. Current law allows such parents to do all of the above without written permission or notice. Violation of the proposed law would result in a fine. Monetary penalties for violations of current sex offender restrictions range from $350 to $1,100.
Parents in Tennessee should contact these two idiots to explain to them that parents on a sex offender registry are "parents" too - and are entitled to the same rights as any other parent to support and watch their children play and grow up ! Just because they may have made a horrible mistake, often decades ago, does not prevent them from being outstanding parents.
Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing for a national registry of child abusers. "Track child beaters like we do sex offenders," blares one headline. It sounds like a righteous idea, at first glance. But although it may look like a huge step, and is certainly being announced as such, ultimately it will only make it easier for people to find out what other people already know.
Registries for child abuse already exist, on the state level, though federal law doesn't mandate that states keep them. A key factor in the national registry -- which was authorized in 2006, but which has not yet been put into place (an extensive feasibility report was published in May 2009) -- is that it would centralize the information and allow child protective services easier access to it when abusers cross state lines.
Schumer compared the national registry for child abusers to registries for sex offenders. But that begins to make clear some of the potential shortfalls of the system: For one, tracking sex offenders is only one of the ways we work to prevent repeat crimes, and it doesn't always work. And, just as in the case of the sex offender registry, this system would only work to track abusers who have been reported -- which seems like a point so obvious it's not worth bringing up, until you think about how under-reported child abuse actually is.
We are all for adding groups of citizens to online registries. Child abuse will join drunk driving, animal abuse, sex offenses, murders, gun crimes and more as crimes deemed by our governments to be publicly shamed online. The more , the merrier. We have already diluted sex offender registries with almost one million offenders; most of whom pose little or no threat to anyone. With the online registries promulgating like this, they only become the butt of jokes, which will eventually kill them altogether.
A monthly magazine that features Indiana sex offenders is part of a personal mission for a man who was a victim of abuse. The magazine is now offered in 55 Speedway stores in the Indianapolis area.
The publisher, who only wants to be identified as Ryan, designed the magazine and pays for all the printing costs, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.
"I don't think the registry (online) is in your face enough," said Ryan. The magazine has pictures of convicted sex offenders and outlines the charges against them. With more than 2,000 sexual predators in Indianapolis and new offenders being released from jail frequently, the featured pictures will change each month.
Ryan insisted that publishing the information is fair game because it's already online and public domain anyway. He argued that the high recidivism rate of sexual abuse warrants the scrutiny and that his endeavor will be a success if it prevents one child from going through what he did. The magazine is currently only offered in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, but Ryan hopes to expand to other cities.
Courts around the nation should see this increasing vigilantism as a result of their refusal to rule these registries as "punitive". This man, understandably afraid to reveal his true name, is using his own dysfunctional psyche to further harass individuals who are already being publicly shamed via online sex offender registries. What he is doing is borderline illegal according to most local sheriff department guidelines regarding distribution of sex offender information. Hopefully, one or more of these offenders will sue him, or he will be arrested and charged with illegal dissemination of sex offender registry information to the public.
Not only this, but he even spouts the typically false recidivism rate mantra. US Department of Justice statistics report that sex offender recidivism is around 5 %.
Friday, March 26, 2010
The attorney for a retired Tucson police officer indicted on child-pornography charges is challenging a federal law that requires his client to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Michael Piccarreta contends the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is unconstitutional as a whole and as it applies to his client, Jefferson Sutton Stahl, because it prevents individual judges from determining whether electronic monitoring is needed.
"While I think this act is good politics, it's probably bad constitutional law," Piccarreta said Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
The Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy who was abducted from a mall in 1981 and later found murdered, (but no sexual crime was every alleged) was signed into law in 2006 and applies to all sex crimes. Among its provisions is a requirement that defendants out of custody be subjected to electronic monitoring.
Stahl, 62, was indicted in January on three counts of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.
Piccarreta told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro deciding whether a defendant requires electronic monitoring should be up to the judge, not up to legislation. "I feel it's inappropriate for Congress to limit judicial power," he said.
Big Brother !
Annapolis, MD. — Both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly have endorsed authorizing Marylanders to report parents to police if they suspect them of allowing their children to spend time with sex offenders.
The House of Delegates unanimously voted for the legislation Thursday. The Senate passed a similar bill last week. The measure authorizes people to report parents, guardians and caregivers suspected of letting kids live with or be in the regular presence of child sex offenders.
The votes comes months after the highly publicized slaying of a Salisbury girl. (for political expediency, of course)
Authorities allege 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell was killed by a registered sex offender who is a former boyfriend of her aunt and legal guardian. (Note: As is usually the case, this man was a REGISTERED sex offender - and that did not stop the murder, did it?)
Representatives of the House and the Senate will confer and work out any differences between the bills.
Read House Bill 811: http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/amds/bil_0001/hb0811_39251101.pdf
Maryland citizens should contact their Representatives
Thursday, March 25, 2010
A convicted sex offender now living in the City of Poughkeepsie faces up to three years in state prison for failing to notify law enforcement authorities about a website he maintains on the Internet.
