We Seek Justice by Looking Clearly at the Truth

News

No Increase In Sex Crimes On Halloween Says NARSOL Board Member
October 9, 2018

A Boston Herald article is calling for a new Massachusetts law to stop registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween. Such a law would violate the rights of sex offenders, for no public benefit whatsoever.

The piece—as random as a piece can be, in that it is not tied to any actual news, crime, or person of note—quotes an attorney named Wendy Murphy, who states, “Halloween is like Christmas for sex offenders.” That’s a catchy phrase, but she never explains exactly what she means. Do sex offenders get gifts on Halloween? Gifts of children?

“They know they’ll have lots of access to kids and that they can’t get in trouble even though they’re required to stay away from children,” Murphy says.

That is simply not true. Murphy is repeating an urban myth that sex offenders snatch trick or treaters. No evidence of such a phenomenon exists.

“There is not a single recorded case of a child being abducted or harmed by someone on the sex offender registry during trick-or-treat or other Halloween activities,” says Sandy Rozek, communications director of NARSOL, an organization that advocates for saner sex offender laws. “And valid, reliable research shows no increase in sex crimes at all on Halloween.”
The Dobbs Wire: BANISHED From New York City — Have A Listen!
September 21, 2018
The Dobbs Wire
info@thedobbswire.com
By Bill Dobbs...

Last week the prestigious New York City Bar Association hosted an important live panel discussion, “Banished from New York City.”  A packed house heard about New York’s draconian sex laws including one with the innocent sounding name of SARA that has people in prison held *past* their release dates.  Kudos to Christina Wong and the panel organizers and everybody at the NYC Bar Association for bringing attention to this issue.  Here’s more information about the event and a link to the archived audio – have a listen!  Also below is a news story for background.

Banished from New York City:
The Legality, Policy Considerations, and Practical Implications of the Housing Restrictions Faced by People on the Sex Offense Registry

In New York City, there are hundreds of men and women on the sex offense registry who are subject to residency restrictions under the Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA) that prevent them from living within 1,000 feet of a school.  This little known law has created enormous constitutional problems.  In densely-populated New York City there are virtually no residences that comply with these restrictions.  When no SARA-compliant housing available, prisons are holding people past their release date–a time period that usually extends longer than a year. This panel discussion addresses the  history and policy behind the residency restrictions, the impact of SARA on people who have committed sex offenses, and the legal challenges being made on behalf of people affected by SARA.
Warning: Integrity Of Judicial Process At Risk
September 19, 2018
This may also be seen at Criminal Legal News

By Sandy Rozek...

Testimony from individuals at a sentencing hearing has one primary purpose: to give the court additional information on which to base a sentencing decision.

Victim impact statements focus on the harm done, while statements on behalf of the convicted are intended to paint as thorough a picture as possible of the person, with an appeal to mitigating circumstances.

A sentencing hearing recognizes that an individual is more than the crime for which he or she has been convicted, more than the harm that he or she has inflicted on another or on society. People are encouraged to give testimony that better gives the court a feel for the totality of the person about to be sentenced.

Kristie Torbick, through a plea agreement, was convicted in early July 2018 for the sexual assault of a student, one whom Ms. Torbick in her position as a guidance counselor at Exeter High School in Exeter, New Hampshire, was counseling.

At her plea-and-sentencing hearing, colleagues and friends did what colleagues and friends do at sentencing hearings: Some had written letters; others spoke on her behalf. They were not supporting her choice to commit a crime. They were not supporting her illegal behavior. They were supporting her as an individual whom they knew to be more than someone who had crossed a line that should not be crossed.
NARSOL’S AR Affiliate: “Limit Registry Access To LE”
September 18, 2018

Arkansas has about 15,800 registered sex offenders — 526 offenders for every 100,000 residents — the second-highest total in the country based on population, recent national research shows.

The manager of the state’s sex-offender registry says the numbers are misleading.

“It’s not like we have 16,000 sex offenders roaming loose around Arkansas,” said Paula Stitz. “It’s more like 9,000.”   . . .

As of Aug. 1, there are 16,049 people registered in Arkansas’ sex-offender database, Stitz said. Of those, more than 3,100 are incarcerated, about 3,400 are now outside the state, and 176 offenders have been deported, she said. . . .

