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MT: Sex offenders face new set of restrictions

BILLINGS – Montana sex offenders’ online and geographic freedoms could soon become more restricted. Two bills in the state House sponsored by Billings Representatives, House Bill 88 and House Bill 219, take aim at the growing list of 2,271 sex offenders in the state. The existing law requires sexual offenders to register his or her name, address, and phone number with the county at least once a year.

HB 88, which was signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock on March 24, states that offenders must now provide to the registry all email and social media accounts. Full Article

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  1. Bluewall

    Its a shame that other state sex offender reform law groups are not jumping in line or active to fight it… It seems CARSOL is the spear point into the madness… other state groups should start forming and make this a country wide movement

  2. Joe

    This requirement to provide email addresses and such looks like a new requirement. How can these laws still be signed off on after the successful challenge of Proposition 35 in California? While Prop 35 created a state specific law the reasoning against it was on the basis of Free Speech (chilling effect thereof) which is based on the US Constitution.

    I thought the US Constitution trumped all state issues.

    • j

      These regulations are common place in many states including some that border Montana.

      • Joe

        I know, but this requirement is being added AFTER Proposition 35’s reporting requirement was held to violate the First Amendment.

        @MathewLL – thanks for the explanation. And I did not realize it is in the same jurisdiction.

    • G4Change

      Even though this was found unconstitutional in a California court, many states (including mine) are requiring this data from registrants.
      I’m wondering if there is a way to get my state (and others) to stop requiring this based on the CA court ruling? Or, is this something that only applies to California registrants? In theory, the 1st Amendment applies to the entire United States. But, since when do these laws ever follow theory or The Constitution?

  3. MatthewLL

    The Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled last November upholding the ban on requiring email addresses, so someone should be able to challenge this using that ruling. I have not read the Circuit Court opinion and will do so shortly. Anyone from Montana who reads this Blog want to comment?

    Litigation can be so expensive, so we need band together and file many more pro se cases using same legal analysis in many different jurisdictions to help keep the fight going and tie up the states in knots. Give them pause before they pass more of these stupid laws. Actually any sex offender should be able to file suit in any state given it just takes you to travel there to be subject to it. Just the legal threat of being prosecuted by a statute for non-compliance should give you standing (Durate v. Lewisville, TX). I have three cause at the State Supreme Court Level in three states pending. One going with a favorable ruling that my offense does not require registration and two dismissed due to standing, all pro se. It can be done, but takes time and patience.

  4. Jo

    Don’t forget: just because the courts have shot these type of laws down, idiot politicians are never going to stop. 2200 people on the list, there is no better group to grandstand upon.

  5. MatthewLL

    http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/11/18/13-15263.pdf

    Link to the Ninth Circuit opinion upholding District court restraining order from enforcing the requirement to provide email address. Seems clear to me that Montana will have a tough time with keeping this provision. The MT provision appears even more encompassing than Prop 35. There the State tried to limit what email and internet identifiers had to be Reported. Montana requires all. Interesting I could not see where HB 88 required updates, other than the yearly reporting.

  6. Kevin

    You have to realize that all laws are “born” constitutional until they are challenged in court. The legislature can pass any law they want regardless of how obviously flawed it may be and it will be enforced until it is challenged and found unconstitutional. Since a relatively unwealthy and unorganized group such as sex offenders are targeted by such legislation, it takes years and sometimes decades for these laws to be challenged.

  7. Bluewall

    Its like those Jim Crowe laws.. states been pushing it making new laws about color people until the Federal says no more… thats what we need is the Federal to jump in and say No More…

  8. Eric Knight

    I know we aren’t from Montana, but the Montana ACLU contact page is at this link:

    http://aclumontana.org/get-legal-help/

    “You may call our Intake Complaints line at 406-443-8590 ext. 3057 from 1-3 p.m. (Pacific Time 12 noon to 2 p.m.) on Tuesdays or 9:30-11 a.m. (Pacific Time 8:30-10 a.m.) on Thursdays. If you leave a message be sure to state your name, daytime telephone number, and a brief description of the issue you wish to discuss. Your call will be returned by one of our intake officer.”

    Perhaps if we can get a lot of people to contact them and give them reference to the decision link that MatthewLL posted above (replicated here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/11/18/13-15263.pdf), then the ACLU will take the case. I’ve made my contact through their webpage and will attempt to call them at their prescribed call in hours.

    On the site, they specifically stated that they prefer cases that are NOT in dispute. This would appear to be one that is most probably the most open and shut case they have. I am sure that the SF branch of the ACLU would be more than happy to corroborate with them with regard to the arguments that they made at the trial at the 9th Circuit. Possibly the EFF can also be consulted as well.

    • Harry

      If, anyone here, knows a Montana RC they should be encourage to file a complaint with MT ACLU, ASAP. We can provide support.

