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Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: Flowers of Justice are Blooming

Spring has begun and the flowers of justice are blooming. One of these flowers, which is especially beautiful and fragrant, is a decision issued today by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that significantly limits the use of GPS devices for those convicted of a sex offense even if the registrant is on probation.

In its decision, the Court determined that GPS monitoring of an individual convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable searches. Specifically, the court stated that “(t)he government’s strong interest in protecting the public from sex offenders”….does “not outweigh the privacy intrusion occasioned by GPS monitoring.”

It is significant that the Court acknowledged that registrants are harmed in several ways when they are required to wear a GPS device. For example, registrants’ jobs are threatened when they are required to leave their job site and walk around outside in order to regain a lost satellite connection. It is also significant that the Court acknowledged that GPS tracking devices amass “a substantial quantum of intimate information about [a] person” and that information is stored indefinitely in a way that is currently unregulated by statute.

As sweet as the Massachusetts decision is, it does not mean that all registrants in that state will be free of the requirement to wear a GPS device. Instead, it means that the government must make a decision on a case-by-case basis whether a registrant in that state will be required to wear such a device.

Two additional beautiful and fragrant spring flowers of justice are recent acts in Connecticut and Virginia that will restore the civil rights of registrants and their loved ones. Specifically, the town of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, repealed a local law that prohibited registrants from visiting parks, schools, libraries and other public places. And the Governor of Virginia proposed the elimination of language in a law that would have prohibited registrants from entering emergency shelters.

Breathe deeply. Spring is here. And justice is blooming in many gardens.

— by Janice Bellucci

Read all Janice’s Journals

Decision: Commonwealth v. Felix – GPS – Mass. – March 2019

Related: MA: Mandatory GPS monitoring of some sex offenders violates privacy rights

Join the discussion

  1. Bo

    People dont say this enough.

    Thank you.

    • John C

      Bo you are SO correct, Thanks for something positive Janice!
      Good to Hear

  2. anonymous

    Ny downstate. I had gps after jail when I was on probation. The judge wrote it on he sheet with my conditions. 6months. It hardly ever worked correctly. Buzzing, flashing, my cellphone ringing. Drove my P.O. to drink.

  3. E

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Janice, I want to believe this so badly. You and I have spoken several times and each time you have taken time and cared. Thank YOU for helping lead the charge nationwide. Many of us are grateful for your expertise, your passion… and your needed pep talks :).

  4. Eric

    Thank you, Janice, and here is to hoping that some of that fragrance comes this way to California real soon. With people like you leading the way I do believe we have a good chance.

  5. Eric

    Thank you for your work on our behalf

  6. Timothy in Wisconsin

    Blooming and booming uses of electronics devices to ” protect the public” and ” to assist law enforcement. ” That was the agenda behind the use of a database like state’s SORs. Judges are coming to terms concerning the power of the database machines to “continuously search” dozens of times per minute as GPS monitoring. The impact upon plain liberty plainly distinguishable as affirmative intent to impose restraint or restrictions on every day life.

  7. ma.concerned.citizen

    I was on probation in MA for 3+ years, all of it on GPS. It was without doubt the worst part of my probation by far. Always flashing/buzzing looking for a signal, usually having to leave work and walk outside until it regained a signal. GPS calling me to ask where I was because they lost signal on me. A loud beeping sound sometimes while in business meetings! Was basically a robot at night plugged into the wall charging up. So glad they are loosening up that law a bit. Doesn’t help me, but it will definitely help others on probation trying to get their lives back on track.

    • AC

      Sorry, MA Concerned Citizen. As encouraging as your last statement is, which I take heart to, I sadly don’t think the majority of us will be able to get most of our lives back. Not in this lifetime, we won’t.

      Because, if we get our lives back, the government can’t make money off of us.

    • R M

      @ma: Consider yourself lucky for 3 yrs probation. I know gps sucked… I did it until my PO realized I was going to fight. Suddenly I had no bracelet.

  8. dph

    YOU are a beautiful Spring Flower amongst all us dark and dreary thoughts of how ourselves feel “Daily” some good some bad, worse for the RC’s that are homeless and jobless also. Thank you for allowing us to smell and see light at a long tunnel with not much sight ahead and bring COLORS of Spring to us all! Families, Spouses and love one’s and most all, the RC’s that fight daily to see any positiveness. THANK YOU ATTY JB!!!

  9. Chris

    If I had a non-contact, non-minor sex offense in California and had a GPS device, I would definitely contact a lawyer about getting it removed.

    I contacted a lawyer anyway but I don’t expect to get as far.

    • AC

      I believe it, Chris.

      When it’s a sex conviction involving a minor, some civil/criminal defense lawyers can, in fact, be every bit as prejudiced (if not simply immature) as the average fear-mongering angry citizen.

