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ACSOL’s Online EPIC Conference: Empowered People Inspiring Change Sept 17-18, 2021

General News

How We Will Take Down Public Registries (RSOL)

Although many of our constituents would love to see some sort of silver bullet to end public sex offender registries once and for all, realistically, this is a long-term war. It will take many more battles across many different fronts to win. Those fronts include our legal system, our legislatures, and the general public. It also includes… ourselves! EVERY battlefront is important, and EVERY soldier is needed

The Legal Front

We have many legal “soldiers” out there challenging various aspects of public registration, sometimes for individuals, sometimes for entire groups. These challenges are very important but are merely one part of the war. And as dramatic as a victory may seem, there is no single victory that will take down all public sex offender registries.

In order for a court – even the Supreme Court – to end a law once-and-for-all, it would have to find that the law is unconstitutional on its face. For a law to be judged as facially unconstitutional, there must be no set of circumstances under which it could operate lawfully. The registration of sex offenders is one of the countless registration/regulatory schemes that operates throughout our country. We have registration schemes for school children, voters, automobiles, guns, and even young men must register with Selective Service. These registration schemes have and will continue to operate without violating the Constitution. This is the reason all SORNA challenges are “as applied” rather than facial. With the exception of First Amendment challenges, courts will typically consider a challenger’s unique set of facts and render an opinion as to whether or not the law is unconstitutional as applied to those particular facts.

If an appeals court finds that some aspect of registration is unconstitutional as applied to a person or persons, this does not prohibit the legislative branch from attempting to enact a fix. This is why sex offender registration, especially public registration, must also be fought through the legislative process. Courts can help prevent the ever-encroaching reach; however, those who wear black robes are not empowered to make our laws, nor can they prohibit those we elect from enacting them. Courts are limited to interpreting or correctly applying laws that are in dispute.

RSOL is closely monitoring constitutional challenges around the country, hoping to assist in constitutional challenges brought by our legal soldiers.

The Legislative Front

Bad laws are being proposed every year by well-meaning legislators whose constituents are telling them that they want to be protected from bad guys and bogeymen. Our legislative soldiers must stand up and speak up when such laws are introduced. Legislators are often shocked that there can be a “down side” to get-tough bills and that such laws cause more harm than good. It is our right and our duty as citizens to monitor and speak out on legislative issues. Our soldiers can also strive to introduce laws that will help improve the lot of persons convicted of sexual offenses (or any other conviction, for that matter). Building working relationships with lawmakers takes time, diplomacy, and persistence, but the rewards of having a legislator “champion” willing to work with us are well worth this effort.

RSOL’s Advocates and Affiliates are among the many legislative soldiers busy fighting bad laws.

The Public Opinion Front

Anyone visiting this site is probably already aware of the huge problems in our justice system and our laws, especially regarding sexual offenses and sexual offenders. Most Americans are not. Almost daily, they see news items and police warnings about abducted children, horrible rapes, dangerous strangers, and incurable sex offenders. John and Jane Public have been terrified into accepting bad laws and policies. In fact, they are begging for them. John and Jane Public need an education and a serious reality check.

Consequently, our soldiers must also stand and speak up whenever they hear untruths, providing solid facts and taking the unpopular stand against the easier “tough on crime” views. As the underdogs, we must do plenty of homework and assure that every point we make is verifiable, every story true and strong.

Every member of RSOL, and indeed every member of the public who has become aware of the incredible falsehoods and constitutional violations resulting from our country’s sex offender policies, must fight on critical battlefronts.

The Personal Opinion Front

All of us have our own internal battles to wage in this war, too. We have arrived with plenty of preconceptions and gaps in our own understanding of the big picture. Each registered citizen must recognize that he/she is not “unique.” Every registrant is suffering to some degree, and nearly everyone was forced to take a plea or got worse than he had hoped for during trial and sentencing. Likewise, family and friends must come to recognize that this cause is far bigger than their own personal struggles. NOBODY deserves public humiliation; it serves no public safety purpose and, in fact, can increase the risk. We have to distinguish ourselves from John and Jane Public by acknowledging and ACTING ON the knowledge that our “get tough” policies are failing us, and that public registries are not effective nor are they appropriate for ANY person.

