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IN: ACLU says sex offender law is tougher on new Hoosiers

Three men have filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Correction, claiming Indiana’s requirement that they register as sex offenders violates their Constitutional rights. Full Article

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  1. AlexO

    So the law they’re fighting is Zachary’s Law, named after a 10-year-old murder victim by a convicted sex offender. I tried finding the details of the case but didn’t come up with anything beyond murder. Is this another one of those cases that resulted in a law for RC’s from an event that wasn’t sex related other than the perpetrator being an RC?

    • Michael

      This case was sexual in nature. The offender, Christoper Stevens, was a convicted child molester who apparently had a “thing” for Zachary Snider. Stevens admitted to psychologists that he had molested 25-30 children, and that he had ejaculated on Zachary when he killed him.

      http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/row/stevensc.htm

      Feel good, broad brush legislation solves no problems. Not everyone on any state registry is a Christoper Stevens. It should be unconstitutional to treat everyone as if they were.

      ….

  2. invisable

    Well, looked what happened to the Adam Walsh Case, Adam was Murdered and be headed, but NOT Sexually Abused according to Police, or according to the guy who admitted to killing him.

    Then John (the idiot) Walsh uses his deceased son’s story to frighten people and to make money of his son’s name, when there is ABSOLUTLY NO PROOF he was sexually assaulted, yes here we have the Adam Walsh Act named after a Murdered Child, to punish Sex Offender’s Go figure.

    Adam’s dumb ass mother should of been brought up on neglect and child abuse chargers in my opinion. just saying.

    • Facts should matter

      Reve Walsh and Maureen Kanka should’ve been charged with contributory negligence in the deaths of their own children, but NO… they whined to lawmakers to purge their OWN GUILT and failures as a mother. John Walsh even had the GALL to sue Sears for “lack of security.” Pfftt..

      How is it okay to create something to make some people feel safe while putting other’s safety in jeopardy? The registry does not keep anyone safer, wastes time and resources, and just breeds more and more hate and ignorance on a daily basis. I’m beyond sick and tired of this crap.. It’s systematic and orchestrated abuse and neglect – cruel and inexcusable. Hell, it’s actually a form of terrorism and torture..

      The propaganda and fear rhetoric doesn’t match reality.

    • Michael

      It makes no sense that the PA legislature considers most crimes requiring registration sexually violent, even if no violence occurred.

  3. HOOKSCAR

    You know, I am reading a lot more articles of the registry itself being challenges. Not here in the progressive state of California though. People like to challenge residency restrictions. Like I have said before, it is a DEAD horse. The courts have already ruled on the constitutionality of these issues. The registry itself needs to be addressed. Timing is everything. The more the registry itself is challenged, the faster it will be ruled unconstitutional.
    I don’t buy the argument that it would be bad for us if we lose. Here’s the rub, how do you know unless we bring a class action? Never met anyone who could tell the future.
    Next year I look forward to dropping 10k on a lawyers desk and challenging this. I doubt it will be Janice et all. They are too busy challenging residency restrictions and playing small ball. We have 20+ years of empirical facts and research. Let’s start using it.

    • AlexO

      You mean like the recent SCOTUS rulings still quoting “frightful and high” as well as judges across the country despite the information being well known to be falls? If it were that easy to abolish the registry on actual facts, it would’ve been gone 15+ years ago.

      • TS

        Here here AlexO! Well said!

        @HOOKSCAR

        Maybe you need to read about Millard, et al case in CO in how to challenge the registry (over @ NARSOL), not as a class, but as an individual or a few others with you. You won’t get anywhere with a class action suit, but if you want to roll the dough on an atty to try it, go ahead, but others here would say give them the money so they can do it as Millard, et al in CO did to get it in their favor and lead the way to showing how to defeat it.

        • New Person

          Yup. I was gonna bring this point up as well.

          As a class, they’ll see it as a conglomeration, a group of monsters.

          As an individual, you can sell that you’re a human being. Thus, if one human being who registers can have his or her rights violated, then it is feasible to connect that it can affect other human beings who register.

          That’s what this Colorado registrant lawyer did, she knew how the state judicial system works and who was her judge. I’ll reiterate a quote that someone else said that’s on point about this:

          A good lawyer knows the law.
          A great lawyer knows the judge.

        • AlexO

          Ain’t that the truth. I remember my lawyer urging me to settle on one aspect of my case in order to solidify my case with the particular judge before she moved to a different court. The judge that replaced her was much more conservative. She knew the judge outside of the courtroom and knew how she felt about and dealt with cases like mine. I feel pretty lucky having my case go the way it did and it very much had to do with my lawyers knowledge of the judge.

    • CR

      “The registry itself needs to be addressed.”

