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-III 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, or PART-II HERE.
Why were certain sections of the Adam Walsh Act never codified into law?
Why is this section important to Tier Assignment? Well, it isn't but in research often one thing leads to another. In PART-II Sec 637, which relates to tiers, I wanted to add a link to the codifed law, as I usually do. Guess what, (Sec. 637), wasn't codified into law, could they have forgotten or is there something else going on, it certainly would not surprise me, AWA has been mostly behind closed doors. i.e., keep the public from knowing or providing input.
The table below (w/links added) is from Title VI Sub C original AWA (HR 4472 109th Congress) it is under "Text of Legislation" version 5, final version passed by Congress. Although Sec. 637 is in AWA it was not codified into law. Discussion continued following table.
Subtitle C—Grants, Studies, and Other Provisions
|42 USC 16981||Sec. 621. Pilot program for monitoring sexual offenders.|
|18 USC 3621||Sec. 622. Treatment and management of sex offenders in the Bureau of Prisons.|
|42 USC 3797ee|
42 USC 3797ee–1
|Sec. 623. Sex offender apprehension grants; juvenile sex offender treatment grants.|
|42 USC 16982||Sec. 624. Assistance for prosecution of cases cleared through use of DNA backlog clearance funds.|
|42 USC 16983||Sec. 625. Grants to combat sexual abuse of children.|
|42 USC 3765||Sec. 626. Crime prevention campaign grant.|
|42 USC 16984||Sec. 627. Grants for fingerprinting programs for children.|
|42 USC 16985||Sec. 628. Grants for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.|
|42 USC 16986||Sec. 629. Children’s safety online awareness campaigns.|
|42 USC 16987||Sec. 630. Grants for online child safety programs.|
|42 USC 16988||Sec. 631. Jessica Lunsford Address Verification Grant Program.|
|42 USC 16989||Sec. 632. Fugitive safe surrender.|
|42 USC 16990||Sec. 633. National registry of substantiated cases of child abuse.|
|??????||Sec. 634. Comprehensive examination of sex offender issues.(Time limit for completion: 5 years after AWA enacted with yearly reports)|
|42 USC 16991||Sec. 635. Annual report on enforcement of registration requirements.|
|??????||Sec. 636. Government Accountability Office studies on feasibility of using driver’s license registration processes as additional registration requirements for sex offenders.(Time limit for completion: 2-1-2007)|
|??????||Sec. 637. Sex offender risk classification study.(Time limit for completion: 18 months after AWA enacted)|
|??????||Sec. 638. Study of the effectiveness of restricting the activities of sex offenders to reduce the occurrence of repeat offenses. (Time limit for completion: 6 months after AWA enacted)|
|??????||Sec. 639. The justice for Crime Victims Family Act.|
Take note, ALL FOUR sections in YELLOW above, have not been codified into law. Why? Before we tackle that see this update of PART-II.
Important is, that since Sec. 637 was completed through a grant, we are now left wondering why the four in yellow were not codified into law, I doubt we will find an answer either. Does that raise the issue of legal validity?
UPDATE to PART-II: Sec 637 Risk Assessment Study
I have received notice that -under a grant- the study has been completed
and is to be published 3rd quarter this year.
Yes, its nice to know it has been completed, but, how that happened proves my point "Behind Closed Doors" (or via some unwritten process) is the AWA way. i.e., keep the public from knowing what is happening.
Of course it needs to be noted that this is 2012, and sec 637 was supposed to be completed within 18 months of enacting AWA (lets say 1-1-2008) and it is now 4+ years after the fact. And since it has yet to be published means Congress has not received the report 637 commands. While none of this the fault of those who completed the study, one would think Congress would amend AWA to let the public know when AWA is not going to be followed, as originally written! Maybe thats asking too much. (PS: I did check later Congresses for any references to Sec. 637 and found zero).
Now, at this point we know Congress has permitted the USAG to construe the Adam Walsh Act, so I'm going to guess thats the source of the problem. Even with that, there is a BIG difference between construing the law and changing what it says. There is only one way to construe "get it done by such and such a date" and permitting it to be done years after what is stated in the law! Readers draw your own conclusions! So lets get on with more breaking news.
Moving on, excepting Sec 639 which is not at issue here, notice this, all the sections in yellow, after completion of research and analysis may very well render a BIG DARK CLOUD over a good portion of SORNA; and such studies would be costly to do, and add costs to implement, again, after the fact. AWA is certainly breaking the pocketbook in many ways!
