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TN: Sex offenders move to Tennessee for lax laws

Tennessee’s sex offender laws are so lax, the Giles County sheriff says offenders are crossing the Alabama border to move to Tennessee. Full Article

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  1. AlexO

    So the article both uses an outlier as evidence for how bad all RCs are while at the same inadvertently showing how useless and costly the registration system is.

    I’m very confident the vast majority of RC’s that jumped the state line did so exactly for the reasons the article mentions: less restrictions, particularly pertaining being able to live with your own family, and not so they can get away with more crime.

    • W.G.C.

      This has been brought up before. I remember reading about this same county sheriff last year bellyaching ab out the same thing. I don’t see TN denying sex offenders in this state the right to live with their own kids if their kids weren’t victims of his or her abuse. The State also put up an article to tell about community supervision for life.

      I think this is the state’s way of saying, “We don’t need stricter laws. We have things in hand as is.”

  2. Lovecraft

    Its probably because its Alabama they are in the top 3 imo of worst states you can live in as a registrant. I will say from the people I have spoken to that live in Tennessee that its bad there and probably not much better than Alabama. One of the biggest issues with the registry that I see very few comments about is that counties and states are constantly trying to 1 up each other to “get rid” or “deter” registrants from moving to their locale.

    I really feel that at some point if all the other strategies fail in at least rolling back the registry to the “membership only” days that there may need to be a push for this type of angle in court. I dont know how to best use or present this in a court of law, but there are countless examples of sheriffs, lawmakers, city council members, and government officals specifically stating on record mainly through news articles that they purposely make it tough on registrants so they will leave their jurisdiction. It could be tons of compliance checks, using vechicles with “sex offender unit” labeled in big letters to constantly visit a registrants home, or ordinances and laws (like the one in alabama where you have to list pretty much everywhere you go as a residence) No wonder people leave, but its certainly not because laws are lax anywhere. Being on the registry in the US is tough anywhere, but it is damn near impossible in a few states.

    • Chris F

      The proper route is probably challenging it all as “Bill of Attainder”.

      It has hardly been used since the Communist scare and all the ridiculous laws against them in the 60’s, but the similarities are not only there, but our laws have multiplied exponentially. The floodgates really opened after the 2002-2003 SCOTUS cases where the false “frightening and high” and “80 percent recidivism” erroneous non-factual quotes came from that infected hundreds if not thousands of laws, court cases, and policies since then. The history of that and all the quotes on OnceFallen’s web site make it clear and easy to show Bill Of Attainder is the goal.

      The other major challenge is Substantive Due Process. In Connecticut DPS V Doe 2003 the state claimed the sex offender registry was NO indication of dangerousness and therefore was constitutional because it was just providing factual info. Since winning that case the States immediately started to have it both ways and create laws against the people that are supposedly not considered dangerous just for being on the list. SCOTUS even said that though there was no “procedural” due process issue, that a “substantive” due process claim could likely succeed but was never brought to them.

      • Lovecraft

        While I agree that the bill of attainder route is the best and most logical way to go about snuffing out the multitudes of restrictions, many people I have talked to in the past about this do not think that going the bill of attainder route will work for various reasons. Im not quite as down on going the bill of attainder route as they are though.

        Due process IMO may be the biggest issue with the registry. A lawsuit against the amendments to the registry was filed in Janurary in NC. The additions to the registry were attacked from almost every angle possible including due process. I posted a link to it on one of the articles on here awhile back if you want it I can go grab it.

        • Chris F (@Lovecraft)


          Yes, please link that again. I would like to read a good Substantive Due Process claim if that is what it included.

          While the “Bill of Attainder” may not work on it’s own (though it should if Justices look to the reason it was included in our Constitution from the federalist papers) it at least paints a good picture to justify a higher level of scrutiny on the other arguments. It makes it clear that legislature is not acting entirely on the interests of the common good and is just pushing through easy “feather in my cap” legislation that won’t be opposed due to our politically powerless nature.

