AL: District Court Determines Alabama Laws to be Punishment

Doe v. Marshall – decided February 11, 2019

Conclusion: Alabama can prosecute sex offenses to the full extent of the law. It can also act to protect its citizens from recidivist sex offenders. But the State denies that ASORCNA is designed to “punish” offenders. And once a person serves his full sentence, he enjoys the full protection of the Constitution. Harris, 772 F.3d at 572; accord Packingham, 137 S. Ct. at 1737.

Sex offenders are not second-class citizens, and anyone who thinks otherwise would do well to remember Thomas Paine’s wisdom: “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy *49 from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

Decision: Doe v. Marshall – Alabama – Feb 2019

Related Media

Initial Commentary

Some Alabama sex offender registration laws are unconstitutional, federal judge rules

‘Sex Offenders Are Not Second-Class Citizens,’ Says Judge While Nixing Alabama Rules on First Amendment Grounds (



Note: edited headline to reflect correct jurisdiction ***Moderator***



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Another WIN

Tide is turning really FAST !!

Awesome that marking ID’s and requiring notification of internet use are unconstitutional. Boo that residency restrictions are okay because of stupid semantics.

Link is for District decision, is there a Circuit one?

Take that Mr. Sessions. Let me see you recuse yourself from that. Sorry, but I’m bitter.

This was NOT a decision by the 11th Court of Appeals. It was “only” a decision by a District Court Judge. As some of you know, I’ve been following this case for some time. Though not overly surprised at the ruling, I’m nevertheless quite pleased with it. Another crack in the facade.

Now for the case to head to the 11th, because you know the home state of former Reichsfuhrer Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III still “knows” it’s right and needs this.

Hmm. Seems like Judge Matsch might’ve been quite the trendsetter. Thank goodness for us he happened to be a republican.

Compelled speech is interesting and been kicked around here a lot. Passports anyone?

I do not share @AJ the same pleasure in this unfortunately. As we know, we do not enjoy the full protection of the constitution once sentence is fulfilled. And though it he may have erred on the side of caution in regards to residence and employment restrictions, his tone did not suggest he felt it punishment at all IMO. There are substantive due process violations all over this case.

It is a GREAT decision!!! They don’t do this to any other group of arrested individuals because it would be unconstitutional……..

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but if the court declares any part of it punishment, that should open registration up to challenging how the legislature is not allowed to dictate punishment as the judiciary has that role.

why is this stuff not equal protection under the law. if convicted drunk drivers don’t have any of this bs on their lic. no driving while school is in session, etc… then why should convicted SO’s have this BS?

Wow, I have never heard a more beautiful thing.

“Under strict scrutiny, a law is invalid unless it uses the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling interest.”

A decision by a State Supreme Court, decided on Constitutional Grounds a couple of days ago.

Why does this make my heart happy ?

Just wondering whether deciding against branding of a drivers license, might reach to passports?

I think it could.

I’m confused about the rationale for alerting police that the drivers license holder is a registered person. Isn’t that the entire justification for the registry itself? Wouldn’t the police only need to know a citizen is registered if it is relevant somehow? At any rate isn’t it something that comes up when they run your license? Whether it is big bold red letters or a tiny asterisk what does that inform the cop looking at the license?

The big bold red letters on a license are proof the registry is not used for its stated purpose. It is NOT a tool for the police, they require marks on the license to know if a person is registered.

A quick short fix to the internet identity law:

Have all registrants create 10 new dummy email addresses with the password 1234abcd$ and have the list available to all Alabama (or any other state that mandates it) registrants subject to email identifier disclosure for them to register the entire list, ideally 5000 or so. Then giggle at the looks you get from whoever has to input them into their registry. Give them a new list a month later and repeat.

It’s a modified version of a suggestion I made to respond to a Florida law requiring registration of “every vehicle a registrant has access to”; then I suggested not only every vehicle in the family, but every vehicle at every rental agency, used car lot, etc. (if you can rent or buy it, you have access, right?). The idea was to flood the registry with (more) nonsense. But of course, that was Florida and they want their registry as ridiculously overinflated as they can make it.

“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. ”

Abraham Lincoln

These laws have gotten so ridiculous that more and more court decisions are going to continue to strike them down. Smith v. Doe seemingly gave these politicians unlimited rope. Now it’s time for a hanging!

I’m a registered sex offender in Alabama. No matter how u look at it in court it’s so hard once someone has accused you of a offence. Its their word vs yours, once i was convected it was hell to do anything when u had to show your driver’s license. I continue to work by the grace of God for 19 years and was able to retire. Am glad to have this removed from my license.

Can anyone give the current status of the case. The email address etc provision was in limbo last I saw. The state changed licenses to show cv606 but what about providing email addresses? Thanks

In the Alabama case, I read that the Atty General had 30 days from the ruling to file papers asking the judge to reconsider or something before being able to appeal. I’ve not been able to find anything since the ruling came out. I’m not an atty and have no idea how to reaearch it. This is in reference to the email and internet identifier requirements. The state apparently gave in when they removed criminal sex offender and replaced it with cv606.

Does anyone know how to conclusively find out if I’m still required to report my email address etc? I’ve thought about emailing the Al Atty Gen’s office and just ask. Surely they would be obligated to give an honest answer, if they did answer.

Thanks for your researching for me. I have to register next in August so I think I’ll see what intel I can gather then. For those who need a good laugh: I pled guilty to Al 13A-6-110. There was an appeals court decision, Tennyson v. Al, which is almost the same to my situation. Major exceptions being I didn’t travel to meet, was arrested at my home and I didn’t send pics of my genitals. The statute was repealed 13 days after my conviction. If I had money to hire an attorney, one who would do his job, I could file a rule 32 petition and have my conviction set aside thus removing me from the registry. How’s that for a cruel joke.

In opposition to the AL Federal District ruling is the IA SC:

What a surprise they found just like their IL and MO counterparts do: nothing is ever too much or wrong about anything to do with adult RCs. I hope the RC in this case appeals to SCOTUS (no petition as of 06/27) so we can find where the line is. Then again, I dread SCOTUS denying cert or finding for the State.

Something from the Opinion leaped out at me:
The district court sentenced [the RC] to a five-year suspended prison sentence, supervised probation, and a ten-year special sentence requiring him to register as a sex offender.
He was sentenced by a judge to register. That sounds like neither a non-punitive regulatory scheme nor a collateral consequence of conviction. To me it sounds like a direct consequence of his offense in the form of punishment.

Though the case is a loss for us, it bears reading just to glean the twists, tricks, and turns they’ll take to uphold the RC laws.

Is it true that you (a district attorney) can indict a ham sandwich?

I mention a ham sandwich and the silence is deafening.

Just an fyi for those watching the Alabama laws. I did my quarterly registration yesterday and the email address is still on registration paperwork. I didn’t ask or push the issue since I just don’t have the ability take on any battles right now.