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General News

Get rid of the registry [Opd Ed]

There’s nothing I can say about the tragedy in Las Vegas, except this: some version of that will happen in Michigan, probably sooner rather than later. The politicians are either in the pay of the gun lobby fanatics or resigned to the fact that they can’t possibly overcome them, so nothing will change.

Nothing, that is, unless and until people somehow demand that democracy and sanity be restored. So far, they haven’t, and the senseless killing will go on.

But there is something we do have an opportunity to change: Our stupid and morally offensive sex offender registry. Last year, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals correctly struck down major sections of it, such as its clearly unconstitutional adding restrictions retroactively, such as banning convicted sex offenders from working within a thousand feet of a school. Full Op-Ed

Join the discussion

  1. Son of Liberty Child of Freedom

    Someone Speaking Truth! –

    “Miriam Aukerman, the ACLU’s senior staff attorney, told the Gongwer News Service yesterday that the sex offender list doesn’t work, and that it was “bloated, wasteful, and counterproductive.” All it does, she said, is waste law enforcement resources and make it more difficult for those convicted to rejoin society as good citizens.

    She was exactly right, except that it also lowers property values for the innocent and serves as an invitation to vigilante justice.” – aka Coluseum Justice

    I sing a True Song

    As Yehovah Lives, so should we

    • AlexO

      “So here’s how you fix it: Get rid of it. Or have some version that only includes rapists, other perpetrators of violent sex crimes, and child molesters. Ideally, make it only accessible to law enforcement agencies. Right now, the home of some people I know is on that list because their 20 year old son got a drug habit, and began selling child pornography on line.

      He went to federal prison, and their lives were ruined.”

      Man, what a strange way to end an article. He lists several crimes that he would be okay with continuing the way they are and closes off with a sob story about someone he knows who became a drug addict and was SELLING CP? He was profiting off the worst kind of child abuse. No one is going to look kindly on that.

      • Tim Moore

        Yeah, that statement rubbed me the wrong way, too. First he can’t believe they are punishing people after their sentence is ended, and then he makes the off hand exception for rape, violent sex crimes (?) and “child molestation.” Everyone has varying levels of disgust for different crimes. That subjectivity is not a valid basis for a registry, but it is the basis of this whole criminal scheme to punish people indefinately. He doesn’t quite get it. Everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves. Our Constitution prohibits extrajudicial banishment and other archaic forms of societal mass revenge. Period.

  2. Eric

    The writer started out well, but then said the registry should only contain rapists and child molesters. Right there the writer fell into the hysteria. Child molestation, although detestable in every sense, is a very broad category. It can be the step dad touching the sixteen year old stepdaughters buttocks through the pants or it can be a violent and aggressive forced contact against an infant. It might even have been worked out in a plea agreement and the events of the incident aren’t clear. As for only violent acts being on the registry, I had a CP offense and the prosecutor pushed her agenda at every court appearance announcing that CP is a violent offense. My SO counselor with a Ph.D. and 30 years experience said that was ludicrous. As well, many of the so called “assessments” will categorize people as violent based on answering some questions on a form. I truly thank this writer for being open minded and pushing for sanity and Constitutional fairness, but please, be careful. The system is so broken and mass hysteria and ignorance rule the day.

  3. Chris F

    Nice piece.

    I have been surprised over the years that something like what happened in Vegas has not yet been caused by a citizen on the registry yet.

    After all, once you have a supposedly “free” person living like a leper and not provided even basic protections from the US Constitution, you risk the repercussions of that legislative decision of exclusion. There was a reason for the US Constitution to not have exceptions to whom it covers.

    The registry completely bypasses the legal and judicial system. Those included and the duration are not decided by a judge during the fair sentencing portion of trial, and do not get the benefit of the appeal system available to all other potential criminals. Instead of the punishment and restriction fitting the person and crime, they are decided by every legislature from the US to the small cities. No other criminal has to check the laws in every city he enters, because all of their restrictions end at the end of supervision and were decided one time by a judge, not by every po-dunk little redneck town that wants to increase its laws more than its neighbor city to keep us out and can change at any minute.

    • G4Change

      “I have been surprised over the years that something like what happened in Vegas has not yet been caused by a citizen on the registry yet.”

      I have wondered the same thing myself. The most dangerous person in the world is a person who has nothing to lose. Truth.

    • Lovecraft (@ChrisF)

      I agree with both you guys that its shocking a rc hasnt done something truly horrendous. You can also turn the whole thing around and it can actually be used to our benefit. If we all were truly horrible people I would speculate a good chunk of our population would become completely radicalized. The fact that we are not speaks volumes about our overall mental stability and perceived dangerousness. If we can stay this stable as a group dealing with impossible odds, who are the real crazies?

      On another note Chris, I finally heard back from the lawyer I will repost your question followed by his answer so everyone can see

      The question ChrisF asked:

      Since it is the specific job of the judiciary to punish, rehabilitate, and protect the public during the fair sentencing portion of a trial, and they must tailor that to the individual and not the crime, couldn’t the registry, duration on the registry, and all of the restrictions stemming from it justify a challenge to Separation of Powers since legislature its stepping all over the judiciary’s primary functions and isn’t even bound by the judiciary’s rules that ensure fairness?

      Lawyer’s response:

      Your email raises some very complex issues of criminal and constitutional law and, frankly, I don’t know the answers. I’m simply not familiar with Separation of Powers issues. My instinct is that Separation of Powers could become viable if it was well established that registries were “punishment” (the subject of ongoing litigation), but I just don’t know enough about it to hazard a guess beyond that.

      I know its not a black and white answer, but I agree with his instincts. I think the ex post facto/punishment ruling SCOTUS upheld by not taking Snyder is the begining of the end for the registry. Once its generally accepted across the country the restrictions will start to fall away for all rc’s. After ex post facto and punishment and hopefully SDP is accepted if that isnt enough to overturn this mess then the whole seperation of powers issue will likely be ripe. My gut says it wont even have to get to the point where the seperation of powers issue has to be used, but it may be a nice addition to a lawsuit down the road a few years Its going to be a process, but it will happen.

      • Chris F (@Lovecraft)


        I’m here now! Thanks for getting the answer!

        As I just mentioned replying to another post, if anything, I am glad that by posing the question you got the lawyer thinking about it. Lawyers usually look at things in little compartments, and it isn’t until you look at all the problems with the registry and how it de-rails the existing justice system that you truly understand how and why this is a bad thing for everyone, and not just registrants.

  4. Jack

    Wow, that’s a pretty bold statement he made about child porn in there at the end.

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