  9. anonymously

    Montana is about 10% rightwing loony, 10% leftwing liberal, and 80% right-leaning democrats and middle of the road Republicans. The sponsor of HR88 is a rightwing loony and part of the first group mentioned. Radical Republican and Sarah Palin-esque Majority Whip of the Montana House of Reps, 23 year old Sarah Laszloffy hasn’t done much but she has done a few things. She has sponsored bills to make it legal for students to bring weapons to school. She has also sponsored bills to make it legal to use silencers on animals being hunted. Nice new program roll-outs for the defenseless animals in the wild. I bet registrants feel a lot like those animals being hunted with silencers with Sarah’s new program for them.

    Laszloffy’s hometown of Kalispell, Montana is also home to Chuck Baldwin, presidential candidate in 2008. This guy seems to be from the same camp as Lazsloffy and her loony Dad Jeff Laszloffy of the Montana Family Foundation. This Foundation is supportive of the religious freedom measures of Indiana which legalizes discrimination of LBGT’s. Laszloffy and her Dad are very hateful. Laszloffy was home-schooled and believes she can cast out Satan. She also believes dead people can be brought back to life. Those are her personal beliefs and I don’t have a problem with those. But if she agrees with Chuck Baldwin thats its a good idea for all rightwing christians, and I think he really means all rightwing white christians since that is the pretext being Montana, Idaho and Eastern Washington are the ‘whitest’ parts of the country, should move to these areas to consolidate, then I think she is too supportive of racist militia movements. Chuck Baldwin rails against illegal immigrants and is pro-confederate. I wonder if there is a Laszloffy-Chuck Baldwin connection more than just they are from the same place and appeal to the same base of people.

  10. JohnDoeUtah

    Montana is in the Ninth Circuit, so technically they should not pass such a law. After reading the text of the law, they place no restrictions on the information being disclosed to the public, so they cannot argue that their law is distinguished from California’s (and is like Utah’s).

    Someone needs to challenge this in Federal Court in Montana immediately.

    • j

      They will pass the law and let it ripple through the courts. If and when it is challenged. Don’t think for a minute the legislators will not take the opportunity to bask in the glory that they did their share to hurt registrants in any way possible.

      I hope for the sake of the collective effort that they do not pass it, but don’t hold your breath and think the lawmakers will be on the side of the constitution.

      • Eric Knight

        It’s already passed. The governor already signed it, and it is law now.

        Read the first sentece of the second paragraph in the exerpt above.

  11. anonymously

    The best way to stop this cyber-fascism is at the source. FaceBook needs to be stopped from thumbing its cyber-terrorist and cyber-fascist nose at California law. FaceBook is located in California. FaceBook/Chris Kelly are behind the anti-first amendment cause of denying registrants their 1st Amendment constitutional rights. My thought is that Montana will try to take this issue to the Supreme Court, which is what Kelly wants to happen. The Montana Supreme Court, if anything like Montana’s Atty General, will uphold the internet identifier reporting, and then it can go to the SCOTUS. Montana’s Atty Gen. Tim Fox is a scapegoating jerk whose 2014 MT Atty General campaign webpage is devoted to grandstanding on cracking down on registrants. All 2200 registrants in Montana, to make that his main issue. What is needed is a lawsuit against FaceBook to stop discriminating against registrants, so that they cannot use this information to ban or shame registrants into silence on the internet, which is increasingly controlled by Facebook, be it reading news, posting comments, political discussion done on the internet, searching for jobs, searching for housing, consorting with others in your profession. FaceBook must be forced to follow California law that it is illegal to discriminate against registrants by banning them in the FaceBook terms of service.

    Thinking furthur, the internet identifier reporting was implemented even before Prop 35 was passed, later to be stopped. Now that I hear photos of vehicle are now being asked for, could this soon be the next requirement so that FaceBook can roll out a new program to do real time vehicle identification tracking using license plate numbers as well as photos of vehicles. This seems like a remote possibility but then again, who would have guessed a company like FaceBook who fights for the rights of LBGT’s to also want to destroy registrants with the same fury as their support for gay rights. Before 2004, when Facebook was formed, gays and registrants shared a common cause, that of restoring and protecting the rights of themselves and the others whose rights are being attacked. FaceBook is trying to erase that history just like ISIS is destroying historical and cultural artifacts on conquered territory in the Middle East.

    • Eric Knight

      The Supreme Court will not take this case. John Roberts will not allow cert to occur for any case that would chip away from his Smith v. Doe win as the state (plaintiff) attorney in 2003 that established the constitutionality of the registries, as the ruling would undoubtedly rule at least 7-2 (including Roberts) in favor of eliminating email identifiers from registration.

      The only times Roberts will allow cert is in cases he is reasonably sure will prevail in maintaining the registry and its restrictions, such as Kebodeaux.

  12. anonymously

    I meant to say Tim Fox’ 2012 Attorney General campaign , not 2014, Fox used fear of registrants to win election. Even with all this hatred and scapegoating of registrants by Fox and others in Montana, thet still have a tiered registry, Wake up , California.

  13. Clark

    C’mon dude……..Kebodeaux case had nothing to do with ‘restrictions’ like where to live or public places …c’mon man you’re distorting the issue ..that Kebodeaux case was one of failing to register..he felt he didn’t have too..they ruled he did.
    Put the restrictions at issue now to rule registration is indeed punitive.

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