Parents, who have suffered the pain, anguish of losing a child deals with this torment constantly. One such parent that suffered this horrible anguish was Mark Lunsford. His daughter, Jessica Lunsford the 9-year-old girl been sexually abused, kidnapped, and buried alive in Florida. This could have been your daughter, just imagine the anguish any parent would have to live with, if this happened to them. John Couey, who convicted, had a record as a sex offender. Once John Couey was not required to wear GPS tracking went for his next victim, Jessica Lunsford.
Jessica Lunsford came from Gaston County, North Carolina before moving to Florida. In the loving memory of Mark Lunsford’s daughter Jessica, a law introduced to enforce stricter laws about sex offenders called, “Jessica’s Law.”
The Jessica Lunsford Act aka. Jessica’s Law:
1.) Increase the penalty for lewd and lascivious molestation of a child to life in prison or a split sentence of a mandatory minimum 25-year prison term, followed by lifetime supervision with electronic monitoring.
2.) Increase, from 20 to 30 years, the period before a sexual predator allowed to petition to have the sexual predator designation removed.
3.) Increase sexual predator/offender registration and reporting requirements.
4.) Sexual predators who murder their victims now qualify for the death penalty in capital cases.
5.) Failing to re-register as a sexual offender/predator, harboring, or assisting a sexual predator/offender is a third degree felony.
6.) Require those already convicted of sex crimes to have electronic monitoring for the remainder of their probation
7.) Require all county misdemeanor probation officials to search the sexual offender registry when a new offender assigned to them.
Throughout the United States there are many sex offenders who have fallen thought the cracks? They have changed their identity and not re-registering once moved such offenders manipulate the system. North Carolina like many states has such problems and authorities limited till the laws change. There are many John Couey types and one could be living next to you?
Mr. Roger’s had it right;” You need to know the people in your neighborhood.”
Taking a non-political stand various people, groups and organizations have formed an action group called, “Jessica’s Law Now North Carolina.”
The Group formed originally in response to apathetic lawmakers, who are dithering about Jessica’s Law not making a solid difference toward protecting our children. This formed coalition tired of all the prolonging games and excuses our lawmakers, have made when it comes to our children. We say,“Cut the fat !” Rather spend on pet projects and guilt trips (Apologies for Slavery, Smoking Bans, Trans Fat Bans, etc.) focus.”
The excuses coming from our representatives are pathetic not looking at facts; they rather tell you why they cannot do something.
However, they certainly can find the time and funding for other things. Like other state and federal legislators, North Carolina legislators at times behave like “ P. I. M. P.’s ” or “ Power, Influence, Money, Politics !”
We worked Inco junction with Mark Lunsford and various lawmakers help see HB 933 be passed. We needed our local and state officials push for stronger laws against molestation. The goal was to work with people not a political machine.
In 2007, State Attorney General Roy Cooper realizes North Carolina laws are lenient on sex offenders. We are grateful for his public stance, on calling for harsher penalties and laws against sex offenders. Administrations have often failed to make law enforcement aware of the place-ment of paroled sex offenders in their communities, thus allowing violent sex offenders to go freely roam our communities. By not providing mandatory hearings and stricter penalties for non-compliances, they take the power away from our law enforcers.
“We should all work together to make sure that Jessica’s Law passed in all fifty states. There are presently 15 states that have not yet passed any form of Jessica’s Law, it saddens me to think that my home state of Tennessee and North Carolina where I grew up included in the list of states that have not passed Jessica’s Law. I do not know why, but I intend to find out.”God Bless, Charlie Daniels.
On April 16, 2008, Mark Lunsford told Jessica’s Law Now North Carolina,” What happened to my daughter should have never happened, and I’m working to make sure it doesn’t happen to another child. It saddens me to know my home state of North Carolina has not yet passed Jessica’s Law. I won’t rest until we do.”
Jessica’s Law Now enforced a strong petition toward state legislators and made it personal not political. We found that politics blind sides our politician’s. That is why politician’s favorite color is plaid.
