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Federal Government Publishes Proposed Changes to SORNA

[ACSOL]

The federal government yesterday published in the Federal Register proposed changes to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).  The changes encompass a total of 93 pages and include a wide range of topics, including retroactivity, tier levels, professional licenses and travel (both domestic and international).  Replies to the proposed regulations are due no later than October 13, 2020.

According to the proposed regulations, SORNA will apply to all individuals convicted of a sex offense, including those convicted before it was enacted.  The federal government claims to have this authority due, in part, to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Smith v. Doe, which declared that registration did not constitute punishment, but was instead merely an administrative requirement.

“Because the proposed regulations include so many pages citing their authority to apply SORNA to individuals convicted before it was enacted, it appears that they are concerned that this matter could be challenged in court,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “It is possible that ACSOL or another like minded organization will do so.”

According to the proposed regulations, SORNA requires all registrants to comply with its requirements “regardless of whether a registration jurisdiction has substantially implemented SORNA.”  This statement is important because currently only 17 of the nation’s 50 states have substantially implemented SORNA.

The proposed regulations repeat that the federal government places registrants in three tiers.  Those assigned to Tier 1 must register for 15 years while those assigned to Tier 2 must register for 25 years.  Individuals assigned to those tiers may reduce their period of registration based upon a list of factors.  Individuals assigned to Tier 3, however, must register for a lifetime.

The proposed regulations require additional information regarding employment, including whether a registrant has one more professional licenses.

“If the proposed regulations are adopted, we can expect the federal government to notify states that have issued a professional license to a registrant,” stated Bellucci.  “We are concerned that the states will, in turn, revoke those licenses.”

According to the proposed regulations, individuals will be required to notify their local registration office if they leave the jurisdiction for seven days or longer.  This requirement is proposed allegedly in order to protect children who reside at the location(s) where a registrant may visit.

The proposed regulations also address overseas travel for those subject to the International Megan’s Law.  Specifically, the regulations will require registrants to provide additional information to the federal government regarding their overseas travel such as whether they have dual citizenship and/or a passport issued by another country.

“ACSOL began its discussion of the proposed regulations on the same day they were published,” stated Bellucci.  “ACSOL will formally reply to the proposed regulations as an individual organization or in collaboration with like-minded organizations.”

Any individual that would like to volunteer to work with ACSOL on this effort should send an email to service@all4consolaws.org

Proposed rulemaking – SORNA – Aug 2020

Join the discussion

  1. Janice Bellucci

    @MH and others – The proposed regulations are not limited to international travel, they also address domestic travel in some situations. Specifically, they require registrants to notify the state in which they live if they plan to leave the state for 7 days or longer or if they are moving out of the state permanently. If a registrant fails to do so, he can be arrested by the federal government as soon as he crosses the state boundary. Given that there are registration offices that would refuse to accept such notices, the registrant would be required to prove that he attempted to do so. If he cannot prove his attempt, it is likely that he will charged and convicted by the federal government of failing to register. This one of the many reasons we must STOP the proposed regulations.

    • SR @ Janice

      Janice, how do we help stop this? There doesn’t seem to be anyone in particular we can contact since this isn’t something the senate nor the people are voting on. This is just Barr doing his own thing because apparently he now has a blank check.

      • Janice Bellucci

        @SR – There are many people and organizations that are currently working on responses to the proposed regulations. Please be patient.

        • SR @ Janice

          Thank you, Janice. I’ll continue supporting the efforts financially until a call goes out to do something else as well.

        • M C

          @Janice, I and several people I know would like to help fund any efforts regarding this specifically. Is there a way I can specify funds as going towards this effort, and where and how they should be directed? If I knew exactly what people and organizations specifically have something to do with this I could make sure funding help goes where it is going to be useful.

