When “ample alternatives” are neither

By DAVID POST . . . A couple of weeks ago, I joined 16 law professors in an amicus brief (authored by Eugene Volokh and several of his students) urging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case of North Carolina v. Packingham. [Here’s Eugene’s posting about the brief.] The case, in a nutshell:

North Carolina bans registered sex offenders from using or accessing any social networking website that allows under-18-year-olds to post. This includes, of course, the vast bulk of the social networking universe – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, along with many, many other such sites. The ban is not limited to people who are in prison or on probation or parole (whose First Amendment rights are sharply reduced because of that); it applies even to people who have finished serving their sentences, and who possess, at least in principle, the same First Amendment rights as you and I. Nor is the law limited to sex offenders who had committed crimes against minors (though I think that too would be unconstitutional). Rather, the law makes it a crime for any registered sex offender to either post to such a site or even read it, on the theory that the law is needed “to prevent registered sex offenders from prowling on social media and gathering information about potential child targets.”

There are, as Volokh succinctly put it in the earlier posting, “many First Amendment problems” with the N.C. court’s decision rejecting a challenge to the constitutionality of this prohibition.[**] The amicus brief, though, focused on only one of them: the court’s holding that the prohibition is a “reasonable” restriction on speech because it leaves “ample alternative channels” for the speech of persons covered by the ban. Maybe you can’t post (or even access any posts) on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Reddit [or NYTimes.com or the Volokh Conspiracy, for that matter, all of whom allow persons under the age of 18 to post/access) … but “the Web offers numerous alternatives that provide the same or similar services that defendant could access without violating” the statute.

It seems crazy to me — imagine trying to run for public office, or participate in someone else’s campaign for public office, or complain to your City Councilperson, or start a petition drive to get a new streetlight on your corner … without being able to access any of the major social networking sites. Not impossible, sure — but it seems quite far-fetched to suggest that there are “ample alternatives” out there on the Web for you to accomplish these tasks.

Fortunately, we have Supreme Court precedent on our side: City of Ladue v. Gilleo (1994), which invalidated a city ordinance banning homeowners from displaying signs on their property. The city argued that the ordinance left people “free to convey their desired messages by other means, such as hand-held signs, ‘letters, handbills, flyers, telephone calls, newspaper advertisements, bumper stickers, speeches, and neighborhood or community meetings.’” But these alternatives, the court held, were inadequate because they tended to convey a substantively different message, were not as cost-effective or failed to reach the speaker’s intended audience. (Please read David’s full post at Volokh Conspiracy of the Washington Post)

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    • #9916
      Avatar
      d

      Can anyone name one viable alternative for social media that isn’t off limits to those convicted/accused of a sex crime?

      Plus Facebook is needed to log in to countless other sites so one also loses the ability to participate in the majority of online discussions and forums.

      Also, how many cases are there of Facebook being used by sexual predators? Real cases…not stings or Romeo-Juliet situations. My impression, from trying to find online statistics, is that crimes involving predators meeting children online are extremely rare. Again, not talking about stings but actual children/minors.

      Of course there’s the whole Halloween thing. ZERO is the number of child sex assaults committed by strangers on that holiday. So, as all of us here know, facts and the truth aren’t taken into account when it comes to passing sex crime laws.

      At least it seems like there’s more and more judges and law experts who are opposing the onerous restrictions placed on those convicted/accused of sex crimes.

    • #9917
      Avatar
      Dave the RSO

      Just more unconstitutional BS from the government I am getting sick of it. They are creating a whole class of citizens that have no rights just what the government desires for all its citizens but can only apply to those nobody cares about. I thought Facebook is for people 18 the age setting starts at 18 so the person has to commit fraud to sign up if they are not. Just because kids can access it does not make it a site for kids this is crap. The constitution prohibits government from interfering with non harmful free speech they have to prove your free speech is harmful first don’t they? Once they were aloud to make laws based on assumptions it eliminated due process. Allowing the government to reduce the rights of its citizens is simply a conflict of interest.

