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Commentary

Is the Sex Offender Registry Fair?

Source: legalreader.com 1/11/22

Failure to Register, in most states, is a serious felony, punishable by jail or prison time.

The 1990s saw a significant rise in horrific sex offenses directed towards children, prompting the federal and state governments to formulate laws to help deter offenders and ensure public safety. One of these laws was the 1994 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, requiring convicted offenders to register with their local law enforcement after their release from prison.

In 1996, Congress passed Meghan’s Law (a subsection of the Jacob Wetterling Act), which was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton. This law required law enforcement agencies to publicize the information of convicted sex offenders. This meant that any person needing to look up a person’s name when doing a background check for sex offenses could find their name in the sex offenders register if they had had a sex crimes conviction. Under some jurisdictions, the police must conduct community notification in neighborhoods where convicted sex offenders live.

The intentions of the creators of sex offenders’ registry were considered noble. However, in recent years, sex registry laws have come under much criticism from proponents of criminal justice reform and human rights watch groups as unfair and ineffective in attaining the initial objective. Additionally, sex offenses are the only crimes where offenders suffer double jeopardy for their crimes, which is unfair.

Sex Offender Registration Requirements

All states across America have laws requiring sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agencies upon release from statutory confinement.

While these laws may differ from one state to another, they have some basic similarities in their requirements. For example, some of the information required in offender registration include:

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Yes they are unfair. So, here is my final draft for CA suit,
https://ufile.io/a2a5gphy
hopefully ACSOL puts the link as is. This will be filed soon.

Mike, I am ignorant of court decisions, legal analysis and best ways to style a petition. But here are my comments.

First, best of luck.

Second, me, as a layperson and knowing little in the legal arena, was able to understand what you put forth so I think that is good.

Third. It appears to me on page 6, line 9, there should be the word “but” after the comma.

Fourth. on page 22 regarding all the comments about the Solicitor General (SG) – I agree with what you are saying. But I am trying to think of this from the judge’s standpoint where a lot of what you say sounds more like your opinion bashing the SG for being dishonest with the USSC or being grossly incompetent for not checking the facts he purports to the USSC. Again, I agree with you. But I think you increase the strength of your argument with less of what appears to sound like an opinion. So I don’t know if there is a way to make a change to make it sound less like an opinion or if what I bring up is something that should even be considered changing.

Fifth, page 28, at the top you mention harm or injury. I am trying to think of this from the standpoint of a judge. What specific harm or injuries occurred? Maybe more specific harms and injuries need to be better spelled out for a judge as she/he will not understand those harms and injuries not having been in our shoes and she/he may think what is the big deal a she/he may not be aware of all the specific harms and injuries we suffer with she/he not being registered. I am thinking this will help the judge better understand and say, oh, you do have legitimate harms and injuries that need to be weighed. Or maybe I am barking up the wrong tree and what you have outlined is specific enough. As I am not an attorney, I am unsure.

Sixth, please don’t take any of my comments as criticism. First, I may not know what I am talking about not being an attorney. And Second, I would love for your arguments to be strong enough to catch the attention of the judge and take you seriously.

Again, best of luck.

Love it, all outstanding suggestions and I totally agree on all of it.. See, this kind of collaboration helps so much.

Hell no it’s not fair. This entire scheme is long overdue to fall apart. Megan Kanka’s disgusting parents should be ashamed of themselves, along with that bastard chris smith. Unamerican, enemies of democracy the lot of them.

So what’s the case with SORNA in CA? I have been off probation for 6 years now, got my record expunged (1203.4)

Per CA DOJ 2016 SORNA report, people with 1203.4 are no longer “convicted” as far as SORNA is concerned and are not subject to it. But how it’ll work in practice, no idea. Hopefully that document is sufficient enough in court should the issue be pressed.

Mike R – I will keep reading a little later as I am getting ready for work. So, I don’t know if you addressed anything about the 7 years for a background check in California, or the Ban the Box law. If a background check does not go back past 7 years, AND you have to consent to a background check before an employer, etc does it, Megans Law seems to be clearly in violation of that, especially with a 1203.4. Nobody should be able to easily access your conviction, but with Megans Law, it is just the click of a button. If you don’t have to disclose your conviction, why should it be public on Megans Law?