      Do you mean in court? How? If registration is a civil regulatory scheme, as SCOTUS asserted in Smith v Doe, what legal arguments could you use to abolish it? If it is criminal punishment, you would succeed in stopping a registration scheme from being applied retroactively, but you couldn’t stop it from being applied prospectively as part of criminal sentencing to everyone who is convicted after its passage. Addressing it that way would help a lot of people who are currently required to register, but it wouldn’t abolish the registry, or registration schemes in general. It’s evil would continue, and untold number of people’s lives would continue to be destroyed going forward.

      I think the only way to eliminate the “registry itself” is to persuade enough people (voters) that it is a bad idea, an unproductive waste of state funds, useless for achieving its stated goals. In other words, you have to convince people that it is pointless, mean-spirited, ineffective, a waste of money, and morally wrong. It’s the social and political realm where the civil regulatory concept of registration must be fought, not in the courts.

      We use the courts to attack the most egregious excesses of the registry schemes, the aspects that are truly punishment, or that impose restrictions that can’t reasonably be understood or complied with, or that demonstrably reduce public safety or impair reintegration of former offenders into society, or that are unconstitutional for any other reason, and so on.

      With the recent upsurge in well-reasoned and well-written articles that question the rationales, effectiveness, and fairness of the registry, along with the scientific studies that continue to show that we aren’t the most dangerous threats to public safety, I think we are on the road to winning over the hearts and minds of voters. I give it another 50 to 75 years, and I think we’ll see a sea change that will abolish registries altogether. Too bad I won’t be here when that time comes…

      I’m no one to tell you how to spend your money, but I think that targeting unconstitutional aspects of the registry laws is going to be far more effective in the short term than tilting at windmills.

      • New Person

        Actually, Justice Kennedy alluded to how to beat down the registry with his parenthetical quote in Peckingham v NC. He queried about the continued restrictions on a person who already finished being under custody. The key word in the parenthetical is “custody”, implying serving the state.

        You can force a person to comply with restrictions when he or she is under custody, meaning serving the state as they’re serving their term of punishment. The individual is compelled to do it b/c it’s their punishment.

        But the registry was enforced upon a person no longer serving the state, no longer under custody. No one can force a service upon anyone save to punish a crime. 2003 Smith v Doe categorized the registry as not punishment. What is lost is the fact the registry was born out of a crime.

        Thus the state is forcing a person to continue to serve the state after completing their punishment custody. A state cannot force a person to continue service if their punishment has been completed. Therefore, the state is forcing a person into service to the state that is not punishment.

        13th Amendment:
        Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

        That’s the key word: Punishment.
        Key phrase: except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted

        Punishment implications: A person is under custody of the state and abide to all the compelled services, including restrictions.

        Registry: A person is still under custody of the state b/c it must abide to all the services by the State, including restrictions. The registry was born out of conviction.

        Conclusion: There is only one exception of compelled service in the USA, and that is to punish a crime. Anything outside of punishment that compels an individual into any type of service they cannot leave without penalty above wage or occupation is prohibited.

        Again, only one exception. Involuntary servitude exists, but judges and people are willing to overlook the 13th amendment due to a counselor advertising their program with unsubstantiated rates that was extremely high to the point the SCOTUS denoted the recidivism rates were “frightening and high”. By Megan’s Law, it states “it is a duty to register”. The registry isn’t punishment and punishment is the only exception for compelled service, including restrictions as you are serving the state by abiding by those restrictions.

        Thus, the registry shall not exist as plainly stated in the 13th amendment.

        =====
        If the registry becomes re-categorized as punishment, then all registrants can now use double jeopardy law suits.

        4 classic factors of involuntary servitude:
        1. Contract. (born out of conviction, but is not called punishment.)
        2. Term. (in some states, it’s a life time term of service. That’s a red flag.)
        3. Compensation. (There is no compensation. In some states, you pay for your own registration.)
        4. Domineered. (The inability to leave your service with no penalty higher than loss of wage or job. For registrants, we are domineered by law to continue to servicing the state. Should a registrant not register (failure to register), then he or she will be hunted down by cops, possibly felonious punishment, and then returned to service. Remember, the registry is not punishment.)

        • AJ

          In no way taking from your Servitude point, I do have one point of order to make: the line from Packingham made no mention of custody. The parenthetical was, “[o]f 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.”

          Custody and Supervision are not synonyms in law. Custody: The care and keeping of anything; as when an article is said to be “in the custody of the court.” [] Also the detainer of a man’s person by virtue of lawful process or authority; actual imprisonment. In a sentence that the defendant “be in custody until,” etc., this term imports actual Imprisonment. The duty of the sheriff under such a sentence is not performed by allowing the defendant to go at large under his general watch and control, but so doing renders him liable for an escape. (https://thelawdictionary.org/custody/)

          Supervising (they don’t have supervision per se, but the phrase is readily modifiable): Regulating and monitoring a process or activity or tasks. (https://thelawdictionary.org/supervising/)

          Regulating and monitoring in no way is equivalent to being kept, detained, or imprisoned.

