Oklahoma’s “Justice for Danyelle Act of 2018,” an act that prohibits registrants from living within 2,000 feet of their victim’s home and loitering within 1,000 feet of the same, is a prime example of a knee jerk law. This law also demonstrated one of the deceptive tactics that Oklahoma lawmakers use in order to advance their own personal agenda using the public safety issue. To add insult to injury this law is going to be applied unconstitutionally to over 6,800 registrants in Oklahoma and the author of the bill knows it will be.
First, let’s see how this knee jerk law was created.
In 2003, Danyelle Dyer was molested by her step-uncle. Harold English was arrested, convicted and went to prison for the crime. Upon his release, Harold had only one place to go to, his mother’s home. She agreed to take him in until he could find a place of his own. His mother was also Danyelle’s grandmother, who lives next door to Danyelle’s mother. While the news media reports that the two were, “…next door,” Danyelle admits that the two houses are, “…about 100 yards…” apart. Furthermore, the main factor here is that Danyelle did not live next door (or even 100 yards away) from the house that Harold was going to stay in temporarily. Danyelle was just visiting her mother during her college summer break when she learned that Harold was staying with his mother, Danyelle’s grandmother.
The Dyers were livid and made phone calls to different government agencies demanding an explanation as to why he was allowed to live with his mother, as if that were a crime. (One has to wonder if the residency restrictions were a factor.) They eventually encountered their legislators. Representative Kyle Hilbert stood in front of the cameras of the main news channels in Oklahoma and promised that he was going to make sure that this situation would never happen again.
A grandstanding politician with a “…feel sorry for someone…” issue that usually applies to only one specific situation. That is the birthplace of a knee jerk law. In this case, an unconstitutional one that provides no public safety whatsoever while serving only the retaliatory desires of one victim.