We Seek Justice by Looking Clearly at the Truth


Is refusing registered former sexual offenders shelter and support our best choice?
December 8, 2019
By Sandy...

Gary Keith, city councilman and real estate agent of Clarksburg, West Virginia, has propelled himself into the spotlight by protesting against the policy of the Clarksburg Mission to extend their services to those in need indiscriminately, specifically to those who have a conviction for any one of a vast multitude of behaviors that causes one to be listed on a sexual offense registry.

He begins his op-ed, intended to amplify on his 30-minute video piece, with saying that he wants to educate the public. It is a shame that his attempts at education do not include what decades of studies show about those who commit sexual crime. Once punished and living in the community, their rate of reoffense is remarkably low, in the low single digits according to virtually every valid study. The factors most associated with rehabilitation and remaining offense free, this furthering the interests of public safety, are those things that the mission provides: a decent place to live, stability, support, acceptance, encouragement, and, in some cases, employment.

Rather than laud the mission for serving a much-needed role in the recovery and stability of these men, Mr. Keith chooses to criticize them for doing so and seeks to seriously damage their future operations by appealing to the public to cease their donations to the mission, donations on which the mission depends.
Nebraskans Unafraid, NARSOL, ask Nebraska legislature for registry reform
September 28, 2019
By Sandy...

On September 12, NARSOL was asked to submit written testimony regarding damages done by the sexual offense registry, with emphasis on recommended changes. We were asked to focus on two issues: the harm caused by retroactive application of registry requirements to those who had established stable lives and the importance of providing a clear path off of the registry.

I was honored to co-author the piece, along with Brenda, our executive director. We were pleased, actually proud, of our product, which can be seen here.

The testimony was submitted to Nebraska Senator Steve Lathrop for use in an interim study hearing about Nebraska’s sexual offense registry of the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to be held September 27.

The hearing was held and went very well.
That has to be all
September 26, 2019
UPDATE: The school district has denied the details of the incident as reported in the article I linked and here. I am attempting to investigate further, but if I don’t get any further confirmation of the facts as they have been presented, I will remove the post.

By Sandy...

“That just has to be all.” One of NARSOL’s board members is fond of saying that when something has occurred that seems outlandish or over the top. What he means, of course, is this is as ridiculous as it gets; nothing can top this.

And then a week later, he will say it again because something even more outlandish and over the top has occurred. I have lost count of the number of times something has been declared to be “all” only to be replaced by something even more “all” in a month or a week — or a day.

But this time I am saying it, and this time, it really does have to be all.

The headline says, “5-year-old autistic boy ‘put on record as sex offender’ by school for hugging classmate and kissing another on the cheek.” Initially, knowing the media’s propensity for hyperbole, especially when the term “sex offender” can be used, I assumed there was more to the story. Surely he had an older accomplice who was running the show. Surely he held a gun to someone and forced them to disrobe. Surely … But then my “get real” side told my Pollyanna side to stop the nonsense, that there was nothing a five-year-old could do, especially an autistic five-year-old, that would justify using the term “sex offender” in describing him.
Who is a "sex offender"?
September 6, 2019
Names in quotation marks are pseudonyms; names with none are used with permission or are publicly known figures.

By Sandy...

“Evan” is 71 years old. He was charged with viewing illegal pornography, a federal internet crime. That was eight years ago. He did not come to trial for four years after being charged. He was sentenced to eleven and a half years, of which he has now served four. His wife visits him twice a week, spending a goodly portion of her meager income on gasoline, tolls, and vending machines. They have no children and no other family. She is in despair and fear every day. If he serves out his full sentence and is still alive, he will be almost 80 when he is released. He will then be on probation for ten more years and on the registry until he dies.

Tammie is a young grandmother who has legal custody of young grandchildren. Sixteen years ago, her son at age fourteen engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman in her mid-twenties. When Tammie became aware, she demanded that it stop and threatened to go to the authorities, which she did two months later when she discovered the relationship was continuing. Tammie was charged with failure to report a crime in a timely manner and incarcerated for eighteen months. Upon release she was told that her offense was a subset of a sexual crime, promoting the sexual performance of a child in a custodial position, and that she would be required to register as a sex offender for life. Due to that status, she is prohibited from having any involvement with the school activities of her grandchildren.
Don’t be scared! Get ready for Halloween
September 1, 2019
By Sandy...

