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General NewsNational

Justice Alito’s misleading claim about sex offender rearrests

“Repeat sex offenders pose an especially grave risk to children. ‘When convicted sex offenders reenter society, they are much more likely than any other type of offender to be rearrested for a new rape or sexual assault.’”
Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., concurring opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina, June 19, 2017 Full Article

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Fact-Checking the Fact Checker

A misdirected attack on two notable sentences in Justice Alito’s Packingham concurrence

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  1. Matt

    Again and again over the years, I have read in reputable articles and research papers that sex offenders have a low rate of recidivism of 5.4%. I am so disturbed and surprised that the Supreme Court can’t get their facts correct.

    When there is an error such as this, is there a way to inform Mr Alito of his error? We point out inaccurate details in article after article every day. Why can we challenge the Supreme Court about their misleading information?

    • There is a way to get correct info to them...

      There is a long drawn out way to get correct info to SCOTUS I read about a long time ago, but it has to go through several people before it gets to them.

      Just because the sky is blue and we can tell them why it is blue, they don’t necessarily have to believe it is blue.

    • Chris F

      You may need to read the article.

      The statement the Justices make isn’t false, it’s just misleading and deceptive.

      Sex Offenders are more likely than Drug Dealers to commit another sex crime. Just like Drug Dealers are more likely to commit another drug offense than a sex offender would commit a drug offense. It’s just simple logic that didn’t need to be in a SCOTUS opinion because the average person mis-reads it to mean more than it says.

      As the article demonstrates, other than Murderers, sex offenders are least likely to commit another crime, but yes, the few that do may commit a sex crime more often than a bank robber or drug dealer will commit a sex crime after serving their sentence. The only expression that come to mind is “DUH!”.

      The article also tried to get comment from SCOTUS on it, but the reply was “As a matter of policy the Court does not comment on its opinions, which speak for themselves.”

      Yep…that speaks for itself that 3 Justices are easily duped and aren’t really understanding what they are reading. That’s not a good sign for our system of justice.

      • AJ

        I think those three justices are often depicted as monkeys covering ears, eyes and mouth.

        One wouldn’t want to come off one’s personal biases against offenders while deciding law of the land…

        –AJ

        • Janice Bellucci

          Please remember that Justice Alito stated during oral argument in the Nichols case last year that the only reason men travel to the Philippines is to have sex with children. This statement is just one piece of evidence to confirm that he is not our friend.

        • Tunnel vision

          Yeah, tell that to the male missionaries who serve and Filipino men who go back to visit family there. Blinders so big a long tunnel is formed in the vision ahead.

        • DPH

          He’s an uneducated D*$k, he is a Republican that does NOT use the facts nor research back by scientific evidence, not guesswork from the 70’s and 60’s. He just bring in more fear mongering of ignorance, he’s really a Judge on SCOTUS? Nor care about all human life, with his personal opinionated guesses. That are a reminder of unEducated guesswork.
          Other’s like him, in power, yeah. Folks, it’s 2017 half way through, not pre-Psychology Today 1971. to pre historic 1955 idealisms. Who voted for this person? JD, yeah. not me.

        • Happy, joyous and free

          Agreed that Alito is not the best Associate Justice. Just a note, Supreme Court Justice’s are not voted in. They are approved by Congress in Senate hearings. Justices cannot be voted out, only impeached. Same thing goes for Federal District and Appellate judges. A Senior Justice has to be on the bench for 15 years and be at least 65 years of age. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senior_status

          The above link applies to all Federal judges. Just a note, I used to be a Federal court employee and my job title was “deputy clerk”, although I was functioning in a different position.

        • 1984

          Justice Alito’s statement about the Philippines was a para-phrase of the Philippine’s president who hates the US and its’ military. He wants China’s promised money.

          Any victory in court of any group around the US Constitution is so important. It shows the powers to be have-been eroding people’s rights.

        • AJ

          Alito seems to me to be the cranky old man in the neighborhood who yells at kids who go on his lawn, still has a VCR (with a flashing 12:00 AM), and wishes “they” would all go back where “they” came from.

