Ohio Juvenile Sex Offender Ruling Spotlights National Policy

Juvenile sex offenders in Ohio will no longer be required to register as sex offenders for life, the state’s Supreme Court ruled last week. The 5-2 decision ruled the lifetime requirement is cruel and unusual punishment, reigniting a national debate on how young people convicted of certain sexual offenses should fare under the criminal justice system. The majority opinion found certain parts of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act enacted in 2008 unconstitutional. Many states expanded laws pertaining to juvenile sex offenders following federal legislation in 2006 that sought to standardize how young sex offenders were classified and registered across the nation. “Registration and notification requirements frustrate two of the fundamental elements of juvenile rehabilitation: confidentiality and the avoidance of stigma,” Ohio Justice Paul Pfiefer wrote in the court’s majority opinion.

Did Georgia Meet Sex Offender Registry Deadline? Thousands of Federal Dollars Could Be At Stake

It remains a mystery whether Georgia met a critical deadline this week to comply with a federal ruling known as the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. “We can’t say for sure at this point, we have packets arriving in droves,” said United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Spokeswoman Kara McCarthy. “It may take up to three months for us to go through all of the packets we have received.”

Wednesday was the deadline for the peach state and more than 30 others to implement the federal mandate that requires states to establish a sex offender registry for adults and juveniles that connects with a national registry. “To date, 14 states, nine tribes and one territory have substantially implemented Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) requirements,” said Linda Baldwin, Director of DOJ’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office, which administers SORNA. “We are reviewing as quickly as possible the materials submitted.”

DOJ has confirmed that Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming have substantially implemented SORNA, along with nine native American tribes and the U.S. territory of Guam.

Feds Force States to Include Child Sex Offenders on National Registry

States have until July to pass legislation that requires juveniles to be included on the sex offender registry database. The Sex Offender Registry Notification Act (SORNA), part of the Adam Walsh Act, requires states to register kids and teens, but gives states control on how many and which juveniles are included, according to Youth Today. So far, Florida, Ohio, South Dakota and Delaware are the only states currently in compliance with SORNA. If the other 46 do not comply, they will lose a portion of the Justice Department’s Byrne Grant, which supplies criminal justice systems with millions of dollars. Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed the deadline back twice now, causing frustration among supporters of SORNA.

Young Sex Offenders: Public or Private Knowledge?

The national debate about kids who are convicted of sex offenses is under the microscope in St. Louis. Is it the public’s right to know who these kids are and does it justify the impact on a young person’s life for years to come? As a juvenile, Michael Church was convicted of a sex crime. Now at age 22, Church is in jail again, accused of trying to lure two girls to his home, according to KMOV-TV.

Young Sex Offenders May Skip Public Registry

Under new rules from the Justice Department, juvenile sex offenders may not have to appear on the public sex offender registry. States now have options to shield juveniles, according to Youth Today. This shift in policy loosens up requirements of The Adam Walsh Act, which creates a national sex offender database.  Originally the government  mandated that all teens 14 or older, convicted of aggravated sexual assault, must appear on the registry. In May, the Justice Department gave states the choice to exempt children whose cases are handled in juvenile court.  Georgia did not put juveniles on the sex offender registry before the Walsh Act.  And now the new state sex offender law enacted May 29th says “conduct which is adjudicated in juvenile court shall not be considered a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor.” Georgia is one of 47 states that have not officially complied with the Walsh Act.