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Judges rule against GPS monitoring of sex offenders

Posted April 29, 2008

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— A Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that because a Chatham County man was convicted of sex offenses before the state adopted a monitoring law, he does not have to wear a satellite tracking monitor.

The decision by Judge Allen Baddour was the latest setback for the state's attempts to track sex offenders who have finished their sentences.

Guy Reeves was convicted  in January 2006 of taking indecent liberties with a 7-year-old, his third sex-offense conviction. He left jail in May 2007.

The General Assembly passed laws on sex-offender monitoring in 2006 and added specific procedures for the program last December.

Assistant Chatham County District Attorney Marci Trageser argued Tuesday that lawmakers intended the statute to be retroactive as a safety measure for the public and that  made tracking part of the original sentence, not additional punishment.

"It clearly specifies in the session law that this is also to apply to any person released from prison," Trageser said.

Baddour's rejection of that argument made Reeves the 29th convicted sex offender in North Carolina to get a tracking device removed.

Last week, another judge ruled that sex offenders shouldn't be subject to lifetime monitoring, and four men have had their monitoring devices removed.

Statewide, 113 people are still monitored. State Department of Correction officials say it costs $2,745 a year to track one offender.

Attorneys opposing the monitoring have argued that the system violates constitutional rights and was beset by technical problems.

"I don't want to make a moral assessment of the thing, (but) it seems to me that, once a person has been either found guilty or pled guilty and has served his sentence and been discharged, then that should be the end of it," said Ken Richardson, the public defender who represents Reeves.

Reeves, who still must stay registered with local authorities as a convicted sex offender, said he was happy he no longer will have to wear a monitoring device.

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  • Dark_Horse Apr 30, 2008

    I guess my question is does this program prevent children from being harmed or does it make the prosecution of the perps. easier after the fact? Does an alarm sound off if they are within a certain distance of a school, playground, etc? If they were not able to control their perverted urges by the thought of possibly being arrested and prosecuted before, I'm not sure how this bracelet will do it either.

  • enigma1469 Apr 30, 2008

    Just because you track them doesn't mean they won't find children in other places. Tracking them does nothing really unless they are going to a school to pick them up, which is 99% of the time not the case. Most cases involve relatives or people close to the sicko.

  • dimples Apr 30, 2008

    I CHECKED ON A WEBSITE FOR (SEX OFFENDERS)IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I LIVE IN VERY NICE AND SAFE AREA,I THOUGHT. THERE WERE 12 (SEX OFFENDERS)WITHIN FOUR MILES FROM ME. THAT'S THE ONES THEY KNOW OF. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSE TO SAFEGUARD OUR CHILDREN. NOT LET THEM PLAY OUTSIDE AND BARRICADE THEM IN OUR HOMES. THAT JUDGE CAN'T HAVE ANY KIDS OR GRANDCHILDREN. IF HE DID, HE WOULD DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO PROTECT THEM. I BLAME US ALSO. WE'RE THE ONES THAT GIVE THESE JUDGES THEIR POWER. WHO KNOWS HOW MUCH MONEY HE'S MAKING FOR THIS CHANGE. MAYBE HE PROTECTING HIS SELF.

  • jurydoc Apr 30, 2008

    Just offerring a point of clarification. This ruling applies to this inmate who was convicted and served his sentence PRIOR to the monitoring statute being passed. There is NOTHING in this ruling that will "eliminate the monitoring program" for more current offenders.

  • FragmentFour Apr 30, 2008

    This is one of those times when I wish we could bend the law without breaking it. Can't, of course. But there are times like this when I'd like to.

  • ctechic2004 Apr 30, 2008

    There is no guarantee that by being monitored 24-7; they will not abuse again.

    Who says that murderers can be rehabilitated? That is not necessarily true. You can only be changed if you want to be changed.

    The judge made the right decision according to the law.

  • b4self Apr 30, 2008

    I don't think most of us ar talking about consensual sex between 18-16 yr olds . We are talking about RAPE and CHILD ADUSE, and the laws should be changed to reflect this.Hope this Judge and Public Defender never have to experience this in their family,sexualy abuse and rape should be monitored for life even if convicted before law was made and released now and if the law doesn't say that it should be ammended NOW:

  • Redneck_Bob Apr 30, 2008

    If we can't track them like the sick criminals they are, can we castrate them or make eunichs out of them?

  • thinkbee Apr 30, 2008

    These perverts give up there rights when they violate the rights of others, especially children. I bet these judges would rule differently if their children were the ones violated. STOP finding loopholes to protect the guilty and start protecting our children.

  • TheBullCity Apr 30, 2008

    I understand that people are scared of sex offenders and that fear is probably justified. However, what people are advocating here is chaos, not rule of law. You are far safer (and more importantly, more free) with the rule of law than you are with chaos.

    Monitoring is very clearly a punishment. If lawmakers authorize monitoring after release as a punishment and a judge sentences an offender to monitoring after release, that is rule of law. However, sentencing someone to monitoring after the fact is a violation.

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