Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act of 2006: Jessica’s Law Ken Carabello, LCSW FMHAC March 15, 2007
History 2005 Florida law named after Jessica Lunsford, murdered by John Couey in 2/05. Key provisions: • Mandatory minimums – 25 years • Lifetime electronic monitoring for certain offenders • SVP changes • Additional aggravating circumstance for death penalty
Previous Law Prohibits some offenders convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct against a child from living within one-quarter mile (1320 ft.) of a school, for the duration of their parole. Jessica’s Law Prohibits all registered sex offenders from living within 2000 ft. of a school or park, for the duration of their registration.Allows local governments to include additional sites they deem appropriate, such as children’s museums or water parks. Residency Restriction
Residency restriction has been found constitutional – Eighth U.S. Circuit Court found in Doe v Miller that the U.S. Constitution does not include a “right to live where you choose.” • First law in 2001. Since then, many states are adopting
Two Cases Challenging Residency Restriction • Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled residency restriction were not retroactive. • Judge Jeffrey White ruled not retroactive and dismissed the case saying that there was no injury.
Residency Restrictions • CO in 2004 found that sex offender reoffense was not related to their residence proximity to schools • MN in 2003 found that sex offender proximity to schools or parks did not increase likelihood of reoffense
Myths Contributing to Use of Residency Restrictions • All sex offenders reoffend • Stranger danger • Treatment does not work
Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Iowa County Attorneys Assoc., Jan 2006 No known correlation between residency restriction and reduction of sex offenses Children not attacked by strangers at covered locations Stranger attacks rare. Law enforcement notes restrictions cause homelessness, failure to report residence changes, and false address registrations (Des Moines Register reported twice as many unknown location of sex offenders 1/06)
No demonstrated protective effect of residency requirementCategories of crimes too broad, imposing restrictions on those with no known risk to children in covered locationsFamilies of offenders also restricted. Children pulled from schools, spouses losing jobs and community connectionsPhysically and mentally disabled offenders prohibited from living with supportsAffordable housing and transportation scarce in available areas
No time limitNo accommodation for those on parole or probation Numerous negative consequences of the lifetime residency restriction has caused a reduction in the number of confessions made by offenders.Counterproductive to well established principles of treatment and rehabilitation.
Other Residency Consideration • Access to employment • Access to treatment • Access to community support
Current Policy with Parolees • Applied to those who paroled after 11/8/06 • If currently out of compliance, they are asked to develop a plan to get in compliance • If they do not actively engage in the plan, they can be revoked.
Previous Law Permits the state to use GPS tracking as a condition of parole for convicted sex offenders. Jessica’s Law Requires registered sex offenders released on parole to be placed on a GPS tracking system for life. Requires offenders to pay for their own GPS equipment, if they are financially able. GPS Tracking
Electronic Monitoring • Radio Frequency • GPS • Passive • Active • Workload issues • What is can do; and what it can’t do Use increasing across country
There is some emerging evidence that EM is effective at reducing return to custody, new offenses, and absconding while the units are on • 2002 Georgia • Florida • Most in the field of sex offender management recommend its use with the highest risk offenders
Previous Law Requires two offenses before a predator can be classified as “sexually violent.” “Sexually Violent Predators (SVP’s)” may be civilly committed to a state hospital for a two year term. District Attorneys may file a new petition every two years demonstrating the offender is still a danger. SVP’s may run their parole time out while civilly committed, leaving no parole jurisdiction upon release. Jessica’s Law Allows for an offender to be evaluated as a sexually violent predator after one crime. Allows for indefinite commitment to a state hospital (like other states with an SVP program) until the SVP can prove to a court they no longer fit the criteria. Requires SVP's parole period to toll while in the state hospital so they still have to serve their parole time after discharge. Sexually Violent Predators
Since Jessica’s Law, referrals to DMH for SVP assessments have increased 10 fold. • Bed space issues
Previous Law Possession of child pornography is a misdemeanor. Jessica’s Law Possession of child pornography is a wobbler (alternate misdemeanor/felony). Possession of child pornography is a felony if the offender has a prior conviction of a sex offense. Child Pornography
Previous Law Previous law required direct harm to occur before criminal penalties can be attached. Law enforcement attempts to go undercover to capture internet predators are often disallowed by the courts because of vague statute. Jessica’s Law Specifically prohibits any contact or communication with a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct or abuse. Specifically allows law enforcement to act as decoys in order to engage and capture internet predators. Internet Luring
Previous Law Imposes an additional three-year prison term for persons who force the use of specified controlled substances in the commission of a felony. Jessica’s Law Imposes an additional five-year prison term for persons who use specified controlled substances (i.e. date rape drugs) in the commission of specified sexual crimes, such as rape Date Rape
Previous Law Allows sex offenders to reduce their prison terms through the use of “good-time credits.” Jessica’s Law Eliminates the use of “good-time credits” for habitual sex offenders. Good-Time Credits
Previous Law Provides for parole terms from 3-5 years for various sex offenses. Jessica’s Law Provides for parole terms of up to 10 years for the most heinous sex offenses. Increased Parole Terms
Previous Law Perception that sexual assault punishment statutes failed to include the full range of crimes committed by sexual predators. Perception that sexual assault punishment statutes failed to provide adequate punishment for many sexual predators. Jessica’s Law Expanded and strengthened basic sexual assault punishment statutes, including those for “One Strike” Sex Crimes, “Habitual Sex Offenders,” and “Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.” Added a broad range of forcible sex crimes and child molest crimes to these statutes. Increased the penalty to life imprisonment for kidnapping for the purpose of child molestation and for assault with the intent to commit sex crimes during a residential burglary. Expanded the requirement for mandatory prison sentences and mandatory consecutive sentences for sex crimes. Sentences
Ken Carabello, LCSW firstname.lastname@example.org (310) 584-1581