Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty recently proposed an increase in sex offense sanctions – a measure that will double the maximum period of incarceration for First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct offenders from 12 years to 25 years.
Gov. Pawlenty stated that sex offenders present “a very serious challenge” and “need to be kept off the street for as long as possible.”
In the last ten years, there has been a 40 percent increase in imprisoned sex offenders. Pawlenty said the longer sentences would not affect those already in prison, but new offenders convicted of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct would see their presumptive sentence jump from 12 to 25 years. State officials said the change would place Minnesota on the “aggressive end” of how states treat sex offenders. Read more about this at StarTribune.com’s posted article: Pawlenty: Keep Sex Offenders in Prison.
It’s common sense that nobody wants sex offenders roaming the streets where they have the opportunity to commit new crimes. The problem with this increase doesn’t sit with actual offenders but rather those accused of committing criminal sexual conduct who are innocent. Sex crimes in Minnesota carry an enormous stigma that is almost always impossible to overcome. Several, if not most, Minnesota counties are notorious for prosecuting sex offenses with little evidence – oftentimes the only evidence of wrongdoing is the word of an alleged vicim. This can be a frightening notion.
With all criminal offenses, everybody wants to see justice in the end. But how the State achieves those measures is what concerns defense attorneys. An end resulting in justice is a good thing but the means utilized should always be heavily scrutinized and challenged for the preservation of privacy and liberty.