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H.836

Introduced by   Representative O’Donnell of Vernon

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Crimes; sex offender; registration

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to make amendments to the statutes relating to sex offender registration and notification.

AN ACT RELATING TO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. § 5401 is amended to read:

§ 5401.  DEFINITIONS

* * *

(10)  “Sex offender” means:

(A)  A person who is convicted in any jurisdiction of the United States, including a state, territory, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, or military, federal, or tribal court of any of the following offenses:

(i)  sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3252, except as described in subdivision (C) of this subdivision (10);

(ii)  aggravated sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253;

(iii)  lewd and lascivious conduct as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2601;

(iv)  sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 1379;

(v)  second or subsequent conviction for voyeurism as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2638(b) or (c); and

(vi)  kidnapping pursuant to subdivision 2405(a)(1)(D) or (E) if the crime facilitated is an offense listed in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (10);

(vii)  sexual activity by a caregiver as defined in 33 V.S.A. § 6913(d);

(viii)  lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2602;

(ix)  sexual exploitation of children as defined in chapter 64 of this title;

(vi)(x)  an attempt to commit any offense listed in this subdivision.

(B)  A person who is convicted of any of the following offenses against a victim who is a minor, except that, for purposes of this subdivision, conduct which is criminal only because of the age of the victim shall not be considered an offense for purposes of the registry if the perpetrator is under the age of 18:

(i)  any offense listed in subdivision (A);

(ii)  kidnapping as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2405(a)(1)(D);

(iii)  lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2602;

(iv)(i)  white slave traffic as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2635;

(v)  sexual exploitation of children as defined in 13 V.S.A. chapter 64;

(vi) or (ii)  procurement or solicitation as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2632(a)(6); or

(vii)(iii)  an attempt to commit any offense listed in this subdivision.

(C)  A person who is under the age of 18 years and is convicted of sexual assault pursuant to subdivision 3252(a)(3) of this title when the victim is 14 or older shall be considered a sex offender only if so ordered by a judge or if included in the terms of a plea agreement.

(C)(D)  A person who takes up residence within this state, other than within a correctional facility, and who has been convicted in any jurisdiction of the United States, including a state, territory, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, or military, federal, or tribal court, for a sex crime the elements of which would constitute a crime under are substantially similar to the elements of any one of the crimes included in subdivision (10)(A) or (B) of this section if committed in this state.

(D)(E)  A nonresident sex offender who crosses into Vermont and who is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student.

(F)  A person convicted of any offense who by the terms of a plea agreement or court order is to register pursuant to this chapter.

(G)  A person who is required to register in another jurisdiction as a sex offender.  With respect to a person who is required to register under this subsection, the state shall not be required to prove the substantial similarity of the elements of the underlying conviction as is required in subdivision (D) of this subdivision (10).

* * *

(15)  “Conviction” means a judgment of guilt following a verdict or finding of guilt, a plea of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere, an Alford Plea, or a judgment of guilt pursuant to a deferred sentence.  A sex offender whose sentence is deferred shall have no duty to register after successful completion of the terms of the deferred sentence agreement for the duration specified in the agreement, unless if otherwise obligated by terms of the plea agreement.

* * *

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 5402 is amended to read:

§ 5402.  SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

* * *

(b)  All information contained in the posted on the internet registry may be disclosed for any purpose permitted under the law of this state, including use by:

(1)  local, state and federal law enforcement agencies exclusively for lawful law enforcement activities;

(2)  state and federal governmental agencies for the exclusive purpose of conducting confidential background checks;

(3)  any employer, including a school district, who is authorized by law to request records and information from the Vermont criminal information center, where such disclosure is necessary to protect the public concerning persons required to register under this subchapter. The identity of a victim of an offense that requires registration shall not be released; and

(4)  a person identified as a sex offender in the registry for the purpose of reviewing the accuracy of any record relating to him or her.  The identity of a victim of an offense that requires registration shall not be released.

* * *

Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 5403 is amended to read:

§ 5403.  REPORTING UPON CONVICTION

(a)  Upon conviction and prior to sentencing, the court shall order the sex offender to provide the court with the following information, which the court shall forward to the department forthwith:

(1)  name;

(2)  date of birth;

(3)  general physical description;

(4)  current address;

(5)  Social Security number;

(6)  fingerprints;

(7)  current digital photograph;

(8)  current employment; and

(9)  name and address of any postsecondary educational institution at which the sex offender is enrolled as a student.

