This article is about the Florida law. For the California law, see California Proposition 83 (2006). For the proposed Michigan law, see Disappearance of Jessica Heeringa#Jessica's Law.
is the informal name given to a 2005 Florida law, as well as laws in several other states, designed to protect potential victims and reduce a sexual offender's ability to re-offend. A version of Jessica's Law, known as the Jessica Lunsford Act,
was introduced at the federal level in 2005 but was never enacted into law by Congress.
The name is also used by the media to designate all legislation and potential legislation in other states modeled after the Florida law. Forty-two states have introduced such legislation since Florida's law was passed.
The law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a young Florida girl who was sexually battered and murdered in February 2005 by John Couey, a previously convicted sex
offender. Public outrage
over this case spurred Florida officials to introduce this legislation. Among the key provisions of the law was classifying lewd
or lascivious molestation
on a person under the age of 12 as a life felony
, and a mandatory minimum sentence
of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years old. The statute also requires that if an offender is sentenced to a term of years
, he or she must be given lifetime probation
following the imprisonment. In Florida, another charge, capital sexual battery
is defined as: A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age commits a capital felony.
The charge carries a mandatory life sentence.