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General News

Briefing the Supreme Court: Promoting Science or Myth?

The Supreme Court recently decided, in Packingham v. North Carolina, whether North Carolina’s ban on the use of social networking websites by registered sex offenders is constitutional. The principal legal issue in the case was whether the ban violates the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech. The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional for that reason.

Yet another issue arose in the briefing and oral arguments before the Supreme Court. The litigants and certain amici curiae engaged in some debate about whether such a restriction is necessary in the first place. That is, various parties argued about whether the ban serves to protect the public from what North Carolina and the representatives of twelve other states in a collective amicus brief contend are high risk sex offenders who commonly use the internet to locate children for purposes of sexual exploitation. In opposition, Packingham’s submissions, as the individual petitioner, and the amicus brief by a group of sex offender treatment professionals refute such allegations. Full Research Paper

Join the discussion

  1. Timothy D A Lawver

    The indenture of men to databases and the demanded labor maintenance thereof is an affront to natural law. Proof is provided given the following equation.

    Data need to maintain machine > human need for liberty
    Or simply, Machine need outweighs human need; in a more perfect society.


    This is the current state of things which demonstrate the adverse of RE-Public by definition.

    • Tim Moore

      That’s my biggest objection to this registry, that I have to work to keep up my part of it, or go to prison, and it doesn’t benefit me or the public for that matter. If the police had the responsibility to keep it up, they would only target the most provably dangerous, because no agency is so large or well funded it can track 900,000 people, their whereabouts, their vehicles, their online use. They can’t even find the people who’ve absconded from the registry. Our labor keeps this big, bloated list going.

  2. JohnDoe

    What a well-written paper. Arguments from here should be 100% used in any cases against the Registry moving forward!

  3. E

    When does a myth become a lie? When people who KNOW BETTER continue to repeat the untruth. The states are blatantly falsifying their reporting on research and data to support what they now know is A LIE. That they are not held in contempt by the courts is despicable.

  4. T

    The registry system and all of its ordinances including the IML is all runned based on myth simply because they want to make people to believe that the lie is the truth only if it’s believable, and most people are falling for myths and junk science, just like the Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction accusation made by the Bush Administration with junk science and intelligence just to trip people off and scaring them.

  5. Bruce Ferrell

    While the arguments against state, local and federal restrictions are valuable, aren’t they basically moot where the restriction comes from social media providers themselves via terms of service that ban individuals who are registered?

    Or do the civil restrictions on use of the registry information to deny housing, employment etc moot the terms of service?

    If the later is the case, isn’t the fact the social media sites like Facebook and Nextdoor deny access where the the person requesting access is denied based on registration, actionable as a civil rights and/or civil violation?

    Seems like just one court action win will open the door… And the path to their deep pockets; Which, really, is the only thing the corporation will respond to.

    • Robin

      It would be hard fight. They are privately owned, so basically they can deny access to anyone they want. e.g. someone that is intimidating on using vulgar language can be deleted and denied access.
      Granted they can create a new e-mail and name and be back on, but RC’s have to report their e-mail/phones, internet identifiers etc, and I know here the SP forward that information to all of those type of sites.

  6. JW

    What percentage of non-sex recidivist crimes are based on violations of registration itself?

    • David

      If you go to Google news and type in the search term “sex offender”, you will see that most the “Sex Offender Arrested” headlines are, indeed, about registration “violations”, not about new sex offense charges.

  7. Robin

    What gets me is noone is bringing up the report from DOJ dated Dec 2016 of the study from 2005-2010 (5 year study on 30 states), in any courts since the publishing date.

    It is available, it was hard to find but, on the DOJ web site. Is DOJ trying to do this intentionally, or do states know about it but not bringing out because it negates what their claims are?

    I really hope that soon that report is brought out in a federal level court where the lawyer for the RC blind sides the states attorney with that report.

    • David

      Robin, could you provide a link to that Dec. 2016 DOJ report? (I was unable to find it.)


    Please do not get me wrong. The simple fact that there is 20+ years of studies that prove the uselessness of this registry, and nobody challenging it, says a lot. I do appreciate Janice et al for everything they do, but actions speak louder than words. NOW would be a good time to kick all the politicians in the gut and bring a class action suit against the state and federal governments. I will be the first to sign up.
    The suits that have been won include the language that the lawyer fees and filing fees be forgiven (returned), whatever the legal speak is. I know salaries need to be paid, but cmon, let’s get this ball rolling. I will die before this registry is declared what it is. UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!!
    Been a registrant since 1999. Half my adult life I have been subject to this crap 💩. I am sure there are other RCs that feel the same. Kind of hard for a government to ignore over 110000 voices in California alone, lest we forget the over 800000 nationwide. That’s not counting the family members that are affected.
    Like I said, I will be the first one in line. My name is Joseph DuBois and I have had enough of this hypocrisy from a government whose president has declared April as a second chance month.
    Janice, how are we going to proceed? Tired of hearing ,” it’s not the right time “. NOW is the time.

    • Tim Moore

      I have to wonder, just how much more time is needed to prove that this registry has caused people harm — harm to registrants and friends, who face civil and physical damage and death — harm to even victims and society in general, because this registry system wastes money and human resources that can be better used for healing and victim services. People are fed up because they’re suffocating under these laws. I don’t know about you, but I can’t breathe.

  9. Guy Hamilton-Smith

    You know what one of the really cool things about this essay is?

    That is shows that even when the government brings its best and brightest, its ‘A’ game, that all they have to offer in support of the need for these restrictions is dishonest, manipulative arguments.

    The Emperor truly has no clothes.

  10. Gralphr

    There really needs to be some type of March on Washington in order to get the change we need. Tens of thousands of people with their families with organizations such as acsol at the podium announcing the truth about these laws and the overall harm they cause while being useless. They can also show on national TV since you better believe they’d be there, that these laws are nothing more than Jim crow 2.0 in another name or even the fact they mirror much of what the nazis implemented excluding the gas chambers. Even families giving first hand accounts of the bias against them. The tearful child not having their parent come to their games, but a convicted murderer is perfectly fine. Only then will the courts be forced to acknowledge the stupidity of these laws since they would no longer be able to hide behind the news not really covering the truth.

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