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California

ACLU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of CA Registrant

ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Los Angeles last week on behalf of a California registrant who is on parole. According to the lawsuit, the registrant is being denied the ability to access social media as well as to attend and participate in church services.

Subsequent to the filing of the complaint, the ACLU filed an application for a Preliminary Injunction this week. A hearing on the PI application will be held on November 27 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 9C in the U.S. District Court, Central District, 350 West First Street, in Los Angeles before Judge Dean Pregerson.

“We commend the ACLU for its efforts to protect the civil rights of a registrant in California,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.

According to the lawsuit, the parole restrictions in question are not related to the offenses for which the plaintiff was convicted. That is, the offenses did not take place at a church and did not involve use of social media. The ACLU has argued that the parole restrictions violate several clauses within the First Amendment, including freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

ACLU’s involvement in the case began in June 2017 when the organization sent a letter on behalf of the registrant to officials of the Division of Adult Parole (DAPO) stating that the restrictions at issue violated the U.S. Constitution. The complaint claims that subsequent to receipt of that letter, parole agents have retaliated against the registrant by increasing compliance checks and searches of the registrant’s personal property including his phone and computer. In addition, the complaint claims that parole agents told the registrant to “leave the ACLU alone.”

The Defendants in the case — Jerry Powers, Karen Thacker, Douglas Broome and Sean Wilson — are employed by DAPO, the agency which supervises all parolees in the state of California. All are being sued in their official capacities.

Manning v. Powers – Complaint – Oct 2017

Manning v. Powers – PI – Oct 2017

Join the discussion

  1. CR

    Great news. Another First Amendment case, and this time involving a parolee who is still under the supervision of the state.

    I’ll read the linked complaint later today. I bet Packingham figures prominently in the ACLU’s arguments.

  2. steve

    …and he’s on freaking parole…what about all the BS that’s been happening to people who have been on the list for decades and are still suffering. I’d rather see them go after IML. I seriously could care less about this.

    • AlexO

      Believe it or not, but ACLU is capable of doing more than one thing at a time. And because something isn’t a problem for you, doesn’t mean its not a problem for someone else. You know, sort of like all the BS we all go through while no other citizen has to. Also, some people can spend a decade or more on parole. So this issue is very relevant to many.

      • Gralphr

        You mean we still have citizenship? It feels more like we’ve been put into a quasi citizen/illegal alien situation if you ask me. Cant get into a hurricane shelter, ids marked to show we’re different from the average citizen, and now our passports?

    • CR

      @steve, you should care about this. There is not going to be one single big blockbuster case that suddenly restores to us all of our liberties. It will take a lot of little battles to win the big war. There will be a host of cases that challenge specific aspects of the laws that unconstitutionally restrain us and impose excessive and unwarranted disabilities at every stage on the path that many or most of us progress through, from probation or prison and parole, to completion of our sentence, and on to reintegration into society as productive law-abiding citizens with all rights fully restored. At least, that is how it is supposed to be. For us, full reintegration is extremely difficult, if not impossible, under the shaming and banning stigmatization of the registry laws. And as for restoration of rights, well, we are regarded by most legislators and most of society as having forfeited our constitutional rights.

      Packingham established that registrants cannot be denied the legitimate exercise of their first amendment free speech rights. It didn’t directly touch on other aspects of the first amendment, such as free exercise of religion or the right to petition government for redress of grievances. This case directly involves both of those. Also, Packingham had already completed his sentence, whereas Mr. Manning, in this case, is on parole. The case is important and victory will help confirm that blanket restrictions on parolee’s first amendment rights are not permissible.

      If it’s impermissible for a parolee to be denied his free exercise of religion, then it will be even more difficult for the state to justify restricting registrants who have already completed their sentence from attending churches. This may help bring about the undoing of residence and presence restrictions some day.

      Cases like this will help to chip away, little by little, the false idea that sex offenders forfeit their basic rights under the constitution for the rest of their lives, and that legislators can inflict whatever restrictions they wish, whenever they like, even decades after we’ve completed our sentences.

      • steve

        Chipping away at something that SCOTUS has ALREADY chipped away. My point is Packingham already decided this. It’s easy cash for them. I’ll be excited about the ACLU California when they follow the lead of ACLU Michigan.

