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Professor Catherine Carpenter: The Unconstitutionality of Sex Offense Laws [video]


Professor Catherine Carpenter (Southwestern Law School), a nationally renowned criminal law scholar in the area of sex crimes and sex offender registration laws, came to St. Francis College on September 26 to talk about The Unconstitutionality of Sex Offense Laws.

Watch Catherine Carpenter on Sex Offender Laws

Her scholarship has been cited by numerous courts and used as a guide by attorneys; she is also one of the foremost authorities on law school curricula and accreditation. Among her important law review articles is, “Against Juvenile Sex Offender Registration.”

The lecture was organized by St. Francis College Professors Emily Horowitz and Athena Devlin as part of the Fall 2017 Senior Citizen Lecture Series: Perspectives on American Politics & Policies.

Original article


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  1. R M

    Excellent video!

  2. Alec

    Professor Carpenter delivers an amazingly heartfelt yet honest approach to the registry, how we think about it and its place in our society. It’s people like her who give me hope.

    Thank you Professor – keep up the good fight. I loved your story about leadership… you’ve given me alot to think about.

  3. Eric

    Beautiful. She said sometime the US Supreme Court will hear the argument weather or not the registration is punishment. If it is, then it is unconstitutional.

    • Dustin

      They came close when they didn’t grant cert in Doe v. Snyder. Curious because differences of opinion across the circuits is among the first (if not the first) things considered when debating whether to grant cert or not. Oddly enough, I hope another circuit maintains the registry as regulatory and attempts appeal.

      SCOTUS could legally dodge it indefinitely, I think. We need to figure out a way to politically force them to address the registry.

      • Tim Lawver

        They SCOTUS will continue to dodge this issue. Agendas in this system are determined by leadership. Mr. Roberts will continue to avoid the issue obviously since he is the lawyer who claimed registration itself is not punitive. The only way I see for a path to the forefront is protest en -masse in DC.

        Unfortunately, the opportunity to protest on the supreme court steps has been removed. Telling too is the fact the courts doors are closed per SOP. With the power of the databases in hand the authoritarian police state is secure in its position. Head on over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( for more information on what the deep state is up to with respect go the electronic monitoring of Americans.

        • Tim Moore

          Unwarranted supervision and unconstitutional punishment has bipartisan support. This s-hole outrage is a diversion.

        • AJ

          @Tim Lawver:
          Even if one were to accept your statement about Roberts as absolute truth, how does that give him the power to sway four Justices? SCOTUS tradition (and only tradition) says that if four Justices vote to hear a case, it’s accepted. Please explain your reasoning for how Roberts overcomes being but one of nine votes.

      • The Static-99R Is A Scam

        @Dustin and Tim:

        Roberts isn’t the only reason why SCOTUS will dodge addressing registration schemes and/or overturning itself in declaring registration “punishment.” Remember, it is Justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote McKune v. Lile and Smith v. Doe. McKune and Smith both rested its fake statistics on a Department of Justice Manual that relied on a single Psychology Today article. (Recently, both the authors to the DOJ manual and the Psychology Today article have recently admitted that the statistics are completely bogus.)

        Not only that: Elena Kagan, as Solicitor General, argued for worsening sex offender laws before SCOTUS. It’s fortunate that SCOTUS did not find against Packingham last year. However, it is telling that not one of the Justices addressed the low recidivism of “sex offenders” either in the opinion or even during oral argument. To do so would be to challenge the doctrine of stare decisis and the credibility of the very “Justices” that sit on that Court (namely Kennedy and Roberts). Hence, why it will probably be quite a while before SCOTUS reverses itself on McKune and Smith, among the many.

        SCOTUS tends to have too much pride in refusing to admit its mistakes. Just refer to Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) [blacks not considered citizens]; Buck v. Bell (1927) [forced sterilization legal for those with intellectual disability]; Korematsu v. United States (1944) [internment of Japanese Americans legal]; Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) [segregation legal]; The Civil Rights Cases (1883) [racial discrimination legal in public accommodations and businesses]; Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) [criminalized homosexual sexual activity in personal relationships].

