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IL: Illinois Appellate Court Rules Lifetime Sex Offender Registration “Grossly Disproportionate Punishment” for 21 Year Old

[floridaactioncommittee.org]

The opinion in People v. Tetter, which came out a couple days ago, is another great decision to add to our growing list of cases where courts have found the registry to be “punishment” and conditions of the registry have crossed the line into irrational.

Kyle Tetter was 21 when he met a girl on an online social media app. Her profile said she was 18. Even though he later learned she was 16, they continued the consensual relationship and eventually she became pregnant and her mother reported him to the police.

Tetter was sentenced to 180 days in county jail, 4 years’ sex offender probation, and lifetime on the registry.

The appeal directly addresses the question, “Whether Sex Offender Statutes Constitute Punishment”

Read more

 

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  1. wonderin

    I realized long ago that “fair play & morality” are one and the same. nuff said!

  2. Agamemnon

    I’ve repeatedly stated that even if the registry can be argued as “administrative,” laws targeting those on the registry are anything but. It’s reassuring to see at leastone court agree with that assessment.

    Now since I was convicted at 21 for a crime I committed in my later teens, does this mean I should move to IL? (rhetorical question)

  3. Alec

    This is an amazing piece of progress! More and more of these decisions are being made where even basic provisions of registration are being recognized as punishment.

  4. Chris F

    I comments at length in the General Comments section, so I won’t re-post all that here.

    I will say the comments by the dissenting judge are ridiculous. It is clear she is biased against any male committing a sex crime and should have recused herself.

    It is also a shame that they didn’t take the opportunity to look at the “frightening and high” and “80 percent recidivism” rate that Smith V Doe 2003 and all sex offenders laws and failed court cases cite as reasoning behind the laws. This case basically allows all that to stand but say that even with that this one individual isn’t part of that high percentage so it’s cruel and unusual. Well, hey, that’s the case with over 85% of sex offenders as a whole, and 99% of certain types of sex crimes. Where is their justice as long as Smith V Doe fiction stands as fact?

    Court’s complete decision and a VERY interesting read is here:

    http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2018/3rdDistrict/3150243.pdf

    For those fighting cases now this one lays out lots of recent decisions in our favor to use in your legal battles.

    • New Person

      Chris F,

      Thanks you for the PDF link.

      I like how this Illinois case cited Michigan’s Snyder case, to further compound how the registry is punitive. The comparative from today’s registry to 2003 Smith v Doe, Alaska registry reveal how beyond the registry has become.

      This case is very pertinent to all states that have only a lifetime term consequence that also administer risk assessments on its registrants. There is definitive value here as the penalty is disproportionate among the sex offender class. If you are low-risk assessment registrant, then you get lifetime registration. If you are an intermediate-risk assessment registrant, then you get lifetime registration. If you are a high-risk assessment registrant, then you get lifetime registration. There is no distinction.

      In California, that’s what it is. A lifetime term. Sure, some have the possibility of getting off the registry in 10 years or later, but it’s not a guarantee. The only guaranteed term is a lifetime term. There is definitive proof as those registrants who qualify for the 1203.4 statute rehabilitation program, which states that all penalties and disabilities shall be removed from the conviction, that those registrants who do qualify for it must continue to register. Only registrants whose punishment is probation are afforded the 1203.4 statute program.

      California has already rule that presence and residency restrictions are unconstitutional. But because everyone is a lifetime registrant, they are automatically excluded from Housing Urban Development (HUD) federal assistance. This means California has labeled all of its registrants upon the same level as a serial and violent sex offender.

      Also, many California registrants have had compliance checks by the local PD. This is in direct violation of what 2003 Smith v Doe had stated of not being supervised. Even doing a separate registry application at your local college or university’s PD is an additional action of supervision.

      Oddly enough, this case can be used by the IML suit. It treats all convictions against minors all the same whereas this case revealed that all inclusive grouping poses as “disproportionate punishment”.

      Now, here’s a new thought about the registry. While each registrant becomes a registrant in their respective state, their movement to another state will impose different rules and regulations. A two day visit to Las Vegas will force you to register in Nevada if you are visiting. In all technicality, you are not imposed just by your state’s registry, but by all 50 states, Washington DC, and all US protectorate countries. Non-parole/probation convicts that are not registrant are not subjected to this overwhelming additional set of rules and regulation.

