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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: Mississippi Senate Bill 2009

Here’s an example of a Bill being passed “before” it was thoroughly thought through.

On July 1, 2020, Mississippi Senate Bill 2009, also known as Carly’s Law, was passed. The Bill prohibits future contact with the crime victim by a convicted “sex offender”; and for related purposes. Here’s a summary of the Bill.

Section 1. 1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for a person required to register as a sex offender under section 45-33-25 to commit any of the following actions with respect to the victim of the offense triggering the duty to register under this chapter:

  1. Threatening, visit, assault, molest, abuse, injure or otherwise interfere with the victim.
  2. Follow the victim, including at the victim’s workplace
  3. Harass the victim
  4. Contact the victim by telephone, written communication or electronic means
  5. Enter or remain present at the victim’s residence, school or place of employment when the victim is present.

The Bill goes on to allow for an exception to Section 1. if the court, at the request of the victim or the victim’s parent, guardian or conservator, enters an order allowing contact with the victim. The court would then determine whether reasonable grounds for the victim to fear any future contact with the defendant no longer existed.

Those violating the actions set forth in the Bill would be subject to arrest, a fine of not more than $5000 and imprisonment of 5-10 years.

This seems to be the standard “for the safety of our children, the protection of the public” kind of bill, but there in an inherent problem with it.

Part A) mentions “threaten, visit, assault, molest, abuse, injure and otherwise interfere.”

Part D) mentions contact, written, phone or electronic means.

Part E) mentions entering or remaining present at their residence.

We know that sexual offenses sometimes occur within a family. Long term sex offender treatment plans often involve future family reunification. Reunification might very well include “visiting”, “phone contacts” and possibly “residing” within the same residence at some time in the future.  This Bill, while making a quasi-provision for reunification, puts that determination into the court’s hands, which then becomes just another set of legal encumbrances with courts, attorneys and fees for registrants and their families.

If a registrant shouldn’t have any future contact with their victim, shouldn’t that be somehow included as part of that one person’s sentence rather than in an “after-the-fact” Bill that would affect all registrants regardless of their individual circumstances?

Punitive blanket-Bills such as this, Bills that penalize all registrants and, in some cases, the very families they are attempting to reunite with, need to be given more careful consideration before they are passed.  Better yet, perhaps we don’t need these “after-the fact” Bills at all.

 

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    Aren’t all those points, especially 1-3, already illegal for anyone to do? I’m not law scientists, but I’m pretty sure “Threatening, visit, assault, molest, abuse, injure or otherwise interfere” with anyone is not permitted by law regardless of your legal status.

  2. Brandon

    If two or more people want to reconnect and heal after a crime has been committed would be a good thing. Why does the government need to be involved when everything they touch gets screwed up? Stop grabbing for solutions that aren’t your business and focus on real problems!! Mississippi is one of the poorest states, so there’s one for you stooges.

  3. Harry

    Some one apparently is not doing very well this election year and needs help. This law is not needed as an RO will do the same thing. In my case, I had victims trying to contact me.

    • Brandon

      @Harry

      Let me guess and you were considered a monster; while the real monsters prosecuted your case. Fiction belongs in Fairy Tales, not criminal justice system.

    • AJ

      @Harry:
      “Some one apparently is not doing very well this election year and needs help.”
      —–
      In no way am I defending this poor law but it is not an election year for MS state (and lower) offices. MS runs in odd years for its internal offices. That means the wonderful citizens of MS *never* get a break from campaigning and politics. Odd years, State crooks; even years, Federal crooks. But they did it to themselves, so I say enjoy!

  4. w

    Make war against the legislature and refuse to recognize their unjust laws. Let them waste tax payer dollars and hundreds of thousands of man hours building their invisible wall.

    They never played fair to begin with so why play at all? The game is rigged. They’re quick to screw the system but slow to fix it.

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