        While some of these laws were eventually overturned, it took may years. For example, Bowers was overturned; but it took about 17 years for SCOTUS to do so in Lawrence v. Texas (2003). Dred Scott/Ferguson took *over 58 years* for SCOTUS to reverse itself, beginning in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education! What is shocking is that technically, Buck v. Bell and Korematsu v. United States are still precedent — as SCOTUS has never overturned the two cases.

        As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said in the still precedent Buck v. Bell: “Three Generations of Imbeciles Are Enough!” I think this quote should apply to SCOTUS itself. Remember Bush v. Gore and/or Citizens United? 🙂

        • AJ

          @The Static-99R Is A Scam:
          I mostly agree with your point, especially on SCOTUS’s sometimes fanatical allegiance to stare decisis, but there are some counterpoints.
          1) Souter, who was thisclose on Smith, was replaced with Sotomayor, a shift to the left (despite Souter’s record).
          2) It was Kennedy who wrote the Packingham Opinion. As Packingham was a 1st Amdt. case, there was no reason for adding the parenthetical. Most observers view it as a bit of telegraphing of a shift in position.
          3) Kagan denied MI’s request for an emergency stay in Snyder. That would indicate that she either 1) doesn’t hold the opinion you state, or 2) can rule on the law, despite personal or past opinion. Either way, I don’t see your argument. The case to which you’re referring is, I assume, US v. Comstock, which upheld civil commitment of RCs, using the Necessary and Proper Clause. That decision was 7-2 (Thomas, Scalia). Are RBG and Breyer, who dissented in Smith, for worsening things for RCs because they were in the Majority in Comstock? IMO, your tag of Kagan is off base.

  4. Chris F

    An excellent video, and hopefully she will affect enough people, and the right people, to turn things around and get these laws stamped out in the courts. Policies won’t change though. The politicians won’t remove or lessen these laws since that is political suicide and their opponents would jump all over it.

    As has been the case with most major tides turning(Like Brown V Board of Education), it starts in the courts to set the example and get the conversation out there and give the politicians the excuse they need to do the right thing.

    I just wish all of those involved in this fight from the legal side would join up and provide other lawyers the resources and knowledge to properly fight these cases. You think it’s bad when a pro-se (no lawyer) lawsuit gets filed and argued poorly and sets precedent, but much of the time it’s bad precedents set by lawyers that just didn’t know how to properly fight, or didn’t have the drive to do it correctly.

    I am thankful that Janice has always been very good about sharing her knowledge and briefs to anyone that asks. I just wish there was some national repository of good legal advise and cases and statistics to reference so that each lawyer isn’t re-inventing the wheel on each case they try to file. I lack the time, funding, and legal background to attempt this myself, so I’ll just keep doing what I can by offering up what I’ve learned when I see someone with a question or situation on here that I think I can help with.

  5. America's Most Hated

    God bless this woman. This made me drop a few tears to realize that there are some people in the world that realize not all of us are predators waiting on your children to walk down the street. We just want normal lives.

    I just don’t want my life to be so hard anymore. I don’t deserve this shit. I never hurt anyone nor intended to. Actually now I am bawling my eyes out. I’m not even a man anymore. I was a Marine. I was a policeman. And now I am nothing but a piece of filth. I used to be so admired by everyone that knew me. I was important. And now I live in a shack and sleep in the floor. I don’t even have a bed. I would like to say I’m sorry, but I’ve said it more than enough the ten years, and I’m sick of it. I won’t say I’m sorry anymore because the price I have paid in my life FAR exceeds what I have to go through every day because I clicked on some photos of 16 year old Russian girls that were paid to pose nude.

