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Showing posts from August, 2005

Vote for VAWA Now!

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) -- landmark legislation that provides life-saving hotlines, shelters, services and laws to protect victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, will expire September 30 unless Congress acts soon.

First passed in 1994, and reauthorized and expanded in 2000, VAWA has marked a turning point in our nation's response to these crimes. Because of VAWA, a broad range of services now exist to provide much-needed aid to victims who must cope with the aftermath of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, rape, incest and stalking. Although we have made advances in public attention to this issue and improved services to victims since VAWA's passage a decade ago, much still remains to be done to combat and prevent intimate, family and sexual violence. As we look to the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Congress has a unique opportunity not only to continue successful and vital programs, but al…

Illinois courts impose restitution on offenders to crime victims

8/11/05 NCVC State Update: New Illinois law allows courts to order offenders to pay for victims' long-term counseling. On August 2, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed a law that allows courts to impose monthly restitution payments on offenders to reimburse crime victims for long-term healthcare costs, in addition to immediate expenses. Under HB 701, victims who have suffered physical injury may now receive compensation for extended physical and mental health care, including long-term counseling services. Restitution payments may continue as long as the victim receives care, regardless of whether the offender has fulfilled the other terms of the sentence, including imprisonment or probation.

Illinois getting tougher on armed felons

8/11/05 NCVC State Update: On August 2, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich approved a bill that creates a new criminal offense: being an armed habitual criminal. HB 1039 defines an armed habitual criminal as any individual who has two or more previous convictions for violent felonies, drug felonies, or several gun-related offenses, and subsequently possesses, sells, or transfers a firearm. The offense is a Class X felony and punishable by imprisonment for 6 to 30 years.

Alabama cracking down on sex offenders

8/11/05 NCVC State Update: On July 26, Alabama Governor Bob Riley signed a bill to strengthen the state's response to sex offenders, SB 53. The bill mandates that for ten years after being released from prison, sex offenders who committed a Class A felony or who were designated as violent sexual predators must be monitored by a geographic positioning system (GPS). It also gives courts discretion to sentence any other sex offender to wear a GPS tracking unit. The bill requires offenders at all times to carry a license or state-issued ID that identifies them as sex offenders. The bill also modifies recent Alabama law, which had allowed adult sex offenders in the state to live with a minor if the offender was the parent, grandparent, or step-parent of that minor. Under the new law, sex offenders whose victim was a child may not reside with any minor, regardless of the relationship. Other provisions increase the penalty for failure to comply with registration requirements, which inc…

Florida passes laws that are TOUGH on sex offenders

7/27/05 State Update from NCVC: During the 2005 Legislative Session, the following sex offender-related bills were sent to Governor Jeb Bush, who signed them during May and June:

"The Jessica Lunsford Act," HB 1877 , is a comprehensive bill that makes numerous changes to existing laws dealing with sex offenders. Provisions include: designating convicted offenders who have committed a first degree sex offense or two other sex offenses as sexual predators; requiring designated sexual offenders to be monitored by electronic GPS units; requiring in-person re-registration twice annually; and requiring state agencies to study the effectiveness of reporting requirements and recidivism rates. This bill is named after a nine-year-old girl who was abducted and killed by a previously convicted sex offender.

SB 1354 creates a stricter review process to determine whether convicted sex offenders whose victims were under age 18 may have contact with minors. Under the new law, released offe…

Jessica Lunsford and Sarah Lunde Act introduced to Congress

7/27/05 Federal Update from NCVC: Bill seeks to assess the effectiveness of electronic monitoring programs for sex offenders. On July 22, Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) introduced the "Jessica Lunsford and Sarah Lunde Act." H.R. 3407 would provide grants to states and local governments to assess the effectiveness of sexual predator electronic monitoring programs. The bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Bill seeks to increase funding for DNA backlog

7/27/05 Federal Update from NCVC: Representative Andrews introduces bill to increase funding for eliminating the nationwide DNA backlog. On July 22, Representative Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 3404, the DNA Database Completion Act. The bill would authorize increased funding levels to eliminate the nationwide backlog of DNA samples. H.R. 3404 provides $100 million for fiscal years 2005-2009 for testing convicted offender samples and $151 million for testing backlogged crime scene samples, including rape kits. The bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.