          Beyond that, the parenthetical says, “the law,” as in the NC law banning social media usage. It does not say, “laws,” or address any other single law or multiple laws. That said, I do agree that the parenthetical does show SCOTUS has concern about—is troubled by–restrictions placed upon people who have completed their punishment (prison, parole, and/or probation). How far that concern reaches, hopefully we find out sooner over later.

      • Matt

        Honestly, even though politically I lean more conservatively, I’m starting to hope for the idea of things like gun registries and others of the like. We SO’s are just a stepping stone. The eventual plan is obviously to control every American, even further to every person in the world. We are just the start because it’s easy. It once they start trying to add other registries, people with more money and support will end up fighting the legality of it, setting up legal precedence and case law for the rest of us

    • James

      Please don’t insult Janice and the ACSOL staff like that. They’re doing a great job standing up for RCs through the many court battles they’ve won and lobbying efforts they’ve spearheaded to bring back some decency and normalcy to the lives and families of those affected by these irrational, oppressive, and fear mongering laws and the politicians and “victim” advocate groups who back them. I’m confident that Janice and team have a strategy in mind in bringing down these registration laws as more and more research come out in support of repealing these Draconian registration laws and more court battles are won in that regard. You are right about one thing though. Timing is everything but who are you to say that now is the time? But I am hopeful and pray that that time is coming where SCOTUS reverses itself on the point that registration is akin to getting a Price Club membership.

    • Michael

      You can’t just attack the law. The makeup of legislatures need to be changed.

      ….

  4. G4Change

    It’s about time there are challenges being made against the disparity of the way these laws are applied to existing residents vs. new move-in residents. It is complete crap that a person who moves into a state is treated differently than one who already lives there assuming the underlying convictions are similar. This is long overdue, and I pray that they win this case!

  5. CR

    This case seems pretty strong. AJ mentioned a case a while back that had to do with new residents of a state not receiving the same level of benefits (welfare, maybe?) as other state residents. I wish I could find that case. I think it went to SCOTUS and they held that the new state could not treat the recently arrived residents differently from existing residents.

    If the petitioners prevail, maybe it’ll be time to consider a move to Indiana, since my deferred adjudications were in 1992, before the effective date of the Indiana registration laws.

    • AJ

      @CR:
      The case was Saenz v Roe (https://www.oyez.org/cases/1998/98-97 or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saenz_v._Roe). Ostensibly it was about public aid, but it’s roundly viewed (and used) as a freedom-of-travel and a Privileges and (or, “or” from the 14th) Immunities case. P&I is exactly what you’re talking about: a State cannot treat non-citizens or newly arrived citizens differently than it does its native or long-term citizens.

      As Michael correctly pointed out in responding to another recent post of mine, there’s also (perhaps more than P&I) an Equal Protection issue. As I’ve previously posited, pretty much anytime one can say, “but for being other than a native…,” there’s probably an Equal Protection claim. Example: “But for being a migrant to IN and not a native, I would not have to register.”

      • CR

        Thank you for posting the link to Saenz v Roe again. I’ve made a note of it this time. It seems like it may be a very useful case to keep in mind. I wonder if ACLU references it in their briefs?

        Is anyone aware of other states like Indiana that impose their registration laws differently on new residents versus native residents?

        • AJ

          @CR:
          You’re most welcome. Don’t ask me how I stumble across these things, and they sometimes become a blur. But, I have been slowly developing a filing system of folders on my PC, and this is the first and only one in the Freedom of Travel folder. 🙂

          As for other States with laws like this, I vaguely recall reading on some lawyer’s website that in 2002 or so, IL says anyone moving into the State is automatically a lifetime registration. I have never looked it up to confirm, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

          As for what Michael touched on with the Full Faith and Credit, I wholly agree. I’d love to see someone challenge MS’s law which says you only get credit towards registration for that time spent on MS’s registry. MS has 15/25/life for tiers, so that means I could be 16 years down the road from a Tier I in MS, yet the moment I move to the State, I have to go *another* 15 years. Hmmm…that’s also an Equal Protection Clause (“But for being a migrant/non-native…”).

        • Storm

          Kentucky!

        • CR

          Thank you. Is it the same situation as Indiana, where new residents are subject to registration laws that native residents are exempted from? Do you know any specifics about it?

      • New Person

        Interesting. So in all technicality, you are not a registrant in any other state except the state where your conviction exists? Doesn’t this run contrary to the IML?

