Jessica’s dad lobbies for law

first_imgLANCASTER – The father of Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old whose rape and slaying last year spurred calls for tougher sex-offender laws, came to Lancaster on Monday to help promote a state ballot initiative named for his daughter. Mark Lunsford joined state Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster; Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster; Steve Ipsen, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys; and Kansas lawmaker Patricia Kilpatrick in a round-table discussion to promote the Jessica’s Law initiative. The initiative will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. “In every state there are cracks in the system that allows these people to assault our kids and get away with it,” Lunsford said. “I think all states should do more to protect our children.” Another key point is the GPS tracking system, supporters of the initiative said. “We have the technology to protect our kids,” said Ipsen, a deputy district attorney in the Antelope Valley. “It’s an incredible deterrent. We’ll be watching them.” The state of Kansas will be adopting its own version of Jessica’s Law next week. Supporters said they would like to see it adopted in all states. “It’s as close as we can get to containing this type of evil,” said Patricia Kilpatrick, who help spearhead the effort in Kansas to get the bill passed. Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and slain in February 2005. Her body was found three weeks later in a grave about 150 yards from her home. Investigators arrested a known sex offender, John Evander Couey, for the crime. Couey, who has a criminal record with at least two dozen arrests, is facing trial this summer. Mark Lunsford created a foundation in his daughter’s memory and has traveled to 13 states and the District of Columbia to plead for tougher laws. Lunsford believes that at a minimum, states should adopt laws calling for 25 years to life for child rape; the use of GPS tracking; and penalties for those harboring someone who has committed a sexual offense. (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsAmong its provisions are tougher sentencing guidelines for sex offenders, requirements that sex offenders convicted of felonies be monitored by global positioning satellite systems, lengthening parole terms, and adding five years for someone using drugs on their victim in committing a sex offense. The initiative is being sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Antelope Valley Republican husband-and-wife team of the Runners. “We were able to put on the ballot what we believe will be one of the strongest laws to protect children in the nation,” Sen. Runner said. In September, a legislative analyst’s report stated the costs for implementing the provisions in Jessica’s Law could grow to as much as $200 million annually over the next 10 years. Sen. Runner said he believes the cost will be closer to $100 million, in part because he believes there is a likelihood of GPS system costs going down as the technology becomes more prevalent. Assemblywoman Runner said a key provision of the initiative is that it will require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to reduce the sentencing guidelines it contains. last_img read more