          What a complete slam on another country and its citizenry. Can you imagine the uproar if anyone in Congress or the White House made such a statement?
          –AJ

        • Michael

          He did roll his eyes at Obama…

        • AJ, ex CA

          @Michael
          I cannot find any reference to his having rolled eyes at Obama. He’s done plenty of eye-rolling, and other rude things, to others, but his action towards Obama was to mouth “not true” back to him during a SOTU address. Tradition has SCOTUS sitting stone-faced and not clapping at SOTUs, for fear of showing partiality or political ideology. Apparently Alito doesn’t care about that.
          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/06/justice_samuel_alito_why_he_s_so_rude.html

          Alito really seems to be a jerk and also perhaps a misogynist (http://www.salon.com/2013/06/25/justice_alito_mocks_female_justices_while_on_the_bench/). He certainly doesn’t put forth a good example of how a Supreme Court Justice should act.

          –AJ

      • Lovecraft

        Misleading and deceptive is far worse than being wrong. It implies they are trying to cover up or hide something, which we all know seems to happen all the time in the legislature, but this is the scotus and they should be held to a higher standard. If the justices can’t bury their own personal opinions and be objective then its time for them to go.

        • Michael

          Was Alito deliberately making a misleading claim? Or, was he making the claim inadvertently out of sheer laziness because he didn’t take the time to actually look at the data?

          ….

        • New Person

          Alito had two citations to his quote. That’s where WaPo’s Michelle Lee took Alito and his sources to the woodshed.

      • Michael

        “Sex Offenders are more likely than Drug Dealers to commit another sex crime.”

        That is some funny shit! I bet a toestubber is more likely than non-toestubbers to stub his toe again.

        The recidivism rate is a measurement of the rate at which offenders commit other crimes. It refers to a person’s relapse into criminal behavior, not necessarily the same behavior.

        Had you read the article, you would have found that the data Alito used compares sex offenders to non-sex offenders. According to data in the 2014 BJS study, the percentage of sex offenders getting rearrested for the same crime is low compared to non-sex offenders. Whether Alito was deliberately being deceptive is a good question everyone should be asking. Because the data clearly shows the sex offenders are less likely to commit another sex offense.

        ….

        • 1984

          I wonder how many other people with convictions such as drugs, robbery and other non-sex crimes do cross-over into a sex crime. I have never seen that data. Perhaps it is low perhaps not. But once convicted of a sex crime nothing else matters when it comes to statistics. The data appears massaged and skewed. Oh, I almost forgot it becomes political.

        • David Kennerly, One-Man Thought Crime Wave

          Gang-bangers. They’re the ones who cross over into rape with some frequency.

          But guess what? They were (are?) systematically EXCLUDED for consideration as “sexually violent predators” for the purposes of sex offender civil commitment. They just get out of prison, no worries about indefinite (but mostly lifetime) interment at California State Hospital, Coalinga. I came into possession of a letter written by CSH administrators some years ago (from Mike St. Martin) saying precisely that in explaining their guidelines for “admission.”

          And don’t get me started on what California (or any state as well as the federal government) considers to be “sexual violence.” Think: “victim under 14.” That’s it! That’s “sexual violence” and those performing the act are then called “sexual predators,” too.

          Let me add one more thing while I’m on the topic of re-engineering the English language. When I was a kid (back in the 1960’s), age-of-consent violations were referred to as “statutory rape.” That “statutory” ALWAYS accompanied the word “rape” and it was understood that it was a matter of transgressing age-of-consent laws without any imputation of forceful rape unless it actually WAS forceful rape. No longer, now the word “rape” is thrown around very liberally and uncritically. Think about it, when was the last time you even heard the term “statutory rape” used? Certainly not to describe any of us. No, we’re “rapists.”

    • commenter1

      Mr. Alito probably reads the Washington Post. If he doesn’t read it I’m sure at least one of the other justices reads it and will share the article with him. I would hope that the Supreme Court justices have their own research people on staff who have some background in statistics.

      • David Kennerly, Thought Crime Wave

        His clerks will have read it and will have placed it on his desk.

      • Son of Liberty Child of Freedom

        @commenter1

        I take it your curiosity has been peaked & you may have wondered –

        So what do SCOTUS clerks actually do?

        Answers given by the Law Clerks are revealing:

        Something similar to what federal court clerks do. Primarily, their role is to sift through the thousands of petitions and mark the cases worthy of being granted time. “It’s the most basic task, and the constant thing that you do – during the summer it’s practically your only task.” The petitions that lawyers write very cleverly argue why their cases should be granted; the clerk’s job is “to screen out those that are legitimate and write bench memos on what we [Law Clerks] think about the case.” On top of this, there’s “preparing your Justice for argument and conference. You learn very quickly how to handle yourself beyond just thinking ‘wow, these people are brilliant!’ You learn critical thinking and the big picture, and a sense of professionalism where it would be easy to strongly disagree with folks.”

