A decision from the Georgia Supreme Court is prompting concern from officials at the Chatham County District Attorney’s office. It involves offenders categorized as “sexually dangerous predators’ who have been required to wear electronic monitoring devices even after their sentence is complete.
The Court ruled that lifetime monitoring is unconstitutional in that it allows for unreasonable searches.
“It’s disturbing that the most dangerous sex offenders in the state of Georgia who are off sentence are now going to be free to roam anywhere they want without any way to monitor them,” said Greg McConnell, the assistant chief district attorney of Chatham County.
McConnell and District Attorney Meg Heap say the constant monitoring of these offenders serves as a deterrent.
“Each of these offenders knows that they’re being monitored and I think that acts as a deterrent so they
don’t go to places that they shouldn’t go,” said McConnell. “They don’t commit crimes knowing that if they do the monitor will reveal they were at the crime scene.”
Mcconnell and Heap told us that in Chatham County there are 17 offenders (not in custody) who have been wearing these monitors. “With that monitor gone, if somebody goes somewhere (they shouldn’t) you can’t track them,” said Heap.
Heap also said there may be a new legislative fix in that the lifetime monitoring could be written into the actual sentence of the perpetrator.
Heap says she’s already contacted other district attorneys in the state to see if they can make a push for a bill this year. However, she says with the current legislative session close to half over, it’s unclear if a bill could be passed this year. Meanwhile, she says local authorities are evaluating when the monitors on the 17 individuals may have to be removed.