Janice’s Journal: 7th Circuit Court of Appeals: Don’t Bother Us With the Facts

The requirement to wear a GPS device is often levied upon individuals required to register.  That requirement, however, is usually temporary and lasts no longer than the time in which a registrant is supervised under parole.

The duration of that requirement was dramatically changed, however, in a recent decision issued by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding a Wisconsin law that requires individuals convicted of a sex offense on two or more separate occasions to wear a GPS for life.  In that decision, the Court approved this Draconian requirement.  As a result, the registrants’ movements will be tracked and they will not be able to take a bath, swim or sit in a hot tub for the rest of their lives.

According to the Court, the government’s interest in deterring recidivism of these “dangerous offenders” outweighs the offenders’ diminished expectation of privacy.  Therefore, the Court concluded that the 4th Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches does not apply because registrants have a diminished expectation of privacy after prison and post-confinement supervision.  That is due, in large part, because “these offenders are listed on the sex-offender registry.”

This reasoning appears to be based upon a faulty foundation.  First, state governments post your personal information on a public website over which you have no control.  This in turn, reduces your expectation of privacy?  If that were true, it could be argued that if someone posted personal information about the justices on a public website, the justices would also have a reduced expectation of privacy.

Second, state governments require you to wear a GPS device for life because you have a reduced expectation of privacy based upon the fact that state governments have already posted your personal information on a public website.  If that were true, then the same justices might also be required to wear a GPS device for life.

The lack of a solid foundation for the Court’s reasoning is not the only problem with this decision.  For example, the decision is full of factually incorrect statements such as a GPS device is “unobtrusive and fits under clothing.”  It’s obvious that the justices have never worn a GPS device which are bulky and can only be unobtrusive when an individual wears socks and either long pants or a long skirt.

In addition, the decision states that a GPS device “does not entail continuous surveillance.”  That factually incorrect statement is inconsistent with other statements in that decision regarding the fact that GPS devices are used to “check if an offender was present at or near schools, playgrounds, crime scenes, or anywhere else that might arouse suspicion.

The decision gets worse when it first recognizes and then casually dismisses social-science research that demonstrates that GPS monitoring programs are unnecessary.  In doing so, the Court stated that its role “is not to second-guess the legislative policy judgment by parsing the latest academic studies on sex-offender recidivism.”  In other words, don’t bother us with the facts, we have already made up our minds.

Another disturbing part of this decision is the Court’s refusal to distinguish between the types of offenses committed by those who are now required to wear a GPS device for life.  The Court literally approved the lifetime GPS requirement for an individual after he admitted to having sexual fantasies about two young girls.  

Further, another disturbing part of this decision is the Court’s reliance upon data in an older decision that “as many as 15 percent of child molesters released from prison molest again.”  Even if this is true, why eliminate the protections of the 14th Amendment of all “child molesters” by requiring them to wear a GPS device for life?  There are proven and less intrusive methods that can be used to identify those who pose a current risk to children.

Unfortunately, this decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is not an outlier.  The same court has made similar decisions regarding registrants that ignore facts that the court considers inconvenient and bases decisions on outright lies, including that a GPS device is unobtrusive.

For this reason, we must continue to work toward the goal of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Smith v. Doe, that allows the state of Wisconsin and every level of government to continue passing new laws that punish registrants and apply them retroactively.  Please join us in doing so by Showing Up – Standing Up – Speaking Up.

 

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Firstly, showing up and speaking out against judicial tyrants is really pointless. This article fully admits that progress is not being made regarding sex offenders. It demonstrates that fear and hysteria are what rule the court…just as Trump wanted. So, what good does it do this man to say, “sorry pal…tough luck?” Maybe you’ll get that device removed before you die. Maybe. These decisions are really telling in that they only verify what I have known for a long time now. A person only has the rights that government says he can have because we have allowed political kangaroo courts to “interpret” the Constitution into oblivion. And all in the name of “safety.” Yet here we are in 2022 when nobody is any safer and we hear the same old tired talking points. It does no good when this country denies reality. All the “evidence” in the world does no good. Yet according to my therapist I’m not supposed to think about these things. I’m supposed to accept my lot in life and live as a social pariah with the government monitoring my sexual life…”for life.” God bless the USA. It’s just so great here.

A gps ankle monitor is not a civil remedy or just administrative. It’s state custody, or in other words punishment. Article 1, section 10 in my humble opinion. Or, as a state constitutional question article 1, section 12.

Janice, I cannot express in words or posts on this site how thankful I am for you and your team. You are, hopefully without sounding trite, a Godsend.

