Janice’s Journal: Silver Linings to the Dark Cloud of the International Megan’s Law

International Megan’s Law is a terrible law.  Its notification provisions trap registrants in a country that continues to punish them and its passport provisions expose them to significant risk of harm due to the addition of a “Scarlet letter”.

Having said that, however, there is a silver lining to that dark cloud — our community came together and we acted in concert for the first time.  We did this by attempting to prevent the International Megan’s Law from being passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Hundreds of people throughout the nation came together and sent messages to elected officials in letters and E-mails as well as phone calls and tweets.  And although our efforts to change the votes of elected officials were ultimately unsuccessful, we succeeded in establishing a unified message that was shared with the public via worldwide media coverage.

Our message was published in newspapers across the nation including the Monterey Herald, the Washington Post, and Al Jezeera America.  And we earned the support of the Los Angeles Times in a strongly worded editorial that described the bill as “vindictive” and “wisely rejected numerous times in the past”.

And after the bill became law and a legal challenge was filed in court, the media continues to spread our message in newspaper articles as well as television and radio reports which refer to us as registrants and a civil rights movement instead of sex offenders.  Their messages are being read and heard by the public, the very public we need to educate.

There is another silver lining to the dark cloud of the International Megan’s Law  — it is possible that our legal challenge to this unconstitutional law will end in the U.S. Supreme Court.  If it does, we may have the opportunity to overturn the Court’s Smith v. Doe decision, which erroneously determined that registration is not punishment, but merely an administrative requirement.

This is not a time for despair.  Instead, it is a time for us to recognize that we are now unified and that with a lot of hard work, we shall overcome.  We shall overcome the ignorance and prejudice that exist today and once again live in peace and harmony knowing that the inalienable rights provided by the Constitution are indeed available to all.

Read all of Janice’s Journal

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I appreciate your optimism even though this is yet another layer to the fight for truth and justice. I’m really surprised the main stream media is coming out in support of our opposition to this horrendous piece of legislation. The way this whole thing went down was nothing less than slimy.

Thank you Janice for all your effort and your suit has teeth, so I’m hopeful. I don’t necessarily trust the Supreme Court to do the right thing here, but maybe Kennedy would be the swing vote that would be needed, as in gay marriage.
Either Obama is a totally hypocritical piece of pooh, or he’s a very cool constitutionalist who knew exactly what would happen if he signed the bill…that the resulting lawsuits would finally put a stop to this and other legislation like it, including the registry itself. So let the courts decide! I’d like to think the latter…but I’m afraid it might be the pooh!

Great article. So, does this only affect those convicted of child related offenses?

It feels like 2000 feet of mountain to go — straight up an icy cliff. Especially hard when you missed the goal we set for this leg of the journey, are battered and breathless. Now is the time to sit down and take a rest, look back and down, and see that we are about 5000 feet above where we started. Leave the rest of the climb for tomorrow.
Let’s give ourselves, and especially the ones who organized this, great praise for moving things forward. We have Janice potentially going before the SCOTUS. Imagine that? I didn’t think that opportunity would have arrived for years, if ever. We have respected nationwide news outlets like the Los Angeles Times voicing a supremely unpopular opinion agreeing with us. I don’t think those things would have happened without all of our support. I know that the rest is uncertain and potentially dark.
I don’t know about you, but my nerves have been on edge, worrying about what people are going to do, what I should do next or lamenting what I might have done or said. In a little while, I am going to sit back and toast the beautiful sunset in praise of CaRSOL, TAG, RSOL, the plaintiffs and all those who wrote letters, sent emails, made calls and donated funds. Cheers!

And Mr. President… go suck on your legacy.

I would like to thank Janice and all those who stood up. I would also like to thank Janice for looking into my parole conditions. I have for a long time been contemplating an organization to open facilities to help the disenfranchised to reestablish their lives. Veterans, homeless, parolees and of course RSO’s. Not something funded by te state or feds. A place that gives shelter and job traini.g, transitional housing and employment and eventually helps its clients to gain their own employmentvoff site and then purchase their own homes. Finally it is coming together. I think that a place where people are also suffering find hope among RSO’s and learn we are not the monsters we have been portrayed to be, is one way to give people first hand education on the facts and they will feel compelled to share that knowledge with others. I am starting with one site. I know someone who is starting one in Missouri as well. If we spread this concept throughout the country how many lives can be positively impacted? Couple that with the legal efforts and maybe we can actually change tis country for the better. But we must be vigilant and courageous, because we will be strictly scrutinized. There is hope.

I think that another silver lining would be that since they have been doing most of this for the last several years, by using this new law to seek an injunction to halt what this law describes, should also halt the previously undocumented activity that has been happening for the last several years. But after the injunction, if it happens, who will test the waters to see if the practice of notifying destinations of a “suspect sex trafficker” has really ended? If it is still happening then that is thousands down the drain for airfare, etc. Most of us that might want to travel, would most likely be on a tight budget due to the high cost to us of the public registry (lack of good employment).

