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Commentary

Will Sex Offense Registry Changes be Part of Criminal Justice Reform?

[medium.com/@zilneyl/ – 6/11/20]

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement has sparked outrage and mass protests across the nation. Calls for police reform have created yet another divide among the American public. As we move toward what will likely be significant changes to the criminal justice system, will individuals on the sex offense registry be included in those reforms?

Why So Many Laws?

Throughout history the level of outrage associated with various types of criminals has changed, yet the moral disgust directed at sex offenses and sex offenders has remained constant. We use terms like “sexual predator” and “monster” indiscriminately to refer to individuals who have committed crimes ranging from minor sexual offenses to violent sexual assaults that end in murder. We pass laws to control sexual offenders based on the most high-profile and serious cases, yet most offenders do not fit these categories.

While legal control over sexual behavior can be traced to the earliest of civilizations, the 1980s and 1990s is when sex offense legislation began its dramatic rise in the U.S. There was an increase in the number of child sexual abuse cases prosecuted by the courts and recounted in the media. The high-profile disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, the sexual assault and murder of Megan Kanka, the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman, and the kidnapping and murder of Polly Klaas were all presumed to involve children brutally harmed or murdered by previously convicted sexual offenders. These events launched a new wave of stranger-danger panic and get-tough legislation which remains today, despite minimal, if any, impact on sex offense recidivism or community safety.

Read the full article

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Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    Well, the term defund means to reallocate monies., to take them away from law enforcement and put it in other areas of societal needs. I have an idea where they could find a whole lot of money and not have to cut the police force. DEFUND OR ABOLISH THE REGISTRY. Think of all the personnel hours invested in registering 110,000 people every year,many of them every 90 days. Think of the officers pulled off of serious duty to check the residence of 110,000 people every year. Think of the hours wasted updating the websites and data bases. All that for a group that has about 3.4% recidivism. And for those of us that have been incident free for over10 years it is about 1%. Logically, if they will not abolish this monstrosity then everyone who is incident free after 10 years should be dropped from it. Abolish the registry and there will be plenty of money to use for better and much more needed causes.

    • Will Allen

      Yep.

      And the recidivism rate is irrelevant anyway because the Registry Hit List does nothing to improve it. Wouldn’t matter if the recidivism rate was 90%. The Hit List would still be useless, ineffective, and trivially demonstrably not even needed.

      The Hit List is obviously not for public safety or protecting anyone. But the harassers who like it don’t care.

      I wasn’t dangerous until I was listed on the Hit List for a few years. They said I was a monster so I became one.

  2. New Person

    That’s a great piece!

    Unfortunately, the public will never believe you like the courts will never accept updated data. I think it was in the movie Men In Black that said, “A person you can talk with. People, you can’t talk with people”. The reference was to fear between an individual and a mob.

    Mr. Floyd died in police custody. What I hadn’t connected before was that a registrant was murdered because the murderer found his address on the website as a sex offender. Mr. Condoluci was listed on the registry’s website and that’s how his home address was founded. The murder of Mr. Condoluci was premeditated with the aid of the registry. People from the registrant community have voiced concerns and previous murders linked to the registry, but fell on deaf ears.

    Why isn’t the nation upset Mr. Condoluci was murdered under police custody, since that’s what the registry does to an individual – keep them under custody for a decade or more or life. Will his death prompt reform of the registry or the abolishing of the registry?

    What’s the point of the prison system if the state can tell you you’re free, but underhandedly keep you under custody as if you were still on parole or probation? If there is a recidivist, then that person goes to jail. That’s the purpose of jail. The states gets to keep registrants under custody as they’ve expanded the jail building to a larger area without bars.

    No other groups of convicts are under a registry that’s disseminated everywhere such as the International Megan’s Law (IML).

    The internet is a town square to where registrants are brandished to be shamed, shunned, or banished. This is a form of punishment that the 2003 SCOTUS said the registry did not do. Many of the justices lacked the imagination of what the internet would evolved into and what people in charge would like to abuse.

