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ACSOL Conference Oct 1, 2022 

Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Have you noticed?  The winds are shifting for the registrant community.  One solid example of that is the recent federal court decision in Georgia that determined that the three registrant plaintiffs have paid their debt to society and are both rehabilitated and leading productive lives.

In that decision, the court went on to assist registrants by shifting the burden of proof to the government to show that the registrants pose a current danger to society.  And then the court found that the government failed to meet that burden.  In fact, the court noted that the government did not provide “any specific information or data indicating that the Plaintiffs pose (any type of) a risk”.

Without a doubt, this is great reasoning and language which supports our cause and should be used by attorneys in future lawsuits.  For this is the time to shift from defense to offense.

What do I mean by that?  I mean that it is time that we need to move the line of scrimmage toward our goal line.  Specifically, we need to challenge laws that are based upon emotion, not facts.

For example, the California state legislature recently passed a bill, signed by the Governor, that would allow individuals convicted of a felony to serve on a jury.  Just before the bill was passed, however, the legislature created an exception that prohibits anyone convicted of a felony sex offense from serving as a juror.

What were they thinking?  Or perhaps they were not thinking at all.  For this is absolutely no background information about this amendment in the bill’s legislative history.  Which means that the amendment was a political compromise and not based on fact.  Therefore, the new law is ripe for a legal challenge and that is what is about to happen in Los Angeles Superior Court….the same court where the County Registrar’s decision to exclude all registrants from serving as poll workers is already being challenged.

There are many more examples in many different states where attorneys are challenging the status quo.  For example, attorney Miriam Auckerman continues her battle to overturn registration laws in Michigan.  And attorney Paul Dubbeling continues to challenge GPS requirements in North Carolina.  Further, attorney Adele Nicholas continues to challenge residency restrictions in Illinois.  And finally, attorney Mark Yurachek is preparing a challenge to Georgia laws that limit where registrants can visit, work and live.

The breadth and depth of our attorney bench is growing and that is cause to celebrate!  For together, we can move the line of scrimmage away from the punishment of the past toward our goal line where the registry in every state is significantly reduced to only those who pose a current danger and no registry is available online.


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