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WI: Lifetime GPS monitoring not punishment

A Wisconsin judge wasn’t required to tell a man he would face a lifetime of GPS monitoring upon pleading guilty to child sex crimes because such monitoring is a public safety measure, not a form of punishment, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday. Full Article

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  1. AJ

    “(Lifetime monitoring) provides a middle ground between releasing dangerous sex offenders into the public wholly unsupervised and civil commitment,” Justice Michael Gableman wrote in the ruling. “In light of the ‘frightening and high’ rate of recidivism for sex offenders, the relatively minimal intrusion of lifetime GPS tracking … is not excessive in relation to protecting the public.”
    —–
    Either these judges are a complete bunch of morons, or they are intentionally setting things up for a (hopeful) SCOTUS review. It’s absolutely ridiculous that it was 7-0, relying on “frightening and high” still/again. That damned phrase simply will not die.

    • John

      I’ll put my money on the latter. I thought and said the exact thing from another case (which I can’t remember right now ) where the panel voted unanimously on some easy bullshit and quite the head scratch for me with the ruling. These people can’t be morons. They have to be setting up a Scotus designation and even wondered myself if there is communication among the high court judges among themselves for prompting these types of set ups. ” hey this needs to be done, rule this way and let them send it here, we’ll get it “(probably in codes)and not so open. lol. I know I may be far reaching it here, but who knows.

      • CR

        “I’ll put my money on the latter. I thought and said the exact thing from another case (which I can’t remember right now ) where the panel voted unanimously on some easy bullshit and quite the head scratch for me with the ruling.”

        And what was the outcome in that case? Did it go to SCOTUS? How was it decided?

        “These people can’t be morons.”

        Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they all colluded together to render an unconstitutional ruling. It’s a lot more likely that they ruled as they did because they think they are right.

        • John

          ” And what was the outcome in that case? Did it go to SCOTUS? How was it decided? ”

          I can’t remember the case to be honest. I don’t have the strength right now to search the archives and see if something triggers my memory as to the case I’m talking about, but maybe if it pops up again in the near future on these posts as to an appeal of the ruling then I’ll recall it. I haven’t seen anything yet.

          ” Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they all colluded together to render an unconstitutional ruling. It’s a lot more likely that they ruled as they did because they think they are right. ”

          Perhaps you’re right about that. It was just a thought of mine at the time. That’s all.

    • CR

      It would be nice to think that the WI Supreme Court was setting this up for an appeal to SCOTUS to correct their 2003 Smith v Doe mistake, but that’ll only work if the offender in this case appeals, and if SCOTUS grants certiorari to the petitioner.

      This case is over unless the offender appeals. And the damage is done regardless, not just for this offender, but for every similarly situated offender in Wisconsin unless and until it is overturned by SCOTUS. If the intent was to get SCOTUS to overturn, it seems like an awfully risky approach, and a judicially irresponsible one, at that.

      And so, I think it more likely that this ruling is just the result of the WI Supreme Court following the lead of SCOTUS in the Alaska Smith v Doe 2003 case, and that they ruled as they did because they agree with that ruling.

    • CR

      It would be nice to think that the WI Supreme Court was setting this up for an appeal to SCOTUS to correct their 2003 Smith v Doe mistake, but that’ll only work if the offender in this case appeals, and if SCOTUS grants certiorari to the petitioner.

      This case is over unless the offender appeals. And the damage is done regardless, not just for this offender, but for every similarly situated offender in Wisconsin unless and until it is overturned by SCOTUS. If the intent was to get SCOTUS to overturn, it seems like an awfully risky approach, and a judicially irresponsible one, at that.

      And so, I think it more likely that this ruling is just the result of the WI Supreme Court following the lead of SCOTUS in the Alaska Smith v Doe 2003 case, and that they ruled as they did because they agree with that ruling.

  2. C-rami

    Justice Michael Gableman wrote in the ruling. “In light of the ‘frightening and high’ rate of recidivism for sex offenders, the relatively minimal intrusion of lifetime GPS tracking … is not excessive in relation to protecting the public.”

    Until this frightening and high stat gets taken proven wrong in court more terrible decisions like this will be made.

    • Mr. TDAL

      Sir,

      One way is to demand trial for registration violation. Tell it to a jury.

      Our leadership actually thinks the electronic world is useful in preventing bad behavior. It will fail because a database cannot accurately predict the future. There is much power in controlling information especially political power.

  3. J

    Yes, it’s punishment!!

  4. Sunny

    What a bad decision! I hope they appeal to federal courts. The court once again cites debunked statistics regarding “frightening and high” rates of recidivism. This is a dangerous precedent not only for registrants, but all Americans. The court has said that lifetime GPS tracking is non-punitive and only for “protecting the public.”

