Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Indiana House Bill 1053 Sex Offender Registration - Legislation Part 22

Representative Gregory Steuerwald, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced a sex offender registration bill which makes various minor changes. House Bill 1053 affects the following citations: IC 11-8; IC 35-38-1-7.5; IC 35-42-4; IC 35-50-6-3.3; IC 36-2-13-5.5.The synopsis is as follows:
Sex offender registration. Requires the department of correction to remove from the public portal of the sex offender registry the information relating to a sex or violent offender who is deceased or no longer required to register. Requires persons convicted of kidnapping or criminal confinement to register only if a court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offense was committed for a sexual purpose. Adds the vehicle identification number of the vehicle owned or regularly operated by the offender to the information required for sex offender registration, requires an offender to report certain information changes within 72 hours, and provides that an offender's driver's license or identification card must contain the offender's current address and physical description. Provides that an offender who is scheduled to move must register in the appropriate location within 72 hours. Removes the requirement that a local law enforcement authority contact offenders by mail and permits local law enforcement authorities to contact the offenders in a manner approved by the department of correction. Makes conforming amendments and technical corrections. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the criminal law and sentencing policy study committee).

I have always maintained that I do not like the public portal sex offender registry. I am not too inclined to have it for law enforcement use either. Much of the requirements are duplicitous of requirements under probation. My basic objection to a sex offender registration is that I believe it promotes complacency and stifles the intuitive thought process that assists in protecting people, especially children, from dangerous sexual predators. I have so often heard the false claim by parents that “you can go online and find out where the sex offenders in your neighborhood live”. That is simply NOT TRUE. A sex offense conviction does not induce a metaphysical retroactive act. A sex offense is not contingent upon a conviction just as a conviction is not contingent upon an offense.

Anyone wanting to protect themselves from dangerous sex offenders should rely upon instinct, common sense and vigilance towards those persons who may be so elusive and sly as to have never been caught rather than just a list of those already convicted. Similarly, law enforcement should let the evidence clearly guide their investigative endeavors rather than defaulting to scrubbing lists of known offenders.

A sex offender registry can be used as a valuable tool to confirm a suspicion about a person but it should not be used as a foundation by which to try to establish a conforming behaviour.

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