State laws say that “sex offenders pose a high risk of reoffending after release from custody” and “the privacy interest of persons adjudicated guilty of sex offenses is less important than the government’s interest in public safety.”

Yet, research shows that sex offenders do not have increased recidivism rates.
How National Center For Missing Children Exploits Your Fears
September 10, 2018
By Michael M...

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) ostensibly does good work. Their mission, according to their website, is to serve as a resource center for law enforcement, families and the public to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent child victimization. These are all laudable goals, but in order to continue funding their work, NCMEC finds it increasingly necessary to stoke public fears and media hysteria about the largely mythical menace of “stranger danger.”

Take, for example, a recent social media post by NCMEC commemorating the disappearance four years ago of Jacob and Sarah Hoggle, who were two and three years old, respectively, at the time. The Twitter post features a big, bold red headline: “MISSING” and makes note of the fact that the children were last seen on September 7, 2014 in Clarksburg, Maryland. NCMEC also displayed a digitally age-progressed photo of what the children may look like now. They look like happy, healthy, good looking kids.

It’s what NCMEC isn’t telling us about this case that should raise a few eyebrows, however.
NARSOL To GoFundMe: Take Down That Campaign
September 1, 2018
By Sandy...

Hero punches pedophile.” That’s the name of a campaign on GoFundMe, a campaign designed to raise money for the defense and as a “thank you” for Kevin Smith, a man who, in best vigilante style, leapt across the courtroom at the sentencing of Donnie Briggs in Medford, Oregon, who was being sentenced on a conviction of child pornography.

Mr. Smith proceeded to pummel Mr. Briggs in the face and continued until courtroom security pulled him off. Briggs’ injuries included broken bones and required hospitalization.

Mr. Smith’s two daughters were among those whom Mr. Briggs had surreptitiously photographed. One can sympathize with his feelings of outrage without condoning his own inappropriate, criminal behavior.

But most inappropriate of all is this campaign. It glorifies and promotes violent vigilantism. The campaign was created by one Jacob Elkin, a first-hand observer of Smith’s courtroom assault of Briggs and an obvious fan of vigilantism.
The Real Danger In Stranger-Danger
August 28, 2018

This summer in India, two dozen innocent people died at the hands of mobs convinced that they were meting out justice to kidnappers. One was a software engineer beaten to death after giving chocolates to children outside a school. One was a 65-year-old woman who got lost on a trip to a temple with her family and stopped to ask for directions. All five family members were stripped naked and beaten with fists, sticks and iron rods. One was hospitalized in a coma. A woman named Rukmani died in the street.

This is what it happens when stranger-danger runs rampant. It turns out that fear of strangers is far more dangerous than strangers themselves.

The panic began in April when a video that appears to show a child being scooped off the street by two men on a motorcycle went viral. The video was originally created in Pakistan as a public service announcement to teach parents to watch their children more closely. The end of the clip showed the child returned by the “kidnappers” who held up a sign: “It takes but a moment to snatch a child off the streets of Karachi.”
Ms. Skenazy is the president of Let Grow, a nonpartisan group promoting childhood independence and resilience.
A Case Of Unchecked Prosecutorial Abuse
August 20, 2018
By Michael M...

Let’s talk about Bedford County, Pennsylvania’s former district attorney, William Higgins, Jr.  On August the 17th, 2018, Higgins was sentenced after being charged with using his power as a district attorney to coerce female defendants accused of drug offenses into sex acts. At least, that’s how the news media repeatedly framed it. There’s just one problem with that script. Prisoners and those accused of a crime cannot legally consent to sex with any law enforcement officer, district attorney, or other officer of the court.  So, let’s just call this what it really was – what the court and news media refuse to call it: rape.

It’s not as if the court is unfamiliar with the word or unaware of its definition. After all, courts routinely tout the legal principle that certain classes of people cannot consent to sex under any circumstances – minors under the legal age of consent, people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, people who are incapacitated while unconscious or sleeping, people who have significant mental illness, and yes, people who are in the government’s custody.
"Sex Offenders Should Be Shot"
August 18, 2018
By Sandy...

