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IL: Writing Sex Offender Laws Based on Fake Recidivism Numbers Is Rational, Court Says

Last week the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a state law banning sex offenders from public parks, overturning a 2017 appeals court ruling that deemed the statute “unconstitutional on its face because it bears no reasonable relationship to protecting the public.” The seven members of the higher court unanimously disagreed, saying, “We conclude that there is a rational relation between protecting the public, particularly children, from sex offenders and prohibiting sex offenders who have been convicted of crimes against minors from being present in public parks across the state.” Full Article

Also see:

IL: Public Parks Ban is Constitutional (Supreme Court Reversal)

Join the discussion

  1. Joe

    At the time of the incident Mr. Pepitone was not required to register – his requirement had expired. He is not listed on any state’s registry web site, today.

    Even assuming for one second that the registration requirement is based on a danger to the community, how is it rational to restrict such a person’s presence in a public place?

  2. Facts should matter

    That reversal was insanity. Now they’re trying to do the same thing with the Colorado ruling. We’re never going to make any headway or inroads as long as they continue to pull stunts like this.

  3. Chris F

    When a politically powerless and hated specific named group is the only one targetted by a law, and that law does not apply to everyone, it is supposed to get heightened scrutiny.

    It is true that laws that apply to all only get heightened scrutiny when they disadvantage one of the “protected” classes like based on religion, being a minority, or sexual orientation. That is not the case here, and the judges failed, and the lawyers may have failed to ask for it.

  4. AO (AlexO)

    If the court asserts that actual facts do not matter, how could we possible hope to win anything? This is hate in it’s purest form.

    • Will Crump

      Take a deep breath and relax. This ain’t over yet.

      Look back at Packingham v. United States. The lower courts in North Carolina shot the statutory banishment of sex offenders from social media down cold. The STATE SUPREME COURT overturned the lower court and said the statute was constitutional. The NC Supreme Court ruled the law was perfectly fine. The accused appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and overturned the NC Supreme Court.
      I think this was a cowardly act of passing the judicial buck. The state supreme court did not intend to be the court that shot the state’s most cherished law down in flames.

      This ruling just verifies that many judges are a JOKE and a MOCKERY of justice. There are some weak-kneed cowards on the bench. There are political activists who agree on a personal level with these laws and they’re letting their bias show with such ridiculous rulings. I can’t see any HONEST court further up the food chain refusing to revisit this decision. In NO other arena would false evidence be allowed into the record for one. Second, it sure as the devil wouldn’t be ignored as it is in the case of sex offenders.

      What this court said is, “We don’t give a crap what the facts are. We don’t want these people in the places from which they’re banned and nothing is going to make us change our minds. Suck it up. We wear the robes. We make the rules.”

  5. Fed up

    Hate to say it but the registry will never go away.

    • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

      Right, like Jim Crow laws, Chinese restriction acts, sodomy laws and miscegenation laws. Time to gain an historical perspective, think in longer time spans and work towards a more rational future.

      • AO (AlexO)

        The thing that all those things have in common was they were all illegal based on nothing more than racism and hate and were not preceded by an actual illegal and wrong acts. You weren’t forced into segregation because you first committed a crime. Most of us actually did something wrong first. It’s going to be a much longer battle for us than them. Remember, African Americans and other POC citizens didn’t gain true legal equality until nearly 400 years after the fact. We’re on year 70 with the registry? When courts are literally saying facts don’t matter when it comes to us, it’s going to be a damn long battle.

        • Anonymous

          Rc’s with power & money who could file legitimate lawsuits, are getting more or less a pass on most of the registry’s punitive aspects. Do you think Tyson has an attorney set up all of his travel and take care of things? What about all of the other powerful & wealthy rc’s? IML will be taken care of for them ahead of time just as required, by their lawyers or “helpers.” So they are not going to fight and draw attention to themselves. But not to worry. It WILL fall. It will. Let’s keep up the fight.

        • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

          Sodomy laws were not racist and the people who supported them thought that they had a rational basis. Eugenics was not strictly racist yet had wide support. Women could not vote and there were once very few who thought they should be able to. The concept of crimes changes, too. Moneylending used to be illegal and was a crime and popularly seen to be a crime. Drinking was once a crime in the U.S. and drugs still are. Not all sex crimes have victims, especially when you consider that they have exploded in number over the last several decades. Some sex laws are unjust. Not all “sex offenders” have victimized anyone or committed “wrong acts.” So, what’s your point again? That we have all done something bad which distinguishes us from those other, now sanctified, historical victims? We could argue about that, too. Irrationality and hate have put many people in prison for “sex crimes”, too. We need to vow to eliminate registration and accept nothing less.

        • Tim Moore

          Ok, if you need a criminological analogy to have any hope, look to branding people’s palms with hot irons for theft, death for stealing a chicken, stoning for adultery, hanging drawing and quartering for political dissidence, the list of past practices is long. In the civilized countries we don’t have such things anymore. People abandoned what was once thought essential. Theft adultery, usury, they all at one time or another were considered so vile and disruptive to society and the people who committed them were thought so debased as to be due no mercy at all ever.
          Things change. People are starting to push for rehabilitation over mindless, expensive, unending punishment and surveillance. Europe is in the vanguard here. There is not much we can do but be a part of the wave or stand still and be dragged under. To quote Ursula Le Guin, those who don’t understand this will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.

  6. ML

    When you read that a judge or court says that “facts do not matter” it is as if you are in the Twilight Zone or on mushrooms. If we were not a hated class, that type of quote would be all over the late night talk shows and SNL. What’s more it was unanimous. WTF?

  7. T

    Hmmm! that’s like saying you can turn the lie into the truth to make it all seem believable.

  8. An RC emasculated

    WTF!!! Am I reading this right??? Are you f%#&ing kidding me? So this court is actually saying that it is ok for the state to make laws based on FAKE NEWS? Somebody please, say it ain’t so. Oh man, if this is the case, and nothing is done about it, then our grandchildren are in trouble.

  9. wonderin

    Hmmm, this is the same type of dysfunctional thinking that places most sex offenders on the registry.

  10. 290 air

    Yeah, unfortunately Freedom and Liberty are just punch lines in this country. The US actually doesn’t have much of either anymore. Not just applying to RC’s, but in general…unless you are part of the ruling class. Just look, we have a president that advocates grabbing women by the crotch, but then we have continuous punishment for every day citizens. When it was the 80’s and crack was a problem what did we do? Lock up everybody because it was mainly African Americans who had the problem. Now it’s white kids overdosing on heroine and it’s a national health emergency. Just depends on what class you are in as to how they treat you. Like it or not we live in a feudal society. Our founding father’s would be disgraced.

  11. Eric Knight

    This article is from the original 2013 incident that precipitate all the legal activity culminating in the chilling, dystopia-inducing decision:

    “A sex offender from Bolingbrook was arrested March 8 after police say he was found to be in a “prohibited zone.”

    Marc Pepitone, 44, 101 Parklawn Ct., was charged for being near a park on the 900 block of W. Boughton Road. He was arrested at 4:59 p.m.

    Pepitone could not be found in the Illinois Sex Offender registry, which lists information on convictions. Bolingbrook Police Lt. Michael Rompa said Pepitone is no longer required to register but is still prohibited from certain areas.

    According to the Illinois State Police website, “it is unlawful for a sexual predator or a child sex offender to knowingly be present in any public park building or on the real property comprising any public park.”

    It is also illegal for sex offenders “to reside within 500 feet of a school, playground, or any facility providing programs or services exclusively directed toward people under age 18, unless they owned the property prior to July 7, 2000.”

    Note that he wasn’t even required to register at the time of his arrest. This means ANYONE convicted after 2000, regardless of whether they have to register or not, still has to follow all sex offender restriction laws, presumably for life. I actually find that aspect of the entire crime even MORE chilling than the albeit non-Constitutional ruling.

    • Eric Knight

      Here is a link to the original brief submitted by Marc Pepitone’s lawyer, Katherine M. Strohl.

      This is extremely upsetting, as Ms. Strohl had submitted very detailed, factual rebuttals on every recidivism myth, along with statistics that agencies like the CASOMB and even US DOJ have meticulously documented. I would definitely like to know her take on this obviously unfathomable decision, particularly the opinion of the justices that essentially AGREE with her recidivism arguments, yet rule against it anyway. Very sad.