R.M., 53, of ____ Street, entered a guilty plea today in Dutchess County Court to failure to maintain records as a sex offender, a felony.
R.M. acknowledged he has maintained the website, rxxxxxxxx.com, since he moved to Poughkeepsie from Georgia in February 2009. The website purports to offer counseling and support for addicts and sex offenders and their families.
In exchange for his guilty plea, Martin was promised a sentence of no more than one to three years in prison. He remains jailed pending his sentencing, scheduled for April 22.
This is why you should care. And judges still refuse to recognize these laws as unconstitutional !
If any reader has a reference to the NY law, where is specifies this requirement, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Augusta -- The House voted Tuesday to allow some people convicted of a single sex offense more than a decade ago to ask to be removed from the state's sex offender registry.
(This appears to be a political con-job. Most prosecutions and plea agreements assure that at least two charges are made to avoid such laws. Laws such as those to "expunge a first-time felony" only apply to one charge. Thus, they avoid allowing anyone to successfully apply for such exemptions.)
The bill, L.D. 1822, reflected a December opinion of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that forcing some people to register and notify police of their addresses violated Maine and United States constitutions by imposing what amounted to punishment after sentencing.
The first sex offender registry in Maine was created in 1992. More crimes were added to the list of those requiring registration during the 1990s. A 1999 law required convicts to notify police of their addresses annually or every three months, depending on the offense.
A 2001 law made the 1999 law retroactive so that anybody convicted of certain sex offenses after 1992 also had to register. The so-called "look-back" mechanism was extended to 1982 in 2005.
Four years later, lawmakers enacted a law allowing people with a single sex conviction between 1982 and 1992 and no subsequent felony or sex convictions to apply for a registry waiver. As of January, 430 of 3,200 registrants who potentially would be eligible applied; 175 waivers were granted, said Rep. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, co-chairwoman of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
The bill voted Tuesday would also allow people with a single sex-offense conviction between 1992 and 1999 to ask the department for a waiver if he or she did not then commit another sex offense or felony.
"There are some people who we need to know where they are all the time, and there are some people who will never be a threat to us," Haskell said. Haskell said she plans to introduce a bill to modernize the state's sex offender registry and notification system next year.
Download LD 1822 here.
"Whereas, in order for the Legislature to respond to the Law Court's concerns raised regarding
the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 1999
prior to the March 31, 2010 expiration of the stay of the Law Court's decision in State v. Letalien, this
legislation must take effect as expeditiously as possible;"
"1. Exception. Notwithstanding section 11202, a person is not required to register under this chapter if that person submits to the bureau, in a form to be determined by the bureau, documentation to establish the following:
A. The person was sentenced in the State on or after January 1, 1982 and prior to June 30, 1992
and was finally discharged from the correctional system at least 10 years prior to submitting documentation to the bureau under this section; the person was sentenced in the State on or after June 30, 1992 and prior to September 18, 1999 and was finally discharged from the correctional system at least 10 years prior to submitting documentation to the bureau under this section; the person was sentenced in another jurisdiction, was finally discharged from the correctional system at least 10 years prior to submitting documentation to the bureau under this section and has been in compliance with the registration duties as a resident required under
subchapter 2 since September 12, 2009; or the person was sentenced in the State on or after September 18, 1999 and prior to July 30, 2004 for a violation of former Title 17A, section 252 and was finally discharged from the correctional system at least 10 years prior to submitting documentation to the bureau under this section. For purposes of this paragraph, "finally discharged from the correctional system" includes completion of probation;"
"B. The person's convictions do not include more than one Class A sex offense or sexually violent offense or more than one conviction in another jurisdiction for an offense that contains the essential elements of a Class A sex offense or sexually violent offense, whether or not the convictions occurred on the same date;
C. At the time of the offense, the person had not been previously sentenced in this State as an adult or as a juvenile sentenced as an adult for a sex offense or a sexually violent offense;
D. At the time of the offense, the person had not been previously sentenced in another jurisdiction as an adult or as a juvenile sentenced as an adult for an offense that contains the essential elements of a sex offense or a sexually violent offense;
E. Subsequent to the commission of conviction for the sex offense or sexually violent offense, the person has not been convicted of a crime under Title 17 or Title 17A in this State that is punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or more; and
F. Subsequent to the commission of conviction for the sex offense or sexually violent offense, the person has not been convicted under the laws of any other jurisdiction of a crime that is punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. This paragraph does not include a crime under the laws of another jurisdiction that is classified by the laws of that jurisdiction as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 2 years or less."
What's worse than bad legislation or no legislation at all?
Feel-good legislation that makes politicians look good, his or her constituents feel good and then sends everyone home to exactly the same problem.
Congratulations, Hartford state Rep. Kelvin Roldan. Roldan is proposing a bill that would make it illegal for registered sex offenders to live within 2,000 feet of a public or private school or day care facility in the city. Which translates into almost anywhere in the city.
