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AL: As some states reconsider sex-offender registries, an Alabama resident argues the state’s for-life requirements are too much

A lawsuit before a federal appeals court may have broad implications for Alabama’s sex offender laws, which some critics claim are the harshest in the United States.

Montgomery resident Michael McGuire is suing the state of Alabama for relief from the residency restrictions, travel limits, sex offender registration and other punishments that accompany a conviction of a sexual offense. The case is before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Full Article

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  1. Registry Rage

    “If I can help to protect just one citizen, I call that a success.” — Sheriff Matthew Wade

    Yeah, they love to play “if it saves one life/child” card! That really is a weak-ass, tone-deaf, out-of-touch and oblivious argument to begin with. Even if “public notification” DID save just one child, it wouldn’t cancel out the untold, undue and irreparable harm being done to almost a million people!

    In no way shape, form or fashion does the registry “safeguard” human life – it DESTROYS it.

    What the registry TRIES to prevent is NOT possible. When are they going to give up this safety illusion pipe dream??? Society is actually being done a disservice.

    • Alabama, still hearing banjos

      Then they turn the blind eye to the family member, et al who are in the large percentage who are known or trusted to the victim because they focus outward, not inward, which is par for our country because nothing ever happens inside our borders.

    • Follow the $$$

      By that logic, we should just put all drug dealers and people convicted of DUI on a registry with the same restrictions and public humiliation. They cannot live near schools, day care, parks or bars or liquor stores. All people since 1949 convicted will be forced to register retroactively regardless of when they were convicted. They will have a mark put on their passport so other countries will feel warm and fuzzy that no drug or DUI tourism is happening on their soil.

      Because if it saves just one child then our constitution can suck it.

      • anonymous in lala land

        Well thanks alot, another list for me to be on…lol. Well I did have a DUI in 1980 when I was a teenager. So yes, I guess I need to be on the DUI offender list since although I have not re-offended for almost 40 years, I could be a danger to drive drunk again at any moment and I do live near a school, day care, park, bar and liquor store.

        • kind of living

          @ Anonymous ,,, don’t worry they would turn that into the party info site , where the haters gather to go mess with RC’s , have a good night

  2. AJ

    “For every statistic that points one way, you can get a statistic and point the other way,” [Sen. Cam] Ward said. “From what I can tell from people I talk to around Alabama, they are sympathetic to things like expungement on property crimes and they want to reduce recidivism, but for the most part, I haven’t heard anyone saying I wish sex offenders would catch a break.”
    Umm, no, there aren’t statistics pointing the other way, Sen. Ward. And I’m guessing if you ask people if they think arsonists should catch a break, or murderers, or embezzlers, they’d reply the same way as for RCs. What a stupid statement.

    “These people are raping people knowing that they’re going to have to register as a sex offender, and if that doesn’t scare them, they shouldn’t be mad about the punishment.”
    Let’s take a look at what this woman said. First, I doubt any rapist has the consequence of registration in mind when committing. Second, if the rapist were to think about that aspect, it may well become rape and murder…at least with murder, there’s no registry and probably won’t have a life sentence, either. But most importantly in this statement is that “these people…shouldn’t be mad about the punishment.” Aha…punishment. Hmm, so even though the government swears up and down it’s not punishment, this rape victim sees it as such. I’m thinking if good old Sen. Ward talked a bit more to people around Alabama, he may well find that the public in general views the registry and restrictions as punishment. But we wouldn’t want that truth out, would we Senator?

    Good thing we have a rational, understanding person in charge of the US DoJ, hailing from Alaba….oh wait, never mind.

    • Alabama, more banjos

      I have been to Montgomery numerous times and can say this is the prevailing attitude there unfortunately. If it is not this Sen, it will be another or some other elected official. They don’t know how to do their homework like you suggest, that would require work, hard work at that. Whether you are from UA or LA (Upper or Lower Alabama), it makes no different with Cleatus

    • Lovecraft

      Ah, but there is a statistic that does point the other way Senator. Maybe not specifically to what he was talking about in that one sentence, but to the point about reducing recidivism registry rage brought up. There are many examples (at least one was peer reviewed) of laws such as residency and premise off the top of my head that have been proven to actually increase recidivism. So even if a law saved 1 or 2 kids, its going to hurt many more. People get desperate when they have no job, place to live, friends, family, or future. I imagine for some of those, prison looks better to them then living on the outside if you can call it living. Its nothing all of us dont already know, but just throwing that in there. Its a basic fact of life, the more you take away from someone the less they have to lose.

  3. New Person

    Did Alabama run research work on their registry program to definitively state whether or not the registry is working?

    All this guy and his lawyer need to do is replicate what Snyder did in Michigan. Actually, all he needs to do is cite Snyder. But I’d like the lawyer to inquire and emphasize how the state of Alabama has been scientifically reviewing the registry.

    The convicted served their time. But the police and other people want EXTRA punishment levied on the convict? Well, that doesn’t make any sense.

    Macguire’s lawyer stated this:
    “He feels like he’s in prison again, a prison without bars,” said Phil Telfeyan, McGuire’s lawyer. “He is restricted where he can live, where he can take jobs. It’s like being a permanent prisoner.”

    Registration isn’t punishment. 13th amendment prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude unless to punish a crime.

    Sounds so simple to destroy the registry… if only people can conceive that registration is today’s version of slavery/involuntary servitude. A free person that is not paid to do compelled service to the state – a permanent prisoner without bars (being under custody to the state after completion of punishment custody is still being under custody).

    • Bob

      Indeed, this will most likely replicate Snyder and even if the attorney doesn’t cite Snyder for this case which will be quite odd if they don’t, the 11th US circuit court of appeals is very well aware of the Snyder case and has been already influenced by it. They themselves cited Snyder from a case in Florida in a reversal.

  4. Alabama, banjo on my knee

    Research?! What is that??!! (Sips more moonshine while lookin’ at ya from under a straw hat and in overalls)

    Your point about Snyder is a good one. How many other atty’s follow closely cases like this or read websites like this for info to use going forward? Sure there as to be some inflow of intel to them from external sources staying current?

  5. Driver's License banjo

    Of course, how can you take the article that serious when the writer ignores the fact that AL is NOT the only state to stamp DL’s with SO on them (Research? What is that?!). We know currently Oklahoma (where the wind blows….) does it as does FLA (the flaccid state which we all just read about the poor lady who did not check her license carefully at the DOL (or DMV/MVD if you prefer) and walked out with it stamped on hers where it was noticed at Mouseworld!) Sooo, the Anniston Army Depot must be leaking something in the water, air or both down there because it is impacting the state congressional members as well as the local press.

    I have read Mr. McGuire’s story before. He was a musician in WDC for years and has another article detailing his situation.

    • Lake County

      I love your response banjo. I thought the story was lame too. And yes, who doesn’t notice every word posted on their Drivers License? That is unbelievable. I would believe that they noticed the error and thought “is there a way I can make money off this mistake”. But of course I’m glad this person made it an issue.

    • Other states DLs

      Just read that AZ and LA also mark the DL with SO while DE uses a Alpha code on theirs to note the same.

      • AJ

        So does AL’s evil twin, MS. (

        I wonder if it would be beneficial to become a SD resident, a la most RVers. You’d have to comply with both SD’s and your home state’s RC rules, but maybe could dodge the license issue? Just brainstorming, so please refrain from flaming and trolling.

        • Connect four!! (states and their DLs that is)

          Well there is a good chunk of the Bible Belt right there between LA, MS, AL and FL. Goes to show the pattern of the Bible Belt, the land of forgiveness, still living as if the Old Testament was the rule of today instead of the New Testament we are actually under. TSK TSK TSK

          Wonder what they’re hidin’? Hey, still hear banjos…..

  6. G4Change

    “…and the only state that puts the sex offender stamp on a driver’s license.”

    That’s not true.

    • John

      I live in Florida, we don’t have the literal words sex offender stamped on our license, but instead we have a numerical statute code at the bottom right corner of the license ” in small print”.

      Thank goodness it’s like that because I deal with a few work related places that require me to show my ID. I would be so embarrassed if it were the other way around with the words sex offender stamped there. Of course, I wouldn’t want any type of label in my license or anywhere else for that matter.

      • AJ

        I wonder if there’s any compelled-speech claim regarding having such a tag on a license. I’m guessing a court would say that nobody is forcing you to have a driver license, so you’re opting into however the State decides to issue them. However, maybe one could argue that there is no nexus between “sex offender” and driving. The information has no bearing on my being credentialed to operate a certain class of motor vehicle. The only apparent purpose is to inform the person viewing the license of the licensee’s criminal offense.