So stated an email written by a staff member of the Little Rock Police Department and sent to all staff. She was apparently irritated that phone calls by or concerning registrants were erroneously being sent to her office. The issue was reported at KARK.com as was the fact that the police department is not happy with the staffer and is acknowledging that such communication is very inappropriate.

I am quick to respond to the negative handling of matters concerning registered persons, and I try to be equally diligent when something is done properly. In that spirit, I immediately sent the following to the Little Rock police chief and a copy to KARK.com:

Dear Little Rock Police Department:

NARSOL – the National Assoc. for Rational Sexual Offense Laws – appreciates the Little Rock Police Dept. for taking seriously the inappropriate email sent by a staffer suggesting that those on the registry should be shot.
The Cost Of Speaking Good Of A Convicted Sexual Offender
August 16, 2018
By Sandy...

One of the most damaging attitudes toward those convicted of sexual crimes is that they can never again do anything noble or worthy, that they are forever  criminals. This is the underlying justification for registries and restrictions that block rather than encourage rehabilitative initiatives.

At least equally damaging, however, is the insistence that not only do their crimes make impossible any future worth but also wipe out any good, worth, or value from before the commission of the crime.

I have written on this subject before in the case of a war hero and Purple Heart recipient being treated as though his former heroism was totally negated by a subsequent act of sexual misconduct.

A month ago Kristie Torbick, a guidance counselor at Exeter High School in New Hampshire, received a sexual conviction for a situation involving one of the students she counseled. When some of her peers and colleagues wrote letters on her behalf and spoke favorable of her past at her sentencing hearing, they received harsh criticism, and I wrote about it then.

And now...
NC COA: Satellite Based Monitoring Unreasonable Without Evidence It Works
August 15, 2018

North Carolina’s second-highest court says authorities can’t force a sex-offender to wear a monitoring device for decades because evidence fails to show that tracking protects the public.

A divided three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that because officials presented no evidence that satellite-based monitoring is effective, it violates the U.S. Constitution’s bar against unreasonable searches.

The U.S. Supreme Court set that constitutional standard in a 2015 North Carolina decision.

Tuesday’s case involved Thomas Earl Griffin, who spent 11 years in prison for abusing the pre-teen daughter of his live-in girlfriend. A Craven County judge in 2016 ruled he must wear a tracking device for 30 years.

Griffin did not challenge being ordered to register as a sex offender, but argued that the trial court violated his Fourth Amendment rights by ordering him to submit to continuous satellite-based monitoring for 30 years.

“After careful review of the record and applicable law, we are compelled to agree,” the Court of Appeals opinion reads.
NARSOL Condemns Civil Commitment Practices
August 14, 2018
By NARSOL...

In view of recent developments in the case of Galen Baughman in Virginia, NARSOL restates its unequivocal opposition to the civil commitment process occurring in at least twenty states and in the federal system. Paul Shannon, NARSOL’s board chair, states, “NARSOL opposes the practice of civilly committing sexual offenders to a locked facility after they have completed serving their prison sentence. If in fact the offender has a mental disorder, he/she should be treated in the mental health system rather than incarcerated.”

 Shannon’s remarks are in response to Virginia’s effort to designate Mr. Baughman a sexually violent predator (SVP), which would result in indefinite and possibly lifetime confinement. Shannon said, “Although NARSOL does not condone the violations of supervision established in Mr. Baughman’s case, we are deeply troubled by the effort to designate him as an SVP.”

NARSOL’s board of directors opposes the Attorney General’s petition for the following reasons:
Court Decisions Re Sexual Offense Issues Still Based On Myth, Not Fact
July 14, 2018

In the span of just one week, three courts have issued decisions that significantly harm registrants. Those decisions affect registrants’ marriages, homes and overseas travel.

It’s a lot to absorb in a short amount of time. It’s too much to fight at this time. But fight we must in the near future.

In the first of those decisions, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals validated a provision of the Adam Walsh Act that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for an individual convicted of a sex offense to sponsor his spouse for U.S. citizenship. That is because the individual must prove that he poses “no risk” to the safety of his spouse.

