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State Laws

These links will take you to site of  APRI  American Prosecutors Research Institute.

Anatomical Dolls

Use of Anatomical Dolls in Criminal Child Abuse Cases (Updated 6/05)

Autopsies

Statutes Mandating Autopsies in Child Death Cases (Updated 5/06)

Civil Commitment

Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Statutes and Summary Chart (Updated March 2007)

Competency

Competency of Child Witnesses to Testify in Criminal Proceedings (Updated 8/06)

Computer, Solicitation

Computer-Facilitated Luring or Solicitation of a Child (Updated 10/06)

Drug Endangered

Drug Endangered Children (Updated 6/07)

Emotional Maltreatment

Emotional Maltreatment Statutes (Updated 6/07)

Endangerment

Child Endangerment Statutes (Updated 6/07)

Enhanced Penalties

Enhanced Penalties for Assault & Battery of a Child (Updated 6/07)

Homicide

Child Homicide (Updated 5/06)

Incest

State Criminal Incest Statutes (Updated 7/06)

Incest Statutes (Text) (Updated 7/06)

Kidnapping

Parental Kidnapping Statutes (Updated 7/02)

Limitations

Extending or Removing the Statutes of Limitation for Offenses Against Children (Updated 6/07)

Mandated Reporting

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect: State Statutes and Professional Ethics (Updated 6/07)

Multidisciplinary

Multidisciplinary/Multi-Agency Child Protection Teams (Updated 7/06)

Mutilation, Female Genital

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Statutes (Current through 6/06)

Neglect, Abandonment

Child Neglect & Abandonment (Current through 3/13/07)

Pornography, Child

Child Pornography Statutes (Updated 6/06)

Prostitution

Crimes Involving the Prostitution of Children (Updated 7/06)

Rape

Rape Shield Statutes (Summary Chart) (Updated 5/1/03)

Rape Shield Statutes (Updated 6/06)

Registration

Jessica's Law State Statute Summary (Updated 6/07)

Sex Offender Registration Statutes (Updated 2/05)

Religious Exemption

Religious Exemption Statutes (Updated 6/07)

Residency Restrictions

Residency Restrictions for Sexual Offenders (Updated 6/07)

Sentencing

Special Sentencing of Sexually Violent Predators (Updated 7/26/05)

Sexual Offenses

Sexual Offenses Against Children (Updated 7/06)

Speedy Trial

“Speedy Trial” Statutes for Allegations Involving Children (Updated 10/05)

Television Testimony

Closed Circuit Television Testimony in Criminal Child Abuse Proceedings (Updated 5/06)

Videotaped Interviews

Admissibility of Videotaped Interviews/Statements in Criminal Child Abuse Proceedings (Updated 7/06)

Voyeurism

Voyeurism/Peeping Tom Statutes (Updated 8/2/05)

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Note:

Changes in the laws, rules and regulations since the 2001 edition of the LSBEP Directory and Statutory Reference book appear in boldface type in this 2002 edition.

Post-Separation Family Violence Relief Act, La. R.S. 9:361-369

361. Legislative findings

         The legislature hereby reiterates its previous findings and statements of purpose set forth in R.S. 46:2121 and 2131 relative to family violence and domestic violence. The legislature further finds that the problems of family violence do not necessarily cease when the victimized family is legally separated or divorced. In fact, the violence often escalates, and child custody and visitation become the new forum for the continuation of the abuse. Because current laws relative to child custody and visitation are based on an assumption that even divorcing parents are in relatively equal positions of power, and that such parents act in the children’s best interest, these laws often work against the protection of the children and the abused spouse in families with a history of family violence. Consequently, laws designed to act in the children’s best interest may actually effect a contrary result due to the unique dynamics of family violence.

362. Definitions

         As used in this Part:

         (1) “Abused parent” means the parent who has not committed family violence.

         (2) “Family violence” includes but is not limited to physical or sexual abuse and any offense against the person as defined in the Criminal Code of Louisiana, except negligent injuring and defamation, committed by one parent against the other parent or against any of the children. “Family violence” does not include reasonable acts of self-defense utilized by one parent to protect himself or herself or a child in the family from the family violence of the other parent.

         (3) “Injunction” means a temporary restraining order or a preliminary or a permanent court ordered injunction, as defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, which prohibits the violent parent from in any way contacting the abused parent or the children except for specific purposes set forth in the injunction, which shall be limited to communications expressly dealing with the education, health, and welfare of the children, or for any other purpose expressly agreed to be the abused parent. All such injunctions shall prohibit the violent parent, without the express consent of the abused parent, from intentionally going within fifty yards of the home, school, place of employment, or person of the abused parent and the children, or within fifty feet of any of their automobiles, except as otherwise, necessitated by circumstances considering the proximity of the parties’ residences or places of employment.

