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WA: County to pay $115K to man mistakenly listed as sex offender

[ – 6/14/18]

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. – The county has agreed to settle a lawsuit involving a man who was wrongfully listed as a sex offender.

Yakima County will pay local man Damian Garza Cantu $115,000 after someone else’s criminal convictions of third degree rape were mistakenly placed on his record.

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Related links:

WA: County to pay $115K to man mistakenly listed as sex offender [ – 6/14/18]



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  1. FRegistryTerrorists

    It is a shame that this money won’t be taken only out of the pockets of the people in this criminal regime that support the $EX Offender Registries. The local politicians that promoted their Registry should pay it.

  2. cool

    This proves that the ls is punishment!
    I hope the
    Idaho’s 134 anonymous sex offenders who brought the lawsuit have the option to refile the case if they can show the current laws caused them actual harm.

  3. C

    Big deal! This is no worse than Price Club acccidentally listing someone as a member. Tax payers should be up in arms over such a frivolous lawsuit.

    • AJ

      My thoughts exactly. The registry isn’t punishment and being on there in no way indicates dangerousness, so what’s the big deal to be on there? Besides, I’m sure someone (paging Dr. Hanson and Rep. Smith) could dig deep enough and find out the person belongs on the registry.

      • AO

        I don’t understand that argument. If it doesn’t indicate dangerousness, then what’s purpose? I mean, the tiered system is directly reflecting dangerousness, right? The higher the tier the more likely the recidivism, which means danger. If you rated cars based on how likely they are to explode, that would be a rating on how dangerous they are.

        • AJ

          If it doesn’t indicate dangerousness, then what’s purpose? I mean, the tiered system is directly reflecting dangerousness, right?
          Of course not…CT DPS v. Doe says so. “Everyone” knows it’s all about making a public-safety statement, not a risk/dangerousness one. Other side of the same coin, you say? No, because rational basis let’s any legislature come up with anything, even without evidence or example. Yes, without evidence. (Which makes me think legislative findings, or lack thereof, have zero helpful weight in court unless there’s a statement saying, “we’re doing this to be mean to RCs.”)

  4. American Detained in America

    If it’s not harmful(punishment) to be listed on the registry, then this lawsuit has no merit. I find it very telling when the county chose to settle the lawsuit rather than fight it. Apparently, the powers that be in that county know full well that the registry is harmful to those listed, which is good because people are catching on. However, I wish they had fought it so that we could have yet another court decision acknowledging that being on the registry is harmful and therefore punishment.

    • CR

      The suit has merit for someone who is not supposed to be listed on the registry. It does not have merit for us, because the state has determined that we are supposed to be listed there. This is completely unrelated to whether or not registration is punitive.

      Per Smith v Doe 2003:

      “The purpose and the principal effect of notification are to inform the public for its own safety, not to humiliate the offender. Widespread public access is necessary for the efficacy of the scheme, and the attendant humiliation is but a collateral consequence of a valid regulation.”

      So while the “attendant humiliation”, and all other negative effects of being listed on a public sex offender registry is a collateral consequence for us, it is libel when information is false. That is why this guy could sue and get a settlement, and why we never will. Has nothing to do with registration being punitive or not.

      • TS


        You are spot on, but it does have merit for RCs if there was questioning of the county of why they settled instead of going to court. Someone, e.g. an atty or a well attuned investigative reporter wanted to know more, would need to question the defendant to hopefully come up with the reasoning, if the defendant is willing to spill why it truly was settled. The theories here of the dangerous road being walked and the potential to prove the entire registry is what we all know it is could have been proven. Unfortunately, they were not, but that does not mean it could not still be found out.

        • CR

          I hear you, TS. Going to trial would have been nice for the chance of all that might have come out on record, especially since the plaintiff was not one of us, and a jury would likely be sympathetic to the injury inflicted on him. Anything that shines more light on the state’s questionable motives and dubious justifications for registration schemes could be useful.

          So I can see your reasoning being a possible motive for the county to want to settle. On the other hand, it’s giving a lot of credit to cash-strapped county politicians to consider such implications and to engage in crafty strategies to protect a nationally-scoped state-sponsored program of systematic oppression that is being waged on a disfavored minority.

          I think it’s more likely about the money. Most things are. The county probably figured that a jury trial would cost them many times what a settlement would.

      • mike r

        Yeah, except for now there is mass evidence strongly suggesting the efficacy is in serious question even with the mass distribution of personal info.

  5. Eric Knight

    Another firm, financial cost that should be thrown into EVERY lawyer’s arsenal as to the ACTUAL COST of being registered, and incorporating that cost with punitive intent. This is a HARD, TITANIUM-SOLID COURT DOCUMENT that dictates such. Sorry for shouting, but that’s the importance this needs to show.

  6. Facts should matter

    This is proves that being on the registry causes irreparable harm by destroys one’s reputation, credibility and character. Not to mention being a soft target for assault and murder.

    • AO

      I think the courts have ruled that what you said is less relevant than “public safety”. They acknowledge everything you said, but it holds less weight than what the registry supposedly provides. RC’s being negatively impact unfortunately is not a valid argument. What has to happen is for the courts to acknowledge that the registry is actually punishment. Then on the technicality of that it’ll end. At least for those already convicted. For everyone else, they’ll just be placed on lifetime supervision like Arizona already does.

  7. mike r

    Yep AJ, O am hoping that by using a tiered system that it is unconstitutional if it is based off off conviction instead of risk assessment. We definitely need to work on this because you know the AG in my case is going to be “well, we have a legislative fix, it is call the tiered registry bill that take effect in 2021 which will let Plaintiff petition to be removed after blah blah years” Did SCOTUS say somewhere that it implies dangerousness without actual risk so it was unconstitutional?

  8. jo

    THIS. IS. HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A real court just put real dollar DAMAGES on being listed on the Sex Offender List!!!!!! Look, take this case to the courts and this PROVES that the court agrees that being on the list is damaging.

  9. Michael M.

    The KIMA TV article that announced this court settlement gave us just 5 sentences about it. For the full back-story about how Damian Cantu came to be on the registry and why this story is important, go to my article at

    The good news: Someone is finally admitting that being on the registry produces tangible, quantifiable harm. The bad news: Due to the confidentiality clauses of these kinds of settlements, no one will likely hear anything more about it.

    • R M

      For 25 or so years on the registry (“… mid 1990’s” to “2018”…”) wasn’t enough. He took “hush” money instead of what I (I don’t know his annual pay) would have made for 25 years, $1,250,000 ($50kx25)).

      “If someone offered to remove me (Michael M, the author of from registry and pay me $115,000 to keep my mouth shut about the indignities and harm my family has suffered as a result of being on the sex offender registry, I wouldn’t have to think twice about accepting the offer.” You, the author, are a fool.

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