Higher sex offender registration fees may be unconstitutional. - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Higher sex offender registration fees may be unconstitutional.

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

 LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) - No doubt many people would prefer there to be no sex offenders in their neighborhoods.  Said Police Juror Hal McMillin, "We have no love lost for sex offenders in Calcasieu Parish. We want to make sure that if there's any opportunity we can drive them out by raising fees and we can do it as a parish and all the cities in general. I think it would be a good thing."

Yet the United States Constitution protects everyone, even sex offenders. And Calcasieu Police Jury Attorney Allen Smith says local ordinances drastically raising fees for sex offender registration may be unconstitutional under both the U.S. And state constitutions.  "There are a lot of people who have a lot of constitutional questions about this. For example, if you're a sex offender under our law you have to register where you live, you live in Iowa, $60. But you work in Lake Charles, you have to register in Lake Charles, $600. So there's some serious problems about whether this particular ordinance they have would withstand constitutional scrutiny."

The issue surfaced locally when Lake Charles City Council decided to raise sex offender registration fees from $60 to $600. And then Calcasieu Police Jurors started getting worried sex offenders would flee the city for rural areas to avoid the higher fee.  Smith explains the Police Jury and City of Lake Charles are not the same when it comes to making laws. "A parish police jury can enact any ordinance that it is specifically authorized to do by law. A home rule charter, however, is free to enact anything that they wish that is not prohibited by state law."

 Smith says attorneys from the various jurisdictions and the district attorney will meet behind closed doors next Wednesday to have a round table discussion on the issues.

 In other action, jurors are paving the way for a possible local option election on riverboat gaming.  No one knows yet whether the 15th riverboat gaming license will go to one of the two companies proposing to locate in Calcasieu Parish.

But just in case,  jurors have started the ball rolling to hold a local option election April 30th. Whether such an election will take place in April depends on if the gaming control board awards the license February 17th or soon thereafter.

Jurors have put resolutions calling the election on the agenda for their next regular meeting, Feb 3. Parish Administrator Bryan Beam explains it's all about timing.  "This is a very short window. If they don't decide anything in February, they being the Gaming Control Board, this is all moot. But we feel it's worth doing if it comes to Calcasieu and we've got a two out of three shot and those are pretty good odds."

Two companies, Creative Casinos and St. Gabriel Downs, have applied for the license and propose to locate in Calcasieu Parish. A third company seeking the license, Penn Gaming, would locate near New Orleans. The gaming board may decide the license February 17th.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Father and disabled son run 1,700 miles from Minnesota to Lake Charles

    Father and disabled son run 1,700 miles from Minnesota to Lake Charles

    Friday, July 28 2017 11:54 PM EDT2017-07-29 03:54:05 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    Two years ago Shaun Evans and his son Shamus Evans, who has cerebral palsy ran across the United States from Seattle to New York City.  Now the father son duo is running again, this time down the Mississippi River where they will finish in Lake Charles Saturday night.  Shaun Evans is strapping in his 11-year-old son Shamus who has cerebral palsy in his freedom running chair. And together the father son duo hit the road. Starting from Minnesota the two have been running d...

    More >>

    Two years ago Shaun Evans and his son Shamus Evans, who has cerebral palsy ran across the United States from Seattle to New York City.  Now the father son duo is running again, this time down the Mississippi River where they will finish in Lake Charles Saturday night.  Shaun Evans is strapping in his 11-year-old son Shamus who has cerebral palsy in his freedom running chair. And together the father son duo hit the road. Starting from Minnesota the two have been running d...

    More >>
  • BREAKING: Accident on Nelson Road

    BREAKING: Accident on Nelson Road

    Friday, July 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-07-29 03:32:40 GMT
    (Source: Raycom News Network)(Source: Raycom News Network)
    There was an accident on Nelson Road Friday night according to Lake Charles Police Department spokesman Kevin Kirkum. A subject was ejected from a vehicle in the accident near Dairy Queen Kirkum said. "At this time accident with subject being ejected from vehicle, not a pedestrian. No other information at this time"- Kevin Kirkum, Lake Charles Police Department spokesman. The accident slowed traffic on Nelson Road in both directions.  Details are limited at this t...More >>
    There was an accident on Nelson Road Friday night according to Lake Charles Police Department spokesman Kevin Kirkum. A subject was ejected from a vehicle in the accident near Dairy Queen Kirkum said. "At this time accident with subject being ejected from vehicle, not a pedestrian. No other information at this time"- Kevin Kirkum, Lake Charles Police Department spokesman. The accident slowed traffic on Nelson Road in both directions.  Details are limited at this t...More >>
  • 'Christian's Cajun Adventures' - Christian learns to 'frog'

    'Christian's Cajun Adventures' - Christian learns to 'frog'

    Friday, July 28 2017 8:13 PM EDT2017-07-29 00:13:01 GMT
    Source: Christian PiekosSource: Christian Piekos

    In this week's edition of "Christian's Cajun Adventures," KPLC's Christian Piekos spent time on the Calcasieu River learning how to frog. Often referred to as "frogging," this family hobby takes place after dark. Essentially, the goal of frogging is to quickly snatch a frog - often barehanded.

    More >>

    In this week's edition of "Christian's Cajun Adventures," KPLC's Christian Piekos spent time on the Calcasieu River learning how to frog. Often referred to as "frogging," this family hobby takes place after dark. Essentially, the goal of frogging is to quickly snatch a frog - often barehanded.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly