Freudenthal Second Strike Legislation

Governor Freudenthal has proposed legislation that will require sex offenders who target children to get life in prison with no parole upon their second conviction.

Attorney General Pat Crank presented draft legislation to the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee in Cheyenne. Current state law imposes a life sentence upon a third conviction. "On the second time you have sexually assaulted a child, I think it's time you lock that person away and prevent him from victimizing other children," Crank said. "(Freudenthal) thinks it's important to try to protect our children from sexual predators.

But predictably Casper criminal defense attorney Mike Krampner in defense of his customer base said the Freudenthal proposal threatened to strip the state's judges of discretion about the appropriate sentence for each convict. Judicial discretion has demonstrably proven harmful and sometimes fatal to children. Here are a few prime examples of judicial discretion.

´ In Rhode Island, 18-year-old Josh Maciorski was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but sentenced to probation. Two years later he molested a 14-year-old girl and served just one year. Then, when he got out, Maciorski raped a 16-year-old girl. His sentence after this third strike - an unbelievable three years in prison.

´ In Missouri, 19-year old Darrell Jackson pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing a little girl, beginning she was just eight. But when Jackson came up for sentencing, a soft judge gave him four months in prison and five years probation.

´ In Minnesota, Joseph Duncan stood in front of a judge, accused of molesting a young boy. Despite the fact that Duncan had previously served 16 years for raping another young boy at gunpoint, the judge released him on just $15,000 bail. Duncan promptly skipped bail and headed for Idaho, where he allegedly kidnapped, raped, and killed a 9-year old boy, molested his sister, and killed their family.

´ Closer to home Swan ValleyÍs Camp Little Lemhi Boy Scout leader Brad Stowell who molested 24 children was sentenced to 150 days in jail, The judge rationalized, ñbased on professionals' recommendations.î After violating his probation Judge St. Clair sentenced Stowell too 2 to 14 years in prison Brad Stowell will spend a year and a half in prison before he has a chance for parole and a fresh opportunity to offend again. Jackson children attended this camp.

Governor Freudenthal is making a move in the right direction but it does not go far enough, the stricter JessicaÍs Law is a better model. Jessica Lunsford, who was just nine when her life was brutally ended by a serial sexual predator who had previously been convicted of sex crimes against a child. Here are a few of JessicaÍs Law provisions.

´ Ensure that all child molesters who molest children under the age of 14 are put into a prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life. Closes all loopholes in one-strike laws.

´ Eliminate all good-time credits for sex offenders ensuring that these sex offenders are required to serve their entire sentence and will not be released for good behavior.

´ Electronically monitor convicted sex offenders for life, if they are ever released from prison, through GPS tracking.

´ Create a 2,000-foot predator-free zone around schools and parks to prevent sex offenders from living near where our children learn and play.

A New York group, Parents for Megan's Law, who advocate for tougher sex offender monitoring laws has given Wyoming a failing grade because Wyoming doesn't post all known sex offenders on WyomingÍs public sex offender website. Currently only offenders classified as high risk are named on the website, FreudenthalÍs new legislation proposes to allow the state to post the identities of all sex offenders on it.

MeganÍs Law allows the states discretion to establish criteria for disclosure, but compels them to make private and personal information on registered sex offenders available to the public.

´ Assists law enforcement in investigations;
´ Establishes legal grounds to hold known offenders;
´ Deters sex offenders from committing new offenses;
´ Offers citizens information they can use to protect children from victimization.

JessicaÍs Law plugs the holes in Megan's Law which requires sex offenders to list their addresses in a public database so Megan's law only works if the sex offender lives at his registered address. It is also incumbent upon the public to be vigilant enough to check. JessicaÍs LawÍs GPS monitor would allow law enforcement to track a paroled offender's every move, no matter where he or she lives.

FreudenthalÍs second-strike proposal although an improvement over the faulty legislation it replaces is acceptable only if it is rewritten to incorporate JessicaÍs Law as its first strike provision.

 

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