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New Orleans defense attorney Craig Mordock filed the lawsuit on behalf of "John Doe," who Mordock described as a father of two who merely wants to be treated fairly by his adopted home state. But on this one, I think the legislature and the governor crossed the line.
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They specifically said when the bill passed that the goal was to make it harder for out-of-state sex offenders to move here. Jindal lists among his selected highlights of the legislative package the passage of House Bill Jindal wrote that the bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Lopinto R-Metairie , "discourages out-of-state sex offenders from moving to Louisiana by requiring them to register for the time period provided by their state of conviction or as provided by Louisiana law, whichever period is longer. Efforts to contact Lopinto for comment on the federal lawsuit Tuesday were unsuccessful.
However, a spokesman for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said the state law would be vigorously defended. Mordock said his client would have been subjected to lifetime sex offender registry in Alabama, but only 15 years as a registrant if convicted of the same crime in Louisiana. Mordock said "John Doe" already was commuting between the states and had moved full-time to Louisiana prior to sentencing. He transferred his registration to Louisiana, but appealed his new home state's requirements on the basis that he already was a Louisiana resident before the law went into effect on May 14, However, an administrative judge ruled that Mordock's client could not have legally established residency in Louisiana until after Alabama sentenced him in June , meaning the new law applies.
He got caught up on it, he pled guilty, he did his time, and he recognizes that he is going to have to be on the registry for some period of time. But it doesn't seem fair that he's on the registry in Louisiana, where there's some economic opportunity for him, for the rest of his life, whereas somebody in a similar situation who is from Louisiana would only be on for 15 years. Mordock said his client was left with no choice but to challenge the constitutionality of the state laws in federal court.
Some on the registry are also prohibited from loitering within feet of a school, childcare facility, playground, park, school bus stop, or university. More than 16, people must register as sex offenders in Alabama, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency website. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency declined to comment on whether children should be listed on the registry.
In February, U. Under the statute, he wrote, registrants would have to inform law enforcement if, for example, they use a new computer terminal at a public library.
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Failure to do so could result in incarceration. There are approximately registrants who were tried as adults for incidents that occurred when they were under the age of 18, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of three Alabama residents.
One of those plaintiffs is Randy Pennington. In , when he was 16, he was arrested for rape. He pleaded guilty, on the advice of his court-appointed attorney, to sexual abuse of a year-old girl, according to the complaint. Pennington, who says the sex was consensual, was sentenced to one year in the county jail and three years on probation, according to court documents.
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Pennington had never been told he had to register. For about 30 years, Pennington has worked for an auto parts distributor, according to his attorneys.
But when a new owner bought the company this summer, a background check revealed he was on the registry, according to the complaint. He was demoted.
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Pennington fights depression daily, he said. In , he planned to end his life, according to the complaint.
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Researchers with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that young people who have to register were four times more likely to report a recent suicide attempt than those who caused sexual harm but were not required to register. They were also five times more likely to be approached by an adult for sex, according to the study published last year, which examined the experiences of more than people, ages 12 to Adult registrants have reported unemployment, housing instability, and hopelessness, according to several studies.
Both adults and children who have been convicted of sex crimes are unlikely to commit another sexual offense, Shah noted. A study of children and teenagers who were convicted of sex crimes in South Carolina, for instance, found that the recidivism rate for new sex crimes was 2.
When he was 17, Herbert dated a year-old girl. Her mother reported the relationship to the police, and he was convicted of second-degree rape. He was sentenced to boot camp and has been on the registry since , according to the complaint. Herbert and the girl he dated eventually married and had three children.