The Arizona Senate Judiciary committee hearing voted on Thursday that the bill that will allow additional sex offenders to petition to be removed off of the sex offender registry, H.B. 2613,will be moved to the senate floor with do pass recommendation.
With 6-0-1-0 vote, Sen. Martin Quezada did not vote, the bill that has been passed to the senate floor will allow for a defendant that must be at least 35 years old, must have committed the sexual crime as a minor, was not convicted of an offense involving more than one victim and has not committed another felony offense for at least 10 years after the date of being sentenced.
During the committee hearing, several speakers stood before the committee to give their testimonial on H.B. 2613. One of which was Terry Borden. She said she felt that she needed to speak because children are important to herself and her husband.
“A fact is that your child is more likely to be put on the registry than to be molested by someone who is on the sex offender registry. Academic studies clearly illustrate that the registry does more harm than good to children that was meant to protect. I’m neutral on HB 2613 because while it is a good start we have got a long way to go,” Borden said.
Others stood before the committee giving their personal testimonial including Cheryl Campbell. She is a mother of a registered sex offender and said that to this day it is hard to tell people that her son is a registered sex offender.
“H.B. 2613 does nothing to alleviate the scarlet letter my son must bear. My son will forever be a felon and suffers punishment no one not involved could ever understand,” Campbell said.
Another mother of a registered sex offender, Vicky Campo, told the story of her son. She said that she used to have faith in the system, but after she was thrown into the justice system by a family that found out that their high school daughter had sexual relations with Campo’s college-aged son, she lost faith.
“He paid his debt to society but because he was put on the sex offender registry, his punishment will never ever be over. He cannot see his daughter, cannot get work. The restrictions are just suffocating. In spite, the sex offender registry doesn’t really work but there are about 900,000 citizens on the registry and over 200,000 were put there as juveniles. This will not help my son, but I urge you to pass this bill and to expand it to include others,” she said.
Sen. Eddie Farnsworth said he felt as though the bill needed more work, but he voted yes anyways.
“Now what we’re trying to do is find a balance here and I think that’s the intent here is to strike that balance where we are comfortable that the evidence shows that the chance of recidivation is very very very low in this population and therefore we are comfortable allowing this to move forward and then looking at the evidence in the future as you consider changes in the future,” he said.