Changes to GA Sex Offender Law

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News 12 First at Five, Nov. 29, 2007

GEORGIA --- The Georgia Supreme Court's decision to change part of the state's sex offender law is facing some resistance. In a 16 page opinion, the court says a Georgia law restricting where sex offenders live isn't fair. Saying, an offender faces the possibility of being repeatedly uprooted and forced to abandon their homes.

Jessica McTier is upset. If she had kids and a sex offender lived near by..

"I wouldn't want my kids to go inside and play. I would probably keep them inside all the time," says Jessica.

And now the sex offender law in Georgia is changing. This after the Georgia Supreme Court said it's unconstitutional to prohibit a registered offender from living within a thousand feet of child care, churches, schools or other areas where minors come together. That decision made last week. News 12 talked to a registered offender. He's happy that part was overturned.

"Because then I can find a place to stay a lot faster," says a sex offender.

Before Georgia's Supreme Court changed the law, Richmond County Sheriff's Office used a GPS system to measure a thousand feet from say a child care facility to a sex offenders home. And now that the law has changed, it's still not really affecting anyone in the Sheriff's Office.

"It doesn't make my job any harder or any easier," says Investigator Ronald Sylvester.

For Jessica, the new law is a two way street.

"It hurts the public and helps them (the offenders) at the same time. It helps them because they can live anywhere. It hurts the public because they can live anywhere."

The Supreme Court's decision does not change one thing: registered offenders still can not work within a thousand feet of child care, churches, schools or other areas where minors come together.

"It makes me feel I just want to give up sometimes. But I know I can't," says a sex offender.

Late Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Thurbert Bakes asked the Supreme Court to reconsider and clarify the decision made in the case. That should be looked at by the Supreme Court within the next 30 days.

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