NARSOL will once again this year host a Halloween Marathon. This will be the third extended program of this nature that NARSOL has done, and we hope that everyone will participate. The intent of the marathon session is to monitor law enforcement’s Halloween activities and carefully evaluate where we will litigate next. Last year we gained information that the sheriffs in two counties in Georgia, Spalding and Butts, had taken it upon themselves to require everyone on the Georgia sexual offense registry to display signs either on their homes or in their yards “warning” potential trick-or-treaters away from those homes. NARSOL sent letters of protest to both sheriffs advising  them that they were acting outside of what the law permitted. In the absence of any recognition of our letters, we are, through Georgia attorney Mark Yurachek, bringing litigation against them both and asking that such action not be permitted this year.

NARSOL is committed to ending Halloween hysteria and unconstitutional practices that prevent families from enjoying the event. Our previous programs have been successful, and we expect this year’s to be even more so. We need YOU to make this happen. We need the participation of our contacts and affiliate organizations in every state. We need you to call in and report on conditions and situations in your states. We need volunteer attorneys in as many states as possible to be on “stand-by” to take calls and answer questions or comment on laws or situations in the states you are in. And we need everyone who is reading this to participate by tuning in to as much of the call as you are able and calling in to report actions being taken by law enforcement against those on the registry, especially those who are no longer under community supervision.
Can we do better with our sexual offense prevention dollars?
July 29, 2019
By Sandy...

From Tennessee comes this all-too-familiar story: Law enforcement is patting itself on the back for a job well done in assuring that those on the sex offender registry in Meigs County are in compliance. All 35 of them.

Titled “Operation Rising Sun,” and occupying three days — Tuesday through Thursday, July 23, 24, and 25 — this major undertaking was a joint effort involving the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, the Decatur Police Department, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Knoxville Police Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

That’s eight agencies. Who knows how many individual law enforcement officers. All that in order to verify compliance in 35 individuals.

In the typical it’s-a-dirty-job-but-somebody’s-got-to-do-it style of reporting, the journalist lauds those involved and manages to include quotes from a couple of these heroic individuals stressing the importance of their work.

Congratulations, officers: it would appear that you are truly doing your share to keep people safe, but let’s just look at the science: A Dept. of Justice study of all released sexual offenders in 1994, almost 10,000 persons, shows that 96.5% did not recidivate. 3.5% were convicted of committing another crime.
NARSOL at work: consider yourself served!
July 27, 2019
By Sandy...

From Aurora, Illinois comes good news: Thanks to litigation filed, the city is backing off its threat to force nineteen registrants to leave Wayside Cross Ministries. Furthermore, a federal judge has ordered the men be registered as living at Wayside.

Even though the city insists that the actual threat of the registrants having to leave the ministry comes from the State Attorney’s office, the suit maintains that the impetus for the situation originated with the city of Aurora, and they have responded to the suit by saying they will not take action.

The Wayside Cross/distance restrictions suit is one of several filed in Illinois by NARSOL affiliate Illinois Voices’ attorneys Nicholas and Weinstein. Growing out of the Wayside case is one challenging the way the state defines a playground as opposed to a park for the purposes of establishing restricted living areas for registrants. Others still pending are cases involving presence and residency restrictions, mandatory supervised release which can keep a person in prison indefinitely, prohibiting contact with one’s own minor children, internet restrictions, and prohibiting a name change. Other registry-related suits have been filed independent of Illinois Voices. Illinois appears to be one of if not the most prolific state in challenging the registry and sexual offense related issues.

Each year sees a marked increase in litigation that challenges the registry, its scope and outreach, and its effect in the lives of everyone it touches. NARSOL and its affiliates are involved in a significant number of these cases, and we welcome cases being brought against the registry in all states.
The utter uselessness of sexual offense registries
July 16, 2019

The first time Damian Winters got evicted was in 2015. He was living with his wife and two sons in suburban Nashville when his probation officer called his landlord and informed him that Winters was a registered sex offender.

The previous year, when he was 24 years old, Winters had been arrested for downloading a three-minute porn clip. The file description said the girl in the video was 16; the prosecutor said she was 14. He was charged with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and, because he had used file-sharing software to download the video, attempted distribution of child pornography.

Winters had no criminal record, no history of contact with children and no other illegal files on his computer. Facing an eight-year prison sentence, he had taken a plea deal that gave him six years’ probation and 15 years on Tennessee’s sex offender registry.
NARSOL speaks out against stranger-danger
June 26, 2019
Original article:  posted on HuffPost by Michael Hobbes
Read the full piece HERE.