(b)  Within 10 days after sentencing, the court shall forward to the department the sex offender’s conviction record, including offense, date of conviction, sentence, and any conditions of release or probation.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 5407 is amended to read:

§ 5407.  SEX OFFENDER’S DUTY TO REPORT

* * *

(e)  Except as provided for in subsection (f) of this section, a person required to register as a sex offender under this subchapter shall continue to comply with this section, except during periods of incarceration, until 10 years have elapsed since the person was released from prison or discharged from parole, supervised release, or probation, whichever is later.  The 10-year period shall not be affected or reduced in any way by the actual duration of the offender’s sentence as imposed by the court, nor shall it be reduced by the sex offender’s release on parole or ending of probation or other early release.

(f)  A person required to register as a sex offender under this subchapter shall continue to comply with this section for the life of that person, except during periods of incarceration, if that person:

(1)  has at least one prior conviction for an offense described in subdivision 5401(10) of this subchapter or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States;

(2)  has been convicted of a sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title or aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title; however, if a person convicted under section 3252 is not more than six years older than the victim of the assault and if the victim is 14 years or older, then the offender shall not be required to register for life if the age of the victim was the basis for the conviction; or

(3)  has been determined to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to section 5405 of this subchapter.

(g)(e)  The department shall adopt forms and procedures for the purpose of verifying the addresses of persons required to register under this subchapter in accordance with the requirements set forth in section (b)(3) of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act.  Every 90 days for sexually violent predators and annually for other registrants, the department shall verify addresses of registrants by sending a nonforwardable address verification form to each registrant at the address last reported by the registrant.  The registrant shall be required to sign and return the form to the department within 10 days of receipt.

(h)(f)  A registrant who has no permanent address shall report to the department to notify it as to his or her temporary residence.  Temporary residence, for purposes of this section, need not include an actual dwelling or numbered street address, but shall identify a specific location.  A registrant shall not be required to check in daily if he or she makes acceptable other arrangements with the department to keep his or her information current.

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 5411 is amended to read:

§ 5411.  NOTIFICATION TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND

              LOCAL COMMUNITY

(a)  Upon receiving a sex offender’s registration materials from the department of corrections, notification that a nonresident sex offender has crossed into Vermont for the purpose of employment, carrying on a vocation, or being a student, or a sex offender’s release or change of address, including changes of address which involve taking up residence in this state, the department shall immediately notify the local law enforcement agency of the following information, which may be used only for lawful law enforcement activities:

(1)  name;

(2)  general physical description;

(3)  nature of offense;

(4)  sentence;

(5)  the fact that the registry has on file additional information, including the sex offender’s photograph and fingerprints;

(6)  current employment;

(7)  name and address of any postsecondary educational institution at which the sex offender is enrolled as a student; and

(8)  whether the offender complied with treatment recommended by the department of corrections.

(b)(1)  Except as provided for in subsections (c) and (e) of this section, the department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency shall release registry information concerning persons required to register under state law if the requestor can articulate a concern about the behavior of a specific person regarding the requestor’s personal safety or the safety of another, or the requestor has reason to believe that a specific person may be a registered sex offender and can articulate a concern regarding the requestor’s personal safety or the safety of another. However, the identity of a victim of an offense shall not be released.

(2)  The department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency shall release the following registry information if the requestor meets the requirements in subdivision (1) of this subsection:

(A)  a general physical description of the offender;

(B)  date of birth;

(C)  the date and nature of the offense;

(D)  whether the offender complied with treatment recommended by the department of corrections; and

(E)  whether there is an outstanding warrant for the offender’s arrest.

(c)(b)(1)  Except as provided for in subsection (e) of this section, upon Upon request of a member of the public about a specific person, the department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency shall release registry information on the following registrants: posted on the internet regarding registrants if the requestor states that he or she does not have access to the on‑line registry.  However, the identity of a victim of an offense shall not be released.

(A)  Sex offenders who have been convicted of section 3253 of this title (aggravated sexual assault), subdivision 2405(a)(1)(D) of this title if a registrable offense (kidnapping and sexual assault of a child), or 33 V.S.A. § 6913(d)(sexual activity with a vulnerable adult).