My roommate and I are both on the registry, and he was not informed of this new law being passed two days ago by his therapy team or his probation department as he left to go attend his his sister’s wedding in Mexico.
Imagine the shock and horror of being pulled out of line in customs and being told he was on a “Scarlet Letter List” and shipped right back on the plane to the U.S. where he was detained yet again for trying to enter the country he is from.
While most of us acknowledge the harm we have caused, we all strive for change in our lives and this governmental over-reaction has caused more damage to his family.
I applaud all of you for taking a stand and I will personally continue the fight for change so that we can have productive lives as the rest of society does.
I am saddened by this law but hopeful that something good can come of it for all of society.

So, if the injunction goes through, does that mean that the Angel Watch Center will be shut down? Will the government, at any level, NOT be allowed to send advanced notice to destination countries?

I give thanks and prayers to all of us who came together and worked for our cause. In a few short years we have made incredible progress. In my state, every bill in 2015 that sought to make a registrant’s life even more intolerable was killed due to our legislative efforts. In the past these bills would have simply sailed on through. We will eventually have the same successes with the U.S. Legislature. Let’s move on Forward. We all appreciate you Janice. I may be moving to California in the near future and if so, I will be right there with you.

Well..some good news for us SO’s, although in a morbid kind of way:


Antonio Scalia was found dead today. One of SO’s greatest enemy’s on the supreme court. With Obama still in office, that means a more liberal judge will take his place, hopefully, swinging the court in our favor.

My condolences to his family / friends, sucks when you have a loved one die. However, I won’t be shedding any tears.

I’ve read the law very carefully. The law only applies to child related offenders.
“The passport identifier is only for those who have been found guilty of a sex crime involving a child and have been deemed dangerous enough to be listed on a public sex offender registry,” Smith said.

Could anyone tell me what the marking on ones passport would look like? I just received my new passport and I don’t see anything in the way of a stamp, mark or alteration of any sort. I sent my application in last Friday, for expedited service, and received it today. I have never attempted to travel out of the country for the past ten years (since being off parole) as I have worried about trying to take a cruise to Europe and being turned away at the gangway, or going skiing in Canada and being put back on the plane. Am I living in reality or an overblown start of fear?

I’d be interested in Janice’s opinion about Scalia’s death. Was he good or bad for 290’s?

Janice and all in the law suit, Thank You very much! I believe I see the silver lining you’re expressing.

“In trying to prevent the thing they want prevented, the government just opened the floodgates in legal documentation.”

On the surface, the lawsuit is against the Passport Identifier. But directly related to the Passport Identifier is the sex offender registry. Without the registry, then there is no one available for the Passport Identifier.

In the lawsuit, it listed the deaths as a result of the registry. That alone stopped the pursuit of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for those registrants. It revealed a mortal consequence because of the registry. The consequence is an unintended mortal punishment that the government enacted. All the names listed are facts. Those deaths serve as a parallel to the possible consequence to the registry as does the reference to WWII identifiers.

Although there are four John Doe in the lawsuit, I will focus on one – John Doe 3. John Doe 3 had received a Certificate of Rehabilitation as well as had his case expunged. Thus John Doe is no longer a convicted sex offender and was relieved to registration in any jurisdiction. Doe 3 is restored his full rights as a citizen. Doe travels around the world to do his business as a citizen with fully restored rights.

The identifier passed put the Congress and President’s signature on a binding bill to trample upon Doe’s fully restored rights as a Citizen of the United States of America as the bill is written. This bill will negatively affect Doe 3’s commerce as a citizen whose rights were fully restored. But it should speak volumes that the contract with the Judicial Law of California to be adhered to nationally in respect to John Doe 3 has been reneged. This is “ex post facto”, a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences before the enactment of the law.

That exposes punishment in a checkmate move because it reveals the US Government will be hindering John Doe 3’s commerce as a citizen with fully restored rights as declared by the State of California. And because Doe 3’s commerce is affected by the US Government, similarly, Doe 1 shares the same punishment for the right of commerce. Doe 1 is still a registrant. Hence, if punishment exists for Doe 3 (a fully restored citizen), then it must still be punishment for Doe 1 (a registrant) because it affects commerce. Otherwise, it will pose an equal protection case if Doe 3 is relieved and Doe 1 is not as the US Government is now picking winners and losers in commerce. Again, a check mate move.

John Doe 2 is interesting as one of the possible reasons for travel, besides commerce, is for spiritual reasons. This implies the US Government is willing to prevent Doe 2 from travelling for religious reasons. Very interesting as one of the components the US was founded was for freedom of religion.

John Doe 4 is multifaceted as it revealed the state of Hawaii reneged on his original terms, but nonetheless he would still have to have an identifier for being involved with a minor. Now married with foreigner who is unable to visit due to visa problems, the US Government will be an accomplice to denying his right to travel in his right in pursuit of happiness, separating him from his wife. The US Government has made the US a larger prison for Doe 4 as he is prevented from venturing out of the US due to the identifier as well as sharing of information to other governments. Although Doe 4 served probation time, many of us have served behind bars and separated from our loved ones. We served our time, get out from behind bars, and want to be around our families. Yet in Doe 4’s case, the US Government is essentially imprisoning him from his own wife. Yikes!

