From the Bangor Daily News:
AUGUSTA, Maine - Lawmakers were told Tuesday that about 300 convicted sex offenders are not following the state sex offender registry law, even as the legislators consider changing the structure of the registry.
"There are about 100 that have not registered at all," said Public Safety Commissioner Anne Jordan. "We have 50 who are in basic compliance but have not either provided the photo or the fee. And we have another 150 who initially registered but have not complied with the continuing verification process."
She said only one person is assigned full time to the effort of tracking down offenders to make sure they comply with the current law. Several members of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee are concerned that is not enough for either the current registry or the modified registry plans that have been discussed.
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While the panel has taken no votes, the discussions by its members over several meetings have pointed to a developing consensus that a Web site should have different tiers, one public for the most serious sex offenders, and one available only to law enforcement for those convicted of lesser sex offenses.
Several convicted sex offenders and their family members want changes in the registry; some want it abolished. Shirley Turner, the mother of convicted sex offender William Elliott, asked lawmakers last year to keep addresses off the listing to protect offenders from "vigilantes."
Elliott was shot and killed on Easter Sunday 2006 at his home in Corinth. State police investigators determined that Stephen Marshall of Nova Scotia gained access to the state sex offender registry Web site before he came to Maine and killed Elliott and Joseph Gray of Milo. Those murders prompted a review of Maine’s registry law that is continuing.
Others have urged lawmakers to change the current sex offender registry to remove some offenders entirely from the list, such as teens who have consensual sex when one is over 18.
But complicating the committee’s work to create a new Web site law is a Maine supreme court ruling last month that sent back to the Superior Court a case in which "John Doe" sued, alleging the state statute is unconstitutional because of a retroactive portion requiring sex offenders since 1982 to register.
"We don’t know how the Superior Court will rule," said Attorney General Steven Rowe under questioning by the committee. "This issue has not been fully argued in the courts."
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"That makes it very difficult for us to work this bill," Diamond said. "We may not be able to write a new law until we know what we can do under Maine’s constitution."
But Sykes and some others on the panel disagree. They believe the committee needs to move forward and craft a measure for consideration in the January session to address the many concerns with the current law.
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The panel also heard from committee staff and members of the Attorney General’s Office on the provisions of the federal Adam Walsh Act, which establishes guidelines for sex offender registries. Failure to meet the federal requirement by summer 2009 would lead to the state losing 10 percent of some federal law enforcement grant funds.