Nebraska Legislature sets up registrants for failure.
- He did everything possible to make things right.
- Court sentence was probation and 10 years on the registry but the Legislature added a life sentence.
- What counts is what state senators do, not what they say.
This is a series of Nebraska stories about life on the registry. All names have been changed, even when the registrant said we could use his or her name. Some details may be changed to protect the people in the stories but the laws that cause so much grief are very real.
Tony had taken complete responsibility for his offense. He was sentenced to probation and told to register for 10 years. Because he was deemed to be at low risk to offend again, he was not included on the public website. Tony worked hard, completed all the terms of his probation, built the business that he operated, made restitution, completed his probation, and broke no laws. His family was beginning to heal.
In 2009, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 285, which ignored everything positive accomplished by registrants.
Instead of assessing each registrant for a risk level, people were assigned to a term of registration according to the crime of conviction. The Legislature included Tony’s crime in the category that meant a lifetime on the registry.
Not only that, now his name, photo, and address were on the public website. As a result of what the Legislature did, Tony lost his business. His wife divorced him. Many other registrants were affected the same way. Actions by the Legislature cause poverty and break up families.
State senators might deny they want registrants to fail, but their action—and inaction—speaks louder than their words.