(B)  Sex offenders who have at least one prior conviction for an offense described in subdivision 5401(10) of this subchapter or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction.

(C)  Sex offenders who have failed to comply with sex offender registration requirements and for whose arrest there is an outstanding warrant for such noncompliance.

(D)  Sex offenders who have been designated as sexual predators pursuant to section 5405 of this title.

(E)  Sex offenders who have been designated by the department of corrections, pursuant to section 5411b of this title, as high risk.

(2)  The department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency shall release the following registry information to a requestor in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection:

(A)  the offender’s known aliases;

(B)  the offender’s date of birth;

(C)  a general physical description of the offender;

(D)  the offender’s town of residence address:

(E)  the date and nature of the offender’s conviction;

(F)  if the offender is under the supervision of the department of corrections, the name and telephone number of the local department of corrections office in charge of monitoring the offender;

(G)  whether the offender complied with treatment recommended by the department of corrections;

(H)  whether there is an outstanding warrant for the offender’s arrest; and

(I)  the reason for which the offender information is accessible under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3)  Upon request of a member of the public for registry information not related to a specific person, the department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency may release registry information posted on the internet regarding registrants if the requestor states that he or she does not have direct access to the online registry.  However, the identity of a victim of an offense shall not be released.  Any information listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection may be released pursuant to a request which falls under this subdivision (3).

(d)(c)  The department, the department of corrections, and any local law enforcement agency authorized to release registry information shall keep a log of requests for registry information and follow the procedure for verification of the requestor’s identity recommended by the department.  Such log shall include the requestor’s name, address, telephone number, the name of the person for whom the request was made, the reason for the request, and the date of the request.  Information about requestors shall be confidential and shall only be accessible to criminal justice agencies.

(e)  After 10 years have elapsed from the completion of the sentence, a person required to register as a sex offender for life pursuant to section 5407 of this title may petition the district court for a termination of notification.  The state shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the victim of the proceeding, and consider victim testimony regarding the petition.  If the registrant was convicted of a crime which requires lifetime registration, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the person is a high-risk sex offender.  Should the registrant present evidence that he or she is not a high-risk offender, the state shall have the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the person remains a high risk to reoffend.  The court shall consider whether the offender has successfully completed sex offender treatment.  The court may require the offender to submit to a psychosexual evaluation.  If the court finds that there is a high risk of reoffense, notification shall continue.  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.  A registrant may petition the court to be removed from the registry once every 60 months.  The presumption under this section that a lifetime registrant is a high-risk offender shall not automatically subject the offender to increased public access to his or her status as a sex offender and related information under subdivision (c)(1)(E) of this section or section 5411a of this title.

(d)  The department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency are authorized to notify members of the public whenever, in the sole discretion of the department or agency, community safety requires notification.  Such notification shall include the following information:

(1)  the offender’s known aliases;

(2)  the offender’s date of birth;

(3)  a general physical description of the offender;

(4)  the offender’s address;

(5)  the date and nature of the offender’s conviction;

(6)  if the offender is under the supervision of the department of corrections, the name and telephone number of the local department of corrections office in charge of monitoring the offender;

(7)  whether the offender complied with treatment recommended by the department of corrections;

(8)  whether there is an outstanding warrant for the offender’s arrest; and

(9)  the notifying department’s or agency’s opinion that the sex offender poses a danger.

(e)  Active community notification regarding registered sex offenders who may pose a danger to members of the community is an important public safety tool which the general assembly intends for authorized agencies to use at their discretion in accordance with this subchapter.

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 5411a is amended to read:

§ 5411a.  ELECTRONIC POSTING OF THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

(a)  Notwithstanding sections 2056a-2056e of Title 20, the department shall electronically post information on the internet in accordance with subsection (b) of this section regarding the following all sex offenders, upon their release from confinement.

(1)  Sex offenders who have been convicted of a violation of section 3253 of this title (aggravated sexual assault) or subdivision 2405(a)(1)(D) of this title if a registrable offense (kidnapping and sexual assault of a child).

