Kentucky Supreme Court overturns Sex Offender Law

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes

Three years ago the Kentucky legislature passed a law banning convicted sex offenders from living within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and day care centers.  Today, the Supreme Court threw out that legislation by a 5-2 vote.  According to the AP, the justices ruled, "the law is punitive because lawmakers applied it retroactively to sex offenders convicted before the restrictions were imposed."

As a parent, the possibility of a sexual predator harming one of my children is mind-numbingly terrifying.  It is part of the reason I do not use their names in public settings online.  However, I have a hard time believing this law had any real benefit with regards to protecting children.  Kids run and play everywhere.  If an offender is going to repeat, the location of his/her residence in relation to a school is of little consequence.

Despite the fact that Louisville is the 7th Safest City (pop 500,000+) there are still registered sex offenders in living in every zip code.  If you are concerned and can stomach the results, here is the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry.

 

See Also: Everything you want to know about Louisville Homes that I can't tell you.

 

Photo courtesy of Mara66 on flickr.

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Erik Hitzelberger is a licensed REALTOR with RE/MAX Alliancein Louisville. If you need a Louisville Real Estate agent please email me or call 502.921.3989.

I specialize in the following areas of the Metro Louisville Area: Prospect, Middletown, Jeffersontown (J-Town), Fern Creek, Okolona, Shepherdsville, Mt Washington, Hillview, Brooks and Pewee Valley.  Click the following links to learn more about Louisville and Bullitt County Real Estateor to Search for Louisville Homes 

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Comments (19)

Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Silver Spring, MD Phone Direct 240-506-2434 - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Erik, This reminds me of what Jay Leno has been talking about this week in another state where they banned sex offenders from living in communities and they now reside in tents in the woods.  That's not a comforting thought either.

Oct 01, 2009 02:53 PM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Barbara - This is a tough issue. One the one hand, these people have served their time but are still targeted after their lawful punishment has been served.  On the other, it is the most vile and despicable of crimes and the repeat rate is way too high for comfort.  Like everyone else, I just do what I can and hope it is enough.  You are right though, tent cities of sex offenders is not comforting. 

Oct 01, 2009 03:17 PM
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

Unbelievable. And this after is is widely known that these offenders are some of the most notorious RE-OFFENDERS.

Oh boy. I hope they dont regret that decision.

Oct 01, 2009 04:01 PM
John Cannata
214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

wow.. why the heck would they even consider over turning that rule?

Oct 01, 2009 04:02 PM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Sheldon - You are right! The recidivism problem is the scariest thing about sex offenders.  I imagine that a new law will be passed quickly to cover offenders from this point forward. 

John - It was ruled unconstitutional because it added punishment to people after they had served their time.  As I just mentioned to Sheldon, I'm sure we'll have a new law soon.  My problem is that I doubt the effectiveness.  Pure speculation, but I'd guess the number of kids taken from homes, malls, etc exceeds that of the number taken from schools.  I don't have a solution other than to try to watch my kids when I can and pray that someone else is looking after tham when I can't.

Oct 01, 2009 05:22 PM
Bob & Leilani Souza
Souza Realty 916.408.5500 - Roseville, CA
Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments

Wow...how scary. For those of you who have iPhones, you can download an app called "Offender Locator" and the free version lists the 10 nearest sex offenders by GPS location or specific address. The paid version lists them all. I was amazed at the number and close proximity of sex offenders...all living within 1 mile from me! :(

Leilani

Oct 01, 2009 05:47 PM
Irene Tron
Valparaiso, IN

I wonder how many of the people who overturned the ruling have children?  How can they possibly justify their decision? 

Oct 02, 2009 03:13 AM
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

I am aware that this law will not keep offender from repeating, but I wouldn't have have voted to repeal it.

Oct 02, 2009 03:17 AM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Leilani - Thanks for the tip.  I guess there really is an app for everything.  I ran my address last night and there were 3 within a mile. 

Irene - Very good questions.  I do understand the constitutional issue but, we have to have a better solution.  Just last week, an Amber Alert was issued for a 12? year-old girl taken my a 43 year-old man she had been exchanging text messages with.

JL - This is a tough one because of the sensitivity to the issue and the repeat offender issue.  It seems that no penalty is too tough for the most vile offenders.  Like I said above, I'd be surprised if the legislature doesn't pass a new law that conforms with the Supreme Court guidance for future offenders.

Oct 02, 2009 08:29 AM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I have no tolerance for people that commit crimes especially against kids. So I don't see what the problem is, convicted, gas as soon as they leave the court room.

Why as a society do we tolerate such things. I hope their is no one that is ok with one living, that would be stupendous. We need more death penalties, then law abiding people would have more of everything.

