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Practitioner's Guide to the Adam Walsh Act

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
This article provides an overview of what the practitioner should know about the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which was signed into law on July 27, 2006.
Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), is intended to be a full replacement of the Jacob Wetterling sex offender registration requirements enacted during the 1990s. SORNA has two notable provisions that pertain to the work of local prosecutors. First, the Adam Walsh Act created a new Federal felony offense for failing to register as a sex offender as required by SORNA. Second, it established a new baseline sex offender registry standard for the jurisdictions to achieve; however, local jurisdictions are free to enact more stringent requirements. Failure to achieve "substantial compliance" with SORNA's requirements in a timely manner will result in an annual 10-percent reduction in Byrne Grants the jurisdiction receives. A review of the general requirements of SORNA addresses the tier designations for sex offenders and associated frequency of registration; the information required from all tiers of sex offenders in their registration; the location of registration; DNA, fingerprints, and palm prints of registrants; public notification; removal from the sex offender registry; and retroactivity. SORNA's application to juvenile sex offenders is also discussed. Miscellaneous provisions of the Adam Walsh legislation pertain to discovery in child pornography cases, bail, and immigration law. In addition, the article informs practitioners about the constitutionality and retroactivity of SORNA. 84 notes

Date Published: January 1, 2007