Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Sex Offender Sentenced to Life Term of Supervised Release
A federal appeals court ruled that sentence did not amount to "cruel and unusual" punishment.
Federal
State:
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Key point. A lifetime of supervised release following a 15-year prison sentence did not violate a child sex offender's legal rights.

* A federal appeals court ruled that sentencing a sex offender to a life term of supervised release did not amount to "cruel and unusual" punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. After having his computer seized by his probation officers, a convicted child molester (the "defendant") admitted that it contained child pornography. He later pled guilty to felony possession of child pornography.

This was not the first time that the defendant got into trouble for sexual misconduct. A few years earlier he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault for an incident involving two girls, ages nine and thirteen. The victims were playing outside their home when the defendant approached them and asked for hugs. They said "no" and ran away, but the defendant followed them into their home and cornered them in a bedroom. He received a 10-year sentence for these crimes, but obtained supervised release. His supervised release was revoked in 2002, however, because he skipped sex offender treatment sessions and obtained employment at a fair frequented by children.

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Posted: July 1, 2011
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