    Again, great article. I just fear the public will omit the facts and keep playing with extremes as the mass majority. We have one life. A decade is a really long time. A lifetime prison sentence gets reprieve. A lifetime on the registry is a lifetime with no reprieve all the while you’re told you’ve regained your civil rights once out of custody. Therein lives the lie. Registrants are still under custody.

  3. Harry

    Maybe when half of the mama’s kids are on the registry.

  4. Tim in WI

    Short answer. No!
    If anything more societal reliance upon the database infrastructure will result.
    I can imagine a time when the only punishment will be registration for some nuisance sex crimes.
    A recent post here described a bad cop database which equates to more reliance.

    One of the advantages wrought by the electronic machine industry on sex offenders specifically was achieved by convincing folks to ” come on in, the water is warm and safe. ”

    Now identity theft is a threat to everyone, especially youngsters who’ve not yet entered into the work place.

    • Nondescript

      Tim in WI says “ If anything more societal reliance upon the database infrastructure will result.”

      This is exactly what they want. We are fast becoming a surveillance technocracy. Sure, they may defund the police departments and even get rid of flesh and blood officers but don’t think for a moment they haven’t got a plan ready to be rolled out to replace them. It is going to be robotic “ peace officers” , drones , and facial recognition. A benevolent dystopia. They already have robotic police dogs patrolling streets and parks in Singapore barking orders at the citizenry. Google it.

      • Tim in WI

        Nondescript,
        If I were to point to a current project by the saints, I would highlight the notion of “contact tracing.” The Chinese and North Koreans are much farther along in the implementation. Those governments do not suffer the same covenants we the people do. We have to be ” sold” first concerning such notions.Y

  5. Saddles

    Will Allen I’m suprised at you. Guess I will have to cut off my rations of soap to you as your getting into the more reasoning and logic and thats good. I’m not gonna hold a pitch fork to you but one wonders were the reason and logic is to much of this registry ordeal. And I do remember you from 4 or 5 yrs. ago on here. Yes I’m sure we can all get down in the dumps with this sex offender ordeal its not a pretty picture. Let alone what it does to one’s reputation. And yes it can play havoc on a person.

    I mentioned on here about a few criminal justice classes I had in college but I changed it and took Travel and Tourism. Got to see the country work out in several National Parks for the summers, dabbled in the study of the bible a bit more and true principals, as even the view’s from working with people at summer jobs back in the late 80’s and 90’s most of the kids from different states were appauled at police and government with their views.

    Much of this internet stuff nobody today saw much of this coming but the bible did, in so many ways. Sure helping others is good. One can read about great war hero’s saving others in their platoon or whatever but this sex issue is so uncanny that with this intent of who’s watching who’s back is a bit much. Self-governing oneself is good but it seems that is the old standard today. Law enforcement are suppose to protect and serve and that seems to have a whole different meaning today with this invent of the internet. Enticing and badgering are a bit callous and a double standard via an internet. What ever happened to the old fashion way of policing. Sure warning are good even in adult chat rooms when it says one has to be 18 or older but pretending is never good.

  6. Anon

    I’m for abolishing the registry. As soon as I’m elected Governor, I’ll get right on it. Until then, why does registration need to take place in a police station? Why can’t each city/county contract with some social service where the registrant comes in, fills out the forms, gets his pic taken and is on his way? It is much less expensive, much less intimidating, and all of the extremely vital information is collected.

    • kind of living

      Great question ! But LECs are not known for relinquishing any power regardless of how minutiae

    • ReadyToFight

      @Anon.
      That doesn’t work too well if they decide they want to arrest/re-arrest us. Helps if we’re already chilling in the Lobby 👍🏼

  7. Eric Knight

    Strange but new-normalized question: If a city disbands a police department, how will the register registrants?