         (4) “Supervised visitation” means face to face contact between a parent and a child which occurs in the immediate presence of a supervising person approved by the court under conditions which prevent any physical abuse, threats, intimidation, abduction, or humiliation of either the abused parent or the child. The supervising person shall not be any relative, friend, therapist, or associate of the parent perpetrating family violence. With the consent of the abused parent, the supervising person may be a family member or friend of the abused parent. At the request of the abused parent, the court may order that the supervising person shall be a police officer or other competent professional. The parent who perpetrated family violence shall pay any and all costs incurred in the supervision of visitation. In no case shall supervised visitation be overnight, or in the home of the violent parent.

         (5) “Treatment program” means a course of evaluation and psychotherapy designed specifically for perpetrators of family violence, and conducted by licensed mental health professionals.

         (6) “Court” means any district court, juvenile court, or family court having jurisdiction over the parents and/or child at issue.

363. Ordered mediation prohibited

         Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, in any separation, divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, or community property proceeding, no spouse or parent who satisfied the court that he or she, or any of the children, has been the victim of family violence perpetrated by the other spouse or parent shall be court ordered to participate in mediation.

364. Child custody; visitation

         A. There is created a presumption that no parent who has a history of perpetrating family violence shall be awarded sole or joint custody of children. The court may find a history of perpetrating family violence if the court finds that one incident of family violence has resulted in serious bodily injury or the court finds more than one incident of family violence.  The presumption shall be overcome only by a preponderance of the evidence that the perpetrating parent has successfully completed a treatment program as defined herein, is not abusing alcohol and the illegal use of drugs scheduled in R.S. 40:964, and that the best interest of the child or children requires that parent’s participation as a custodial parent because of the other parent’s absence, mental illness or substance abuse, or such other circumstances which affect the best interest of the child or children. The fact that the abused parent suffers from the effects of the abuse shall not be grounds for denying that parent custody.

         B. If the court finds that both parents have a history of perpetrating family violence, custody shall be awarded solely to the parent who is less likely to continue to perpetrate family violence. In such a case, the court shall mandate completion of a treatment program by the custodial parent. If necessary to protect the welfare of the child, custody may be awarded to a suitable third person, provided that the person would not allow access to a violent parent except as ordered by the court.

         C. If the court finds that a parent has a history of family violence, the court shall only allow supervised child visitation with that parent, conditioned upon that parent’s participation in and completion of a treatment program. Unsupervised visitation shall only be allowed if shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the violent parent has successfully completed a treatment program, is not abusing alcohol and psychoactive drugs, poses no danger to the child, and that such visitation is in the child’s best interest.

         D. If any court finds that a parent has sexually abused his or her child or children, the court shall prohibit all visitation and contact between the abusive parent and the children, until such time, following a contradictory hearing, that the court finds that the abusive parent has successfully completed a treatment program designed for such sexual abusers, and that supervised visitation is in the children’s best interest. Any testimony by a licensed mental health professional with training, experience, and expertise in treating sexual abuse victims, who is the therapist for the abused child, shall be given greater weight by the court than other testimony on issues of visitation.

365. Qualification of mental health professional

         Any mental health professional appointed by the court to conduct a custody evaluation in a case where family violence is an issue shall have current and demonstrable training and experience working with perpetrators and victims of family violence.

366. Injunctions

         A. All separation, divorce, child custody, and child visitation orders and judgments in family violence cases shall contain an injunction as defined herein. Any violence of the injunction, if proved by the appropriate standard, shall be punished as contempt of court, and shall result in a termination of all court ordered child visitation.

         B. Whenever a parent is under a criminal bill of information or indictment for any crime against the person of a child or other parent, the court, on the motion of the state or the other parent, shall prohibit all contact between the billed or indicted parent and the other spouse and all children of the family. Supervised visitation may be reinstated if, upon a contradictory hearing initiated by a motion of the billed or indicted parent, the court finds it to be in the best interest of the child.

367. Costs

         In any family violence case, all court costs, attorney fees, evaluation fees, and expect witness fees incurred in furtherance of this Part shall be paid by the perpetrator of the family violence, including all costs of medical and psychological care for the abused spouse, or for any of the children, necessitated by the family violence.