Perfect, I appreciate anything anyone suggest to help with this. I have addressed the issues you mentioned and yes, I do address the 7 year background check issue as well. Here is the updated doc for anyone to view,
https://ufile.io/5cs0kdc1
Thanks again….

I was in a church where an ex ms-13 gang member was in charge of watching kids for Sunday school time to time. He never got busted, did it for most of his life. Reformed Christian the last few years. Ms-13 is known for heinous violent crimes, weapons trafficking, and sex trafficking. I fell into porn addiction for less than a year and went down the spiral into cp for a few months. Got busted. Did my time. Went to therapy(something he didn’t) and proved for years my redemption. They knew of my crime for a year. But once I went to court and got that title, well to this day I am still banned from that same church because of my title of “Sex Offender.” But hey, hands on offenses more heinous then mine for liner periods of time are okay cause he never go busted publicly. God I hate churches.

If the need arises to ask if something is “fair,” then it most likely isn’t.

It was never designed to be fair.

Fairness is purely a human’s subjective perception. Fact is human is subservient to WI state’s database property by law. Either free men are paid to maintain database or they are not. Some property owners accept the latter human disposition whereby database upkeep is free as per human volition. Sex offender registration is inverse and always resembled indentured servitude, a traditional means of penalty, but who would have the capacity to dilute that unpalitable fact. Nothing could have made the people more vulnerable than the avant guard approach to the database driven infrastructure. Other nations took a different approach and with better results. The push for SOR was more about traditional economic rent seeking behavior by burgeoning Big Tech Firms & LEO techists types for lending broad applications across the web and domestic surveillance initiative(s). Much proprietary software has been developed with specific features to gleen information data for use in wide spectrum. This being a main topic over at eff.org

Not disputing what you’re saying. Also not disputing that fairness is a purely subjective measure. Part of why I don’t think this is the right question to be asking.

All of this doesn’t change the fact that sex offender registries were never designed to be fair. Fair is dividing a cupcake evenly between two people so they both get an even share. Nothing about the justice system is about fairness, and in the case of sex offender registries it’s purported purpose was protection. The actual purpose was likely always about getting votes.

Using the word ‘fair’ in the context of the justice system is the problem I’m trying to bring up. Just like you said, everyone has a definition of ‘fair’ and trying to use it as a basis for a part of the justice system isn’t not ever going to make everyone happy.

I’d be asking a different question about the sex offender registries – are they legal? Or – are they helping? Fairness? Makes no difference to me how fair an illegal system is.

I get ya, but really we exist in a world where real evidence is not necessary to gain convictions We know this by the evidence in the many cases of exoneration. Clearly exoneration proves ” fairness” as in “fair trial” may not be had by the citizens. Given this fact that the jury can be convinced of guilt without real evidence emphasizes just how easy unfairness is to institutionalize all while the people are being convinced otherwise.

You both have good points here on the subjectivity of the word “fair” from your perspectives.

Is the word “fair” the right word to use when opening up dialogue on the registry concept? It seems to get the conversation flowing, but if it is not, then what is the word which describes it which should be used, e.g. right, correct, proper, etc? Getting the conversation going on the topic is what the author, I believe, is going for.

Is “fair” even applicable to the legal system (which is what it is and not a justice system as justice is subjective too like fair is) as you noted because it is subjective too?

When dealing with people and their emotions/feelings on any topic like this, will fairness every be truly achieved? Look up the word fair in a dictionary and one will see many definitions for it which could be used in a registry concept analysis. In reality, fairness is only achieved when the two parties agree the end state is fair in their minds, regardless of what others believe outside of the transaction/exchange.

My two cents, no, it is not fair for what it does to people and what could/should be done with people when it comes to dealing with them and their legal convictions. It was borne from emotion and illogical thinking that has since been proven to be erroneous, which people grab onto and push even further sadistically against others.

Like I said earlier, my question would be “Is it legal?” or “Is it constitutional?” Fairness is something you ask after you know that what you’re doing is allowed to begin with.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask if the registry is balanced, but even that is a moot point if it’s not legal.

The only place I can see fairness coming into this conversation would be when we ask why there is not a registry for every felony? This would fall under the idea of equal treatment and could be construed as fairness. But if registries as they exist are not legal to begin with then whether they are applied equally is another moot point. They shouldn’t be applied at all.

