BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The Adam Walsh Act way. (see earlier AWA Morphism) Yes folks, that is the way it has been since the inception of this harmful devious law, even a good portion of federal lawmakers were cut out of the constitutional process which enacted AWA.
This is PART-II of our Four Part Series focusing all things relevant to the AWA/SORNA Tier Assignment System (TAS). If you haven't read PART-I it is HERE.
What is the purpose of Section 637 "Sex Offender Risk Classification Study" of the Adam Walsh Act?
Why study risk assessment systems, if, you have already have implemented a "Tier Assignment System" which for all intensive purposes is a "offense based risk assessment system" but haven't named it as such? i.e., a wolf in sheeps clothing (See PART-I). To lessen the impact on registrants? That will never happen, lawmaker intent has always been to further punish, and find a way to make it look like the public is being protected. This has been recognized in many news articles for some time. Assuming one could be found (less or more onerous) the costs of changing rom what was first implemented would be prohibitive.
To this writer it is clear, that, when AWA was crafted behind closed doors, before enactment of AWA those few lawmakers -and anyone else present- MADE the decision as to what Tier Assignment system was to be used, and wrote it into AWA. They simply did not want to wait up to -18 months after enactment of AWA- for the study results, then do something.
But the following Section remained in AWA:
SEC. 637. SEX OFFENDER RISK CLASSIFICATION STUDY.
(a) STUDY.—The Attorney General shall conduct a study of risk-based sex offender classification systems, which shall include an analysis of—(1) various risk-based sex offender classification systems;(b) REPORT.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall report to the Congress the results of the study under this section.
(2) the methods and assessment tools available to assess the risks posed by sex offenders;
(3) the efficiency and effectiveness of risk-based sex offender classification systems, in comparison to offense-based sex offender classification systems, in—(A) reducing threats to public safety posed by sex offenders; and(4) the resources necessary to implement, and the legal implications of implementing, risk-based sex offender classification systems for sex offender registries; and
(B) assisting law enforcement agencies and the public in identifying the most dangerous sex offenders;
(5) any other information the Attorney General determines necessary to evaluate risk-based sex offender classification systems.
(c) STUDY CONDUCTED BY TASK FORCE.—The Attorney General may establish a task force to conduct the study and prepare the report required under this section. Any task force established under this section shall be composed of members, appointed by the Attorney General, who—(1) represent national, State, and local interests; and
(2) are especially qualified to serve on the task force by virtue of their education, training, or experience, particularly in the fields of sex offender management, community education, risk assessment of sex offenders, and sex offender victim issues.
Why request something that really has no purpose? Why? Why? Was there some skullduggery going on? So many questions!
OK, given that it was Rep. Paul Gillmore (Ohio) who first presented the idea of classifying registrants, in the 109th Congress, I looked back to his bill HR-4815 introduced on 2-28-2006 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee headed by Rep. Sensenbrenner. Rep. Gillmore's bill called for a "The Task Force shall consist of 20 members" (No need to discuss the merits of the Task Force membership, see list in Footnote below) and creation of Guidelines. I can see why his bill was not accepted by the committee, esp. with suggestions that appeared "Fair" in it "(D) opportunities available to sex offenders (especially those who are not under court supervision) to change their risk-based classification, including voluntary participation in sex offender treatment and monitoring programs; and (E) any negative consequences that have resulted from Megan's Law (Public Law 104-145; 110 Stat. 1345), and steps that might be taken to reduce such negative consequences." Such is not the direction the committee wanted to go. So, the bill's suggestions were ignored.
So then I wondered if, in the next Congress (110th) did lawmakers pick up on Sec. 637 and do something? Here is what I found, in the 110th Congress on 1-5-2007 Rep. Gillmore introduced "HR-201 Safe NOW Act of 2007" and on 2/2/2007 the bill was Referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. It appears the bill never came out of that committee. Rep Paul Gillmore died on 9-5-2007, and no one picked up the ball on this Congressional mandate! Clearly he stood alone on trying to create a somewhat fair risk assessment system for registrants.
