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RSOL Conference 2013 – Catherine Carpenter: Sexual Offense Laws and Constitutionality

National RSOL Conference 2013 – Professor of Law, Catherine Carpenter of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles talks about just how punitive and extreme sex offender laws have become over the years and the ways in which they violate US citizen’s constitutional rights.

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  1. G4Change

    Oh WOW…what a very articulate and informative presentation. Thank you, Catherine Carpenter, for being another much-needed voice of reason!!!!

    • Brubaker

      Catherine Carpenter professor of law….her students are very much fortunate , as we are to hear and learn more about our Constitution protections for all……we appreciate
      Professor Carpenter’s efforts and her students are far more
      better for it…tomorrow’s defenders and supporters of the Constitution …..thank you.

    • Louis Reyes

      Excellent presentation Catherine, Here is something else you may want to include in your argument. Every R.S.O. usually 10 days before release from prison must comply with a state required psychological exam. This exam is ordered by the state. If the “findings” of the board agree that the r.s.o. is a “threat to society” then he/she is placed in civil confinement and reviewed annually by board certified psychologists. If the “findings” of the board conclude that the r.s.o. meets their state ordered proffessional and clinical requirements release to parole/probation is granted. Clearly acknowledging that the “offender’ is deemed safe to be released into society by their own guidelines and requirements. So, I think you see my argument and where I am going with this. If this issue is raised correctly it would prove beyond any reasonable doubt there is a double jepoardy issue here. Since the state has made their case through psychiatric evaluations that r.s.o.’s who are released into society pose little if any threat to the communities how is it that we continue to be burdened, punished , violated , discriminated and denied of basic human rights? If there is a way to use this issue for the cause I would like to see it. Thank you

  2. Painted Bird

    A great lecture and it uplifts my spirits. This is what I am afraid of, though. This movement needs a political wing and greater support from the public and more journalists exposing the truth as Catherine has so eloquently done. If not, judges themselves will be targeted by the victim “revenge as therapy” groups as not protecting children, and a way will be found to get them off the bench. I believe that sodomy laws may still be found constitutional if there had never been an LGBTQ movement to get out the truth about gay people. Similarly, if the image of all registrants is that we are immoral, ravaging monsters, remains the dominant image in the public’s eye, I don’t have any hope. Any suggestions? I am willing to help.

    • Janice Bellucci

      Painted Bird (and others), we need you to SHOW UP – STAND UP – SPEAK UP. How? Come to a California RSOL meeting. Let a loved one know that you are on the registry. Write a letter to an elected official. Make a donation of $10 or more to California RSOL. The list is endless. And remember the Power of One….one person can make a difference!

  3. Painted Bird

    I know. One little step at a time. I was scared to death to even post a comment here, at first. I did write a letter to both our Senators and my Representative. Or one day one of us will take a big step by getting on the bus, when they start putting up signs on public transportation property saying, “No 290 Registrants Allowed On This Bus.

  4. USA

    I think this is a wonderful speaker. Furthermore, she truly speaks the truth. I mean, who on earth would think any individual convicted of a crime would be banned from: living in certain areas, banned from visiting parks, banned from visiting the beach, banned from visiting the movie theatre (Palmdale), banned from using the internet, joining facebook, working in certain sectors (healthcare, contractor, real estate agent/ect), required to contact the local police department if you leave town or go on vacation, post signs on your lawn, have posters posted around town warning people to beware and even place people and their families in danger by posting their names and addresses online for all to see! Lets get real. We now post the photos, names and offenses of convicted sex offenders online! No other criminal (murderers, gang members or drug dealers) have this done! Its getting out of control. We have people convicted of misdemeanors or people with expunged records from 18-20 years ago still on the registry. We have people who received non formal (summary probation) on the registry! Whats the deal?

