Nevada Supreme Court stops sex offender law from being implemented
By SANDRA CHEREB
CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday put the brakes on a law that imposes new registration requirements on sex offenders and subjects thousands of them to community notification, but not before a state website briefly went live with the information.
The order signed by Justices Michael Douglas, Michael Cherry and Mark Gibbons temporarily halts the Department of Public Safety from implementing the law and posting thousands of sex offender names and addressed online.
But the expanded list of thousands of names that includes people never before subject to community notification was available for about 4½ hours. The new website went live at 4 a.m., and was taken down at 8:40 a.m. after the agency learned of the court’s ruling.
“We had staff come to work at 2 a.m. and started preparing the switchover,” James Wright, Department of Public Safety director, said Friday.
Wright said the Supreme Court’s stay was issued at 8:15 a.m. and the site was taken down 25 minutes later.
“Once we were notified we quickly got that thing turned off,” he said.
Wright said the agency was implementing the law and he hoped no harm was done by the brief time names were available.
The stay was issued the same day state officials said they would begin enforcing the law initially passed by the Nevada Legislature in 2007 but never implemented because of legal challenges.
A Clark County judge on Thursday denied an emergency motion filed on behalf of 17 unnamed plaintiffs seeking to stop the law. Attorneys then filed an emergency writ late Thursday with the Nevada Supreme Court.
“Given the time constraints and the assertions in the petition, we conclude that a temporary stay of enforcement of AB579 is warranted to maintain the status quo while this court considers the petition and supporting documents,” justices wrote in the brief order Friday.
With the new law, Assembly Bill 579, the number of Tier 3 offenders will jump from 300 to 3,000, Julie Butler of the Department of Public Safety told the Interim Finance Committee after the judge’s ruling Thursday.
Under the law, Tier 3 offenders will have to report in person to law enforcement every 90 days and submit new fingerprints and palmprints. The new law will also include juvenile offenders, who previously were not required to report, Julie Butler of the Department of Public Safety said.
Under Nevada’s previous law, people convicted of sex crimes were assessed on their risk of reoffending. Thousands of offenders who were deemed low risk, or Tier 1, were not subject to community notification.
Hours after the judge’s ruling Thursday, a legislative money committee approved $545,000 to hire new staff for the state’s Criminal History Repository to handle the increased workload of processing fingerprints maintained by the repository.
“That additional workload that is going to be generated … will create a staggering amount of work for the repository,” Butler told the Interim Finance Committee.
Annual sex offender verification procedures took about 3,300 hours of staff time to complete. The more frequent verifications now required will add 8,600 staff hours.
“We can’t do it with the staff we have today,” Butler said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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I really think this all stinks!! Its a new way for our govt to take money at the hardships of others… some in Nevada need to take a look at ppl who came from Calif the state that leads the nation in false arrests. In Calif a sex crime is used under probable cause, no evidence ever comes forth… and while ur still fighting ur case in Calif to prove innocence ur under the gun from a law forced john Walsh for the murder of his by sheer neglect by the mother leaving her child age 6 in a store unattended while she looked at lamps. A man who made videos wondering if having sex with a high school girl if he’d get in trouble. john Walsh ought to fall under his own bs he in flicks on others. Child sex laws ought to be imposed on him for sure. This whole thing ought to be thrown out an things left alone. They’re idiots running these programs. No notification is going to stop a neglectful parent putting their child in harms way. Megan’s law, the same thing, child to small to going alone to a friends no one watches for her return an a sex predator grabs her an kills her. All these sex laws are being done in favor of neglectful parents. Why should society continue to glorify such behavior. I say stop this madness before all we have is a warehouse of innocent ppl. How bout laws to protect ppl from idiots like parents of Megan n Adam. Start prosecuting em an maybe sex predators will one day disappear cos they cant get kids period!!!!