        • CR

          I don’t think it’s a craven money grab by ACLU. Perhaps they are motivated more by the 1st amendment aspect than anything else, but it will still be a great victory in the fight against unconstitutional treatment of registrants when they win, and I expect they will. It will take a growing body of favorable decisions at lower court levels that conflict with prior decisions for SCOTUS to get involved again and reverse or limit their previous bad holdings and especially the reasoning based largely on the lie of “frightening and high recidivism”.

          The first amendment gaurantees and the situation and status of the persons afffected are different in this case and Packingham. This is not a replay of Packingham, but it will help.

  3. It doesn’t work

    I was told that if you are still “On Paper” then you shut up and obey. Like abiding by stupid Halloween cerfew set by the probation dpt. Proba/Parole can & will “retaliate” if one tries to go to court to have restrictions dropped!!! No way. Not worth it.

  4. Agamemnon

    As a parolee who must currently adhere to dozens of restrictions not related to my case, all I was ever told when I questioned anything was “You’re a parolee, you have no rights.”

    I applaud the ACLU for this lawsuit and standing up for somebody not many people would give a second thought to.

  5. David Kennerly, Diminishing Shelf-Life

    This is very exciting in that it demonstrates that Southern Cal ACLU is willing to take up a sex offender case. Let’s hope for more.

    • steve

      No they were willing to take on a 1st Amendment case that happens to be SO related.

      • Lisa

        It’s a start. We have to begin some where. Chip away at the unconstitutional laws.

  6. mike r

    It’s about time ACLU steps up, even if it is just a little tech issue. These people should be able to sue for the retaliation for exercising their constitutional rights. The harrassers need to be prosecuted under the depradation of rights under color of law statutes. It’s a extremely small baby step, but it is a step I guess, I guess they finally feel like they may not get pounded by the public or their colleagues for defending an ex offenders rights.If they really want to make a difference they can join me in my case being heard on march 14, I have already contacted them but after receiving a short “our chapter doesn’t do legal help” I have sen them another reply pleading for their assistance. We’ll see what happens…

  7. mike r

    Go see this months general comments

  8. G4Change

    “We commend the ACLU for its efforts to protect the civil rights of a registrant in California”

    I second that! I wish the ACLU would continue to get involved especially in other states. This is an encouraging step forward.

  9. concerned registrant

    Wow!! I’m rather surprised that ACLU, especially the Southern California chapter (which is usually NOT friendly to those labeled ‘sex offenders’), decided to defend and protect the parolee. Let’s hope that this reflects a change in ACLU’s SoCal chapter’s attitude in helping said ‘sex offenders.’ Thank you ACLU!

  10. rod

    read the story about registration concerning a federal judge Richard P Match who feels the law is unconstitutional very interesting from Colorado The state is appealing and will see what happens He claims this is just more punishment and should be abolished for most offenders.

  11. michael

    This is typical of the loser parole office…. They always do this intimidation, tried to intimidate me to, I didnt pay attention to ANY of their BOGUS Rules….. be smarter than they are ! Im no longer on parole (time ran out) but they are a VERY EVIL Organization (here in San Diego). Esp the Chula Vista office putting MANY Rules on people that dont have a NEXUS to their charges… (Example.. Curfew for ALL) etc…

    • True That

      Especially true, given that ACLU named Sharper Future in the lawsuit. Specifically, CDCR parole used Sharper Future’s “treatment” to interfere with the man’s religious services and job. For that, see specifically page 11 of the complaint.

      It sort of proves that Sharper Future isn’t really treatment, but more of a tool that parole uses to intimidate and/or retaliate. Further, the “treatment” contract gives more reasons to “violate” someone, as well as leaves a paper trail that will probably be used against a registrant, especially if or when one decides to petition through the upcoming tiered law.

      • Exactly!

        *True that- EXACTLY CORRECT!!! There are many examples or copy cat Sharper Futures all over the place. They are mostly just an extension of, or a 2nd probation. It’s like PROBATION ON TOP OF PROBATION.