          It would, however, also be the perfect opportunity for Justices to put “Bill of Attainder” back on the map in court cases. It is one of the most important, yet most misunderstood and neglected, part of our Constitution to prevent the majority from finding backhanded ways to oppress and punish a politically powerless minority that it hates. A well written SCOTUS ruling could outline the proper way to understand “Bill of Attainder” in modern times and terminology.

          Here is a recent article I liked:

        • Lovecraft


          I completely concur with what you are saying. Sometimes something “is what it is” and there is no beating around the bush about it being anything else. You are right the courts have a golden oppurtunity to address bill of attainder in modern times if the case for it is made in a future suit. As for the lawsuit, here is the pdf.

        • Lovecraft @chris

          I tried to edit the post above, but the timer ran out. Anyways here is the lawsuit link

          The state tried to have the suit thrown out, but was denied. There will be a hearing coming up soon then the first step will be district federal court most likely this fall. Obviously the loser will appeal to the 4th circuit and that loser will most likely appeal to the scotus barring any change to the landscape. (Snyder) I doubt we win on all fronts, but I really want the due process to be one of the winners. Let me know what you think.

          As a side note Im kinda torn about what I want scotus to do about taking snyder, but my gut says the justices know of the many lawsuits coming down the pipeline in the not too distant future involving the registry. This gives them the perfect opportunity to address the many issues of the registry and it will also free up many of the cases heading their way, thus making it easier on them in the long run assuming they are leaning the way Kennedy stated in the packingham case.

        • Chris F (@Lovecraft)

          Very good arguments in this case.

          I am confused (since I am not a lawyer) how this suit claims Due Process violations without specifying Procedural, or Substantive. Does the judge decide what they mean? If so, then if it could get knocked down as not violating Procedural Due Process like Connecticut DPS V Doe 2003 by saying no procedure was violated because the scheme is not triggered by anything but public record and therefore no determination of dangerousness is relevant.

          I really wish some case would more directly challenge Substantive and also attack more how protecting the public is supposed to be done during the fair sentencing phase and tailored to the individual and circumstances. Now that SCOTUS mentioned in Packingham that they see anything continuing past the end of probation/parole as “troubling”, I hope we see some suits jump on that.

        • AJ

          @Chris F
          Based on CT DPS and Duarte v Lewisville (the TX case), it appears to this non-attorney that Substantive is already part of a claim, unless explicitly excepted.

          From what I see, NARSOL mostly claims the State has exceeded its authority (Substantive), and gives little attention to the legal process itself (Procedural). But, they indeed are going after both, not to mention ex post facto. Substantive via the liberty interests, and Procedural through the inability to challenge any of the State’s decisions in applying, enforcing and/or administrating the laws.

          As I believe you agree, any claim solely based on Procedural is a non-starter. “Your Honor, this law is unconstitutional, but I don’t want to argue that. Instead, we’re all going to assume it’s a valid law, and I just want to argue that they are applying it in an unconstitutional manner.” How that ever was thought to be a smart legal tactic, I have no idea.

          I don’t know how many times I’ve had to re-read the differences and nuances of Substantive versus Procedural Due Process. A helpful discussion, and a slightly humorous example, about the two can be found here:

        • Chris F (@AJ)

          Thanks AJ!

          I like your reasoning, so we’ll assume they know what they are doing on this case. I also like reading the different interpretations from your link. It shows how difficult it is to put into words as well as the differences of opinions, but in the end, I guess it can be used in any of those suggested manners unless a particular judge thinks differently.

        • Lovecraft (@ChrisF)

          I spoke with one of the people involved with creating this lawsuit a few days ago. I meant to post the reply, but forgot. AJ is pretty much spot on with his assessment.

          This is what he said generally, which I thought was the case and wanted to double check before posting bad info:

          Procedural Due Process argument is not going to carry any water right now. Its in there, but its hard to see because its not the focus of the lawsuit.

