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Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling may result in removal of hundreds of names from sex offender registry

Hundreds of names of convicted sex offenders may be removed from the state’s list of registered sex offenders as the result of an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling handed down Tuesday.

In a split decision, the court ruled state corrections officials have been violating the Oklahoma Constitution by retroactively applying state sex offender registry laws, thereby dramatically increasing the time many convicted sex offenders must spend on the registry. (2 Pages) Full Article

Case Info

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This decision is a breath of fresh air! It’s a state supreme court recognizing that being on the registry is punishment. We need to turn this spark into an ember and then into a flame of justice that results in overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2003 which reached the opposite conclusion. Thank you, Oklahoma Supreme Court!

This is nice. But I’m not so sure it is very significant to any other state, including California. The decision was based on the Oklahoma Constitution, not the federal or California Constitution, so has no applicability outside Oklahoma. The story doesn’t specify, but I am gathering the court is saying that under the Oklahoma Constitution, it would be punishment; they are not saying it meets the federal standard of punishment (and the California high court has ruled that the federal and California standards are the same). Further, the Oklahoma SOR laws are not written like the California laws. Gee, in CA a few years back they split every little onus into a separate statute.

As such, SOR retroactivity could not be nixed in California even if residency limitations, limitations on jobs, interference with guardianship — which this case cited as punitive — and various other things were deemed to be punishment. That’s because only that one little statute with those pints in it would be nixed while all the other SOR statutes would remain. To stop SOR retroactivity in California, the isolated requirement to register would have to be deemed to be punishment (as it once was for lewd conduct and at least some cases of indecent exposure).

Well, aren’t you just a little golden ray of sunshine?

I agree with Janice that this is good, encouraging news.

I am also encouraged by today’s Supreme Court decision…er…non-decision as it represents a more tolerant atmosphere for a group of people that have historically been considered social pariahs. I can kinda relate to that.

One way to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its 2003 decision is to have decisions from multiple state supreme courts which are inconsistent with that decision. This decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court helps to move us in that direction. It does not, however, have an immediate and direct impact upon registrants in California.

Well, my point is that it is not inconsistent with the federal ruling. It does not say it is punishment under the federal standard. It is not disagreeing with SCOTUS.

I’m happy they ruled as they did, and I welcome any positive rulings. But I’m also going to stay grounded and not get elated without real reason.

Thanks Jeffrey and Janice for your wise perspectives on this wonderful turn of events. Perhaps others so daring as yourselves will come forward and make even more difference for good. The sex offender registry is a kind of misfire at the wrong target.

Our real problem isn’t with ex-sex offenders but with the mentally ill. The beloved pastor Rick Warren lost his son Matthew that was mentally ill a few weeks ago. This is a horror that took place and has impacted my community of Lake Forest. My heart goes out to him because my oldest son Noah Christopher (age 30) is mentally ill and on anti-psychotic drugs.

When these people act out we registrants catch the fallout from it. Yes, some of those mentally ill people are in our ranks. , That is even more the reason NOT another registry but to change the one we have. Do it for those that do need more attention and constant supervision. The registry as it is should not exist. I can understand a medical registry for those on anti-psychotic drugs, but for the rest of us? Well that’s why we have probation and parole with mandated therapy isn’t it? The registry as it stands is evil and does only harm and promote fear.

If my son sees a little girl and believes her to be a demon because of the voices in his head and reacts in a way outside of his control (because he’s out of control). Then at that time will you be ready for these people to be accounted for?

This is my son and this is like stones in my heart to have him on any registry, but a medical registry would be treated differently than the sex offender online hit list kind of registry. This is hard for me as a father. What else is there? Someone help me (for my son…. are we so lost friends, are we really? Oh, for my son!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x