Lets take a minute to look at Sec. 634:
SEC. 634. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF SEX OFFENDER ISSUES.Anyone want to take a stab at why this one hasn't seen the light of day? Or is it in progress behind some door? Assuming it is -in progress- I wonder -WHERE on the INTERNET the ANNUAL report- is, after all the command is, let the public know on the Internet! This is 2012, 6 years after enactment of AWA, and 1 year or so beyond the -complete in 5 years- command! Do I need to learn how to construe, the AWA way?
(a) IN GENERAL.—The National Institute of Justice shall conduct a comprehensive study to examine the control, prosecution, treatment, and monitoring of sex offenders, with a particular focus on—(1) the effectiveness of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act in increasing compliance with sex offender registration and notification requirements, and the costs and burdens associated with such compliance;(b) RECOMMENDATIONS.—The study described in subsection (a) shall include recommendations for reducing the number of sex crimes against children and adults and increasing the effectiveness of registration requirements.
(2) the effectiveness of sex offender registration and notification requirements in increasing public safety, and the costs and burdens associated with such requirements;
(3) the effectiveness of public dissemination of sex offender information on the Internet in increasing public safety, and the costs and burdens associated with such dissemination; and
(4) the effectiveness of treatment programs in reducing recidivism among sex offenders, and the costs and burdens associated with such programs.
(c) REPORTS.—(1) IN GENERAL.— Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the National Institute of Justice shall report the results of the study conducted under subsection (a) together with findings to Congress, through the Internet to the public, to each of the 50 governors, to the Mayor of the District of Columbia, to territory heads, and to the top official of the various Indian tribes.(d) APPROPRIATIONS.— There are authorized to be appropriated $3,000,000 to carry out this section.
(2) INTERIM REPORTS.—The National Institute of Justice shall submit yearly interim reports.
OK, there are two directions I can take now: 1) Assume that there is some undocumented way these studies are completed WITHOUT public knowledge (i.e., behind closed doors as has been the way) and contrary to the command of Congress; or 2) Explore alternate motives for what was written in AWA in 2006? While "1)" is the most likely true, then why omit codifying a law which would let the public know whats going on? One questions leads to another. So now to alternate motives.Alternate Motives for Studies in Yellow: So, what other earthly purpose could these serve, if beforehand, they were never going to be codified into law? Well consider this, in the year/s or so before AWA/SORNA was being considered there was a tidal wave of objections, on all sorts of issues, and many continue today. I wonder, could these sections have been added (Behind closed doors as so much of AWA has been) to temporarily pacify those who were objecting? i.e., get those opposing AWA to thinking, things can be fixed later on by compromise with the USAG (who is responsible for most of them).
Was that movement getting too strong? Could that movement have stopped HR-4472 in 2006? Nope! HR-4472 was sponsored by Rep. Sensenbrenner and coupled with other legislation which no lawmaker in their right mind would vote against, this was going to be law no matter who objected or the proof they presented that this was wrong! Another trick of Congress, a form of coerced agreement. Now I wonder if there is some Congressional procedure or rule, that can block a section of a law from being codified? Still wondering about that.Several organizations have analyzed AWA and published reports, and if you read their reports you find, they have assumed these yellow sections are there and the command of Congress carried out. ex CRS Report for Congress: Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: A Legal Analysis (April 6, 2007); Legislative Analysis: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 by The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV); Letter from Connecticut Senior Attorney to its Legislature: FEDERAL LAW ON CLASSIFYING SEX OFFENDERS see end of letter explaining Sec. 637 deadlines to Congress (1-27-2008); and others. Bet they never checked to see if sections were codified.
So, here in PART-III I've raised more issues and no answers. Well folks, thats how AWA is, "issue laden" maybe so it can be read multiple ways, don't know for sure. What we do know now is, that the 637 Risk Classification study is completed (can't wait to see it). And knowing who was involved it may point to a much fairer system, but time will tell and that is only if Congress adopts its recommendations.
As to other issues raised here, well if anyone who can shed some light on them, please let me know. Right now everyone can draw there own conclusions. Maybe after raising all these questions we will learn more about the inner workings of Congress. Maybe!
Why codify some sections and let others kinda meander around, maybe taken care of, and maybe not, the public is kept blind! That just bugs me..
After Memorial day, look for Part-IV, How are States implementing SORNA's Tier Assignment System? That one may cause indigestion and worries for some lawmakers.
For now have a great day and a better tomorrow.