Sounds good, right? Hartford has more registered sex offenders within its 18 square miles than any other Connecticut town or city — more than 500 as of 2009. It'd be nice for other towns to share the burden. But then that can be said for just about every problem that the city is saddled with.
And sure, it'd be great to exile sex offenders to a place where they can never harm a child. But that's not going to happen. What likely will happen is exactly what critics who testified before the judiciary committee Monday said: They'll go underground. And an unmonitored sex offender you can't find is far more dangerous than a registered offender. At least you know where they live.
Besides, here's another reality: Despite all the stranger-danger after-school specials people in Roldan and my generation grew up with, that's a myth. Statistics show that many more children are molested, abducted or killed by people they know than by strangers.
In explaining his logic, Roldan said the law would help keep registered sex offenders out of situations that might cause them to commit another crime. "This is all about the safety of our children," Roldan said.
No, it's not. This bill doesn't amount to much more than legislative low hanging fruit that makes for a nice sound bite. Sounds good, but totally unrealistic.
And right now, Hartford's children are in more danger from what's not going on inside city schools than from what may be lurking outside of them.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Our sources have informed us that the Ohio Supreme Court will not rule on these four consolidated cases until after the May 4, 2010 Primary Election date. Three Ohio Supreme Court Justice seats are up for grabs in this Primary.
|Chief Justice||(R): Maureen O' Connor (D): Eric Brown||Thomas Moyer is leaving office.|| |
|Justice, January 1 Term||(R): Judith Ann Lanzinger (D): Mary Jane Trapp||Judith Ann Lanzinger is up for re-election.|| |
|Justice, January 2 Term||(R): Paul Pfeifer||Paul Pfeifer is up for re-election.|
It sickens us to see political motivations play into these crucial constitutional cases. It is simply shameful that Justices will not simply do the right thing, without regard for their re-election aspirations. Instead, they allow this Ohio Adam Walsh Act/SORNA/Senate Bill 10 sex offender law to continue its devastation within the families of 30,000 Ohio citizens.
Monday, March 22, 2010
The Ohio Revised Code is posted online through the LAW Writer® web site (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc). You can search terms , section numbers or chapter numbers throughout the text of the ORC via the search box on that page.
For example, by searching "2950" you will find:
Chapter 2950: SEXUAL PREDATORS, HABITUAL SEX OFFENDERS, SEXUALLY ORIENTED OFFENDERS
http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2950 where you can read the law in its entirety.
By searching "sex offender fees" you will find:
311.171 Fees for sex offender registration and notification.http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/311.171 where you can read the state law regarding the charging of fees to sex offenders for the privilege of registering at the County Sheriff offices. This will explain what income level allows for exemption from paying fees, and what they can do to you if you do not/cannot pay these fees (they can only pursue it like any other bill/debt):
"(6) The sheriff shall report unpaid fees in accordance with division (C) of section 325.31 of the Revised Code, and the county may recover those fees in a civil action in the same manner as other money due the county.
(D) Each time a person appears before the sheriff to provide any registration or verification specified in division (B) of this section for which the sheriff charges a fee, the sheriff shall determine whether the person is able to pay the fee. In making that determination, the sheriff shall determine whether the person’s income is less than one hundred twenty-five per cent of the federal poverty level. A person whose income is equal to or greater than one hundred twenty-five per cent of the federal poverty level shall be considered able to pay the fee."
By searching "sex offender email" you can find exactly what personal information the Sheriff Department is permitted to obtain from you.
2950.04 Duty to register - form
2950.041 Personal registration with sheriff.
2950.05 Notice of residence address change.
In these sections you can find that information includes "vehicle information, email addresses, internet identifiers, or telephone numbers registered to or used by the offender or registrant". Employment information, travel documents, ect. are also required. But you should read this for yourself. We are simply providing information resource for you to educate yourself.
**This posting is for reference purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice in any way. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Download entire newsletter here.
Senate Bill 428. SB 428 is Pennsylvania’s version of the Adam Walsh Act. This act makes offender’s lives considerably more difficult. In addition, it severely increases their registration periods. This piece of legislation will increase an offender’s registration period to a minimum of 15 years. On average most ten year offenders will be stuck registering for at least a 25 year period depending on their tier. This Bill needs to be aggressively scrutinized and opposed.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Jane Claire Orie 9400 McKnight Rd., LaCasa Blanca Building, Suite 105 , Pittsburgh, PA 15237, Phone (412)630-9466 Email: email@example.com Home page: http://www.senatororie.com
House Bill 2002. HB 2002 entails that an employer’s address be posted on the Megan’s Law website. It is hard enough to find employment for offenders without them making it even more difficult.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Julie Harhart
2030 Center Street
Northampton, PA 18067
Phone (610) 502-2701 Fax: (610) 502-2704 Home Page: http://www.julieharhart.com
House Bill 989. HB 989 wants to put internet restrictions on sex offenders and make offenders register all their information (e.g., e-mail addresses). Not very realistic in an age that requires a computer for just about everything.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Steven J. Santarsiero
277 North Sycamore Street
Newtown, PA 18940
Phone (215) 968-3975 Fax: (215) 968-4674 Home Page: http://www.pahouse.com/santarsiero
House Bill 356. HB 356 requires GPS monitoring devices to be worn by certain sex offenders; increases sentences and registration requirements. This Bill is another example of an over-zealous law-maker attempting to win votes. It gives judges no discretion in their sentencing and mandates lengthy prison sentences ranging from 25 to 50 years incarceration for first time offenders.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. John D. Payne