        As term progresses, clerks move “to the fun part.” Assisting with opinion-drafting is a process that can vary between Justices. “Sometimes the Justice just wants to talk through an issue, so having a personality that won’t be a distraction here is really beneficial,” says one former clerk. Another enjoyed the close interaction when producing documents: “We helped a lot with the drafting but ultimately every word that appeared in writing was the Justice’s. The best learning experience was going back and forth on a piece of writing and seeing it changing.”

        In addition:

        Being at the heart of such a profound process gives you tremendous insights, something that BigLaw recognizes by offering eye-popping SCOTUS clerkship bonuses. “Reading and attending oral arguments is the best imaginable lesson by example you can have on being a good lawyer,” a former clerk says. “The practice of law has always been an apprenticeship – you learn best by example. You’re privileged to see how your Justice writes out an argument, but you also see what kind of things persuade them. That alone is so beneficial in terms of your own perspective and in terms of knowing what persuades judges for when you go into private practice yourself.”

        “Even if you didn’t learn how to write or earn a dime during the year, it would be worth it to see a branch of government working.” Equally – and altruistically –“you’re performing a public service. The issue at the heart of everything is ‘what’s the right answer, and how can we put it out there in the most persuasive way?’”

        After their year at the elbow of a Supreme Court Justice, the 36 are in incredibly high demand. “You get letters from firms as soon as you start,” explains one. “It’s up to you and your Justice when you start to interview at firms – usually it’s in June or July. The level of aggression varies, but generally there’s a two-week period where you get taken to lunch by everyone. It’s a fairly ego-boosting process, as they’re all so nice to you!”

        Ultimately, most “assume they’ll go into BigLaw – there are loads of student loans to pay off, and the signing bonuses available go some way to making a dent in them.” But not everyone’s head is turned by gold: “It can be a real dilemma for some clerks, who’d prefer to go to a public interest group or go be a professor.”

        And what of those bonuses? The latest round of SCOTUS clerks received golden hellos of $280,000 or more from their BigLaw firms (in addition to an approx $185,000 base salary) on arrival as third-year associates.

        I speak Truth

        As Yehovah Lives, so should we

    • Son of Liberty Child of Freedom

      @Matt

      I would suggest seeking out to make contact with the Law Clerks who do much of the research & analysis for Jurist. Current & Past Law Clerks who continue to have personal relationships would also be advised to building rapport with,

      For example in the year 1996 Ted Cruz was a Law Clerk for the 16th Chief Justice of the United States – William Hubbs Rehnquist. Senator Rafael Ted Cruz published the his book “A Time for Truth” which gives insight into the machinations within the Walls & Echo Chambers of the SCOTUS.

      I posit the paths that lead to possible internal contacts with the Jurist Mortalship:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_clerks_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States
      http://www.chambers-associate.com/where-to-start/scotus-clerkships
      http://abovethelaw.com/2016/08/supreme-court-clerk-hiring-watch-an-analysis-of-the-october-term-2016-clerk-class/?rf=1
      https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Time_for_Truth.html?id=9LnXoQEACAAJ&hl=en
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rehnquist
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapport

      I speak a True song

      As Yehovah Lives, so should we

      • Son of Liberty Child of Freedom

        I posit the current Law Clerks serving SCOTUS:

        OCTOBER TERM 2016 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 22, 2016)

        Chief Justice John G. Roberts
        1. Thomas S. Burnett (Harvard 2014 / Livingston)
        2. Marguerite B. Colson (Yale 2015 / Kavanaugh)
        3. Rachel G. Miller-Ziegler (Harvard 2015 / Garland)
        4. Conor M. Reardon (Duke 2014 / Cabranes / Chatigny (D. Conn.))

        Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
        1. Alex Harris (Harvard 2015 / Gorsuch)
        2. William Perdue (Yale 2011 / Katzmann / Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.))
        3. J.J. Snidow (Yale 2014 / Kethledge / Thapar (E.D. Ky.))
        4. Thomas Sprankling (Columbia 2012 / Kozinski)

        Justice Clarence Thomas
        1. Andrew N. Ferguson (UVA 2012 / Henderson)
        2. Kasdin M. Mitchell (Yale 2012 / W. Pryor)
        3. Austin L. Raynor (UVA 2013 / Wilkinson)
        4. Jacob T. Spencer (Harvard 2012 / J. Smith / O’Scannlain)

        Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
        1. Subash S. Iyer (NYU 2013 / Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) / Katzmann)
        2. Hajin Kim (Stanford 2014 / Watford)
        3. Beth C. Neitzel (Stanford 2013 /D. Motz (4th Cir.) / Tatel)
        4. Parker A. Rider-Longmaid (Penn 2013 / Scirica / Pratter (E.D. Pa.) / Bristow Fellow)

        Justice Stephen G. Breyer
        1. Daniel E. Herz-Roiphe (Yale 2015 / Garland)
        2. Denise Lambert Drake (Stanford 2013 / Higginbotham / C. Breyer)
        3. Brian M. Richardson (Yale 2011 / Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) / Katzmann)
        4. Rachel G. Shalev (Yale 2014 / Fletcher / Pillard)

        Justice Samuel Alito
        1. Joel Alicea (Harvard 2013 / O’Scannlain)
        2. Benjamin J. Cassady (Yale 2013 / Griffith)
        3. Nicole C. Frazer (UVA 2015 / Sutton)
        4. Alex Potapov (Yale 2008 / S. Williams)

        Justice Sonia Sotomayor
        1. Kirti Datla (NYU 2012 / Thapar (E.D. Ky.) / Sutton )
        2. Alex C. Hemmer (Yale 2014 / Fletcher / Moss (D.D.C.))
        3. Kamaile A.N. Turčan (Hawai’i 2008 / Ezra (D. Haw.) / Clifton)
        4. Tiffany Wright (Georgetown 2013 / Lamberth (D.D.C.) / Tatel)

        Justice Elena Kagan
        1. Elizabeth Bewley (Harvard 2015 / Griffith)
        2. Gerard Cedrone (Harvard 2014 / Gorsuch)
        3. Ben Eidelson (Yale 2014 / Garland)
        4. Betsy Henthorne (Georgetown 2014 / G. Woods (S.D.N.Y.) / Srinivasan)

        Justice John Paul Stevens (retired)
        1. Teresa Reed (Stanford 2015 / Millett)

        Justice David H. Souter (retired):
        1. Edwina B. Clarke (Yale 2013 / Reinhardt / Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) / Barron)

        Justice O’Connor has stopped hiring clerks (why is not clear).

        As Yehovah Lives, so should we

        • Happy, joyous and free

          Justice O’Connor retired in 2006.

        • AJ

          @Happy, joyous and free
          “Justice O’Connor retired in 2006.”
          Yes, but retired Justices are still entitled to hire one clerk. I think it was an oversight in omitting the “(retired)” tag that was given to Stevens and Souter.

          –AJ

  2. Cool CA RC

    This is great! it’s on the washingtonpost!

  3. AJ

    This piece, from the major “hometown” paper of SCOTUS, is fantastic for our cause. Even if Alito doesn’t read it (quite possible), the topic will be unavoidable. It’s also going to land right in the laps of every Representative and Senator, not to mention being noticed across the country by other judges, etc.

    I don’t know how or why the WaPo decided to put this out–they even say they don’t normally fact-check SCOTUS–but God bless them for doing so.

    Awesome article, WaPo!

    –AJ

    • More data needed!

      Maybe to beat Eugene Volokh to it and his legal beat articles through the WaPo? He has mentioned this issue before in his writings.

      Anyway, more data from published sources need to be brought up and submitted for the court to consider where the flawed thinking is reviewed!

  4. Biol57

    The justices of SCOTUS will get another round of exposure to the true facts about SO recidivism if and when they take on the Does v. Snyder case from the 6th Circuit. It has taken a long time to turn back the tide that Justice Kennedy inadvertently started in Smith v. Doe but it is quite clear that the same Justice who started the trend, is helping walk it back.

    • PJ

      The Snyder case will definitely help Kennedy walk it back even more so, because even as the 3 judge panel in Snyder realized and stated, that today’s registry scheme is not the same one that was introduced in 2003 when the Smith case was argued before them. A whole different nasty animal has formed in today’s registry system as all of us here already know, and I have no doubt the majority of SCOTUS if not all of them for that matter, know this as well. How can anyone have predicted that almost 15 years ago ? Kennedy should lead the way in the opinions for the Snyder case if it comes to that (and hopefully in our favor). If I were him, I would do so myself. It won’t make him look weak or wrong about his first decision. But on the contrary, It would make him look wise, just and intelligent. Would gain far more respect than he would think otherwise.