          Substantive Due Process is absolutely a central focus of the complaint. In fact, there’s really no way to make an Ex Post Facto claim without a Substantive Due Process argument lying underneath it. Substantive Due Process concerns either punishment without process or civil regulatory schemes that have the effect of punishment and deprive people of liberties. That’s all over in the complaint. He wasnt sure why it was hard to see in the suit. It may be because substantive due process claims are generally spelled out like that. But any time a complaint is arguing that someone’s constitutional rights have been (or are likely to be) taken away without a trial, that’s a substantive due process claim…and it may also be an equal protection claim.

          Also i was told the state is trying to get the lawsuit thrown out on the grounds of it being too complex. The lawyer for our side argued that all these laws, especially the ones involving the registry, are very complex and there is no real good way around making a suit less complex. There are so many issues with what the legislature has done over the past decade so its kinda piled up. He also stated that if it gets thrown out on being too complex he will refile the suit. He is not backing down.

        • AJ

          Thanks for contacting the people involved in the case, and for clarifying everything. I find it pitiful and also sadly laughable that the State is complaining it’s all too complex…they’re the frickin’ idiots who created the complexity! AND, they expect us to figure it out. Your turn, Mr./Ms. State Attorney…you figure all this sh!t out. Welcome to our world.

          Maybe they should file multiple lawsuits to make it easier on the State’s feeble-minded attorneys.

        • AJ

          There have been a grand total of 5 BoA cases before SCOTUS (2 regarding the CSA, Communists, Nixon, SSS dodgers), though a handful more have made it through the lower courts. That alone makes it unfamiliar terrain for attorneys and judges alike. Given how SCOTUS has confused the issue with what rulings exist, it only gets tougher. But..I think if Snyder succeeds in having the schemes declared as punishment, a BoA claim may have a lot more strength. Quoting from Wikipedia, SCOTUS says, “a bill of attainder 1) Specifically identifie[s] the people to be punished; 2) Impose[s] punishment; and 3) D[oes] so without benefit of judicial trial.” We already have items 1) and 3); Snyder will give us item 2). Actually, given the number of rulings that have affirmed 2), a BoA claim somewhere may already have a good argument–as long as the courts don’t all sit paralyzed awaiting SCOTUS on Snyder. Maybe ACLU-MI will take up the torch (fingers crossed), leveraging their 6th Circuit win.

        • New Person

          Unfamiliar terrain is the reason why no one brings up involuntary servitude.

          I don’t know how the registry passed the first time b/c it’s an application forcing a free person to continue service (to the state) that is not considered punishment.

          Although Kennedy did make a parenthetical comment about how troubling it is to have severe restrictions applied after the end of custody, it’s the fact that any restriction is applied after custody!

          This is akin to the Peckingham case such that a restriction on free speech cannot be tolerated. Here, it’s the freedom (liberty) to walk away from service. Any restriction to the liberty to walk away from any service is compelled service, or involuntary servitude.

          Involuntary servitude is prohibited unless to punish a crime. Once you’re done with your custody, then there shouldn’t be any extra service to the state. But since you don’t get paid, it’s actually worse than involuntary servitude. Time is money. You get paid for your time for any service, unless it’s service done under punishment. The compliance checks serve as added proof that you’re still under custody to serve the state as a free person.

          13th Amendment:
          Section 1.
          Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
          Section 2.
          Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

          Note, there is a distinction that compelled service is legal as a punishment for a crime. That’s the only time it’s legal.

          Registration is not punishment. That is fact by the 2003 Smith decision. In making registration not punishment, the SCOTUS has violated the 13th amendment by permitting such compelled service upon a person that is not considered punishment. Once a person is no longer under custody, then that person is a free person. Thus, the identification of compelled service upon a free person that is not punishment is even more glaring and a stark violation of the 13th amendment. Again, compliance checks is proof that a free person is still under custody that is not considered punishment – meaning you are still servicing the state.

          The 13th amendment is just one sentence long. There is only one exception. As a layman, the courts must favor the interpretation for the layman. If it’s not punishment, then it’s a violation of the 13th amendment. Simple.

          Again, no one thinks that slavery or involuntary servitude exist in today’s era. But that’s b/c they cannot transpose it to today’s era of thinking. That’s why the SCOTUS doesn’t believe that posting your information anywhere is not the same as being put on a stockade in a public square. It’s actually worse b/c now we have the IML that can reject our presence due to scheme. It forced cities to create living and presence restrictions. It already has had a history of vigilantism on them.

        • kind of living

          @ New Person ,,, Good Points , , I mean what needs to be done before someone see’s this as punishment ? I mean surly this cant all be so Truthfinder has a recent picture of us , lol how many of us need to be killed ,our homes tagged , our family members under threat or worse , before they are forced to see this is clearly unconstitutional , the really big monster is the old law in CA , but to be able to beat these laws on a federal level would go a long way to freeing us up and leveling the playing field , or at least for the few that could afford to bail out of this county could . me and mine don’t have those kind of bucks , but being able to move and live with out the in your face stigma would be great!

        • Chris F (@Lovecraft)

          PDF missing?

        • Lovecraft @Chris F

          The link above should work unless you are talking about me accidently not putting it in the first reply and not being able to edit in time.

        • AJ

          Thanks for that link to the NC case. Those are some very compelling arguments made in the suit! I really like that they are going after something other than just ex post facto, which only solves part of the problem. Like you, I really hope the Substantive claim is upheld, as that will significantly change the landscape for us. I also like that they attack the “frightening and high” claim dead on, and show that it was put out by an extremely prejudicial source.

          There are definitely some elements of the suit they should easily win. The one that sticks out to me is the power of the Sheriff over an RC. They can force the person to appear? That’s considered regulatory? What a load of crap! That one makes me shake my head in utter disbelief.

          I also like that they included the snippet from the CO case, where the prosecutor said that “placement on the registry is “punishment enough.” Punishment. Punishment. Even the government’s agents recognize it for what it is…or at least what the effect of the law is, regardless and (BS) legislative intent.

          This is a wonderful case, brought by someone who obviously has our backs, and then some. Will elements fail? Sure, but hopefully they’re “palatable” ones in the grand scheme of taking down these horrible schemes.

    • W.G.C.

      I can’t remember where I read the article, but a Georgia politician once was quoted as saying “My personal aim is to make this state’s sex offender laws so onerous that the offenders will voluntarily move elsewhere.” Now if statements like that don’t demonstrate acting in bad faith based on personal animus I don’t know what does.

    • David

      Precisely, with all the restrictions, of living In certain areas and other complications just to move.! It was way too much pressure on my family of two children and my ex-wife! We ended up in a divorce In 2019! After 10 years of putting up with my restrictions, it’s simply a case of way to much stress !!!!!

      • Saddles

        Well David you get back with your wife and reconcile if at all possible. look I’m not even married. Hey if I can tolerate my sister at times and jeep her in line I’m sure you can handle things.
        My sister even came to me once after her kids were grown and ask me for advice about divorcing her husband and they got married in college back in the 70’s.

      • David (a different David)

        @ David: I am very sorry to hear about the dissolution of your marriage, David. That’s really awful. I understand your wife’s situation…. after all, who would ever think that “for better or for worse” would mean all this crap that’s thrown at us Registrants, families and friends? It can certainly get to be too much after a while. I’m very sorry for what has happened to you and I’m wishing you the best.


    🤔Oh the humanity!!!!😱😅😂😅😂

  4. Ron

    So, Josh Hendon moved a few miles to Tennessee and committed a sex offense. – since he previously lived a few miles away, I doubt the move had anything to do with the crime. Josh Hendon wanted to live with his family so he moved to Tennessee. Perhaps the same crime would have been committed if he still lived in Alabama, given how close Josh Hendon was to Tennessee.
    It is regrettable Josh Hendon is accused of another crime, but he should be able to live with his family. Perhaps Tennessee should advocate for Alabama to allow sex offenders to live with their family, if that is the decision of the family.