    • #9918
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      I haven’t had any problems using Google Plus. Its not a popular as facebook but its still popular. However, I am also not banned from using Social Media in my state. My point is Google does not have a policy against SOs like Facebook does.

    • #9919
      Avatar
      Tara

      Truth and facts seem to mean nothing to many of them associated to this subject. My problem is my p.o agrees with certain things, but is too afraid to stand up for me due to her position. These laws keep being passed yet they turn the cheek when faced with factual evidence.

    • #9920
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      It would appear that facts and statistics are regarded as the least important aspects in these matters. They are apparently useless and irrelevant as irrational, illogical and emotionally driven concepts is what prevails every time.

    • #9921
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      I didn’t know that FB only has the option to sign up at age 18 or older in their registration form, but you raise an important point there. Even if there are ample alternatives to Facebook, what is to stop people under 18 from lying on the registration form? Would RSOs in N.C. be prosecuted if it is found that people under 18 are joining the site by lying about their age? I would not be one bit surprised if they are. There are too many holes in this law. I don’t see how it can stand up in court.

    • #9922
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      Another thing I have noticed is that when it comes to RSOs the burden of proof lies on us, not the prosecution. Innocent until proven guilty does not apply to RSOs. Rather in the event of an accusation, we are burdened with the responsibility to prove the accusation is false and until we do, the accusation alone is considered to be the truth.

    • #9923
      Avatar
      Robin
      Admin

      Many sexual categories of crime have drifted into the statutory realm of culpability such that intent is nearly irrelevant. The traditional approach to crime requires the state to prove both a mens rea (bad thought) and actus reus (bad act) in order to convict. But, with many (if not most) sexual offenses today, the mens rea is generally presumed on the basis of the act. It doesn’t matter if the intent is simple curiosity, academic interest, or entirely lacking sexual arousal or gratification as its motivation, the act will swallow the intent unless, as you suggest, the defense approaches the charges with a determination to “prove” that the defendant could not have had the necessary intent to complete the crime. And that turns tables on presumptions of innocence pretty drastically. There are, for example, a whole host of non-sexual reasons why someone might view child pornography or even participate in a conversation about a sexual topic with a minor. But we wouldn’t recommend doing either for even the most benign of reasons. -Admin

    • #9924
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      🙂 I just knew you would have something to add to that comment and I was waiting for it. I appreciate what you shared there. Forgive me, you are using some legal jargon that I am unfamiliar with, but I am fairly sure that to a point you are agreeing with what I said. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      I agree with the points you made there and they could apply to first time offenders, but I feel I should point out that in my comment I was referring to people already on the registry. Just the fact that there is a registry is a presumption of guilt as the logic behind it is a means to locate us when we re-offend as they expect us to do eventually.

      If I am accused of not complying with the SOL, I will be expected to prove that I am indeed complying otherwise it will be assumed that I am not if I cannot furnish proof that I am. It is very easy for a RSO to be returned to prison over a noncompliance accusation from my experience.

    • #9925
      Avatar
      d

      In my state i am not allowed Google Plus. I remember Google+ from my pre-arrest life. It wasn’t a platform I cared for. Unless things have really changed it isn’t anywhere near as popular as FB.

      Youtube is an option, i guess. Not really social media but it does have the potential to reach a wide audience.

    • #9926
      Avatar
      Emil S

      Maybe the government can buy an island that’s big enough and ship all RSOs there, like they did in Australia long time ago. Then the people won’t have to fear about RSO living in their neighborhood, and the government can focus on other matters.
      What do you guys say huh? Maybe then RSOs can say FU to the US government by having a flag with mascot of pedo bear.

    • #9927
      Avatar
      James Townsend

      No more mister nice guy, no more mister clean… Ah give me the days of Alice Cooper and how things were back then. We had no facebook or things like that yet we were happy. I just wonder if what’s your name little girl would put me on the sex registry… A nice song back than.