        • CR

          I don’t believe that is implied. As far as IML goes, you’re a registrant everywhere you are required to register.

          The issue here is that Indiana doesn’t make it’s native citizens who committed sex offenses prior to the effective date of their Megan’s Law register, but they do make residents who move there from other states register, even if the new resident’s offense occurred before the effective date of the law.

      • David Kennerly, "In the long list of all of your problems, I'm the least of them"

        Thank you! This is a good analysis (as far as I can tell) of the 14th Amendment’s effects: http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/page/fourteenth-amendment

  6. AJ

    In the article that’s mentioning three individuals. Of the three individuals, one of them was a child at the time of the offense. That’s what the true tragedy of this lawsuit that has been filed is. Adam Bash, on his registry information listed with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department in Muncie Indiana is listed as committing his crime April 23rd 1984. On the same registry information it says his date of birth is November 13th 1972. That means that this man was an 11 year old child at the time of his offense, and here 33 years later this man is still being punished for something that occurred while he was a child?! And they don’t call that a punishment? It’s beyond punitive, it’s cruel and unjust! After seeing this article in the paper, and noting that he lived rather close to my home, I went out and spoke with him by knocking on his front door. I told him from the beginning I wasn’t there to harass him, I just wanted to know if you would like to talk about the lawsuit. He told me that as a child he was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused from the time he was 3 years of age up until the time that he started repeating the acts that caused him to be on the registry. He said that he was punished for it, and had lived in the state of Indiana for 12 or 13 years before they made him join the registry. I’m sorry, if a man can go through life that long without reoffending, then there is no need for him to be placed upon a registry in place himself in danger of some vigilante who is seeking revenge for a family member that was harmed that had nothing to do with the case which put him on the registry to begin with. Furthermore, the man told me that he only gets disability income, and he can’t even move into income based housing because of this registry! I also discovered while I was there that he has custody of a child, and that the courts granted him custody of the child! So how much of a danger really is this man if a quart of granting custody of a child? He’s not a threat! I look the man right in his eyes and could see the pain that he’s having to suffer because of a mistake he made as a child! This national movement of treating children like adults and making them suffer for things that happened in their childhood is beyond defensive! How come the parents are not being charged with some type of neglect for failing to properly intervene on their child’s best interest to get him the help that he needed instead of allowing a criminal justice system to torture this man the rest of his life? Is truly sad that he had to be lauded in with two offenders who were adults when they committed their crimes, as again he was a child, and I think that there is a very significant difference in the age in which you commit your offense! I’m glad that they have filed this lawsuit, and I wish them all of the success in the world!

    • AJ

      Not sure who is spoofing my ID, but the AJ you all know, love and/or hate did *NOT* write this. Maybe it’s good old USA/Big Mac/Troll again. Or, maybe there’s another AJ on here now…meaning I’ll have to become AJ the First. 🙂
      =====
      So how much of a danger really is this man if a quart of granting custody of a child? He’s not a threat! I look the man right in his eyes and could see the pain that he’s having to suffer because of a mistake he made as a child!
      —-
      If nothing else, I would not spell “court” as “quart,” nor would I say “look” when the word should be “looked.” As well, I would have ensured my tense matched, thus avoiding “look” vs. “could” (should be “can”), vs. “he’s” (should be “he was”), vs. “made.”

      • David Kennerly, "In the long list of all of your problems, I'm the least of them"

        Oh, and here I was picturing you going to a stranger’s front door and commiserating with him and then reporting back! You also wouldn’t say this: “I wasn’t there to harass him, I just wanted to know if “you” [quotes mine] would like to talk about the lawsuit.” Can you imagine going to someone’s house, who you do not know, and asking about their lawsuit? Yet, I was convinced that it was you and surprised to learn something new about you 🙂

        • AJ

          Ha! Thanks for noticing that case error. I admit to having my occasional lapse in writing, but mostly I strive to keep my tenses and cases aligned, and work not to infinitive split… (A nod of thanks goes out to my 10th Grade English teacher. He was eccentric, but effective.) I also (apparently) enjoy nothing more than spending my time and limited financial resources cruising around, engaging in personal, “boots on the ground,” investigative reporting*.

          *No, I’m not the still-suspended Brian Ross of ABC News. 🙂

    • New Person

      oh wow!

      Thanks for sharing, AJ.

      That is beyond cruel and unusual. If there ever was a one case to bring the damned registry down, then this guy should be front and center. How long does one need to prove you’re no longer a public threat to society? In Ca, it’s a lifetime. But you have to prove you’re beyond a saint to even get a sniff you can be considered to be off the registry.

      I pray and hope for the best for that man. And thanks for talking with him. I come here to ACSOL b/c it’s the only place for me to just know I’m not alone – even if most of the news is bad news.

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