In the second of those decisions, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld residency restrictions adopted by the State of Illinois. In doing so, the Court relied upon the myth that there is a high risk of recidivism for anyone convicted of a sex offense as well as the wrongly decided case Smith v. Doe in which the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the requirement to register as a sex offender is not punishment.
Those On Sex Offender Registries Targeted For Telephone Scams
July 11, 2018
By Sandy...

Scams offering to get someone off the registry for a fee have been around for a while. A new scam has appeared within the past few months, and as of this writing has targeted registrants in some form in at least four states: Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and New Mexico, with New Mexico being the most recent. All involve telephone calls to registrants claiming to be from someone at the registry office or police department and claiming the registrant is somehow out of compliance. From there the verbiage goes in one of several directions. Some are told to bring cash to the registry office. Some have details about the registrant and his past and his family and use threats. Some claim to have planted evidence of a new crime and threaten imminent arrest if instructions aren’t obeyed. Some haven’t asked for cash but told the registrant to go to the registry office immediately.

UPDATES:
7/2: Three reported attempts in Maryland.
6/25: A scam attempt reported in Connecticut.
5/30: Adding Virginia.
5/24: Now in Michigan.
5/21: We have just received word of a scam victim in Georgia.
5/8: This continues in various forms; new reports from OK and TX; be aware!
4/4: We have just had a report that a Colorado registrant has been targeted.
This has now been reported in Nebraska.
Deadly Collateral Consequences Of The “Non-Punitive” Sex Offender Registry
June 18, 2018
By Michael M...

It is easy for some people to feel that no matter how oppressive the hardships imposed upon former sex offenders may be, they probably deserved it. The most common refrain we see posted by unsympathetic social media commentators typically contains some variation of, “He (or she) should have thought of that before they committed their crimes!” While such a response may be emotionally satisfying for the person who makes such a statement, the unspoken assumption is that any punishment, no matter how cruel, can be justified by the fact that you’ve committed a crime, no matter how trivial. Oh, so you were beheaded for jaywalking? Well, you should have thought about that before you stepped outside the crosswalk!

It also completely ignores the plight of the innocent bystanders who often bear the brunt of our country’s draconian sex offender registration laws. The families, friends, employers, landlords, and associates of former sex offenders often become the unintended casualties of the current wave of anti-sex-offender hysteria sweeping the nation. Recent studies have begun referring to these tangential victims as “collateral damage,” as if we were talking about accidentally backing the car into the neighbor’s mailbox, rather than the complete destruction of innocent people’s lives.
From Independence To Houston; NARSOL Announces Next Conference
June 12, 2018
By Robin Vander Wall...

NARSOL’s Tenth National Conference has come and gone. The conference planning committee met on Monday immediately after the last day of the conference to evaluate its performance and prepare to give a preliminary report to NARSOL’s board of directors which meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

More than 150 people from across the United States, some from as far away as Washington, Oregon, Florida, and California, came together in Independence, Ohio, for the nation’s oldest national conference concerning registered citizens and remained there for three days of seminars and plenary presentations covering a range of topics from how to tell a story to how to become a more effective advocate at the state legislature.
The “Justice For Danyelle Act Of 2018”: The Shady Tactics Behind Another Oklahoma Knee Jerk Law
June 1, 2018
By Mark N...

Oklahoma’s “Justice for Danyelle Act of 2018,” an act that prohibits registrants from living within 2,000 feet of their victim’s home and loitering within 1,000 feet of the same, is a prime example of a knee jerk law. This law also demonstrated one of the deceptive tactics that Oklahoma lawmakers use in order to advance their own personal agenda using the public safety issue. To add insult to injury this law is going to be applied unconstitutionally to over 6,800 registrants in Oklahoma and the author of the bill knows it will be.

First, let’s see how this knee jerk law was created.

