Relates to sex offender registration procedures.
Ayes (59): Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Farley, Felder, Flanagan, Gallivan, Gianaris, Gipson, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, Latimer, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Brien, O'Mara, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sampson, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousins, Tkaczyk, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Excused (2): Espaillat, Golden
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to sex offender registration
PURPOSE: This bill would amend provisions of Article 6-C of the Corrections Law regarding the Sex Offender Registration Act to clarify certain obligations of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, and to align the State's change of address registration requirements with that of the federal law.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends section 168-p of the correction law to allow members of the public to inquire as to whether up to five individuals required to register are listed on the sex offender registry during a single phone call. The provision clarifies that where a member of the public calls the Division of Criminal Justice Services to determine whether an individual is listed on the sex offender registry, and such individual provides incorrect identifying information, this will not prohibit the caller from inquiring further as to the person's identity with additional identifying information during the same call.
Section two amends paragraphs (a) and (b) of subdivision 2-a of section 168-p of the correction law to require that an organization, which is granted a pre-registered certificate may inquire as to whether an individual is listed on the sex offender registry in writing. The bill further provides that when an organization does inquire in writing it may do so as to the status of up to fifty individuals in one request. The Division of Criminal Justice Services must respond to the organization within five days.
Section three amends subdivision one of section 168-q of the correction law to require the subdirectory to include the last known date the offender's address, place of employment and photograph were obtained. Additionally, section three establishes a new subparagraph (a) which requires that where an offender does not report an employment address, the division shall use the language, "Not Currently Reported" in the subdirectory under the employment address field. Further, section three establishes a new subparagraph (b) which would require the division to include the offense for which the sex offender was convicted in another jurisdiction outside of the state. The division shall also include, but is not limited to, the title, section, subsection, class, category and degree of offense for which the sex offender was convicted in another jurisdiction.
Section four amends subdivision four of section 168-f of the correction law to require any sex offender required to register with the division to register within three days after a change of address, internet accounts with internet access providers, internet identifiers that such offender uses or his or her status of enrollment, attendance, employment or residence at any institution of higher education.
Section five amends subdivision six of section 168-f of the correction law to require any nonresident workers or nonresident students required to register with the division to register within three days
after any change of residence, employment or educational institution address.
Section six amends subdivision one of section 168-k of the correction law to require any sex offender required to register with the division to register within three calendar days after such offender establishes residence in the state.
Section seven establishes that the bill would take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: For nearly two decades, Parents for Megan's Law Inc., a not-for-profit organization, has staffed the Megan's Law Helpline. The Helpline is designed to provide the community information on how to access sex offender registration information, responsible use of information and to educate about child sexual abuse and rape prevention. Beginning May 1, 2013, Parents for Megan's Law was contracted by the County of Suffolk to assist them in their efforts of ensuring that sex offender registration information was up-to-date and accurate. In collaboration with the Suffolk County Police Department, agency retired law enforcement officers conduct in-person verifications of registered sex offenders residing in the County of Suffolk. The public relies upon an up-to-date and accurate sex offender registry to assist them in making decisions relating to protecting themselves and their children from known registrants.
Parents for Megan's Law has discovered issues relating to the public's accessibility to, and the accuracy of, information on the Sex Offender Registry run by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). This bill is a result of continuous discussions with the organization on provisions which would strengthen the accuracy of information on the registry, as well as clarify the responsibilities of DCJS under Article 6-C of the correction law.
Currently under the correction law, a not-for-profit organization providing youth services may pre-register with the division for use of a designated number to inquire into whether an individual is listed on the registry. The law specifically states that a pre-registered organization may inquire about twenty individuals in a single call. Although not enumerated in the law, organizations which fall into this category are able to submit requests in writing, but DCJS has failed to respond to these inquiries in a timely fashion. This bill would expressly provide preregistered organizations to inquire in writing as to whether individuals are listed on the registry, and would require the division to respond to requests of up to fifty individuals within five days. This will ensure DCJS responds within a timely manner, and the organizations are not delayed in providing their services to the public. Additionally, Parents for Megan's Law has found that when calling to inquire about an individual, DCJS will not allow further inquiry into whether an individual is registered on the list, where the caller provides inaccurate identifying information, a wrong address for example. The division requires the caller to call back and inquire about the same individual in a separate call, instead of allowing the caller to provide another piece of identifying information, such as the individual's date of birth. The bill clarifies that an individual may continue to inquire as to whether an individual is on the registry where the caller initially provides inaccurate identifying information. The bill also establishes that the
caller may inquire into the registration status of up to five individuals per call to alleviate the division from being inundated with calls.
