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News Scan

Tougher Sentencing for Sex Offenders Considered:  The proposed discharge of a serial rapist from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program has prompted public officials to call for longer prison terms for sex offenders.  Chris Serres of the Star Tribune reports that Thomas Duvall was convicted of separate violent sexual assaults on three teenaged girls after he was released from prison.  Legislators and law enforcement officials asking whether public safety would be better served if violent sex offenders were treated while in prison, rather than being committed to a treatment center.   A three-judge panel will hear arguments today over whether to hold an in-depth hearing to discuss Duvall's release.  If released, he will be only the second individual discharged from the center in 20 years.

Alleged Murderer Violated Parole Multiple Times:  A New York man suspected of torturing and killing his former roommate was released from prison one month before the crime occurred with no supervision, despite violating his parole twice in three years.  Matt Porter of WBNG reports that spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision asserts that the law required Nigel Saunders to be released without further supervision because he had served "every possible day under parole supervision in accordance with the law."  Saunders and another suspect broke into the home of Saunders' former roommate on October 4, tied him and his pregnant fiancee up in their basement, stabbed them, doused them with lighter fluid, and set them on fire, killing the roommate.  The fiancee managed to escape during the attack, and her and her unborn child are expected to survive.

Lifetime Registration for Juvenile Sex Offenders Deemed Unconstitutional:  A Pennsylvania law that imposed lifetime registration requirements on juvenile sex offenders has been ruled unconstitutional by a York County judge.  The ruling held that the law fails to acknowledge the unique attributes and considerations of juvenile offenders. The judge noted that the law did not take into account studies showing that juvenile sex offenders have a greater capacity to reform than adults. Matt Miller of Penn Live reports that the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act, was passed in 2011 to comply with federal law and prevent the loss of federal funding.  The judge's decision is being reviewed by the county prosecutor for a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. 

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