Challenge to Georgia new sex law - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Challenge to Georgia new sex law

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A new Georgia law forces sex offenders to hand over their Internet passwords to law enforcement.   No other state has such a law.  And one sex offender is challenging it in court.

Some attorneys say Georgia's sex offender laws are too broad and unconstitutional and legislators need to straighten them out to truly protect children from predators.

A few other states track sex offenders Internet addresses, but Georgia is the first to force its 16,000 convicted sex offenders to turn in Internet passwords as well as screen names and e-mail addresses. Once again attorney's say state legislators are trying to attract votes, but writing bad laws.

Attorney Pete Donaldson said "It's popular to be tough on crime, law and order."

Pete Donaldson has defended sex offenders in the past, and says Georgia legislators need to stop writing laws treating all sex offenders like dangerous sexual predators, and says this Internet law is just as unjust as laws saying sexual offenders can't work within one thousand feet of school bus stops.

Donaldson said "You've driven them away from legitimate use of Internet. They'll get branded. And theoretically if you are going to turn people loose and out of prison, you need to give them an opportunity to support themselves and become productive."

Donaldson says dangerous sexual predators need to be monitored at all times, including their Internet and social networking, but says legislators trying to get votes need to work smarter.

Donaldson said "They are just tough on sex offenders. They are not smart on sex crimes. They are identifying too many people who are not predators."

State attorneys argue that the new Internet requirements give authorities another tool to keep registered sex offenders from striking again. Judges will decide whether the new law is constitutional.

A federal judge heard arguments last week in the legal challenge to the new law. Nor word yet on when he may rule in the case.

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