Oct 02, 2009 08:56 AM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Charles - I appreciate your passionate response and your stance.  It is more than a little odd that sexual crimes against children are universally considered the most vile and offensive acts and yet the penalties don't support that fact.  Bernie Madoff will die in jail and 3 convicted pedophiles live within a mile of my house.  This is disgusting.   

Oct 02, 2009 01:28 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Amazing that they threw out the law. You are right though the crime can happen just as easily somewhere else.

Oct 03, 2009 12:27 AM
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Erik, as parents all you can do is keep your eyes on your little ones, "re-offender" is a horrible thing to think of! 

Oct 04, 2009 12:29 PM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I'm confused about why everyone thinks it is "amazing" that the Supreme Court overturned the rule. They didn't overturn it because they like sex offenders. They overturned it because it was applied retroactively. That in and of itself makes it a very poor law. Imagine if we allowed all laws to be applied retroactively. Maybe that would be good because then all these holier-than-thou politicians with all their closet skeletons couldn't run for public office. Hmmmm. Maybe I'm on to something.

Anyway, just because the thought behind a law is good doesn't mean that the law itself is good. Let's hope that the Kentucky legislature can now come up with a better law.

I also have to disagree with your comment that "If an offender is going to repeat, the location of his/her residence in relation to a school is of little consequence." I believe that it does, indeed, have a lot of consequence. Schools are a gathering grounds for hundreds and even thousands of children, and if just one parent is late that day picking up her child, who started to walk home -- been there, done that -- and walks by Mr. Pedophile's house.... I'll leave it at that.

I'm not sure what the answer is since jails and prisons are not rehabilitation centers for any type of crime. Without rehabilitation, those who spent months, years, or decades in jail have no resources when they get out of jail, even to the point that some criminals commit crimes again simply so they can be sent back to jail where they have television, food, shelter, clothes, exercise, and everything else without having to worry about how they are going to pay for it all.

Oct 20, 2009 09:10 AM
Cindy Crutcher
Lawrenceburg KY Foreclosures & Government Owned Properties - Lawrenceburg, KY
Real Estate Broker - Exit Realty Crutcher Lawrenceburg KY

Erik, it is hard to believe!  Great blog even though it is hard to stomach.  I agree that Louisville is a great and safe city compared to many.  Thanks for sharing!

Nov 08, 2009 09:47 AM
Teresa K. Nelson
Windermere Real Estate/HLC - Woodinville, WA

That is terrible. In our state (Washington) a criminal sex offender just murdered 4 cops sitting in a coffee shop.  Apparently it's better to be known in jail as a cop killer than a child rapist. Wake up lawmakers, keep these people behind bars!

Dec 29, 2009 06:58 AM
Mark Lebkuchner / Home Loan Specialist
Warwick, RI

The judicial system is very confusing.  We try to do what the founding fathers would've done but it doesn't always turn out that way. 

Jan 04, 2010 02:14 AM
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

This might make some of you ucomfortable, but there are so many other issues with both, he laws on the books in most places when it comes to sex offenders, and public registries of same.  I am a parent, and have a few living within a mile o my house.  Doesn't make me all comfy cozy inside, but we ought to remember that some of the people on those lists are on them because they had a girlfriend two years too young while in highschool, and are now forced to register for life.  There was a case in Florida a few years ago of a young man just in that situation, who when a whole bunch of parents found out he was registered as a sex offender picketted his house.  THe guys shot himself.  His crime was having sex with his then 15 year-old girlfriend at 17.

Most of these registries don't tell you what any of these people did, and we are too quick to jump on the 'pedophile' bandwagon. 

Just my 2 cents.

Jan 11, 2010 04:57 AM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

This certainly spurred more conversation than I thought...

Jim - I can't disagree with the Supreme Court for throwing out the law on the grounds they did.  Adding penalties after the fact goes against the foundation of our legal system.  I'll also agree with you that proximity may increase opportunity, but I'll still maintain that where there's a will, unfortunately there's a way.  The law doesn't discuss parks, playgrounds, McDonalds play centers, public pools, skating rinks, or any of the dozens of places kids are likely to be that are less supervised than schools.

Teresa - Perhaps that is the only answer.

Inna - There is a somewhat infamous case in GA of 2 high school boys who ended up in a hotel room with a couple of girls after a football game.  The ages were 15/17 like you described and one of the boys is serving a 10-yr prison sentence.  The father pressed charges.  By all accounts, he was intelligent and talented, but exhibited VERY poor judgement that night.  I don't remember the exact changes, but the GA legislature later changed the law to make the penalties for his particular crime much less severe.  However, the boy's life is ruined.  It is a very narrow line to walk, but we need to find a better way to punish those who deserve it and not those who don't.  BTW, the KY State Registry that I linked to above lists the crime and the age of the victim.

Jan 11, 2010 02:37 PM