    Imagine all the other people courts could place GPS trackers on for life without any due process or redress of grievances. If there’s a terrorist attack, a municipality could enact a law requiring all foreigners to wear GPS trackers in the interest of public safety. Require all children to wear GPS trackers for their safety. We already fingerprint / DNA sample teachers, why not also track them for the safety of the children? According to this precedent, all of that would be perfectly legal. Perhaps the current administration will cite this decision to place GPS trackers on all immigrants.

    “In light of the ‘frightening and high’ rate of recidivism for sex offenders, the relatively minimal intrusion of lifetime GPS tracking … is not excessive in relation to protecting the public…He acknowledged that offenders must spend an hour a day next to a wall outlet to recharge the devices, but he argued that this is a minor restraint that doesn’t rise to punishment…Since monitoring isn’t a punishment, it’s not a direct consequence of a guilty plea and therefore judges don’t need to tell defendants about it, Gableman concluded.”

  5. Agamemnon

    “In light of the ‘FRIGHTENING AND HIGH’ rate of recidivism for sex offenders, the relatively minimal intrusion of lifetime GPS tracking … is not excessive in relation to protecting the public,” Justice Michael Gableman wrote in the ruling.

    Again, those unwarranted and continually disproven words distort a court ruling to opress and subjugate American citizens.

  6. ml

    Nah, having to stand close to an outlet every day for an hour is not punishment, only a burden. I wish that the judges had to do that for a few months and lets see if it was only a burden. Judges can be so full of shit.

  7. David

    Well, I can certainly understand lifetime GPS monitoring! Bear in mind that his offenses were so heinous that he was incarcerated for an entire year! Who gets that kind of sentence? [Yes, sarcasm intended.]

  8. Joe123

    More ridiculous laws being upheld due to that one incorrect ruling in 2003 based on a misrepresented article.

  9. somone who cares

    Of course it is punishment. You have to take to charge twice a day, and if you don’t you will get another charge (literally) added. So, my question AGAIN…..when will a defense attorney demand to see proof of these “high and frightening” re-offense rates. This has to be the number one goal to proof that there aren’t such statistics. How hard can it be to debunk these lies that keep being used to punish more and more.

  10. Don’t tread on me

    My belief is that these elected or appointed judges rule this way in a vain attempt at saving face. They can still say they are tough on crime but have no control over how the US Supreme Court rules. They are passing the buck on a very controversial and politically charged topic, ie SOR. If the Supreme Court over rules them then it is the supreme courts fault and not theirs

    • CR

      With the average member of the general public, how is the topic of SOR controversial or politically charged?

      A thing that most people agree with can hardly be said to be controversial. If SOR were truly controversial, there would be more than just a few academics and a few in the media and a few defense lawyers speaking out against it and fighting on our behalf.

      Politicians know that being tough on sex offenders is a vote getter. Almost none of them vote against a measure that heaps more woe upon us. It’s one of the few things that nearly all politicians on the left, right, and in the middle agree on.

      • Tim Moore

        That’s the problem, no controversy. The Adam Walsh Act gets reauthorized with near unanimous support, the IML is so non controversial, it gets passed without needing a vote count. When sex offense laws become controversial, then we have a chance.

    • TS

      Elected I could see, like they are in Illinois, but appointed doesn’t make much sense to me. However, that does not mean appointed doesn’t do what you say.

  11. AJ

    These judges had no problem quoting Smith to use “frightening and high,” yet clearly missed the part of Smith where SCOTUS talked about RCs being, “free to move where they wish and to live and work as other citizens, with no supervision.” Clearly GPS monitoring involves some sort of supervision, or else why have it on someone? This RC is nowhere near, “free to move…and to live and work as other citizens.”

    This may not be punishment (work with me, please), but it’s absolutely a 4th Amdt. issue. SCOTUS has already ruled–more than once!–that GPS tracking, regardless to whom or what it’s attached, is a 4th Amdt. search and seizure. The seminal case, surprise surprise out of NC, is Grady (a RC) v. NC (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/supreme-court-if-youre-being-gps-tracked-youre-being-searched/389114/). See also: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150404/19380730550/supreme-court-says-lifetime-gps-monitoring-sex-offenders-may-be-unconstitutional.shtml.

    Since he’s on probation, he doesn’t have much of a case right now, but come 2022 when off paper, this WI SC decision will be in conflict with Grady. He’ll certainly have time to prepare to sue in Federal court or appeal to SCOTUS. The State will have to show it’s a reasonable search, which it clearly isn’t. I can see WI then trying to commit him civilly. If so, it will reek of retribution, given they’ve already said he’s “okay enough” to avoid civil commitment and be in society. 4 years hence will only make his case stronger.

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