Historical background on the Sex Offender Registry

One of the most damaging aspects of being convicted of a sex crime in Louisiana is the potential for the accused to end up having to register with the Sex Offender Registry. The registry pulls together data on people who have been convicted of certain sex crimes and makes that data available to the public through a web-accessible interface. The registry has undergone various changes and permutations over time, and this criminal law blog post will look at the history behind the nation’s sex offender database.

More than two decades ago, the state of Louisiana began requiring individuals convicted of certain sexually-based crimes to be registered with the government. Law enforcement officials from cities and municipalities across the state were given the task of sending sex offender data to a centralized state government entity that could compile the data for collection. Legal bases for the early registry included the federal Jacob Wetterling Act and Megan’s Law, as well as other state and federal legislation.

In 2006, the United States Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, and in 2008, Louisiana changed its laws to match the mandates of the new national registry requirements. The state began maintaining its own State Sex Offender and Child Predator Registry, and now individuals convicted of certain sex crimes may find their names on both national and state level registries.

While being convicted of any crime can pose problems for individuals once they are released from their court-ordered confinement, having one’s name included on a sex offender registry can bring even more destructive results. Being labeled a sex offender can cause a person to suffer damage to his reputation and prevent him from moving into certain neighborhoods, getting certain jobs and more. Though no defense can ever be guaranteed to be successful in court, individuals facing sex crimes may choose to fight the accusations against them and work to avoid inclusion on the sex offender registry.

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