      • New Person

        I think Kennedy already noted the difference in thought from now and when he covered the McKune case by stating that although it’s not under scrutiny in this case, why is there supervision on a person who completed their dues to society already?

    • AJ

      I may just be reading tea leaves, but I see significance in Kennedy being assigned to write this opinion. I optimistically see it as the start of one big mea culpa. Please don’t retire just yet, Kennedy!

      –AJ

  5. Tired Of Hiding

    If an employee used incorrect data which was PROVEN FALSE they would be fired for incompetence.

    Certainly anyone in his position should not make decisions that affect so many lives on DISPROVEN INFO!

    Q: Why is this not headline news?
    A: It only affects a “small” marginalized group of people that have been demonized and dehumanized!

    Until those labelled as “sex offenders” are seen as worthy as living among “good” people this shit will continue to go on.

    STOP ACCEPTING LIES aka FAKE NEWS AS FACT Mr. Samuel A. Alito Jr. You do not deserve the position you have been LUCKY enough to get as a life time job! SHAME ON YOU!

    • Clear your workspace now please...

      Going on that premise, then there would be a whole lot of Judges, DAs and others across the country who used the incorrect data in a legal forum that would be canned one way or another, not just SCOTUS employees.

      The best way to combat this sort of thinking is to provide more data to add to the existing data for more critical thinking to happen. I can see Justice Alito challenging the masses to do just that.

      I learned a long time ago John Adams said the courts are not about the truth but painting a storyboard for everyone. He stated that when arguing the Amistad trial. If the courts were truly about the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, then every detail would be allowed and nothing would be banned from being shown, even if it upsets people (while possibly reliving events). Remember, people cannot handle the truth when given in full color, but only behind rose colored glasses with blinders.

      JQA said specifically “Well, when I was an attorney, a long time ago, young man, I err… I realized, after much trial and error, that in the courtroom, whoever tells the best story wins.”

  6. New Person

    After reading the WaPo, I’m in awe.

    I had to read the article twice to understand the apples-to-oranges comparison that Alito was trying to disseminate in his opinion.

    BTW, you have to read carefully on what Alito wrote. He said “When convicted sex offenders reenter society, they are much more likely than any other type of offender to be arrested for a new rape or sexual assault.”

    Is Alito trying to compare registrants with separate other offenders or is his trying to compare registrants against all other types of offender. I looked at the PDF of the one of the citations and it doesn’t list anything about the sex crimes for released non-registrants. So I suppose the author used the “registrant vs everyone else” idea since no other links were provided, especially with the descriptors of “grave” and “more than likely to re-offend”.

    ========================

    A reason why the WaPo fact checked the opinion of Justice Alito, IMO, is because WaPo hosts the Volokh Conspiracy articles. The Volokh Conspriacy have reviewed sex offender policies before. Therefore, the seed was already planted inside WaPo. And great for them and all registrants! Great job, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, author of the WaPo fact checking on Justice Alito.

    The quote cites two references: 1. McKune’s case of 1983. 2. Kebodeaux’s court opinion of 2013, stating that the released sex offenders are four times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime than a non-sex offender. The author, Lee, uses the statistics from Kebodeaux’s court opinion because it is the most recent findings. Also, Lee founded the total pool of sex offenses after release to use as a proper comparison.

    Alito’s rates (different divisor)————————

    In words:
    I. registrant sex offense after release / registrant convicts released
    II. non-registrant sex offense after release / non-registrant convicts released

    In numbers:
    I. 517 / 9,691 = 0.0533, or 5.3%
    II. 3,328 / 262,420 = 0.0126, or 1.3% (rounded up)

    Total convict pool comparison (same divisor)——————-

    In words:
    I. registrant sex offense after release / total convicts released
    II. non-registrant sex offense after release / total convicts released

    In numbers:
    I. 517 / 272,111 = 0.00189, or 0.19% (rounded up)
    II. 3,328 / 272,111 = 0.01223, or 1.22%

    Total Sex Offense comparison (same divisor)——————-

    In words:
    I. registrant sex offense after release / total sex offense conviction
    II. non-registrant sex offense after release / total sex offense conviction

    In numbers:
    I. 517 / 3,845 = 0.1344, or 13.4%
    II. 3,328 / 3,845 = 0.8655, or 86.6% (rounded up)

    =========================================

    When the WaPo author, Lee, stated the comparison was apples-to-oranges, she really meant it as denominator is different. Because the denominator is not common (the same), then the proper context of comparison is lost. In fact, it can be looked upon as disingenuous how the stat was propagated as it has been proven false by the WaPo author. I showed you specifically the different denominations in both the total convicts released as well as the total sex offense contradicts what Alito is pushing now.

