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National

LA: Special IDs for people with a sex offense conviction: Safety Measures or Scarlet Letters?

Source: nytimes.com 6/15/21

Judge Patrick L. Michot, of the 15th Judicial District Court in Lafayette, La., said the notation was “not the least restrictive way to further the state’s legitimate interest of notifying law enforcement.”

“It could be accomplished in the same way that some other states utilize,” he said. “Louisiana could use more discreet labels in the form of codes that are known to law enforcement.”

Of the nine states that call for some sort of disclosure of sex-offense status on state ID cards, Louisiana and four others require all people on the registry to have cards with a variation of the words “sex offender,” according to a brief filed by Mr. Hill’s lawyers. Others use codes or symbols recognizable to law enforcement officials.

The Louisiana Supreme Court agreed with Judge Michot, relying on U.S. Supreme Court decisions forbidding the government to compel speech.

In 1977, for instance, the court ruled that New Hampshire could not require people to display plates bearing the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” saying that George Maynard, a Jehovah’s Witness, should not have been prosecuted for covering the motto with duct tape.

Whether the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, Louisiana v. Hill, No. 20-1587, may turn on whether the justices think the lower courts have disagreed on the central legal question it presents. In the most directly analogous case, a federal trial judge in Alabama in 2019 struck down a law very much like the one in Louisiana for essentially the same reasons.

On the other hand, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Federal District Court in Oakland, Calif., in 2016 rejected a challenge to a federal law requiring passports to identify people convicted of sex offenses involving minors.

Notations on passports are the government’s speech, Judge Hamilton wrote, and the government can generally say whatever it wants to. “It is not the speech of the passport holder that is at issue, any more than the speech of the holder of a government-issued identification card is at issue with regard to identifiers such as name, date of birth, height, weight or eye color,” she wrote.

More recently, in December, Judge Marc T. Treadwell of the Federal District Court in Macon, Ga., rejected a First Amendment challenge to a sheriff’s practice of putting signs in front of the homes of families if someone there is listed on the sex offense registry on Halloween.

The signs were not compelled speech, Judge Treadwell wrote, as nobody thinks “the resident agreed with the sign’s message: that trick-or-treating at their residence was dangerous.” He added that the residents could use their free speech rights “by posting competing messages.”

By contrast, he wrote, the Louisiana law “prohibiting alterations of a driver’s license made it practically impossible for the criminal defendant to disassociate from the message or disclaim the message without facing prosecution.”

 

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“The signs were not compelled speech, Judge Treadwell wrote, as nobody thinks “the resident agreed with the sign’s message: that trick-or-treating at their residence was dangerous.” He added that the residents could use their free speech rights “by posting competing messages.”

Um…. I can choose not to get a drivers license or a passport to avoid the government sideways forcing something on me. I have zero choice about the Sheriff coming to my home and telling me I need to put this sign up or go to jail. Not sure what this judge considers compelled speech.

Okay, how about the resident choosing to post a competing message directly over the Sheriffs sign? Anything in the law that that can’t be done? The property is mine, unlike that license and passport, which is the governments property. I’m confused how the judge thinks this isn’t compelled speech. It feels like forcing something like this to a privately owned property would be no different than the same Sheriff saying were this sign around your neck, and this same judge saying, it’s cool because the registrant can just wear a competing sign.

I don’t believe the sheriff could do a thing about a competing message sign in front of their sign on its own sign post on private property. Just don’t physically bother their sign where the competing sign is in front of it.

If it was really a competition about a competing signs, I’d make one so big with the 95% data of first time offenders (with the cited studies) who are not on the registry and highlight for all to see the LEO statistic percentage line (calling out each individual LE office too by general type, e.g. sheriff, city, etc) while not disturbing the LEO sign placed in the yard. It is your private property. When questioned on it, I’d simply say the judge said a competing sign was approved by their decision with this sign being my fulfillment of the specific competing sign. Then LE can have an issue and try to do something about it because doing so impedes on First Amendment rights in one’s own private yard (unless an HOA is involved). Happy Halloween!

@SR:
The judge also misses the mark when he says nobody thinks the resident agreed with the sign’s message. That is irrelevant to the compelled speech case. The opinion and interpretation by anyone reading the sign (which is also Free Speech) is dependent on my already being forced to make a statement with which I disagree. The damage–and speech–is already done by the time the public forms a decision about the speech!

It looks to me like judges are beginning to get fed up ( or nervous about successful appeals) and are beginning to push back against legislative over reach.

@SR – Good analogy….wear a competing sign around your neck. I will use that in a future lawsuit. Thank you.

Ha-ha! I hope that works! It really does feel like that judge made a very poor argument that’s very different from the “government property” argument of driver licenses and passports. A forced sign on private property, is very much compelled speech.

I do not think the judge said that it was okay to post any signs on private property. I’m nearly 100% sure it was on public property (possibly right-of-way, but not private property). I read the whole thing when it came out but I don’t want to take the time to review it now. They were definitely arguing that if it was public property, did the sheriff even have the legal right to post on that property (any sign, not just a harassing sign).

So the sign would be on public property and the family that it was targeting/harassing could certainly post their own signs, but surely not on public property. And their signs would surely be subject to local ordinances regarding signs. However, I think a great argument could be made that it is a political sign and you’d certainly be able to post something.

When this was going on, I was communicating with some PFRs (People Forced to Register) that live in that county. I was suggesting that one of them build a gallows on their property and hang some effigies of the local pigs. I was going to help. If they pulled that sign nonsense on me, that is the least I would do. Heck, someone might pay 10 people to blast the sign with a shotgun. Or worse.

Anyway, before this was settled, I had already made plans to be in that county seat for an extended Halloween vacation. I was going to go trick-or-treating there. I even told the sheriff I was coming and challenged him to figure out where I was. But the issue was settled so I disappeared elsewhere for Halloween.

Wage war on Registry Supporters/Terrorists.

“On the other hand, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Federal District Court in Oakland, Calif., in 2016 rejected a challenge to a federal law requiring passports to identify people convicted of sex offenses involving minors.”

Only 2 other countries have placed “special marks” into citizens’ passports. They were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Thank you, Judge Hamilton, for allowing the United States to join the ranks of those two fine nations. [sarcasm]

Wasn’t the rejection due to ripeness, not merits??

In case you missed it, that 2016 case heard by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, Federal District Court, Oakland, Calif. the article referenced – that was Janice & ACSOL. 😁👍🏻
Lame Judge. 😒

It should be noted that the main reason the case resulted against us was the fact that the law had NOT been IMPLEMENTED yet, and that no damages had yet resulted from the law in the first place. A Catch-22 in the sense that in trying to prevent the law from being abused, the law had to be abused in the first place.

To that end, the markings on the passports have now been implemented for at least 24 months, so there SHOULD be documentable abuse that can easily be calculated by the percentage and amount of rejected entries of registrants from both BEFORE and AFTER implementation. In cases of this nature, correlation will suffice, though causation (i.e. “sir, your passport says you are registered, therefore you can’t enter”) incidents can provide the spice that adds weight to a refiling.

Good God, did you read the article? Registry Supporters/Terrorists (RS/Ts) are dumb, pathetic, and getting more desperate by the minute. This is from the article:

The petition gave examples of why state ID cards should bear the notation, some more compelling than others. “People trick-or-treating on Halloween may need a quick way to verify that their children are safe from predators,” the brief said, though asking to see ID before accepting candy is not commonplace.

Early in the case, at a 2019 hearing before a trial judge, a lawyer for the state described a more plausible setting in which the notation could prove useful.

“If I’m deciding who I want to be my babysitter,” said the lawyer, Shae McPhee, “and I know that I don’t want a sex offender to babysit my children, I say, ‘OK, I’d like to see your ID before I allow you to babysit my children.’ And, ‘Oh, it says sex offender, I’m not going to hire you.’”

I seriously would love to meet the person who thought up that Halloween “argument”. That is so GD funny!! I really want to meet the kind of moron who thinks it was a good idea to write that down! I want to see if they can feed themselves using forks and such. Stuff like that.

The other example of babysitter isn’t a whole lot smarter. RS/Ts are really just dumb. Here is how that babysitter scenario would work out – the person would look at the license of a “good” person and not see “sex offender” … and then, WTF would that do for them?! Absolutely nothing. The person they hire could EASILY be 1,000 times more dangerous than any person with the scarlet letter. The person could’ve committed many more sex crimes, and more importantly, will commit many more in the future, starting with YOUR child. It’s just asinine.

Also, apparently all they care about is sex. Again. They want to keep away people who looked at some pictures but have zero concern at all about the person who actually drove drunk very recently and “accidentally” murdered a child THEY WERE BABYSITTING! Perhaps it was even their own child they murdered. There are a lot of those people around in reality. The list of other dangerous crimes and people is endless. Or are people really okay with babysitters who have only shot people with guns?

It’s all just dumb. When I had babysitters for my children, first of all, it was never a man. Secondly, my wife and I watched them like the damn CIA. Thirdly, my children knew how to not be molested. Lastly, I was a responsible parent who engaged with my children and would be told by them if anything odd were STARTING to occur.

Folks – big government is our enemy. RS/Ts are our enemies. They must be neutralized and they must either stop harassing families or suffer consequences.

@Will Allen:
You mean if, say, Ron Book looked at the license for the nanny and hired her to watch his little darling Lauren? Yep, that idea works great!

I wonder if Drunken Ron Book wanted to hire a babysitter today if he’d even look at the Hit Lists themselves, let alone nothing more than a flippin driver’s license. Is he that dumb? Would he look at the Hit Lists and see his new nanny was not listed, and then he would ignore the nanny and child and the child would be molested? Just like before.

The fact remains that responsible parents have no use for the Hit Lists. If I were to look on the Hit Lists and don’t see a person listed, I would never assume that the person is not an active child molester today. Why would I care about a person who was decades ago? I’m not going to let adults have unsupervised relationships with any children under my care, Hit List or not.

To me, the driver’s license issue is just more simple proof that none of it is really for public safety or protecting children.

I completed a 3 year SO treatment program after release from custody. It was drilled into us that the essential element necessary to reduce recidivism risk was being succesfully integrated into society. Having a job, a place to stay that you feel good about, having interactions and relationships with other people, these are the foundation of moving forward.

…and then we meet the justice department, which throws every possible obstacle before us to prevent you from successfully integrating. Having a nice job while you are on the registry? Having a relationship when you can’t stay over the other persons house without registering their address? Having friends when the LEA vilifies you at every waking moment? Renting an apartment when you are on a public hit list?

And I have to laugh when the article said that the drivers license could have code letters that only police officers know. Yeah, that would last about a week until CNN did an expose on that. The best thing these people could do is to let us move forward, let us leave the past behind and integrate into society. That is the verified method of reducing recidivism.

Exactly. If Registry Supporters/Terrorists actually cared about public safety or protecting children, the Hit Lists would be destroyed today. But they don’t care. They care about getting their jollies and trying to feel a little bit better about themselves. And for some of them, the big $$$$$.

How far does this need to go? How often do people need to be reminded they did something wrong?
There are already registries in place, signs being placed in people’s yards during halloween, swat teams doing compliance checks, third party websites that mimic the registries, marked passports.
Now they want to mark driver licenses? How does this keep anyone safe? How does this notify a cop that a person is a registrant? Trust me, if you give your ID to a cop, you can bet your ass he’s going to run your name and it will show if you’re a registrant or not.
This has gone far enough. The government keeps pushing their hateful agenda on us in the name of safety. I don’t even want to get into the fact that registries keep no one safe.
If we don’t start taking a stand against these tyrants, you can guarantee that it won’t be long before we have to have the term “SEX OFFENDER” emblazoned on our license plates, mail boxes, t-shirts, and even our foreheads. ENOUGH is enough!!!
Its time we start dishing it back to them. Do some research on your local government officials and find some dirt on them. Did someone get busted for a DUI 20 years ago? Did someone beat their wife? Find ANYTHING and put that info out there just like they do to us. Make a huge issue out of it. Make them remember what they did years ago and embarrass the hell out of them. Post that info online on craigslist, Twitter, Facebook, reddit, everywhere.
Karma.

9 states in America have sex offender notifier’s on their state ID cards that’s scary as Hell if California did this I would definitely try and escape into Mexico.
Iv always wondered If a sex offender living in America notified his registering police station that he was legally moveing to Mexico could the feds still figure out away to charge him with FTR.
I’m over this whole sex offender registery BS [Edited by Moderators]
Because my birthday is 7 days before July 1st I can’t petition the courts for removal until next year another 12 months of this BS

Good luck 🥱

I think if you notify them within the time frame then you are good, you can go to another country, but I don’t think Mexico will take us, not sure but I know there are big problems with IML and crossing over to Mexico.

I find it interesting there is a Brief by the other states which want this marker on DLs/IDs already posted: https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/20/20-1587/181642/20210614142547995_OK_LA_Amicus%20Doc%20Main%20E%20FILE%20Jun%2014%2021.pdf

Going to be some interesting conversations on this topic.

I can’t believe they’ve appealed. If SCOTUS accepts, I feel LA will get shredded on two fronts. First are the compelled speech decisions SCOTUS has repeatedly issued over the decades, with the Sons of the Confederacy Opinion being right in LA’s backyard. Second is the fact that putting the marker on the ID/DL is 1) not akin to someone going to the courthouse for records and, 2) does not provide the citizen with the information to make their own decision about how to protect themselves.

@AJ

No one ever said the waters of the bayous are safe to drink and keep a sane mind at the same time.

With that being said, interesting on page 5/6 of the doc is the subject of “endorsement” of the speech on the gov’t item by the person impacted. Umm, I don’t know anyone forced to register who is going to “endorse” a moniker, symbol, or both on any gov’t item which negatively impacts them regardless of the style or who the intended audience is. They may endorse a positive moniker or symbol, e.g. organ donor, military veteran, etc, but that is about it.

As I said in the FLA thread on the Martin County deputies where this topic was initially addressed, if SCOTUS takes it, Kennedy’s thinking and Roberts’ actions will be open to scrutiny, finally.

A comparison being used between the DLs and the passport is “Notations on passports are the government’s speech, Judge Hamilton wrote, and the government can generally say whatever it wants to. “It is not the speech of the passport holder that is at issue, any more than the speech of the holder of a government-issued identification card is at issue with regard to identifiers such as name, date of birth, height, weight or eye color,” she wrote.” I know of no one who really prefers to give out their personal data, especially in today’s less than personally private world and especially weight and date of birth. If people could, many I am sure would prefer to put as little detail on the DL/ID as they could to still meet the intent of the identifying needs of the DL/ID.

However, who wouldn’t want to know if someone driving their child around has a DUI or reckless driving conviction for example? Slap that info right there on the DL/ID for all to see when their DL/ID is requested by the inquiring adult with the child being possibly driven by someone else or when buying their favorite 40oz alcohol beverage at the bodega. Share the DL/ID moniker pain!

Most of the states that support Louisiana are poor and low ranking with exceptions of Arizona, Idaho and Montana. Utah is home of the database and would support government surveillance.

Branding licenses is just like branding cattle, so what’s the big deal, trust us we are the government and know what’s best. Except government is the Trojan horse pretending to care about safety of children; while we all surfer because of their blindness and hatred all based on lies.

@Brandon

I am confused as to why the state’s income level has anything to do with supporting Louisiana in this effort? What am I missing?

I just feel like states that are struggling economically should spend their money and time on actually doing something besides branding people’s licenses.

I finally got around to reading the farce that is the amicus by a handful of States. Wow, what a bunch of lies and twisting of facts. I could write a novella shredding their statements and positions but I’ll save everyone that pain.

Despite all their confusion about what the courts (and the Court) have said, they somehow managed to stumble on what’s the truth:

After all, the rule with license plates is effectively that neither the government nor the private person can say anything that the other dislikes.

That’s 99% correct. SCOTUS has previously ruled, in both Maynard and Sons of the Confederacy, that there must be a mutual agreement between citizen and State on what’s displayed. That’s why SCOTUS shot down the Government in Maynard, and shot down the citizen in Sons. It’s a pretty simple, clear rule for this layman; (un)surprisingly these rabid AG’s can’t figure it out for their lives. (In truth, I suspect they can but are refusing to cede the fight.) For the remaining 1%, there are things the State can put on there with which I disagree, as long as they are germane to the function of Driver’s License.

Later in this fairy tale of an amicus, they talk about the States being allowed to disseminate information to the public. Umm, SCOTUS has never said that. SCOTUS only ruled that the State can create a public document (the registry) from other existing data that is “mostly public.” SCOTUS explicitly mentioned that even with the registry being created, it required an affirmative act by the citizen to retrieve that public information. Here, the States are arguing they are allowed to force it into everyone’s face, whether they care to see it or not.

As with any case about RCs before SCOTUS, I get scared. Though the truth is there, I’m always worried SCOTUS will punt or twist it in a manner to keep the bootheel on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if SCOTUS denies cert., since the LA SC got it right. I’m torn whether I want that or to have SCOTUS take a swing at it that could scorch earth well beyond desired.

@AJ

Thanks for the thoughts on the amicus brief here. If SCOTUS denies, then precedent is set for the state and persuasive for the rest of the country along with the other rulings in the same vein. If they take it on, then it would certainly be an interesting battle for all to watch. I believe certain data would be rehashed, e.g. frightening and high, and also fear the door could be opened for all states to do a minimum marking for any conviction which could be noted on a DL/ID. I also believe it would not bode well in a passport marker filing.

Least intrusive is a carve out of the basic Constitutional right and weakens it greatly, IMO. I’d like to see the Constitutionalist justices take that on and opine while being opposed by the others who are for more gov’t intrusion (they know who they are). I don’t like caveats where absolutes should be held such as the Bill of Rights. Makes the Constitution look like Swiss cheese when imagined with caveats.

Thanks for the kudos. I’ve been thinking about this case more and whether 1) it will be taken, and 2) whether I want it to be.

1) I can see SCOTUS will denying cert because the LASC got it right. This would be right along the lines of what happened with the Snyder and Muniz appeals.

2) I’ve decided I’m firmly in the camp of wanting SCOTUS to decide this. There will certainly be a litany of amici chiming in on both sides but only one side has the truth and facts. This could actually open up a can of worms for the government(s), especially when their own data show the recidivism claim is utter nonsense. There are plenty of smart, respected people on our side. This case may give them the chance to whisper in SCOTUS’ ear.

If SCOTUS does hear the case and falls our way, it will almost assuredly make the Opinion as razor-thin (and useless) as possible. That’s the true theme of the Roberts Court, not that “balls and strikes” BS he claimed at confirmation…the worthless putz.

The plot may be thickening a little bit on this topic of Government versus private speech. MS is being sued over its default license plate design (https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/atheists-humanists-sue-mississippis-license-plates-78444872).

While I see some reasonable arguments on both sides of the case, I think MS will lose. MS seems to be relying on court decisions, and a denied petition at SCOTUS in 2019, saying IGWT on currency is no big deal because it’s a motto on a ubiquitous item that’s not associated with the holder (i.e. “speaker”). While that may be all well and good, I think MS runs into a problem when the issue is held up against the same two cases at the forefront of the LA petition: Wooley v. Maynard and Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Just as NH’s motto was a problem and violated Free Speech, so too will it be with MS’s, IMO. MS seems to be trying to pull a fast one by incorporating the motto into its official seal and then putting the seal on the license plate. I don’t think that will fly.

@AJ

What’s even more interesting with this, Mississippi added the words In God We Trust within the last 10 years to the seal design. Then 5 years later, they were making it available on their license plate, incorporating it through the entire seal image. Their license plate didn’t used to have the seal on it but another image.

@TS:
MS changes its license plate design every 7 years, so their changing it to this recently isn’t a big deal, at least to timing. It is a big deal, IMO, as to phrasing. I would like MS to explain how their situation is distinguishable from Wooley v Maynard. One only needs to “pen and ink change” (for you Fed Gov types) “Live Free or Die” to “In God We Trust” in the Wooley decision to see where this is probably headed. MS certainly has a tougher time substituting “currency” for “license plate” in the other case law about IGWT.

I say MS is all day long free to have its motto be what it wishes (within reason) but the moment its attached (literally!) to a person or property with which s/he is associated, game over for the State.

Back to the LA case, isn’t there also some analogy to NIFLA v. Becerra? That, too, was “Government speech” and yet SCOTUS told CA to pound sand. I may be wrong but to me SCOTUS has repeatedly said, “hey government, you cannot make a private entity speak for you against his/her/its wishes unless there’s no other method available.” That, IMO, certainly sums up what the marked IDs/DLs are doing.

I suggest all read the Fed AL DL case from Feb 2019 shown in the other thread here on the AL DL arrest. It addresses In God We Trust on currency, which isn’t personal to the person spending it like a DL and license plate is to the person who holds them.

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