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Janice’s Journal: Hope on the Horizon?

Is there hope on the horizon?  The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in Nichols v. United States, a case that pitted the federal government against a registrant who left the state of Kansas in order to move permanently to the Philippines.  The government argued before the Court that the registrant violated the law by failing to notify Kansas of his departure before he actually departed.

That argument is not hope.  Instead, hope came in the form of pointed questions and statements made by several Supreme Court justices during the oral argument.

For example, Justice Anthony Kennedy quizzed the government’s attorney about the meaning of the word “current” and asked how Kansas could be considered the registrant’s “current” residence when he in fact already resided in the Philippines.  And surprisingly, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the fray by suggesting that a 10-year sentence for violation of the law was too severe.

The comments made by the justices yesterday could be a signal that the Court will not uphold the government’s decision.  That, too, brings hope.  That the Court will allow the registrant to avoid a 10-year prison sentence and return to the Philippines.

Such a decision is not guaranteed, however, and if it is rendered, it may or may not be a harbinger of things to come.   Why?  Because also during yesterday’s oral argument, a few justices made derogatory comments about and/or references to registrants.

For example, Justice Samuel Alito uttered the words of most concern when he used the terms “sex offender” and “pedophile” interchangeably.  He also said that Congress’ passage of the International Megan’s Law “evidenced a belief that the United States should not be exporting its pedophile problems to other countries.”

Compared to Alito’s comments, the comments of Justice Elena Kagan were not as strident, but they were still offensive.  She said “when sex offenders leave the country permanently the attitude might be like, good luck and good riddance.”

Yes.  There is hope on the horizon.  There is also doubt.  Doubt that the U.S. Supreme Court will correct its mistake, Smith v. Doe, which determined in 2003 that the requirement to register is merely administrative and not punishment.  The Court may be given an opportunity to correct that mistake if and when it reviews a challenge to the International Megan’s Law.  Will the Court then decide that a conspicuous, unique identifier added to a registrant’s passport is merely administrative or will the Court recognize that a unique identifier on a passport is indeed punishment?


SCOTUS: Justices skeptical about government’s interpretation of sex-offender-registration law (Analysis)

Read all of Janice’s Journal

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My hope is not so much in the courts system, alone. It is in that we have facts and the truth and time is our friend. Government’s lies and hatred to toward us are becoming more apparent, everyday and this will erode their legal foundation for SOR, AWA, IML and all other SO laws and controls. What the Government has is garbage and more time passes, garbage stinks. One day, the courts will want to get rid of this foul odor.

time! Statutorily without a risk assessment, I wont get off the fed’s hit list until I’m 70. I guess I have two reasons to be happy on my 70th bday: 1) Sorna 2)I lived long enough to make it to 70.

I don’t think Janice’s post is false hope. I think she offered an opinion of some hope, which is always better than no hope which is what many of us have. I also read the entire transcript yesterday and I think she is correct on both the positives and negatives. I only wish Justice Clarence Thomas had spoken again to help us determine how he thinks. I think the plaintiff in this case will win, but it’s really not a win for any of us as the confusion in the law in his situation can be easily fixed by congress for future cases. As SCOTUS said, with IML, this notification of travel or residing in another country issue may now be moot as all Registered Citizens will required to give a 21 day notice.

Well, Harry, time supplies one other thing to us: more registrants. Each day, the criminal system adds more people to the rolls of “sex offender”. And each of these individuals – just like you and I – have families, friends, coworkers…..people who will understand how all these laws are unjust torment.

going way back to my beginnings on this thing, adding more to the rolls has always been my hope for myself. At some point we’re going to become an expensive proposition and budgets will prevail! and yes outcry’s of the many will aide in that, as well

It’s unbelievable that justices on the SCOTUS take such cavalier attitudes toward their duties and toward parties involved in such high-level legal disputes. What reckless attitude leads them to think they can pre-judge which people are throw-always vs. which may be worthy of justice?

For some reason this passage stuck with me in my reading of the transcript (page 33):

JUSTICE KAGAN: So you can say well, he’s supposed to keep it current, and ­­– and that’s right. He is ­­– he should keep it current, because we would all like sex registry. But the statute provides very specific details about what it means to keep it current, and it seems to me he has conformed with every single one of those requirements.