      You aren’t subjected to ONLY your state’s Registry, but potentially all 50 states, DC, US territories, and the International Megan’s Law (IML) registry everyday you are a registrant!

      The IML is being proactive in disseminating information. Here’s the kicker about the IML too, some states have 16 years of age as the age of consent; while other states the age of consent at 18 years of age. The IML does not differentiate who is a minor and only refers to the state’s statutes for registration. That’s an exercise of “disproportionate punishment” to potentially limit your travel abroad if you were convicted of something ‘statuatory’ with a 16 or 17-year old in your state, but in a different state, those 16 or 17-year olds have the legal capacity to give consent.

      • KFM

        WOW New Person, you’ve about covered all bases for this article about what’s current for those of us that offended around the 21 time in our lives vs. the “victim” or consenting non adult of 16 or 17.
        This is continual punishment and with so many Ph.D’s and Master’s out here iin Calif., you’d think they were brighter here with all the techy’s too to SEE JUST THAT, that the 20-21’s are STILL being punitively Punished TO THIS DAY in a moving forward State of Calif., to wake up and smell the coffee that IL and now FL are considering instead of RUINING a late teen’s mistake to LIFETIME taken away as myself for over 3 decades since early college and x bf still in H.S. but parent’s freaked out! Many of us here.

        Like your info and Chris’s too. Thanks, Excellent Points!

  5. American Detained in America

    With the number of decisions like this one continuing to grow, hopefully it starts to avalanche and bury the registry once and for all!

  6. New Person

    From the article:
    ***********
    “Since the legislature enacted sex offender statutes that restrict a convicted sex offender’s presence, residence, and liberty to move about society, the court has not addressed whether the sex offender statutes’ punitive effects negate the leglegislature’s intent to deem the laws civil.For the reasons stated below, we find that they do”
    In addition to finding registration requirements that have been ratcheted up since the original decision, the court made another interesting observation and looked at the characteristics of the Defendant. As opposed to taking a “one size fits all” approach, it recognized that “sex offenders” are not homogeneous and should therefore not be all treated the same. It found, “Defendant is simply not the person at whom the sex offender statutes’ purposes are aimed. Its statutes are not tailored to regulate only dangerous offenders, those likely to recidivate, or those with little or no potential for rehabilitation”
    ***********

    That’s one court making a distinction that not all sex offenders are the same, unlike what the 2003 Smith v Doe decision had categorized sex offenders as a homogeneous group that recidivates at an 80% rate.

    In California, although there are risk assessment level administered to their registrants, they all share the same term of registering: for life. The IL court essentially states that the system is grouping people who make mistakes with people that commit violent sex offenses (plural), and that isn’t the way to go.

    • Chris F

      Not only that, but once labelled at any tier a “sex offender” on the public registry it triggers you potentially being affected by IML, denied public housing, and having to follow every state and city law across the country that you have no idea about. I don’t even know if a challenge against the US government would work since it is the state’s that are the gatekeepers of who is registered, and the US Government can say “Hey, sorry, but we assume someone on the list has already had due process and is a dangerous enough predator to warrant what we do to them.” and they won’t be held accountable.

      • T

        Isn’t it amazing that we see the corruption of our government that is deliberately and systematically destroying the lives of Americans with passing various sex offender registry laws and the great deception of keeping everyone safe which is doing more harm, and the system of notification which is available to the public which is already been used and abused, then gets into the hands of vigilantes that are driven by hate and anger to commit violent crimes?

  7. Illinois Contact

    Brilliant and extremely hopeful analysis of this recent Illinois Appellate Court decision. This sounds like exactly what we have been saying all along. (Courtesy of Florida Action Committee)

    Illinois Appellate Court Rules Lifetime Sex Offender Registration “Grossly Disproportionate Punishment” for 21 Year Old.

    The opinion in People v. Tetter, which came out a couple days ago, is another great decision to add to our growing list of cases where courts have found the registry to be “punishment” and conditions of the registry have crossed the line into irrational.

    Kyle Tetter was 21 when he met a girl on an online social media app. Her profile said she was 18. Even though he later learned she was 16, they continued the consensual relationship and eventually she became pregnant and her mother reported him to the police.

    Tetter was sentenced to 180 days in county jail, 4 years’ sex offender probation, and lifetime on the registry.

