German Court Grants Protection to former Florida Sex Offense Registrant on Human Rights Grounds

Source: floridaactioncommittee.org 10/7/22

Taken from the FAC article:

SOURCE: Steven Whitsett, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Sending registrants back to prison for mere administrative violations of Florida’s sex offender registry violates human rights law.  How’s that for a bit of good news?

After paying my “debt to society” by completing a lengthy prison term in Florida and two years of supervision, I decided that I didn’t owe anything further and was not going to be persecuted in my own country for the rest of my life.  So, I packed my bags and boarded a plane bound for Europe.  Passing first through Norway and Denmark, I made my way into Germany and sought protection from the German government on the ground that my human rights were being violated by Florida’s sex offender registry.  (My treatment by the German federal police is a story worthy of its own article.)

Initially, the German immigration authority (BAMF) rejected my claim for asylum and ordered me to leave Germany within 30 days.  I had different plans, though.  Instead of leaving, I hired a German lawyer and appealed to the administrative court.  On appeal, we raised several human rights claims against the sex offender registry scheme in Florida.  This article addresses only one of them.

Courts in Europe operate quite differently from their American counterparts.  In Europe, courts participate directly in the investigation of claims and are free to send investigators in search of evidence.  This court ordered the German Foreign Office to send an investigator to Florida to independently research the facts of my case.

While the German court was looking into my claims, Florida issued a warrant for my arrest on grounds that I had violated the reporting and notification requirements of the sex offender registry.  Specifically, Florida alleges that I (1) failed to report of a change of address, (2) failed to report my new residence in Germany, (3) failed to appear for my six-month registration update, and (4) failed to report that I possessed a valid passport.  The German investigator discovered that the prosecutor assigned to the case in Florida is demanding a minimum of 18 years imprisonment for these violations.

Read the full FAC article

Related links

Registry Matters Podcast

The Steven Whitsett YouTube Channel

Steven’s Common Sense Laws YouTube Channel

Email from river.whitsett@justfactsnotfear.com  https://justfactsnotfear.com/

I hope that things are going well with you and that you’re able to enjoy some of this beautiful weather.

From the German court we finally have a ruling… and it’s good news.

For the reasons explained below, the court denied my request for asylum, but in the alternative granted my request for “subsidiary protection”.  As things stand today, I am a permanent resident of the Federal Republic of Germany.  In 2024, after six years of residing in Germany, I will be eligible to apply for full German citizenship.

By way of background, you might recall that in 2018 I sought asylum in Germany based on claims that the sex offender registry in Florida amounts to human rights violations.  Initially the German immigration authority (BAMF) denied my asylum claim.  With the help of a German lawyer, I appealed to the administrative court in Karlsruhe.  That court made an extensive investigation of my claims spanning nearly four years.  On 13 September 2022 the court finally issued its ruling.  (I’m attaching below a copy of the order in the original German and a copy of the unofficial English translation.)

The court ruled as follows:

The court recognized that governments have an obligation to protect their most vulnerable citizens by temporarily limiting the rights of sex offenders. This governmental obligation has been recognized by other European courts.  After completing its four-year investigation into the Florida SOR, the court determined that it could not find that the SOR writ large violates human rights law as applied to me for the following reasons:

In order for the court to make a blanket statement that the registry violates human rights, it would first have to determine that sex offenders in the United States are a class of persons in need of protection. The court claimed that case law requires that a class of protected persons must share an innate defining characteristic with which they were born and cannot change under any circumstance, e.g., birthplace, ethnic background, religion, gender, and so on.  Because sex offenders are not born with that classification, they cannot be identified as a class.  (I do not agree with this finding as, in the modern world, both gender and religion can be changed.  Additionally, once labelled as a sex offender, that label endures for the rest of a person’s life and cannot be changed.  But that is a fight for another day.)

For the court to make a finding that the terms of the registry were so unreasonable as to amount to “inhumane or degrading treatment” (the European version of “cruel and unusual”) the restrictions must have made my life so difficult that I was left destitute from inability to secure employment or housing (e.g., the registrants living in tent camps or under bridges). Because I was able to find a job and an apartment while on the registry, according to the court, I cannot claim that the conditions suffered under the registry were “cruel or degrading”.

It is important to note, however, that the court left the door open for some other registrant to try to make that claim.  The also court voiced its concern over the fact that the registry might be found to violate the recognized human right of privacy but left the issue for another day.