250 West Chocolate Ave.
Hershey, PA 17033
Phone (717) 534-1323 Fax: (717) 534-1457 Home Page: http://www.reppayne.com
House Bill 484. HB 484 pretty much eliminates any type of pre-release for a sex offender currently incarcerated. This piece of legislation is specifically geared towards sex offenders and is solely met to keep them incarcerated.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Mark Longietti
2213 Shenango Valley Freeway
Hermitage, PA 16148
Phone (724) 981-4655 Fax: (724) 981-6528
Senate Bill 1231. SB 1231 is geared at making it a criminal offense for a homeless sex offender who fails to register for Megan’s Law. Another piece of completely irresponsible legislation that is geared at sending a sex offender back to prison. Perhaps finding shelter is more of a priority for them?
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Gene Yaw
House Bill 344. House Bill 344 wants to remove the Statute of Limitations on a Civil Action against a sex offender. So, when an offender finally rehabilitates themselves and perhaps makes a little money; the victim can come back from the past, and for all practical purposes, sue the offender for everything they just worked for.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Louise Williams Bishop
1991 North 63rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19151
Phone (215) 879-6625 Fax: (215) 879-8566 Home Page: http://www.pahouse.com/bishop
House Bill 1024. Wants to add additional registration requirements. Just what offenders needed the most; more registration requirements. When will they figure out that registration prevents absolutely nothing?
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Ronald G. Waters
6027 Ludlow Street Unit A
Philadelphia, PA 19139
Phone (215) 748-6712 Fax: (215) 748-1687 Home Page: http://www.pahouse.com/waters
House Bill 2082. This bill entails the State terminating the parental rights of a convicted sex offender. Another attack on an offender’s constitutional right to have a family.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Hon. Ronald G. Waters
6027 Ludlow Street Unit A
Philadelphia, PA 19139
Phone (215) 748-6712 Fax: (215) 748-1687 Home Page: http://www.pahouse.com/waters
What each individual needs to do:
Contact these legislators via phone and mail. Let them know the facts about these laws and why passing legislation like this is simply irresponsible.
Let them know how this piece of legislation affects you. Give them real-world scenarios. Let them know how it counter-acts your rehabilitation and reintegration back into society.
Contact your local district representatives to oppose these Bills. Advise them on passing responsible legislation that makes sense; not “feel good” legislation that accomplishes nothing.
Be brief, respectful, and to-the-point with these legislators. Tax-payers do not have the money to waste on frivolous legislation that truly fails to prevent sexual violence.
Back up your material with facts; not just conjecture. Do some research; quote from reliable sources. There are plenty of resources out there that will back up our position.
The aforementioned Bills are currently being considered. The time to attack these Bills is now; not later after they have already passed. There is no guarantee that these Bills will become law; however, there is a strong possibility that the majority of these laws proposed will indeed pass because of the political environment and societal ignorance to the subject matter. The time to act is now!
*Additional info can be found on: http://www.legis.state.pa.us should you require it.*
*If you require assistance on research please email firstname.lastname@example.org*
-Watch Dr. Chrysanthi Leon as she guides you through the facts.
-Download Dr. Leon's Presentation and follow the links that lead to her conclusions.
-Download the Presentation Here
Not only is the sex offender registry notoriously incomplete and will continue to be under the proposed new legislation, but it is also a misguided and misdirected law that casts far too wide a net, in the process preventing authorities from dealing with the really big problem at hand, that is, sexual abuse against children. More than 95% of sexual crimes against children are by family members or at the hands of people they know.
A statistically insignificant number of these despicable, heinous attacks are ever reported, with the result that the number of charges and subsequent convictions resulting from these crimes, albeit very important, are few and far between. Child protection laws must be reported, given adequate resources, both from a financial and human resources point of view, and enforced. It is scary and unthinkable to consider the consequences of failing to deal with child abuse when this, in the grand scheme of things, continues to be a low national priority.
-Emile Therien, John Howard Society
State v. Smith (2008AP1011, March 19, 2010
Wisconsin’s sex offender registry statute, Wis. Stat. § 301.45
Wisconsin's Supreme Court on Friday upheld the requirement that a man convicted of a crime with no sexual component still must register as a sex offender.
James W. Smith was convicted in Brown County in 2001 of false imprisonment of a minor for making the victim ride with him while he attempted to collect a drug debt from the victim's friend. Both he and the victim were 17 at the time.