(2)  Sex offenders who are convicted of a violation of section 3252 (sexual assault) or 2602 (lewd or lascivious conduct with child) of this title, and who have a prior conviction of a violation of section 3252 (sexual assault) or 2602 (lewd or lascivious conduct with child) of this title. Comparable offenses in another jurisdiction shall be included in this subsection.

(3)  Sex offenders who have failed to comply with sex offender registration requirements and for whose arrest there is an outstanding warrant for such noncompliance. Information on offenders shall remain on the internet only while the warrant is outstanding.

(4)  Sex offenders who have been designated as sexual predators pursuant to section 5405 of this title.

(5)  Sex offenders who have not complied with sex offender treatment recommended by the department of corrections or who are ineligible for sex offender treatment.  The department of corrections shall establish rules for the administration of this subdivision and shall specify what circumstances constitute noncompliance with treatment and criteria for ineligibility to participate in treatment.  Offenders subject to this provision shall have the right to appeal the department of corrections’ determination in superior court in accordance with Rule 75 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.  This subdivision shall apply prospectively and shall not apply to those sex offenders who did not comply with treatment or were ineligible for treatment prior to March 1, 2005.

(6)  Sex offenders who have been designated by the department of corrections, pursuant to section 5411b of this title, as high-risk.

(b)  The department shall electronically post the following information on sex offenders designated in subsection (a) of this section:

(1)  the offender’s name and any known aliases;

(2)  the offender’s date of birth;

(3)  a general physical description of the offender;

(4)  a digital photograph of the offender;

(5)  the offender’s town of residence address;

(6)  the date and nature of the offender’s conviction;

(7)  if the offender is under the supervision of the department of corrections, the name and telephone number of the local department of corrections office in charge of monitoring the sex offender;

(8)  whether the offender complied with treatment recommended by the department of corrections;

(9)  a statement that there is an outstanding warrant for the offender’s arrest, if applicable; and

(10)  the reason for which the offender information is accessible under this section.

(c)  The department shall have the authority to take necessary steps to obtain digital photographs of offenders whose information is required to be posted on the internet and to update photographs as necessary.  An offender who is requested by the department to report to the department or a local law enforcement agency for the purpose of being photographed for the internet shall comply with the request within 30 days.

(d)  An offender’s street address shall not be posted electronically.  The identity of a victim of an offense that requires registration shall not be released.

(e)  Information regarding a sex offender convicted of sexual assault as defined in subdivision 3252(a)(3) of this title who is under the age of 18 years old and whose victim was 14 years or older shall not be posted electronically if the conduct that is the basis for the offense is criminal only because of the age of the victim and the perpetrator is within 38 months of age of the victim if so ordered by a judge or included in the terms of a plea agreement.

(f)  Information regarding a sex offender shall not be posted electronically prior to the offender reaching the age of 18, but such information shall be otherwise available pursuant to section 5411 of this title.

(g)(f)  Information on sex offenders shall be posted on the internet for the duration of time for which they are subject to notification requirements under section 5401 et seq. of this title.

(g)  Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, and except during periods a sex offender is incarcerated, information on a sex offender shall be posted on the internet until, pursuant to court order issued pursuant to this section, the information is removed from the internet. 

(1)  An offender may file a petition with the district court that sentenced the offender one day after the following criteria have been met:  10 consecutive years have elapsed since the person was released from prison or discharged from parole, supervised release, or probation, whichever is later; the person has not committed another offense; no charge is pending for which probable cause has been found or an indictment issued; and the offender poses no risk of reoffending.  The 10-year period shall not be affected or reduced in any way by the actual duration of the offender’s sentence as imposed by the court, nor shall it be reduced by the sex offender’s release on parole or ending of probation or other early release.  A copy of the petition shall be provided by the offender to VCIC, the state’s attorney, and the attorney general’s office on or before the filing of the petition in district court.  The court may, upon its own motion or upon motion of the state’s attorney or attorney general, dismiss the petition if the petition fails to set forth the grounds or if the state’s attorney or attorney general files a certified copy of a record of conviction of an offense that occurred during the 10-year period or a record of a charge that is pending and for which probable cause has been found or an indictment issued.  The court may take judicial notice of its own records.  If the petition is not dismissed prior to hearing on the merits, the court may set the matter for hearing.  Discovery shall be in accordance with terms set forth by the court.  The burden shall be upon the offender to establish by clear and convincing evidence that 10 consecutive years have elapsed since the person was released from prison or discharged from parole, supervised release, or probation, whichever is later, and the person has not committed another offense, no charge is pending for which probable cause has been found or an indictment issued and the offender poses no risk of reoffending.  The 10-year period shall not be affected or reduced in any way by the actual duration of the offender’s sentence as imposed by the court, nor shall it be reduced by the sex offender’s release on parole or ending of probation or other early release. 

