Beginning in the mid-2000s numerous states adopted “Jessica’s” laws requiring GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders.  These statutes have been challenged on a number of grounds—including that they violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches.  Eight states, including North Carolina, monitor for life.             

The Supreme Court ruling that GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders is a Fourth Amendment search doesn’t invalidate these statutes.  But if the lower court—and ultimately the Supreme...

Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013

Kansas lawmakers have removed the statute of limitations for prosecuting cases of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy. Rape cases previously had to be prosecuted within five years, The Kansas City Star reports.

The House Judiciary Committee on July 18 passed a bill extending the authorization of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act through 2017.

July 27th – the deadline for states to substantially implement Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 – has come and gone.  And so far, only 14 states were reported to be in compliance by the deadline.

E-newsletter Issue #47 | May 27, 2010

States face a loss of 10 percent of their federal Byrne Justice Assistance grants if they don’t find a way to comply with the Adam Walsh Act by next year.

Problem is, the cost to implement provisions that would bring them into compliance could cost even more than what they could lose.

State eNews Issue #42 | March 17, 2010

A registered sex offender was arrested and charged with the rape and murder of San Diego high school student Chelsea King March 1. John Gardner had previously served just five years in prison for committing lewd and lascivious acts on a 13-year-old, despite the recommendations by a court psychiatrist that he serve a much longer sentence because he presented a continued danger to underage girls in the community.

Despite numerous efforts at all levels of government, policymakers continue to struggle to identify and implement effective policies and programs that address the myriad issues related to sexual offenders and their crimes. Complex issues around sentencing, community supervision and re-entry of sexual offenders into the community remain critical challenges for state lawmakers.

Common myths about sex offenders continue to influence public policy. States are working to balance tougher laws and public fears with effective policy to ensure community safety.

In the 2007–2008 legislative biennium, state legislatures considered at least 1,500 bills related to sex offenders; at least 275 of those bills became law. Six states—Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Nevada and Texas—did not hold a regular legislative session in 2008.

The Adam Walsh Act sets a minimum national standard for state sex offender registries and  notification laws and has the potential to overhaul sex offender laws across the nation. The act, which is divided into seven titles, calls for a more detailed, uniform and nationalized system of sex offender registries; addresses issues of child pornography, Internet safety and civil commitment; creates grants for electronic monitoring; and revises the Immigration and Nationality Act to address immigrants who are sex offenders.