A bill speeding up the assessment process of convicted sex offenders, authored by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), passed the Senate for a third time last Thursday by a unanimous 60-0 tally.
The law speeds up the risk level determination timetable for convicted sex offenders, categorizing them under the State’s Sex Offender Registration Act prior to their sentencing or release.
The bill passed the Senate twice before, but was not taken up by the Assembly.
“There is no reason that known sex offenders should be residing in our neighborhoods without the community knowing the danger they present,” Avella said.
The bill requires that notice of a risk level determination hearing for convicted sex offenders be given to the sex offender and district attorney within five days of the conviction for any sex offender who is expected to be released on probation or otherwise discharged.
The risk level determination hearing must then be held within 20 days of the notice and most importantly prior to sentencing.
The legislation was designed by Avella following extensive review of the current sex offender laws after the arrest of Joseph Denice, a Level I sex offender who was convicted of sex abuse in the second degree in 2010, and then arrested again in January 2011 following additional crimes he committed and probation violations arising from his volunteering in area Catholic schools, including St. Mel’s School in Whitestone.
Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) is carrying the bill in the Assembly, where the legislation would have to pass before being signed into law by the governor.
“I look forward to working again with Assemblyman Miller to ensure that this common-sense measure is passed in the Assembly as soon as possible so that our youth are protected from dangerous predators.”