Last week we posted about a man who may have been unfairly punished under Maryland's new sex offender registry laws. The state decided to update the laws last year in order to receive more money in Federal funding. Under a federal law called the Adam Walsh act, each state must have sex offender registries which meet strict standards in order to qualify for additional law enforcement funds.
Despite the tough new rules implemented, Maryland is still not in compliance with the Adam Walsh act. This means that the state will have to get even tougher in its treatment of those convicted of sex offenses. Today we will examine Maryland's updated laws and how they will affect accused individuals.
There were a number of changes included in the 2010 updates to the state's sex offender registry laws. As we saw in last week's post, the new laws included reclassifications for certain sex crimes, and the updated classifications changed the length of time which an individual needed to be on the sex offender registry.
Another change included mandatory registration for individuals who were convicted of possessing child pornography or those who commit sexual acts of indecent exposure.
Finally, the new laws force individuals to provide more information about themselves. It is no longer allowed for individuals to list themselves as "homeless." They must provide more accurate information about where they are located. Because of these changes the state's sex offender registry has about 7,000 names listed.
Because Maryland wants to comply with the Adam Walsh act in order to receive additional funding, lawmakers are considering an additional change to the law. If it passes, juveniles who are convicted of serious sex crimes must register for life as sex offenders.
The U.S. continues to get tougher on prosecuting and punishing sex crimes, especially those involving child victims. All defendants need to be aware of the serious challenges they face if they are charged with a sex crime. A good criminal defense attorney is also vitally important. Otherwise, like the man in last week's post, convicted sex offenders may actually become victims of injustice by our legal system.
Source: The Baltimore Sun online, "State could lose federal aid over sex offender registry," Julie Bykowicz, 18 January 2011