  5. Mark V

    Being recently released from prison as a PC 290 for a failure to register, subject to the rules of AB 109, not only is housing almost impossible to find (certainly without any funds), I have just been informed that it is required that I enroll in a sex offender treatment program as a condition of my probation. Being indigent and homeless, I am supposed to find $125 for an initial intake meeting, pay $43 a week for one year, pay a second $125 intake fee in a couple of months, $15 for a workbook, and then $300 for however many polygraphs they subject you to. I don’t even know where I will be living next week. Other than about 15-20 counseling centers creating an industry off the already economically and socially disadvantaged or disenfranchised, is it constitutional to impose this additional burden on us? Is it within the spirit of AB 109 that low-risk probationers should be violated if they are economically unable to afford the cost of a treatment that should have been imposed while the individual was incarcerated if treatment was even required. Please help restore sanity.

  6. Done Crying

    In the spirit of STAND UP SPEAK UP I wanted to share about WomenAgainstRegistry (WAR) sponsored class action lawsuit wherein I posted the following on their application for lawsuit inclusion sheet(or whatever its called). I thought that sharing the existence of the lawsuit could be of benefit, and also hope that my words spoken might inspire others. I want to speak out. I am willing to stand before senate committees, cameras, whatever. Enough is enough. I’ve removed self identifiers and just included here the relevant stuff.
    the application included a request that I summarize how i might belong to the class seeking relief through the law suit, and I replied…..