    Registrants re-offend a 0.19% rate of all convicts when released. Released convict non-registrants have a sex crime rate of 1.22%, more than six times the rate of registrants! MORE THAN SIX TIMES than registrants’ rate!!!

    The author looks at total sex crimes after release, which is 3,845. Registrants have a sex crime rate of 13.4% out of the total sex crimes after release. That does look high until you see the rate of non-registrants. Non-registrants have a sex crime rate of 86.6%.

    ===========================

    Context is what is missing in Alito’s stat. The rate he used was within a particular category, but not used within the whole. That stat is lacking the context of volume. As you can tell, when not compared to the totality of sex crimes after release, the rate looms high. Yet, when compared upon the same totality, then there is a completely different picture.

    As a registrant, I want to know specifically what Justice Alito meant. I want to know the numbers. All we have is the citation from a previous court opinion. So we don’t have much to infer, but after seeing this article, is it possible that the SCOTUS is being libel to registrants? I want to know if Alito is referring to the 80% recidivism rate.

    Even Professor Ellman queried the source of Alito to make such a claim. Put a number to this, Alito. Prove yourself correct or be sued for libel. Remember when the courts decided to not use other stats in the Korematsu case to paint Japanese Americans to be dangerous that they needed to be in internment camps?

  7. Mr. Rant

    Barring what the justices said, they essentially opined because of this:

    1. Smith v Doe, MAIN reason cited was “high recidivism”; since disputed through factual documentation. This high recidivism rate was brought out at that time by attorney for the state, John Roberts, now Chief Justice.

    2. The lawyer for Packingham NEVER BROUGHT UP recidivism rates in ANY capacity. My guess is that he felt that he did NOT need to bring it up on the floor, but damn it!! These stats should have been submitted in FOTC briefs.

    Therefore, the justices had no factual basis for negating this (barring independent research by the justices or their staff).

    CONCLUSION: EVERY time ANY case is brought up regarding registered sex offenders, our side MUST ALWAYS present …hell, BOMBARD…. the court with every bit of the multitude of sources that show low recidivism statistics as can be admitted.

    CASE IN POINT: When my friend had his Internet sting felony expunged in Ohio, the original argument given by the state to deny the expunction was highlighted by the “high recidivism rate for registered sex offenders.” My friend’s lawyer introduced 17 studies, peer reviews, and DOJ statistics from California, Ohio, and the US DOJ, mostly compiled with the assistance of Will B. of SOSEN. The state could NOT REBUT it, and in fact it was the first known case in which the state, after originally introducing the “high recidivism” argument, actually RECANTED their high recidivist claim DURING COURT, probably a first time it had happened in any sex offender-related case in history. That admission, in fact, broke the back of the state’s argument, and the judge ACTUALLY REBUKED the attorney for the state for introducing a non-fact (high recidivism) in court! Astounding.

    In short, from now on when we (RSO-support community) can get a MAJOR sex offender case before a Supreme Court judge or justices, we MUST CONTACT THAT LAWYER and tell them that we have to prevent the continuing precedence of “high recidivism rate” from perpetuating. IT WORKS EVERY TIME ITS TRIED!!

    (It must be noted that this Washington Post article was more concerned about disparaging the justices because of the justices’ non-progressive political leanings than about caring for registered sex offenders, but I digress.)

  8. Harry

    The old courthouse oath, “The truth nothing but the truth, so help me God” Apparently truth has no value since God no longer is in the loop.

  9. JohnDoeUtah

    My guess is Alito sees himself and the Court as the finders-of-fact, regardless of what evidence may actually say. The Court has already weighed the evidence and determined in Smith v. Doe what the facts are: that sex offenders are recidivist that must be punished perpetually. Because the decision has already been made and that fact verified by the fact-finders, the inquiry is over, and he will state it as fact forever.

  10. G4Change

    Samuel Alito…the stench of the George W. Bush presidency lingers on!

    • Harry

      The Bushes and many other GOP swamp rats are as un-American as the Clintons and the Obamas, IMO.

  11. T

    The belief that “sex offenders reoffend at a high rate” is nothing more than a fallacious argument that is used for political manipulation and to convince people of the danger of sexual crimes and how dangerous registrants are and therefore controversial laws get passed.

