What's News in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
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On September 18, the Pleasant Prairie Village Board approved an ordinance to repeal section 287-3 B concerning the original domicile restriction for sex offenders and created subsection 287-3 D (5), and 287-6m of the municipal code related to sex offender residency exceptions. On September 6 of 2016, the Village adopted a revised sex offender residency ordinance which repealed and recreated Chapter 287 of the Municipal Code. They did this as a result of being challenged and sued by a group of nine people about the ordinance’s constitutionality.
In April of 2017, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, U.S. District Court granted in part the Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment. In rendering its decision, the Eastern District of Wisconsin commented about the lack of individualized consideration of particular sex offenders in the Village Ordinance. The court ruled that a statute must allow for an individualized assessment to determine an offenders risk to the community. This could allow for an offender to obtain an exemption. The Eastern District of Wisconsin Court also ruled that there was not enough basis to suggest that whether the offender was domiciled at the time of their last offense in the Village has any bearing on their safety risk to the community. Therefore, with this new ordinance the Village Board and staff eliminated its original domicile restrictions, and have created an opportunity for sex offenders to seek an exemption if they believe they do not pose a risk to the Village’s interest in promoting protection, and improving the health safety, and welfare of the community.
A Sex Offender Residence Board, made up of three citizens residing in the Village, selected by the Village President, and approved by the Village Board of Trustees is being established. An offender may make a petition for exemption from residence prohibitions within this ordinance. The Residence Board will then hold a hearing on each petition and will consider the request based on numerous factors including; nature of the offense, age at time of offense, professional recommendations, relationship to victim, and duration of time since incarceration to name a few. The Resident Board will decide by a majority vote and the decision will be final for purpose of appeals.
Interim Village Administrator Tom Shircel explained that, “The Residence Board will be made up of knowledgeable professionals who live in the Village. We feel confident that this group will base their decisions on factors relating to the Village’s interest in promoting, protecting and improving the health, safety and welfare
of all who live and work in the community.”