        • True That

          True that there are lots of ‘copycat’ Sharper Futures. But Sharper Future is by far the largest of the “treatment” scams. Sharper Future was one of the first to use junk science like the ABEL, polygraph, Static-99, and Static-99R as part of their so-called “treatment.” Not only that, but Sharper Future exploits the fact that its CEO, a man named Tom Tobin, is also the vice-chair of CASOMB. That is how Tobin’s private company was able to monopolize nearly all CDCR contracts. Tobin exploit his conflict-of-interest to manipulate the acquisition of “treatment” contracts worth millions of dollars.

          This is beside the fact that Sharper Future, without shame, uses “unlicensed clinicians” to man their ranks and provide “treatment.” In fact, they’re hiring “unlicensed clinicians” at the moment:

          Sharper Future unlicensed clinicians for its Ontario, CA location:

          https://www.ziprecruiter.com/jobs/sharper-future-cced4644/unlicensed-clinicians-894f12db

          Sharper Future unlicensed clinicians for its Los Angeles, CA location:

          https://www.ziprecruiter.com/jobs/sharper-future-cced4644/unlicensed-clinicians-los-angeles-da42db5c

          • Exactly

            I’m in a huge, bad money grab program ny. While the sessions aren’t bad (as long as the therapist isn’t lying to our faces), if it’s 15 years parole, then it’s 15 years of therapy. Every week, no if’s and’s or but’s. 15YEARS!!!! I’m about to shoot myself!! I need a good lawyer for this. Wouldn’t be surprised if the parole coordinator or judge isn’t into this scheme quid pro quo.

            • Sam

              I got stuck in one of those in Michigan when I was on probation. Mandatory 2 times per week, 35 per visit, for 2 and a half years. It was run by a guy who was still on parole for drug charges who was also required to attend sex addicts anonymous. They basically refused to graduate you unless you admitted to things they said you should admit to even if they weren’t true. One guy they forced to say he had raped a three year old although it had been proven later he was innocent (they forced him to go through this while he was out on bond)

              • Exactly

                2 1/ 2 years?

                • Exactly

                  I would lie through my teeth, say ANYTHING in order to “graduate.” Any advice? Please?

                • Sam

                  They made me go for the full term of my probation. Which was 2 1/2 years (half the state mandated) because I refused to admit to doing something I hadn’t done(my no contest plea was for assault with intent but there was no assault involved in the actual event but it was a lesser charge than intercourse with a minor somehow)

                  15 years is ridiculous. But I don’t know the specifics of your case. And I’m not a lawyer. The best advice I could give is petition the parole board or the sentencing judge as they are the only ones who can change the situation you’re in.

                  Head prosecutor for the state is quite a sick though. My character witness he accused of being a whore who I had relations with even though I had gone to church with her since I was 10

  12. notlikingCA

    I feel badly for this parloee. He’s about to win a battle and lose a war. I really hope he doesn’t have much time left because they are about to make his life miserable. Unfortunately for him, ACLU isn’t going to be around for the retaliation case.

  13. cool RC

    Finally, ALCU steps up!!

  14. Davidh

    I wonder what finally motivated them to take a SO case in Cali! They’ve been great in other states, but didn’t seem interested in California.

    The good thing about it is that they have a tendency to win!

    Any win whether it pertains to your interest or not is a win for every situation: there’s a leaching affect! When bozo’s realize they can’t simply run any piece of legislation they wish through a congress that’s a win!

  15. Mike

    Seems like the sex offender registry is crumbling as we speak, finally an 8th circuit judge declares the registry violates our cival rights this is what it will take to take down registry once an for all. If there’s a way for us to do the same across the United States if we can file in 8th circuit judge stating what Colorado’s 8th circuit judge has declared the registry as ” cruel and unusual punishment” and by that statement the registry is illegal and cannot be applied, I say if we can band together without exposing anyone of us, no law can be applied if it is ruled as ” cruel and unusual punishment” I say let’s all of us on here do diligent research for the false info on recidivism and any other info and any courts ruling in our favor and take all of that info and destroy the registry because it should never have been allowed to exist so I say let’s turn our focus on finding any and all info and cases to help take it down, I am going to find away to make a website for this cause I will keep you posted

  16. Chris

    They delayed this “at the government request.” Who gives a crap about the “government request.” Just saying!

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