      Free speech is free speech and redresses of grievance are also and also the right to assemble (peacefully). This alternative crap isn’t even in the bible.

      These lawyers are getting shot down because they don’t even know that words are power. Sure law enforcement, court systems are going to toss donuts at this because they are the United States and they don’t want to bow down so they will do everything except use their God given brain. A lawyer is just as good to represent a person but the truth is a whole lot better.

      So listen to “The Who” and we won’t get fooled again.

      The newspapers don’t know how these things are set up. Every person that votes should know how they con, harass, entice, and persuade those in this whole game of “Sex tango” with little sister.

      You throw the bible at them and I’ll guarantee they don’t even acknowledge it. Come on everybody say it.. ” I’m mad as hell and I'[m not gonna take it anymore.”

    • #9928
      Avatar
      Emma

      Sex offenders are labeled as a rapist. There are sos who dated a younger person. Where are these people rights? Why vote? When people lives are destroyed by the government laws. This is so bad for these people. They served their times and still do not have rights. The government and all of the laws sucks. Let it happen to one of their children. And suddenly the laws will change. So unjust!

    • #9929
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      I was labeled a child molester. That wasn’t even close to my crime. I moved to a different state for 6 years and there were a couple busy body ladies at the store I worked for who went around telling everyone I was a child molester and they didn’t know the first thing about me. They never spoke to me, never did any research. They just assumed that.

      It was a very tense and stressful experience. I remember when ever a woman had to come into my work area for any reason she always had someone with her. At first I was thinking “what’s up with that?”, but then it accorded to me that they are scared to death of me and rape wasn’t even close to my crime either!

      So I moved back to my home state. People seem to be more accepting here. The lady I rent my apartment from just loves me. My neighbors have never harassed me here, which they did do in the other state on occasion.

      I don’t work for other people anymore, but when I did here I never got a strong impression that I was disliked because of that status. That might have something to do with the fact that over 45000 people are on the registry in this state. Everyone knows someone on it.

    • #9930
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      That is a good point and if we could post a video that could raise awareness. I think we are okay on sites like YouTube, where all the messages are public. Its the private messages they are trying to prevent us from sending. I could be wrong though. Its like this site. I am pretty sure we don’t have to notify them that we are posting public messages on this site. I didn’t. But if you join the organisation and began posting messages in the private forum, you better report that. However, even then we need more people to began participating in the private forum. There is much that we could be discussing among ourselves behind the scenes and we can start our own topics, rather than comment on topics the authors here post.

    • #9931
      Avatar
      NH Registrant

      But, it WON’T happen to any politician’s child – or even to a family member of a person in law enforcement or the court system (at least in MY state). I’ve seen people get serious sex crimes get swept under the rug due to their position or connections.

      I’ve seen a cop with a violent sex crime against a child (done multiple times) get a couple months in jail, a few months of probation, and no registry afterward with no record.

      I’ve seen a family member of a cop get the same treatment. No serious jail time and no registry or record.

      I’ve seen local, state, and federal politicians get away with numerous sex crimes over and over again. One even got excused on TV by the female Attorney General of my state!

      But, if you’re poor, not connected, and can’t afford a good attorney, you’re going to do prison time in my state – even if you didn’t do it.

      Very few people in the media and in government are brave enough to speak against sex crime legislation because it’s career suicide due to the public’s collective ignorance.

    • #9932
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      Wel that could be our theme song “It ain’t me. It ain’t me. I ain’t no senators son.”

      The media also likes to sensationalize sex crime stories because it gets attention and Government officials push for more laws because that gets votes. Neither has anything to gain by speaking out against it. That is why our best hope lies with federal justices who are appointed for life and don’t need to cater to voters.

