The wheels of justice are moving in California and across the nation. Perhaps the wheels of justice will take us to The Tipping Point where the public will recognize there is no need for registries and that those currently listed on a registry as well as their families will be allowed to lead peaceful and productive lives.
In California, a significant lawsuit was filed in federal court this week that challenges the SORNA regulations that became effective earlier this year. The lawsuit includes a request for an injunction which, if granted, would stop the enforcement of the SORNA regulations that threaten almost one million registrants with the possibility of up to 10 years in federal prison.
The SORNA regulations lawsuit is also significant because it was filed by a large organization that has the resources necessary to continue its challenge all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. ACSOL is a plaintiff in the lawsuit representing registrants and their families.
Also in California, the number of petitions that have been granted ending registrants’ requirement to register continues to grow. An assortment of attorneys, both in private practice and employed in Public Defenders’ offices, have filed these petitions. One data point is that 17 of the petitions I have filed thus far have been granted in nine different counties. And in San Diego County, more than 100 petitions have been granted.
Further, the appeal of a lawsuit is pending in California that challenges the exclusion of all registrants convicted of a felony sex offense from serving on a jury. The basis of the lawsuit is equal protection because the same legislation that excludes registrants allows individuals convicted of murder to serve on a jury.
Lawsuits are also pending in other states including Illinois and Connecticut. In Illinois, a lawsuit is pending that challenges the conviction of a registrant who visited a school campus. In Connecticut, a lawsuit is on appeal regarding whether the state can require registrants to disclose all email addresses.
What is the importance of these lawsuits? The lawsuits are important because they challenge laws that have been passed by cities and states that either prohibit registrants from doing something that others are allowed to do or they require registrants to do something that others are not required to do.
The number of lawsuits affecting registrants and their families has grown dramatically during the past 10 years and that number must continue to grow until we reach The Tipping Point. We must show lawmakers that there is a downside to passing new laws that harm registrants and their families. We must show lawmakers that the passage of such laws will hurt, not help, their chance of re-election.