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11th Circuit upholds Alabama’s sex offender registry law after waiting seven years

Source: 8/3/22

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a case on Monday more than seven years after the matter was first filed, and hours after TPM published an article about the delay.

The 81-page ruling was per curiam, meaning that all three judges on the panel – Ed Carnes, Jill Pryor, and Kenneth Ripple, visiting from the 7th Circuit – signed off on it, but no one judge claimed authorship.

The case first hit the 11th Circuit in 2015. Michael McGuire, a homeless Black man living in Montgomery, had sued in 2011 to overturn Alabama’s sex offender registry law, alleging that it was unconstitutional.

The district court found that McGuire was being forced to live under a bridge because of the law, and struck down two portions of it which imposed additional reporting and travel requirements on the homeless as unconstitutional.

The court ruled against McGuire across the board in the order, and vacated the district court’s decision to rule parts of the Alabama law unconstitutional. 

Read the full article


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Yet even more division among the circuits thanks to more federal judges who are brainless idiots! Unbelievable!

If Mr Mac Guire had 500+ PFR standing out side the court house I think the outcome of his case would of been a lil bit different.
i understand the path to justice is fought in court but the court’s aren’t fighting fair, so we gotta take to the streets in peaceful protest and publicly speak out against the state’s registry laws and the government agencies enforcing them.
I’ll personally organize hundreds of homeless sex offenders living under freeways and on Skid Row all through out Southern California to be ready to move when it’s time and that’s just the homeless sex offenders, I haven’t even started with the successful rich and famous sex offenders in this state. Politicians, law-enforcement and every other government agency forgets that they’re just public servants and I have no problem with reminding them every F#%*ing day

After hearing the main registry reform groups– ACSOL and NARSOL — have sold everyone on sitting back and waiting for the courts to rule in our favor, at what point do y’all give up on the pipe dream of overturning Smith v Doe? The conservative courts are NOT going to save us. We need a new approach!

Slavery itself was upheld as a regulatory function and it lasted for generations. Americans fought to the death to defend the ” constitutional ” regulatory practice.(Intent) As for effect, Mr. McGuire “..found he wasn’t able to live with his mother, because it was too close…!
7 yrs & 81 pages of analysis to justify indentured servitude to a databases upkeep. What are the Articles about, if not ” a well regulated Congress?”

From the opinion:

The court found that in enacting ASORCNA the Alabama legislature expressly

intended to create a civil regulatory scheme, not to impose punishment.

This has always been the fall back standard for most courts. The state of (insert state name) is of angelic and innocence status. There is no way that the continual additions of penalties is ever to “impose punishment”. Hence, there can never be ex post facto.

It’s really a circular argument with itself. The courts do forget the 3/5th compromise and Jim Crow laws down in the south.

Only a few states can impartially compare the original state of the registry and its current form to identify the added penalties now infer punishment such as Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

The only way to prohibit any civil statutory scheme is to make the state(s) admit registrants remain in-custody of the state and re-emphasize the 13th amendment. Involuntary service is prohibited unless it is punishment for a crime is in plain English from the 13th amendment. For all sex registry schemes it states, “it is your duty to register”. One is put onto the registry only by a conviction of a sex crime.

Any custodial relationship between the state and an individual birthed from a crime shall always be punishment. That should prohibit the circumvention of the state from possessing uncontested powers over a selected group of citizens. The right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is stolen from a select group of citizens of have already paid their dues to society. Their life belongs to the state because they are still in custody of the state under penalty of law, their liberty is chilled as the state has imposed several restrictions that remain until one is dead without due process for the “civil regulatory scheme”, and the right to happiness is hindered because your reputation to fellow citizens, community, state, country, and world is that of a monster who cannot be rehabilitated, which is labeled by the state and country.

Although the residency and employment restrictions limit where registrants may live or work, we hold that the restrictions do no sufficiently resemble the traditional punishment of banishment to be considered punitive. Registrants are not totally prohibited from entering the exclusion zones that ASORCNA creates. It is true they may not reside, work, or volunteer in the exclusion zones. But they remain able to enter exclusions zones for other purposes.

He argues that the residency and employment restrictions effectively case registrants out of Montgomery because they make approximately 80 percent of the housing stock and 85 percent of the jobs off limits to registrants.

The district court found that the residency and employment restrictions seriously limit registrants’ housing and employment options in Montgomery, and these finds are not clearly erroneous given the evidence in the record. But even so, we cannot say that Mr. McGuire established that the restrictions are so severe that they resemble banishment and effectively cast registrants out of the community. The evidence of the record demonstrates that registrants have remained able to find housing and jobs in Montgomery.

As a poster in the article comments basically said, seems like they’re using a “One drop of blood” rule that was used during the Jim Crow era: if there’s a single home or job available, then it’s not overly restrictive. They’re all f’ing cowards.

Mr. McGuire,

If you’re still living under that bridge after 7 years, and you haven’t gotten yourself out of Bama, I’m sorry to say that you have no one to blame but yourself.

I hope there is no appeal as a reflex action by McGuire. As FAC pointed out, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) picking up the case is a longshot. It is also possible that SCOTUS could render a bad decision which would apply to the entire country and would be nearly impossible to undo.

SCOTUS is most prone to take a case if it 1) has constitutional implications, and 2) there is a circuit split on the issue. The 11th circuit has staked out its position. In some cases, other circuits have determined certain provisions unconstitutional.

Using analyses from this entire body of cases, the SO advocacy community could collectively develop attacks on each specific point used to justify registration. For example, doing a deep dive into the question of what constitutes a “rational” relationship to a legitimate public good might reveal a crack in that argument. Perhaps digging into legislative deliberations could show a pattern indicating punishment is the intent.