    • #9933
      Avatar
      PHYS ED

      For RWVNRAL-
      You are so right dead-on about this! I’m a convicted RSO who had NO prurient interest in children. I’ve had 3 novels commercially published by New York City publishing houses in the last century. Toward the end of that last century I was hired by M–25 productions in Washington DC to write direct, produce, and narrate television documentaries for broadcast cable. I did approximately 250 of them over the space of the Y2K transition.I owned none of them having worked all that time as basically a freelance “hired gun”, which meant I owned no rights to anything.I picked up my charge in Florida while trying to produce another one that I did own, whose subject matter included and centered on the outrageous congressional response to a prominent think tank’s long-term study of the impact of incest on the American family. The RAND report was something that was vetted all over the world and praised for it’s methodology and the integrity of its findings by publications such as JAMA, New York Journal of medicine, the Lancet (a British equivalent) and similar international publications from many countries.
      The controversy arose from a central tenet of the report that held that when one corrected for all the egregious things a dysfunctional family could get up to that did NOT involve incest, there was no impact at all unless and until – law enforcement got involved – and then,of course, the family was utterly destroyed. The outfit behind the RAND report laws and is world renowned for excellence, and since it was a private organization, could not overtly be punished by Congress. But Congress could, and did, phone up university department heads of medical and sociological research with press arms and threatened to cut off their funding if they in any way mentioned in any sort of favorable way the RAND report or its conclusions. Since many of these university departments live and die by federal funding – one can see immediately what sort of overreach this would be by the legislative branch of our government. My interest was that I saw a documentary in all of this, and it coincided with a historical interest of mine in incest as it related to dynastic Egyptology and South Sea Islander culture. Since the prevailing science holds that such practices begin early in a person’s life, I was led to check out some obvious sources and went about researching this in the same way that I had researched previous projects in my life that had nothing to do with anything controversial. I picked up my charge through ignorance of the law and was led into criminality by being unable to see the forest for the trees. I encourage all of you out there to check out “The Tyranny Of Good Intentions”, a book that came out in 2000 and lauded by a number of organizations including the Cardozo Law Review. It proved prophetic for me as I suffered all the abuses by the DOJ limned therein.

    • #9934
      Avatar
      Maestro

      I am recently unemployed due to the restaurant I was working at closing from lack of business in my crummy excuse of a city. And we were the only real night life here with live entertainment nightly: bands, karaoke, comedy, open mic, etc.

      So I file for unemployment. Well…to ensure the state isn’t paying you to sit on your backside while getting a free check (as if half of my reg wages can pay the bills for me to do just that), the unemployment office sets up a day for people newly placed on unemployment to come in and show proof that they’ve been looking for work as well as sit through a 2 hour seminar.

      At the seminar, the speaker ENCOURAGED us to use social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to join in and post in job hunting groups on those sites. He said they are great alternatives to job seeker sites like Monster and Indeed because you can be specific as to what type of work your looking for and others who read it can reply if they know of places or private people hiring based on your industry.

      I sat there thinking: If only this guy knew.
      So, does big brother government and “law enforcement” know how much they are limiting us in finding potential work? Yes they do.
      Do probation officers know how they put road blocks in front of job prospects while telling us we need to find work? Yep. They do, too.

      I don’t care if your on probation or not. The physical prison term was paid by ripping however many years out from under your life behind brick walls. They let us out. And because we’re on probation no one wants to stand up to these buffoons and say: Hey, they’re out in the free world now and eventually they’ll be off probation. So what difference is it if they utilize social media now or after probation?

      Can everyone here please STOP forgetting about those of us who are displaced from homes and from finding good employment due to probation? Probation is lots of times part of the problem.
      Not every state has lifetime registry. Many people end up homeless and jobless because of PROBATION restrictions and NOT state registry restrictions.
      I live in CT and there is no restriction on living in any proximity from a school or park. Only probation enforces that and when I was first released from prison, I was denied living with my parents because there were too many kids in the neighborhood. So guess what…I was homeless for a while.