Under Wisconsin's original 1993 statute, only those convicted of first- or second-degree sexual assault were required to register. In 1996, the law was expanded to require registration by those convicted of other crimes, including kidnapping or false imprisonment of a child.
After Smith failed to register as a sex offender, he was charged with that crime in 2005, convicted and sentenced to a year in prison. Smith appealed on the grounds that, as applied to him, the state's registry law was irrational, arbitrary and unconstitutional. The state Appeals Court upheld the requirement and the Supreme Court granted review.
Writing for the majority, Justice Annette Ziegler found that the requirement, stated clearly in the statute, is rationally related to a legitimate government interest - protecting children and assisting law enforcement. Despite its name, the sex offender registry's goal is not to identify those convicted of sexual crimes.
More than 41 other states require sex offender registration for those convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor, even when there is no sexual element involved, according to the opinion.
Ziegler wrote that in many cases, people who kidnap children do have a sexual motivation.
In a dissent joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote that by failing to define the sex registry statute's purpose clearly, the majority abdicated its obligation to provide meaningful review. Under the majority view, Bradley wrote, anyone convicted of just about any crime should register if the broad purpose of the sex offender registry is protect the public and assist law enforcement.
The dissent notes that Smith was originally charged with taking a hostage, party to the crime, conviction of which would not have required listing on the sex offender registry. He plea-bargained down to the false imprisonment charge, and Bradley says neither the sentencing judge nor the writer of the pre-sentence investigation contemplated that Smith would have to register as a sex offender.
The dissent found there was no rational basis for making Smith register as a sex offender.
This is all good. Here's to diluting the registry to such an extent that it fails completely and is abolished.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Video courtesy of SexOffenderIssues
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I was shocked at the disregard and outright rudeness shown to members of our group as we stood before the (Maryland ) Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on March 16 to oppose many bills (especially HB936/SB854 and HB736/SB434) aimed at sex offenders, with no real consideration for the lives of the vast majority of victims, and certainly none for the vast majority of nonviolent, low-risk offenders.
Members of the committee pointedly got up and walked out when we spoke. They made disparaging remarks and spouted hearsay as if it were evidence. We citizens, as well as many well-spoken professionals, presented the committee with solid facts and dire warnings about what has happened in other states with similar laws. We stressed that all of us agree that dangerous, repeat offenders (aka predators) should be locked up for life. But fewer than 3 percent of all offenders fit this category! These laws would indiscriminately scoop up children sending "dirty" pictures to each other, consensual lovers who are too far apart in age, flashers, child porn possessors (yep, even accidental,) and guys with vindictive ex-wives.
We presented the same facts in the House Judiciary Committee on February 23. Fewer Delegates were openly rude -- but they weren't listening, either. The amended bills they have passed are actually worse than the originals!
Both committees heard over and over again how public registration has failed to prevent a single predatory offense in any state using it. How the common mis-perceptions that "sex offenders" are incurable, guaranteed to re-offend, and always getting worse, are totally not backed up by any reliable research that has been done in the past 20 years. How people who committed an offense several decades ago, and have been law-abiding, productive citizens ever since, will find themselves placed on this public registry.
I can promise you, delegates and senators, that the whole state of Maryland will regret the day you vote these bills into law. Our children will continue to be raped and molested (mostly within their own homes, by people who have never been on the public registry), our citizens will continue to live their lives in fear (because they erroneously think they are surrounded by predators), and our state will discover, to its eternal shame, the incredible toll in human lives these bills will ultimately take.
You will see, to your regret, that we were right about the astronomical budget it will take to implement -- and defend -- these totally ineffective laws. The thousands of formerly law-abiding, free citizens who suddenly find their lives completely destroyed by a public registry are going to sue you for damages and fight until their cases reach the highest courts and these laws are struck down. They are heinous, unconstitutional, and protect no one.
Senators, delegates, we have made every attempt to appeal to reason. There will be absolutely no joy in saying "We told you so!" Instead, we will be weeping beside you.
Coordinator of Families Advocating for Intelligent Registries.
Hartford, Conn.- The Connecticut Supreme Court is considering whether officials can keep private the process by which certain sex offenders get onto a non-public registry. The dispute concerns Connecticut's "restricted" sex offender registry, available only to police and courts.
By law, sex offenders can get on the restricted list if a judge decides they are not dangerous to the public and naming them would identify their victim. The Freedom of Information Commission and Department of Public Safety disagree over whether police must disclose when, where and by whom those court decisions were made.
Justices heard arguments Thursday from attorneys for both state agencies. A reporter for the Journal Inquirer newspaper of Manchester, which first sought the information, also spoke.
The Supreme Court has not said when it expects to rule.
Four nearly four years, we’ve been bashing Georgia’s current sex-offender law as draconian; practically unenforceable; counter-productive; and patently unfair under any yardstick you care to use. (For more details, check out my July 2006 cover story.)
Since then, various courts — both federal and state, including the Georgia Supreme Court — have blocked or stuck down portions of the law as unconstitutional, such as a measure to prohibit registered sex offenders from living near school bus stops and a provision that criminalized homelessness.
