April 7

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Events

1969 - The obscene will be heard - The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material on this date. One of the major problems with the law was the inherently vague and subjective notion of just what is and is not "obscene." Another element was the fact that the laws outlawed what was privately possessed even if there was no suspicion that the possessor would try to publicly distribute the material. More than three decades later, however, legislatures are still trying to find ways to outlaw virtual child porn, a possession that has no victim and can be held entirely for private viewing.[1]

1995 - Start spreading the news - The US Justice Department announced on this date its policy on the registration of sex offenders under the "Jacob Wetterling Act." Attorney General Janet Reno signed federal guidelines designed to lead to laws in all 50 states requiring sexual offenders and child molesters to register with the authorities. The action came only two days after the Department of Justice submitted its views in support of New Jersey's "Megan's Law," which was challenged by a sex offender. The proposed guidelines implement the 1994 Crime Bill's Jacob Wetterling Act, which encouraged states to require convicted child molesters and sexually violent offenders to notify law enforcement of their whereabouts for 10 years after they are released, or longer if they are adjudicated as "sexually violent predators." States that did not comply could have forfeited up to 10 percent of their annual Byrne Grant anti-crime grants. Unlike Megan's Law, the Wetterling Act did not require that communities be notified of the release of sex offenders -- only that state and local law enforcement be notified.[1]

1999 - Mapmaker. mapmaker, make me a map - A California plan to distribute maps that vaguely show where sex offenders live near elementary schools triggered criticism from the ACLU who feared ex-cons would become targets of vigilantism and harassment. Police in South Gate, a city of 87,000 southeast of Los Angeles, wanted to pass out the maps with black dots showing the general location of the offenders' homes to children in 13 elementary schools. But the ACLU said on this date that residents could use the information to harass or attack the sex offenders. They also said the maps are based on a state computer database of sex offenders riddled with inaccuracies. "There's no guarantee that this map will be accurate the day after it's published, but you forever branded the home where that person previously lived," said Elizabeth Schroeder, Associate Director of the ACLU. The ACLU said that it is against notification laws because they do not prevent sex offenders from committing crimes and because they victimize rehabilitated ex-offenders and their families.[1]

Births

Deaths

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Author unknown. "This Day In Pedo History: April 7", 2003. Retrieved on 3-25-15. 


External links