      If we’re gonna fight one side of this issue, let’s fight ALL sides of it. Stop being afraid of challenging the probation department. I wasn’t afraid of them or their scare tactics.
      I called the local newspaper and did a 2 page article about how they are basically brainwashed and wish to brainwash the public for the duration of your probation period. And when you’re done….then what? Then, me being a once convicted felon who was demanded not to be around anyone under 16, can freely go walk my dog in the very same park I was once not allowed in.

      Does ANYONE here understand the very VALID points I’m making? I barely ever get replies to my posts.

    • #9935
      Avatar
      Martin

      Fred,

      You mentioned Michigan as being the state you live in. Sounds like you picked a good part of the state to live. Some parts (like Grand Rapids) and I suspect much of the west side of Michigan are rough, due to it being like a mini-bible belt region. Grand Rapids has had problems similar to those in South Florida.

      http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/04/judge_eases_rules_for_sex_offe.html

    • #9936
      Avatar
      Tara

      Hey Maestro, while you got a point, I haven’t ever replied to the posts. But when I read them, I have my bf listen to your posts, too. And we’re both saying yep. Wish I had thepersonality that would make it easier to say what you do. Because you say a lot of things I feel, or have faced.

    • #9937
      Avatar
      Paul

      Maestro,

      You were brave to take on probation. Fred has been encouraging us all to do that. I think it’s wise to abide by the conditions of one’s probation and free speech certainly is outside of anyone’s terms, meaning technically they can’t touch us on free speech. Probation may not be happy you are speaking out against them but they TECHNICALLY can’t do anything about it.

      NOW, that’s TECHNICALLY and that’s only if your probation officer isn’t a prick. If he or she is, they can make something up and see if it sticks in court. Usually it will. Or more practically, they just need to find the smallest technical violation they can. Maybe you stopped at a Denny’s and because that’s a place where children technically “congregate”, you’d be violated but under circumstances of having not spoken out against probation, you wouldn’t be violated. All I know is, they have enormous power over our lives, Godlike power, if you will. It’s a lot easier to take on this system off probation in my opinion but no one should be talked out of speaking their mind if they are determined to do so and think it will make a difference. They just need to know what some of the potential consequences of doing so could be.

    • #9938
      Avatar
      Tara

      Martin, you are right. My p.o advised me not to go to michigan even though my family lives there because of how strict they are.

    • #9939
      Avatar
      Emil S

      Probation or Post-release supervision people can make your life more miserable than it already is by putting you in more restrictions, like making you take sex offender classes every week, threatening you for not getting job (i.e. paying the monthly fee), coming to visit you more than once a month even Sunday morning, threatening you to put in ankle bracelet for no reason, etc.

      I say these because I’m in a post release supervision in NC, and those things have happened to me when I tried to exercise my free speech. They said I “was being disrespectful.” and put more burden on me.

    • #9940
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      What I would like to see is people to stop being quiet, whether they are on probation or not. Being quiet and submitting to them is only allowing them to be stronger and is making it easier for them to continue tightening the noose.

      If we are united, visible and loud we can not be ignored. The Justices responsible for considering the constitutionality of these laws need to see that they are indeed affecting people in a very negative way. As it stands now all they see are lawyers. They do not see who is being hurt here. It would appear that these lawyers are representing ghosts.

      The Civil Rights movement was not successful because lawyers made a strong case. It was successful because thousands of people were actively protesting and making their voices heard. We have to do the same thing.

      I am tempted to give you my email address or my phone number right here so that we can discuss ideas or how to fight this with out the whole world having access to our conversation. I have been tempted to share that information with many of you in here. Many of you are so thoughtful, motivated and I know you have great ideas that I would really like to be able to go over with you.

      Unfortunately it would be really unwise to share that information in a public forum. For those of you who are able, I encourage you to join this organization and participate on the private forum. There is so much that we could be discussing among ourselves.

