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Arizona Senate To Reconsider Lifelong Sex Offender Registry Requirement

State lawmakers are reconsidering the requirement that certain people should be on the sex offender registry for their entire life.

A measure approved Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee would allow certain offenders to request their removal from the registry once they turn 35.

House Bill 2613 would only apply in situations where the offender was younger than 22 at the time, the victim was at least 15 and the sexual contact was consensual.

It would also apply if the offender was under 22 and made sexual advances on a law enforcement officer who was posing as someone at least 15.

The measure is also limited to only those convicted of just one offense involving a single victim, but an offender would not be eligible if they were convicted of any other felony for at least 10 years or if their charge included sexual assault, child molestation or child prostitution.

Rachel Mitchell, who handles sex crimes for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, told lawmakers that one of the safeguards of the bill is the requirement that people wait until they're 35.

"This was not a randomly chosen number,'' she said, but instead is based on what's known as Static-99, an actuarial assessment of risk assessment of male sex offenders.

"What it tells us is that at age 35, there is a significant drop-off in risk,'' Mitchell said.

"Your whole life can be affected forever by these actions that we take rather cavalierly in the intoxication of youth,” said House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who sponsored the measure.

Bowers stressed that the measure, which was approved by the House and now goes to Senate, is not automatic.

Aside from having to meet the conditions in the proposal, the final decision rests with a judge who can deny a petition if he or she finds that "is in the best interests of justice or tends to ensure the safety of the public.''

News Politics
Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer from 2015 to 2019.