Research on child sexual abuse does not support these concerns,said Sandy Rozek, the communications director for the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws.Extensive research has documented that child sexual abuse risk overwhelmingly comes from individuals that children know, not strangers.
Forced self-incrimination
May 15, 2019
By Larry...

Maybe authorities will finally accept that the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution really protects individuals from compelled self-incrimination. At least it does in the state of Indiana according to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The court made it clear that the protection against self-incrimination even extends to those convicted of sexual offenses See Lacy v. Butts, No. 17-3256 (U.S. Seventh Cir. 08/25/2019), ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 1858276, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12414 (referred to subsequently as Opinion). This is fantastic news, and NARSOL sees this decision as significant in building the body of case law related to forced self-incrimination.

The case arose from the state of Indiana; that state requires all inmates convicted of a sex offense to complete the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program (SOMM) before release. Even though this case specifically addresses Indiana’s SOMM program, many other states have similar requirements in order to be released from prison or while under supervision. This fact makes this case relevant throughout the country and puts it on par with the Tenth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Von Behren, 822 F.3d 1139 (10th Cir. 2016) which addressed self-incrimination during polygraph testing.
Redemption, forgiveness, restorative justice: whatever it’s called, it must be for ALL
April 23, 2019
By Sandy...

There’s a new phrase in town, and it’s catching on like wildfire.

April 29th is the start date for a new CNN program based on this phrase. It is called The Redemption Project, and you don’t have to read very far before – there it is: restorative justice.

It is based on the reality that the criminal justice system does only half of the job and often leaves things worse than they were before.

Like many “new” things, it isn’t really all that new.

Schools, industry, and civil litigation have utilized the concept for decades with peer or conflict mediation, bringing together two opposing parties to work out their differences by learning to understand the other’s point of view. Its primary tools are empathy and compassion. It will never work 100% of the time, but it is effective often enough to justify its availability as an option in virtually all adversarial situations. And in the criminal justice system, when it does work, it seems to work better than anything else in restoring offenders and healing victims.

It is an initiative among others in the ACLU’s arsenal in its “Smart Justice” program, a program taking hold in every state and designed to offer effective and realistic solutions to our serious over-incarceration problem.
“Y” discriminate?
April 2, 2019
By Michael...

As a senior citizen recently qualifying for Medicare, I was excited to learn that my new Medicare Advantage plan allowed me free access to the YMCA. Since our local “Y” has a great pool, I was really looking forward to getting the exercise I need with a low impact work out.

I took my paperwork down to the “Y” and told them I wanted to join; I was heartily ushered into the inner sanctum and to an enroller who gave me an enrollment package to fill out.

I filled out the information sheet, page one and signed the bottom, page 2, item 1: Physicians approval, no problem, I’m still alive and kicking, item 2 “Membership Policy,” “Any person supporting the purposes and mission of the YMCA may become a member…”

From the YMCA National Website: “Our Commitment to Inclusion: The Y is made up of people of all ages and every walk of life… We work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation has the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity.”
Lenore Skenazy on Registry Report Radio
March 27, 2019
Lenore Skenazy was once dubbed, “America’s Worst Mom” for letting her son ride the New York subway alone. In response, Skenazy founded the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” with the aim of “fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.”
Justice or judgment: what will the judge do?
March 23, 2019
By Sandy...

In 1999, a young man of 17 met a young lady of 16. The details of the development of their relationship are murky; some reports indicate they were not sexually involved on the day for which he was charged but were later. There seems to be no question about her willingness to engage in the encounter or encounters.

He was charged in Michigan with sexual assault, and, again, details are murky. The age of consent in that state is 16 – her age — so regardless of what actually happened, the charge was not a statutory one. One source says that the charge was a misdemeanor and that he was legally advised to accept a plea offer. According to his listing on the registry for Texas, where he now resides, it appears he was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, and his Michigan registration requirement appears to have been for ten years.

Several attempts to contact the county clerk’s office in Genesee County, MI where he was sentenced, in order to verify facts and details, have failed. An attempt to use the appropriate section of their website to search for him by name resulted in no records being found.
No crime, charge, or conviction? No problem; you could still be punished
March 15, 2019
By Sandy...

Everyone will not agree, but it is my belief that much sexual offense policy is driven by a sincere desire to protect children and reduce the risk of harm to them. The fact that the greatest part of such policy is ineffective, often actually harmful, and at times appears to be blatantly unconstitutional is very often a function of ignorance of the facts.