The court noted I could not be returned to the United States if in doing so my human rights would likely be violated. The court’s investigation found that a warrant has been issued for my arrest for violating the notification requirements of Florida’s SOR, to wit: (1) failed to notify that I was changing addresses by moving to Germany, (2) failed to notify that I had secured a new residence in Germany, (3) failed to appear for my 6 month registration update, and (4) failed to notify that I was in possession of a passport.  An investigator from the German Foreign Office discovered that the prosecutor in Florida was demanding a minimum of 18 years imprisonment for those violations.  The German court noted that the alleged violations were technical in nature and resulted from my immigration to Germany, and thus had nothing to do with protecting the public.  Additionally, the punishment sought for violating the registry requirements is more than double the sentence I received for the original conviction which triggered my placement on the registry.  In the end, the court determined that any form of imprisonment resulting from administrative violations of the law would amount to “inhumane or degrading treatment”.  As such, the court granted “subsidiary protection” to me, meaning that I am now a legal resident of Germany for the rest of my life.  I cannot be deported to the United States for any violation of Florida’s sex offender registry.

I am also attaching below a copy of an article that I have written for PLN.  You are, of course, welcome to publish this information as you deem best and fit.

We stand, as ever, ready to assist you with your own important efforts whenever and wherever possible.

With best wishes and high hopes,

Steven Whitsett

 

Download the PDF file .

 

Download the PDF file .

 

Download the PDF file .

 

 

 

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This is fantastic! Finally recognition that the FTR aspects of the registry are nothing more than a secret mass incarceration scheme. They make the requirements burdensome and unclear, they trap people in their web, and incarcerate, like with this situation, for even longer periods than was imposed for the initial crime. This is a mass incarceration scheme, and it is finally exposed and been called out for the human rights violation it has always been.

Now is the time to inform the German government that this is not limited to Florida, it’s nationwide! It’s also the number one reason for new arrests, convictions, and of course incarceration! This is just a mass incarceration scheme designed to catch as many registrants as possible and lock them up for as long as possible, as often as they can!

Might even want to send them the attorney’s, “registrants should just know…” crap from the current case in CA! Maybe even the, ” Because we can” as well”?

In a perfect world, Germany may even grant refuge asylum status to registrants. May even use their influence in the EU to encourage others To do the same. Maybe, just allow for easier immigration?

I am dreaming now, but it is a nice dream. Even an official statement that this is a Human Rights violation, from Germany’s Secretary of State equivalent office perhaps, would be nice. Probably won’t amount to anything legally, but it could have PR value.

Wow!

Wow, that’s a pretty major declaration. Violation of human rights is about as big as something can get. I hope this has some direct impact on the courts here.

From the article:

 the prosecutor in Florida is demanding a significantly lengthier sentence for the administrative violations (minimum 18 years) than I had received for the actual crime (8 years).

Any administrative violation of German probation results in a monetary fine, never a term of imprisonment.

This is where cognitive dissonance exists for the legal system and the continuance of stating the registry is an administrative (regulatory) scheme.

The duty to register under “penalty” of law is what the German legal system has determined as a human rights violation. Any result of the registry that is greater than the actual crime is a human rights violation.

It’s another step for proving the registry is additive punishment, like a test on probation or parole. The difference is the state says you are under custody while on probation or parole, but says you are no longer under custody and remain on the registry where you must report to the state or be punished.

Why am I NOT surprised it was Germany (of all places) to recognize unionized socialist activities adopting the familiar ” for the sake of the corruption of our youth ” dogma to advance their agenda. That perspective doesn’t necessarily leave out the venture capitalist from their part. Perhaps you missed Schindler’s List!? The death of Hitler left the German people’s scarred by incessant authoritarian snooping. The new gov’t made every attempt to secure citizens privacy because of it. That’s the problem with the DDI, actual security. The problem in inherent. Germany recognized what I’ve been saying all along. It’s a database use issue. Because the machine is being used upon a human by a government it becomes naturally a human rights issue.
Thus Asimov pontificated HV must outweigh MV: Where HV= Human Value & MV = Machine value and at all times and perspectives.

That the database driven regime was promulgated under the ” presumption of Congressional will + Judicial deference in manifest” (Smith V Doh!) and for many without traditional processes (formally intelligently waived or not) evidences the influence of financial opportunity which naturally came with good optics to sell the people.
American refugees fleeing from their States to avoid slavery to database upkeep. Paints quite a picture! don’t it. – Lonesome Dove.

Coming from a German judge, the quote on page 4 is an incredibly weighty statement

His situation in the U.S. is no different than that of Jews in Germany in the 1930s.”

Great Idea! Maybe our lawyers should look into it and create a human rights violation lawsuit in other countries so we can put more embarrassing pressure on USA…

This would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the sad, very real consequences we deal with.

Land of the free, yeah right

I love this!!!

Imagine the reaction received in 1945 America if someone said, “Sure things are great now, but in a few decades some of us will flee to
Germany to be safe from persecution.”

Deutschland über alles.

“ The court claimed that case law requires that a class of protected persons must share an innate defining characteristic with which they were born and cannot change under any circumstance, e.g., birthplace, ethnic background, religion, gender, and so on. Because sex offenders are not born with that classification, they cannot be identified as a class”

Like how many times have I implied this on this forum? Registrants are not a protected class. That’s why I get on peoples’ cases when they compare the plight of registered sex offenders with those of racial minorities or Jewish folks in NAZI Germany

Florida didn’t got the message 8 years ago

Prosecutors in Floriduh never learn

I’d love to see arrest warrants issued for Governor DeSantis, Senator Book and her drunk-drivin’ Daddy, and all politicians in Florida who made these human rights violations possible. Heck, while we’re at it, let’s add Biden, Trump, Obama, W. Bush, and Clinton to the list of those on the arrest warrant since each of them has signed off on this crap. Haul their asses into The Hague and try them for Human Rights violations.

Hey, I can dream, right?

I wonder if this could be used as a precedence, here?

I’m a little confused.

In one paragraph, the German court says: “Before he left the country, the International Megan’s Law was passed, according to which sexual offenders are required to surrender their passports.”

Then it says: “Shortly before the law came into force, he left the USA.”

Did he enter the country before or after the law was passed? Because the German court also says:  

“Directly triggering the escape [from the USA] for him was the International Megan’s Law, which came into force on 31.10.2017”

I assume Mr. Whitsett left the country well after IML was in full force, because the German court says at the very beginning that:

On 09.05.2018, the plaintiff entered Germany coming from Denmark, where he filed an application for asylum on 13.06.2018.

Maybe there is just a mistake in translation.

What has to be addressed is why are these laws requiring prison time if they’re purely administrative? This has to be brought before the court to once and for all make them determine if its a punishment or not.

While this is a great victory for Mr. Whitsett himself, I wouldn’t read too much into it. He was granted personal protection, not asylum. The German court’s decision was very specific to Steven Whitsett and the punishment he would face (18 year in prison) if he returned to Florida. If anything, his case is more applicable to that of Denise Harvey. (someone brought her case up earlier on this thread). She was also a Floridian who was granted personal protection by Canadian authorities, because Mrs. Harvey would have faced a 30 year sentence if she returned to Florida. And like Steven Whitsett, her offense (with a 16 year old) was not a crime in Canada. That happened 8 years ago, and it’s not like Canada has swung the door open for other sex offenders from the US….just saying.

How sad, that as American citizens, Germany gives people who have been labeled as “Registered Sex Offenders,” by our so-called American “courts” and “judges,” more rights than the USA’s own Shithole “government.”

I was thinking about all the traps that America, its “democracy,” with its brand of “justice,” and “capitalism,” have set up for its “citizens.” The United States has, by far, the most amount of laws, to set people up to violate and prosecute them. (So much for the “Land of Free,” eh?)

Our government loves to villainize countries like China, North Korea, and Russia, but it seems largely gaslighting, when we realize that the United States has a larger prison population than all of those countries combined. Not to mention, Russia doesn’t even have a “sex offender” registry.

Then we think about other aspects. A stock market that’s completely rigged. So people put their income, savings, 401(k), and retirement, into what is essentially a casino, with the expectation that when they grow old, they’ll have a so-called “nest-egg” to retire from. We’re literally encouraged to gamble for our futures, hoping that we “make it.” Otherwise, Americans, especially nowadays, have a pretty high likelihood of ending up homeless, as well as dying old on the streets. (Especially “sex offenders;” what nursing homes will want to take them?)

A country with about one-third having criminal convictions more severe than traffic infractions, as well as a sex offender population quickly reaching one million, is hardly the Land of the Free, LOL.

Then add to all of this, American doesn’t even have Universal Healthcare. And even nowadays, when colleges exceed $50,000 a year, even for state schools, many school administrators, “teachers,” and “counselors,” still encourage teenagers to take on the debt at all cost. Another American Trap.

