Go Ms. Zink! Criminal records should be kept consistently public. It is a form of accountability for both the convicted and the criminal justice system, and provides the public with information needed to make decisions regarding safety.
If it is objectionable that those records be public because it will put lower-level offenders at risk of social and employment mistreatment, then there are two issues. Either we need a fourth sex offender category which covers those people — who are ambiguously guilty or were minors when the crime occurred — or we have a flawed justice process that causes people to want to keep that information private as it is misleading. “All facts are friendly.”
Children are consistently vulnerable to sex offenders. We need to be firmly vigilant and keeping those records public. I applaud our state Supreme Court for making the right decision to keep those records public.
One other thought: The current scale used to rank sex offenses is confusing as it is opposite of the other scales used for misdemeanor to felony offenses. First degree is the lowest and third degree is the most egregious. It would be helpful to standardize those scales.
Never miss a local story.
Shelly Hansen, W. Richland