Parents for Megan's Law further found that DCJS has implemented a policy where they will not provide the date a level one sex offender's photograph was taken. The correction law requires a level one sex offender to appear in person every three years to have an updated photograph taken for the registry. The date in which the photograph was taken is instrumental in aiding law enforcement identify these individuals, and would allow them to better gage the current physical appearance of an offender based on when the photograph was taken. This bill alleviates this burden by requiring the division to put on the register the last known date an offender's address, place of employment and photograph were obtained. The organization has also found some information on the registry to be ambiguous, specifically the employment address field, which is often times left blank. In order to provide clarity to organizations responsible for ensuring the information on the registry is accurate DCJS, where an offender does not provide an employment address, must enter into the employment address field, "None Currently Reported." Further, The bill also requires DCJS to include in the directory the specific offense committed by a sex offender in another jurisdiction which requires the offender to register in the state. This measure will ensure that the organizations and law enforcement responsible for in-person verifications of registered sex offenders have access to the most recent whereabouts and status of those required to be on the registry.
The bill amends sections 168-f and 168-k regarding the amount of time a sex offender has to register his or her change of address. Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the federal government established that an individual required to register with the national sex offender registry must provide his or her change of address within three days after such change. However, under New York's correction law, sex offenders are given ten days to report their change of address to DCJS. Parents for Megan's Law has found that the extra seven days afforded offenders have sometimes resulted in law enforcement being misled by transient offenders. Amending the State's current ten day registration requirement to three days would provide the community with a better understanding of the whereabouts of these individuals during transition periods.
The provisions of this bill would allow DCJS and partnering organizations, such as Parents for Megan's Law, to ensure the public and law enforcement enfettered access to the whereabouts of sex offenders required to register under the law.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7724 IN SENATE June 3, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction AN ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to sex offender regis- tration THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 168-p of the correction law, as amended by chapter 361 of the laws of 2004, is amended to read as follows: 1. Pursuant to section one hundred sixty-eight-b of this article, the division shall also operate a telephone number that members of the public may call free of charge and inquire whether
[a named individual]UP TO FIVE NAMED INDIVIDUALS required to register pursuant to this arti- cle [is]ARE listed. The division shall ascertain whether [a]SUCH named [person]PERSONS reasonably [appears]APPEAR to be [a person]SUCH PERSONS so listed and provide the caller with the relevant information according to risk as described in subdivision six of section one hundred sixty-eight-l of this article. The division shall decide whether [the]SUCH named [person]PERSONS reasonably [appears]APPEAR to be [a person]SUCH PERSONS listed, based upon information from the caller providing information that shall include (a) an exact street address, including apartment number, driver's license number or birth date, along with additional information that may include social security number, hair color, eye color, height, weight, distinctive markings, ethnicity; or (b) any combination of the above listed characteristics if an exact birth date or address is not available. If three of the characteristics provided include ethnicity, hair color, and eye color, other identifying characteristics shall be provided. ANY INCORRECT IDENTIFYING CHARACTER- ISTICS PROVIDED BY THE CALLER WILL NOT PROHIBIT THE CALLER FROM INQUIR- ING FURTHER AS TO THE PERSON'S IDENTITY WITH ADDITIONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION DURING THE SAME CALL. Any information identifying the victim by name, birth date, address or relation to the person listed by the division shall be excluded by the division.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14895-04-4 S. 7724 2
