Iowa Law On Sex Offenders Near Schools Struck Down


A federal judge yesterday invalidated Iowa’s law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child-care center, the Des Moines Register reports. The Iowa Legislature enacted the law in 2002 to keep sexual predators away from children. Critics said the statute essentially banished sex offenders from most Iowa communities.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt concluded the law violated the rights of sex offenders in several ways by requiring sex offenders to provide incriminating testimony against themselves and infringing on their due process rights.

Randall Wilson of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union said the ruling could help the state deal more effectively with sex offenders because the law barred offenders from living near families and services that could help keep them from committing more crimes.

The Iowa attorney general may appeal the decision. “We also expect to consult with legislative leaders and the governor about the possibility of redrafting the law in some way to resolve the constitutional objections to the statute spelled out by Judge Pratt,” the office said.


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