“One of the proudest moments in my life was calling Mark Lunsford and told him the North Carolina Legislators have passed HB 933 aka. Jessica’s Law. After Governor Easley signs Jessica’s Law, it will official take effect December 1, 2008,” said Mark A. Palmer, Executive Director of Jessica’s Law Now.
Mark Lunsford overjoyed to see three years of hard work come to fruition. North Carolina was harder getting legislators come together, due to the various concerns of sexual offenders rights. What about the rights and concern over the victim. Again, you have to take politics out and make it personal for a Politian.
We were all so grateful to our allies in the North Carolina Legislation that never backed down and hung in. We deeply appreciated North Carolina Representative’s Julie Howard, Tim Moore and North Carolina State Senator Hoyle for their leadership.
Monday, July 28, 2008, a ceremonial took place at Gastonia Courthouse which North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed HB 933 into law. It was finally official North Carolina has Jessica’s Law!
States With/Without Jessica’s Law:
• States in yellow do not have any version of Jessica’s Law.
• States in green have a partial version of Jessica’s Law.
• States in purple have good version of Jessica’s Law.
In 2008, Idaho, Illinois, Wyoming, Colorado, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Vermont did not have any version of Jessica’s Law.
The various conversations many of us had with legislators of these eight states made it clear too many games being played.
In 2008, Colorado Chief Deputy District Attorney Tammy Eret said, “ We have laws here in Colorado that are very similar in fact, that actually carry lifetime sentences, some that are longer than Jessica’s Law.”
Colorado Senator Penry said, “ I believe that there is a real need to enact Jessica’s Law, a tough minimum mandatory requirement of 20 years in prison for the first time a monster rapes a child.”
Like many of the eight states Colorado Senator Penry introduced Jessica’s Law in 2007 and failed. One of many reasons lawmakers give of not passing Jessica’s Law it would cost the state more to jail sex offenders longer and additional monitoring cost as well. Senator Penry felt be worth the cost protect our children. Specially that not every District Court treats cases like Colorado Chief Deputy District Attorney Tammy Eret claims.
Sure the many victims like Jon Benet Ramsey would agree with justice is lacking in state.
In 2012, we have six states that do not have a version of Jessica’s Law. They include New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Idaho and Hawaii.
New Jersey has been like a roller coaster with Jessica’s Law. Legislators will claim going to pass a version of Jessica’s Law and does not happen. This has been going on for several years. Mark Lunsford made numerous trips to New Jersey give support that’s been requested. Still the legislators cannot get their act together.
Both the State Senate and State House are in turmoil with their own versions of Jessica’s Law. Presently we have two different versions that are sitting in state legislation. One can only hope that legislators can work this out. If not more than likely it will die.
New Jersey is the exact same issue that North Carolina faced, it almost did not make the floor to be heard, there were fights about the ” language” in the bill, and toward the end it was being held hostage.
It took legislators on both sides willing to stand up and explain to the press, people and state as to why this bill would fail so close to completion. As we mediating between everyone to negotiate a final way to get this bill finalized else it would have been another year, starting from the beginning, hearing the same arguments, etc. As it was, it was several years of working towards this end. It is a shame that New Jersey come so close only to fail. We have told what it take do this. Have to sit on these guys daily and ask,”Are we there yet?”
October 21, 2012, Mark Lunsford told us that New Jersey legislators more than likely putting off Jessica’s Law till December and those New Jersey legislators are tearing it apart once more.
In our conversations legislators were more concern with other issue’s like seat belts for pets and other needs. We were told that Jessica’s Law was a lower priory some legislators.
Just like the thinking of Colorado and New Jersey legislators, other state officials are more the same in their thoughts comes to Jessica’s Law. New York, Illinois, Idaho and Hawaii feel that their states are fine comes to their laws for children and predators. Even though many of these states have been in the news with various crimes comes to children.
Our children are precious gifts not only us but the world. That is our duty as parents and a society to protect their welfare. Seems that our lawmakers are forgetting their jobs and time has come to remind them.
