I can locate my car and even find my phone with a tracking device. So why not do the same with Registered Sex Offenders? It's time they give up heir ability to roam freely once they are convicted of such a horrible crime. As a lawyer, I believe strongly in protecting the rights of the accused, even of the convicted - but not at the expense of past and future victims. They have rights too, most importantly the right to live. Yes, I am a lawyer, but I am also a son, a husband, and a father. I want my loved ones to be protected from known dangers. This is not a science experiment - we needn't gamble with innocent lives. We've done that far too many times and too many people have lost.
Ask the family of Chelsea King.
John Gardner III, a convicted sex offender and a dangerous predator, was arrested and charged for the vicious rape and murder of this beautiful high school senior. Chelsea, a straight-A student, musician, and long distance runner, had a lifetime of promise wiped out in a horrible crime that did not have to happen. She had gone to a local park to run on the trails and she never came home. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave covered by debris.
Gardner, who stands accused of this heinous attack, was convicted in 2000 of a sexual assault on a thirteen year-old girl, whom he beat and molested after luring her to his home. Her friend who testified against this monster at his preliminary hearing when she was just fourteen, still lives in the same neighborhood ten years later. Incredibly, as of last week, so did this predator. Not a single resident was notified that Gardner was released after serving just five years and that he was, once again, living among them. How many young women were needlessly put at risk? Consider fourteen year old Amber Dubois who went missing from the area a year ago while walking to school. Authorities now suspect Gardner in Amber's disappearance. Or think of the young Colorado Springs graduate student who was attacked last December 27, while jogging in the same area from where Chelsea went missing. She successfully fended off her attacker. She has reportedly, since been shown Gardner's photo and proclaimed, "He's the same guy." Gardner has yet to be charged in that attack or the abduction. He has pleaded not guilty to the rape murder of Chelsea King.
Still, why weren't residents put on alert that this monster was in their midst, on their street, and incredibly, just 1,000 feet away from an elementary school? What system of justice protects criminals but not the public? How many people have to be victimized, raped or killed for us to rise up and say, "enough!"
I say that time is now.
My iPhone has a GPS chip which enables me to find it if it is lost or stolen. Many cars have a similar device. We insert microchips in our dogs and cats for identification - why can't chips be implanted in convicted sex offenders to make sure we always know where they are? I suggest that for certain crimes - crimes which are so repulsive and for which studies tell us the perpetrators are never rehabilitated - we should require that a tracking device be placed on (or in) every sexual predator as a condition of their release from prison. One offense is enough. Forget three strikes. Strike one: go to prison and win a GPS for life.
Is this an abridgment of their civil rights? No. Those rights were relinquished after their conviction. Felons routinely lose their right to vote, own a gun or hold public office and no one calls "foul." Why should they be allowed to move about freely, invisibly, putting so many others in potential danger? Registries alone are not enough. We need to know a predator's whereabouts BEFORE he can strike again - not after. I want to be able to log onto my computer and KNOW where these predators are living, where they are hiding. Consider it a digital scarlet letter. "P" for predator.