    The summary of the
    > situation is that my life and the lives of those who love
    > and support me are ruined by the public data base. I am on
    > the list for a conviction that occurred over 30 years ago,
    > and for which there were not only no priors or subsequent
    > sex charges ever leveled or filed etc, and in spite of the
    > fact that I am not guilty of the crime that i pled n/c to in
    > the first place. Prior to the public registry it was
    > embarrassing to have to register every year down at the
    > sheriffs dept, and to receive highly armed surprise
    > compliance inspections, but beyond that I was able for the
    > most part to lead a satisfactory life. I was a participating
    > member of the community, a proud parent of a public school
    > student, a home owner and business owner. I enjoyed a
    > plethora of friends in the community, contributed with both
    > my time and money/resources to various charity on a regular
    > basis, and so much more. Since the public registry we have
    > lost our ho
    > me, I have lost my business, I’ve been stripped of ANY
    > standing in the community, by and large the plethora of
    > friendships I used to enjoy have diminished to a handful of
    > diehards. We (my spouse and myself) are basically homeless,
    > and I have to re-register as a transient every 30 days or
    > face a class c felony. We now live in a small used motor-home
    > we bought after our home of close to 20 years was foreclosed
    > on, and always worry that some hot shot
    > “do-gooder” is going to see us online and come
    > gunning for us. Below in the following section I have pasted
    > a paper I have written and would like to speak publicly with
    > about our situation. I am so tired of being a second rate
    > citizen, and am appalled at this countries active
    > participation in deceptions and lies to promulgate and
    > promote the tyrannical perversion of our constitutional
    > rights, the APPLICATION OF REPRESSIVE LAWS AND PENALTIES
    > ACROSS THE BOARD AND IN UTTER VIOLATION OF OUR PROCEDURAL
    > AND EXPOSTFACTO PROVISIONS WITHIN BOT
    > H OUR US CONSTITUTION AND VIRTUALLY EVERY STATES
    > CONSTITUTION AT ONE LEVEL OR ANOTHER.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > How have the sex offender laws adversely affected you?
    > *
    >
    >
    >
    > Ladies and Gentlemen, I
    > would like to speak to you about a subject I wouldn’t
    > ordinarily speak to strangers about. It’s a subject I
    > suppose that nobody, really, would relish the thought of
    > discussing. Nobody that I know anyways. As conjecture it
    > requires, at least initially, suspension of judgment lest
    > we find ourselves convicting prior to investigation. With no
    > further to do please take this inquiry under consideration;
    > What is it like being on Megan’s List? I can say from
    > personal experience that……
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s your sister in law saying that she’s sorry, but
    > she can’t leave your niece and nephew alone in the same
    > room with you . That her doing so could leave HER in a mess
    > of trouble.
    >
    > It’s being invited to join a neighborhood association,
    > but then being told oops, sorry, you’re the type of
    > person the neighborhood association was created for, to keep
    > an eye on individuals like you, to tell others to avoid you
    > and to watch out for you.
    >
    > It’s learning that you’re practically famous because
    > your picture is on display at the local elementary school,
    > but not in a good way.
    >
    > It’s being so grateful your step daughter has a
    > different last name so she hopefully doesn’t get
    > harassed by other kids at school.
    >
    > It’s every birthday is the worst one ever, because it
    > has to include re-registering.
    >
    > It’s knowing that you’re always being monitored.
    > Watched. Despised. Avoided. Scorned.
    >
    > It’s never wanting to be recognized.
    >
    > It’s never wanting to be you.
    >
    >
    >
    > But then again, who cares, right? I mean, to be on
    > Megan’s List you must be a pervert, a child molester, a
    > rapist, a pedophile, right?
    >
    > I mean, if you’re on that list, you deserve a lot worse
    > than all that, don’t you? I mean, you’re lucky just
    > to be breathing. Isn’t that so?
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s wondering if the people you sing with in choir
    > know.
    >
    > It’s saying hi to kids as they pass your house, and
    > receiving blank stares in return.
    >
    > It’s your once vibrant business all of a sudden drying
    > up inexplicably, but no-one seems to know why.
    >
    > It’s neighbors you’ve known and loved for years all
    > of a sudden becoming strangers.
    >
    > It’s smiling for all of those birthday registration
    > photo’s, rationalizing that a guilty person would never
    > smile for one
    >
    > It’s having to short sale your home of 18 years because
    > you can no longer afford to live there because you cannot
    > find any work
    >
    > It’s the “collateral” damage that friends and
    > family that stand by you are forced to endure
    >
    > It’s wanting to help a good cause but knowing that if
    > knowledge of your assistance fell in the wrong hands it
    > could be used to blackmail the good cause and more, so you
    > don’t
    >
    >
    >
    > There’s close to a million registered citizens in the
    > U.S. right now! .
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s every time you fly somewhere you know you’re
    > going to be receiving some extra special attention, and not
    > in a good way.
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s you and your family on your once in a blue moon
    > special vacation arriving at Heathrow or in Mexico City to
    > be welcomed by unhappy authorities because they have to put
    > you back on the plane/ship/boat/train for immediate
    > extradition without explanation
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s looking forward to taking that refresher course to
    > maintain your professional license in good standing, but
    > first having to present before the college security office
    > to be photographed and to alert the campus of your dangerous
    > and possibly pedophilic presence in their midst
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s having all these special rules and laws surrounding
    > you for life, with some precautionary measures and laws to
    > supposedly protect you,
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s if you don’t follow one of the new laws you go
    > to prison, but when you call for help because the
    > precautionary laws to protect you are being flaunted and
    > you’re being hurt as a result, nothing is ever done.
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s even in this day and age there are still eight
    > states that will put a person on Megan’s list for life