In 2003, Danyelle Dyer was molested by her step-uncle. Harold English was arrested, convicted and went to prison for the crime. Upon his release, Harold had only one place to go to, his mother’s home. She agreed to take him in until he could find a place of his own. His mother was also Danyelle’s grandmother, who lives next door to Danyelle’s mother. While the news media reports that the two were, “…next door,” Danyelle admits that the two houses are, “…about 100 yards…” apart. Furthermore, the main factor here is that Danyelle did not live next door (or even 100 yards away) from the house that Harold was going to stay in temporarily. Danyelle was just visiting her mother during her college summer break when she learned that Harold was staying with his mother, Danyelle’s grandmother.
NARSOL To Sheriff: Stop The Fear-Mongering
May 23, 2018
As have done politicians before him, Sheriff Manny Gonzales of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, is using the tactic of creating fear in the public in his bid for reelection. He has created a campaign ad showing individuals on the New Mexico sexual offense registry who are allegedly out of compliance and cautioning the public to beware of these potentially armed and dangerous men.

NARSOL, in a press release sent to New Mexico media and other pertinent individuals in New Mexico, calls upon the sheriff to cease such baseless fear-mongering.
Young Innocent Victims
May 14, 2018
By Anonymous...

I am 15 years old and have experienced far too much for my age. I have seen my father in handcuffs and seen him behind glass. I have sat in court and listened to all of his charges being listed, all of the terrible crimes he has committed. I see him for less than 39 hours in one year. People work for longer than that in one week. I have seen child pornography on his electronic devices, horrific enough to give me nightmares to this day. I have testified both for and against him. I have prayed and got nothing but silence.

The registry has done just as much damage. My family and I have been harassed. We’ve gotten animal feces smeared on our front door. Years ago, when my sibling was 11 or so, she was bullied due to something she had no involvement in. She was pushed down a flight of stairs. The bullying became severe to the point we had to move.
A Victory In Michigan
January 24, 2018
By NARSOL...

In 1994 a young man in Michigan, Boban Temelkoski, pled guilty to touching a girl’s breasts. He was eligible for sentencing as a youthful, first-time offender under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), and in 1997, after successfully completing the program’s probation and community service, his case was dismissed. Nevertheless, he has been included on the Michigan sex offender registry ever since.

Boban filed suit, asking for removal from the registry as he does not have a sexual offense conviction. His case made it up through the court system, and in October of last year, 2017, was heard by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Predator Panic Preoccupies Parents
January 8, 2018
By Lenore Skenazy

A mom just bought a toy for her 2-year-old that signals to pedophiles that the girl is ready to be traded for sex.

Wait, what?

I’d repeat it, but it still wouldn’t make any sense. And yet, this modern-day myth has gone viral, showing up on Headline News, AOL, local media, and, of course, it is all over Facebook. One mom there lamented, “I did not know that pedophiles have their own insidious silent language that is infiltrating society through pretty pink images … which signal to other pedophiles the child can be traded.”

Do we really live in that kind of hell for kids?
Ms. Skenazy is the president of Let Grow, a nonpartisan group promoting childhood independence and resilience.
NARSOL Files Amicus Brief In Premises Case Before Illinois Sup Ct
November 15, 2017

By Robin...

The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL), in collaboration with its foundation and legal fund, Vivante Espero, has filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defendant-appellee, Marc A. Pepitone, in an important case before the Illinois Supreme Court concerning parks and premises restrictions against “child sex offenders” (720 ILCS 5/11-9.3 (f)).

NARSOL is represented by Attorney Paul Dubbeling of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Illinois Voices filed a separate amicus brief and is represented by attorneys Adele Nicholas and Mark Weinberg, both of Chicago, Illinois.

NARSOL’s amicus brief seeks to accomplish two fundamental objectives in support of the Attorney Katherine Strohl’s primary brief on behalf of Mr. Pepitone, who she defended below and successfully won a challenge against the statute before the Illinois Court of Appeals in February, 2017.

More information can be found about this and other cases in Illinois on the Illinois Voices website. Illinois Voices is a NARSOL state affiliate. For information about becoming an affiliate of NARSOL, please visit here.
“A Sex Offender Wants To Talk To You”; Reporter’s Journey Leads Her To Nebraskans Unafraid
November 14, 2017

By Julie Cornell...

I’ve made people’s stories my life’s work. I’m a person who talks to people sitting next to me on airplanes. I engage people at grocery stores, and even while sitting in those flimsy robes in the hospital, waiting for a mammogram. I generally like people. And I constantly “interview” them, even when I’m not working. I consider myself open-minded. I’d rather ask questions than answer. I try not to judge.