(2)  Information regarding offenders who are successful in removing their names from the internet registry shall remain available to the following:

(A)  local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies exclusively for lawful law enforcement activities;

(B)  state and federal governmental agencies for the exclusive purpose of conducting confidential background checks;

(C)  any employer, including a school district, who is authorized by law to request records and information from the Vermont criminal information center, where such disclosure is necessary to protect the public concerning persons required to register under this subchapter.  The identity of a victim of an offense that requires registration shall not be released.

(h)  Except during periods in which a sex offender is incarcerated, information concerning a sex offender shall be posted on the internet for the life of that person if he or she:

(1)  has at least one prior conviction for an offense described in subdivision 5401(10) of this title or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States; or

(2)  has been convicted of a sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title or aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title; except a person convicted under subdivision 3252(a)(3) of this title who is under18 years may, if the victim of the offense was 14 years or older, have his or her registry information posted on the internet for life only if so ordered by a judge or included in the terms of a plea agreement.  If there is no indication that the registration should be for life, the registry information shall be posted pursuant to subdivision (f) of this section;

(3)  has been determined to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to section 5405 of this title;

(4)  has been determined to be “high risk” pursuant to section 5411b of this title;

(5)  has been determined by VCIC to have failed to comply with a registry requirement;

(6)  the person is required to register for life pursuant to the terms of a plea agreement or court order;

(7)  the person is required to register for life in another jurisdiction as a sex offender; or

(8)  the person is convicted of a violation of subdivision 2405(a)(1)(D) or (E) of this title if the crime facilitated is an offense listed in subdivision 5401(10)(A) or(B) of this title.

(h)(i)  Posting of the information shall include the following language:  “This information is made available for the purpose of complying with 13 V.S.A. § 5401 et seq., which requires the Department of Public Safety to establish and maintain a registry of persons who are required to register as sex offenders and to post electronically information on sex offenders.  The registry is based on the legislature’s decision to facilitate access to publicly available information about persons convicted of sexual offenses.  EXCEPT FOR OFFENDERS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED ON THIS SITE AS HIGH-RISK, THE DEPARTMENT HAS HAVE NOT CONSIDERED OR ASSESSED THE SPECIFIC RISK OF REOFFENSE WITH REGARD TO ANY INDIVIDUAL PRIOR TO HIS OR HER INCLUSION WITHIN THIS REGISTRY AND HAS HAVE MADE NO DETERMINATION THAT ANY INDIVIDUAL INCLUDED IN THE REGISTRY IS CURRENTLY DANGEROUS.  THE MAIN PURPOSE OF PROVIDING THIS DATA ON THE INTERNET IS TO MAKE INFORMATION MORE EASILY AVAILABLE AND ACCESSIBLE, NOT TO WARN ABOUT ANY SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL.  If you have questions or concerns about a person who is not listed on this site or you have questions about sex offender information listed on this site, please contact the Department of Public Safety or your local law enforcement agency.  Please be aware that many nonoffenders share a name with a registered sex offender.  Any person who uses information in this registry to injure, harass, or commit a criminal offense against any person included in the registry or any other person is subject to criminal prosecution.”  “This registry does not contain information on all sex offenders.  Only sex offenders convicted of certain crimes, listed in 13 V.S.A. § 5401, are required to register.  Persons arrested for, or charged with, a sex crime are not required to register unless the arrest and/or charges result in a conviction for a sex crime included in section 5401.  Please be aware that many nonoffenders share a name with a registered sex offender.  Be advised that the registry posts only the last known address of an offender, and that an offender may have moved from that address and not yet notified the registry of the new address.  If you have concerns about the behavior of any person, whether he or she is included on this registry or not, or if you believe that any information on this registry is not accurate, please contact the Department of Public Safety or your local law enforcement agency.  The information provided on this website is intended to be used for public safety and community awareness purposes only.  The Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections have not considered or assessed the specific risk of reoffense with regard to any individual prior to his or her inclusion on this website and have made no determination that any individual included on this website is currently dangerous.  The primary purpose of providing this information is to make the information easily available and accessible, not to warn about any specific individual.  Use of this information to threaten, intimidate, or harass any registrant or any other person may result in criminal prosecution.”

