Mar 31, 2016 5:59 PM

Bill would create requirements for sex offenders seeking removal from registry

CONCORD - Lawmakers are debating a bill drafted in response to a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision that allows certain convicted sex offenders to have their names removed from the registry.

In the 2015 case, John Doe vs. the State of New Hampshire, a man who pleaded guilty in 1987 argued he should have the option to be removed from the list because he was convicted before the list became public. The court ruled in his favor. That decision means approximately 800 people on the list can petition to be removed. The court left it to the state to decide what requirements offenders must meet.

Senate Bill 468 creates guidelines, requiring an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist, paid for by the offender.

"This bill will ensure that victims are notified and given the opportunity to speak against their offenders being removed from the list to ensure that the public is aware of dangerous sexual offenders that are residing in their neighborhoods," said Amanda Grady Sexton of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

In a Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing, one opponent argued the bill was unconstitutional because the appeals process is expensive.

The committee is expected to vote on the bill next week.

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