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FCC Reverses ALJ’s Decision, Revokes Convicted Sex Offender’s Amateur Radio License

The FCC has reversed the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who ruled in 2010 that ____ ____, of Seattle, Washington, could keep his Amateur Radio license in the wake of his conviction for a sex-related crime 17 years earlier. … The FCC said that given “known risks of Amateur Radios in the hands of sex offenders, such misconduct is prima facie disqualifying, and has resulted in the loss of licenses in past cases.” Full Article

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  1. USA

    I think this is a wonderful article. I didn’t even know this required a license! This is very dangerous! Maybe the sex offender might contact another ham radio article? Isn’t this similar to making a telephone call or emailing someone? Very dangerous! He definitely isn’t rehabilitated. 17 years has passed , but what if? I think they should ban all drivers licenses of sex offenders as well !!!! What if they drive somewhere and go to work/whoops/go to school/oops/commit a crime! This is terrible! No ham radios for you.

  2. Timmr

    What kids use amateur radios and what operators have targeted them? Never heard of this.

  3. Clark

    In other words…there is a big waste of money for even to have due process of administration judge…its already predetermined you will lose…that’s how its set up……geez having the administration judge weigh a free man …. also having putting a ‘risk’ after the fact..without due process..violates civil rights ..puts people in conditions of deprivation of rights ..double jeopardy …..that ‘risk’ label is abuse of power and needs to be can be a Big HomeRun.

  4. Ron

    I can’t imagine that any RSO would try and to target children over open airwaves. And what child these days would have any interest in using this antiquated way of communication. But if it saves just one child……. My local ham radio club has very few members as most are seniors that are dying off rapidly.

    • G4Change

      @Ron, I totally agree. Nobody under age 30 even knows what ham radio is. They all use social media, texting, etc.
      I think AM stands for Ancient Modulation 🙂

      • Nicholas Maietta

        What is the basis for taking someones’ license for being a registrant?

        My brain isn’t processing this. Does not compute.

        • Nicholas Maietta

          I just want to add that during times such as natural disasters, when other forms of communications go down, skilled and certified HAM radio operators can and do provide a unique opportunity for helping aid in disaster response.

          Here is an article (with video) about how exactly these people are important for disaster response and saving lives.

          As stated in the video (link to site below), During the Boston marathon bombings recently, law enforcement quickly determined at the bombs were detonated via cellular phones and quickly had cellular services shut down in order to prevent further bombings. When power failures occur and telephone lines, internet etc go down, what do we have left? We have HAM radio operators able to relay critical information over short and long distances.

          If anyone wants to deny a qualified operator from serving the public in a time of need, they are in fact not working in the interest of public safety. HAM operaters can and do save lives, including, yes, believe it or not… children.

          I’m curious how many children were molested through HAM radio.

  5. j

    Shouldn’t this qualify as an infringement on free speech – as long as no laws are violated? This is preemptive punishment as I see it. Very similar to the majority of the body of law which is rife with arbitrary, inane and retroactive punishment under the guise of prevention.

  6. bo

    Interesting reading this decision. The FCC actually takes the High risk assessment from Washington state, EVEN though the office states the tool used to classify his risk isn’t normed to apply to convictions from so long ago. The officer stated that he used that tool because he was required by state law to do so. Titus, presented evidence that despite that he was not a risk and the FCC didnt find it compelling. So, if your going to argue rehabilitation, it should also include a risk assessment and something counter to the states assertion. Also, as the future of a tiered system in California, will people equate level 3 with risk even though such assessments haven’t been done?

    The FCC writes, ” We acknowledge that Titus also introduced evidence that the ALJ took into account in finding that Titus had been rehabilitated. That evidence included the length of time since Titus’s adult felony conviction,66 the testimony of Dr. Douglas J. Allmon, a consulting psychologist,67 the testimony of character witnesses,68 and Titus’s own expressions of contrition.69 Notwithstanding the foregoing, authorities in the State of Washington continue to believe that Titus presents a risk to the community.70 While the passage of time may in some cases diminish the significance of a felony conviction, we do not believe that is the case where the offender is currently designated as a high risk sex offender, signifying that local authorities consider him to be an ongoing risk to the community. Were we (like the ALJ) to find that Titus has been rehabilitated, we would effectively contravene the judgment of those entities and undermine their primary authority to evaluate Titus’s risk to the community. We decline to do so in the narrow context of this license revocation proceeding.”

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