Reading this is very deflating. As I am one of the original eight that filed lawsuit against the state in March of 2019. When I was sentenced I had multiple charges of possession of c.p. and I was originally a 15-year registrant. 5 months after I was released from prison, I received notice that I was to be an SBN, special bulletin notice, and all sbns are lifetime GPS. That’s also when I got change from a 15-year registrant to a lifetime registrant. That’s when I got with Mark Weinberg, and joined the lawsuit. The only thing keeping me in Wisconsin is my two living parents. I already have plans after my parents pass of selling everything that my parents own and everything I own and I will be moving out of this state to get away from this Draconian law. What is even worse is being charged $240 a month to be monitored. I have had the GPS on me now for under 4 years, and I am on my 7th GPS unit as they keep on failing. Got one last Friday. At least they stopped calling the police to come and check on me and now they just send out a technician to change it. It’s so nice that they monitor me, when I only have a internet crime. I don’t have any hands on crimes. But I’m glad to see the women that molested me when I was a child are still walking free. Thanks for listening to my rant.

Well, I guess Smith v. Doe will never be overturned since the court’s role “is not to second-guess the legislative policy judgment by parsing the latest academic studies on sex-offender recidivism.” Yeah, I guess that 1970s era Psychology Today opinion piece is good enough. 😖

Maybe this is what Wisconsin has in mind:
WI: Racine County judge rules violent sex offender may be released from supervision and leave state – ACSOL

Perhaps it’s Wisconsin’s idea to send their convicted sex offenders to other states. They simply tell them, “If you don’t like wearing a lifetime GPS, we will remove it if you permanently move to another state.”

If they did that to me It’d be cut off so fast their heads would spin. What moron actually puts up with shit like this?

Not wanting to guess the legislatures intent isn’t new. But you’d think someone with legal experience of that level would actually care to revisit facts, especially when so many laws are written by people who have ZERO legal experience and training. US system of requiring zero qualifications for political office is both good but also often times horrendously bad. You can’t practice law without a license, but you sure can create it.

Last edited 1 year ago by SR

I bet the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) would disagree with the court’s thinking here about surveillance and the 4th Amendment.

Isn’t any public info posted, e.g., the white pages or other public docs, about someone already leading to less than full expectancy of privacy when someone can do basic research?

This sounds ripe for a SCOTUS challenge.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-third (33%!) of all DUI convictions are repeat offenders. And they go on to report: “There is also convincing evidence that repeat offenders as a group are high risk problem drinker drivers.”

This report is honestly one of the scariest things I’ve ever read. And, as an RC the difference in how we are treated vs someone with a statistical high likelihood of committing vehicular manslaughter is appalling.

Are there marked driver’s licenses? Nope. Special license plates? Nope. Restrictions on driving your kid’s little league team? Nope. Alcohol monitor ankle device: NOPE!

It’s a short report, I encourage you to check it out:
NHTSA: REPEAT DWI OFFENDERS IN THE UNITED STATES

And some wonder why I do not go running to the 7th complaining about WI. Logic explains you can not go running to one socialist bunch to defend yourself from the aggression of another socialist bunch! Its just not going to work! This is precisely why I opt for jury trial in the inevitable event of an FTR charge. Big tech is corrupting liberty. These men are not alone, WI has been doing life ankle monitoring for more than three decades. It used to be called “intensive sanctions program.” These bracelet bearers need to be protesting continuously in Madison. They need to be in their face daily and letting them know how fucked up they are. We’ve got pro abortion groups protesting in WI regularly, but no sex offenders are doing it!

ANY reference in the decision regarding the sex offender registry is in direct violation of Smith v. Doe, in that the decision stated that, essentially, registration was no more intrusive than an occasional trip to Price Club to renew your membership. Nobody said anything about it costing $250 per month to register.

Last edited 1 year ago by Eric Knight

I might be wrong here, but isn’t the lifetime GPS being considered in this case here a required part of the sentence itself, and not part of being on the registry?

Not everyone on the registry in Wisconsin is on GPS for life.

Seems to me that the proper way to attack this is on the merits of giving someone a life sentence for something like having deviant fantasies – the punishment surely outweighs the offense.

Not trying to minimize the effect of being on GPS monitoring, just trying to point out that it’s not from the registry but rather the sentencing side of things.

The only reason I put up with wearing a GPS tracking bracelet is because I knew I wouldn’t be wearing it more than a few years.

If I had been put on it for life, I would choose not obey or not to live, which ever would have made more sense for me at the time.

