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UPDATED: 50-State Comparison Relief from Sex Offender Registration Obligations

Prepared for the NACDL Restoration of Rights Project. List

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  1. Registry Rage

    A lot of people think Florida is bad, but SC is the WORSE! Zero quality of life… then you die on the registry there.

    • i can't wait to die

      Registry Rage,

      Try being on the hit list and live in Miami (instead of a van by the river it would be a van by the railroad tracks at best) or many other cities your not even allowed to go shopping or live in. St. Cloud, Fl. a public city has banned sex offenders

      • AlexO

        I don’t think a city can outright ban someone. Some cities have tried creating laws with restrictions that effectively ban someone, but that’s for residence purpose. Also, many law suites have helped overturn laws enacted by cities that exceed state laws.

      • Sean

        I have been living with this nightmare of online registration for most of my adult life ..I was eighteen at the time and was drinking and taking my psych meds at the same time . I was not doing anything for sexual gratification but instead claimed to have done so in a misguided effort to convince mental health to send me back to the State Hospital where I had lived for a little over a year as a teenager due to mental health issues (I am Schizo-affecive .). I just wanted to go back to the State Hospital …where I was happy and felt comfortable! At the Start e Hospital I had friends and lots of the staff really liked me! I saw the Doctors regularly and there was no shame in being a kid with severe mental health issues. I made up the crime…it did NOT happen, and it was the most naive and foolish decision I ever made in my life. At the time the 3 strikes law was very new and the legal environment was very strict and draconian…ppl were being struck out for stealing pizza and a host of other non violent crimes.
        County mental health knew what I was trying to do..to go back to the State Hospital..and they said that I was delusional and that no crime had actually been committed . For about a year evrything died down and I moved on with my life! Then I got the idea to impress my ‘normal’ ( non mental health friends) by doing a stupid attempt at a non violent robbery..for which I went to jail for..while I was in jail the authorities ressurected my old claim to have comited a sex offence..suddenly I was looking at ALOT of prison time..The Attempted Robbery alone could have put me away for 8 years but thanks to the way the 3 strikes law was set up at the time the “sex offence” would be double whatever the state would have given me for the sex offence if I took it to court and lost.
        I ended up taking a deal so as to limit my overall prison term. The sex offence was a “Wobbler” meaning it could have been prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony ( I was 18 when I made the claim in the hopes they would put me back in the state hospital ..
        There was no such thing as online registration and the ‘deal’ was made with my public defender telling me that U would only serve 3 years with half if I plead out…my Of told me I would be able to get out and start my life over with a clean slate ..a few years later they came up with a registration scheme that was not online…a short time later it was placed online. and my life was ruined! All this happened 26 years ago…I am now 45 years old. I am also finally in the right psych meds ( Clozerill) and my mental health issues are mostly resolved .
        But I am still suffering under this unjust SOR system. Will this ever end? I have my doubts.

  2. T

    It seems that death is the best way to get off the registry, because as long as you’re living you’re stuck with it and you are in mental bondage until the day you die. This has to change.

  3. ma.concerned.citizen

    This is good information. However, I have no idea what my position for possible relief is. I’m in MA. In mid-2010 I was classified as a level 3. I appealed it, went to court, and was granted a new hearing by SORB. In mid-2011 I was finally classified as a level 2.

    I cannot for the life of me find any information that definitively states how long I have to register for (20 years or life?) and/or if I’m eligible for relief at any point. The laws are vague on it, and I know it’s changed multiple times over the years.

    I have no interest in calling SORB, as I want as little to do with them as possible. Can anyone point me to any specific document or law that states my position?

  4. Timmr

    This is just proof there is no rational basis for registry laws. In Hawaii you have to wait 40 years to prove you are not a danger, in Idaho, it appears you can petition at any time, in California if you have a low level offense you have to prove you are a civic minded saint (did they not know John Wayne Gacy was a model citizen before he was caught?).
    These laws treat us like lead in water, rather than citizens — but without the scientific verification or rights. If we were like lead pipes endangering children, then there would be a more standardized approach to regulating us, like limits on lead in water, and the states would adopt the federal levels based on empirical info. I suppose the officials believe the static 99 is such an empirical test. But there is no Atomic Emission Spectrometry test equivalent for dangerousness in former offenders. Not even close.
    There will never be such a standardized approach, because these laws are more to express the public’s condemnation of sexual deviance than to protect.

