Life in prison for being homeless?A sex offender who was unable to register his address with state officials because he was homeless is facing life in prison for violating a new registry law that politicians in Georgia have hailed as the nation’s toughest.
Larry W. Moore Jr. of Augusta, was convicted in North Carolina in 1994* of indecent liberty with a child, a felony. This week he was convicted for the second time of failing to register. Under the new law, a second violation carries an automatic life sentence.
Moore registered his address as a motel room, but when he could no longer afford that (he worked at a fast-food restaurant), he lived on the streets.
“We have suggested that it is cruel and unusual punishment as it relates to the facts of this case,” said Sam B. Sibley Jr., the state public defender in Augusta, whose office represents Moore and is planning an appeal on his behalf.
At least 15 sex offenders have been arrested because of homelessness since the law took effect in July 2006, according to documents gathered through pretrial proceedings in a lawsuit brought by the Southern Center for Human Rights and the ACLU.
Read The New York Times article here.
* The Georgia law applies to persons convicted on or after July 1, 1996, of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor. So I'm not seeing how this even applies to Moore.