But one fall day last year, a random call to the newsroom caught me off guard: A co-worker shouted across the newsroom that a sex offender wanted to talk to me. Everyone looked at me. My first inclination was to bolt. Not only did I not want to talk to a sex offender, I certainly didn’t want him to have my phone number or know my name. I was slightly unnerved.

Registered Citizen Sues For The Right To Live In West St. Paul, Minnesota
November 10, 2017

By Susan Du...

Thomas Evenstad, 52, moved into a duplex in West St. Paul on August 21. Three days later, police called his landlord, demanding that he be evicted within 10 days.

That’s because Evenstad was convicted of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in 1999.

As a Level I sex offender – the lowest risk category – he does not need to notify the public whenever he moves into a new community. But police keep tabs on him, and certain cities adopt ordinances limiting where he’s allowed to live. West St. Paul, for instance, doesn’t permit sex offenders to live within 1,200 feet of any school, daycare, or group home. Those who live with their relatives or lived in town prior to the ordinance are exempted.

But those restrictions cover so much of West St. Paul that there’s really no place left, Evenstad says. He believes the city’s rules amount to an effective banishment.

Passport “Identifiers” Will Not Accomplish Intended Purpose
November 9, 2017

By Guy Hamilton-Smith...

On October 30th, the State Department announced that passports of people who are required to register as sex offenders because of an offense involving a minor will be marked with a “unique identifier” that will read:

The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).

The law which occasions this requirement, International Megan’s Law (IML), was enacted in 2016 under President Obama. In addition to the identifier requirement, IML allows for existing passports of those on the registry to be revoked, and imposes criminal penalties on them for failure to provide the government with advance notice of international travel plans.

While U.S. law already provided for destination countries to be put on notice regarding the travel plans of those on the sex offender registry, IML ratchets things up by requiring the person to carry the government’s “identifier” with them wherever they go abroad.

Florida Action Committee Fights Absurd Miami-Dade Ordinance
November 7, 2017

By Isabella Vi Gomes...

For 12 years, Miami-Dade’s registered sex offenders have been barred from living within 2,500 feet of any school, playground, or daycare. They’re effectively homeless by law, and today hundreds live in squalor in makeshift “tent cities” under bridges, near trailer parks, and on roadsides. After New Times reported on a camp near Hialeahcounty officials called these encampments inhumane and unsanitary and promised a solution.

That solution, though, apparently isn’t to amend the law or to find transitional housing. Two commissioners now want to simply put the offenders back in jail.

This morning, the county commission considered an ordinance that would change Miami-Dade’s policy on what to do with homeless people who are found sleeping on public property. Currently, police are required to offer homeless people the chance to go to a shelter before arresting them, but under the proposed change, homeless sex offenders would be immediately arrested.

The Sex Offender Registry: A Many-Headed Monster
November 6, 2017

By Sandy...

What do these headlines have in common?

“U.S. Marshals protect trick-or-treaters from the threat of sex offenders.” 

“ ‘Operation Blackout,’ annual Halloween Tennessee sex offender sweep, underway”

“Operation Lights Out aims to keep your children safe on Halloween”

They all appeared in the week or so leading up to Halloween. They all connect Halloween, persons on sex offender registries, and danger to children. They all promise, directly or indirectly, to protect children from the dangers inherent in the situation.

Are they successful?

Passport Requirement Casts Wide Net, Imposes Badge Of Shame
November 3, 2017

“The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor,” it says, “and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).”

The scary notation, which was revealed this week, is the State Department’s response to a 2016 law requiring that the passports of certain registered sex offenders include a “unique identifier” to help maintain their status as pariahs wherever they travel. Although the warning is supposedly aimed at stopping sexual predators from abusing children in other countries, it will mark the passports of many people who pose no such threat.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine.
Marathon Efforts Bolster NARSOL’s Profile, Strengthens Movement
November 2, 2017

By Sandy...

From NARSOL’s point of view, there has never been a Halloween like this one! I scarcely know where to begin.

The Patch campaign was amazing in and of itself. Final analysis shows that the Patch organization posted one or more of the “Halloween Safety Maps” showing the homes of those on the registry and warning of their “danger” during trick or treating in 28 states. That means that 22 states did not display these maps or warnings, which is encouraging.

