The Iowa Supreme Court yesterday heard both sides argue over the Iowa law that prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care. Last April, a lower court ruled the law was unconstitutional. Attorney Eric Tindal argued the case on behalf of a client who could not find a place to live with his family after his conviction, so he wound up living in his car on the outskirts of town.Tindal says the restriction makes it difficult for sex offenders who’ve served their time and been released to find places where they can live. He says it also makes it difficult for the paroled sex offenders to find stability in their lives, and a doctor testified it can spiral come into “great depression.” Tindal says the research shows there’s no distance that can keep some released convicts from committing another sex crime.Tindal says the testimony those who want to “reoffend” are a danger to commit another sex crime whether they’re two miles or 15 miles away from children. Mary Tabor was the state attorney who argued in favor of keeping the sex offender law.Tabor didn’t take the position that forbidding sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care was a cure all, but she says legislators did have “a rational basis for believing that if sex offenders weren’t living close to a school, that would provide more protection to those children.”Tabor says it has been recognized Americans have a fundamental right to live with their family, but she argues the state has a valid argument that the law merely prevents a sex offender from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care center, and they could live anywhere else. The Supreme Court has no deadline for issuing a ruling. The Iowa Civil Liberties Union is also challenging the state’s distance requirement law in federal court.
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