368. Other remedies not affected

         This Part shall in no way affect the remedies set forth in R.S. 46:2181 through 2142, the Criminal Code, the Children’s Code, or elsewhere; however, the court, in any case brought under R.S. 46:2181 et seq., may impose the remedies provided herein.

369. Limitations

          No public funds allocated to programs which provide services to victims of domestic violence shall be used to provide services to the perpetrator of domestic violence.

State Okays Death Penalty for Repeat Child Rapists

In another effort by state legislators to beef up "Jessica Law" penalties for repeat child molesters, the South Carolina Senate has voted for a bill that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for sex offenders who are convicted twice of raping a child under 11 years old.

The death penalty provision, part of a bill that increases minimum sentences and provides for lifetime monitoring for some sex offenders, may end up being a test case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that a Georgia law providing for the death penalty for a rape involving an adult victim was unconstitutional, but the court has not ruled on cases involving the rape of a child.

The court declined to review a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that upheld that state's death penalty for rapists of children under 12 years old.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster told lawmakers he would gladly argue the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but he believes other states will also pass similar laws before any challenge to the law could be argued.

Several states have adopted tougher laws against child molesters since the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Lunsford by a repeat sex offender brought loopholes in the sexual offender laws to light.

 

October 4, 2007 - Thursday

 

Florida increases penalties, Ohio decreases

Fla. Law Toughens Sex-Crime Penalties

By TRAVIS REED – 2 days ago

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida's sex predator penalties became among the nation's toughest Monday as a new law took effect tripling maximum sentences to 15 years for soliciting minors for sex and possessing child pornography.

The law also requires offenders to register e-mail and instant message handles with authorities. That information will be shared with social networking sites like Myspace.com.

"It's going to give all of us the tools to be able to make sure that not only do we enforce laws like this, but that Florida becomes known as a place that if you are a child predator or if you are a child pornographer ... there's only one place for you and that's behind bars," state Attorney General Bill McCollum said.

McCollum spoke on the Orange County Courthouse steps, joined by four county sheriffs and other law enforcement officers. The first-term attorney general has made child sex crimes one of his top priorities, pushing for the legislation and getting money to expand the state's cybercrime unit from five to 50 investigators.

The Legislature passed the sex crime bill last session, and Gov. Charlie Crist signed it in June.

Previously, prosecutors could pursue sentences of only five years for trying to meet a child for sex or possessing more than 10 child pornography images.

Increased penalties are provided for "grooming" — or posing as a youth to gain a child's trust — and particularly heinous pornography with victims under 5 years old, sadomasochistic abuse, bestiality and sexual battery. Promotion or distribution of those images is punishable by up to 30 years in jail.

The law reclassifies possession of child pornography as a second-degree felony, while promotion and distribution becomes first-degree.

Florida ranks fourth in the country in child pornography on computers, the Federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force determined. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, about one in seven children nationally are sexually solicited online.

Child porn images "are beyond anything you can possibly imagine, and they're not pictures. They're actually people," said Maureen Horkan, head of the attorney general's cybercrime unit. "They're small children being damaged and wounded and miserably taken advantage of."

On the other hand, Ohio lawmakers recently shot down the law that makes it illegal to send children porn, or indecent acts on a webcam. The charge, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, was ruled unconstitutional because it violated peoples freedom of speech!

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JUDGE WALTER HERBERT RICE

Defendants argue that without the statute in question, efforts to prosecute persons who use the internet to groom children for sexual intercourse will be hampered.

Court concludes that exposing the Plaintiffs to prosecution under a statute that violates the First Amendment decidedly outweighs any harm which may befall the Defendants as a result of enjoining the enforcement of that statute, 2907.31(D)(1). This is particularly true in light of the fact that the evidence presented to this Court shows that law enforcement officers in Ohio have been eminently successful at prosecuting pedophiles who are on the internet, under Ohio's importuning statute.

Accordingly, the Court concludes that the Plaintiffs are entitled to a permanent injunction, preventing the enforcement of 2907.31(D)(1) to the internet.

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In Franklin County, when someone is charged with Importuning, they typically only serve an overnight stay in jail until they are arraigned the next day. The disseminating matter charge added some beef to thier puny sentence.

Now the Senate is trying to pass a bill that increases the minimum sentence to 6 months jail term. That is a lot better than an overnight stay, but a far stretch from Floridas 15 years.