At the very minimum, 20 people from almost as many state groups and from NARSOL were involved, and an uncountable number of emails were sent to an equally uncountable number of Patch outlets, editors, writers, and executives. The collaborative effort was awesome and a positive model for future projects.

Sex Offender Registries Endanger The Lives They’re Meant To Protect
October 26, 2017

By Miriam Aukerman...

Our communities deserve effective public-safety measures that are based on facts and sound research, not wasteful and counterproductive measures born of fear. We all want to be safe. We have to demand our legislators pass laws that work and actually keep us safe.

That’s especially true when it comes to sexual offenses.

A Michigan man we’ll call John Doe met a woman in 2005 at a club open only to those ages 18 and up. He didn’t know it when they slept together, but she was actually 15. Today, 12 years later, they are married with two children. But John was also arrested and placed on Michigan’s sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

Source: The Hill
Miriam Aukerman is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan and manages the ACLU’s West Michigan Regional Office. Aukerman litigates high-impact cases on a broad range of civil liberties issues, with a particular focus on immigrant rights, poverty and criminal justice. 
For A Registered Sex Offender, How Much Rehabilitation Is Enough?
October 23, 2017

By Sandy...

Three years ago, a spokesperson for NARSOL, then RSOL, was interviewed for an article about a young man named Guy Hamilton-Smith. In 2011 Guy had graduated from law school in the top third of his class, applied to take the Kentucky state bar exam, and, in spite of numerous awards, supporters, and testimonials on his behalf, had just been refused by the Kentucky State Supreme Court. Guy was, and is, on the Kentucky sex offender registry.

In February, 2015, a suit was filed against the Commonwealth of Kentucky by John Doe, plaintiff. Doe challenged the state’s right to prohibit his access to social media on the basis of his status of a registered sex offender.

On October 20, 2017, a decision was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern Division of Kentucky, in favor of the plaintiff.

The Doe in the case and the hopeful young law school graduate are the same.

The same day Guy posted on Reddit, and what he wrote quickly made its way to other social media platforms. How fitting! Guy wrote: (For those not familiar with Reddit, AMA means “ask me anything” — and this is reprinted with permission by Guy.)

The Sex Offender Panic Is Absolutely Destroying Lives
September 20, 2017

The video below tells the story of Shawna, an Oklahoma woman who is still in mandatory treatment because 15 years ago, when she was 19, she had sex with a boy who was 14. Over at the Marshall Project, David Feige has more about the unlikely people swept up in the sex-offender panic for offenses most of us wouldn’t associate with a typical sexual predator.
This opinion is republished from The Washington Post.
Federal Judge Holds Colorado Registry Is Punishment; Violates Eighth Amendment
August 31, 2017

By Robin...

In a far reaching opinion that is sure to send Colorado’s Attorney General scrambling to salvage that state’s registration and notification scheme, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Matsch (a Nixon appointee who presided over the trial of Oklahoma City bombing defendant Timothy McVeigh) has held the entire Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act (C.R.S. §§ 16-22-101, et seq) unconstitutional as applied to three plaintiffs who sued the director of Colorado’s Bureau of Investigation (the state agency responsible for maintaining the state’s sex offender registry).

Using the seven factors set forth in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144 (1963) that were utilized by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003), Judge Matsch held that six of the seven factors weighed in favor of finding the state’s SORA requirements punitive in their effects and, therefore, in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Matsch writes:

NO! We Don't Need Another Sex Offender Law To Fight
August 22, 2017

By Sandy...

A woman in Oklahoma has gotten the attention of state legislators after creating a Facebook page protesting that the uncle who was convicted for abusing her as a child was allowed to live next door to her. After his recent release from prison, Harold English of Bristow, Oklahoma, moved into his mother’s home. The mother of English and grandmother of Danyelle Deyer has said that her son had nowhere else to live.

The exclusionary zones in Bristow make English finding another residence very problematic; however, he is now under a temporary order forcing him to leave the home. Legislators have rushed to close this “loophole” in the law, and House Bill 1124 will be making its way through the Oklahoma legislature in the next session.