In our last blog post, we discussed the use of satellite-based monitoring of sex offenders. The practice, which allows sex offenders to be tracked through GPS ankle bracelets, has come under fire for its flawed approach. Not only is monitoring intrusive, but it also does not prevent further sex offenses from being committed. Today, we will continue to discuss satellite-based monitoring of sex offenders by looking at a recent case decided by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The case involved three sex offenders from Buncombe County who had all pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a child. The North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of their monitoring orders straight from the trial court rather than letting the appeal go to the Court of Appeals. The defendants had appealed because they were convicted before the sex offender monitoring law was in place. They argued that the law should not apply to them because it was not in existence when they committed their crimes.
Although the court upheld the monitoring order, a dissent by Justice Robin E. Hudson provided some clear insight into the monitoring program. She stressed the fact that the monitoring did nothing to protect the public, which is one of the main reasons given for its use.
In fact, Hudson claimed the program was especially troubling because it provided the public with a false sense of security, especially given the fact that most sex offenses against children are committed by people who are close to or live with the children. In fact, almost all of the 30 monitoring cases decided by the Court of Appeals since June 2009 involved a sex offender who was living the child victim.
In our last blog post on the topic of satellite-based monitoring of sex offenders, we will look at the logistics of the monitoring system and why it fails to accomplish its objectives.
Source: Winston-Salem Journal “GPS tracking used for sex offenders hampered by technology, resources,” Paul Garber, 21 November 2010