During a recent sentencing hearing, Harrison Circuit Judge Thomas A. Bedell read sex offender registry rules to a defendant.
Bedell was reading at a steady pace, and it still took 14 minutes.
The Legislature requires that judges read the rules to defendants after they’re convicted, ostensibly to avert the possibility later of offenders saying they never were informed of the requirements.
A judge reading the document aloud in court creates an official record. And it also takes away the possible illiteracy defense from an offender.
But what it doesn’t do is help offenders get a grip on what they’re facing either for the next decade, or the rest of their lives. They’re focused on the sentence that’s about to be imposed, or the one that already has been.
While most taxpayers aren’t going to shed a tear for sex offenders, what should be of interest to them is what this can mean to their bottom line.