Department of Justice Issuing New Guidelines for Sex Offenders

subpic1The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was enacted as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. According to the Department of Justice, SORNA provides a set of minimum sex offender registration standards for states and territories of the United States which are implemented through the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking Office (SMART Office).

The Department of Justice recently issued eight supplemental guidelines to SORNA that were published in the Federal Register, which became effective January 11, 2011.

  • Allow jurisdictions more flexibility to exempt information concerning sex offenders required to register on the basis of juvenile delinquency adjudications from public Web site posting.
  • Provide jurisdictions the ability to exempt sex offenders’ e-mail addresses and other Internet identifiers from public Web site posting.
  • Require jurisdictions to have sex offenders report international travel 21 days in advance and submit information concerning such travel to the appropriate Federal agencies and databases.
  • Clarify how interjurisdictional information is shared and how sex offenders are tracked.
  • Expand required registration information to include the forms signed by sex offenders acknowledging that they were advised of their registration obligations.
  • Provide additional information concerning the review process for determining that jurisdictions have substantially implemented and continue to comply with SORNA.
  • Afford jurisdictions greater latitude regarding the registration of sex offenders who have fully exited the justice system but later reenter through a new (non-sex-offense) criminal conviction by providing that jurisdictions may limit such registration to cases in which the new conviction is for a felony.
  • Provide authorization and time frames for Indian tribes to elect whether to become SORNA registration jurisdictions and to implement SORNA.

According to the notice in the Federal Register, over 280 comments were filed during the public comment period, with most being favorable to the changes. While some of the proposed changes give jurisdictions wider flexibility in registration requirements, some may impose additional restrictions depending on how each jurisdiction implements the changes.

Sex offenses carry severe penalties with them and, in some cases, a lifetime registration requirement. If you are facing any type of sex crimes it is important to discuss your case with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney.