Janice’s Journal: The Many Wonders of a 4th Circuit Decision

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rendered an important decision yesterday, Does v. Cooper, that is full of many wonders. We can only hope that this wonder-full decision will serve as a guiding light for additional federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, in the future.

The greatest wonder of the 4th Circuit’s decision was the Court’s insistence that state laws which prohibited some, but not all, registrants from visiting public and private locations must be based upon empirical evidence if those laws could cover locations where people exercise their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion. Such locations include, for example, public parks, public streets, public buildings, and religious institutions. The Court suggested that empirical evidence in support of such laws could include data, social science or scientific research, and legislative findings.

In fact, the Court strongly rejected the assertions of the State of North Carolina that anecdotes, common sense and logic could replace empirical evidence. The Court’s rejection, in fact, emphasized that “(w)ithout empirical data or other similar credible evidence” the State of North Carolina could not justify that its laws were based upon “the State’s legitimate interest in protecting minors from sexual assault.”

Another wonder of the 4th Circuit’s decision is the Court’s determination that one of the laws at issue was overbroad not because it applied to all of the state’s registrants, but because it applied to a smaller group of registrants who had been convicted of a violent sex offense and/or an offense involving a victim less than 16 years old. The Court noted that not all members of even that group “pose a danger to minors or are likely to pose such a danger”.

A third wonder of the 4th Circuit’s decision is the Court’s determination that another of the laws at issue was unconstitutionally vague because “neither an ordinary citizen nor a law enforcement officer could reasonably determine what activity was criminalized”. This part of the decision focused upon language in the law the prohibited registrants from visiting “any place where minors gather for regularly scheduled educational, recreational, or social programs,” without providing examples of such places or other guidance as to what the law requires.

We celebrate the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision and remember fondly a similar decision, People v. Nguyen, in a California state appellate court issued in 2014 that reached a similar conclusion albeit for different reasons. It is that decision which helped us, along with 31 cases filed in federal court, to eliminate virtually all presence restrictions in the State of California.

Our holiday hope is that all states in our great nation will soon follow these precedents and eliminate all laws that restrict where registrants may visit. This is particularly important at a time of year when the existence of such laws punish not only registrants but their loved ones by keeping them apart.

— by Janice Bellucci / all Janice’s Journal entries

Published Opinion

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All the while my life goes slowly dimmer. Whilst you argue back and forth on this and that here is the truth.
I committed a crime. I paid society and the State for the crime under a contract of law that was my conviction. After my probation and having used that time to improve myself my thinking my heart and having asked GOD to guide me and having committed no further crime I was discharged from probation. A couple of years later I was granted a certificate of rehabilitation and my firearms rights were restored. I lived all the years until 2004 as a responsible person who worked, who loved his family & friends, who respected others. In 2004 I was forced through an unjust arrest for failure to register to a law that did not exist at that time of my conviction to register as a sex offender. Since then I have become mostly a man with ZERO LEGAL representation or VOICE. I walk among you everyday and would protect you and protect the badges I see. But you care not to protect my constitutional rights. I have lost all meaningful income. I have not been to a dentist in 15 years. I have no health insurance. I have only a small group of friends. I have lost and suffered in ways that you take for granted every single day. I have Honor. I have Respect. But the Constitution is DEAD. The land of the free and the brave is an illusion propped up for financial power mongers to steal your inheritance. It is a land full of corruption and political power mongers that do not care for the Nation or THE PEOPLE. Where is the attorney that will represent this man who has worked so hard to rebuild? Where is the attorney that will stand up for my rights? I’ll tell you where NO FKN WHERE cause it is a political landmine and not good for your career. The Legal System only works for the rich. The legal system has been designed to destroy those whom failed and committed sexual crime. My crime is so long ago. I rebuilt my life so many times. But the federal government through its bullshit laws with ZERO clinical data and actually flying in direct opposition to the real clinical data wanted to destroy me. While all of you sheep were being deceived via the sex offender registry and its promise to save children the power mongers devalued your real estate, they stole your retirements and devalued your investments. And magically almost ZERO indictments or sentences have come from the grand swindle. While you sheep sit in fear of the pedophile that is lurking in every proverbial bush yet another politician builds a career or improves it at the expense of the fallen. As you have sat mesmerized by the lies and disinformation regarding sex crimes your nation has been all but run into the ground. Large swaths of manufacturing has been exported to other nations. Foreign nationals and companies have bought up large portions of our nation while you drool over the nightly news and its pure biased bullsht.
I have learned much from you. When I asked GOD to save me I gave him permission to use me to see the world through my eyes and so he has. He changed me, healed me so I do not need or ask for your forgiveness. The Lord made me a TIGER and so I live with the spirit of a TIGER. You can put all manner of labels upon me but you can not change me or GOD. I am his child and in the end you will hear my VOICE.
Lord Hear my prayer. Let all those whom hold power and make laws and whom do so against our constitution let them and all their seed suffer. Let those whom swore to uphold the truth only to use a position of power to smite the weak let them feel your wrath. Let my suffering be avenged Lord Hear My Prayer.