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Lawmakers to consider revamp of Idaho's sex offender requirements

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Idaho could change its plan for managing sex offenders that includes requiring offenders to report more information, expanding a state board that oversees sex offenders, and ditching part of the state's sex offender law that is unconstitutional.

Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, said the package of changes is a major piece of legislation that he thinks will get through the Idaho Legislature this year. Darrington chairs the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee, which approved introducing the plan.

The change comes in response to an Idaho Supreme Court case in 2009 that ruled the state's “violent sexual predator” designation, which required some offenders to check in with law enforcement more frequently, violated the offender's constitutional rights. Offenders couldn't receive information on why they were called violent predators, which went against their right to due process.

Darrington, who helped craft that sex offender law in 1998, said the high court ruling wasn't a surprise, and that Idaho needs to find a new way to manage its sex offenders. Since the court ruling, there have been no new violent sexual predators designated. Currently, 51 sex offenders in Idaho are labeled violent, out of several thousand total registered offenders.

Under the new plan, the violent sexual predator designation disappears and the Sex Offender Classification Board would be double in size from four members to eight, increase its responsibilities, and be renamed the Sex Offender Management Board. Also, all registered offenders would have shorter deadlines for registering and reporting changes in personal information.

The package of changes was introduced Monday by Steve Bywater in the attorney general's office and a member of the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission (ICJC), which put together the legislation. Bywater said that among the new reporting requirements for all sex offenders would be reporting the car they drive and any Internet markers, including their e-mail address or Facebook account.

Bywater also said offenders ready to leave a state prison would now need to report their address before they leave. They'd also need to report a change of address within two days. The public can search some of the reported information on an Idaho State Police website.

The reporting changes would bring Idaho closer into compliance with the federal sex offender law, though Bywater said the ICJC doesn't recommend fully complying with that plan. He did say the legislation would allow for better state supervision of sex offenders.

The change would cost $70,000, due to the expansion of the board. In addition to coming up with a new way to deal with violent offenders or those at risk of repeating a sex crime, the board would also create new state standards for treating and evaluating offenders, including the use of polygraph tests and psychosexual evaluations, when necessary.

Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, a member of ICJC, supports the plan, saying Idaho needs a new way to identify people who are dangerous. Bock serves on Darrington's committee, which unanimously agreed to hold a hearing on the legislation.

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  1. Paul

    Sex offender laws in Idaho are troubling. A young couple one or the other under 18 yrs of age can be prosecuted under Idaho sex offender laws. It can be a totally consensual living arrangement and years later the sex offender laws can create all manner of hell for the older party in the living arrangement. It can put someone on the sex offender registry for life and somehow this just seems wrong.

    Dangerous sex offenders are another matter and we have a right to know who these people are and where they live.

  2. Sex Offender Issues

    The Constitution is not worth the paper and ink it’s written with anymore, if it were, these laws would be shot down as what they are, unconstitutional.

    We have people running this country now, who think the Constitution no longer applies, and is a “living” document that can be changed at their whim.

  3. Pingback: March 2011 «

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  5. Anti-stat rape

    the statutory rape law was fixed but not entirely! A male about 20-22 year old can get 10 years and be a registered sex offender just for having sex with a girl under 18. Have you took a walk outside the bars in boise after closing. Look at all the high school girls outside talking to the drunk males coming out. Doesnt sound like innocent talk to me. Statutory Rape should NOT be a registrable offense! Your ruining these kids lives!!!!!!!!!!

  6. candice

    My husband has to register as a sex offender for sleeping with a girl who was 15 and he was 17 and her mom didnt like him so she pressed charges so no because she was under the age of consent he has to register for the rest of his life and i think that it crap cause he didnt rape anyone and now we have to be careful where we live and were we go i dont feel that it should be that way its so frustrating and we dont know what to do we need to move and have no clue where we can move to without being harrassed by the people who find out about him