(i)(j)  The department shall post electronically general information about the sex offender registry and how the public may access registry information.  Electronically posted information regarding sex offenders listed in subsection (a) of this section shall be organized and available to search by the sex offender’s name and the sex offender’s address and county of residence.

(j)  Any member of the public who seeks to access information on specific sex offenders on the sex offender website shall register on the website. Registration information about site users shall not be public.  The website shall include require the person’s name and address and shall require the person to acknowledge that he or she has read the following disclaimer:  “THE IDENTIFYING INFORMATION REGARDING A REGISTERED USER OF THIS SITE IS MAINTAINED PURSUANT TO LAW AND IS CONFIDENTIAL AND NOT SUBJECT TO PUBLIC DISCLOSURE. THE INFORMATION IS COLLECTED TO IDENTIFY A PATTERN OR PRACTICE OF MISUSE OF SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION INFORMATION SUCH AS THE COMMISSION OF A CRIME AGAINST A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER OR ANY ATTEMPT TO PORTRAY FALSELY AN INDIVIDUAL AS A SEX OFFENDER.  USING AND SHARING SEX OFFENDER INFORMATION RESPONSIBLY TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR COMMUNITY IS NOT A PATTERN OR PRACTICE OF MISUSE.”

(k)  The department shall adopt rules for the administration of this section and shall expedite the process for the adoption of such rules, including by use of emergency rulemaking.  The department shall not implement this section prior to the adoption of such rules.  Any rules adopted by the department prior to the enactment of this law that conflict with this law shall be void.

(l)  If a sex offender’s information is required to be posted electronically pursuant to subdivision (a)(2) of this subsection, the department shall list the offender’s convictions for any crime listed in subdivision 5401(10) of this title, regardless of the date of the conviction or whether the offender was required to register as a sex offender based upon that conviction.

Sec. 7.  13 V.S.A. § 5411b is amended to read:

§ 5411b.  DESIGNATION OF HIGH-RISK SEX OFFENDER

(a)  The department of corrections may evaluate a sex offender required to register under section 5401 of this title for the purpose of determining whether the offender is “high-risk” as defined in section 5401 of this title.  The designation of high-risk under this section is for the purpose of identifying an offender as one who should be subject to increased public access to his or her status as a sex offender and related information, including internet access.  The designation of a person as “high‑risk” shall be registry information and shall be posted pursuant to section 5411a of this title.

(b)  After notice and an opportunity to be heard, a sex offender who is designated as high-risk shall have the right to appeal de novo to the superior court in accordance with Rule 75 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c)  The department of corrections shall adopt rules for the administration of this section.  The department of corrections shall not implement this section prior to the adoption of such rules.

(d)  The department of corrections shall identify those sex offenders under the supervision of the department as of the date of passage of this act who are high-risk and shall designate them as such no later than September 1, 2005.

Sec. 8.  13 V.S.A. § 5412 is amended to read:

§ 5412.  ACTIVE COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION BY THE

              DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, THE DEPARTMENT OF

              CORRECTIONS, AND LOCAL LAW  ENFORCEMENT;

              IMMUNITY

(a)  The department, the department of corrections, any authorized local law enforcement agency, and their employees shall be immune from liability in carrying out the provisions under this subchapter except in instances of gross negligence or willful misconduct, provided that the agencies complied with the rules adopted pursuant to this subchapter.

(b)  The department, the department of corrections, and any authorized local law enforcement agency are authorized to notify members of the public who are likely to encounter a sex offender who poses a danger under circumstances that are not enumerated in this subchapter.

(c)  Notification of the community beyond those persons likely to encounter a sex offender shall be authorized only under circumstances which constitute a compelling risk to public safety and only after consultation with the Vermont crime information center and the department of corrections.

(d)  Active community notification regarding registered sex offenders who may pose a danger to members of the community is an important public safety tool which the general assembly intends for authorized agencies to use at their discretion in accordance with this subchapter.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us