And yet, the law’s most destructive aspect has been left unchanged: that it provides for no meaningful distinction between a serial child molester and a teen convicted of having sex with an underage girlfriend (or boyfriend). In some baffling cases, people convicted of non-sex-related crimes have ended up on the registry, where they have to meet the same requirements as rapists.
In addition, the law doesn’t allow judges to decide whether a particular offender poses a legitimate threat to the community, even if he’s an 80-year-old former peeping tom who’s confined to a wheelchair.
All of this appears about to change. Before the current legislative session began, new-elected House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, took up the reform of the sex-offender law as his personal cause. As the former chairman of the House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee, Ralston was well aware of the law’s shortcomings and his House Bill 571 represents a near-total overhaul.
Over the past few weeks, Ralston’s bill has only gotten stronger, thanks to sensible tweaks and amendments. The version that passed the House on Tuesday on a 165-1 vote (yes, the one naysayer was Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Nutjob) would mark a return to sanity for Georgia.
Among HB 571’s many fixes:
- Judges would have the discretion to exempt some registered sex offenders from restrictions on where they’re allowed to work.
- Sex offenders would no longer be forced from their homes or apartments if a park or daycare opened nearby.
- Sex offenders would no longer be prohibited from taking part in such church activities as choir and Bible study.
- Homeless sex offenders would no longer risk prison for failing to have a fixed address.
- Sex offenders could petition to be released from the registry if their conviction was for a non-sexual crime; if they were determined to be of low risk to the public; or if they’ve successfully completed their sentence.
- The punishment for failing to register an address would be reduced from a mandatory 10-year prison term to one year for first-time offenders.
- One could no longer be added to the sex-offender registry for a misdemeanor.
And so forth. As we said, the bill has already passed the House with no real opposition, so what could go wrong now? Well, HB 571 next goes to Senate Judiciary, whose chairman, Sen. Preston Smith, has been on a law-and-order tear this session. Also, with Speaker Ralston as its author, the bill would make for a no-brainer bargaining chip if the Senate wanted to apply leverage on the House for some reason.
Are we implying that a reasonable and overdue piece of legislation stands a chance of being derailed for crass political motives? Say it ain’t so!
The Ohio Supreme Court has delivered a setback to efforts by state lawmakers to apply the tough new sex offender notification requirements laid out in the federal Adam Walsh Act. Lawmakers had intended for communities to be notified every time a sex offender in the most severe category began living, working or going to school in their neighborhoods. But the high court found that the state law's language conflicts with that intention.
In a unanimous decision Thursday, the court ruled that sex offenders classified in the most dangerous category after the law took effect Jan. 1, 2008, can still avoid the new community reporting requirements under exceptions similar to those in Ohio's old law.
The ruling leaves it up to a trial court's discretion whether a newly classified sex offender's whereabouts will be provided to neighbors, schools and certain volunteer organizations and businesses as provided by the new law, he said.
"The way the state of Ohio was arguing, it was that if you're a Tier III sex offender you're automatically having community notification; there's no discretion whatsoever," Prusak said. "But it's not like they just left out a word or so. The way the entire statute is written, it's giving the trial court that discretion."
Sen. Tim Grendell, chairman of the Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice, said Thursday he'll introduce a bill to fix the offending language.
We must all contact Senator Grendell immediately to stop him from drafting a new law which will impose community notification on all offenders.
1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 644-7718
"After today's Ohio Supreme Court ruling, it would seem reasonable that Ohio lawmakers would understand that this "piling on" of sex offender laws does have its limits.
Four consolidated cases involving Senate Bill 10 are still under review by the Ohio Supreme Court, which challenge its constitutionality.
We urge you NOT to pursue yet another bill regarding Senate Bill 10, which will increase restrictions and constraints on sex offenders in this state.
Stop the piling-on of sex offender laws in this state!"
Notice of identity and location of offender in specified geographical notification area.
This posting is to clarify exactly what RC 2590.11 says as it relates to our previous report.
See previous post: Ohio Supreme Court – Ohio vs. McConville – Case No. 2009-0893 – 3/18/2010Case Summary
2590.11 (B)(2) :
(B) The notice required under division (A) of this section shall include all of the following information regarding the subject offender or delinquent child:
(1) The offender’s or delinquent child’s name;
(2) The address or addresses of the offender’s or public registry-qualified juvenile offender registrant’s residence, school, institution of higher education, or place of employment, as applicable, or the residence address or addresses of a delinquent child who is not a public registry-qualified juvenile offender registrant;
2590.11 (F)(2) :
(F)(2) The notification provisions of this section do not apply to a person described in division (F)(1)(a), (b), or (c) of this section if a court finds at a hearing after considering the factors described in this division that the person would not be subject to the notification provisions of this section that were in the version of this section that existed immediately prior to the effective date of this amendment. In making the determination of whether a person would have been subject to the notification provisions under prior law as described in this division, the court shall consider the following factors:
(a) The offender’s or delinquent child’s age;
(b) The offender’s or delinquent child’s prior criminal or delinquency record regarding all offenses, including, but not limited to, all sexual offenses;
(c) The age of the victim of the sexually oriented offense for which sentence is to be imposed or the order of disposition is to be made;
(d) Whether the sexually oriented offense for which sentence is to be imposed or the order of disposition is to be made involved multiple victims;
(e) Whether the offender or delinquent child used drugs or alcohol to impair the victim of the sexually oriented offense or to prevent the victim from resisting;
The reporting on this case has been horrendous and inaccurate. This is not one of the challenges we have been following since November 2009 regarding retro-activity ex post fact, separation of powers, which should be decided soon. This is an important decision nonetheless. Although this a "slip" opinion (an initial notice which is subject to revision), it appears that this ruling relates only to community notification of those who were informed of their sex offender status after January 1, 2008.