I’m not sure if she was just putting words into Mr. Gannon’s mouth, but the line “because we would all like sex registry” suggests to me that Justice Kagan is FOR a registry. Am I reading too much into this?

What we need are programs on 60 Minutes and similar programs, where the truths not the myths are exposed. SCOTUS is not immune from ignorance. They are not stupid, and in fact are very intelligent but they have been exposed to the myths like everyone else in America. We now have 20 years of data that we must find a way to disperse to the public. I have written to 60 Minutes but that is just one call for investigation. The facts are all we have to change the oppressive conditions that we now face.

Mike – I’d be interested in the response you receive from 60 Minutes. I sent a request to John Oliver about a potential subject for his show and was told by HBO that they don’t take ideas from the general public. You need an agent. Not sure why they do this – maybe afraid of lawsuits saying they stole the idea from somebody?

In any case, we should try to get some kind of publicist or media liaison. I would be willing to contribute to a fund for such an effort.

Very interesting I have thought many times about 60 minutes, however I am “in the business” and I’m guessing whoever they talked to it was a PA and not understanding Mike’s email. It almost seems like they thought Mike was a producer. Not sure if Mike actually mentioned he is a RC. If he didn’t they are assuming something. Somebody has to PROMOTE Janice as the main focus of the story. “Civil Rights Attorney fights for despised group” that’s a story.

I received no response. It is dismaying. The words used by Alito and Kagan illustrate the ignorance of even the Supreme Court. Again it is not because they are stupid, it is because that they, like nearly of of the people in this country are uninformed.

I agree that the vast majority of people in this country are uninformed about what is going on. They just assume that the Constitution and our “system” in general is doing its job.

The only people that seem to have a clue are the people who keep cooking up bizarre laws and the rocket surgeons who try to obey them. (And of course, a handful of brave souls like Janice.)

Many attorneys and judges (not just the Supremes) can’t keep up.

We need a multi-pronged effort to build awareness. Unfortunately, as RCs, we can write letters and comment on blogs, but we can’t get a topic onto 60 Minutes or John Oliver.

I made the suggestion to John Oliver on a site specifically for that purpose, an HBO site to have people propose topics. You don’t have to be an agent, just pick a HBO user name and password. The guy probably told you that to put you off. I don’t understand this hesitation to look into what goes on with sex offender issues. The are good stories there. It’s just not rational.

Timmr, I made the suggestion on the same site you did. I signed up as well. I didn’t mention the topic – just said I had a really good one that was both controversial and absurd and would benefit from John’s treatment.

Did you get a reply from HBO? Their reply to me was formulaic. I think John Oliver and Co. would do a fantastic job with the topic, if they knew about all the craziness. He’s great with highlighting absurdities, and he’s also done a lot of shows on criminal justice.

I wish I could contact some of the people I know who could probably make an impact, but I don’t want to tell them I’m an RC.

I do think having some sort of media relations person would help us a great deal. This person would need connections, credentials, experience, and non-RC status.

No, I didn’t get a response. But I was thinking today, how about approaching PBS Frontline? They do some off the public radar documentaries. I would like them to investigate how a few high profile horrendous crimes lead to the government’s extreme response, resulting in endless sex offender laws and sweeping up hundreds of thousands of low level offenders into the registry.
Approaching a rather narrower audience one might try Link TV or Free SpeechTV. I remember they had a sympathetic segment about an attorney who committed suicide after being “stung” on the show “To Catch a Predator.” They showed how, as the cameras rolled, the TV crew and police showed an obvious callousness to the fate of the man who shot himself in his house as the camera crews were attempting to enter his house. And then there is the Intercept. They might be interested in that Wikileaks document Robert was talking about. I agree it would be valuable to have a dedicated documentary film maker or public relations person pursuing the sociological avenue, who was like Janice professional and non-RSO.

Thanks Janice for any words of hope…

I really believe Kagan’s comments were not derogatory towards our group, although it seems that way, I feel she was mocking the law almost like “this law is stupid why would you care so much that they leave”. I am only guessing but it just seems way to cavalier to make a comment disparaging a group of people especially a person in her position.

