(NASHVILLE, TN), June 27, 2011 — Numerous anti-crime bills are among a host of new laws scheduled to take effect on July 1, including a measure sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) to add juveniles convicted of the most serious sex offenses to the state’s Sex Offender Registry. The Juvenile Sex Offender Registry law applies to offenders between ages 14 and 18 who have been convicted of rape, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, aggravated rape, or attempt of any of those four offenses.
“Several anti-crime laws will be enacted as the new month begins,” said Senator Kelsey, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which hears legislation involving crime, corrections and the court process. “The legislation passed this year is a step in the right direction in making Tennessee safer.”
Unlike the public sex offender registry for adults, the juvenile sex offender registry will be available only to law enforcement officers. A court may order whether a juvenile offender must abide by the residency limitations of the adult sex offender registry.
First-time offenders who are not convicted of a subsequent offense may apply for removal from the registry once they reach the age of 25. Juveniles who are convicted of a second violent offense, however, will be placed on the public sex offender registry once they turn 18 and will remain on the list for life.
“We must protect young children from all sexual offenders, including juveniles who have committed these violent acts,” said Senator Kelsey. “This legislation places the most violent offenders on the Registry so that law enforcement can monitor those who present the greatest risk to the public. This includes juveniles who commit the worst sexual offenses against very young children.”
In other key anti-crime action, legislation co-sponsored by Kelsey is set to take effect on July 1 that eliminates pretrial diversion for the most dangerous criminals in Tennessee. No felony crimes will be eligible for pre-trial diversion under the new law.
“In 1998, Tennesseans voted overwhelmingly to approve the Victim’s Rights Amendment which allows victims of crime to express their injuries to ask the court to consider how they have been violated,” said Senator Kelsey. “Under the previous pre-trial diversion law, victims had no voice in a pre-trial diversion situation. This new law helps to ensure that the most dangerous criminals do not escape through the diversion process, while giving crime victims their constitutional right to be heard in any judicial proceedings.”
In action to curb illegal drug use, Kelsey co-sponsored legislation that stiffens penalties for making methamphetamines in the presence of a child and implements a statewide electronic tracking system to curb meth production in the state. The bill also sets amounts of pseudoephedrine that can be purchased and strengthens penalties against those convicted of smurfing, or shopping for the product in multiple locations. Although the bill takes effect on July 1, pharmacies have until January 1, 2012 to connect to the system.