S 2. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subdivision 2-a of section 168-p of the correction law, as added by chapter 361 of the laws of 2004, are amended to read as follows: (a) The division shall establish a program allowing non-profit and not-for-profit youth services organizations to pre-register with the division for use of the telephone number. Pre-registration shall include the identification of up to two officials of the organization who may call the telephone number OR MAKE AN INQUIRY IN WRITING, and obtain information on behalf of the organization. A pre-registered certificate issued under this subdivision shall be valid for two years, unless earlier revoked by the division for good cause shown. No fee shall be charged to an applicant for the issuance of a pre-registered certificate pursuant to this subdivision. (b) An organization granted a pre-registered certificate pursuant to this subdivision may, upon calling the telephone number, inquire whether multiple named individuals are listed on the sex offender registry. Notwithstanding any per call limitation the division may place on calls by private individuals, the division shall allow such pre-registered organizations to inquire about up to twenty prospective coaches, leaders or volunteers in each call to the telephone number. IF REGISTRATION VERIFICATION IS REQUESTED IN WRITING, THE DIVISION SHALL RESPOND WITHIN FIVE DAYS FOR REQUESTS OF UP TO FIFTY NAMED INDIVIDUALS. S 3. Subdivision 1 of section 168-q of the correction law, as amended by chapter 532 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: 1. The division shall maintain a subdirectory of level two and three sex offenders. The subdirectory shall include the exact address, address of the offender's place of employment and photograph of the sex offender along with the following information, if available: name, physical description, age and distinctive markings. Background information including the sex offender's crime of conviction, modus of operation, type of victim targeted, the name and address of any institution of higher education at which the sex offender is enrolled, attends, is employed or resides and a description of special conditions imposed on the sex offender shall also be included. FURTHER, THE SUBDIRECTORY SHALL INCLUDE THE LAST KNOWN DATE THE OFFENDER'S ADDRESS, PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT AND PHOTOGRAPH WERE OBTAINED. The subdirectory shall have sex offender listings categorized by county and zip code. Such subdirectory shall be made available at all times on the internet via the division homepage. Any person may apply to the division to receive automated e-mail notifi- cations whenever a new or updated subdirectory registration occurs in a geographic area specified by such person. The division shall furnish such service at no charge to such person, who shall request e-mail notification by county and/or zip code on forms developed and provided by the division. E-mail notification is limited to three geographic areas per e-mail account. (A) IF THE OFFENDER DOES NOT REPORT AN EMPLOYMENT ADDRESS, THE DIVI- SION SHALL USE THE LANGUAGE, "NONE CURRENTLY REPORTED" IN THE SUBDIREC- TORY UNDER THE EMPLOYMENT ADDRESS FIELD. (B) FOR A SEX OFFENDER WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF AN OFFENSE WHICH REQUIRES REGISTRATION UNDER PARAGRAPH (D) OF SUBDIVISION TWO OR PARA- GRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-EIGHT-A OF THIS ARTICLE, THE DIVISION SHALL INCLUDE THE OFFENSE FOR WHICH THE SEX OFFENDER WAS CONVICTED IN ANY OTHER JURISDICTION. THE SUBDIRECTORY FIELD CONVICTION CHARGES SHALL INCLUDE, BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE TITLE, SECTION, SUBSECTION, CLASS, CATEGORY AND DEGREE OF OFFENSE FOR WHICH THE SEX OFFENDER WAS CONVICTED IN ANY OTHER JURISDICTION.S. 7724 3
S 4. Subdivision 4 of section 168-f of the correction law, as amended by chapter 67 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: 4. Any sex offender shall register with the division no later than
[ten]THREE calendar days after any change of address, internet accounts with internet access providers belonging to such offender, internet identifiers that such offender uses, or his or her status of enrollment, attendance, employment or residence at any institution of higher educa- tion. A fee of ten dollars, as authorized by subdivision eight of section one hundred sixty-eight-b of this article, shall be submitted by the sex offender each time such offender registers any change of address or any change of his or her status of enrollment, attendance, employment or residence at any institution of higher education. Any failure or omission to submit the required fee shall not affect the acceptance by the division of the change of address or change of status. S 5. Subdivision 6 of section 168-f of the correction law, as added by chapter 11 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows: 6. Any nonresident worker or nonresident student, as defined in subdi- visions fourteen and fifteen of section one hundred sixty-eight-a of this article, shall register his or her current address and the address of his or her place of employment or educational institution attended with the division within [ten]THREE calendar days after such nonresi- dent worker or nonresident student commences employment or attendance at an educational institution in the state. Any nonresident worker or nonresident student shall notify the division of any change of resi- dence, employment or educational institution address no later than [ten]THREE days after such change. The division shall notify the law enforce- ment agency where the nonresident worker is employed or the educational institution is located that a nonresident worker or nonresident student is present in that agency's jurisdiction. S 6. Subdivision 1 of section 168-k of the correction law, as amended by chapter 146 of the laws of 2004, is amended to read as follows: 1. A sex offender who has been convicted of an offense which requires registration under paragraph (d) of subdivision two or paragraph (b) of subdivision three of section one hundred sixty-eight-a of this article shall notify the division of the new address no later than [ten]THREE calendar days after such sex offender establishes residence in this state. S 7. This act shall take effect immediately.