If you are interested in writing to the Ohio Senate JCR committee who is overlooking the bill, Senate Bill 183, you can write to:


Tell them tougher sentencing for internet predators is important to you and that you support SB 183. You can even take it a step farther and suggest penalties similar to Florida's minimum 15 years!

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Alaska Child Custody
House Bill 385 (2004)

"An Act relating to awarding child custody; and providing for an effective date."


BE IT ENACTED BY THE STATE OF ALASKA:

Section 1. AS 25.20.060 (a) is amended to read:
(a) If there is a dispute over child custody, either parent may petition the superior court for resolution of the matter under AS 25.20.060 - 25.20.130. The court shall award custody on the basis of the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including those factors enumerated in AS 25.24.150 (c), and the presumption established in AS 25.24.150 (g). In a custody determination under this section, the court shall provide for visitation by a grandparent or other person if that is in the best interests of the child.

Sec. 2. AS 25.20.070 is amended to read:
Sec. 25.20.070. Temporary custody of the child. Unless it is shown to be detrimental to the welfare of the child considering the factors under AS 25.24.150 (c), or unless the presumption under AS 25.24.150 (g) is present, the child shall have, to the greatest degree practical, equal access to both parents during the time that the court considers an award of custody under AS 25.20.060 - 25.20.130.

Sec. 3. AS 25.20.090 is amended to read:
Sec. 25.20.090. Factors for consideration in awarding shared child custody. In determining whether to award shared custody of a child the court shall consider
(1) the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference;
(2) the needs of the child;
(3) the stability of the home environment likely to be offered by each parent;
(4) the education of the child;
(5) the advantages of keeping the child in the community where the child presently resides;
(6) the optimal time for the child to spend with each parent considering
(A) the actual time spent with each parent;
(B) the proximity of each parent to the other and to the school in which the child is enrolled;
(C) the feasibility of travel between the parents;
(D) special needs unique to the child that may be better met by one parent than the other;
(E) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child, except that the court may not consider this willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either the parent or the child;
(7) any findings and recommendations of a neutral mediator;
(8) any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents;
(9) evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child;
(10) other factors the court considers pertinent.

Sec. 4. AS 25.24.150 (c) is amended to read:
(c) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child under AS 25.20.060 - 25.20.130. In determining the best interests of the child the court shall consider
(1) the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs of the child;
(2) the capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs;
(3) the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference;
(4) the love and affection existing between the child and each parent;
(5) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
(6) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child, except that the court may not consider this willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either the parent or the child;
(7) any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents;
(8) evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child;
(9) other factors that the court considers pertinent.

Sec. 5. AS 25.24.150 is amended by adding new subsections to read:
(g) There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has a history of perpetrating domestic violence against the other parent, a child, or a domestic living partner may not be awarded sole legal custody, sole physical custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody of a child.
(h) A parent has a history of perpetrating domestic violence under (g) of this section if the court finds that, during one incident of domestic violence, the parent caused serious physical injury or the court finds that the parent has engaged in more than one incident of domestic violence. The presumption may be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence that the perpetrating parent has successfully completed an intervention program for batterers, where reasonably available, that the parent does not engage in substance abuse, and that the best interests of the child require that parent's participation as a custodial parent because the other parent is absent, suffers from a diagnosed mental illness that affects parenting abilities, or engages in substance abuse that affects parenting abilities, or because of other circumstances that affect the best interests of the child.
(i) If the court finds that both parents have a history of perpetrating domestic violence under (g) of this section, the court shall either
(1) award sole legal and physical custody to the parent who is less likely to continue to perpetrate the violence and require that the custodial parent complete a treatment program; or
(2) if necessary to protect the welfare of the child, award sole legal or physical custody, or both, to a suitable third person if the person would not allow access to a violent parent except as ordered by the court.
(j) If the court finds that a parent has a history of perpetrating domestic violence under (g) of this section, the court shall allow only supervised visitation by that parent with the child, conditioned on that parent's participating in and successfully completing an intervention program for batterers, and a parenting education program, where reasonably available, except that the court may allow unsupervised visitation if it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the violent parent has completed a substance abuse treatment program if the court considers it appropriate, is not abusing alcohol or psychoactive drugs, does not pose a danger of mental or physical harm to the child, and unsupervised visitation is in the child's best interests.
(k) The fact that an abused parent suffers from the effects of the abuse does not constitute a basis for denying custody to the abused parent unless the court finds that the effects of the domestic violence are so severe that they render the parent unable to safely parent the child.

Sec. 6. This Act takes effect July 1, 2004.

 

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