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'Leah's Law' formally introduced

State Reps Frank Boyle, D-Summit, Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, and Suzanne Jeskewitz, R-Menomonee Falls, introduced bipartisan legislation today that would create a public information system and online registry of violent felons living in Wisconsin.

State Reps Frank Boyle, D-Summit, Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, and Suzanne Jeskewitz, R-Menomonee Falls, introduced bipartisan legislation today that would create a public information system and online registry of violent felons living in Wisconsin.

The legislation has been named "Leah's Law" after Leah Gustafson, who was brutally murdered last year in Superior by a neighbor with a violent criminal past.

Over the past several months, Suder, Boyle and Jeskewitz have been working closely with Gustafson's family and friends to craft legislation that would create a searchable violent criminal database and information system, similar to the Wisconsin Sex Offender registry, to enhance awareness of violent criminals living in our communities, they said in a joint news release.

"Leah had no idea that a previously violent offender was her neighbor," Boyle said. "Had she had access to a violent offender registry such as the one created by our proposal, she would probably still be alive today."

"Leah's Law" will require the Department of Corrections to create and maintain a violent offender registry Web site that residents will be able to access via the Internet to determine the whereabouts of dangerous criminals in their area. The department must organize the site so that the public has access to information about the specific crimes the offender has committed, their current residence, and place of employment. The DOC may also include any other information they deem relevant to public safety.

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Murderers, violent abusers, batterers, arsonists, hostage takers, kidnappers, and carjackers will be required to register with the department following their release from prison. Violent felons who commit a single offense would be required to maintain their registration with the department for 15 years. Criminals who have committed multiple violent acts would be on the registry for life.

Those who commit similar violent offenses in other states and move to Wisconsin would also be required to register with the state.

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