Nichols vs United States and CA RSOL vs United States are two different apples in two different buckets. Nichol’s is dealing with technical issues, were as CA RSOL will be directing focus to the roots of the apple tree. The SCOTUS had some appearance of favoring IML superficially, however, when the structure of the law is expose and showing the rot, this could educate these Justices to the really of the dirty water that IML is floating in and could direct attention to all of the other rotten apples, such as, AWA and all other SOR base laws. By the time IML gets to SCOTUS, there will be, at least, another player on board. What is encouraging, that the SCOTUS did have a, un-usual, RC lean in Nichol’s.

yeah I found Aleto to be the antagonist throughout

When I read the various comments of the justices my immediate reaction was the thought, “so much for a SCOTUS that rules on the constitution. Oh, and maybe some facts.” Instead, their rulings are obviously based on their own prejudices, political power groups, and public opinion (read stupidity).

I just have to pray that somehow a small spark of correctness, constitutionality, and courage will ignite in the Supreme Court, and will prevail.
Hopefully Yours,

I too have hope. It’s just my nature, I suppose. I think that the only realistic way of correcting the injustices in the registry system will be found in the courts. As we’ve seen many times, very few politicians would ever vote to lessen the severity of registration.

We hope that California will adopt a tiered registry. But this is very unlikely without judicial intervention. Can you imagine the politicians response to newspaper and radio reports that thousands of ex will-offenders be instantly dropped from Megan’s website. They will run from it as fast as they can.

Look at New York. The NY legislature keeps moving the time low-level offenders will drop off and now they’re poised to move the goalpost once again so as not to appear soft on crime or unwilling to protect children.

The next President will likely nominate 2 or 3 SCOTUS justices. I’ve almost always voted Republican (from the libertarian perspective) but no more. Trump/Cruz/Rubio would mean 2 or 3 more justices who would rubber stamp any registration requirement regardless of how onerous or ill-conceived. I almost hope Trump is the Republican nominee, because he might sink the GOP and cost them the Senate as well as the White House.

Our salvation will be found in court, and I believe Hillary will promote more judges that are willing to consider the effects of laws, not just narrow interpretations that harm real people and families. At least I hope so.

“Look at New York. The NY legislature keeps moving the time low-level offenders will drop off and now they’re poised to move the goalpost once again so as not to appear soft on crime or unwilling to protect children.”

Where do you get that assumption that NY is poised to extend the time again for Level 1 Offenders?

@ PK, if you search Google News using the keyword “offenders”, you will see news articles on what they’re trying to do to delay offender from coming off their registry.

I searched “offenders”; “sex offenders”; “ny sex offenders” and I couldn’t find any recent news about this.

I think what you are referring to were news articles from January and February, about Level 1’s coming of the NY Registry.

This issue was discussed at length on another Thread of this Blog.

A few lawmakers with sense realized that Level 1’s have an extremely low recidivism rate.

They have not passed any legislation, and the bills that were introduced to increase the time from 20 years, died basically.

If you could provide anything specific, about a new Law that has passed, or a Bill that they are talking about passing, I would love to see it

will the registration be able to return to Philippines? Did they ban all registrant from Philippines?

That’s going to be difficult for him. He would probably have to take up a civil action regarding his immigration issue in the Philippines.

It turns out he violated Kansas law for not informing the state he was leaving, not federal law. So when his federal conviction is overturned, he will probably have to face that.

Double jeopardy??

People can be charged federally and separately and through the state. This happens all the time.

No, we are talking about returning to the Philippines. Since Philippines banned all RSO/RC from visiting the Philippines he will not be able to go back if he is clear of all charges.

He may be allowed to re-enter the Philippines if he is allowed to take up a civil action regarding his immigration issue in the Philippines.

I know that 1 other country is in the process of deciding this very question regarding RSO’s being denied Visas, despite the fact that they are married to a national, and have had a prior Visa within the Country.

I want to remain silent for now as to which country is in that process, until I find out about the resolution of those cases. I have a vested interest in those cases.

