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CO: Mandatory lifetime juvenile sex offense registration is unconstitutional, Colorado Supreme Court rules

Source: 6/28/21

Juveniles cannot be mandated to register as lifelong “sex offenders” in Colorado if there is no way for offenders to be individually assessed or to later be removed from the registry, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The 6-1 decision follows a new law signed by Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday that eliminates mandatory lifetime sex offense registration for juveniles who commit multiple sex offenses. The law takes effect Sept. 1.

The justices found that mandating all people who committed multiple sex offenses when they were children to register for life as “sex offenders” constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Eighth Amendment.

“Mandatory lifetime ‘sex offender’ registration brands juveniles as irredeemably depraved based on acts committed before reaching adulthood,” Justice Monica Márquez wrote. “But a wealth of social science and jurisprudence confirms what common sense suggests: Juveniles are different. Minors have a tremendous capacity to change and reform.”

The case came before the court from a man who committed two sex offenses as a child, when he was 11 and 15. He was mandated to register as a “sex offender” for the rest of his life, but petitioned to be removed from the registry when he was about 20 years old because it was harming his career and making it difficult for him to secure an apartment.

The state Supreme Court found that mandatory lifelong “sex offender” registration for juveniles stands in “direct opposition to the goals of the juvenile justice system,” which focuses on rehabilitation and restoration over punishment.

Chief Justice Brian Boatright dissented from Monday’s ruling, finding that registration as a “sex offender” is not punishment, and so cannot violate the Eighth Amendment.

“I realize that there are challenges associated with ‘sex offender’ registration. I will even go so far as to say that lifetime ‘sex offender’ registration for juveniles, without the possibility of deregistration, is unfair,” he wrote in his dissent. “But something being unfair does not mean it is unconstitutional.”

See court decision file here

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“…If there is no way for offenders to be individually assessed or to later be removed from the registry,” That should be true for all offenders and not just juveniles.

It almost certainly is. It’s called Due Process. See: Humphreys v County of Los Angeles (

The State has created an irrebuttable presumption which can be challenged. SCOTUS used to be okay with said presumptions but then got away from that jurisprudence. Recently it seems, at least to me, that courts are once again giving presumptions closer attention.

The title compelled me to post this link.

Obviously the Rehnquist court was faced with plain Congressional use of ex post language. They then used false data and circular argument to justify the first cases of human subservience to machine database property maintenance. It’s not about “dangerousness” its about public safety. There is no resemblance to incarceration! they mused as if this particular property couldn’t EVER be utilized to keep those on it from entering other property, similar to the effect of jail or prison. In reality today it is used by the people for precisely the application of affirmative restraint. We’ll be using it to protect our vulnerable children they mused and now kids are being enslaved aswell. They said the stigma resulted not from the regime’s world wide broadcast while simultaneously imparting a false narrative of passivity and accuracy upon Congressional “An Act” promulgating the government machine database and overbroad use. It’s no wonder the minority called the regime “unquestionably punitive.”

It’s interesting how this suggests that young people can be rehabbed but seemingly that older people cannot.

While the Static-99 punishes younger people (gives them a higher rating) because the test assumes they’re more likely to reoffend, while giving older people a break (as much as a minus 3 towards their score) because they’re less likely to reoffend.

So which is it? Pick a lane.

This decision is another crack in the foundation of the necessity for a public registry or any registry for that matter. Today the Colorado Supreme Court recognized that it is cruel and unusual punishment, a very high bar in the law, to require those convicted as juveniles to register for life. It is only a matter of time before this and other courts realize the same is true for those convicted as adults.

Especially since we’re already dealing with miniscule recidivism rates!

Just imagine how low recidivism rates are for those like me who were not factually guilty in the first place.

Certain pieces of this, to a limited extent could possibly be used for adult offenders as well albeit very limitedly and especially where the offender was a young adult at least as far as a lifetime registration is concerned.

This court decision seems to acknowledge that there are studies that refute the “frightening and high” from Smith v. Doe.

This is also in there that recognizes that the registration scheme is a failure even as it pertains towards adults.

“Moreover, a number of studies indicate that registration requirements have no statistically significant effect on reducing recidivism rates among offenders. See Molly J. Walker Wilson, The Expansion of Criminal Registries and the Illusion of Control, 73 La. L. Rev. 509, 523, 523 n.93 (2013) (collecting studies).”

This study does not specifically look at juvenile offenders.

Why is there no way? Because the state board is in bed with the experts who give assessments and there’s a lot of money involved? Um, maybe?! That’s the history at least in CO from previous articles.

Like the dissenting judge mentioned…you can’t declare the 8th amendment violated if registration is not punishment. So this should open the floodgates in that state to challenge registration for adults under multiple Constitutional amendments. It is clear that the Mendoza Martinez factors of modern day registration would make it punishment. I need to read the decision to see if that is mentioned.

@Chris F:
Good to see you again, brother.

Yes, the dissenting judge seems to prove, rather than disprove, the point. Since it has been found to violate the 8th, it is by definition punishment.

According to the 13th indentured servitude is punitive.

The dissenting Judge does not understand clearest proof obviously since the bar, in my opinion of him, will never be reached here.

“registration as a “sex offender” is not punishment”

Waaaaaah Ha! Ha! Ha!

That’s a good one, Judge! You’re a bleeping riot!

If he thinks he’s hot right now wait till he gets Hell. He’ll be hotter than a Haberno pepper and that’s flaming hot.

Carolina Reaper pepper @Brandon makes Habanero pepper look tame so maybe the good judge will be sweating as soon as the stairwell reaches that depth with that heat.

So if I am reading this correctly, and I don’t claim to be, lifetime registration is punishment for a juvenile but civil commitment for an adult?

That makes no sense. Someone please correct me if I read this wrong.

The justices found that mandating all people who committed multiple sex offenses when they were children to register for life as “sex offenders” constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Eighth Amendment.

Wait a minute, I thought registry wasn’t punishment…………….

“But a wealth of social science and jurisprudence confirms what common sense suggests: Juveniles are different. Minors have a tremendous capacity to change and reform.”

So if you are 17 you can change, but if you are over 17 then you can’t?

At what point does the word hypocrisy start to mean something.

It’s been a while since I felt the need to comment, but this is complete crap as it pertains to how they apply the registry.

I found it interesting that the Court essentially blew off recidivism predictions and psychological evaluations as an inexact science. Then it later wrote extensively as to the validity of juvenile psychological studies. That seems to me like a bit of confirmation bias.


@Ed C, I didn’t get that from what they wrote. I got that predicting recidivism is inexact to the point that it is mostly impossible to know exactly which individual is going to recidivate but we can still make statistical predictions as to people taken as a group and determine the amount of people in that group likely to recidivate. In this case we know that people who commit these offenses in the juvenile group (and we know this to be true for adults too but that is outside the scope of this decision) have a low recidivism rate as they become adults. Therefore while you can’t predict this particular persons risk of recidivism exactly, taken as one person in his group of juveniles convicted as a sex offender the risk of recidivism of that one person is low. I don’t think there’s a confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias towards the cash provided by big tech.

“‘…the goals of the juvenile justice system,” which focuses on rehabilitation and restoration over punishment.”

“IS THIS NOT THE ACTUAL GOAL OF THE PENAL SYSTEM REGARDLESS OF AGE AND HAS BEEN ALLEGEDLY FOR AGES?!” He yells from the top of his lungs on top of Mt Evans, CO only to hear the wind carry it hopefully down the mountain to Denver and those who make policy.

As we’ve read recently here, it is not. It is more about approved slave labor in conditions which are paid a pittance to get huge profits off the backs of those who do the work for those rich in private contracts while kicking back to those who give them, freely elected by sheeple.

Supreme Court’s decision on sex offense registry leaves some eyeing a broader constitutional challenge:

@David – Can you get the text of the article for here? It is behind a subscriber paywall. Maybe @ACSOL could?

As long as they are careful it might work. It’s my opinion that to get the best results it will be necessary to pick away at the registry by using ideal PFRs that most closely fit this but we’re not juveniles. For example, it’s well known that the rational part of one’s brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. So offenders under this age perhaps should also be held under the same standard when it comes to being able to petition off of the registry.

Maybe I’ve got it wrong but I think that’s the step to go to next and then possibly broaden it slowly from there.

I think the broad argument should be using the systems own devices against it. If adults can’t be rehabbed, then what’s the point of forcing people into treatment (of any kind, not just ours)? And if the treatment works, then why pretend it doesn’t just so they can keep people on the registry with more and more restrictions layered?

Statistics show that treatment further reduces recidivism. The courts know this and that’s why they order it. Most of the public doesn’t care and politicians need the political points so neither of them will examine such stats and will either say they are wrong for various reasons or that any level of recidivism is an unacceptable risk… the if it saves just one child argument.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x