We need to pressure the State Legislators and Governors of New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Idaho and Hawaii have Jessica’s Law.
Since 2005, our organization has assisted nine other states obtaining versions Jessica’s Law. We have assisted with over six hundred cases, where a victimized or assaulted child needed help. We are part of a larger network of organizations that aids Missing and Exploited children. In 2009, we changed the name to “Jessica’s Law Now.”
Jessica’s Law Now, is proactive not reactive, in helping families deal with these issues fraught from cases like these. We continually helped steer victimized families and children towards counseling and healing. We fight for harsher laws to make a difference for the welfare of our children.
We have joined together with several other organizations, people help with the passing of “Caylee’s Law ” and “ Mandatory Amber Alerts.”
In the wake of the Casey Anthony verdict, many states are making plans to adopt some version of a law to prevent similar situations from happening. Presently no state or federal law states have to report the death of a child or a child missing?
Many states version of Caylee’s Law difference’s on reporting a missing child. Some states feel those children13 under or 12 under be reported missing within 24 hours. Children older be reported missing by 48 to 72 hours. This is a travesty lawmakers are making with children’s lives. We want our Arizona State Lawmakers have a bolder and constitutional version of Caylee’s Law.
A bolder version would need parents to report within 24 hours of realizing their child or a child under their care is missing. Additionally, parents or legal guardians would be required to contact law enforcement within one hour of discovering their child had died. Those failing to do so would face criminal charges.
July 2011, we had an hour-long conversation with Arizona Senator Linda Gray made it clear concerns we have. That version Caylee’s Law isn’t strict enough and be seen hypocritical comes toward teenagers. In our discussion, she made clear send us a copy of the bill and meet with us. We reach out Arizona Senator Linda Gray never got back us nor sent us copy of the bill. Seems that Arizona Senator Linda Gray feels possible runaways, children older than 7 and divorced parents not bring children back from a visit not important to report missing within 24 hours? In discussions with various national authorities, parents of missing and murder children, as well as known child advocate Marc Klaas, Mark Lunsford they would disagree.
The excuses coming from our representatives are pathetic not looking at facts; they rather tell you why they cannot do something. We are tired of all the prolonging games and excuse’s our lawmakers, have made when it comes to our children. We say,“Cut the BS!”
Several known cases that have occurred which authorities drag their feet because they felt child ran-away or too much time pass before more action was taken. In these cases the child was a teenager and found dead. It should not matter the age of a child to report missing, especially when time is of the Essence for a missing child.
Arizona Senator Linda Gray is pushing House Bill 2018, version Caylee’s Law that is not bolder and no concern for missing children 7 up. It is far from what the original intent of Caylee’s Law. Thus far has passed in the AZ House and hope that AZ Senators will give a Na to this version of Caylee’s Law.
Jessica’s Law Now assisted many families of missing children directly and indirectly through the years. We need to have better awareness, when it comes to missing children and Mandatory Amber Alerts is one answer. Too many times, children and teenagers who have gone missing do not have an Amber Alert issued.
Cases like Isabel Mercedes Celis, Chelsea King, Monte and Collin Walker, Jhessye Shockley, Kyron Horman, Max Hernandez and Gabriel Johnson, did not either have an Amber Alert issued or the Amber Alert delay, by red-tape, miscommunication, or that the abduction doesn’t fit the criteria.
We have seen incidents where authorities felt that there was no need to issue an Amber Alert because missing child or teen did not fit a certain criteria, or they felt they did not have enough evidence to suggest that an alert needed or necessary. However, when a parent states that their child is missing, it taken seriously, and not put off as a run-away. Time is of then Essence, when it comes to finding a missing child. It can mean the difference in finding a child dead or alive!
Reasons why we need Caylee’s Law and Mandatory Amber Alerts.
We ask that you speak with your local, state and national representatives, so they get involve. You can discuss ideas, plans, hopes, and support them in the process. We ask that when you discuss these matters, that you do so with respect to one another. With that being said there is nothing wrong with spirited debate, as long as you are polite.