    • w

      Same way Nextdoor.com does it: vigilantes. That’s how district attorneys circumvent Megan’s law. That’s how police get those “anonymous tips” you always read about in 290 stories. Watchout for ice cream trucks too, or other weird visitors. They park around looking to scan for wifi signals then they tip off the police to some bogus claim. Or if they can get on someone’s wifi they’ll send some hate mail or worse and then tip off the police.

      You disband the police and then these sting operations will just be carried out by vigilantes. At least police can be held accountable. Community policing is a possible disaster in the making.

      • Looking for Answers

        Police cannot be held accountable because of two things:
        1) Powerful police unions that protect and cover for “the thin blue line”
        2) Qualified Immunity

        Two things average citizens do not have.

        • w

          I believe that most police are good people who end up being pushed to make black and white decisions based on black and white presentations. They also get pushed by “academic” peer pressure, seeing other police rise through the artificial system they built. Again, training is the issue.

          Police are taught one side of the law, the side that district attorneys and prosecutors rely on to feed back to the legislature. There the system keeps asserting this “pro-victim” “anti-offender” position, to the point where any dissent in the legislature is scolded because it means you’re anti-victim or pro-offender. A sentiment that is deeply engrained now in this whole RSO agenda.

          A vigilante however is a worse situation. Rather than being victims of institutional programming (or indoc as they call it in the military) they are just outright fanatics. They’ve chosen a side and can’t be argued with. Furthermore they are disposable but they’ll do what they feel will get them points in their “community”. With a site like Nextdoor.com that community is empowered to keep singling residents out much like they already do through neighborhood watch programs and home owners associations.

          Who’s a worse enemy? The one in uniform you can identify or the one nextoor hacking your WiFi looking to frame you for illicit activity because they saw your info on the Megan’s law website?

  8. jw

    African-Americans face police violence in numbers that do not match their population demographics. This is mere fact. The disagreement is WHY that disparity exists. BLM says it is due to systemic racism, others say it due to economic factors of some communities. But no matter, for any reduction of police violence that results from the attention to George Floyd and others will likely benefit all races.

    The SO Registry also contains a disparate ratio of African-Americans. African-American men are put on the registry at twice the rate of white men – with the staggering result that 1% of all black men are registered (https://theappeal.org/black-men-disproportionately-represented-on-sex-offender-registries/).

    Highlighting the disparity on the Registry would more likely, in my opinion, allow the registry to be included in the discussions of reform. Being part of that discussion would benefit us all I think. Highlighting the disparity at this time may fall on ears that previously were deaf.

    • Looking for Answers

      @jw,
      A very good point.

      @w,
      Also good points. I do agree that I fear the mind of a vigilante as much as I fear the mind of any madman or unhinged person who is hell bent on ruining someone’s life and calling it “justice” or feeling any satisfaction from that.
      I guess I also think that because there are good cops out there, something can be done about the current situation at hand.

  9. someone who cares

    Looking for Answers ~ B. Getting Qualified Immunity
    Law enforcement officers are entitled to qualified immunity when their actions do not violate a clearly established statutory or constitutional right. The objective reasonableness test determines the entitlement. The officer is judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the vision of 20/20 hindsight.
    So, the qualified immunity is not guaranteed in a lot of cases, or at least should not be guaranteed.

    • Looking for Answers

      @someone,
      Yes, but the average citizen needs to see beyond what lawmakers are telling us to sell it to us, very similar to the SO registry. They sell it as public safety when it is not.

      From Reason.com, an excellent source of similar articles:

      “Though the original idea was to protect public servants from vacuous lawsuits, the practical effects have been alarming. As I wrote last week:

      In Howse v. Hodous (2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit gave qualified immunity to two officers who allegedly assaulted and arrested a man on bogus charges for the crime of standing outside of his own house. There was also the sheriff’s deputy in Coffee County, Georgia, who shot a 10-year-old boy while aiming at a non-threatening dog; the cop in Los Angeles who shot a 15-year-old boy on his way to school because the child’s friend had a plastic gun; and two cops in Fresno, California, who allegedly stole $225,000 while executing a search warrant.
      In other words, cops need the judiciary to tell them explicitly that stealing is wrong. The aforementioned police officers were thus shielded from legal accountability, leaving the plaintiffs with no recourse to seek damages for medical bills or stolen assets.