    I thank you, Janice. You have a purpose in life and it’s a very real purpose. I’m sitting here as a large, manly, capable man crying my eyes out because someone actually cares about this. Everyone hates me and I don’t deserve that. I’m still the same honest man I’ve always been and to be treated like scum has really ruined my life in more ways than you could ever imagine. I just want to be normal, Janice. If you can help me do this, I will do anything. I will come mow your lawn or wash your dishes. I just want to be normal.

    Thank you so much. We all appreciate your love and what you are doing.

    • R M

      Hey AMH, not EVERYONE hates you. The majority of the ignorant society, yes, but not EVERYONE. You have friends here who emphasize and sympathize with you here. I also lost all my friends and most of my family over this crap. I know it’s tough, but hang in there.

    • Facts should matter.

      I think all of us just wants to feel like – and be treated like – a human being again before we die.

      But I guess that’s asking too much in today’s sex crazed, witch hunting climate..

    • AJ

      I second R M, and also add that despite what anyone may want or try to do, they cannot take away what you know, said, and feel about yourself (“I’m still the same honest man I’ve always been”; ” a large, manly, capable man”). There’s nothing wrong with tears, brother–though I used to think so. Those tears come from realizing that you *are* still what you said about yourself, and there *are* people who know that. As much as others would like to make you as they label you, you are not. I can feel that simply by what you wrote.

      I still believe–and often pray–that the balance is shifting in our favor. There are cases pending and being won, and (speaking anecdotally) fewer being lost. The haters have overplayed their hands, and the truth is getting out. SCOTUS’s ignorance in Smith is slowly dissolving. Hold on, brother, please hold on.

    • New Person

      You thought this video was great. You should see the group of speakers for the 2013 convention, which included her and Janice in the fold. Does anyone have a link to that so AMH can see it?

      And you don’t want to stop there. You should look up Dr Ira and Tara Ellman’s legal research work on the myth about “frightening and high”. I believe both doctors are on the ACSOL board. = )

  6. David Boudreau

    1984 14898 Cabot Trail, Cheticamp, Nova Scotia B0E1H0

    Dear Mrs. Catherine Carpenter,

    I just watched your video on Hope. I am greatly impressed! I think you are a wonderful person. I am not on the sex offender registry. However, in 1996, a criminal started to call young girls, 13 years old and maybe younger, using my identity. These calls have continued until 2018. At least 70 young girls have been contacted by an imposter claiming to be me. I have been a victim of all kinds of abuse. The scariest was a very serious death threat which I received from the same criminal who has stolen my identity. For three years, I woke up every morning expecting to be murdered; the threat came with an example of a fellow citizen who had been murdered. In 1996, I joined an environmental groups against the development of a gold mine in the Jim Campbell Barren. This is when my conflict began with Organized Crime.

    I will not go into detail about all the abuse I have suffered. I would like to make some comments: 1. The RCMP have an unofficial registry for suspects. This comes with public notifications and all the harassment that goes with it. 2. People are being secretly implanted with Radio Frequency Identification Tags, better known as Micro Chips, the same kind that are put in dogs. These are tracking devices used to stalk the victims 24/7. 3. Global Position Devices are secretly installed in the suspects’ automobiles, also for tracking purposes. 4. Fifteen percent of the Canadian population is working as the ears and the eyes of the State, as smear mongers, snitches, spies and stalkers. Why is this kept secret? For many reasons. For one thing, the vigilantes sign Non-Disclosure Agreements promising never to tell the truth. They are told that they are following people considered dangerous and that they are protecting the welfare of children. They operate as community policing groups. They have the full support of the police and the government. Everything is done in secret. Victims are committing suicide. In some cases, the victims of harassment are committing mass murder. For example, what happened in Moncton, N.B. Justin Bourque ( I am not trying to defend him, I think what he did was a great hindrance to our cause ) considered himself a freedom fighter and he thought that what the did would open up a debate about how the police are harassing law abiding citizens.

    You are an angel. I am greatly impressed! Continue the good work! We must expose what is happening. We know that cockroaches do not like the light! The majority of people are not bad; it is just that they are misinformed.

    Sincerely, David Boudreau 902-224-2826

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