Determination of offender risk must be based upon the individual characteristics of the offender and not solely on the offense for which the offender was convicted, and there must be reasonable opportunities to seek relief from registration. Restrictions and collateral consequences on sex offenders are too often the result of knee-jerk politics rather than careful consideration of the efficacy, appropriate scope and potential negative consequences. Because of the severe penalties and other life-altering consequences, sex offenses should be narrowly tailored and contain meaningful intent requirements.
Resources on sex offenses and possible reform:
- NACDL's comments to the American Law Institute on its Model Penal Code project addressing sex offender registries and other collateral consequences (January 2021)
- NACDL's position on ABA Resolution 114, taken up at the August 2019 annual meeting of its House of Delegates (August 2019)
- NACDL's Policy Statement on Sex Offender Registries (February 2007)
- Pending Legislation (Legislative tracking services returning soon)
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Public Law 109–248 (federal sex offender law intended to standardize various aspects of state sex offender laws; imposes 10% cut in federal law enforcement grants for states failing to substantially comply with sex offender registration provisions by the deadline)
"The Scarlet Letter of the Law: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006," The Champion, Nov. 2006.
In 2012, the House of Representatives passed legislation to reauthorize the Adam Walsh Act but at the same time ameliorate the draconian registration requirements for juvenile sex offenders. The reauthorization bill would give states the discretion to exclude juveniles from public sex offender registries and would reduce the time juvenile offenders must remain on the SORNA registry, from 25 years to 15 years, before being permitted to petition the court for removal. The bill also requires a study of the impact of juvenile sex offender registration. The Senate did not take up the measure in 2012, but legislative action is likely this year.
Congress passed the Child Protection Act of 2012, Public Law 112–206, in late 2012. Among other things, the law doubles the statutory maximum penalty from 10 to 20 years for simple possession of child pornography where the material depicts a prepubescent minor.
National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) – overview of state compliance & other resources
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
- From the President: Unleashing the Power of NACDL and Our Affiliates
Defending Sexual Assault Allegations by Children - Using Forensic Interview Protocols to Your Advant
The goal of forensic interviewing is to ensure that statements from a child accuser are obtained in an unbiased manner. Social scientists have performed experiments to pinpoint how to minimize child suggestibility. To attack a forensic interview, defense lawyers should do the following: (1) become familiar with the jurisdiction’s protocols for forensic interviews, (2) examine statutes and rules regarding protocols and admissibility of child witness statements, (3) engage an expert and identify places where the protocols were not followed, (4) move to suppress when the protocols were not followed, and (5) decide how to highlight the failure of the forensic interviewer.
Preparing a Client for a Psychosexual Evaluation
A psychosexual evaluation (PSE) is an important tool in the resolution of many sexual misconduct cases. A PSE is an empirically informed assessment of a client’s sexual development, sexual history, paraphilic or deviant interests, and risk of becoming a repeat offender. The evaluation should identify any treatment needs and propose a treatment plan. The evaluation also can pose risks of new criminal charges, however, and thus can negatively affect the outcome of a case. Knowing what the client will disclose enables the attorney to advise the client whether to go forward with the evaluation, refuse the evaluation, or refuse to answer certain questions. The conversations necessary to prepare a client for a PSE are not easy or quick or pleasant, but they are essential to effective representation.
News of Interest
- "This Is What Will Make Sex Work in New York Safer,"
- "Military Justice System Problems Go Beyond Sexual Assaults,"
- "Federal Judges Are Increasingly Rebelling Against 'Overly Severe' Penalties for Nonviolent Sex Offenders,"