Minority: Majority Confinement Bill Falls Far Short
|Thousands of sexually violent predators unaffected by Speaker's legislation|
Assembly Minority members today blasted the civil confinement bill Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced Monday as "dangerously weak."
Minority members say that under the Majority bill those currently incarcerated for sex offenses are not eligible for civil confinement. The bill also exempts those offenders who cop plea deals and requires a strict standard of five criteria to be met before even a sex offender can be considered for confinement. Eligible sex offenders must then meet two separate jury determinations before they could be civilly confined.
Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-C-I, Schenectady, Saratoga) said his party's bill is much stronger and makes eligible for civil confinement the more than 5,000 sex offenders currently incarcerated. In addition, it allows convictions by guilty pleas, has a more reasonable standard to make more offenders eligible for confinement and requires one jury determination.
Tedisco said the Majority bill was an attempt to fool the families of New York State that something was being done to protect children from sexually violent predators.
"For 13 years they blocked a vote on our bill. Last month, we were told by the Speaker that he would put forth his own bill on civil confinement. We said then that the devil was in the details. We looked at the details and sure enough there was the devil, and under this bill even the devil himself wouldn't be civilly confined," said Tedisco.
"It is critical that we have a real civil confinement law that will keep the most dangerous and disturbed rapists and molesters off the streets, especially the ones who are in prison now because we know what they have done and the evil they are capable of."
Tedisco called for a Joint Conference Committee to be immediately convened similar to the one that delivered the agreement on a strengthened Megan's Law last week.
"Every day of delay another sex offender is released back into our neighborhoods," said Tedisco.
A study done by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services on re-arrest patterns on 5,200 Level 3 sex offenders found that 572 soon returned to prison on another sex offense.
In a related issue, Tedisco applauded Governor Pataki's proposed Jessica's Law for new offenses, saying that lawmakers must do everything they can to protect children from dangerous pedophiles, molesters and rapists.
"Sexual crimes against children are the most evil of crimes and the perpetrators should be dealt with harshly," said Tedisco.
Jessica's Law mandates sentence of 25 years to life for violent sexual felonies against children and strengthens other sexual assault laws.
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