I personally would prefer that the US government not only stop blocking Former Citizen Detainees from leaving and renouncing their citizenship, I prefer that they would assist us in leaving the US, for good.

Would that not truly make American children safer in the eyes of politicians?

I am confident Iran could make good use of my knowledge of US Naval operations in the gulf once I am an Iranian citizen and no longer officially an American Pig Dog. They would make sure I am not hiding behind camels to rape children too.

At least I would have a purpose in life beyond festering hate and disgust for all things American.

So maybe there is hope. Hope that Americans will push their legislators to help us leave instead of forcing us to stay.

Very interesting arguments by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her female colleagues on the abortion case the Supreme Court is hearing now:

Some of these apply to IML, for example:

“As I understand it, this is one of the lowest­-risk procedures, and you give a *horrible* from Pennsylvania, but absolutely nothing from Texas,” Ginsburg said. “As far as we know, this is among the most safe, the least-risk procedures — an early­-stage abortion.”

(Side note – I think the term “Parade of Horribles” is perfect for our situation:

From Wikipedia:

“A parade of horribles is also a rhetorical device whereby the speaker argues against taking a certain course of action by listing a number of extremely undesirable events which will ostensibly result from the action.[4] [5] Its power lies in the emotional impact of the unpleasant predictions; however, a parade of horribles can potentially be a fallacy if one or more of the following is true:

The action doesn’t actually change the likelihood of the “horribles” occurring. The “horribles” could be unlikely to occur even if the action is taken, or they could be likely to happen anyway even if the action is avoided. This is an appeal to probability, and can be viewed as a non sequitur insofar as the action has no causal relation to the “horribles”.
The argument relies solely on the emotional impact of the “horribles” (an appeal to emotion).
The “horribles” are not actually bad.
The “horribles” have a low probability of occurring when compared to the high probability of good occurring.
A parade of horribles is a type of hyperbole, because it exaggerates the negative results of the action, arguing that “If we do this, ultimately all these horrible things will happen”.

Back to Ginsburg….

Then she pressed: *”So what was … the problem that the legislature was responding to* that it needed to improve the facilities for women’s health?”

“What’s the need” for the law, Sotomayor wondered, that *”the slightest health improvement is enough to impose on hundreds of thousands of women” in the great state of Texas the burden of traveling hundreds of miles to reach an abortion provider*. Kagan piled on with *facts and figures* on how Texas women today are farther from a clinic than they were prior to H.B.2’s passage.

If only they would do this level of argumentation with IML!

Good looking out Friend of RSOL

The Stone you have brought to light can and should be taken to build upon the foundation of the Just or Injustice placed on the shoulders of the People.

If I remember right RBG voted that registering is punishment in Smith v Doe. Its the others we need to cross over

I would like Justice John Roberts to complete this thought to completion:

And surprisingly, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the fray by suggesting that a 10-year sentence for violation of the law was too severe.

…a 10 year sentence for violation of the law was too severe… A PUNISHMENT?

I think this statement, or rather, incomplete sentence is huge! Why? Punishment can vary in degrees. A 10 year sentence for a violation of the law – except even then, Justice John Roberts was incomplete in thought. A 10 year sentence for violation of “an administrative process” is not a law.

After getting sentenced, one can get sentenced to prison or fine. If prison, then the person can go to prison or be sent on parole/probation in lieu of prison. If on probation, violation of those terms can send you to prison. All that is punishment. Those probation terms are not law, but administrative items. Those terms are not similar to those no longer on probation. Therefore, it is not law.

Failing to register does not apply to all Americans. So registration is a special condition, not a law. It was deemed administrative… but to what ends? How does this differ from Parole/Probation terms and conditions made for a specific person or group. Violating terms and conditions puts one into prison. That is punishment. Whether half a day detention or a 10 year sentence, the result is punishment.

IMO, Justice John Roberts has created his own contradiction. Is a 10 year sentence a punishment? Can an administrative process punish? The only administration process that can punish is called Parole/Probation. There is no in between. Once a person has served their time, then they should have the ability to be integrated into society. Registration is placed on top of the state’s judgment of punishment. Violating terms on Probation, you go to jail. Violating terms on Registration (all varying from county to county, state to state), you go to jail.

