By Beth Mulcahy, Esq.
Unfortunately, our firm has received this question many times over the years. First, let’s talk about Arizona law.
Arizona Sex Offenders Community Notification Statutes
On June 1, 1996, the Arizona legislature adopted the Arizona Sex Offenders Community Notification Statutes (A.R.S. Sections 13-3821 to 13-3828). Under these laws, once a convicted sex offender is released from jail and intends to enter and remain in Arizona, the sex offender must register with the sheriff of the county in which they intend to reside. Prior to release, the agency that had custody of the individual completes a risk assessment which determines the offender’s risk level. The level of risk is used to predict whether an offender will commit another similar offense. Associations typically receive written notice when a registered sex offender moves into the community. Community Notification is carried out by law enforcement, which has discretion regarding the type of notification. Community notification is discretionary for Level 1 (Low Risk) offenders.
State law requires mandatory community notification on all sex offenders assessed as a Level 2 (Intermediate Risk) and Level 3 (High Risk) offender. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety website, notification of the registered sex offender’s presence is sent to “surrounding neighborhood, area schools, appropriate community groups and prospective employers. The notification includes a flyer with a photograph and exact address of the offender as well as a summary of the offender’s status and criminal background. A press release and a level two or three flyer shall be given to the local electronic and print media to enable information to be placed in a local publication.”
What Action Can An Association Take?
Associations and residents cannot harass or otherwise intrude upon the offender’s privacy. Such acts would create criminal liability for the resident. As such, community associations cannot discriminate or otherwise harass a known sex offender in an effort to prevent the offender from residing within the community association or neighboring areas. However, a community association has the right to notify its residents of any registered sex offenders residing within the association or in the neighboring areas.
Get Online and Do Research
It’s a good idea from time to time to go to the State of Arizona Department of Public Safety web page http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Sex_Offender/ to get a listing of sex offenders in your neighborhood. This site allows users to enter a specific residential address or a zip code to locate registered sex offenders residing in the specified area. Some associations print the information obtained from this website and post it in common areas or distribute to the residents. Full reports are available for a fee.
Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding this law or how to best handle this touchy and difficult situation.