So where does all this leave us? It leaves us with Sec. 637 still in AWA, and its very presence means Congress wanted to do something different -as to a tier assignment system- within 18 months of enacting AWA. Or, Sec. 637 was a ruse, in AWA to make readers think, something better may be coming. Which I do not know, but I know Congress wanted the TAS changed!
The current lawmaker contrived TAS system in SORNA, and everything that flows from it, is not protecting the public (news reports and Advocates abound on this topic), nor is it protecting registrants (hundreds of registrants have been killed under various circumstances, some innocent and some registry related)(over 500 have committed suicide)(and over 140 other persons, not offenders, some law enforcement, have died) under sex offender laws. Congress and State lawmakers are ignoring the ways these laws, including SORNA TAS, are affecting registrants and their families, and the general public, and people are dieing as a result.
So we know the entire "Tier Assignment System" within SORNA, IS NOT the system that Congress ultimately envisioned!
Their choice, according to Sec. 637, was one chosen by a 20 member "Task Force" of professionals who are especially qualified to serve on the task force by virtue of their education, training, or experience, particularly in the fields of sex offender management, community education, risk assessment of sex offenders, and sex offender victim issues. Sec. 637(c)(2). And we know today, the Command of Congress in Sec. 637(b) "REPORT.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall report to the Congress the results of the study under this section. has not been done to the best of my knowledge. Should any reader know otherwise I'd certainly appreciate a link to that reference!
The Ohio Supreme court has also declared the SORNA TAS system unconstitutional, as to certain of their registrants; this will likely be true in any state which previously had a risk assessment system. There are reports of significant increase of registrants, considered low risk being pushed into high risk under SORNA/TAS, and with no further conduct on the part of the registrant. Term of registration has been increased, up from 10 years to 15-25-life; and there is nothing in AWA/SORNA/TAS that says, these parameters cannot be changed again, in the future. Never forget, there was a law before AWA, then AWA replaced that, so whats coming in the future? Finality -for past offenders- seems to be illusory.
A recent news item from West Virginia explains one BIG reason they do not intend to implement SORNA:
Federspiel said the federal law would change the current procedure and require significantly more manpower. For example, those who are tier three offenders are required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives and must update their registration every three months. Tier One offenders must register for 15 years and tier two offenders are required 25 years. "It really comes down to do we want to change our law to mirror the federal law and is it worth the cost?" Federspiel said. Federspiel said compliance with the federal law would require more offenders to update their registration more often. "Changing from a yearly registration to quarterly would have quadrupled the amount of registration taking place," Federspiel said. "We just don't have the troopers to do that. "We have roughly 3,000 on the registry and not nearly enough troopers." News report HEREOne must remember, you cannot spend a billion dollars for a flyswatter, you must take the time to evaluate costs versus risk, if any. Law enforcement in the states needs to be increased just to keep up with the extra verifications required by SORNA/TAS (Yes, by upping a registrant's tier, it also means more police interaction, up to a lifetime), and that is not considering financial costs for registrants, lawmakers seem not to care about that.
Issues abound because they are tied in one or another with the SORNA/TAS system.
Think about it, why has the Sec. 637 study been ignored?
Stay tuned for Part-III, Sections of the Adam Walsh Act never codified into law?
For now have a great day and a better tomorrow.
In creating the guidelines required under this subsection, the Task Force shall consider
(One member from each of the following)
|the Safe NOW Project||the National Association to PROTECT Children|
|Parents For Megan's Law, Inc.||the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers|
|the National Sheriffs' Association||the National Association of Police Organizations|
|the American Probation and Parole Association;||the American Psychological Association|
|the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers||the Washington State Institute for Public Policy|
|the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children||the Office for Victims of Crime|
|the Center for Sex Offender Management||the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center|
|the Federal Bureau of Investigation||the Center for Disease Control and Prevention|
|three representatives of the academic community who specialize in risk assessment of sex offenders||.|