      Qualified immunity hinges on the concept of reasonableness. In theory, this means “the law is so clear at the time of the incident that every reasonable officer would understand the unlawfulness of his conduct.” But it’s transformed into a free pass for rogue cops who should know beyond any shadow of a doubt that their actions are morally indefensible.

      Ironically, that has not been lost on the courts. In granting qualified immunity to the officers who allegedly took the $225,000, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit wrote that “the City Officers ought to have recognized that the alleged theft was morally wrong.” Nonetheless, the officers “did not have clear notice that it violated the Fourth Amendment.”

      The 9th Circuit expressed the same sentiment in giving qualified immunity to a cop in Los Angeles who, without warning, shot a 15-year-old boy on his way to school because the boy’s friend had a plastic airsoft gun replica. “A rational finder of fact” would conclude that the officer’s conduct “shocked the conscience and was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment,” the panel wrote. But “because no analogous case existed at the time of the shooting,” they concluded the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.

      In addition to Baxter, the Supreme Court denied a slew of other qualified immunity cases today. Among them are Corbitt v. Vickers (2019), pertaining to the cop who shot a 10-year-old boy while aiming at the family’s dog, all while in pursuit of an unarmed suspect who had no relation to the boy or his pet. They also turned away West v. Winfield (2019), which saw Shaniz West’s home destroyed after officers threw a barrage of tear gas grenades while attempting to arrest her former boyfriend. The lower courts ruled that the cops involved were protected by qualified immunity. Unfortunately for the victims, it appears those decisions will stand.”

      I would suggest everyone realize what sort of behavior is being covered by this.

  10. Saddles

    @ jw You do have something there and yes even ADAT and many out in California. So one wonders were’s the balancing act of all this sex registry. Where’s the blindfold or the scales of Justice. Is all this justice and fairness, justice and mercy, or who is pumping the gas in much of this ordeal. Stories of people getting caught up in internet sex stings takes 100 people down in two day ordeals. Who is gloating at those that are treated of slavery type way in these sex offender issues. One even wonders were you would get the people. I believe the registry list on the internet could give one all the addresses to start up some talks. Sort of a reach out program for this cause.

    Are these stories that impress ego’s of the person or persons doing the internet sting operations or the little person that can’t defend himself or herself. Sure one can take a biblical view of all this or just sit around and let nature take its course. Punishment has its good and bad sides in many ways. One even should ask what public safety is in this police bastardization.
    Sure it’s obvious on here that many are clueless, or distraught, or pissed in many ways. Take a look at the black lives matter and that will tell you about this uprising today. And no I didn’t write the script this is all human endeavor. Was putting a knee on someones neck a bit of ungodly behavior.

    Take a look at abrotions is that supreme court rule today or is evil being seen continually or who entices the evil in many respects with many issues. Were are the guidelines today. Where are divine principals today or has law and order taken aback to Christiany today when that is what America was founded on. And most sex offenders are either in jail or two aftaid to stand up even while they are on probation. Would some say standing up is doing evil or doing good to inform all America how the justice system is doing others in many and much of these internet sex sting ordeals.

    From ADAT’s view that actually has some merit and a good place to start is in California. After all it is a gold rush state and it has a diverse population. And by gumbo if Jane Fonda can stand up I’m sure many out in California can stand up.

  11. Matt

    The criminal justice system is about money, power, control, and continuing these three. That’s it. Nothing else to see here folks. Don’t take it personally. All these “reforms” are a fad. It will not last. Remember all the mass shootings? how about the “border crisis”? It’s all a charade. The registry will fail in one of two ways: Collapse under it’s own weight. (unlikely now that the professional liars have made it possible to remove about half of the people on the list) Or, through the Us Supreme Court. That’s it. Nothing else will work.

  12. Schwartz

    I just want to say to the author thanks, and also, please think about other ways that we can obtain access to your writing OTHER THAN FACEBOOK. I don’t use FACEBOOK, and never will, because I am afraid that it will draw attention to me and possibly lead to prosecution for fabricated charges. I am not delusional, paranoid or irrational. I believe this, in fact I think it’s absolutely for sure, law enforcement, special interests, nonprofits, NGO’s, women’s groups, feminists, and countless other identities ARE willing to set up ANY MAN who uses pornography, thinking it is what he deserves, and, they ESPECIALLY want to know if sex offenders are using social networks, and more than that, but they are gearing up law enforcement and with advancing technology the traps are being set. Artificial intelligence and monitoring are advancing, I predict that soon it will be easy for law enforcement and others to instantaneously track sex offenders on the web, and they will prosecute every single little technically relevant to registration, and send dubious images and enticements and on it will go. If you think I’m crazy I don’t care, I know what I know, and even now, if I look at porn sites I recieve very questionable and frightening way suspicious results, obviously placed there to try and snag you. It’s exactly like marketing, they want to know why their potential customers are.

    • Doc Martin

      The FBI already has already proven their ability to lower themselves by putting out a cp website in order to try and snag somebody surfing on their computer for dirty pictures. When the public found out about the “playpen” scandal, the feds pulled back, but now their back doing it ‘sneakingly’ with the latest big brother technology.

      • LPH

        Don’t fool yourself, they know everything you and I do.

      • Mike

        Some may even lean to say that’s entrapment.
        I’m a RSO unfortunately. My case is from 1995, and trust me, I’ve been thru the wringer.
        I’m all for making changes to these unconstitutional laws and corruption.
        But people shouldn’t be looking for that type of sh*t anyway.

  13. Saddles

    Change will come I’m sure with the sex registry issue as much fo this registry should of never been introduced via this computer type of made-made trapping. Governments have always been like that and wanting to get over on someone. Yes, its more scary in this registry issue in many ways and methods that our fellow American government seem to profit from in this type of ruse under the cover its all for public safety in many ways.

    Oh one of our great leaders tell us nobody tells me what to do. Than who speaks out today? While everyone makes their own hole in the wall so to speak who is the really abuser. I was never that much into government. Actually I wish computers were never invented as we all may say “What has God wrought” or What has government wrought” in this internet means to satisfied in this choke hold means. This articles and even many more articles and Janice and her team present should tell you and many of what’s going on today. One wonders who said war is hell.

    Are we all sex offenders as they label us, Are we really reproving those today that are wise in these vain conceits or are we just following these vain methods and being trapped and led away for punishment when many times due process is candy coated in a plea deal type of effort in these ordeals that come about, or who is looking into a mirror in this one way type of punishment effort and all in this vain safety measure with its devilish twist. Sure they can call these measures for public safety or what is moral value today in America. Does killing first and asking question later solve anything. Who is trafficking who?

    Inducing to abuse in this game now that’s an argument in itself. Who actually discerns the spirit in these destruction ordeals. One doesn’t even have to even cuss. Just play follow the leader. Is doing more harm to one good wise understanding. One can even understand repeating actions of any type crime stealing, drinking, murder, etc or is the registry the big apple of all human behavior crimes today. The registry needs to go.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=bowing+down+to+authorities&docid=608018513865279640&mid=2014DABB83E7EFAF72702014DABB83E7EFAF7270&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

  14. LPH

    @Saddles:
    1. “Change will come I’m sure with the sex registry issue as much fo this registry should of never been introduced via this computer type of made-made trapping.” When will this change come oh wise one?
    2. You type a lot but nothing changes.

