GLAA policy on reforming Megan's Law (from "Agenda: 2002")
D.C. Sex Offender Law Struck Down (The Washington Post) 09/23/01
GLAA Writes Blade on Megan's Law 11/30/99
GLAA Action Alert on Megan's Law 11/30/99
Talking Points on Megan's Law Bill 11/30/99
PDF version of the above document 01/05/99
Where DC officials stand on due-process amendment to Megan's Law
Mayor Anthony Williams - 2002 Mayoral Questionnaire
4. A few years ago the District enacted a version of Megan's Law that refuses to allow sex offenders to keep themselves off the public registry of sex offenders by demonstrating that they are no longer a danger to the community. A federal judge struck down this provision of the D.C. law as unconstitutional last September. Similar provisions have been struck down by many other federal courts. Will you support a change in Megan's Law to ensure that the registry of sex offenders only includes those who are still dangerous?
I support a change in Megan's law that will make the law constitutional. I believe that sex offenders who can prove beyond a doubt that they are no longer a danger to the community should not be on the sex offender list.
Councilmember Carol Schwartz (At Large) - 2002 Mayoral Questionnaire
During the debate on this legislation, I did my best to ensure that the concerns expressed to me by the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, and others, were addressed. The District should have a Sexual Offenders Registry, and I made my feelings about this known to the GLAA during our meetings. However, I do understand that civil liberties and the legitimate needs of public safety need not be in conflict with each other. In view of the judgment of the courts, I would support amending the law to allow offenders to petition the court for removal from the list, with sufficient safeguards consistent with the constitution to ensure that the process by which individuals are deemed rehabilitated does not eviscerate the good the law tries to accomplish.
Councilmember Linda Cropp (Council Chair) - 2002 Council Questionnaire
3. A few years ago the District enacted a version of Megan's Law that refuses to allow sex offenders to keep themselves off the public registry of sex offenders by demonstrating that they are no longer a danger to the community. A federal judge struck down this provision of the D.C. law as unconstitutional last September. Similar provisions have been struck down by many other federal courts. Will you support a change in Megan's Law to ensure that the registry of sex offenders only includes those who are still dangerous?
I will support amending the Megan statue to ensure that it is constitutional and does not violate the due process rights of individuals. The Council did attempt to balance the rights of convicted sex offenders with the public safety of all District residents, which includes gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons. To the extent provisions of the District's Megan statute can not withstand legal challenges, it should be amended.
Councilmember David Catania (At Large) - 2002 Council Questionnaire
Yes. In light of the Court's decision in John Doe v. Anthony Williams, Civil Action No. 01-00407, I would consider legislative language, which would permit a case-by-case examination of these cases.
Councilmember Phil Mendelson (At Large) - 2002 Council Questionnaire
Yes. I was very much on the side of GLAA in the debate over the District's sex offender legislation. I believe the scarlet letter is a 17th century approach to morality. However, sex offender legislation is a political reality. It should be limited to those classes of crimes that are dangerous and predatory, and where there is a likelihood that the offender will repeat that type of crime.
Councilmember Jim Graham (Ward 1) - 2002 Council Questionnaire
I led the fight against various objectionable aspects of he original Megan's Law proposal. That included the effort to include the element of whether an offender was likely to re-commit the same offense in the future. We were not successful in that regard (although I did manage to have several amendments passed). But we were vindicated by the courts. Thus I would continue to support that point of view.
Councilmember Kathy Patterson (Ward 3) - 2002 Council Questionnaire
Yes. I believe we need to be very careful in devising the procedures and standards for determining that sex offenders are no longer dangerous. I would like to work with GLAA and other interested parties to devise an appropriate means to meet this goal. One important step toward this goal will be a review of the best practices adopted in other jurisdictions.
Councilmember Vincent Orange (Ward 5) - No Response
Councilmember Sharon Ambrose (Ward 6) - 2002 Council Questionnaire
Yes. In light of the recent court decision, and others like it around the country, we should revise our law to remove its unconstitutional provisions. I serve on the Committee on Judiciary, and expressed concerns at the time of the passage of that law on a variety of issues raised by GLAA and the ACLU. I would be happy to continue working with the community to make these changes.
Councilmember Harold Brazil (At Large) - 2000 Council Questionnaire
3. Will you support amending recently enacted Sexual Offenders Registration Act, "Megan's Law," so that those who can prove to the court that they no longer constitute a danger to the community will not be required to register as a sex offender?
No. I worked closely with GLAA and the gay and lesbian community to ensure that the bill did not infringe on their rights. I kept my promise to remove language that would have had an adverse impact on the gay and lesbian community. I even added language to prevent Park Police stings against gays at the "P Street Beach" area.
The Sex Offender Registration law is carefully designed to protect our communities from sexual predators. The final bill that was passed is moderate, protects the rights of gays and lesbians and also protects women and children from sexual predators.
Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) - 2000 Council Questionnaire
Yes. It is only a matter of time before this provision is challenged in court. And, if the court rulings of other jurisdictions is any indication, the District will lose this legal battle. I worked at length with GLAA during the Council's approval of the Sexual Offenders Registration Act on a variety of concerns. Since we were unsuccessful on deleting many of the problem provisions of this law, I know there is a need to revisit the legislation. In addition to the issue discussed in this question, I also would like to again review the decision to transfer control of the registration program from the MPD to the Court Services & Offender Supervision Agency.
Councilmember Adrian Fenty (Ward 4) - 2000 Council Questionnaire
While I am sensitive to the potential that Megan's Law may unfairly target certain members of our community, I am forced to weigh this consideration against the protection of our vulnerable children. Thus, at this point I cannot support such an amendment.
Councilmember Kevin Chavous (Ward 7) - No Response
Councilmember Sandy Allen (Ward 8) - 2000 Council Questionnaire
I would be willing to support legislation to amend the recently enacted Sexual Offenders Registration Act to provide for an appeals process. This appeals process would give people the opportunity to prove that they are no longer a danger to the community. In addition, having had the Massachusetts Law, which was the model for our District legislation, overturned as being unconstitutional also provides the impetus for a review of our legislation.