    The appeal directly addresses the question, “Whether Sex Offender Statutes Constitute Punishment”

    The Court acknowledges prior precedent that found it didn’t, but goes on to say, “Our legislature subsequently passed numerous amendments imposing additional requirements and restrictions upon sex offenders. Most importantly, it imposed specific restrictions on where sex offenders may be present or live. Sex offenders cannot have jobs where they work, at any time for any reason, within 500 feet of a school or public park or within 100 feet of a school bus stop.[The law] also effectively bars offenders from working any job requiring extensive travel; sex offenders must notify, in person, both Illinois law enforcement and the destination’s law enforcement when they are away from home for three or more days. 730 ILCS 150/3(a) (West 2012). The amendments since [the precedent case] “directly restrict where [a sex offender] can live, work, and even move about his community.” Thus, we are faced with very different and more restrictive statutes than those addressed in [the precedent cases]”

    “Since the legislature enacted sex offender statutes that restrict a convicted sex offender’s presence, residence, and liberty to move about society, the court has not addressed whether the sex offender statutes’ punitive effects negate the legislature’s intent to deem the laws civil.For the reasons stated below, we find that they do”

    In addition to finding registration requirements that have been ratcheted up since the original decision, the court made another interesting observation and looked at the characteristics of the Defendant. As opposed to taking a “one size fits all” approach, it recognized that “sex offenders” are not homogeneous and should therefore not be all treated the same. It found, “Defendant is simply not the person at whom the sex offender statutes’ purposes are aimed. Its statutes are not tailored to regulate only dangerous offenders, those likely to recidivate, or those with little or no potential for rehabilitation”

    Here, the court (for one of the first times in personal recollection, at least) evaluated the gravity of the offender’s conduct in relation to the restrictions imposed by the registry and found that in the case of Tetter, a lifetime on the registry is excessive and a violation of the eighth amendment.

  8. Wait Until The "Risk" Assessments Become Law

    What will complicate this disproportionate finding in the future is the enactment of “risk” based registration (both in Illinois and other states). If the states continue to evolve to so called ‘risk’ based registration, the government can always assert that a person *may* recidivate in the future. A Court may be more apt to uphold lifetime registration schemes if an ostensibly “scientific” test — one like the SARATSO/Static-99R — is used. Even if the “scientific” Static-99R is muddled with flaws, you can bet a Court will cleverly word an opinion so that the Static-99R is upheld. Many years will pass before the SARATSO/Static-99R is exposed for the fraud that it is (and what it is being used for).

    • Tim Moore

      That is the way things are going. Offense based today, risk based tomorrow. There are winners and losers with each approach. The arguments for these laws keep evolving to new challenges, like insect pests or disease organisms adapt to new chemical remedies. There is something organic going on here that begs for a holistic rather than linear response.

  9. Eric Knight

    It’s NOT “punishment!” The Supreme Court says it’s not!!

    {{/sarc}}

  10. Eric

    Something is very very EVIL about this sex offender registration, I have a real good theory as to the REAL reason why politicians and other proponents of these laws want to maintain this but just can’t prove it without certain people at the top willing to come forth with certain type of information. In other words, something else is going on with these laws that is hidden or behind the scenes. I say this because of the rational used by proponents to justify these laws, i.e., a pandemic of sex crimes, high recidivism rate, sex fiend zombies out there with razor sharp claws, blood shot eyes and fanged teeth slobbering at the mouth, naked and hiding in the bushes next to an elementary school waiting to snatch 200 or 300 kids—at the same time. Seriously, I know people (at work) who actually think all this to be the case. Anyway, this rational has been shot down like a Japanese Zero in the Pacific during WWII. These is over 15 years of solid, empirical research by some of the most respected clinicians in the country that disprove this high recidivism—-LIE! And I have yet to read any empirical evidence from proponents of sex offender laws to support their position. What is going on is this, people find sex crimes very repulsive, and they are, and it is an EMOTIONAL issue so they are more then willing to believe any negative press on this. Statistics, logic, reasoning be damned! Proponents of these laws wouldn’t care if the recidivism rate was 0.00001%! Even this percentage makes for a pandemic! So it doesn’t matter what these reputable professors, clinicians and other say about this issue—proponents of sex offender laws don’t give a damn!

