[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] on Monday called on all states to standardize their criminal statutes dealing with sexual predators during a speech [text] given at the 18th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference [PDF materials] in Dallas. Gonzales praised most states for their efforts in rewriting statutes to effectively charge, convict, sentence, and punish sexual predators, but called on state legislatures to ensure that prosecutors have sufficient subpoena powers in such cases. Gonzales also recommended that all states categorize possession of child pornography as a felony offense, even where the defendant has no intent to distribute, and called on lagging states to raise maximum sentences for certain types of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Gonzales further applauded the July enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 [HR 4472 summary; PDF text; JURIST report], which creates a national database where sex offenders are required to register their homes or workplaces, or face felony prosecution carrying a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Gonzales opened his speech by unveiling a joint public service advertising campaign between the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website], the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children [advocacy website], and the Ad Council aimed at cautioning young teenagers, especially girls, not to share private information over the Internet. AP has more.