    • New Person

      That’s the jist, isn’t it? There lacks consistency in thought of what should land one on the registry as well as length. Look at the age of consent differences. In one state, you’re a registrant. In another, you don’t qualify to be on the registry.

      The term on registration is all based on… well, I dunno. The only expert that has done work on term of supervision is Dr. Hanson. His max was 17 years for the highest levels, not a lifetime.

      Isn’t it ironic that the SCOTUS made us a public safety concern due to a false statistic, created by a non-expert? The extreme has labelled all of us irredeemable. Thus, with the use of this information embedded in judicial, federal law, the country can mistreat all of us as we all lack any constitutional protection.

      As Anonymous Nobody chronicled, California has slowly removed any chances to be removed from the registry via 1203.4 when it once existed. There are no scientific reasons for this.

      Look at the tiered proposal in California, again, it’s not based upon scientific evidence.

      Anyhow, the SCOTUS used bad information in Korematsu case. The SCOTUS lost. Here, the SCOTUS used bad information (how do you not cross-reference an extreme statistic like 80%?!!!!). That alone should prompt a lawsuit. We have Dr. Ira and Tara Ellman’s research work to thank for that!

      • AlexO

        Remember that scene in Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle where they leave their apartment and just down the hall realize they forgot their phones but decided “they’ve gone too far” to rectify the situation? That’s what this feels like. We know what the right thing to do is, but SCOTUS and most of the rest of the law makers would rather have an adventure filled with hijinks based on a very poor decision and information that would otherwise have been easily corrected if they were just not lazy. Now everyone gets to work 10 times as hard.

      • Timmr

        I like that, “I dunno what it does, but we got to have it or else…”. That should be the tag line for registration laws. The legislature has gone too far, now they assumed the role of magic nanny to shield the public of miscreants, guide them crossing the street; they have to continue to hold everone’s hand and watch out for danger — because if someone gets hurt, its all on the super nanny. Mary Poppins, fly away, the kids need to grow up and live in the real world.

  5. Michael

    That list isn’t accurate. It does not account for recent (2016) court decisions in PA for example.

    ….

  6. Ronn Johnson

    I was Sen range to 10yrs of registry in ND upon release to IL with interstate compac after the 10yrs Illinois is has change my sentence to life time registry. Can this be done with no new offense. Don’t original sentence have to be honored?

    • AJ

      @Ronn Johnson:
      Technically, registration is not part of your sentence, it’s a collateral consequence of your conviction. Also, since it’s regulatory, not punitive, the State can change the terms at any time, for virtually any reason. You can thank SCOTUS for that via Smith v. Doe.

  7. Alan Jamison

    I recently graduated a paralegal certificate program and I am intending to challenge some of the unjust laws and restrictions that are currently in place. Stay tuned.

  8. Alan Jamison

    Having just graduated from a paralegal certificate program at a College in Texas, I intend to challenge some of these rulings and findings as well as to raise some new challenges of my own. Stay tuned.

    • CR

      That’s great news, Alan. Please keep us updated with whatever you decide to go challenge.

      In my opinion, the registry itself is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, SCOTUS didn’t see it that way. Here in Texas, applying any law retroactively, civil or criminal, is prohibited by the state constitution, yet somehow they manage to get away with it.

      I think presence and residence restrictions should be challenged. They do not protect the public. There is no evidence that shows that they do.

      Having to show up in person to update your registration information when buying/selling vehicles or when a license plate is changed, or whenever you have a new internet identifier used in conjunction with social media or picture sharing sites, is onerous to the extent of being punitive.

      Requiring annual renewal, in person, of driver’s license is similarly punitive in effect.

      What sort of things did you have in mind to challenge?

  9. Annie Range

    My boyfriend is on the regisry and was condemned to grow up on the registry. I’m doing my own work on figuring out how to get him off of it. He made a couple mistake as a kid that he regrets and has ruined his life. If I can figure out how to abolish the registry I will. I have always thought it was unconstitutional the way it’s set up. And if there proven not to be a danger then they should be allowed around there full families. There also needs to be help for children. Don’t automatically put them on the registry! They need therapy or other forms of punishment. It never should of been made Into a thing.

  10. mary lynn

    Thank God for people like you. I hope you are successful. The registries are cruel punishment based on false statistics.

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