  12. AJ, ex CA

    I just finished reading the Packingham opinion, and Alito really appears to be a complete idiot. I don’t say that due to his being against my situation, but because of his flawed thoughts.

    Alito: “[T]his language is bound to be interpreted by some to mean that the States are largely powerless to restrict even the most dangerous sexual predators from visiting any internet sites, including, for example, teenage dating sites and sites designed to permit minors to discuss personal problems with their peers.”
    >>Maybe he should have read the Court’s opinion. Kennedy: “[I]t can be assumed that the First Amendment permits a State to enact specific, narrowly tailored laws that prohibit a sex offender from engaging in conduct that often presages a sexual crime, like contacting a minor or using a website to gather information about a minor.”

    Alito: “Repeat sex offenders pose an especially grave risk to children.”
    >>This may or may not be so, but Packingham was not a repeat sex offender. Nice straw man argument, Alito. Had the State to enacted a law against repeat offenders that was specific and narrowly tailored, it would probably have withstood scrutiny.

    Alito: “An abuser can create a false profile that misrepresents the abuser’s age and gender. The abuser can lure the minor into engaging in sexual conversations, sending explicit photos, or even meeting in person. And an abuser can use a child’s location posts on the internet to determine the pattern of the child’s day-to-day activities—and even the child’s location at a given moment.”
    >>Yep, and the “abuser” he dreams up could well be someone planning their first offense, or their fiftieth. I guess we just better ban everyone from all social media. Also, burglars can, and do, use a person’s “location posts on the internet to determine the pattern of [] day-to-day activities” in order to rob them.

    Alito: “Because protecting children from abuse is a compelling state interest and sex offenders can (and do) use the internet to engage in such abuse, it is legitimate and entirely reasonable for States to try to stop abuse from occurring before it happens.”
    >>Again, burglars use FB and other social media to find out when people are away on vacation so they can find easy targets. Does J. Alito suggest we ban burglars and thieves as well?

    Alito: “May a State preclude an adult previously convicted of molesting children from visiting a dating site for teenagers? Or a site where minors communicate with each other about personal problems?”
    >>Yes, you moron. Read your colleagues’ opinion and you will find they said the State can indeed do this! (Kennedy, supra)

    Alito: “[I]t is easier for parents to monitor the physical locations that their children visit and the individuals with whom they speak in person than it is to monitor their internet use.”
    >>It’s also easier to monitor them physically than seeing what they get in the U.S. Mail. Prison is easier to monitor than parole/probation, too, yet we as a society do it. That it’s more difficult doesn’t mean we automatically shift the burden or responsibility off the parent and to the State. As the old saying goes, “difficult doesn’t mean impossible.” I guess in this situation, Mr. Ultra-conservative thinks the State should indeed be a nanny.

    Alito: “[I]f it is true, as the Court believes, that ‘we cannot appreciate yet’ the ‘full dimensions and vast potential’ of ‘the Cyber Age,’ [] we should proceed circumspectly, taking one step at a time.”
    >> Kennedy: “This case is one of the first this Court has taken to address the relationship between the First Amendment and the modern Internet. As a result, the Court must exercise extreme caution before suggesting that the First Amendment provides scant protection for access to vast networks in that medium.”
    >> Me: “[E]xcercise extreme caution” sure sounds like one is “proceed[ing] circumspectly.” I guess Alito would prefer a severe clamp-down on the First Amendment, then slowly give some back.

    Given the above, as well as his half-joking comment during oral arguments about the dark ages of 2003, I’d wager Alito is not a fan of the Cyber Age.

    –AJ

    • Chris F

      That was my first impression after reading the minority opinion as well.

      The concerns he felt needed it’s own brief were either already covered by the majority brief, or completely irrelevant to this case or common sense.

      His only real reason to express a separate opinion was so he could leave off this part:

      “Of importance, the troubling fact that the law
      imposes severe restrictions on persons who already have
      served their sentence and are no longer subject to the
      supervision of the criminal justice system is also not an
      issue before the Court.”

      and so he could add this useless jab from McKune V Lile instead:

      Repeat sex offenders pose an especially grave risk to
      children. “When convicted sex offenders reenter society,
      they are much more likely than any other type of offender
      to be rearrested for a new rape or sexual assault.”

      He is pathetic and needs to be embarrassed publicly into retiring.

      • New Person

        It’s a chess game.

        The counter to the Kennedy’s opinion is to say, “We still need the registry for free persons b/c they’re monsters. I have these stats to prove how dangerous they are.”

