Governor appoints six members to sex-offender advisory board

Newly revived panel chaired by Curran had lain dormant since '06 creation

February 02, 2010|By Julie Bykowicz |

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Monday the appointment of six members to the newly revived Sexual Offender Advisory Board, which had lain dormant since being established by law in 2006.

Last week, O'Malley tapped former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. as the board chairman. Curran, who is O'Malley's father-in-law, has studied sex-offender reforms for years and favors civil commitments for certain predators.

The appointees are Michele J. Hughes, director of a nonprofit domestic violence victim support center; Dr. Annette L. Hanson, a psychiatrist at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center; Karla N. Smith, a family violence prosecutor in Montgomery County; David Walsh-Little, a Baltimore public defender; Laura Estupian-Kane, a licensed psychologist who focuses on the assessment of adolescents who have committed sexual offenses; and J. Patricia Wilson Smoot, a deputy state's attorney in Prince George's County.

"I am confident that their combined knowledge, background and expertise, and their advocacy of our legislation to impose the strictest standards of supervision of sex offenders will help strengthen our efforts to ensure that Maryland's children are protected," O'Malley, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The board's main purpose, an O'Malley spokesman said recently, is to promote legislation that will refocus its own mission. The governor activated the board as some lawmakers questioned why it hadn't been meeting over the past four years and why it failed to produce a required report recommending sex-offender reforms.

O'Malley is seeking several sex-offense revisions this year, including required lifetime supervision for violent and repeat offenders. Lawmakers have focused on sex-offender reform this year in part because of the December abduction and killing of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell on the Eastern Shore. A registered sex offender is a suspect in the crime.

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