When you end up on the Megan’s Law sex offender registry, you can’t even move from the “American Dream,” which was really the American Scam (or American Nightmare), because our government of Scam Artists have made it impossible to leave, setting up more traps, like “International Megan’s Law,” to make it impossible to create a fresh start in a new, more free, country.

All America is great at is starting wars, incarcerating people, labeling people as Registered Sex Offenders and, of course, gaslighting.

America is really great at gaslighting.

Last edited 3 months ago by American Traps

The way I see this gentleman’s case is that you basically have to break the law by missing the registration date in your state, and not giving a 21 day notice for international travel. Then your state would have to file charges, issue you an arrest warrant, and threaten you with an insane amount of prison time once you’re caught and brought back to America. And then some German official with some fancy title would be authorized by the German government for an all expense paid trip (I hope he had a nice time at Disneyland) to your home state to do some digging to find out if your state is in fact tyrannical enough to put you in prison for decades for some administrative violation. And your state’s prosecutor would have to admit that fact. Sorry, that’s too much of a risk for me to take to stay in Germany which already let’s in sex offenders for 90 days, and then they can go back there after another 90 days had passed.

May I make an comparison between a web page of an individual offender and a webpage of a person advertising themselves as a porn star. Each being somewhat equivalent as each are one among many. Does the modern internet porn star degrade themselves? Some human would complain and insist it does, just as registrants do.
Note the German court identified the need for a “class of persons in need of protection” to validate the human rights violation in manifest, but fails to acknowledge precisely what the arguendo class would need protection from. Databases do not right their own laws for their usage. It is the people’s use(s) of the SOR database registered persons seek relief from. By labeling it “the sex offender registry” the point is lost. HV must outweigh MV or human becomes obsolete.

Lots of thoughts on this encouraging and interesting story

I have often thought about and looked at other countries to live in to escape the stimaga and harrassment of living on the registry. Legally of course, de-register, etc, but it is easier said than done. In his case, he can never come back to the US, not always a bad thing, but if you have family and friends, not so easy to leave everyone forever.I think if it is done correctly and not have to fight like this, Florida is the worst no doubt! You can move to many places on this planet and as long as you ‘notify’ your local PD that you are moving, if you have an address great, if not, they can’t force that in another country (I don’t believe).

I have little family left, and moving with my dogs would be a challenge to them, they are my world, so having them placed in quarantine or something would not be good, jobs, language, and moving is very expensive. This is not something that is an easy decision – unless you are facing 18 years!

The passport thing, I don’t understand, we can have one legally, when they take it from you and you get a new one with the stupid stamp on it (and BTW on the front page it says ‘see page XX) which I doubt anyone ever reads anyways. How is that a violation, and why didn’t he de-register when he moved? If he was moving to another state, it would be the same thing, but looks like it was a choice he made to break that law, which I don’t understand either – or I am missing something in the story?

It does show that many countries outside of the US are sympathetic and reasonable to the ridiculous laws this country has. Not all EU countries are the same, DO NOT ENTER Europe THRU SPAIN! I traveled there recently and due to IML, I was detained, questioned, searched and held in their airport jail. Spain’s law says after 15 years, you have paid your dues, there is no lifetime anything BUT because the US sent the message stating there was a SO coming into Spain, they said nope, we don’t want you. Part of the problem (of many) is how that country interprets what the US sends – they send the actual offense, but to them, they, and in this case did, read it as basically I was an SVP, when in fact my crime didn’t have any victims at all. Long story short, they tried to say that I was not ‘eligible to enter because I didn’t have enough cash and my itenarary wasn’t set for the whole time I was there (was planning a side trip that had not been finalized) I found a great attorney $500 later, who said it was BS that they were lying and breaking their own laws. I verified funds, had my brother finalize my other details, and even then, they said nope. My lawyer went to an all night court, yep, real thing there, and the judge said I can enter Spain – but even after that, they tried to appeal it and said the ‘real reason’ was of the notification and my history. He said too late and I was allowed to enter. Point of all of this relating to this story is because of the US, and this is their intention, to make it hell for RSO to travel outside of the US. Then again, Australia doesn’t allow any SO to leave the country at all! The fact that Germany understands the situatution, that is a friendly country to fly into and in most Schengen countries, a passport is not needed once you go thru a friendly country – Do NOT travel to or thru anywhere in the UK by air, not sure if you took a train from France if you can get in or not? But also never fly thru Canada – auto rejection there!

I know this case, just like one court in one state does not set precedence in another, but there are a lot of words of wisdom in this ruling and I would hope that a good attorney can use this in our fight against IML, Megan’s law and SORNA