Governor Perry Signs "Jessica's Law" - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/16/07

Governor Perry Signs "Jessica's Law"

Repeat sex offenders in Texas are one step closer to facing the death penalty. On Monday, Governor Rick Perry signed "Jessica's Law."

Earlier this year Perry said this was an "emergency," saying we needed to join other states around the country that have toughened their sexual predator laws. And other Texas leaders say this law sends a message to those who want to hurt our children.

Perry was joined by Mark Lunsford, father of Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a repeat sex offender in 2005.

"Jessica's Law" is the informal name given to laws designed to punish child sex predators and reduce their ability to re-offend. The new Texas statute allows prosecutors to seek capital punishment for second-time offenders. It will go into effect September 1.

There was some opposition to Jessica's Law. It came from death penalty opponents who said the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to uphold the death penalty for crimes that do not involve killing someone.

So while they say that makes Jessica's Law "meaningless," others say it will give prosecutors the laws they need to protect Texas children.

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