However, when the town of Foxborough, MA, developed its Policy Addressing Sexual Predatory Behavior/Actions Against Minors, some of the stakeholders were aware enough of some of the very questionable aspects of the proposed ordinance to question it.

And no wonder.

Quoting from the policy itself, its purpose is to be able to address behaviors “which do not rise to the level of actionable criminal conduct.” In other words, it will enable the Foxborough Board of Selectmen to exercise power and authority in place of law enforcement in dealing with situations where no one has broken any law.
“Routine compliance checks” are anything but
February 28, 2019
By Michael M...

What would you do if you answered a knock at your door and were greeted by eight police officers and a television camera crew at your front doorstep?  Chances are, it’s not an occurrence that you would characterize as “routine,” even less so if you happen to be someone who is listed on a sexual offense registry.

It’s the sort of thing that happens on a regular basis every day, in practically every county and state in the country. This week, it’s happening to the 88 registrants and their families living in Mayes County, Oklahoma and being reported on in the local news media.

Imagine being a registrant who opens his front door to a large gaggle of police officers and TV cameras.

Imagine being the innocent parent, spouse, or child of a registrant who finds himself in those circumstances.

Imagine trying to explain to your six-year old child why something like this is happening.
Registeropoly: a game where everyone loses
February 20, 2019
By Michael M...

Remember “War Games,” the 1983 movie starring Matthew Broderick?  Its plot involves a teenager who hacks into a military computer network and finds a nuclear war simulation program that, when turned on, almost starts World War III in real-life.  To stop this from happening, David – the teen hacker played by Broderick – tracks down the rogue computer’s programmer Professor Stephen Falken to learn more about the simulation, which is named “Joshua.”  The following dialog ensues:

David: I’m not giving up. If Joshua tricks them into launching an attack, it’ll be your fault.

Stephen Falken: My fault? The whole point was to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves; to get the computer to learn from mistakes we could not afford to make. Except, that I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson.

David: What’s that?

Stephen Falken: Futility. That there’s a time when you should just give up.
Media "sex offender" stories: missed opportunities to do some good
February 13, 2019
By Sandy Rozek...

“I’d like to talk to you about a situation involving a sex offender here in Georgia.” It was similar to dozens of calls I receive as communications director of NARSOL, and the soft voice explained what the situation was.

A man in Cochran, Georgia, a man on that state’s sexual offense registry, was being harassed by a neighbor who had signs in front of her property identifying him and his crime, signs with words like “pedophile” and “pervert” in them. The man was breaking no laws, explained the soft-spoken young reporter, and she asked me what I thought about the situation.

I told her about the research showing that the safest communities were created when former offenders were given the opportunity to re-assimilate and show their ability to be law-abiding, productive community members. I briefly referenced some of the more pertinent facts. I spoke of the lessening of safety when vigilante activities, such as putting up signs, existed.

When the reporter asked if I would do a Skype interview for a piece she was doing on the subject, I demurred — I don’t like the sound of my recorded voice; I am told no one does, but still — and referred her to Brenda, NARSOL’s executive director. They connected, Brenda was interviewed, and February 12 the story hit the air on 13WMAZ’s eleven p.m. news. I am an early riser, and I heard it and read the accompanying text at 6:05 a.m. on February 13, about thirty minutes before I started writing this.

What a disappointment. What a missed opportunity to do an actual community service.
Weaponizing social panic
February 11, 2019
By Michael M...

What happens when social panics are weaponized in order to create and persecute a leper-class in our society? Nothing good, according to history. But if that is so, then why do we keep doing it?

Let’s examine some examples of how social panics have been weaponized in America by revisiting the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the “Red Scare” of the 1950s, and the “Gay Plague” in the 1980s. Perhaps they can shed some light on our current period of social hysteria surrounding sex offenders.

Most of us have heard about the Salem Witch Trials, the sordid episode of 17th century American history in which 19 people were executed by hanging and over 200 people imprisoned. That period of American insanity followed a time of widespread panic in Europe, during which tens of thousands of people – mostly women – were accused of witchcraft and executed.

“King William’s War” against France (1689) had caused many political and war refugees to pour into the Salem, Massachusetts area. Those immigrants included Caribbean slaves and other foreigners from French-speaking regions. The first three women to be accused of witchcraft were Tituba, a Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.  This set the tone for future social panics which appeal to deep-seated biases and hate targeting racial minorities, immigrants, poor people, and the homeless.
NARSOL AR affiliate testifies at House committee; Halloween restrictions bill stopped – at least for now
February 2, 2019

A bill that would prohibit sex offenders from participating in certain Halloween-related activities had a setback Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 10 — sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, and Rep. Rebecca Petty, R-Rogers — was knocked down by the committee after a lengthy discussion, but the vote was expunged, allowing its sponsors an opportunity to present it again later.