      As for your comment Maestro, you express yourself so well in your writing, that it is no surprise that you were able to get through to the local paper. You are a very strong writer and I hope we can find a way to work together. You brought up some very good points here and I hope that people arguing for us in this particular case have thought about that part of it. They can not seriously claim that pauladean.com is an ample alternative to facebook when it comes to job prospects.

    • #9941
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      True, Grand Rapids and most of the west side of the state is more prosperous than the rest of the state, That is where all the jobs are now in Michigan and they want to keep the rift raft out. Fortunately i do not live on the West side and in my area, there are a lot of us and everyone is struggling. Or maybe I have just been lucky? All I can say is I have not had any bad experiences here, but I had plenty of bad experiences in Virginia where people are just terrified of SOs. Michigan’s legal and law enforcement system is what you want to fear. From my experience the people are more tolerant.

    • #9942
      Avatar
      Tara

      Maestro,
      Paul is ABSOLUTELY right! Its because my officer IS NOT nice that Im not speaking out. Only on heredo I speak. And, to be honest, Derek Louge is THE reason I havecome this far. And what seperates you and I is that I am on lifetime parole. Give me a few more years and I MAY be as brave as you.

    • #9943
      Avatar
      takingOneDay@aTime

      I have one question, hopefully someone has answer.
      If a RSO wants to travel overseas, is he/she stopped at the airport or put into no fly list?
      does anyone have international travel experience?

    • #9944
      Avatar
      Tara

      Hey Fred? If we become a member, and I only have a phone, how may I access the forum. And can I get in trouble with my p.o if I do? I am wanting more contact with ones who are rsos, that is why I keep coming back here.

    • #9945
      Avatar
      Ron

      The answers won’t ever be the same for the experience can differ from traveler to traveler. The Angel watch program controlled by the department of justice at best seems to stifle some RSO travelers excursions at best due to Interpol notifications and state department cables. Homeland security shares their database with developed countries and have trained staff immigration officers who use US database networks. In South Korea these officials are aware just as most airport agents and carriers are in Japan. So to say the least the most pushback you’ll receive is by Immigration Customs Enforcement and homeland security upon your attempted departure and eventual return whether your trip was successful or not. No fly list are meant for passengers who have violated security protocols or deemed terrorist under sanctioned scrutiny. The most viable thing you can do is research and seek diplomatic approval from the country you intend to travel . So by getting in contact with the ministry or embassy designated to answer concerns would address some or most of your issues if translated and articulated well.

    • #9946
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      First understand at this time most of the comments are right here on the blog. The Forum is not very active at the moment. I want to change that though, because we are kind of limited on what we can say in these comments as we are for the most part following the topic of the blog post. Using the forum would give us an opportunity to start our own topics and discuss what is on OUR mind at the moment. I think many of us would find using the forum very therapeutic.

      As for you using your phone. I do not think that will be be a problem. The forum should conform to your smart phone.

      If you are required to report internet identifiers in your state you will need to report this one. Report that it is nationalrsol.org and give them the username and email address you will be using to log on it with. If you do not report it, you might get in trouble for being non compliant.

      Because you are on Probation, I don’t know. Does your P.O. have any extra restrictions on you? If you are not sure, you should probably ask first prior to creating an account. I personally would not tell them what nationalrsol.com is. That shouldn’t be their business, but if they ask you can tell them if you want. I would think you are not required to tell them what it is.

      I always say, follow the law. You do more for our cause when you are not in jail.

    • #9947
      Avatar
      Paul

      In what way did you try to exercise your free speech, Emil? Was it directly to your officer or in another more public way that circumvented your officer? I’m just curious and I think others would be too.

    • #9948
      Avatar
      Emil S

      Thanks Ron, I wanted to know in general if a RSO can be stopped from leaving the country.

