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CO: Why One County Took Its Sex-Offender List Offline

Montrose County, on Colorado’s Western Slope, has pulled its sex-offender list offline, reportedly because of a recent court ruling in which U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch found that such registries constituted cruel and unusual punishment in the case of three plaintiffs. The action was taken despite the fact that the ruling is specific to the complainants in question, rather than everyone on the roster, and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has announced her intention to appeal. Full Article

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  1. ReadyToFight

    Wow……Just….wow.

  2. AJ

    While at first I was wanting to give kudos to this sheriff, I then started thinking a bit deeper. Are you telling me it was only because of this single ruling, by one judge in a district not covering his county, that the sheriff felt the registry is punishment? I seriously doubt that. And that means he’s felt it punishment for some amount of time yet, like a German solider in WWII, was “just following orders.” So “guarded kudos” to the sheriff for making a statement on our behalf, but the overarching statement I get from his action is that he’s doing some CYA and straddling the fence at the same time. If he truly wants to take a stand, he should pull down the site entirely. None of this, “we don’t post it here, but you can find it on the State site.”

    I guess I should be happier that there’s someone taking a stand beyond what a court is forcing to happen…but I’m not. Hopeful, but not very impressed.

    • AlexO

      Regardless of how the sheriff felt or how noble he might be, he couldn’t just shut down the registry without being able to point to a court decision or bill. If he did, it would be down for a day or two before he was fired and it was put back up. Now he has something solid to point to. So it’s less about CYA, and actually having a legit reasoning beyond “I Googled the stuff and SCOTUS was wrong so I’m going to take it all upon myself to fix the problem”. The fact that he’s doing this probably a year or more before it would become fully official is a huge deal.

      • Tim Moore

        This sheriff also made people who wanted to view the list pay a fee. That’s different. I guess he wasn’t thrilled with the registry to begin with. That’s how it should be, make the looky loos pay, not make registrants pay to incriminate themselves. It is a service for voyeurs not for the registrants. Good call sheriff.

        • AlexO

          That is old-school. Before Megan’s Law went into effect along with all those 3rd party sites leeching off of it, you used to have to file with the local PD/Courthouse in order to search the registry, and this usually involved a fee. This kept things a bit more private as well as allowed LE to weed out potential vigilantes and trouble makers since you’re only allowed to search for a specific person(s) rather then the database in general.

          In retrospect, Kennedy’s comments about the “price club” and all that jazz was based off how things were back in 2003 and prior. Other than his completely erroneous comment of “frighteningly high” recidivism comment, he wasn’t that far off in regards to maintaining privacy. Now that his whole thing exploded all over, SCOTUS will certainly view things very differently.

  3. AlexO

    Wow. Nice to see law enforcement actually being proactive in such a case rather than being dragged, kicking and screaming, like so many. Then again, he’s probably an actual good cop who pays attention to statistics and actual rate of re-offence, and sees that vast majority of people he overseas have yet to re-offend. I bet he seems the same drug and alcohol abusers over and over and only see’s RC’s during their annual reg.

  4. bluewall

    ummm.. Homefacts and OffenderRader both defended themselves in the past that they take the info from state websites… I wonderer if the state websites go black would their info disappear?

    • AlexO

      If they keep the sites running as they are, yes, the info would disappear whenever the site would next attempt to pull non-existent info. But I bet more than one of these websites will maintain the info as it is indefinitely. It wouldn’t be updated but it won’t go away. And I don’t believe there’s any recourse to this as, unlikely in Europe, we do not have “the right to be forgotten” laws as they would violate our First Amendment. Should the registry go dark, I fully plan on changing my name as I have no illusion that this stain will forever remain on the net.

      • Not really

        Once California quits publishing the record, it may be a misdomeanr to publish it.

        (Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 939, Sec. 3.)

        11124. When an application is received by the department, the department shall determine whether a record pertaining to the applicant is maintained. If such record is maintained, the department shall furnish a copy of the record to the applicant or to an individual designated by the applicant. If no such record is maintained, the department shall so notify the applicant or an individual designated by the applicant. Delivery of the copy of the record, or notice of no record, may be by mail or other appropriate means agreed to by the applicant and the department.
        (Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 939, Sec. 4.)

        11125. No person or agency shall require or request another person to furnish a copy of a record or notification that a record exists or does not exist, as provided in Section 11124. A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.
        (Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1227, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1993.)

        https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&division=&title=1.&part=4.&chapter=1.&article=5.

        What’s more, there is a right to privacy in the Cal Constitution that I don’t think a private citizen can violate if the records are no longer public. There are court cases on this.

        SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have
        inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and
        liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing
        and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

        • American Detained in America

          California law also says misuse of the registry (Penal Code § 290.46) is a crime, including using it as prejudice in regards to housing, employment, etc. As we all know, that has rarely stopped anyone from doing so.

          • ReadyToFight

            Yeah….that’s complete and utter bullshit.
            I’ve lost numerous jobs, been denied housing but not till after I paid the $90 just to seek approval of course, and I’ve had multiple gang bangers at my door demanding answers.
            The justice system is a Manipulative, Power Hungry, Greed Lusting JOKE.

