Freshman State Rep. Brian Mannal (D. Barnstable) has run up against criticism for filing two pieces of legislation that affect sex offenders.
One, a petition to House Bill 1491 would allow for indigent sex offenders to have paid counsel during reclassification and early termination hearings, while a second, a petition to House Bill 1490, would loosen the requirements for global positioning devices for sex offenders who are paroled or on probation. Judges would decide if a GPS was required and when it would be worn.
Indigent sex offenders already have the right to paid counsel, said Mannal. "This [House Bill 1491] makes it clear. There is push back that sexual offenders should not have the right."
"It's more about giving notice than paying for counsel," said Mannal. "... It's sort of a Miranda Warning."
However, when it comes to notifying sex offenders of their right to counsel, not everyone thinks the public should cover the cost.
"It is unacceptable that a single penny goes toward helping sex offenders clear their names from registries designed to protect the public," Massachusetts Republican Party Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes told the Cape Cod Times.
Laurie Myers, President of Community Voices told the Boston Herald. “This is an administrative hearing. If you get a traffic ticket, no one gives you a free lawyer.”
Regional editor's note: Barnstable-Hyannis Patch Local Editor Sara Mannal is married to State Rep. Brian Mannal.