Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act - Criticism

Criticism

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The law has been criticized for its over-breadth, for being applied retroactively, and for demonizing people who had been convicted of what are in many cases non-violent offenses or have served their sentences or probation and committed no new offences. The law has also been criticized for having unintended consequences.

Several civil rights groups including those who are advocates for child victims have argued that this law and those like it actually put children in harm's way. By placing everyone who has ever been convicted of a sex crime onto the internet registry, the Government is essentially making it impossible for parents to identify who is truly a threat and who is not. Currently, Texas places children as young as ten years old onto the internet sex offender registry. It has been argued that money spent monitoring these low-risk offenders is a waste of tax payer money and resources.

Others argue the act is an ex post facto law, a law applied retroactively, which is prohibited by the Constitution. Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution provides that, "No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed." This statement has been interpreted as applying only to further punishment but it has also been argued that since it clearly states that no law of its type shall be passed, that this includes all laws including those deemed as punishment or not punishment. This interpretation has allowed for offenders to be punished whenever a new law is passed that is retroactive, thus giving the Government the authority to re-punish an offender throughout their lives.

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