Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw Enforcement & Police · 1 decade ago

When did the sex offender list start?

If someone was charged with a sex crime in the 1970's or 1980's , are they going to be on the list forever?

This person is a sex offender from a crime that was in the 80's. I thought the list just started in the late 1990's, but I see from his story he is a offender and has to register.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Sex offender registration is retroactive. Meaning that even though most of the laws were enacted in the 1990's you are required to register even if your sex crime occurred prior to the 1990's laws. Several individuals have challenged this law as a violation of Ex Post Facto laws, but the US Supreme Court has upheld the registration because it is not a punitive law, where punishment is the focus, but a regulatory one. Here is a little info for you.

    Past, Present, Future

    In 1947, California became the first state in the United States to have a sex offender registration program.[1] Community notification of the release of sex offenders from incarceration did not occur until almost 50 years later. In 1994, a federal statute called the Jacob Wetterling Act required all states to pass legislation requiring sex offenders to register with state sex offender registries. Then again in 1996, based on a set of New Jersey Laws called "Megan's Laws," the federal government required states to pass legislation mandating public notification of personal information for certain sex offenders. In Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe (2002) the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed this public disclosure.[2][3]

    The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act became law in 2007. This law implements new uniform requirements for sex offender registration across the states. Highlights of the law are a new national sex offender registry, standardized registration requirements for the states, and new and enhanced criminal offenses related to sex offenders. Since its enactment, the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) has come under intense grassroots scrutiny for its far-reaching scope and breadth. Even before any state adopted AWA, several sex offenders were prosecuted under its regulations. This has resulted in one life sentence for failure to register, due to the offender being homeless and unable to register a physical address.[1]

    In the United States, all 50 states have passed laws requiring sex offenders, especially child sex offenders, to register with police. They report where they live when they leave prison or are convicted of a crime.[citation needed]

    In 2006, California voters passed Proposition 83, which will enforce "lifetime monitoring of convicted sexual predators and the creation of predator free zones."[4][5] This proposition was challenged the next day in federal court on grounds relating to ex post facto. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Sacramento, found that Proposition 83 did not apply retroactively.

    Chainsaw is mistaken. Arizona requires registration for individuals convicted of sexual offenses prior to the registration requirement. Enforcement is piecemeal as it is virtually impossible to enforce unless a person is convicted of a new crime, not necessarily a sex crime.

    As a Probation Officer, I have worked with individuals who were placed on probation for drug possession, but due to a past sex offense on their record, in some cases predating the sex offender registry, they have been directed to register. If they refuse, they are prosecuted under a failure to register law which is a class 4 felony carrying 2.5 years in prison as the presumptive sentence.

    Challenges to Arizona's sex offender registration law, requiring sex offenders to register even if their sex offense occurred prior to the registration going into effect, have been challenged as a violation of ex post facto laws. However, they have withstood challenge, to date.

    Here are some opinions related to ex post facto and sex offender registry. The first, link is to a case in which a person was required to register for a sex offense that occurred back in 1973.

    [edit] Ex post facto challenge

    In Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003), the Supreme Court of the United States upheld Alaska's sex-offender registration statute as not violative of the Constitution of the United States's prohibition on ex post facto laws, reasoning that sex offender registrations are civil laws, not punishments. Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer dissented.

    Source(s): 10 years law enforcement experience, 7 years Senior Probation Officer, BS Criminal Justice, MS Criminology ... I think I qualify as a relatively reliable source for this question.
  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Criminal Records Search Database -
  • 1 decade ago

    Sex offender registration IS NOT retroactive. You'll notice the contradiction in the previous poster's response (first sentence and last paragraph). Laws in the US can only be proactive. The Jacob Wetterling act required registration in 1994. Megan's Law, which put it on the internet, was legislated in 1994 and enacted on May 17, 1996.

    Look here. Marc Klaas has done some good work. Don't let it be disrespected by dubious experts. Go to the source.

    No one who was convicted before 1994 is required to register, and cannot be compelled to unless they are convicted of a new crime. Some states have required registration for the conviction of ANY new felony conviction (not just offenses with a sexual component), but this is being tested by the ACLU in those states.

    Having read the link you posted, if the suspect was released from prison before 1994, he would not have been recistered. Some states required inmates who were incarcerated when the Wetterling act was enacted to register. Once on the list, forever on the list.

    • Myst6 years agoReport

      Sorry, but as raviet31 has mentioned, oyu are mistaken as to the retroactive status. the reason is they consider it not punitive but regulatory. Even those who were released past that 1994 enactment have to register even with no further convictions. I know this from direct experience.

  • Teresa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    well in texas its violent sex offenders they wanna make lifetime register. any sex offense at all requires a persson to register while on probation or parole and then for ten years after they complete it. cjhs

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  • 4 years ago

    Get a No Cost Background Check Scan at

    Its a sensible way to start. The site allows you to do a no cost scan simply to find out if any sort of data is in existence. A smaller analysis is done without cost. To get a detailed report its a modest payment.

    You may not realize how many good reasons there are to try and find out more about the people around you. After all, whether you're talking about new friends, employees, doctors, caretakers for elderly family members, or even significant others, you, as a citizen, have a right to know whether the people you surround yourself with are who they say they are. This goes double in any situation that involves your children, which not only includes teachers and babysitters, but also scout masters, little league coaches and others. Bottom line, if you want to find out more about someone, you should perform a background check.

  • 4 years ago

    is jonathan b hall on the sex offenders registry in tennessee

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    yes he will be on there forever he has to register everwhere he lives so they can let the nearby schools know and the people that live around him

  • 1 decade ago

    Not Soon Enough...!!

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