  15. Saddles

    While I hope many on here caught my mistake on here when adressing LPH with the pharse “No body tells me what to do” than who does? One leader said that a few years ago or was that out of line for any leader to say that or who is judging today. Their is a right way and a wrong way for everything. Is much of this sex registry inducement by internet the wrong way. Who is leading in this enticing adventure to get one’s goat so to speak. One wonders who overcomes evil with evil or what do we mean when we say two wrongs don’t make a right

    I’m sure we all know how to take instructions.Who is giving the one a “Do as I say but not do as I do but I have the right to oflict this sex registry ordeal via this computer on you whether its protecting someone or not or is all’s fair in love and war. Sure one hate’s to see anyone go to jail, prison, wear leg monitors, have to tell were they are going even if its international travel to get out of the country. Is getting mixed up in this registry is so vague in many ways.

    Should all internet encounters today be moniterd for quality assurance since regular calls to businesses today are being monitored. Who is playing the who in this busybody type agression today via these internet encounters whether one ask for sex or not so where is the justice come in or the bad behavior or the evil. Are not authorities just as evil in many ways.
    Sure it helps to have a bit of faith or has anyone stumbled in life. Who would give such an oportunity to another with much of this dememted ordeal. Correcting is good but vain measures are not or have all sinned even those in authority. Hey everyone struggles with temptation. One wonders are these internet sex sting operations a type of marshmellow test.

    Are these internet ordeals are like someone was pressing on another in this challange of the with with this temptation. What was the intent? What was the intent of the one being the victimized via this internet type two wrongs don’t make a right. Who is making the decision or who is using a red letter on who in this foul play.Hey remember that authority is just a much a sinner as the one they are trying to induce via the internet. Is much of this unfair in this ordeal? Is this a two wrongs don’t make a right and just go to prison or be enslaved by this ordeal for life.

    Was that black man incapacitated when things went wrong and he couldn’t breathe or who was inducing the harm that caused the death. Yes we saw it all on TV. Call it a different scenario but the principal is their. Talk about character and leadership even this registry deception type justice. Is their a little lying and betraying in all this. Theirs’ a principal way and theirs a right way or is their the selfish way. Figure it out.

  16. Saddles

    Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. Since my ordeal several years ago I have written many views for my benefit and my understanding to keep me abrest of all this understanding and why I decided to text in a graphic type of text.Sure after the second night of being badgered I made a decision to prove that it wasn’t a teenage person and it wasn’t a teenage person. Why did they not take me down the first night but wanted to try again the second night Its like a you come to me type deal but I’m not going to come to you.

    Let no man deceive you with vain words. This picture they show those via the internet, is that a decoy type picture to entice or gain one’s interest. Who is just as carnal as the next person. Yes I have even written an article on the use of deceit and thats the secert of this devilish type encounter. Would one say two wrongs don’t make a right in these internet sex ordeals. First off you have deceit and you have lying, not to mention the ruse of the picture inducement of some teenage girl in all this encounter.

    Let’s say one went to a bar in a real time situation looking for a good time. The bartender introduces you to a lady or you meet one their and the conversation gets a bit of a sensual in nature and you pay an asking price and than go upstairs with her and all of a sudden police break in while you are in a compromising position. Who would be guilty the lady that asked for the money or the john or the authority in this triangle of lude enforcement via actual physical contact and exchange of money. Would the police and the woman be happy that they got some sex person off the streets in this type of real time situation of a physical contact nature.

    Were is the ruse, the exchange or the persuasion or the enticement in the internet type situation or who’s in control. Is that a different situation with this internet type twist internet encounter. Who is taking advantage of who in this planned internet game of rock and roll. Is this the two wrongs dont’ make a right theory. Is all this i Would a lot of this be a type of cognitive-behavior type of rational vs irrational. Yes I really hope most all of this internet ordeal is outlawed.

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