Nevada’s implementation of its sex offender law has been put on hold by the States Supreme Court. The law, already in limbo for nine years, was approved by state lawmakers to meet federal requirements.
Ongoing litigation has held up the modifications to the offender registry. The plaintiff’s legal counsel claims that the changes are illegal, but it also could take the focus off hardcore offenders.
State Senator Richard Segerblom of Clark County believes there is a distinction between the kinds of offenders and the penalties they should face.
“If you watch the spectrum of offenders, there’s a distinction separating someone who had sex with a 15-year old girlfriend when they were 19 and an individual who urinated in a town square and a person that was a continual child molester. This law lumps all those offenders together.”
The Nevada Department of Public Safety claims the reforms would exclude biased standards when assigning offenders to tier-level classes.
If it passes, more data will be publicly available — including their home and work address.
Also affected by the classification will be how frequently an offender must meet law enforcement to confirm registration data, how long they must register and if low-level offenders are excluded from being disclosed on a website.
“Their photographs on the site, along with the crime, where they are employed, go to school and live,” will be readily available said Julie Butler, a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
Nicholas Wooldridge, a noted Las Vegas Criminal Attorney, who represents accused sex offenses, says, the broad community announcement could put offenders at risk.
“There has been research that indicates sex offenders are more likely to be subjected to violence and vigilante law because of the abuse of sex offender websites,” he said.
Wooldridge says there is no procedure under the proposed changes for offenders to fix mistakes once someone has been listed on the public site.