    > for peeing behind the bar or behind a tree at the park etc.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > As I’m writing this, 30 years have elapsed since I sat
    > scared to death before a Washington County, Oregon judge,
    > and pled” no contest” to a crime I wasn’t
    > guilty of. Oh yeah sure every convict in prison will tell
    > you they’re not guilty if you ask them, right? I did
    > this insane thing for what seemed at the time to be all the
    > right reasons; I was scared. I would have done anything to
    > get out of jail, especially since I was in jail on a
    > “skin beef”. Pleading no contest would get me out
    > of jail and onto probation. At that time, late fall of 1986
    > there was no Megan’s List. Had there been I would never
    > have pled n/c.
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s feeling guilty about worrying about yourself. I
    > mean if you’re going to worry, worry
    >
    > about the victim, not yourself.
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s knowing forever more whatever you do where ever you
    > go for the rest of your life, you will not pass go or
    > collect $200.
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s being beaten down, beaten down
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s no light at the end of the tunnel
    >
    >
    >
    > It’s being afraid to give your phone number out because
    > of software embellishments that some network providers offer
    > warning subscribers whenever they receive a phone call,
    > email etc from a registered citizen, and it’s not a
    > thoughtful alert I can tell you.
    >
    > It’s being a woman living in a motor home and living in
    > fear of the next vigilante wanting to help society along
    > with her demise
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > . There have been thirty years since I pled no contest. More
    > years after the event as there were preceding it.
    >
    >
    >
    > For much of the last thirty years I’ve equivocated about
    > the lifetime requirement to register. I’m just like the
    > vast majority of us in society, and am abhorred at the
    > thought of child molestation, and for that matter adult
    > molestation as well.
    >
    >
    >
    > As a parent I’ve understood the underlying desperation
    > beneath the creation of Megan’s law, and the enactment
    > of stiffer and stricter requirements against these
    > ‘monsters’ seemed appropriate to help us alleviate
    > our fears, the public database a useful tool for keeping an
    > eye on these child molesters, rapists and pedophiles.
    > I’ve equivocated that no law is perfect, that there was
    > bound to be some collateral damage, and that my situation
    > was a perfect example of how a person could fall through the
    > cracks, so to speak. For a long time I was ok with that. My
    > position was that the good coming out of having a database
    > outweighed the inconvenience to myself of actually being
    > listed on the data base. That position has changed.
    >
    >
    >
    > Part of the reason for that change lies in the emotion I
    > invested in my position. As it was and in perhaps a perverse
    > way, I embraced the idea that a greater good could result
    > from my “sacrifice”. But truth be told I’d
    > never bothered to learn the facts surrounding the
    > application of megan’s law statutes nor correlate them
    > with the growing public hysteria and fears being fanned
    > behind them. I thought that my emplacement on the list was
    > the exception, rather than a common occurrence, in other
    > words, I thought that the vast majority of registered
    > citizens were there because of their actually being guilty
    > of sexual molestation, rape etc. , and I supported continued
    > oppression of registrants because of my mistaken assumption
    > that they really were a significant threat to the safety and
    > well being of our children. I was wrong on all counts.
    >
    >
    >
    > What are some of these facts I’d not bothered to learn?
    > One of them is that you or your child are more likely to be
    > sexually assaulted sometime in your life by a law
    > enforcement officer than you are by a registered citizen.
    > Another fact is that registered citizens as a group have the
    > lowest recidivism rates in their crime conviction category
    > of any other criminal classifications except convicted
    > murderers, who have the least opportunity to commit new
    > crimes since they are for the most part incarcerated for
    > life. The truth is that the vast majority of RC’s did
    > not arrive on megan’s list for a crime that involved
    > children, nor for crimes involving sexual assault. Crimes
    > classified as sex offenses range from public nudity
    > (indecent exposure) on one end to rape on the other. There
    > are still states where paying for sex (hiring a prostitute)
    > can land a person on megans list for life.
    >
    > The vast majority of known sexually violent predators are
    > behind bars and face civil commitment at their release from
    > prison. 90% of sex crimes against minors involve an adult
    > relative or trusted figure such as priests, coaches,
    > counselors, 80% of those are family members. In an effort
    > to protect the identities of the victims the identity of
    > family members as sex offenders is not released to the
    > public. So that means that only 20% of those convicted of
    > sex crimes with a minor are on the list, and yet all other
    > registrants are assumed to be of the same ilk.

    Well that’s on the application.
    I’m pissed! I’ve had enough!
    I tried to write a mantra for myself, like a personal declaration self validating my credentials and intention. I came up with the following.

    This has gone far enough!
    *As a responsible human being who abhors our species inhumanity towards each other, cannot stand by and allow myself and so many other human beings to be treated inhumanely.

    *As a citizen of an America based upon the rule of law constitutionally protecting our precious civil liberties I cannot continue to blindly ignore the wholesale violation of my protected civil liberties, nor the wholesale violation of so many of my fellow American citizens’ civil liberties.

    *As a woman, well aware of the inequalities within our culture, and the precariousness of those many equal rights and liberties we have just so recently attained I will not stay silent about the proscribed inequality of a million people because it suits the purpose of others to subjugate them.

    *As a registered voter tired of the double speak and manipulation of so many of our elected representatives, I will not support our elected officials blithely enacting laws and policy perpetuating all of the above, regardless of the facts contra indicating them, and often proffered as a distraction from their poor record as citizen representatives.

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