OR: Sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for the crime of public indecency

Source: law.justia.com 3/28/24
[ACSOL is posting this as an example of extreme sentencing]

In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the petitioner, Terry Eugene Iversen, appealed the district court’s denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Iversen had been sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for the crime of public indecency under Oregon’s sex offender recidivism statute due to his extensive criminal history, which included prior convictions for public indecency, rape, and sodomy. Iversen argued that the LWOP sentence was grossly disproportionate to his offense, in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

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This is sad… this man seems to be incapable of stopping himself from destroying his own life… and that is always sad. His involvement of other people in his own destruction, only makes matters far worse. He compounded the sadness of his own life, by bringing harm into other’s…

Hard to say what is going on here. I can only speculate that he had some form of compulsive disorder. Some inner demon that urged him on… or perhaps demanded he obey. Maybe he was just incapable of understanding…or perhaps just unwilling to care. All of those suggest a highly disfunctional individual… well functioning human beings curtail their behaviors, for purposes of self preservation, if for no other. Well functioning humans do not repeatedly choose to bring harm to themselves… and others for that matter.

This, in no way, excuses his behavior, nor exempts him from the consequences for them. However, perhaps instead of just throwing him into the human landfill of our prison system, we try to look at the failure of his life, to prevent it from happening again? Spare others the harm others like him may bring to them, in their own path of self destruction?

“…prior convictions for public indecency, rape, and sodomy.” – Can’t help but notice his conviction for “Sodomy”… and can’t help but wonder how that came into being. These “morality laws” were notoriously used to criminalize LGBTQ, but we’re not the exclusive use. Some were so intentionally vague in definition and scope they could be used to punish just about anything the tyranny of the moral majority wanted. That’s what happened here….no idea…but maybe.

Public Indecency laws were also a bludgeon of the moral majority… often, but not exclusively, used to criminalize LGBTQ. Can’t go home… can’t go to a hotel… so, paradise by the dashboard lights it is? That’s how it was used… but, not exclusively… they destroyed the lives of several heterosexual couples the same way, for the same thing.

Rape, however, seems pretty straight forward…

No clue what this latest Public Indecency. conviction actually results from. Was he exposing himself? Was he engaging in sexual activity in view of others? More Paradise by the dashboard lights? No idea… could be any of those things, and a whole host of others… which could include things many on this forum, and millions of others in addition, have done once, or even multiple times… or maybe never. Who knows?

Perhaps, this is even more tragic than it appears. When a human being chooses to destroy their own life, that is always sad. When a human being is subjected to the cruelty of others, that is also always sad…the combination of the two, is tragic.

It just hit me. This guy is in a very small population – sex crime recidivists, who account for less than 5% of all new sex crimes committed. And yet, the registry did absolutely nothing in terms of prevention, which is supposedly its primary purpose. Further, despite all the other sex crimes he had been convicted for, nowhere is there any indication that he was in violation of registry rules at any given time, indicating that he was fully compliant.

So again, what in God’s name is the purpose of the sex offense registry? How is it sensible that arrests of People Forced to Register are almost exclusively for the same registry violations that actual sex crime recidivists (like the one in this story) are in full compliance?

And finally, why does it feel like I’m the only one asking these questions? Am I really that far out in left field?

100% of all offenders were once children, and non offenders.

I mean what was the state supposed to do with this guy, how many chances did he get before they struck him out.
Let’s see public indecency, rape and sodomy, sounds like three or four, at what point is enough enough?
I don’t feel sorry for multiple offenders, there literally only 1% of people forced to register BUT the government uses people like this guy to justify the actions and continue to apply pressure on PFR.
Oregon is one of the most lenient states in America when it comes to sex offender registry laws and restrictions so the fact that they gave him (LWOP) just goes to show how much the state was fed up with this guy.