Legislature considers Leah’s LawA dream to create a violent offenders registry in memory of Leah Gustafson got a boost in November when Wisconsin Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, introduced the bill at the Capitol in Madison.
By: Anna Kurth, The Daily Telegram
A dream to create a violent offenders registry in memory of Leah Gustafson got a boost in November when Wisconsin Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, introduced the bill at the Capitol in Madison.
Brutally attacked in her own apartment by a neighbor she barely knew, Gustafson, 29, died Jan. 7, 2006. Friends and family believe she could and would have protected herself if she had known the long, violent history of her neighbor, Jason Richard Borelli, then 31, who was convicted of the murder later that year.
For more than a year, Gustafson’s friends and family worked to gain support for a state law that would require violent felons to register with the state. The group has actively been working to develop laws in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their goal is to prevent the kind of tragedy that resulted in Leah’s death.
Their effort was rewarded when Suder introduced the “Leah’s Law” legislation Nov. 6, which would create a searchable violent offender database and information system, similar to the Wisconsin Sex Offender registry.
State Rep. Frank Boyle, D-Superior, is co-sponsoring the bill.
“It has great bipartisan support, and I think we’re going to be successful in dealing with it in the Assembly,” he said. “The bill is on track and has an excellent chance.”
A public hearing has been held on Leah’s Law, and the next step is for the bill to be brought forward to the floor.
It would require the Department of Corrections to create and maintain a Violent Offender Registry Web site, which residents could access over the Internet.
Murderers, violent abusers, batterers, arsonists, hostage takers, kidnappers, and carjackers would be required to register with the department following their release from prison.