      • Joe

        Below is an email I received from the ACLU in MI.

        https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/13/2020-15804/registration-requirements-under-the-sex-offender-registration-and-notification-act

        Please go to the link above it will take you to the new Proposed Federal Guidelines for the Adam Walsh Act (SORNA). You should read this document and then submit your own comments. I will give you some ideas but please do not ask me what to say or to help you say it. I can only advise you that these guidelines are not good for our cause. We must fight this with your comments, and you can also put in what changes you think they should make to the SOR. If you say that you want it done away with, they will not take or count that submission. Go with the fact and the studies that have shown that the SOR is not working and in fact causing more harm than good. Go with the low recidivism rates. Go with no one should be subject to lifetime on the SOR. Go with shorter times on the SOR for all Tiers. Go with path off the SOR for compliance and no further arrest for sex crimes. PLEASE DO SUBMIT COMMENTS! If you do not want your name or address added to the public comments you must follow the directions in the document.

        • Mike

          The government knows that the whole registry & most of the laws are based on a lie because they had a study done in 1994. Which shows recidivism rates at 9% and the government has a study done on SO’s every year to date and every study except 1994 shows recidivism rates below 5%. They also had a State Hospital do a 5 year study and bout 2-2.5yrs into it the psychologist in charge of the study was show results complete opposite of what the government and Supreme Court stateed. Some say covid 19 is government made to reduce the elderly to save on all they pay out, i dunno but the registry could a way to reduce population also, i dont know but our Gov. does know the truth about sex offenders and the registry and knowing the truth the government fights to keep it and make it harsher ” Cruel and Unusual Punishment ” but ask them to put themselves on the registry for a year and they’ll refuse because they know it destroys lives. I’ve lost most of my freinds and family and my wife divorced me i cant get a job and i live in a 5th wheel trailer and i don’t what my future holds but it looks like i might end up homeless and i know i wont survive And I’m Innocent i was wrongfully convicted and i was convicted with zero evidence. So you tell me but either way they’re up to No Good.

    • TS

      Keep in mind too, all, some states require notification if you’re going to be gone for a minimum duration that is less than 7 days, e.g. 5 days; thus more stringent than the Feds. If you don’t know your state’s, check on it.

      • Will Allen

        This “telling the criminal regime when you leave town” nonsense is even more unacceptable than the Registries in general. The criminal regimes can’t justify it either. It is a probation/parole requirement that is illegal to inflict upon free citizens.

        Supposedly, according to their original lies, the Registries were created just so people could be “informed” about the people around them. That actually makes sense and could possibly be a legitimate reason to have Registries. The ONLY legitimate reason to have Registries (in a supposedly “free” country) is to prevent future crimes. That is the only legitimate reason.

        Given that, why would a criminal regime need to know that a person is not somewhere? They are supposedly telling people when a dangerous person is around. Why would anyone need to know if they are not around? To let their “guard” down? To let their stupid demon spawn play freely in their yards, whenever otherwise they supposedly can’t?

        It makes no sense. Why would the criminal regime want to know? Not to prevent crimes. So that makes it illegitimate.

        I’ve Registered multiple homes forever. I do not tell any of the criminal regimes when I am going to be at one home or another. What would be the actual point? So they know when they can harass my family? The people who live near those homes know what they supposedly “need” to know – that a dangerous person lives there and might be there sometimes or all the time. That is far more than they deserve to know even.

        So this “leaving town” notification is nonsense. I’d say illegal as well. If I ever have a home in another state (that I decide I will Register), I’m not putting up with this “tell state X that I am leaving my home there to stay at my other home in state Y for a month”. Not going to do it. They can arrest. But I hope they understand what that would mean, even if they don’t care.

    • dram

      This has to be the opportunity to return to SCOTUS, bringing all current findings on recidivism as well as the accumulation of restrictions developed since their original findings on what constitutes punishment regarding ex post facto limitations.

      Punishment = restriction of liberties. The general assumption of ex post facto is that for a functional system, rules and punishments in effect at the time a crime is committed is assumed to be known.

      Punishment for a crime has had fair warning, do this you get that.

      To accumulate the additions of restrictions created by the registry after the commission of the original crime and after the SCOTUS original ruling on the registry is ripe for return.
      So what can an individual do to further this action?

      • Will Allen (Registration Liberation Army guerrilla)

        Criminal politicians are never to going to destroy their mess. It’s going to have to be the courts or something.

