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State laws on sex offenders should not be crafted by emotion (Editorial) UPDATED

UPDATED with Reader’s Reactions

California’s Supreme Court was right to drop Jessica’s Law, @latimes editorial board says.  Jessica’s Law — California’s version of it, anyway — was a mess from the beginning. Voters here adopted it (as Proposition 83) in 2006 because they mistakenly believed they were cracking down on horrific crimes against children. They were urged on by nightly harangues from national TV commentators who campaigned on-air for swift action following the rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Florida, a crime that touched an especially sensitive nerve here because the circumstances nearly mirrored the nightmarish killing of Polly Klaas in California a decade earlier. But emotional outpourings of fear, revulsion and collective guilt too often translate poorly into policy and law, and that was surely the case with Proposition 83. Full Editorial

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Good article, maybe people are starting to “get it”? If this info could just get to the pea-brains in Sacramento. They’re all like the lion in Wizard of Oz, they have a roar, but no courage to do what is right.

Sunday edition of the Times is a pretty good start.

Thank you, L.A. Times for speaking the truth and recommending that your readers focus on the facts, not the myths, regarding registered citizens, in general, and residency restrictions, in particular. My favorite statement in the article is: “Public officials and commentators freely label any sex offender as a “predator,” implying that each such person poses an equal risk to the public and thus must be equally restricted and supervised. Clearer thinking, based on data rather than emotion or demagoguery, would serve California better. I would add to that statement: “would serve California and the Constitution better”.

My summary:
The proponents of prop 83 were so concerned about looking like they were for children, they failed to take the time to make sure their law would actually protect children. Because of their cavalier attitude they put children, families and the Constitution at risk. Would you leave your children with these

“Proposition 83 had such broad appeal in part because it ignored those kinds of distinctions. Little thinking was required.”

And it’s really, really clear that “little thinking” by those pushing prop 83 and the public went into this. Proponents and the public always employ “little thinking” and just react.

one word from this article really hit home and it’s definition is applicable in this matter :

“Demagoguery is a manipulative approach — often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians — that appeals to the worst nature of people. Demagoguery isn’t based on reason, issues, and doing the right thing; it’s based on stirring up fear and hatred to control people. For example, a politician who stirs up a fear of immigrants to distract from other issues is using demagoguery. Demagoguery is one of the most negative aspects of politics, but it’s also one that’s all too common.”

Hi J; Your right about that; it’s been pretty obvious to me for quite a number of years now that politicians and large businesses (as well as other unseen forces) use the press to shape and mold peoples opinions in order to achieve their goals. I’ve often felt that this whole “sex offender” scare is nothing more than a smoke screen for the much larger agenda of removing the rights of the entire population; we are the seeds. There are many face$ never $een by the people that actually control thing$ from the president on down. It’s not a far… Read more »

“Californians can be forgiven if they keep their safety and that of their children foremost in their minds, ahead of justice for criminals.”

Oh yea? Tell that to the families of everyone that have been murdered simply because they were a registrant or an incarcerated suspect. I think this state and the f-tard feds owe us some $$$ for the callous and cavalier disregard of our rights.

Except they can’t be forgiven, really. At least not as long as this kind of legislation continues to be passed. In light of the weight of the now substantial body of evidence, any person, from the politician to the common man, in favor of sex offender laws as they’re currently written, should be considered pro-recidivism, pro-crime and anti-safety. The unspoken behavior of “People” is they’re not really interested in public safety, they’re only interested in relieving their own sense of disgust at the nature of our crimes through continued acts of legal, sanctioned retribution. This behavior is only exacerbated by… Read more »

This one is straight up laughable! “But behavioral science and criminal justice research have come a long way since the 1940s. It was once thought that people convicted of crimes involving sex suffered from disorders that made them constant threats to re-offend; or at least that it was impossible to distinguish between those who did pose such a risk and those who did not.” It appears this authors is unable to distinguish between “have come a long way since the 1940s” and “has spiraled downward to a level of outright Nazism and burning witches at the stake.” Hey! Somebody’s gotta… Read more »

Where were articles like this before the Jessica’s Law vote?

“The press is the hired agent of a monied system, and set up for no other purpose
than to tell lies where their interests are involved.” – Henry B. Adams

The press lied to the people by omission.

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned
that way.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The registry across the nation and now many parts of the world is a multi billion dollar industry ran by unions; laws lobbied by unions and politicians elected by unions… it creates jobs for all the union members. Try to name one government agency that is not union.

Oh, don’t forget our judicial system, law enforcement, and the prisons. A trillion dollar business controlled by unions.

We have our work cut out for us!

True! That’s why I use the $ symbol in place of an S in some of my posts.

Emotion? That’s only part of it. Here’s the real arrogance in action that brought about this mess. The War on Megan’s Law For years, it’s become increasingly evident that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union don’t like Megan’s Law and will try to stop it at all costs. In their value system, lip service is paid to the notion that the weakest of our society should be protected from the worst. Why must communities be forced to put the “rights” of convicted sex offenders on the same level as the rights of parents to have safe neighborhoods for their… Read more »

Hi L. Mitaro “It’s truly sad that Megan’s mother actually believes that this law somehow keeps honors her daughters’ memory and keeps her from dying in vain.” There are millions of people (registrants & family, friends, etc) negatively impacted by the law named after this child. Sure the way she died really sucks. The results of her mothers desire to lash out at the world will forever place her daughters name in a light associated with pain and suffering. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; “I have to wonder if this is how Megan would wish to… Read more »

Mention children and switch the brain off.