    • #9949
      Avatar
      Tara

      Thanks Fred. I will talk to my p.o. And no, my p.o does not have any restrictions, per say. She is just a very uptight parole officer. And I came from a very religious family. Although I made mistakes, I associate with no one from my past. And she doesn’t see the good in me due to me freezing up afraid of doing anythimg she doesn’t like

    • #9950
      Avatar
      Ron

      You will not be put on a no fly list merely for being a RSO . That status is designated for potential risk passengers who have been deemed dangerous to national security. Even level 1 RSO’s are on the national database regardless if photo or bio data is not available to the general public.

    • #9951
      Avatar
      Mastro

      Paul (and all others who replied to my post),

      Thank you all for partaking in this discussion. I’d like to tell you what happened in my situation with probation but first, a little background of my crime: I had an affair with a teenage female who was a year under legal age (16 in CT). Totally consensual (even the D.A. acknowledged that during my court hearings). But I am a bi-sexual who has been closeted for many years.
      The experience of having 2 yrs of my life ripped out from under me for a crime that, in CT carried a minimum of only 9 months, made me realize it’s time to stop being ashamed of who I am. So upon my release I finally came out to my friends and family because I’ve been attracted to the same sex for as far back as I can remember. I even had a crush on my best friend throughout our childhood.
      Now that you have that background, perhaps this story about my probation experience will make you go “Hmmmmm”…
      Here’s what happened with me….

      Back in 2012, my former romantic partner (of 4 yrs) was a “drag” performer (on my recommendation) who I introduced to other friends in the gay community here in CT. When he put on a wig and make up, I swear he passed for a real female.
      His drag performances were also AH-MAZING! He made sure to actually choreograph his dances for each performance.
      By the time he started making the rounds at the local gay clubs in my area, I had passed my first 2 polygraphs and completed the S.O. treatment group so my level of supervision was lowered to once per month rather than weekly.

      I guess you can say I made the mistake of opening my big mouth with my honest ways and told my NEW probation officer what myself and my partner were up to and how things were going with us.
      I told her about his drag performances and how he was becoming very popular on the circuit and being asked by several places to come perform for them.
      This woman, my P.O., asked me what “drag” was. My first thought was: Does this B live in a cave? So I explained it. My partner gets all decked out as a female impersonator and lip-syncs/dances to popular songs from the likes of Madonna, Christina Aguleira, etc. and that I acted as his manager. I also was there to help his change from one outfit into another in between performaces (the performers usually did 2 – 3 numbers per night)
      The main place that he performed is a gay bar that actually qualifies as a RESTAURANT that just happens to have a bar. A small bar. Very small bar.
      Well, my P.O. didn’t like this. So she decided that to make sure I did not go into an establishment that sold alcohol, she had me strapped with a GPS on my ankle. This happened a month AFTER I told her about my partner’s shows.
      So, to be a royal pr*ck I told her that if I really wanted to get hammered, drinking myself into oblivion, all I had to do was go to the liquor store on the corner of my street and not wait for a restaurant bar to be my only source. Yeah, she didn’t like that either.
      She also didn’t care that I was not there to drink, I was there to assist my partner.
      After she put the GPS on me, I went to the newspaper about it. Two weeks later, she violated me. I went to court, my public defender stated my case, the D.A. and my P.D. got a judge who was CLEARLY gay to preside over my VOP and out of the court room I walked, back on probation, but not starting over.

      The VOP was based on her telling me that she did not want me going into bar establishments and how I was not complying. Ummm…I had a GPS on my ankle, how was I not complying? Never once did I step into a bar while that thing was strapped to my body. But probation went wrong in achieving their intention because of the 2 months that had gone by since she stated she warned me about going into those places. The D.A. basically felt that if it was such a serious issue, probation would have violated me on the spot. Not wasted the state’s money with GPS monitoring only to violate me WHILE I WAS ON THE MONITOR. So he pretty much figured it was their retaliation to my newspaper article (which he obviously had been given a copy of by my P.O.)

      Fast forward to 2014, I moved from the district I was living in (after being made homeless due to the violation, losing my job and apartment) I moved to an area closer to NYC (where my partner lives). I went to a new probation dept for that district and guess where I found my first job….wait for it….