        Thankfully, I have a Passport Card that’s good for 9 years (snuck in under the wire) and I can use that once they brand me on my license at renewal. If anyone asks, I just say it’s to reduce the chance of identity theft.

        I fear the “it’s purely up to you whether or not you opt in” is the argument that will be (has been?) used regarding IML.

        • @AJ - being discussed right now

          There is an ongoing case in OK about the very topic of compelled speech. It is in the Tenth Circuit right now and NARSOL joined as requested. Here is the link:

        • AJ

          Thanks for this info and URL. From reading the amicus brief, it doesn’t appear the case has caught the 10th’s eye quite yet. NARSOL asks for the 10th to overturn the District Court’s dismissal. I couldn’t find the actual appeal to the 10th, and would appreciate someone sharing a URL if it’s found.

          I do like that NARSOL uses US Gov’t data and quotes from the OK SC in their brief. The Gov’t will have a hard time arguing against its own data! (Though we know they sure try.)

        • kind of living

          @AJ ,,, great link , thank you

        • AJ

          @kind of living
          Twas someone else who posted the link. It was merely aimed at me. But yes, a great link nonetheless.

        • Timmr

          Heck, the whole registry is compelled speech. You have to go down to the station one to four times or more a year and renew your broadsheet that says that you are still a criminal. It is not about public information, about the past. Noone has to renew her birth certificate every year so that people can find her. It is about public confession, not past information. They have outdone the medieval church state. Then you had to confess your sins at every chapel on your way to the pillary. Then it was pretty much over, either you are dead or left the village for the road. Technology has extended the parade of contrition and shame indefinately out into every place that has connection to tge internet. The electric spider will find you in her web if you try to hide. We can’t wait until they find us like flies.

        • New Person

          Compelled speech about your privacy (basically forced to physically go to the stockade once a year to be seen on a stockade statewide, nationwide, and world wide such as the IML). But that compelled speech is a compelled service to the state. Remember, it’s your duty to register under ML.

          But you’re forced to divulge your privacy year in and year out. Surprisingly, California has it built into its constitution that the right to pursue and obtain privacy is an inalienable right. Yet not one lawyer is using the California Constitution to refute the registry, which is all about the negation of your privacy.

          Only when you’re punished is when you lose your rights as well as be compelled to serve the state until your custody is completed. Then you regain your rights again, or at least attempt to regain your rights. What about inalienable rights? Those cannot be abridged, but the registry does exactly that to one’s inalienable right to pursue and obtain privacy.

          Why are we not using our own state Constitutional laws to refute unconstitutional laws?

        • kind of living

          @Timmr @ New Person ,,, good strong points the both of you , one of the things that is haunting CA is the old law past like I think in the 30’s or 40’s that made a registry , that was just for the cops , its this online law that has made for the most part unbearable , people that rent or sell houses and what not would not be so worried if when one of us was to move in if there was not a big dot showing up on a stupid on line map saying SEX OFFENDER , and screwing up the value of the home/ homes , along with worries of people burning it down or people bitching , or people claiming that the land lord is a offender them selfs , witch hunters will go to any length to carry on with this panic DRAMA

      • @John - won't quibble about it; however....

        In the link to the Tenth Circuit article posted here about this very topic in OK, there is a comment from FLA where someone says there is the wording on the DL.

        It was not but a couple weeks ago or so it was discussed here about FLA DLs coming out of the DOL/MVD/DMV with SO on the right side down low. A particular office in FLA was doing this by accident on several DLs apparently.

        Here is the link to the discussion here:

        If you can get a passport to use as an ID instead of your FLA DL when the time come to renew it, you may be better off that way.

      • Registry Rage

        SO status is also entered into the USB bar code on the back as well. So if it’s scanned at any theme park, you’re screwed. Most states have begun to secretly implement this notification tactic into their license datebases!

  7. kat

    “Our research shows they can’t be rehabilitated…” Rep. Randy Wood
    Rep. Wood, we’d all love to see that research you speak of !
    Once again here’s government represenatives who equate all SO’s with pedophilia and rape.
    These people really need to educate themselves before they open their mouths.

    • Research? What research?!

      Is that like the Tuskegee experiment down there in ‘Bama? Where your research shows…..

      Maybe you should get another glass of sweet tea there Representative….

    • Timmr

      Research, he means the comments on his facebook page no doubt. I wish I could give him some reasearch! Ah well that’s an idea.

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