The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that an exception to the community notification requirement for Tier III sex offenders set forth in current R.C. 2950.11(B)(2) applies to offenders who were first notified of their classification after Am Sub. S.B. 10 took effect on Jan. 1, 2008. In other words, even if you were reclassified after January 1, 2008, you are still permitted the exception to community notification. Community notification is the process of informing schools, neighbors, and daycare centers about the presence of a sex offender living in the area.
daytondailynews.com: Court: New sex offenders may avoid registry rules (misleading headline)
chillicothegazette.com:Court: New sex offenders may avert notification
WBNS: Ohio Supreme Court Rules New Sex Offenders May Avoid Registry (false headline)
The Ohio Supreme Court has delivered a major setback to efforts by state lawmakers to apply the tough new sex offender notification requirements laid out in the federal Adam Walsh Act.
In a unanimous decision Thursday, the high court ruled sex offenders notified of their status in the most severe category after Jan. 1, 2008, may avoid the new community reporting requirements under exceptions found in Ohio's old law. That means word of newly registered sex offenders in the most egregious category may not be disseminated to all the volunteer groups, schools and businesses Ohio's rewrite of the law intended.
In the majority opinion, Justice Robert Cupp agreed with lower courts that the wording of the law was clear in allowing the exceptions to continue to apply.
The 9th District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision that McConville was eligible for the exemption even though he'd been classified as a Tier III sex offender after Jan. 1, 2008.
In the Ohio high court's majority opinion, Justice Robert Cupp agreed with lower courts that the wording of the law was clear in allowing the exceptions to community reporting to continue to apply.
A legislative analysis of the Senate bill that contained the change advised lawmakers at the time that it "automatically replaces the period of time for which the offender or delinquent child had a duty "to register" (this is an inaccurate term - it should read "to be subject to notification") prior to January 1, 2008."
Excerpts from Slip Opinion:
"We are asked to decide whether the community-notification
provisions of R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) apply to defendants who are notified of their
sexual-offender status after the effective date of the amendment of that section by
2007 Senate Bill 10, or whether R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) applies only to sexual
offenders whose status was determined under the legislation in effect prior to that
effective date. Because we conclude that R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) applies to
defendants who are notified of their sexual-offender status after the January 1,
2008, effective date of the amendment of that section by Senate Bill 10, we affirm
the judgment of the court of appeals.
Based on the foregoing, we hold that the community-notification
provisions of R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) apply to defendants who are notified of their
sexual-offender status after January 1, 2008, the effective date of the amendment
of that section by Senate Bill 10."
"Effective Jan. 1, 2008, the General Assembly amended Ohio’s former sex offender classification scheme by adopting a new set of classifications based solely on the crime for which an offender was convicted. In the legislation adopting the new classification scheme, Am Sub. S.B. 10, the General Assembly included general provisions requiring that adults convicted of Tier III sex offenses and certain child sex offenders must register every 90 days for life with the sheriff in any county where the offender lives, works or attends school. The statute also requires sheriffs to provide notification including the residence and work addresses and a photo of the offender to specified parties in the surrounding community, including neighbors and nearby schools, day care centers, and victims of past sex crimes.
The legislation also included a provision, R.C. 2950.11(F)(2), stating that the community notification requirement for Tier III offenders “does not apply” to an offender if a court finds at a hearing, after considering 11 specific criteria set forth in that section, “that the person would not be subject to the notification provisions of this section that were in the version of this section that existed immediately prior to the effective date of this amendment.”
In this case, Stephen McConville pleaded guilty in July 2008 to rape and gross sexual imposition. At sentencing, McConville was notified that he would be classified as a Tier III sexual offender under the classification system established by S.B. 10. The trial court advised McConville of his registration and reporting duties pertaining to the Tier III classification. The court then conducted a second hearing for further review of the community-notification requirement. After considering the statutory factors set forth in R.C. 2950.11(F)(2), the trial court determined that McConville was “unlikely to commit a sexually oriented offense in the future, and that suspending the community notification requirements of R.C. 2950.11(F)(1) [was] in the interest of justice.”
