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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: If Not You, Then Who?

If asked, would you join a lawsuit as a “John Doe”?

Recently I was asked that question by a registrant who was in the process of having to consider just that.

It seems sort of fickle that we’re at a point where registrants are encouraged to come out of the shadows, to stand up and speak up to get laws changed, but at that same time they’re often anonymous “John Doe’s” in lawsuits fighting against registry rules.

From the gist of what I’ve read, modern lawsuits revealing the identity of plaintiffs is common practice since defendants have the right to know their accusers. However, in more recent years, some plaintiffs have requested that their names be withheld from proceedings in order to prevent retaliation by the defendant or social repercussions that would dilute the value of the suit’s success.  Plaintiffs want assurance that they will be protected from any potential embarrassment, annoyance, injury, harm or oppression that might result if their names were divulged in court proceedings.

So, the question becomes, as a John Doe, are you assured protection, anonymity? Can you be guaranteed that your name doesn’t end up splattered over the front page of the local newspaper?

It’s been said that the only two things assured are death and taxes. So, no, there’s no guarantees.

When it comes to their names being exposed in the news, registrants have lots to lose, jobs, families, housing, friends. There are concerns, maybe not necessarily of retaliation, but of harassment, by registry officials, probation/parole, law enforcement and others. Those kinds of things aren’t “supposed” to happen, but we know the potential for them to happen is real.

But there’s also much to be gained from joining in these type lawsuits. These are where changes are being made, this is where the fight for registrant’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is taking place.

So, if asked to be a “John Doe”, do you take the chance?

It was easy for me to say “If not you, then who?”” Somebody has to do it”. “Why not you?”

But I’m not a registrant, I’m only the concerned bystander. The possible upheaval in life that might accompany this decision wouldn’t be mine to shoulder.

So, no, there’s no easy answer. You weigh the positives that you and other registrants might gain against the negatives that may cause personal pain. You make your own choice.

But, to all those “John Doe’s” who have gone before us, who had the courage to step up, who put their personal lives on the line knowing that doing so could bring a whole lot of unnecessary grief into their world……thank you, from all of us.

Too often we have a “let somebody else do it” mentality. Personally, I never gave these type lawsuits much thought, never stopped to fully appreciate the personal risks that “John Doe’s” take, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of all registrants.

May we all gain that kind of courage.

 

Join the discussion

  1. Jeff

    Actually…. yes no LIE (and moderators can cross check with Janice…) I am One of the JOHN Doe’s that was in the lawsuit against the city of San Diego… I did it for the point of the lawsuit there wasnt a monetary thing…… and its great the City of San Diego LOST ! Without John Does its hard to fight stuff. I did it because our government is PURE FUCKING EVIL….. Our government doesnt like other countries that have done bad things against the people (Germany… other places that did chem weapons against citizens etc.)… But what does ours do ? PUBLIC SHAMING… again pure fucking EVIL !! We have to stand up weather you oppose a bill or join a lawsuit… Our government needs to be STOPPED or eliminated all together, they STEAL $$ from the people, they tax us to no end, they even STOP our travels by making up shit or saying enough minimal crap without backing it up as to what REALLY Happened and we cant travel outside the borders. This is 2020 fight against the machine. !!! We are lucky we have people like Janice to help us…. as MOST dont wanna be associated with a RSO because of this EVIL LABEL the LAME US Govt put on us… You dont see a registry for DV or ROBBERY or 187’s etc… do you ? They do it for political gain and they should be DELETED from government and banned. One day at a time janice helps us. It may take a lifetime but we need a VOICE as CRAP GOVT doesnt quit….. I HATE THE USA !!!!

    On a ironic note… my 290 case… well my ‘so called’ victim is in prison now ! and has to REGISTER… I dont like to talk bad about our group, but the fuck deserves it all his lies in court at the prelim etc… Funny thing is he now has MORE time and LONGER Supervision thn I had ! has to PAY for prob, poly, classes, fines even MEDICAL ! and that will cost him a LOT as he has HIV now !… I guess its called K A R M A !!

    • LS

      Yes Jeff, karma. I’ve seen it many times in my life. Thank you for stepping up and for going to bat for many of us who cannot. Good luck and the best to you, throughout your life.

    • Axiom

      Usually when someone says they hate the USA, the normal response is ‘go find another country to live in’ But we can’ t even do that because the US government won’t let us go…..no matter how much we chant I hate America.

  2. Janice Bellucci

    ACSOL thanks the many people who have agreed to serve as plaintiffs in almost 100 lawsuits. Some of those people, such as Frank Lindsay, allowed us to use his real name while others did not. Both positions are understandable. Please know that in 100 percent of the cases in which we used “pseudonyms”, the real names of the plaintiffs were never revealed to the public. The only case in which the name of a plaintiff became an issue involved the City of Santa Ana and a federal judge. After that judge demanded the name of the plaintiff, we dismissed the case. We later filed a similar case in state court with a different plaintiff against the City of Santa Ana and achieved the same objective, that is, repeal of presence restrictions which prohibited all registrants from visiting or even being within 300 feet of public places such as schools and parks.