      • Sam

        Homefacts lists my address here (out of country) as part of new york. So they just dont give two turds what they actually post so long as it makes them look good.

    • Nicholas Maietta

      Homefacts and Offender Radar both made money selling ads in our name and likeness without our permission. I would think this could become a federal lawsuit due to being multi-state and affecting so many people That money should be going to us, not them.

  5. Jack

    Hahahaha. They know the AG’s gonna lose in court. The woman’s got nothing but lies on her side.

  6. Nondescript

    The Colorado Bureau of Investigations runs and maintains the Colorado online registry, so what exactly did this sheriff pull from the internet? His own supplemental and redundant community shaming list? 🤔

    • James

      Still, he did it and he is law enforcement.

      He should be praised and those under his jurisdiction are lucky.

      We need to support people like Sheriff Rick Dunlap.

      Seriously.

      Best Wishes, James

    • TS

      @nondescript

      Each county is able to have their own RC webpage tab or website if they choose. They are authorized to do so, which is federal law I believe and flows down to the individual jurisdictions. This county had their own obviously and pulled it. Others pool into a major website and don’t have their own while others do have their own. CBI has always had their own, but most folks in CO don’t know of CBI, but their local LEO only.

    • AJ

      @Nondescript:
      That’s what I gathered from the piece, too. The State registry wasn’t enough, so they had a county one, too? That contributes to my muted kudos for the man. Good step, but I mistrust his motivation.

  7. Agamemnon

    It’ll be interesting to see the “outbreak” of sex crimes in this county now that the sex offender registry is private.

    Seriously though, I do hope all advocates for reformation laws document this occurrence for its entire duration and present it as a demonstration of what life would be like if the registries were removed from public forums.

    • C

      Great comment. Imagine all the newly anonymized perverts, their faces pressed up against chain link fences at elementary schools, drooling in anticipation of recess the recess bell.

  8. Nondescript

    TS- Being in Los Angeles, I wasn`t aware that smaller counties have their own offender page on the sheriffs dept website. Interesting. So the online registry has octopus tentacles replicating itself everywhere.

    AJ- I wonder if one of the plaintiffs lives in this sheriffs jurisdiction?

    • AJ

      @Nondescript:
      I did a search on CBI’s site and found both Millard and Knight, but neither live in Montrose County, and Vega was never publicly posted. This also means CBI has not removed their names, probably based on simply the threat of appeal by the CO AG.

      It truly may be the sheriff has some smarts about him and is getting out in front of everyone else. It would certainly fit with the libertarian (small “L”) ideals of CO…which is also the state in which the Libertarian Party was founded.

    • TS

      @nondescript

      In CO, any county can have their own RC registry page regardless of county size. They are paid to do that by federal SORNA funding (CO is SORNA compliant) as part of the law, which is under the admin costs, if they choose to, in addition to other registration fees they receive. (Funding goes to state level then is sent to county level) Others can use the funding to pay for personnel to admin the registration details at the local level and not have a webpage, but defer to the CBI page. CBI publishes what the counties receive for registration details, including those who FTR and work with local jurisdictions to sweep for them.

      @AJ

      CBI would not do anything without direction from the AG or other government entity, e.g. governor, when the time comes. Much like PSP in PA not doing anything about their RCs without higher level direction.

    • C

      I don’t know about an LA County site, but my life took a major turn when the city of LA went live with their own site 2 or 3 years ahead of the state. No names or addresses, just blue dots “in the vicinity” of the registrant. Well, my blue dot was smack dab on top of my house and soon after I started getting the cold shoulder from the neighbors.

      Ah…good times…

  9. mike r

    Interesting….hey the scheme won’t ever fall we heard from some of the naysayers on here. Eat crow……

  10. mike r

    Wait a minute. a sheriff pulled it and the AG is appealing….wow did I name the erong defendants????I thought the AG has controll over whether it can be pulled or not…I really hope I didn’t just waste all that time and another $120 and o find out I sued the wrong people…

    • TS

      @mike r

      The CO AG (on behalf of the state) has control over whether CBI’s website would be pulled, not the individual county websites, which are under the control of those jurisdictions. Every CO county could go blank on a registry tab and it would refer it to the CBI database instead, which is the situation in some CO counties. Other counties have their own county registry tab or website which feeds into the CBI website, thus making the data redundant.

      In CA, I think you are safe with your way since it is state driven, unless there is a county version also you could go after in your county.

    • AJ

      @mike r:
      AG is the chief law enforcement officer for the State or Federal government. You should be okay, but can always amend your complaint and add Jerry Brown and Donald Trump to the mix.

  11. mike r

    No, I think since the AG is the one that will be appealing the decision, then that means she is trying to defend the registry, which makes me believe that I absolutely have named the right defendants…

  12. mike r

    yeah, I am surprised that a local sheriff can even have control over any registry in any form and the top dog can’t tell them what to do…

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