Bid for online list of violent offenders falters in CT

Judiciary branch is already moving crime records online, so legislators say, a special bill is not needed.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor
In Connecticut, friends of a woman killed by a murderer who was released from prison are calling for an online registry of releasees' convictions and past offenses, The Day reports.

The state legislature's Public Safety Committee has already approved a bill to create an online registry of those convicted of murder, first-degree manslaughter, kidnapping and other violent crimes. It now goes to the Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Branch is already shifting its public records onto the Web as part of a comprehensive effort to improve openness and public access.

The online registry would be something akin to Megan's List, only called Sierra's List, for Sierra Giorgi, the woman who was killed.

“This bill is something that can really save lives,” said Sunshine, a member of Justice for Giorgi, the ad hoc group that maintains a Web site that follows debate over the registry bill and keeps track of Wood's court appearances, at www.sierragiorgi.com.

But Judicial Committee members think the state should simply post all conviction records rather thatn making a separate Sierra's List. And since this is already happening, there really is no need for special legislation.

Judiciary officials have begun posting court docket information on the branch Web site, said a spokeswoman, Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, and hope to have pending criminal case information on the site by the end of the summer.

At that point, Stearley-Hebert said, the judicial branch's technical workers will begin transferring the existing database of conviction information to the Web, a process she said could take between six months and a year.

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