      I was at an ACSOL support group conference one Saturday ago. Do you know what 3 registrants shared with the group? It was almost identically the following:

      – The defense attorney they hired was paid dollars in the $20,000-$75,000 range
      – The defense attorney did not deploy a private investigator, nor did he/she go directly to the District Attorney’s supervisor to discuss the matters, knowing that the District Attorney would be unreasonably and cruelly tough on “child molesters”
      – The registrant, as their attorney’s client, was helplessly conned into taking a horrible plea deal, which was probably only mere inches better than what it would have been had the client gone to trial and lost
      – The defense attorney did absolutely NOTHING: very likely, what he/she (the defense attorney) did do was used their “chomo” clients as a bribing chip to the DA, and in return, the DA would be nicer to the defense attorney tougher, more egregiously criminal clients
      (DA’s and Defense Attorneys do this all the time; they have lunch together, they’re eachother’s best friends. They trade off the Defense Attorney’s “pieces of shits”.)
      – The client had no prior criminal history before their child-sex case (ALL 3 of them)

      The defense attorney’s doing this know that child-sex convictions bring BIG dollar bills to them. They can tell their DA chums that they’re doing society a favor and, at the same time, take advantage of humanly innocent first-time panicking naive sex-case clients by making them think that the plea deal offered is a great option. Everyone wins… RIGHT? …

      It’s a sad reality, ^^^ but very much true.

      What’s worse for me: my OWN defense attorney did this to ME; someone with no prior criminal history; someone who (the DA knows underneath the surface) wouldn’t actually hurt children, sexually or otherwise. So, there were not 3 but 4 of us amoung the support group registrants that day. Who knows many reading in this EXACT situation there are amoung us.

      • Wendy

        This happened to my husband. I look back now and am sick to my stomach that we didn’t tell his lawyer to go to hell. But we were scared and were told if my husband took it to trial he would many years in prison. The lawyer even had the nerve to tell us once a sex offender always a sex offender and that people never change. And he advertises specifically to help people charged with a sex crime. What a joke. So my husband took a plea deal and now will be listed as a violent sex offender for life. If I only knew then what I know now.

  10. R M

    Flowers, no matter how beautiful, eventually die.

    • Tim Moore

      Each California poppy produces scores of seeds, many are stored in the soil for years until the right conditions for them appear and the root grows. This year I have seen poppies on hillsides where I have never in 30 years seen them.
      ACSOL and the other registrant groups seemed to also appear out of nowhere. Things come into being and things die, even movements. It is not an accident that these things come onto being. People had sown the seeds long ago. They were, like all gardeners are, not sure if those efforts would rot in the ground or produce a radical. It takes awhile and, who knows what those are, those right conditions that let things happen, and things you never thought would happen do. One thing is sure, if you don’t take action to plant the idea and tend to it, nothing will ever bloom

      • R M

        They still die.

        • NPS

          Oh shut it! Maybe Janice should’ve said “plant” because whether or not the floral decoration wilts and falls off, the plant still lives. I know you’re going through your “woe is me” phase, but the rest of us don’t need to hear it. Just because Misery loves company doesn’t mean that we all have to accept its invitation.

        • AC

          Come now, NPS. I’m sure you remember a time when you were at said “woe is me” phase, as I’m assuming you yourself are a registrant(?). We WANT to hear what suffering registrants are going through, so that we can be a shoulder for them to fall on; surely, you would have wanted one when you too may have needed it.

          We have only each other. Let him express his “woes” so that we can be aware of them and heal together; and join in our collected cause to oppress an oppressive legislation against us.

        • NPS

          AC: Of course I’ve had “woe is me” moments, but I don’t air it out on a public forum. And when those “woe is me” moments bring down other folks and start having negative thoughts toward the hard work and the uplifting hope that Janice and company has put out there, then it’s time to shut that negativity down. You can only help those who want to help themselves. Otherwise, it’s just a crab in the bucket.

        • R M

          @NPS, who the hell are you to tell me to “shut it” in a public forum? I read your response a few days ago and neglected it but now that another responded to you and you continued to violate my rights to speak publically, I am responding. I can and will speak my mind here until told otherwise by the owners or moderators of this forum in violation of the forum rules which by the way, you violated and secondly, if you don’t want to hear it…. don’t read it and more importantly, don’t respond.

    • silk flowers

      My flowers are silk and plastic, thus are always in bloom. A little water to clean them off and they look really good!

  11. Aman

    How sad…..! Some of you out there just don’t get it. This IS a public forum, a place where ALL who suffer from the unconstitutional laws in this country can come to share thoughts, feelings and most importantly information. This SHOULD be a place where we can all expect to be heard without judgment. To “shut it” guy….. (and all others who don’ get it). How many open hearings have any of you been to in person? How many letters have you written to your representatives? (I have written to them all in my state) We need to fight, not “shut it”….! We need to be heard, anywhere, everywhere, any opportunity we get to speak. There is a very big opportunity coming up on the 9th in California, and all of you who live there need to do whatever you can to be there…..

    • Tim Moore

      I agree. I lost an airline fair when they changed the date. I bought another, although I can I’ll afford it. I can’t afford to not show up, though. This is temporary. Lifetime registration is lifetime.

  12. AERO1

    @Tim Moore that was a really cool metaphor very well said …

  13. Tim Moore

    That’s true.

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