Rather than, or in addition to, playing “whack-a-mole” by fighting individual issues in different jurisdictions, we could form nation-wide working groups, ala Wiki, to develop a cohesive legal counter argument against each pillar supporting registration. Somehow, we need to gain control of the narrative. I for one would assist in such an effort with whatever time and money I could spare.

I wonder what would happen if one of the arguments had been that if the state wants to have a registry, then let the state do the work of having a registry. The PFR shouldn’t have to carry the weight of something the state wishes to do. Has anyone sent an invoice to the state for the time it takes every year to comply with registration?

Why should the PFR be burdened with a constant barrage of requirements? Having to report to the sheriff every time I want to leave the county? How is that not excessive. Around here, I’d be reporting there every other day since the next county is where much of the shopping is. Absurd rule, and clearly not the least burdensome way the state could have implemented this. They made it clear that they want as much contact with LEO as possible, again making this seem like supervision rather than a civil/administrative process.

One would think that the SCOTUS (Republican/Conservative/Federalist Society’s) position would be to curtail or even eliminate the authority and ‘overreach’ of the federal government. In its stead, any and all such authority should be declared the sole province and jurisdiction of a State. This is exactly what SCOTUS has decided in cases respecting abortion rights, gun rights, and voting rights.

In my opinion, what must be attacked is the rationale that Congress used to justify their passing of SORNA legislation, tacitly allowing the Federal Government to micro-manage registries. This has been done repeatedly in Congress, on a myriad of issues. Such false narratives developed during committee and sub-committee hearings (much as took place in the passing of the International Megan’s Law legislation) must be challenged.

With respect to SORNA, each State’s judiciary has the capacity to rule on the constitutionality of the various parts of registry/reporting schemes. The federal judiciary can hear the appeals (as is being done today) and if we ever get some non-partisan judges appointed to the bench, we may eventually prevail.

Thinking about Climate Change. Thinking about the hypocrisy of Climate Change advocates, that support the registry. On the one hand, we must “Listen to the science!” On the other hand, we must ignore decades of science.

Study after study…low recidivism, no efficacy…destructive, counterproductive…waste of money, mass reincarceration for trivial issues, locking teens up for being teens!

I weep for this nation and this world.

I have to say this ruling initially disappointed me but then I realized it will probably be appealed to SCOTUS. Let’s hope so and that SCOTUS accepts it. Whatever potential SCOTUS ruling occurs would be helpful regarding clarity. (Clearly, a ruling upholding the 11th would be severely damaging to PFRs.)

I’ll be stunned if McGuire doesn’t appeal to SCOTUS. I pray he prevails.

The Federal government’s involvement in this area (s.o. registration) is unjustified and unnecessary. It is just another layer of BS that needlessly impacts our lives.

Furthermore, Congress’s improper and unconstitutional authorization empowering the US DOJ to make up their own regulations and restrictions for PFRs, and allowing the US DOJ to then set and impose CRIMINAL PENALTIES for non-compliance to their ‘civil regulations’, is a clear abuse of power and violation of many of our constitutional rights (due process, 8th Amend., 6th Amend. and 14th Amend. violations).

The federal judiciary (SCOTUS) should put an end to the out-of-control “administrative state”. This issue, in my opinion, is the one in which we are MOST LIKELY to prevail. The conservatives now sitting on the SCOTUS bench have indicated that they are ready to rule on this issue in our favor. In fact, they recently ruled against federal EPA regulations on the grounds that it was an improper delegation of authority by Congress to the EPA.

We had a shot with the Gundy case, but Alito did not want to give us a break and was not willing to take the political fallout (as in the abortion issue) on our behalf. Now he will have the cover of being just ‘one of the crowd’ with Kavanaugh and Barrett likely joining in an opinion that will greatly curtail Congress’s power to delegate authority such as they have done with SORNA/DOJ.

The fact no “judge” took authorship tells me all we need to know. Seven years to “decide” this case proves how much America is a scam. Failed government. Corrupt government. Fact is if John Roberts didn’t falsely argue Smith v. Doe, using one 1986 magazine statistic, the sex offender registry would be unconstitutional as it is. Since John Roberts is the Big Guy, who oversaw a “supreme” court that ironically decided to strip women of their rights, and overturned over 50 years precedence in doing so, don’t expect the corrupt judicial cronies to call him out on it, even though there are almost one million Registered Sex Offenders in the Land of the Free.

In reality, if the “system” wasn’t so corrupt and crooked, the fact the Supreme Court relied on a fraudulent 1986 statistic ought to be enough to rule the American Sex Offender Registries as unconstitutional.

The fact that 99 percent of “judges” gloss over the use of the fraudulent 1986 statistic should also tell us what we need to know about this lame-o country.

Seriously, F*** America.

This has got me wondering about the ex post facto argument and how these PFR laws are not punishment. Generally it is assumed that Calder v. Bull is the reason ex post refers only to criminal laws and punishment. In Calder v. Bull however, Justice Chase also states as ex post facto “Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was when committed” and “The restriction not to pass any ex post facto law was to secure the person of the subject from INJURY or punishment in consequence of such law. “(Emphasis added)

So I get that the original Alaskan registry was not ex post because it wasn’t punishment and being mainly a law enforcement tool probably didn’t cause a recognizable injury to a PFR.

With all the restrictions today however should we even need to prove punishment (under Mendoza-Martinez factors) if we can prove some kind of injury caused by a PFR restriction or that the restriction/requirement aggravates the past crime? The Calder v. Bull decision seems to say no.

So can someone tell me why this doesn’t seem to have been argued? Am I missing this attempt somewhere? Seems to me this would be a much more obvious and easier thing to show than proving if something is punishment or not.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x