PUNITIVE & PUNISHMENT! DISABILITATING!

There is not ONE THING fair about the registry, and nobody can or will tell me otherwise. It is not administrative in any way, shape or form. All the retroactive punishment is getting out of hand. Modifying the registry, getting rid of certain restrictions, etc, is just not cutting it anymore. It has to be abolished in its entirety. All of the over 100,000 PFRs and their family members need to sue for defamation, lost job or housing opportunities, harassment…and the list goes on.

If the registry is fair I rather deal with a rattlesnake at least I know what I’m looking at and how to protect myself. Nothing about the registry is anywhere near fair it’s straight punitive non stop punishment.

Is the registry fair.? good question for all to know. So should one say all is fair in love and war or is hindsight better than foresight or say being rich is better than being poor, or are computers better than pen and paper in this think tank world. Sure the registry is good but fair has a double meaning in and of itself or could some even say what is registry good for or who puts themself in jeopardy without a cause or even goes to war without a cause.

Now ACSOL has already mentioned to me about preaching so I will only say …. does one reap what they sow or who can make a blind man see. So who is seeing evil today or could it be who is doing wickedness today in many of these registry ordeals. Who is deceiving or receiving this type of challenge. Bottom line is understanding actions in a who done it affair.

Wow, its nice that they called it unfair, but then they flat lied in the section titled “Can a Person Get Off The Register”. In that section they state that that Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006 Standardized the removal process for all states. It did no such thing! If it did there would be NO states where you could not get off the list after the specified time. There would be NO variations between time frames for petitioning for removal. According to the article Tier 1 can petition for removal after 10 years, Tier 2 can petition for removal after 15, and Tier 3 can never be removed, but if you go to California Tier 1 = 10 (5 for minors), Tier 2 = 15 (10 for minors) and Tier 3 = life time. So where is the standardization? In Florida every sex offender must register for life (even after death)

Fantastic point.

Last edited 6 days ago by Laura

BTW Good article, except the recidivism report referenced. Once again even this article is using a distorted incomprehensible and totally misleading report on recidivism. Anyone that reads the report will think recidivism rates are off the charts and it is pushing false narratives on actual rates. BS report right there.

As a family member of a registrant the registry is not only unfair to the registrant, but what all of society doesn’t come close to comprehending is the horrible treatment to the family members who are not listed and have done nothing wrong. Many, many elderly parents and grandparents of a registrant have had to sell their homes and move sometimes to areas they have no connections or close medical care. The children, brothers, sisters, spouses, friends of registrants have been terribly and unnecessarily harassed by neighbors, local school officials, law enforcement, parole officers and websites like in CA “Next Door Neighbor”. Spouses have lost employment or not been offered jobs when employers run background checks and the address is flagged as having a registrant at that address, even though the spouse is qualified and has never committed a crime. Employers have had to let go of good employees who are listed on the registry due to the public finding out a registrant has been fortunate enough to find work there. The public forces the employer to fire the registrant by picketing, sharing of that information which causes the Employer loss of reputation and business.

When law enforcement and the media work together to save one child and run the stories over and over again on the news of the suspected crime…children of the registrant all over our USA become targets and ostracized at their schools by their friends/peers, other parents, principals and teachers. I was personally told in 2014 by the principal of my children’s school “The school cannot protect your children from what other kids say at recess, it would be better for you to relocate.”

The list goes on and on so “No” the registry is not fair…by a long shot.

Last edited 6 days ago by Laura

So what is fair in the Offender registry. Its about the database as one says on here, and Laura gave us a good examples of ostracizing and even Will Allen also gave a good example, so who is plagiarizing others with this sex inducement..Sure one can be slow at many things in one’s thinking to come up with a quick answer about the fairness of this registry or this abuse but are we all intimidated?

Yes one can talk about a coat of many colors in judgement but when truth is of many colors, even a lie is stained in many respects. Much of this registry is Vain and blind Justice. Sure everyone on here has theories about the sex registry or the word sex offender. Does government offend more than it amends? This registry is a constutitional battle.

 Sure many can be involved in this registry in a “white washed” type of way, so where is the knowledge in all this registry. Even women’ rights took 60 or longer years to even give them the right to vote, hold office, have a business, etc. Yes women were second class. Now it seems the sex offender is the outcast today. Is murder in a different class or is government murdering in government today?

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