        But Janice long ago debunked on how the SCOTUS can be wrong from time to time in a 2013 SO Conference.

        So it’ll be a showdown when Snyder comes up. I think Snyder case uses Dr Ira and Tara Ellman’s research work as well. Ira made a comment about Alito and his use of social science, alluding to how incorrect that source was and is as well as outdated data.

        Any restriction “… on persons who already have served their sentence and are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system …” reflects involuntary servitude. One sees restriction and another sees service to the state, but it’s the same thing b/c it is an imposition of time and liberty upon a free person. The only way involuntary servitude (compelled service) is possible is if it is to punish a crime. Welp, it’s not to punish a crime as it was deemed regulatory. But it’s not an all encompassing civic duty placed among all free peoples. So it’s now a specific group made to serve the state as a free person.

      • TXSO4Life

        “Of importance, the troubling fact that the law
        imposes severe restrictions on persons who already have
        served their sentence and are no longer subject to the
        supervision of the criminal justice system IS ALSO NOT AN ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT (but pending)” This statement by Justice Kennedy (with my emphasis) could signal his feeling toward the pending issues on Snider case. I foresee a 5-4 decision on snider case with Neil Gorsuch against us. There were two opinions released by scotus today (Thursday) with Gorsuch siding with Alito and Clarence Thomas. Tell me what ya think!

        • David Kennerly, One-Man Thought Crime Wave

          I see nothing in today’s decisions, or in any of his past judicial decisions (with which I am familiar), for that matter, that would lead me to believe that Gorsuch will be against us in Snider. I don’t even see a particular animus towards defendants in criminal matters.

          We do know that he has libertarian inclinations, which is excellent for us, but we are just going to have to wait to see to what extent there may be socially conservative impulses that come into play. He is largely untested in sex offender cases but shows promise in criminal justice generally.

        • AJ, ex CA

          @TXSO4Life
          I think you’re reading a bit too much into Gorsuch joining Thomas and Alito on one case, and his writing a separate, concurring opinion in which Thomas joined for the other. The cases were 9-0 and 7-2 (Breyer, Kagan), so it’s not like he “sided” with either Alito or Thomas in any sort of opposition or dissent. Instead, the three simply saw different aspects to the case, but came to the same conclusion as to judgment. Big deal, it happens all the time.

          As David Kennerly points out, Gorsuch is libertarian-minded, a boon to our cause. He also seems to have a healthy suspicion of government, its power, and its overreach in exercising that power. That said, when a law is properly enacted (read: Constitutional to him), he will rule it to the letter, and as written (see: the case of the fired truck driver). In other words, he doesn’t legislate from the bench.

          –AJ

        • AJ, ex CA

          Gorsuch so far has shown his strong belief in a law applying as written and, if written poorly, the legislature–not the judiciary–being where change is to be made. (This isn’t surprising, given his ruling against the freezing truck driver.) Hopefully he is as willing to take judicial activity back from the legislature as he is to keeping legislating out of the courtroom. I think that can only play in our favor.

          –AJ

    • Nondescript

      Uhm, this is a man who recently admitted to enlisting the help of his dog to help make the decision for him in difficult cases before the court.

      Justice Alito: ““I put the red [respondent’s] brief over here and the blue [petitioner’s] brief over there, equal distance from Zeus, and I’d put a few dog treats on both. Then I would let Zeus go,” he said. “If he went to blue brief, then we would reverse.”

      I don’t think he was kidding.

      • AJ

        @Nondescript
        I don’t think he was kidding, either. The only reason I think he may be kidding is because I gotta believe a dog could have done better than Alito has. The guy is low-class and should never have been put on SCOTUS. Can you imagine if, by twist of fate, *he* had gotten his nomination bumped up to Chief Justice? Roberts is bad enough (though maybe improving), but just the thought of an “Alito Supreme Court” makes me gag.

        Here’s the URL about the dog: http://time.com/4750346/justice-samuel-alito-dog-zeus-supreme-court/

        A side thought. “Alito” means “breath” in Italian. I wonder if his family name was shortened from “Alitosi,” which is Italian for “Halitosis.” It sure fits him better!

  13. T

    I say keep up with the fight against those that distort information and hold them accountable for their malicious intent against American citizens that are registrants that have already paid their debt to society. The only reason why they succeeded was because we did nothing to stop them, didn’t speak out, and persevere through the fight against misinformation, and propaganda against registered citizens. Edmund Burke said “the only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing “.

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