When Junk Science About Sex Offenders Infects the Supreme Court: A ‘Frightening’ Myth About Sex Offenders

[New York Times]

This month the Supreme Court will have a rare opportunity to correct a flawed doctrine that for the past two decades has relied on junk social science to justify punishing more than 800,000 Americans. Two cases that the court could review concern people on the sex offender registry and the kinds of government control that can constitutionally be imposed upon them.

In Snyder v. Doe, the court could consider whether Michigan’s broad scheme of regulating sex offenders constitutes “punishment.” The other case, Karsjens v. Piper, examines the constitutionality of Minnesota’s policy of detaining sex offenders forever — not for what they’ve done, but for what they might do.

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At the conclusion it states that later this year–any time now– the Supreme Court will take up the matter of punishment and the registries–does that mean they’ve agreed to take that 6th circuit case??

Amazing piece! Just amazing! I’m speechless.

Great video. I love that this information is getting out there. But at the same time, this video makes me incredibly angry that’s it’s revealing whole registry as The Flat Earth Society and people in power are not only willfully ignoring empirical facts, but are trying to layer more and more on top of it. But unlike the The Flat Earth Society who are being mocked for believing in obviously falls information, nearly the entire nation is embracing it and are unwilling to budge in their perception.

I really hope the ending of the video is true and SCOTUS will really rectify their horrible mistake. How could they not when presented with empirical evidence after all this time?

Wow, what a stunning piece. A couple months back we had the WaPo piece, now this one in the NYT. I know there will still be skeptics among us who won’t believe it until they see it, but these sorts of pieces by major media outlets speaks–nay, shouts–volumes! I’m really feeling confident we will see a major reversal from SCOTUS about all this. I now even hold out hope that they completely strike it all down. AWA, ML, IML. All of it, gone.

I was stunned when I read this line in the article: “In short, the entire scheme of registration and restriction that the Supreme Court condoned 15 years ago in McKune v. Lile has done enormous violence to a huge number of Americans now branded forever as sex offenders.” Violence. That’s an incredibly strong rebuke of SCOTUS. Not punishment, not harm. Violence. Wow.

The video is a wonderful piece, as well. Having those involved in the original documentation (Longo, Schwartz) saying it’s all based on nothing can only help our cause. Thank you NYT!

What I wonder is can anyone get the people in the video to present themselves to scotus and to repeat everything they said in the video. After all, THEYRE the very people who made up things the court uses in order to deny us our rights. In two months I have the ability to go before a court in my state and request permission to be taken off the registry. As of now, I have zero knowledge of how to present any information for my argument.

I read the decision in Colorado, but I’m sure I cant use it for my cause just yet. Basically, I’m married with children and have also obtained a Bachelors degree since incarceration. I have been able to get some pretty decent jobs overall (like in California) but my current state (Indiana) is extremely harsh (they also display where you work which in the past has resulted in strangers calling and reporting a person on the registry works there), and my wife wants to eventually move to Georgia.

The cop that does my registry checks came by one day and we had a chat. He thinks I should go in with the argument that I’ve been offense free for over 10 years and have married, worked jobs, and obtained a degree but the registry is the one thing that is holding me back from being a good citizen AND major contributor to the overall quality of life for my children. Does anyone disagree? I even have copies of background checks from companies that show I was denied only because of the registry. (My conviction doesn’t show up in background checks, but the registry does).

Being on the Registry is like being a Wanted Criminal trying to integrate with society.

Can this time piece from the NY times be sent to the emails of SCOTUS and their clerks ?

Excellent video.
(One criticism: the video could have included some images of registrants participating in regular daily activities: such as attending church, enjoying a day at the park with their family [kids included to show that many registrants are also parents], shopping at a grocery store, or working at a job – just normal, everyday activities rather than some of the images used: scary images of men scanning parks or driving around at night, only their eyes showing in the rearview mirror. Those images suggest “predator on the prowl” and they juxtapose – in a negative way – the very argument of the editorial piece.)

This is a great piece, expertly done – captures the enormous false narrative that has become crystallized so deeply in the minds of America following the erroneous 2003 SCOTUS ruling. Hard to imagine what force of inertia is necessary for people to genuinely understand, to accept what is really true and what is not true.

This “sex offender registry” severely restricts and very negatively impacts what I am allowed to do, because I may or may not commit a crime in the future. I have completed my court imposed sentence!!

I was thinking of sending this article to John Oliver of Last Week Tonight. He always does good pieces on reality and injustice of things, and debunking junk. I know it’s mile-long shot that they’d actually do a piece like this on such a taboo subject, but if he does, it could be a huge boon for us given his incredible popularity.

If you go to Google News and search the word “offenders”, this NYT piece is the 1st article to appear. 👍

I should have posted this link here, because the myth is cited as justification.


Trump administration sued over phone searches at U.S. borders


Great piece, the video and the article.

I don’t know where the source of this is from in the article below the video, but it needs to be found and put into every lawsuit against the registry in California and probably other states:

“Indeed, a study by the California Department of Corrections concluded that 91 percent of sex offenders returned to California prisons were returned for these technical violations, while only 1.8 percent were returned as a result of having committed a new sex crime.”

No better way to show a judge this is cruel and unusual punishment and Bill of Attainder than to demonstrate how these extra “regulations” toss innocent people in jail for not exactly following some law targeting only them that doesn’t actually accomplish anything. It’s time to force the state to show us exactly how the “registration” information has been used to protect the public and how many real crimes it has solved or prevented.

If you people have not notice, both Michigan and Fed’s reply briefs to Snyder case, currently pending in scotus, repeatedly cited the false frighten high recidivism rate poses by sex offenders! And our attorney has failed to counter that argument, which in turn will only be a disaster for our cause. I can not believe the government’s lawyers will lie through their teeth with the recidivism data. Unless we can find a way to forward this video to the attorney representing the Does in Snyder case, we are screwed!

It is a good bet that many appellate judges and at least some clerks of SCOTUS are familiar with this because there is a long post about it at Sentencing Law and Police that includes links to other reports on the myth.


It is no longer a secret.

I don’t know why these attorneys in front of the appellate court don’t flip out about this and say Kennedy and the high rates are lies. Thanks for the link AJ

Here’s a recent op-ed countering the NYT op-ed about recidivism. https://warhornmedia.com/2017/10/04/sex-crimes-recidivism-digging-deeper/

I’m glad Prof. Rasmusen ignores the plethora of studies by government and academia alike, and instead focuses on the roundly debunked stats. Surprise, surprise.