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General NewsNational

NE: State told to pay $292K to firm that challenged sex offender laws

A federal judge has ordered Nebraska to pay more than $292,000 in attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of changes to the state’s sex offender registry laws. But it was a fraction of the amount sought by the attorneys who represented the sex offenders who sued.

The laws, the most recent changes to the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act, were passed in 2009 but put on hold as a result of the lawsuit before they were to go into effect in 2010. Full Article

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  1. Tired of hiding

    Great! Money talks people. In fact it is the ONLY thing that matters in Amerika!

    What impressed me was "It also involved about 50 John and Jane Doe clients" that has a much better sound than 2 anonymous sex offenders sue…I al perfectly willing to be represented in every possible lawsuit here in California. I am sure I am not the only one out of over 70,000 RSO.

    Let’s put numbers behind these lawsuits and show them that we have a true voice that needs to be heard and will be silent any longer!

  2. Doug

    True, large numbers do make a difference. I for one, am willing to stand up and count as a voice for our rights. One challenge we face is it seems the “Federal Government” has made it a crime for RSO’s to meet en mass for any purpose. We have been stripped of more than basic civil rights to include the right live peaceably with out harassment or profiling from anyone. We have many hurdles to jump and bridges to cross to get the courts to realize the true nature that has been created by the registry requirements. I think the toughest battle will be convincing the courts to acknowlege the fact that registration is in reality more punitive than anything else.

    • Janice Bellucci

      You’re right! One of our big goals is to get overturned the 2003 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which states that registration is not punishment. Once that dragon is slayed, elected officials can no longer pass ex post facto laws, that is, laws that are applied retroactively. It takes time and money to get to that court. Please know that CA RSOL is dedicated to doing it if necessary or to support another group, perhaps the ACLU, in doing it. I am convinced that this can happen. And remember, the 2003 decision was not unanimous. It was a 6-3 decision. That means we only need 2 more votes!

      • CW Griswold

        The registry requirements that were discussed in 2003 in Doe vs Smith were so different from today that it is almost laughable. Less than 10 years ago the question was whether making available to the public a conviction that is public record in the first place and mailing in a letter once a year constitutes punishment. Even with that, 3 of the 9 judges decided it was punitive, indeed. However, the majority decided it was not. Fast forward a decade and new laws are still being passed based on that premise.

        I personally have no doubt that the outcome today would be vastly different. The difficult part is to get a case like that heard. If the name of the main attorney for the government in Doe vs Smith sounds familiar, it should. John G. Roberts Jr. (57) currently is the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

      • Jonathan Merritt

        I do think that revisiting that challenge now with the new evidence to the Court at this time will yeild a more positive outcome.

    • Registered Citizen

      Doug,

      I’m not familiar with statues that render our meeting illegal once we’re out of the system (off probation/parole). Can you educate me (us) please?

      • Tired of hiding

        I am not either. Sounds oddly like that law I once read about prohibiting Blacks from assembling together. Hun, sounds strangely like we might be able to fight these illegal “laws” they are forcing on us if we were all together as a group…we might get organized like some group that needed to be taken seriously…sort of like, I don’t know…a Union!

        Please do let us know about this. As an example, it is illegal for us to comment and share experiences and thoughts on this website is in this General Comments area? Seems like it would not be since we have the right of free and unlimited speech…well, at least until Prop 35 goes into law.

        Speak up while you can!

        • anon

          I agree with you about taking action as a group. If there was one central legal fund, and all of the various groups, support groups, websites, etc focused their efforts as a collective, I think MAYBE things could get done faster. That’s my uneducated opinion though.

          If ever RSO, and anyone that supports them was able to give even $5 to a centralized legal fund, we would be talking millions of dollars raised.

          By the way, how much money does it cost, approximately, for something like challenging a law before the Supreme Court?

        • leagleeagle

          @anon – of course, what you describe is a best case scenario as far as organization and approach is concerned. If you consider CA RSOL to be lacking in terms of that, I hope you are busy working on setting up a central legal fund as described and finding the appropriate vehicle to get everyone to pitch in.

          Until then, you may want to consider supporting this organization and its efforts to your best abilities. Otherwise I would expect the status quo or worse to stay around for a long time.

  3. mr b

    In reference to punishment, someone some time ago said something worth thinking about. If you consider registration, halloween ordinances, meetings, internet restrictions, residency restrictions, etc ALL COMBINED, it constitutes a punishment.

  4. A. Friend

    Remember …couple years back…that jessic law electronic monitoring could not apply retroactive to those free Americans no longer on parole probation … the same ruling even on that issue has to apply…the Constitution Works.

  5. Anonymous Nobody

    I note, this story indicates the Nebraska law will provide for publishing ALL sex offenders names. I don’t know who they require to register in Nebraska, but that could mean even misdemeanants! In Calif., for now, misdemeanants are not published and made available to the public, although that has been proposed in recent years and might come back again.

    The parts of the law the court overturned did NOT include the part calling for publication of ALL sex offender names. So, it appears they have no problem with that being too much punishment for a misdemeanant.

    • CW Griswold

      @Anonymous Nobody – in the interest of correct information, please see my post from a few days ago re. misdemeanors on the internet.

      https://all4consolaws.org/2012/12/rights-group-sues-over-lancasters-restrictions-on-sex-offenders/#comment-2774

      Along those lines, unless someone provides the exact statute that prohibits registrants to congregate (other than the parole condition to not associate with other felons which I have heard of), I believe @Doug’s assertion that “One challenge we face is it seems the “Federal Government” has made it a crime for RSO’s to meet en mass for any purpose.” is also false.

      My non-lawyer opinion.

  6. A. Friend

    That ’35’ part is massively un-Constitutional ….injustice … that denies free American citizens the elementary right of free men…and that is to express…speak…communicate as other free men.

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