    • concerned registrant

      The take-away of this article. We read this article and see all kinds of issues and speculations. because we are intimately familiar with the subject. Others in Tennessee who read this article will only make one conclusion. “Sex offenders are invading us! We need to make our laws tougher!” Watch what happens.

      • New Person

        They can’t make laws more stringent b/c Snyder ensured any new law is considered punitive at the very least.

        • AJ

          @New Person
          Astute observation. The RCs moving from AL to TN are not just crossing a State boundary, they are also crossing the boundary between the 11th Circuit (FL, GA, AL) and the 6th Circuit (MI, OH, KY, TN), i.e. Snyder. So, for the time being, TN cannot add anything to current RCs’ burdens.

  5. Timmr

    I’d rather take California’s laws even if it is a lifetime state. Can’t live with your own children? Is that even after your so called end of sentence?

    • KM

      No way that a ban on living with your own children would ever survive constitutional challenges.

  6. Joe

    I would not call Tennessee’s laws all that lax. Even if you would normally be off the Tennessee registry after the 10 year period had you been convicted in state, if you move to Tennessee from another state, you still have to register for at least 5 years with the 1000 ft residency restrictions no matter how old your offense is and even if you were never subject to residency restrictions in your state of conviction. Tennessee is only “lax” compared to the downright medieval laws of Alabama. Of course, this sheriff is just blowing smoke as Tennessee is in the 6th Circuit and, as New Person mentioned, the legislature is not likely to get all cattywumpus in the near future while the Snyder case is still in the system.

    • AJ

      This is a clear and blatant violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution ( One cannot be treated differently due to “but for residency.” Likewise IL’s law ( Item #14). Actually, IL’s is even worse, as it not only treats native residents preferentially over than those who move to the State, it also splits those who move to IL based on when they moved there. A slam-dunk in any court that adheres to the law, not opinion. IL would need to show a compelling government interest in dividing natives versus transfers prior to 1/1/2012, versus those on or after 1/1/2012.

      • Joe

        AJ, tell that to people who were LEGALLY transporting firearms on an airline who got arrested for illegal weapons possession when their flight got delayed or canceled in New York City and they were forced to claim their luggage. Unfortunately, in many cases, “equal protection” is trumped by “federalism.”

  7. Ecrc

    Ok we have a court order by a judge that sentenced my hub over 9 years ago , they allowed my hub to stay in our residence , reside and be with his son , who is his bio child and not a victim , I signed affidavits , and we also went physically in court together , to ask judge and the da if my hub could stay living in sane home , they all said yes court ordered , Now this law comes ten years later and states can’t resude or have over night visit , my hub called pro up and told him they don’t know if law be retroactive or not and we to talk to lawyer to see if the court order will still stand even though the law had passed , and since hub still on probation if it not affect us or will , how can this even be constitutional just up one day say your father etc has to move out and can’t stay anymore , without any kind of hearing to show hub not a threat , and also after ten years on pro and then all sudden slam it on you , I mean what about child rights to a parent and parent rights to a child and human rights as person , I thought being a family was a civil human right , oh they pass laws just like that no thinking the effect it will have on the child , we had to talk to our son and he was Devastated crying so hard and asked us if he did anything wrong ?? How do they think it makes the children feel alienating like that , pro said hub could still help with homework , eat dinner etc but just not stay night , if this affects us , I just hope it don’t affect us and something gets done about what the legislatures are doing punishment after punishment , the worst thing can do is take a father or mother away of their family like that , this makes my hub want to give up on living ;( and yes he’s a strong person but this is devastating , we need a ray of light to shine in this dark ness this night mare , we praying good news coming for us all ,

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