We also have to take a hard look at our individual political stands and voting habits. Have we been voting for “tough on crime” and “incarceration nation” politicians all this time? Cheering when some Bad Guy “gets what’s coming to him?” Maybe it’s time to rethink our own roles and make some changes.

Who Are Our Soldiers?

Each one of us must find the strength within ourselves to take a stand against harsher sentences, public registration, and civil commitment. As within any army, though, there are a host of different roles to play. At the one extreme are those willing to take the heat and stand up publicly to loudly protest injustice, even at some personal risk. Others speak in a more measured way in legislative hearings, city council meetings, and boardrooms to assure that facts are heard and our Constitution is remembered. Still others write and publish and research and share the truth with as wide an audience as possible. There are soldiers, both attorneys and plaintiffs, willing to go the extra distance on legal appeals that will bring relief to hundreds or even thousands.

But by far the largest number of foot soldiers are those who reach out, one-on-one, and connect with their families, friends, neighbors, random passers-by… taking any and every opportunity to educate and challenge those deep, knee-jerk fears and assumptions that have brought us to this point. Rich or poor, young or old, well spoken or shy, strong or weak, whoever we are, we have a common message: citizens labeled “sex offender” are NOT monsters but human-beings who deserve to be treated with the same human dignity as everyone else. They are no more dangerous than any other neighbor. The rights we have taken away from them can be taken away from ANYONE once that door has been pushed further open.

So RSOL asks of you, have you found your role in this war to bring down sex offender registries? We hope we can count on you!

Okay Troops, let’s get marching!

By Brenda Jones….

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Will be there for the S.D. meeting on the 20th. My fiancé and I both will.

This is exactly why we need an attorney that will refine and format the following into a proper court document and ad case law and perfect it then allow access to it so as that any rso can insert their own info and experiences in place of mine and file it pro se. It’s called a boilerplate motion and once one is granted many many more can be filed. I the plaintiff ___________________________ do hereby bring forth this motion for Declaratory and/or Injunction relief. This motion is being brought forth as a as applied challenge to the constitutionality of the… Read more »

I think just the bottom half of what you wrote is more on track, i dont know if you know it but the U.S. government has a study they did in 1994 and in that study the results show recidivism at 9% and a study in 2006 and the results show recidivism at 3.6% that means the government is committing fraud besides breaking all on the registraints civil rights, they knew the truth before megans law and passed it knowing the real truth and did it anyways and they are profiting from the registry and gain political positions by claiming… Read more »

Like everyone says were not going to be able to abolish the registry since it would have to be proven that its unconstitutional in every case which it is not. The laws can always be viewed as rational and possibly effective for high risk svp so will always pass on any facial challenge. It will have to be challenged as a as applied challenge individually or maybe class action with people with very similar situations.

It seems to be unconstitutional in every case where it is applied not as punishment for a crime, or a condition of parole/probation/post release supervision.
It removes a free mans right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. It also removes these from anyone else in the same household who were never convicted.

Yes I agree but it would take a master professer at law who can articulate impeccably to do it. I beleive it can be done but it would be extremely difficult. The as applied challenge should be much easier for almost any attorney that has any ability at all with all the recent research that’s been done.

The courts will actually grant attorney fees in such cases as they did in the following.

In January of 2009, the Court also granted plaintiffs’ motion for attorney fees in the amount of $145,823.50. The defendants appealed the District Court’s decision, and requested that the court stay the order of attorney fees pending appeal, though the Court denied the motion to stay.