    • Dustin

      Eric,

      There’s a lot of money tied to the registry, public and private, and a lot of incentive to keep them as large as possible (hence the inclusion of out-of-state, incarcerated, and dead offenders). Add simple pandering and posturing to legislators with less-than-distinguishable careers and histories to that, and you have your answer to why all evidence that dispute their proposals is ignored.

    • Well...

      The problem is when the low recidivism rates are emphasized, some government bureaucrat and/or self-interested (usually) “forensic psychologist” comes out proclaiming that the Static-99 or 99R proves otherwise. That registered sex offenders deserve to be divided and conquered based on an arbitrary number derived from static factors–so that even further muddies the Smith v. Doe lie. In reality, you can look back at the most recent eight or so years of an offender, look at how well (or not well) he/she has done, and determine whether he/she really deserves to be further labeled as a “sex offender.”

      I agree with those saying that government is screwed over by corruption. I’m not just talking about Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to ramp-up prison privatization (i.e. more business to GEO Group, Inc.), not just Trump and the Emoluments Clause, but also–with particular regard to the sex offender “treatment” industry–how certain private companies have infected an already dirty registration scheme to ensure that their business interests are embedded into statute and–like a hookworm–benefit from it. One example already mentioned by others is how Sharper Future (a “CASOMB approved” program) is able to benefit from the new tiered registry. It need not be said that its CEO, Tom Tobin, is also CASOMB cochair who also cheer-leads for the same Static and “SARATSO tools” that happen to benefit his business by rationalizing more treatment for those who score “high” enough. Not incidentally, those who score high enough number into thousands of individuals.

      more “treatment” = more business = you do the math ($$$$$)

  11. Chris F (@Eric and @T)

    To Eric and T, I wouldn’t say our government is exactly corrupt. It has actually become flawed over time as the tools to keep this from happening were built into the US Constitution but have been watered down by bad court precedents, especially over the last 100 years.

    I recommend these two books:

    Sex Offender Laws, by Richard G Wright
    The Hollow Hope, by Gerald Rosenberg

    I also recommend reading any summaries of “The Federalist Papers” to understand the government problems that needed to be solved by the US Constitution.

    In a nutshell, Politicians are ELECTED by the people, and in order to be popular and keep their jobs, they have to create legislation that keeps the MAJORITY of those people happy. If the majority want the Japanese imprisoned because we are at way with some of them, blacks to ride in the back of the bus, Communist Sympathizers kept out of government, and women not allowed to vote then the politicians only keep their jobs if they meet those needs.

    To keep those who are hated and politically powerless groups from being run over by the majority, we have APPOINTED judges and Justices of the Supreme Court to make sure everyone is treated equally and protected by the US Constitution. Specifically, the prohibition of Bills of Attainder should keep these groups protected from arbitrary government action against them without very narrowly tailored laws that don’t violate the Constitution.

    Where this fails, is under what’s understood to be an unwritten rule (At least I don’t think it is written) that the US Constitution does not make the Legislation powerless to stop an imminent threat to our way of life and our people. If there is a threat, like “80 percent recidivism”, then they will use any excuse to rule those laws Constitutional. That one false bit of info pretty much gives legislators a green light to do whatever they want to. Those bad judicial decisions become precedents that infect every later case, and then those cases take things even farther and create more bad precedents until we are left with nothing resembling the original intent of the words of the US Constitution.

    Another failure is the State’s having ELECTED judges and even sometime in their own Supreme State Courts. That means, like politicians, they must rule with what the majority of the people want, and not what is logical or Constitutional.

    That’s a very simple explanation for a very complex problem, but it gives some people a starting point of how this all happened to us, and will happen to another group someday in the future.

    • Chris F

      To add to this, there is some corruption I have witnessed, but it is hard to apply to the entire government system.

      For instance, the Polygrapher scam looks like it goes on in many places. There may be a dozen polygraphers in a major metro area, but the probation office will have a “short list” of only two or 3 they let you use. Those know that if they aren’t on that short list, they will lose 75% of their business, or more. So if the PO tells them to fail someone, they fail them, or at least give “inconclusive” and force them to spend more money on a follow up exam. There was a case against the Probation department of Fort Worth Texas back in 2008 I believe and the outcome was that PO’s had to allow any state licensed polygrapher to be used. That has been since ignored completely though. I know that for a fact from first hand experience in nearby counties.

  12. David

    I love it when judges use the word “PUNISHMENT”!!! 👍👍👍

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