I am missing something here.

But then this goes back to a very, very select group who only have to register. It avoids registering every convict. Is there a law that says a DUI failing to register will put one in a 10 year prison sentence. Or a burglar? So this isn’t a law that applies to all convicts? It’s administrative for a particular crime – so probation/parole.

Too severe… a punishment. A less severe punishment is still punishment. Justice John Roberts contradicted himself.

Right to travel cases provide a final example of the chilling effect strategy.
The seminal case in this line is Aptheker v. Secretary of State, in which the
Court invalidated a statute prohibiting any member of a Communist
organization from applying for or using a passport.134 Aptheker sounds very
much like a First Amendment case because the statute conditioned the right to
obtain a passport on surrendering the First Amendment right to join a political
party. But the Court did not hold the statute invalid under the First
Amendment; it found that the statute unconstitutional because it prohibited too
much travel.135 The statute “swe[pt] too widely and too indiscriminately” and
was “supported [only by] a tenuous relationship between the bare fact of
organizational membership and the activity Congress sought to proscribe.”136
In sum, the statute was substantially overbroad, and thus facially invalid.

To uphold the statute as applied to the party
leaders, and leave the statute in place until a better claimant brought suit,
would chill the constitutional rights of absent party members to travel. The
statute would chill all manner of travel raising no legitimate security concerns,
such as a trip “to visit a relative in Ireland, or to read rare manuscripts in the
Bodleian Library of Oxford University,”141 as well as all travel by unknowing
or uninvolved Communist Party members whose relationship to the party was
tenuous at best. To prevent this chilling effect on travel, the Court allowed the
top-ranking members to raise the constitutional rights of all affected party
members, and invalidated the statute on its face as overbroad, thus preempting
case-by-case adjudication. The chilling effect strategy is plainly at work

I won’t risk a few thousand dollars on a trip to another country, under a vague threat of being turned away, as would I am sure many others under these circumstances. It chills the desire to travel (which I am sure the government thinks is a good thing), especially of those who are on fixed incomes.

From those comments cited, I don’t see hope they could rule in a manner that might provide some wiggle room and something for registrants to use. I see it as suggesting they are looking at this case as one to decide on very precise and limited specifics only, which would make it applicable only to Kansas because they will decide on the basis of something no other state specifically has.

For instance, I do not presume that other states have a 10-year prison sentence or longer for failing to tell you have moved out of the country. Maybe that is 4 years elsewhere, or something else. And mind you, that 10 years might be too long doesn’t mean that guy will not be going to prison, he might get five years. So, the whole law goes down because 10 years is so long as to be cruel and unusual punishment. Then the lawmakers pass a new bill with a shorter sentence, and nothing is gained. I see nothing here to suggest the justices will rule that a registrant can’t be forced to go in and de-register if they move out of state or, as in california, simply move anywhere. That kind of win would be a terrible waste of resources and distraction from something else that might really go somewhere. We will see.

The problem here, as Janice has rightly pointed out, is that the so-called “liberal” justices are not that. That should be no surprise. In fact, the more oriented the women are to the women’s movement, the more likely they are to be against us and support registration. The women’s movement is behind a lot of this crap that has come down. The woman’s movement gets called liberal, but it is anything but that. (And please do not misconstrue my comments. I am 100% in favor of complete gender equality and good and respectful relations too. I like woman; I don’t like what those leading the women’s movement have been pushing through. They say “equality” but they have not been pushing equality, they’ve simply been pulling the wool over people’s eyes.)

(That is even a pet peeve of mine. There are no liberal justices on the high court, there are only fanatically deranged right wingers, a moderate-leaning right winger — that is farther right than a moderate — and the rest are all moderates, yes, even Ginsberg. It is decades since we have had a liberal on the court. And I have been telling all this to people for decades).