I noticed there were elements missing in my motion here is a revised conclusion I don’t know if anyone cares or reads this but it is making me feel like I am doing something more then just sending letters or calling people that can give a sh.. less what I have to say. In conclusion. The sex offender registration and notification laws or Megans law, as applied to me severely violate my fundamental rights to life, liberty, property and my freedom of movement. These laws also violate my fundamental privacy rights, my fundamental right to be free from unreasonable, arbitrary… Read more »

Ok you have it wrong there a easier way to take down the registry, think about it why were they put up in the first place? They claimed recidivism was at 80% an that came from an article in a magazine not a study an they jumped on it without proof, well if you go on the Doj’s website and smart.gov and both have done studies and both show recidivism is 3.6 to 3.9 and every state in the United States has done a study on recidivism and all 50 states show recidivism is below 5% so theres your silver… Read more »

What would be your response to them saying in reply, “it’s only low now, on all those studies you show, becuase of the registry”

@Bo:
“What would be your response to them saying in reply, “it’s only low now, on all those studies you show, becuase of the registry””
—–
At minimum, I’d refer them to the 21(?)-year study done in NJ, covering the 10 years before and 10 years after ML was imposed. That study found no significant change in behavior due to or benefit from ML.

And their reply dejour is that they rest are being “under reported” during that time. Then they cite suspicious data from polygraphs of inmates and those on probation.

I’m for all the contesting of the registry and the more I learn, the more nuanced I see the challange of bringing down the registry.

The big follow up is then getting a win to apply to others, then somehow preventing the legislature from making a more narrowly tailored law replacing it requiring the whole process to be done again.

@Bo Your last paragraph perfectly describes the situation in Michigan as it relates to getting it applied to everyone( it is a certified class action now) and the main reason that I’ve been given by multiple people from the Michigan Aclu that they fear legislative reprisal causing them to have to start litigation from scratch again. This is reason for the ongoing “negotiations” which apparently has made very little progress from every thing that I have heard. Confidence that our legislature will actually budge on anything is nil…..As stated before many times it will be the courts that force the… Read more »

Bo (March 29, 2019):

Surely they would not say that crimes are being committed by people who are listed on their glorious Registries and those are not being reported! Surely not. What would that say about their glorious Registries?

“Crimes” committed by people who are listed are over-reported. I’m certain that people who are listed are even convicted of more crimes than committed. No proof is needed, after all.

I don’t know this “dejour” word. Should’ve been “du jour”? Just trying to help.

@Bo: “And their reply dejour is that they rest are being “under reported” during that time.” —– Yes, at which point we supply data showing that registries 1) cause under-reporting due to the effects they have on the offender (ex.: nobody wants to send the breadwinner to prison), and 2) prosecutors alter their behaviors to achieve a conviction, including plea negotiating a lesser charge to avoid registration. Nothing like unintended consequences, particularly ones that are counter-productive to the goal of the registries. ===== “Then they cite suspicious data from polygraphs of inmates and those on probation.” —– And we point… Read more »

How would i respond to “its only low now because of the registry” well thats because the government already did several studies before megans laws we’re inacted plus there are studies on the registries whether they reduce recidivism rates and they proves the registry has not done anything plus if recidivism rates we’re and are 3.6% that also proves the registry is a useless tool except to make them financial gain & political positions, i don’t understand why would you fight me on this instead of ironing out any kinks unless you work for the government and don’t think it’s… Read more »

“Excellent!” would be my response. And “if this constitutional, civil requirement results in increased public safety, let’s have it for all criminals! Why don’t we have such an easy fix? Especially in light of the fact that the sex offender registry makes the difference between recidivism rates of 80% (frightening and high) and 5% (lower than any other group of criminals save murderers)?” What possible reason could there be to not want to reduce criminal re-offending? Think of the one man, woman, child, saved! The drugs not sold, the cars not stolen, the wives not beaten! Think of all the… Read more »

Yep, funny.

That’s all that we need to know to understand that the $EX Offender Registries aren’t really for public safety, protecting children, and the rest of their lies. The $ORs are for gossiping. They are for making government jobs and growing big government.

People who support them are harassers who are too stupid to understand that they are paying dearly for their harassment.

Mike, the ONLY reason these oppressive monitoring and tracking laws remain on the books is because of two things ONLY:

A: HATE

B: MONEY

You should know this! Emotion and hate trumps facts and logic with John Q. Public.

I love the fire and vigour, but if you read the case law, it becomes irrelevant.

It would seem it needs to be attacked in one of the 7 ways stipulated doe vs synder.

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