New Law Requires Lifetime Registration for Dangerous Sex Offenders

January 19, 2006

Assemblyman Englebright announced today that legislation mandating lifetime registration for the most dangerous sex offenders has been signed into law. This new measure prevents hundreds of dangerous sex offenders from coming off the registry beginning on January 21.

Assembly bill A.9472, which was the result of a bipartisan joint legislative conference committee, significantly revamps registration requirements for sex offenders on the state’s sex offender registry. Provisions of the bill will require lifetime registration for Level 3 offenders, and persons designated as a sexual predator, sexually violent offender or predicate sex offender. They will not be able to petition to be removed from the registry. Under current law, level 3 offenders, considered the most likely to re-offend, could petition the court to be removed from the registry. The legislation negotiated by the conference committee eliminates the possibility that these high-risk offenders could ever come off the registry.

The measure would require Level 2 (“moderate-risk) offenders to register for life. These persons may petition to be removed from the registry only after 30 years on the registry. Level 1 (“low-risk”) offenders must register for 20 years.

“This new law will ensure that members of our local communities will continue to have access to information that will enable them to protect their families from dangerous sex offenders,” said Assemblyman Englebright.

On January 21, 2006, the 10th anniversary of the effective date of New York State's sex offender registry, sex offenders were to begin being dropped from the registry. Over 3,500 offenders were scheduled to be dropped by the end of 2006.

“This bipartisan agreement brought about by the joint conference committee process has allowed us to acknowledge the tenth anniversary with news that our families will be safer,” said Assemblyman Englebright.

The enactment of federal legislation may require further adjustment of the state’s Megan’s Law requirements as the federal government is currently working to create a national Megan’s Law registry. Provisions in Assembly bill A.9472 recognize that future revisions to Megan’s Law may be necessary to meet new federal standards.

Civil Confinement and Tougher Penalties Advance in Assembly

Assemblyman Englebright noted that additional components of the Assembly's Child Safety and Sexual Predator Punishment and Confinement Strategy are advancing through the Assembly committee process. Assembly bill A.8939-A would provide for longer prison sentences, including up to life sentences for the most heinous sex crimes. The bill would elevate the current Class B felonies of first degree rape, first degree criminal sexual act (formerly sodomy), first degree aggravated sexual abuse and first degree course of sexual conduct against a child to a newly created Class A-II felony sentence of 10-25 years to life.

Assembly bill A.9282 provides for potential lifetime civil commitment of sexual predators after they finish their prison sentences, if a jury decides they are sex predators likely to repeat their crimes. Both bills will be before the full Assembly soon.

Other elements of the Assembly’s Child Safety and Sexual Predator Punishment and Confinement Strategy would provide for mandatory treatment for incarcerated sex offenders, and enhanced services for victims of sexual assault.