“If it protects one child.”

Well, then make the Catholic church illegal.

Given that I blame the mass media for most if not all of this hysteria involving registered citizens, it is very encouraging to read such intelligent words coming from an editorial board governed by a mass media outlet. This is a very good step in the right direction.

According to a 2003 report by the Department of Human Services, hundreds of thousands of children are abused and neglected each year by their parents and caregivers, and more than 1,500 American children died from that abuse in 2003—most of the victims under four years old. That is more than four children killed per day—not by convicted sexual offenders or Internet predators, but by those entrusted to care for them. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “danger to children is greater from someone they or their family knows than from a stranger.” If journalists, child advocates,… Read more »

I’m thinking much of this abuse stems from poverty and unequal access to services like affordable child care. The disadvantaged should be up in arms over the devolving quality of life and the symptoms born of it, but sex crime stories and violent bogeyman act like the bread and circuses of ancient Rome, keeping the masses happy and the attention off what the rulers are doing.

No law, rule, policy, code of conduct, or guideline for anything should be based on emotion.

No law, rule, policy, code of conduct, or guideline for anything should be based on emotion. hate, intolerance or vengeance.

Big news story happening in Indiana.

Religious “freedom” law

Touchy subject, but to be honest I’m more in sympathy with the restaurant owner. Being harrangued by a reporter for a hypothetical situation involving personal religious faith is not the same as actively repressing the rights of people. Indeed, the ones doing the harassing against the restaurant owner act more like the vigilante anti-RSO crowd than the victims of such vigilantism. Having said that, I don’t wish to go off-topic with a relatively volatile issue that doesn’t involve registrant rights. That’s why I also do not give political arguments either. Fascists are teeming in both parties, both the Democrats and… Read more »

The entire Indiana story was pulled from many on-line news sources. Censorship is alive and well and helping out politicians who were for it and suddenly aren’t anymore…

That’s the way registrants are affected, arbitrarily and cynically – with disastrous effects to their children and families without a worry in the world for the people crafting these policies.

The “problem” with society today is being created by, society. The new trend is to pigeon hole or categorize everybody. The geniuses who believe this is the answer didn’t factor in how quickly one runs out of real estate, or what the ripple effect and mentality of this kind of thinking does to society. The NIMBYS (Not in my back yard)are everywhere now. We polarize people we “think” will not benefit us. It has become a holier than thou society. If you are a this or that, we marginalize those people. I hope there is an awakening; that we are… Read more »

It smells like profiling on a mass scale!!!!

Well written article. Let’s face it, there are some bad people out there. Although, as most people are unaware, there are high risk, serious and other/non disclosable offenders! So, there is a big difference between some guy who breaks into a home and assaults someone as opposed to the idiot at the massage parlor or guy who flashed his neighbor. Most people are unaware of this and don’t comprehend the magnitude of some of these crazy laws. Posting someone’s personal photo and address is serious business. You are potentially endangering the persons entire family or even a neighbor ect. Furthermore,… Read more »

This is a question(s), would appreciate any knowledgeable answers! If your “crime” was a misdemeanor, and they only list your zip code when registering, are registrants required to tell new landlords that you are a registered offender? I ask because many landlords assume the address is going to be published. Thanks in advance.

I am confused, why would you EVER tell a landlord about your history? If they do not ask the question on the application, DON’T TELL THEM!! Unless you are on probation or parole, and your agent requires it, mine did NOT when I was on parole (off for 3 years now) there is NO NEED to tell ANYONE!!! I don’t understand the mindset of some guys here who feel the need to create problems for themselves. If you get the apartment, move in and LIVE! If they find out later, they CANNOT evict you for being on the registry, it… Read more »

I am speaking of a sober living house where if they know you are, they won’t let you stay there. This is a mindset they have, I know it’s not legal, I know it doesn’t make sense for someone who wants to get and stay sober. It’s the way they are. Know that I have thought about it, I don’t know why I would want to live there with people that think like that. I guess I had to actually realize that here!

If you think the benefits of living in a sober living house and the assistance they provide outweigh the disadvantages of living with people with that kind of mind set I would go for it – but certainly not tell them anything. They can always expel you down the road, but it does not sound like you are spending a lot of time and money getting into a place like that, like moving all your furniture, kitchen stuff, yard tools, etc.

The law states that housing discrimination is not allowed. I know of several people that work in the rental industry that claim they check the web site as standard procedure, then summarily deny the application. Don’t give them any more information than they ask for so; the same in all cases. It will all be used against you. The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions…

I rather rent to a sex offender than to most families with kids. I help a friend who is a landlord, the damages from these families are bad.

As far as I am aware the ONLY situation where the law requires you to disclose your status is when volunteering in an organization where you would work directly with minors. PC 290.95

Otherwise I do not think you are under any obligation to tell anyone anything. I do not even think actively lying about your background is a crime. Sure, it will be grounds for terminating your rental / lease agreement, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

I am not a lawyer.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x