Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today joined Governor George Pataki and Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette) in support of legislation that would significantly toughen penalties on those who commit sexual crimes against children. The bill is named for Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old-girl who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender living in her neighborhood in Florida.
“Violent sex offenders who prey on children are despicable individuals who should face tough criminal penalties,” said Assemblyman Kolb. “Jessica’s Law would be a major step forward in protecting children from dangerous predators by keeping them locked up in prison where they belong.”
Jessica’s Law mandates sentences of 25 years to life for violent sexual felonies against children and strengthens other sexual assault laws.
Assemblyman Kolb also joined his Assembly minority colleagues today in blasting the civil confinement bill offered by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as “dangerously weak.”
Kolb said that under the majority’s bill, those currently incarcerated for sex offenses are not eligible for civil confinement. The bill also exempts those offenders who receive plea deals and requires a strict standard of five criteria to be met before a sex offender can be considered for confinement. Eligible sex offenders must then meet two separate jury determinations before they could be civilly confined.
Legislation sponsored by the Assembly minority conference is much stronger and makes more than 5,000 sex offenders currently incarcerated eligible for civil confinement, noted Kolb. It also allows convictions by guilty pleas, has a more reasonable standard to confine more offenders and requires one jury determination.
“We need real civil confinement that will keep the most dangerous sex offenders out of our communities and off the streets,” Kolb added. “I hope that a Joint Conference Committee will be convened that will result in a more sensible piece of legislation that will truly make our constituents safe.”