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General News

Sex offender registration statutes are not faring well when subjected to rational basis scrutiny

A gracious reader directed me to a recent article authored by Dr. Melissa Hamilton in the Boston College Law Review entitled Constitutional Law and the Role of Scientific Evidence: The Transformative Potential of Doe v. Snyder, 8 B.C.L. Rev. E. Supp. 34 (2017). In her article, Dr. Hamilton discusses the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s August 2016 decision in Does #1-5 v. Snyder, 834 F.3d 696 (6th Cir. 2016) (Justia). That decision is pertinent to military justice practitioners for a couple of reasons. Full Article

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From the article:

Dr. Hamilton explains further that, in contrast to the Sixth Circuit’s empirical handling of the rationality question in Snyder, the Supreme Court’s rational basis analysis in Smith was troubled:

The Sixth Circuit’s reliance upon empirical research to reject the Supreme Court’s assumption that sex offender registration laws are necessary for public safety has not gone unnoticed.

The Snyder case attacks two of the five factors considering registration is a regulatory scheme due to Public Safety because the recidivism rates were presumed “frightening and high”.

So if the SCOTUS does not review this case, then SCOTUS is in agreement with the Snyder decision. That’s magnanimous because SCOTUS agrees that that Snyder has founded SCOTUS wrong.

This is a good article.

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