The identifier is an extension of registration. The plaintiffs show how the identifier will have irreparable harm to each respective plaintiff. Once the identifier has been deemed unconstitutional as well as “Ex Post Facto”, then it will lay siege against the registration as a whole. The registration has already caused deaths, as documented in the lawsuit. The identifier is an extension of that logic.

I haven’t even talked about equal protection amongst other convicts with identifiers or registration.

In short, when this bill was passed and signed by the President of the US, they knowingly acknowledge to disregard California State Law of fully restoring the rights of a citizen as well as declare that one of its residents is no longer a sex offender convict. Then the parallel here is Frank Lindsay.

While the passing of the bill left a mark, it might because it left a mark that Janice and all now have proof as well as standing in their lawsuit. I commend Janice and the four plaintiffs. I commend all of you on this website. If it were not for all of you, I would not have a glimmer of hope.

One thing I don’t understand is how the plaintiffs will counter when it is brought up that the US is not restricting travel at all. No one is being prevented from leaving the US. It is the destination country that is denying entry – something the US has no control over. Furthermore, one can always argue that the Green Notices are nothing more than a collateral consequence of a sex offense conviction. In essence, the notices are akin to your local law enforcement agency sending out notifications to a community that a sex offender is moving in – a process that goes on in many locals in the US.

I’m sure Janice knows exactly how to counter these arguments, but for the life of me I don’t have a clue what they would be.

Steve, not all pedophiles have a lot of victims, and they two have the same low reoffense rate. So if anyone that has not reoffened for 20 years they should get off registry as well .

Not being an attorney by profession, what exact legal arguments will be used (involving prior rulings and precedents) and which specific Latin words apply!, I cannot say. Janice knows these things and can argue appropriately.
But like most people, I can develop thought experiments, analogies, similes, etc. Mike gave the example of “literacy tests” as laws that sort of made sense on their face, but were used for an entirely different and diabolical purpose. Meagan’s Law makes sense to many people as a way for the police to keep tabs on dangerous predators. But as with many laws, the real world application is a horror! If the concentration of effort was to track Level III violent and repeat offenders, you’d be hard pressed to argue against that. But this law, as we know, has morphed into an extreme broad generalization of anyone convicted (or not) of any crime that could, in any sense, be sexual in nature. Like branding an inattentive driver who hits and kills a traffic cop and a guy who executes an officer sitting in his squad car, both “Cop Killers!” Maybe technically true, but pretty damn misleading, don’t you think?!
And for the courts to rule that being on a sex registry is not punishment but simply regulatory is like the gravity defense…”sure I shoved him when we were standing on the roof, but I didn’t kill him – gravity and the hard concrete did!” The US doesn’t deny travel to anyone – that’s for the other countries to determine. “We only tell customs that an evil monster who will rape and kill their women and children is about to cross their border…what they do with that information is entirely up to them!”
Anytime all offenses of any kind are lumped into one broad category, all offenders are then presumed to be the worst of the worst. Regulations, purposed too often for hidden agendas, are guilty most of the time of gross over generalization. This is the inherent unfairness that even the law itself does not permit. A death by other than suicide or accident, will result in charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder. To not adjudicate without looking at the circumstances and calling all cases first degree murder would be insane. But that is exactly what Megan’s Law and passport stamping does.
Having read Janice’s suit, I believe she addresses these issues very well, and I for one, will be sending her money to help the cause.
Sorry for the long rant!

Janice—in your response to the Defendants you specifically (and accurately) state that this lawsuit and motion for PI is not about the SO registry in general but only about the IML and its provisions. If the case is decided in your favor (especially on the ex post facto and due process claims), will that statement preclude the decision from being used to support a new suit against registries in general?

This is the first I am hearing of this law. Can someone provide a reference to the law?

I recently obtained a passport and traveled to the Middle East and India without any obstructions, questions, or otherwise. Previously traveled to Australia, Singapore, and Britain. Upon return to the US, I used the automated kiosk for re-entry and, unlike many others in line, did not get a big “X” on my receipt and was able to walk right through.

Have they started enforcing this law?

A little help?
Sorry to ask for info that everyone on this site appears to know, but…
What is the public registry, I guess as opposed to being an RSO? And a DOJ exemption? How does that work? Also, what is 647.6? Federal or State and where do you find it?
I agree that on return to USA, a little extra hassle is small potatoes, unless you only allowed one hour for your connecting flight. Being denied entry to your travel destination and sent back at the cost of maybe thousands…well.
Maybe US Marshal’s sent HariBol’s info to Dubai and India, but given that it occurred in 2001 and was a misdemeanor, those countries allowed him through. That would be great to know because it means countries are receiving more info than just “registered sex offender is travelling to your country with likely intent to commit crimes” sort of notice that we have heard about. Any first hand info of travel success or failure will enlighten us all.
For my part, I traveled to Ecuador in 2013…no problem. Tried to travel to Colombia in 2015 and customs pulled up Angel Watch on the screen, and sent me home.
Thinking Europe now, so any experiences other than those already mentioned would be most appreciated.

so im confused. if im not on the website and just renew my passport do i have that special mark on it or not