Sutherland Newsletter – January 17, 2008

1.Another Component of “Jessica’s Law” Passes House Committee

A bill supported by the Sutherland Institute, which would increase the penalties for heinous child sex offenses, unanimously passed a House committee on January 23, 2008.  Under HB 256: Criminal Penalties Amendments — Including Jessica’s Law, sponsored by Representative Carl Wimmer, penalties for rape, object rape of a child, and sodomy of a child would increase to 25 years to life in prison.  The bill would also make attempted sexual assaults on a child first-degree felonies punishable by 15 years to life.

“This bill is a step closer to completing the policy framework required to protect the most precious and innocent members of society — our children,” said Stan Rasmussen, manager of public affairs.  “HB 256 builds on legislation passed last year and further establishes the high standard Utahns expect and want reflected in their laws regarding sexual crimes against children.”

This bill was modeled after Florida’s Jessica Lunsford Act, but includes differences that give judges latitude to consider the best interest of justice when sentencing sex offenders and preserves flexibility for the Board of Pardons and Parole — elements for which other states with Jessica’s Law have been criticized.

“[HB 256] sets Utah as the gold standard across the nation,” testified Wimmer before the House committee.  He said other states that have implemented Jessica’s Law will most likely move toward implementing similar policy.  He also foresees that this bill would decrease the number of children who have to testify against their abusers in court.


2.RSVP Now to Hear Ed Feulner at Sutherland Open House

Reserve your complimentary seat now to listen to the most prominent leader of the conservative think tank movement over the past 30 years.  The Sutherland Institute looks forward to hosting Edwin J. Feulner, president and founding trustee of The Heritage Foundation, as we celebrate the opening of new offices on February 5, 2008.  Dr. Feulner will present the keynote address at 12:30 pm in the Sutherland Transcend Conference Room of the Institute’s offices, now located in the historic Crane Building, 307 West 200 South, Suite 5005.  We invite you to join us for the presentation, tour and open house between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm.  As seating for the keynote is limited, please RSVP to Liv Moffat at 801.355.1272 or


“We are honored to have Dr. Feulner with us for this special occasion,” said Paul T. Mero, Sutherland president.  “Welcoming this outstanding conservative leader to Utah, the nation’s conservative capital, is a perfect fit.”