Chief Sexual Predator Unit Office of the Attorney General of LA Committee on House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism and Homeland Security
March 10, 2009 My name is Emma Devillier. I am here on behalf of Attorney
General James D. ``Buddy`` Caldwell, as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Louisiana where I serve as Chief of A.G. Caldwell`s Sexual
Predator Unit. I come before you this afternoon as someone who has been a frontline prosecutor of sexual offenders for over a decade and also as a representative of A.G. Caldwell, who has thirty years of experience as a frontline prosecutor. It should first be said that A.G. Caldwell and
I believe that establishing some uniformity among the states regarding sex offender registration laws is a worthwhile goal. Ultimately, a reasonable degree of uniformity will lead to increased compliance by offenders and fewer legal defenses for those who continue to be non-compliant. A.G. Caldwell and I also speak to you today as parents, who want to know if there is a predator next door. As prosecutors and parents, we understand what it takes to successfully prosecute sex offender and child predator cases, how registration issues affect the administration of justice in some of those cases and we understand a parent`s desire to have information that will allow them to protect their children against such predators. We, however, believe very strongly that SORNA, did not get it right. SORNA is not the pinnacle of good public policy where sex offender tracking is concerned.
In fact, in some respects it is not good policy at all. When you look at what Louisiana has done to craft and implement a tough and targeted policy of mandatory sex offender registration which maintains the integrity of the criminal justice system and does not impede the administration of justice, it will become abundantly clear to you where SORNA falls short of the mark and why states are having difficulty adhering to it. We all believe in mandatory sex offender and child predator registration, but if we do not do it right we are helping the true predators go undetected. The devil is in the details. I am here to tell you why Louisiana has not and why other states probably will not come into compliance with the current legislation and to respectfully implore you to take a hard look at what it will take to have an effective public policy that accomplishes effective tracking of sex offenders and child predators while not impeding the administration of justice. A.G. Caldwell and I are grateful to Chairman Robert C. ``Bobby``
Scott, Ranking Member Louie Gohmert, and the other esteemed members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to testify regarding the current Barriers to Implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
(hereinafter referred to as ``SORNA``) and for your commitment to exploring and crafting sex offender registration and notification policy that works to enhance public safety. The Office of the Attorney General of Louisiana suggest that the Subcommittee delay the July 27, 2009 enforcement date of SORNA and create task forces to examine the significant barriers to implementing the Act. This is not just an arbitrary suggestion. It is an informed and educated analysis developed over time. The Hurdles of Implementing
SORNA in Louisiana I was the Assistant Attorney General responsible for coordinating Louisiana`s efforts to implement SORNA compliant legislation.
In fact, I was one of the first Assistant Attorneys General in the country to work with the SMART Office when it first opened for business. Between late 2006 and mid-2007, my office worked closely with all stakeholders
(District Attorneys, Sheriffs, Corrections officials, etc) to help craft
Louisiana`s version of SORNA, House Bill 970, which passed in the 2007
Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature