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National

LA: Lafayette case over Louisiana sex offender identification law could be heard by Supreme Court

Source: theadvocate.com 9/27/21

Louisiana attorneys may know this week whether the U.S. Supreme Court will review a case this term involving a state statute that compels people convicted of sex crimes to carry cards identifying them as sex offenders.

High court justices were culling through possible cases to review in the fall starting Monday morning, including one in which former 15th Judicial District Judge Patrick Michot Sr. ruled in 2019 in favor of Tazin A. Hill, formerly of Duson, a convicted sex offender who altered his state-issued identification card to remove the words “SEX OFFENDER,” written in orange, from his state issued ID.

Michot has since retired from the bench.

Hill’s initial crime — he pleaded guilty in 2010 to having sex with a 14-year-old girl while he was 32 — is not at issue. In 2013, he completed a mandated three years in state custody for the sex charge, carnal knowledge of a juvenile, to which he had entered a guilty plea.

But the state compels such sex offenders to carry cards or driver licenses that clearly ID them to others as sex offenders. In Louisiana, that can include showing the state-issued card not only to law enforcement officers but to others in transacting much of their daily business.

When Hill reported to the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 5, 2016 to update his ID card, deputies saw he had eliminated the words “sex offender” on the card and taped over the space. Penalties for defacing the card could have ranged from two to 10 years in prison with a fine of up to $1,000.

Michot agreed with Hill and his attorneys that the state ID card was not the “least restrictive way” to notify law enforcement officers that Hill is a sex offender. Then District Attorney Keith Stutes notified Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office of the district court outcome, and the Attorney General’s office pressed an appeal — unsuccessfully — to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed Michot’s ruling in late December. The AG’s office then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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‘“Children die when recidivistic sex offenders hide their status,” the state says in court documents.”

Oh really? Any actual proof of that? So your run of the mill domestic abuse doesn’t cause harm and death enough to warrant them being out’ed like this? Might have helped the 3 women my alcoholic step-father went on to severely abuse after nearly beating my mother to death with a claw hammer.

I hope SCOTUS grants cert to this case. But, if not, it still lets stand the lower courts decisions. 👍🏻

They are such lying idiots.

Anyone who actually needs to protect children and is relying on DLs to do that needs to be kept away from children at all costs. They are obviously too stupid to be taking care of children.

Maybe instead of using DLs and only caring about SEX, the liars who support this nonsense should actually try to protect someone? Maybe do a full background check on people?

Further, what kind of moron thinks a cop could need such a marking instead of checking a DL with his/her computer for a full record? What use could such useless information as a DL marking ever be?

The stupidity is stunning. But hey, that’s the heart of the “sex offense” witch hunt. Pure stupidity.

Sweet!

This case won at the lower state level and upper state level. Now, it could go to the Supreme court. If the SCOTUS refuses to accept it, then it agrees with all the previous decisions. Should that happen, then this case now can become an arrow in Janice’s quiver in revisiting Smith v Doe, 2003 at the SCOTUS level.

@New Person:

If the SCOTUS refuses to accept it, then it agrees with all the previous decisions. 

Incorrect. All it means is SCOTUS doesn’t see any reason to take the case. That could be due to it agreeing with the decision, it could be that SCOTUS is waiting for other cases to bubble up in agreement or disagreement, or it could mean SCOTUS doesn’t see a constitutional issue needing SCOTUS’ addressing it.

A refusal to accept a case is not any sort of decision by SCOTUS. Indeed, it’s truly a “no decision,” not wholly unlike in baseball.

huh?

A refusal to accept a case is a decision. The particulars might be described by the SCOTUS, but if does not elaborate, then it means the body agrees with the previous decision. Two of the options you listed results with what I just said: i) SCOTUS agrees with previous decisions or ii) SCOTUS doesn’t see a constitutional issue. Either way, the registrant wins. Which means we win.

The third option is that the case is relying on another case, but we’d probably get clarification for that reason. If that’s the scenario, then the case hasn’t been refused to be seen, but rather delayed.

The Supreme Court rarely discusses why it decided not to hear a case. Each year it receives thousands of cert petitions and the vast majority are simply listed as declined with no comment. This makes it only speculation to infer anything about its reasoning, or how it might rule in the future. You are right about one thing. If the Court does not grant cert, it would mean a win–but only in Louisiana–because the state Supreme Court decision would stand.

Veritas.

@New Person:
You are woefully misguided in your understanding of what it means when SCOTUS declines to hear a case. I can give you one clear, blatant example of your being wrong: Does v Snyder.

That case went to SCOTUS and it declined to hear the case. According to you, that means SCOTUS made a decision. Ok, so why isn’t that “decision” being applied across the country? Why is it only applicable to the 6th CCoA turf? How can a SCOTUS decision not have national effect?

Please, @New Person, explain the paradox of your position.

New Person, I can’t stand it. When a case is brought to SCOTUS that court has the option of hearing it or not. On that we all agree. When a precedential case is decided in a circuit court (CCofA), it is only binding within that circuit–Doe v. Snyder was in the 6th. It has no binding effect in other circuits, but it can be “persuasive” to other courts. Do you agree with that? If not, don’t bother reading further.

If a writ of certiorari is filed with SCOTUS, it may choose to hear the case and render a decision, which is indeed binding in all circuits. If the Court declines to hear the case, then the precedent of the CCofA stands in that circuit, and only that circuit. Denying certiorari does not constitute a decision by SCOTUS.

You may wish to consult the below link regarding Doe v. Snyder.

Veritas.

@Ed C:
Thank you for contributing to trying to get @New Person to grasp this concept. I know you get it; s/he apparently does not.

I am thinking more or less the same thing with regard to the “win’. If they don’t hear it, then the decision by the lower court stands. Even if that is just that state. It is a win. Why take the chance on wanting to be heard? Makes a good building block I would think if it stands as is.

I am certainly not versed in all this legal stuff so what that says about the SC view on what they do would be a matter of interpretation, subject of discussion etc….

Scoring the case: The three liberal justices would most likely vote to uphold the original decision, while Roberts, Alito, ACB, and Kavenaugh would vote to overturn based on their interpretation of state’s rights with regard to security over individual rights. That leaves Gorsuch, who is more libertarian (in extension, more constitutional) to switch to the liberal side, and finally leaves Thomas, who is the one I cannot even come close to predicting. So, in essence, the arguments will have to push the “least resistance” angle as succinctly as possible to win over Thomas (and Gorsuch, of course). Comparing it to the Packinham Internet case, though, it broods negative on our side, so we shall have to see what happens.

Everybody is wondering about which cases will get cert.

Last edited 21 days ago by webmaster

People forced to register can’t do normal things in life anyway so whats the point of even having A government issue ID card, the government doesn’t even acknowledge me as A normal person in Society and has isolated me from the world.
People forced to register are still holding onto the life they use to have before the registry, like worrying about ID’s or what people think about them who cares, the only thing people forced to register should be worrying about is getting off or destroying the registry
Because It doesn’t matter if your A productive member of society or hideing out in the shadows afraid of law enforcement, the registry is still punishment.

Good luck

Last edited 21 days ago by AERO1

Words are not the least restrictive as proven by other cases of similar nature and it is gov’t compelled speech regardless of the words/codes printed on the card for LE/General Public, IMHO.

If you can make DLs/IDs least restrictive with codes for LE knowledge only, then you can go back to registries being LE only viewing (though registries should be stricken completely from being used).

I hope LA loses this if the high court decides to hear it setting precedent across the land, but I really don’t want them to hear it at all because I don’t want other states getting ideas of being permitted to print codes on DLs/IDs like this regardless of the crime the person is convicted of. You might as well tattoo codes on the forearms of people like others in history have had done to them.

Isn’t the question really asking if LA can try a case of a man eliminating the gov message he wishes not to carry. Not really different than the 1936 jew removes his star of david from plain sight which was on clothing. The nazis used the regulatory excuse then too in mandates that required them to be visible. People forget the nazi base were a unionized socialist workers party. Here in WI, especially Milwaukee, is historically the home of the American Socialist Party. Mr. Rehnquist was raised in this environment so his vote in SMITH V was predictable. They actually believe gov can fix societal issues and the people want to buy it especially if it means hiring more workers, who in turn pay dues, which gets their candidates elected by popular vote.

I still maintain that any marking on the obverse of a DL/ID is not the least restrictive. The least restrictive would be on the reverse, which I am sure every LEO is trained to inspect. IMO, if a marking is allowed at all, it must be a minor indicator placed on the reverse.

@AJ

I agree that would be the least restrictive method for the state to use and still somewhat protective of the person forced to carry it. As Mr. Knight noted here, there are justices on the bench who prefer to use security over personal rights in their thinking and this way would check their box in meeting it.

A review of the pleadings indicates that one of the attorneys representing the State of Louisiana in this action is an attorney, Tyler Green, who apparently is in private practice. A Google search on Green reveals that he was a former clerk to (get ready for this) Justice Clarence Thomas. I predict that the earth would stop rotating on its axis should Clarence Thomas announce his recusal in this action.

The Federalist Society (i.e., the far-right extremist group that vetted all the judicial nominees for federal judgeships during the Trump presidency) has a page on Atty. Tyler Green. It shines upon him a glowing light. (Should another GOP president ever be elected, there would be a high likelihood that Green would be on the shortlist for a federal judgeship). 

Atty. Green is from UTAH […] I’m confident that Tyler Green has argued cases similar to this one in the past, (otherwise, why have him there?).
Surely, he will present as a formidable opponent.

However, I suspect that the Supremes will deny cert in this case. The Supremes are notorious cowards when it comes to ruling on politically charged issues, and they traditionally look to kick such sensitive issues to Congress if they can (and let them take the heat). But the ever-dissolving spines of congressional politicians are less rigid than the spines of jellyfish and sea slugs, and so here we now sit with this pile of dung that we call SORNA that serves only to destroy our lives. 

@SG:
I believe SCOTUS will deny cert. because the correct constitutional decision has been reached. SCOTUS isn’t in the habit of reaching out to make a point.

I do agree that SCOTUS no longer makes decisions; instead it simply makes the narrowest ruling possible to clear its docket. I’m hopeful that now with Roberts having lost the reins of his Court, better, broader decisions will come out. IMO, Roberts’ love of stare decisis alters and clouds his ability to be an impartial and fair jurist.

If SCOTUS upholds the lower court’s decision, would this force other states to abandon marked driver licenses or IDs and maybe license plates, too?

Hopefully the Supreme’s won’t side with the state AG because that would really suck.

@C

In your instance, yes, the other states would be forced to abandon their marked DLs/IDs with words. However, you probably could count on legislatures rewriting their laws to a least restrictive way, e.g. codes, if they still wanted to have markers for LE when they should just abandon the idea overall. License plates are not in consideration here.

I still don’t see what relevance it has for LE? If the person is breaking the law, they’ll be taken into custody regardless, right? And if your ID is being checked by LE because you’re speeding or something, what relevance does your registry status have?

@SR:
The State’s claim is that it gives LE a heads-up the moment they see something “suspicious” such as someone who appears underage being in your car. (Isn’t it funny how they only care about someone maybe harming a minor? I guess if I abduct an adult, they don’t care so much.) Of course there are almost certainly a total of ZERO cases where it has helped in any way the State may claim.

Okay. So you have a minor in your car, you were pulled over for speeding, and they see you’re a FTR person. Now what? Do they hold you and take the minor into custody until they verify everything is cool? What if things are “suspicious” but the person isn’t FTR? Do they now let that person continue on simply because they’re not pre-tagged?

@SR:
Whether or not you’re a FTR, the marked DL and the minor’s presence will immediately become reasonable suspicion so the LEO can detain, harass, and more.

By FTR I meant Forced To Register not Failure To. But that’s what I figure. I wonder if this actually happened and someone sued because there was nothing actually happening and it was the DL message that started the whole mess.

There is no relevance. It is just something to make dumb people feel better. It fits in perfectly with the idiocy of the “sex offender” witch hunt and dumb America in general these days.

Perhaps the law enforcement criminals (LECs) want to be so lazy that ALL they care about is SEX and they can’t be bothered to simply have the DL looked up via a computer. They surely aren’t concerned if a person has a history of trying to murder any LECs that try to interact with them. Who cares about that?

It is just dumb BS that will help nothing and only make dumb, hateful people feel smug. That’s it. Just like the Oppression Lists (OLs). Even worse, just like the OLs, it will be counterproductive, prejudicial, and distract from the actual facts and reality of any situation. They’ll be harassing PFRs with the MARK OF THE BEAST all the while crimes are being committed and the criminals are getting away with it.

Frankly though, I don’t really give a f***. They can mark mine all they like and I’ll shove it right in anyone’s face and dare them to do something about it. I’m done with these scumbags.

Wage war.

The problem of LE only codes is one of real world v legislative world. If the marked DLs started being LE only codes less than a month later some one in the LE would “accidentally” leak said code in a venue guaranteed to spread it as far and wide as possible. It would be no different than the plain text “Sex Offender” printed on the DL/ID.

Doesn’t have to be a leak but a FOIA req for the codes by a reporter for a story.

If they take the case and uphold it, then most likely, yes. Just about anything SCOTUS rules on has national implications. And I can’t see how they’d rule on something like this narrowly enough to avoid that.

If they don’t take this up, then it will only apply to the circuit. But it’ll still be a win as it will then be cited by other cases in other jurisdictions, which will eventually force SCOTUS to rule on the matter due to a deep split between states.

Why the hell was a 12 year old charged and convicted for having sex with a 14 year old anyway? Was the girl convicted too? Doubtful. This man is NOT a sex offender. He was a child at the time and if the girl was willing, where was the harm? It should have been the parents to deal with that, not the courts.

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