    • CR

      “This means ANYONE convicted after 2000, regardless of whether they have to register or not, still has to follow all sex offender restriction laws, presumably for life.”

      In Illinois, at least. Possibly in some other states too, but all we know from this article is that at least some restrictions apply to people who were convicted of sex offenses even if they are no longer required to register.

      I had no idea about the permanent reach of some of these restrictions, and it is very chilling indeed. None of us can ever be free if we are forever subject to these “non-punitive administrative” sex offender laws even when we are no longer required to register. It’s insane. It’s impossible to even know every law that applies to us. We’re all in constant peril of being arrested for violating a law we didn’t know about.

      • AO (AlexO)

        There was a recent article about IL or some other state trying to pass a new bill that would require anyone who ever had to register to register with the state when moving there regardless of their current status. Supposedly it would be only a one time registration with the state and keep you off the net. But still. It’s pretty insane. The fact that they prosecuted this man for something he no longer was part of is beyond insane. They might as well have arrested an ex con for not being in prison after the was released from prison.

  12. steve

    Hopefully, this unbelievable, disturbing, unprecedented comment/ruling will help us later on. If this doesn’t show SCOTUS things have gotten completely out of hand nothing will

    • Will Crump

      Amen! I can’t see any intellectually, morally, or legally honest superior judge letting this insane ruling stand. If this ruling with the statement “It is rational to base sex offender restriction laws on known false information.” is allowed to stand, then we may as well throw in the towel and quit because facts are all we have and if those are ignored, so is the idea of true and unbiased justice.

  13. Chris F

    This is the problem with our system of state governments having ELECTED judges that are allowed to run for re-election. Most of these 7 Justices are up for re-election in the next year or two and the terms last 10 years.

    Unless Smith V Doe 2003, Connecticut DPS V Doe 2003, and Mckune V Lile 2002 and the lies spoken by those SCOTUS Justices gets over-turned, facts won’t matter and we’ll continue to be held hostage to public opinion regardless of facts or the US Constitution.

    This country and its judges has a history of ignoring the Constitution until at least 25% of public opinion supports the right thing to do. That won’t change. If it did, the legislation would simply take away more power from the judiciary and have the support of the people to do it. Once the percent reaches at least 25%, then the judges know their ruling has the chance to educate and bring that number high enough to avoid the backlash of legislators.

    Even with good rulings, state’s don’t have to change. School segregation was ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS and many southern states ignored that for 10 years, until Congress made actual laws against it. It’s a shame SCOTUS has no enforcement powers. It is truly the weakest part of our government and that isn’t right.

    • AO (AlexO)

      Something like 14 states still technically criminalize gay men (anal intercourse) despite the fact that SCOTUS has ruled a while ago for that to be unconstitutional. These states claim they don’t enforce the laws, but at the same time they’re also unwilling to repeal them. Pretty much the BS that some CA cities are doing regarding Halloween and other ordinances against us.

      • CR

        Right, that was Lawrence v Texas 2003. States that refuse to remove the unconstitutional statutes are expressing their disagreement with SCOTUS, and their firm ultra-conservative religious views that hold gay people to be children of the devil.

        I fully expect the same thing to happen if SCOTUS ever decides that any of the sex offender registration and related laws are unconstitutional. Even if unenforceable, those laws are likely to remain on the books for a very long time.

  14. nk

    So does this mean Congress can write laws based on FAKE NEWS?

  15. Tim Moore

    I am wondering if it is legal now to base laws that assume people with more melanin in their skin are subhuman, or that people who pray to Yahweh or Allah or the Great Spirit or don’t believe in God, can be considered dangerous because of that, or that people who have Chinese or Japanese ancestry must be put into camps separated from the rest. These were all rational ideas in the past and I suppose these judges think that legislators have changed since then and we can trust public opinion to be based on the best evidence available. If they believe so, they have either no intelligence or no education in history; we need to start picking judges not by popular vote, but by results of their IQ tests, which now should be required along with a history proficiency tests of all candidates for the bench.

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