Bill Aims To Seize Sex Offenders' Property

Kentucky Post

The proposed sex offender law would work much like those already on the books for taking the property of convicted drug dealers. [Ed: And look at what a civil liberties success that's been! Every nasty, possible combination of miserable laws will be trumpeted, in turn, as brilliantly innovative in order to advance the careers of these embarrassingly transparent legislators. Ultimately though, the blame rests substantially upon a dumb, and increasingly dumber, public and a judiciary that shirks its Constitutional responsibilites]

Two state representatives from Northern Kentucky want the property of sex offenders confiscated so that those who use the Internet to lure their victims lose their computers for starters.

The bill, filed last month by Reps. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, and Thomas Kerr, R-Taylor Mill, would “require the forfeiture of all real and personal property used in or acquired as a result of certain sexual offenses against minors.”

If passed, the measure would allow for the seizure of property used by convicted sex offenders, including their cars, money, computers, money, homes — any personal belongings they may have used during the sex crime against a minor.

House Bill 210 would complement House Bill 367, which was passed last week and is aimed at protecting children from cyberstalking.

Too often, Simpson said, the tendency in Frankfort is to enhance criminal penalties in ways that result in longer sentences. The problem with longer sentences, he said, is that they increase correctional expenses for the state and counties.

“I feel the bill would be still another tool to attempt to combat crimes against our children and would have little or no budget impact,” said Simpson.

The proposed sex offender law would work much like those already on the books for taking the property of convicted drug dealers.

“If they use an asset in a crime they run the risk of forfeiting their property,” Kerr said.

Under the bill, officials would also be able to take the sex offender’s home, or other property, if that is where the sex crime took place.

“HB 210 may be unconstitutional in that the state cannot deprive a person of property without affording a prompt opportunity to reclaim it if it is unlawfully seized,” said Daniel T. Goyette, chief public defender for Louisville Metro Public Defender's Office. “The Constitution requires a remedy for all injuries done to property ‘without sale, denial or delay.’”

Goyette gave the example of a car taken away from the someone arrested because the car is where the alleged abuse took place. Under the proposed law, an officer could seize an alleged sex offender's car, leaving him without the vehicle even the allegation is withdrawn by the complainant an hour later. The problem is compounded, he said, if the seized car was used by the accused to get to and from work each day.

Under the bill, property would be seized by law enforcement, held and then sold. The funds would go to police and prosecutors, minus any liens on the property, such as car loans.

“This will help prosecutors by giving them additional funds to prosecute the offenders,” said Kerr.

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders, who, according to Simpson, requested the bill, said that under the bill 15 percent of the money that comes from sex offenders’ confiscated property would be earmarked for prosecutors, who could use the funds for expert witnesses, forensic investigations and the like.

Law enforcement agencies investigating such crimes would collect about 85 percent of the money brought in from sex offenders’ seized assets.

“It’s a great benefit to law enforcement and to the protection of children,” said Sanders.

Goyette said the bill invites problems.

“What people do not seem to understand about this is that if the government can seize a sex offender's property with impunity, there is nothing to prevent seizure of other property,” said Goyette.

“The government does not start exercising such power by seizing the property of citizens who have influence and positions of prominence in the community—they start with people everyone despises anyway.”

Once the principle is established, he said, the “only protection is having enough political strength to avoid it happening to your particular group or constituency.”

“It appears to be similar to other forfeiture statutes, and everything forfeitable under this new proposed statute is probably already forfeitable under KRS 500.090, the general criminal forfeiture statute. I question whether this bill is even necessary, except to create a fund for prosecutors without imposing a tax for it,” Goyette said.

1 comment:

F said...

Interesting article in the LA Times about a "sex offender cluster" here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-offenders5mar05,0,941735.story

Of course everyone living nearby is petrified. A group of residents are "afraid to go out and get the mail."

My favorite part of the article:

"Neighbors cited encounters they call worrisome. One of the sex offenders recently offered to help a 16-year-old boy empty a trash can into a Dumpster in a back alley. Women have complained that some of the men have tried to strike up conversations with them."

Help take out the trash? Try to start conversations? What monsters! How dare they pretend to be human.

Sigh.