I live in michigan. I have been sentenced with lifetime electronic monitoring. I had a probation violation for bringing my Daughter to school.
My PO wanted me to serve 3 days in county on the weekends so it did not effect my job. But the judge sent me to prison for 10 months. 60 days into my sentence I was informed the Judge amended the sentence to life time GPS.
It’s not as expensive as Wisconsin I believe. I was paying $1.00 a day but they raised it to $2.00 a day without even a notice. If the devise breaks or you need a new charger they don’t come to you.I have to drive 30 miles one way during working hours 8-5 (drop everything your doing and go there now they say)
It is a punishment financially and personal. It is also a Scarlet Letter. Always in long pants no matter the weather, no beach or pool. It needs to be charged 2 hours a day everyday.
In Michigan failure to pay, cause damage to the device or tamper with it is a felony up to two years plus fines up to $4,000
I also need to drive 30 miles one way 4 times a year to register and pay $50.00 once a year for there time maybe? Again 8-5 m-f this part confuses me, you have a device strapped to my leg, you know where I am all the time. Then you do home checks to see if I live there also?
I have given up fighting this system, nothing will change.

Bottom line to me is that these courts are going far outside the constitution lines , and make up laws a they see fit , and they do it retroactively . There job is to us ,not to any legislative branch

I wonder why the the guy convicted of two counts of possession of child pornography even falls under the law which requires: “… individuals convicted of a sex offense on two or more separate occasions to wear a GPS for life.” He was convicted of two counts of possession in 2014. Does this constitute separate occasions? If so, a prosecutor can nearly always arrange for two individual counts. Two pictures? Two flash drives? I seriously doubt that he was convicted, released, arrested and convicted again, all in the same year. Lifetime GPS for a single incident of simple possession? These people are unconscionably ruthless.

Compare and contrast with West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency in which SCOTUS just ruled only Congress, or an agency with express authority from Congress, can adopt a “decision of such magnitude and consequence.”

Didn’t SCOTUS already rule the DOJ had the authority to adopt the registry regulations? If so, it would appear the only solution is political, meaning a bandwagon of family and friends asking for change. Do we even know what to include on that platform?

Those drifter days are past me now.
I’ve got so much more to think about.
Deadline and commitments,
What to leave in, what to leave out.

If we are still running Against the Wind with Bob Seger, some thought and commitment still counts.

It just amazes me how the people on the internet are smarter than the rest of the word. Guess Tim was right as its all about the internet. Forget about the New York Times, The Boston or other newspapers as its all here at the click of a mouse. The good, bad and ugly…. oops I forgot the people on the registry also… just the facts .. ma’am… What would people do without the internet….. what a ride into hell’s kitchen..

Both GPS AND PUBLIC AWARENESS DOES NOT PROTECT ANY BODY! It only tracts a person were abuts. Public viewing only shows who a sex offender is… PROTECTING THE PUBLIC REQUIRES PHYSICAL ACTION FROM STOPING SOMEONE FROM HARM. Placing pictures on a web site or making them ware GPS is a waste of money!! Its not a deterrent

The very same Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the Wisconsin Elections Committee’s authorization to use drop boxes in the 2020 Election was “unlawful.”
It is also the people of Wisconsin who are not interested in facts. But this case sincerely highlights the issue of the access to the vote and the integrity of the vote itself. The drop boxes were used in highly populated places, presumably to avoid covid19 contamination that might have occurred in normal polling venues, usually its a school, post office, or other Gov building where input can be monitored. The monitors are usually human, but camera monitoring has also been approved by WEC. Some of the cameras on n the 2020 vote were not up and running at the time.

I see MI & Detroit City has agreed to pay 70million dollar settlement to a man wrongly convicted of murder. Steve Leito of Leito’s Law @YT https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D5SpBPD1HSE.
Needless to say we know this guy is not alone. I often wonder how many innocent men are on state’s registries. If the case Steve describes here is proof enough of how people get jammed up on false charges. And when prosecutors know they need evidence they don’t have they will bring there own, or with a little help from cops.

@Janice:
Doesn’t this decision crash head-on into SCOTUS’ per curiam decision in Grady? IIRC, SCOTUS more recently reaffirmed Grady to slap down another GPS case (also out of NC?). It would seem there’s an “easy” appeal to SCOTUS over this.

There’s also the persuasive case out of Georgia, Park v. The State.

I don’t see how non-stop, lifelong surveillance, search, and seizure can withstand scrutiny by a rational court. Isn’t this the reason prisons were invented?!?

I was charged with poss of cp in 2006 convicted in 2009 on 3 counts.(only existed in my temporary internet file folder and were never opened or viewed). Went to prison and released in 2013 got off paper in 2018, no more gps! In Feb 2022 I received a letter stating I had to submit to GPS for life or face felony charges!

Last edited 1 year ago by John