        I really don’t think recidivism is relevant though. Let’s say the recidivism is frightening and high at 80%. And you have some choices to try to fix that problem:

        x – decreases recidivism by 50%

        y – does not affect recidivism

        z – increases recidivism by 20%

        Which of those you going to do? Are you going to do “z”? Even if “z” makes you happy? Of course not. “z” is the Registry Hit Lists.

        It doesn’t matter what the recidivism rate is. The Hit Lists are ineffective and make it worse.

        I also don’t care much about the ex post facto argument either. Obviously ex post facto is wrong and seriously and unfairly harms people. But you know what the criminal politicians in my state have been doing for years regarding that? They just create whatever stupidity they like and say it only applies to people convicted after it is created. We have tons of things like that. The things they are creating are still nonsense and counterproductive. They should never apply to anyone. Even people convicted today. Focusing on ex post facto and letting everything else slide just throws our children and grandchildren under the bus. They are the people who are going to have to live with it, even if they are never arrested or convicted of ANYTHING. The hate, cost, problems, etc., will all be there.

        • M C

          I do agree mostly but I do think ex post facto is a serious problem still right now. That said the ex post facto argument disappears in time because eventually older offenders that can make ex post facto arguments are no longer around and the rules for registrants, at least at its core, have existed for long enough that everyone convicted isn’t having things applied to them ex post facto as the rule was there already when the committed their offense. Still, this registry is a useless piece of trash even if its not being applied to someone in an ex post facto manner. It just doesn’t match anything based in reality.

        • David

          @ Will Allen (RLAG): On exactly what basis would you argue against the Registries?? If you wouldn’t use the argument of recidivism rates upon which the registries are falsely premised…. And you wouldn’t use the argument of Ex Post Facto punishment which is what the Registries have become….. So upon exactly what would YOU base YOUR anti-Registries argument?? 🤔

        • David

          P.S.: Besides, if any of my information DOES happen to change anytime during the year, I am ALREADY required by law to update my registration within a few days. 😠

  2. jm from wi

    This purely sucks. Will soon send $ towards ACSOL soon again.

  3. Janice Bellucci

    @MC – There are at least two ways to ensure donated funds are used to oppose the SORNA regulations. First, you can donate using the “Donate” button and in doing so there is a “comment” section where you can add the donation is for that purpose. Second, you can mail a check to ACSOL at 1215 K Street, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 and add “SORNA” on the “memo” line of the check. If anyone wants to make a donation of $1,000 or larger to a charity and possibly receive a tax credit, please send email to me at jmbellucci@aol.com and I will provide further direction.

  4. Roger

    Registrants and supporters, don’t forget ACSOL in your estate planning. We are in this fight for the long run, and won’t give up until we win full justice for all registrants!

    And if you are fortunate enough to have stocks that have gained value in this rally, you can donate them to ACSOL and receive benefits. Before you do, contact us to get the details.

  5. M C

    @Janice, thanks, I’ll have someone reach out to you.

  6. J C

    Tell them every time I leave the state for 7 or more days. Nah. I travel to see family and friends frequently. Can someone please tell me how and who would actually be able to enforce such a non sense law? I’m pretty sure they have their hand busy with other things.

  7. David

    (I have to wonder how much of this Federal SORNA rules expansion is a direct result of Jeffrey Epstein’s dumbass escapades. 🤔😠)

    • TS

      @David

      Any good opponent learns from their losses including our US Gov’t. So, yes, Epstein has helped them as have other cases in the proposed reg updates.

  8. ab

    One reason so many States are not compliant with the federal law is because the federal law is expensive and requires keeping track of so much information. States with sparse populations will have trouble regularly with maintaining enough personnel to insure registry data is correct. Most of the updates need to be done in person so forget simply traveling to a registration office and think about the cost of having to personnel to go do checks across a state. In populous States the personnel might be around to a certain extent, but a few too many updates simultaneously in rapid succession would be problematic. All of this is on top of any State requirements which would complicate things rather quickly and get expensive just as fast.

    • David

      @ AB: If any Registrant ever plans to leave his/her home State, these new SORNA Rules could very likely apply to him/her and, thus, he/she could be a potential target for federal SORNA prosecution. How? Because the feds could use “interstate commerce” as a way to prosecute the Registrant. Are you okay with that risk?? I certainly am NOT!

  9. someone who cares

    Can someone explain this to me in a way I can understand? I know little about SORNA. So, is this a proposal for CA to adopt SORNA? If so, per SORNA Tier I has to register for 15 years, so why did CA fight for the Tiered Registry then? With the Tiered registry, Tier I has to register for 10 years. So, IF CA adopts SORNA, it will be 15 years regardless? I am just really confused. The whole Tiered registry was to get people off the registry because it got too big. Plus, for some now 4 times a year of registration will add a ton of paperwork that I thought they wanted to eliminate?

    • JohnDoeUtah

      Essentially, 33 states failed to implement most of SORNA after 14 years. Then you got Epstein using this to not register in Arizona. So the feds ended up with egg on their faces.

      So now they are saying they don’t care about state law. You the individual will abide by SORNA, regardless of state law – unless the state refuses to follow federal law. These guideline clarify that as a primer for the wave of prosecutions to come.

      If you are a federal offender or state offender who travels in interstate commerce you will be prosecuted for failure to abide by SORNA, regardless of state law, and can raise an affirmative defense (burden of proof is on you) that the state refuses to register you or take the required information.

    • Janice Bellucci

      @Someone Who Cares – If the federal government finalizes the proposed SORNA regulations, an argument can be made that every person in every state must comply with them regardless of state law.

  10. David

    I have been on the registry for approximately 20 years. In all that time, I have been required to register once a year. One annual registration. Once per year. Now because of the offense I was convicted of 20 plus years ago, SORNA would have me register four times per each year. So, AG Barr and minions, please explain to me how I have suddenly become four times more dangerous than in all the preceding 20 preceding years this necessitating that I now register four times per year??
    Furthermore, if all of my information remains exactly the same all year long, how would repeating it on registration documents four times per year be any more effective at protecting the public (the argument upon which the existence of registries are based) than simply providing all that unchanging information once per year?

  11. Saddles

    You know David, our consicence is a gift from God and when aligned with faith and truth it is a guiding light that tells us right from wrong. Yes we all have our measures of faith some weak and some strong. Its sad that some may have none. Who can makes well being or a calamity. David a lot of this registry is down right pathetic.

    The main purpose of any police or sheriff’s dept is to protect and serve the public but it appears to go above all this in these type of conspiricy,antagonism, or bribary in this debate scheme games via this internet use in many ways and means. Any law abiding citizen could get snared up in this type of trap by those officers pretending. Did David really kill or have relationships with another’s wife or did Moses really send out spy’s or who is under grace today. Thats why I like the many view’s of this forum or should I just kick the dust off my shoe’s and be on my way or should I say forgive them for they know not what they do. Now I have already said these view’s and comments are good but a good listeners takes much with a grain of salt.
    You see David many try to figure out this tier level proposal that many take issue on or should we go with a passage or should one go with some man made mock up. I’m sure people don’t want to hear those things today as let God be true. Sure one can try people’s patience but forgiveness is blessed and yes grace can accomplish a lot of things or who is one’s rock in times of trouble. Maybe we all should go back to The Winstons and Color him Father. I watched a bit of soul train also. or do rattlesnakes creep out to bit us when one least expects it. One wonders if everyone wants to live in detention Hall the rest of their life and I would say many were in detention hall a few times on here.
    But this registry and this teir level antagonism is real and I’m just glad Janice, Chance and a few others are pressing forward. So stopping this thing is good for all.

  12. Mike

    Why does the US Government keep saying that sex offenders have high recidivism rates when there study they did in 1994 show’s recidivism rates below 5%. The title of the study is ” Recidivism Rates of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994 and you van find that on the Doj’s website

    • JM from wi

      The basis of the registry is the high recidivism rate. Saying it over and over gives it confirmation. If anyone disputes it… it’s because of the few cases that are” brought to light” 91.7% of rapes go unreported etc.

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