As for the passport issue, sorry, I appreciate the concern, but to think the mark on the passport is the problem is missing the point and real issue. Mark or not, they are tracking you all over the world, they are sending info about –not clear, at least certain offenders, but that is more than the rap sheet, I think they will be sending a rap sheet minus that notice. That rap sheet being sent is all that matters. They are creating another checkpoint for registrants — when they apply for or renew their passports (you’re going to love sitting in the passport office with some guy and having to tell all about your offense and why you should not be looked at as a pervert, because he is asking) — and running a background check on them that other people are not subject to, all those agencies thus being informed of what you are doing — at least the state — that’s where they have to go under the new system to get the record, the FBI no longer holds records, they have only an index listing — possibly also your local police. (BTW, the FBI doesn’t even handle its records any more, that has been outsourced to the private Western Goals, a company linked to the fanatically right wing John Birch Society.)

The bottom line is, all registrants will be undermined by this. To simply focus on a mark on the passport is meaningless, as all registrants will still be just as subject to this, and the info will go so the mark won’t matter, they already will know.

We need to take a deadly strike at the foundation of the law, not just some loose hair.

Oh, I mention, for those not aware, the California border with Mexico is being locked up. They’re going to start checking everyone leaving the country, show passport or whatever they require, possibly just citizenship. What’s new about what I’m saying is it is going to be done with even pedestrians walking across the border now, you will be checked on the way out. No registrant will even be able to cross to Tijuana without getting checked and found out. So, any thought of using a clean passport to walk across and fly to another country from Tijuana so as to avoid all the crap otherwise is being blocked. And the emphasis seems to be Tijuana Airport, so I’m thinking this is aimed directly at registrants who had this idea.

correct me if I’m wrong but it is my understanding pedestrians, unless there is a long line, are 100% screened–you can get across unchecked driving through???

What you say about pedestrians is my understanding. It is not clear what they are doing immediately about those driving — but I certainly expect they will nail them too eventually even if not immediately.

I’m also not clear if they will let you leave from any location if you don’t have a passport. With the new bridge at one location near the Tijuana airport, the US is requiring a passport. Until now, Americans did not need a passport to cross into Mexico, you don’t need that until you get 60 miles in, and even then you can get a visitor’s permit rather than use a passport.

With the passport requirement and what they are doing with passports re registrants, they can now interfere with all registrants who want to cross into Mexico.

I drove in and out of Mexico at the San Ysidro crossing last week, and without incident. I did have to go to secondary which is expected, and that took all of 15 minutes this time. I have made monthly trips fr the past 5 years.

Sadly the more there are of us the better . soon we will reach a million , hopefully we will become “unwieldy” and enlightened LE budgeters will start making changes . We can help ourselves to become more unwieldy . It will be the “interest stories” that will drive this , kids sexting and becoming RSOs , the pretty young teacher given 15yrs for having sex with her HS student, the RSO for skinny dipping etc .
I am a new RSO and I have to participate in the group therapy for another year and a half. Most of us on this site are somewhat intelligent , my education on 290 started the day I found this site . So far I have encountered probably 20 other RCs in these meetings and shockingly everybody is clueless about this site . Lately I have been handing out 3×5 cards hand written that say.

For the best information on
Your situation go online to

Participate and support

the group leader thought I was handing out my phone number until I gave her a card.
If any of you are on Parole you should enlighten your classmates in this manner
the other important thing we can do is when you discover events that would relate to our issues , in the most civil manner participate in the comment section . We know what to say and we know how to say it and its all about re educating people .

A sex offender/ child molester was arrested in Cambodia for soliciting families for sec with their children. He was sent back to L.A. where he was also charged with failing to register.

It’s S.O.B.S like this that make life impossible for the rest of us to get things changed.It gives them a solid reason for B.S. laws. I want to go to L.A. and chop this guy’s nuts off myself.

I have to ask, because I feel like people here are preaching to the choir and not much is changing to any substance of the requirement(s). Is there a better place to post our opinions that will actually change things, if poster’s were to point out facts in a clear concise way, that might cause a second look at this current approach. If the facts showed the way society has reacted and taken action; installing a sex offender registry for life, denigrating all offenders equally, to the point of making them unemployable or house able, which creates more potential danger to society, etc. Is there a forum or public place to voice opinions that would influence change; based on the facts?
Is society interested in making it a safer place, or are they content with the political dog and pony show which professes it’s obscure success and (false) reduction in crime?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x