SB10 would bar a person required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act of 1997 and who is assessed as a level 3 or level 4 offender from distributing treats to a child or from wearing a mask or other costume as part of a Halloween-related event.
The verdict is in: sex offender registries don’t work
January 11, 2019

Calls for public access to information about convicted child sex offenders occur often in Australia. It may seem like common sense that allowing the public to know the whereabouts of dangerous people should increase community safety. As in many areas of criminal justice, the real story is more complicated...

Child sex offenders are required to keep police informed of their address and other personal details for a period of time (which varies across states and the nature of convictions) after they are released into the community. But in most Australian states, these details are not available to the public.

Besides the political appeal of being seen to crack down on crime, evidence shows public sex offender registers do more harm than good. The Australian Institute of Criminology recently reviewed the latest evidence from Australia and overseas on the effectiveness of public and non-public sex offender registries. The report concluded:
Salvation Army, practice what you preach
December 8, 2018
By Sandy...

Ah, it’s winter. Christmas and Hanukkah are approaching. Half the country has snow on the ground, and all the kids in the other half wish they did. Christmas lights, excited shoppers, special church services, and general joy and goodwill abound.

Oh – and the homeless. The cold, the poor, the shunned. Thank God for winter shelters – except when God turns His back on some who are most in need.

In Amarillo, Texas, where it does indeed snow every year, the nighttime temperatures for the next ten days will be at or below freezing, and history indicates that will be the case for months to come.

The Salvation Army has sprung to the rescue, as they are wont to do. They take the “Salvation” part of their name very seriously –except when it comes to those who for any reason whatsoever are listed on a sexual offense registry.
Sex offenders on Halloween are like zebras at church
November 10, 2018
By Sandy...

In 1996 the North Carolina General Assembly created the public sex offender registry and established the crimes, the requirements, and the consequences pursuant to it.

2005 is the first year that I am able to verify law enforcement action involving special requirements for those on the registry at Halloween.

A piece from Gaston County, NC, in 2011 speaks of registrants under supervision being ordered to spend three hours at the courthouse on Halloween evening for the sixth year.

Why did this action occur?

Had there, between 1996 and 2005, been a rash of sexual reoffenses committed by persons on the registry in connection with Halloween activities in Gaston County or anywhere in the state of North Carolina?

No, there had not.
Important survey
November 5, 2018
This is an announcement about an important survey being taken by researchers in regard to the economic impact of being on a sexual offense registry.

Hi everyone,

Our names are Dr. Jennifer Klein and Dr. Danielle Bailey and we are both Assistant Professors at the University of Texas at Tyler. We are committed to learning more about what experiences come with being a registrant and we are hoping to collect more information from you all. Specifically, we want to examine how life on the registry has impacted you economically. We have done work with Nebraskans Unafraid and with Texas Voices – two groups similar in mission to NARSOL and other advocacy groups.

We feel as though this is a very under-researched area when it comes to registry experiences. Many of our academic colleagues choose to focus on other experiences related to life on the registry (homelessness, harassment, etc.), but the economic impacts have largely been ignored. We feel like this has done you all a disservice and we should be focusing on this issue – it’s one of the most important parts of becoming successful post-conviction. Our survey includes questions focused on lost earning potential, interview experiences, lost jobs, discrimination at work, and your résumés.
Wrapping up Halloween for another year — and looking forward
November 1, 2018
By Sandy...

This has been an amazing Halloween season.

Overall, I sent emails to 73 Patch writers and editors in 25 states.

I sent emails to 27 other media outlets and/or journalists.

We sent out two press releases, here and here.

I engaged in conversation on several Facebook pages, most notably in regard to this piece about a little town in Georgia whose mayor had declared that “all” on the sex offender registry would be required to spend the hours between 6 and 9 p.m. “housed” in the city council chambers and “accompanied” by three probation officers and one law officer.

The Mayor’s statement was made on his Facebook page, and I wrote a factual comment there. Imagine my surprise when I very quickly received a private response from the mayor! He told me that what was happening was a joint effort with the Georgia Probation Dept. I wrote back asking if it involved only those under community supervision, or if, as he was quoted, all on the registry would be detained.
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
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

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.

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 Oklahoma and Texas; 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

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.

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