The state appealed, arguing that the exception to community notification set forth in R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) was intended to apply only to persons who had been classified under the pre-2008 sex offender statute in a category that did not require community notification, but who were subsequently reclassified as Tier III offenders under the provisions of S.B. 10. The 9th District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s holding that R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) was applicable to offenders like McConville who were notified of their classification after Jan. 1, 2008. The state sought and was granted Supreme Court review of the 9th District’s decision.
In today’s unanimous decision, Justice Cupp wrote: “R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) provides: ‘The notification provisions of this section do not apply to a person described in division (F)(1)(a), (b), or (c) of this section if a court finds at a hearing after considering the factors described in this division that the person would not be subject to the notification provisions of this section that were in the version of this section that existed immediately prior to the effective date of this amendment.’ The remainder of the statute details the 11 factors the trial court must consider to determine whether the sexual offender would have been subject to community notification under prior law. ... This appeal presents a matter of statutory interpretation. As a general rule, the words and phrases of a statute will be read in context and construed according to the rules of grammar and common usage. ... Moreover, there is no need for this court to apply the rules of statutory interpretation when the language of a statute is plain and unambiguous and conveys a clear and definite meaning.”
“The state’s argument is that R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) gives the trial court the discretion to suspend the community-notification requirement in consideration of the statute’s limiting factors only when the sexual offender’s status was previously determined under the law in effect prior to Senate Bill 10. ... We find that the language of R.C. 2950.11(F) is unambiguous. Accordingly, we do not find the state’s argument persuasive. The language used in the statue pertains to those sexual offenders whose status is determined after the effective date of R.C. 2950.11 as amended by Senate Bill 10. The provision is written in the present tense, referring to a ‘hearing’ at which a judge ‘finds’ certain facts. The 11 factors of R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) are similarly written in the present tense, indicating an evaluation presently taking place, and not one that has already occurred. In contrast to the state’s position, the language of the statue does not indicate that it applies only to those sexual offenders whose status had been previously determined under the provisions of former R.C. Chapter 2950. As a result, we decline to interpret the statute when no interpretation is required.”
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Albany, GA - Under a new bill that has cleared the Georgia House, some low risk sex offenders would be able to get off the state's registry.
The legislation would let certain inmates petition the courts to remove them from the state sex offender registry after completing their sentences, like the disabled, and so-called Romeo and Juliet statutory rape cases, in which the teens are close in age.
"As a person charged with statutory rape, instead of having to wait for the ten years that the law says they have to wait to have removal from the list, they can now petition the courts earlier," said Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul.
"The Judge will make the final decision, but it will give them some guidelines to make the decision," said Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards.
The legislation was introduced last year, and also makes other changes to bring Georgia's tough sex offender law in line with court rulings. The vote was 165 to 1 passing the bill
Georgia House Bill 571 Excerpts :
"Said article is further amended by revising subsection (g) of Code Section 42-1-12, relating to the State Sexual Offender Registry, as follows:
"(b)(1) If the board determines that a sexual offender should be classified as a Level II risk assessment classification or as a sexually dangerous predator, the sexual offender may petition the board to reevaluate his or her classification. To file a petition for reevaluation, the sexual offender shall be required to submit his or her written petition for reevaluation to the board within 30 days from the date of the letter notifying the sexual offender of his or her classification. The sexual offender shall have 60 days from the date of the notification letter to submit information as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section in support of the sexual offender's petition for reevaluation. If the sexual offender fails to submit the petition or supporting documents within the time limits provided, the classification shall be final. The board shall notify the sexual offender by first-class mail of its decision on the petition for reevaluation of risk assessment classification and shall send a copy of such notification to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Corrections, the sheriff of the county where the sexual offender is registered, and the sentencing court, if applicable."
"(c) A sexual offender who is classified by the board as a Level II risk assessment classification or as a sexually dangerous predator may file a petition for judicial review of his or her classification within 30 days of the date of the notification letter or, if the sexual offender has requested reevaluation pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section, within 30 days of the date of the letter denying the petition for reevaluation. The petition for judicial review shall name the board as defendant, and the petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the offices of the board are located. Within 30 days after service of the appeal on the board, the board shall submit a summary of its findings to the court and mail a copy, by first-class mail, to the sexual offender. The findings of the board shall be considered prima-facie evidence of the classification. The court shall also consider any relevant evidence submitted, and such evidence and documentation shall be mailed to the parties as well as submitted to the court. The court may hold a hearing to determine the issue of classification. The court may uphold the classification of the board, or, if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the sexual offender is not placed in the appropriate classification level, the court shall place the sexual offender in the appropriate risk assessment classification. The court's determination shall be forwarded by the clerk of the court to the board, the sexual offender, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the sheriff of the county where the sexual offender is registered."
"(b)(1) A petition for release pursuant to this Code section shall be filed in the superior court of the jurisdiction in which the individual was convicted; provided, however, that if the individual was not convicted in this state, such petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the individual resides.
"(e) The court shall hold a hearing on the petition if requested by the petitioner.