    • M C

      @Axiom, I’m not totally convinced that you can’t leave the country permanently possibly even to countries that otherwise reject RSO however you would best try countries that reject the idea of registration for this entirely. There is something called the Universal Declaration of Human rights and there are many countries who have signed on to this. One of the pieces of this is that you have a right to seek asylum in other countries from persecution. This includes being part of a persecuted social group and you could possibly have an argument here. Whether it would actually work or not is a whole different issue and is probably going to vary country to country. Therefore, without trying it in various places you would never know if such a claim could succeed. Keep in mind, if you did succeed you would likely never be allowed back into the USA. I’ll also point out that if that is your goal you need to immediately ask for asylum when entering a country. You can not try and enter on other grounds and then, if denied ask for the asylum. You also should have a pretty good grasp of their legal system for having such asylum granted, pick a place where it is possible (like one that doesn’t register sex offenders) and be able to make a good case for yourself. Finally, your chances of having such a thing granted is far more likely if whatever activity you were in trouble for is not illegal in the country where you are requesting asylum. For example, in Germany the age of consent is 14 when that person doesn’t lack of capacity for sexual self-determination. Not saying Germany would accept such a claim because I haven’t researched it but, Canada did for Dennis Harvey because his crime was not a crime in Canada but was in Florida (age was 16 and not a crime and canada).

      • Notorious D.I.K.ennerly

        Unless you have formally relinquished or renounced your U.S. citizenship (and the U.S. State Department has accepted your relinquishment) then they have to let you back in to the U.S. They can’t just block you from re-entering if you’re a citizen.

        Also, I think that you will find that countries that will accept your asylum bid remarkably few. I’d like to see more people try it but I am not hopeful.

        As far as living in another country long-term, i.e. beyond the term of a tourist visa (and measured in months, not years) that will also be a significant hurdle.

        • Notorious D.I.K.ennerly

          Also, one needs to distinguish between seeking asylum because one is fleeing criminal prosecution and seeking asylum to be relieved of the injustice of the registry. I haven’t heard of an asylum bid to get out from underneath the registry and can well imagine that it would not be viewed in the same favorable light by foreign governments as asylum from America’s savage criminal sanctions.

          I would love to see such an attempt, however and believe that it will become more likely as time goes on.

    • Tim in WI

      Only the clearest proof would suffice to overcome what Congress has deemed a necessary civil function for the protection of our most valuable and most vulnerable resource.
      Now who protects the most valuable and most vulnerable from the misuse that currently runs rampant? Residence restrictions prove the underlying intent of the registry by the people. To increase affirmative restraint from being the community. The same intent behind incarceration.

  3. Agamemnon

    I’m off parole in less than 60 days. I’ll join any lawsuit that’s necessary to make changes.

  4. David

    Oh! Oh! I wanna be a John Doe! 🤗

    • The Vampire

      @ David you will be! Someday day! Young grasshopper. Most people who run to get in office don’t know jack s### about the constitution of our laws. They only get voted in cause of good feel laws that our 99% not in constitutional standing. So this why lot of laws getting shut down. You did your time for the crime now you need back in to prove you learn your lessen! Life is about learning And making mistakes. Never seen a baby with a hand book of 101. So all of you fight any new fool who get in office. To try and take your constitutional rights! Thank you!

  5. Political Prisoner

    I would be more than willing to join any lawsuit against the registry and the fools that vote for it.

    • Tim in WI

      @Political Prisoner,
      The most appropriate action would be indict the benevolent ones who built the machine.
      I’ve got the notion they’re guilty of treason against the republic ” of the people. ”
      Forced human subservience to the government’s database produces a disposition inverse to Republics. It is important to note FEDERAL Byrne Grants greased the wheels to put a rush on it without debate. Attorney General in each state hand fed the bills to each individual state Congress. Both D’s & R’s could be held accountable for the egregious collateral uses of both the machine for their political security and the plain ex post language used in the law itself.
      WI,Act 98(1993) contains the offending language. I added former WI,AG James Doyle to defense witnesses list in my FTR case.

  6. Dph

    KAT, Kat, Kat thank You for your enlightening encouraging and gleam or rather light at the end of the Tunnel.
    Your articles are so thought provoking and caring at the same time. Look what this article did, it sure got RC’s talking and putting it out there for forward and eleven Janice responded (she sure reads alot on the site of the community’s comments- great to get her responses- Happy Int Women’s Day to you both including Tara and group W.A.R.). PLEASE Keep Writing as each article sure hits home for so many here and non RC’s as well as Family members alike. They read.
    Thank you to You and of course Janice. The lives you both impact especially all the court suits and cases are profound and costly. You both pay so much in travel costs and time. So many enjoyed Berk Saturday!
    These RC’s that resp including @Jeff,
    have responded here well including those on suits and his SD suitor.
    It is good to hear feedback if we like it or not.

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