      AT A BAR/RESTAURANT! And it was literally half a block from the probation office building. In fact, my P.O. in this new area would stop in and have lunch there (as well as check up on me). Interesting isn’t it, how I get violated for being in a bar/restaurant only to move to a new district and get allowed to actually be employed at a bar/restaurant…??!!

      Probation is a waste of tax payer money. There is no good argument to the contrary. And when anyone tries to argue that probation is somehow a GOOD thing, my reply will always be: Tell that to the judges and prosecutors who allow defendants to take a few extra years in prison to be released with NO PROBATION.

      I believe the probation dept in my original hometown was worried about touching on the subject of my being in a gay relationship and they had to be very careful of what to violate me on so that I couldn’t use discrimination against them. Ah…but I did that too, anyway. I went to a local Civil Rights Organization and attempted to file a suit against them (there is so much more to the story), The day had come to speak to a rep there, Myself and the director of the Dept of Adult Probation showed up and each took a moment privately to speak our sides of the issue with the representative, but when I got my turn to speak to him, he tried to convince me to just “play their game” and ride out the probation however they want me to. I told him that’s exactly what I am tired of doing – PLAYING GAMES.

      This too happened BEFORE the violation. No matter what “power” these buffoons think they have over me, they at least now know that I’m not kidding when i tell them they are going too far with their nonsense over a NON-VIOLENT, NON-PREDATORY offense that had been (at that time) 7 years in the past.

      Being violated sure can be an inconvenience, but as far as I’m concerned, it was worth every second of that inconvenience to let that know I’m not playing.

      I now have 2 yrs left of probation and I’m going to try to get it satisfied. There’s no reason for me to have to go another day with restrictions that will be lifted in 24 months and nothing about my conduct as a productive member of society is going to change. Only that I’ll actually be able to use a computer to come to the National RSOL site instead of having to SNEAK on here.
      This is ridiculous!!

    • #9952
      Avatar
      Tara

      Maestro, my prayers and thoughts go out to you. My p.o. acts the very same way your old p.o. did. Only she put an ankle monitor on me lifetime. And I’m on parole for life. Yet she states that if I can walk 5 yrs clean, she will ask I be released from all this. Really? I did 3 yrs just fine until they started playing with the lifetime term. I am not dangerous and everyone knows it. I just don’t get it. But that makes me wonder if the issue with you WAS in fact, you being gay. Some people just aren’t nice. It shouldn’t be someone else’s concern if you are straight, gay, bi, lesbian. Whatever the case may be, you are human. A man who doesn’t deserve this at all. Again, my prayers are with you Maestro.

    • #9953
      Avatar
      James Townsend

      Seems our Governor here were I live in Virginia is trying to seek an alternative to give felons a right to vote but that is hitting an investigation by FBI. Sure the governor’s intentions are right by giving felons a second chance or an alternative but some want to throw a “monkey wrench” into all this.

      If you think about it even a murder after he does his time doesn’t have to keep looking over his shoulder life the sex offender does.

      An alternative is how funny they can craftily con into all this but all this hangs on one thing.. Now those officers will tell you that it was your choice to choice right or wrong. but did anyone ever stop to think about when your choice is compromised by those that suppose to protect and serve

      I’m sure law enforcement wouldn’t tell a kid to steal a bicycle would they? Now I’m sure you all are mad a hell about a lot of this sex registry scam stuff and I’m right in there with you.

      Are we not all sinners or should I say we try to do the best we can. Trying is not the way, trusting is. If we can’t trust law enforcement than who can we trust ourselves.

    • #9954
      Avatar
      Emil S

      Paul – They came to search my apartment and they handcuff me in my own apartment, and obviously I was not pleased. They asked me, “why are you breathing so hard?” while I tried to keep my calm for what seemed like an abuse of power. I think I said,something like ” this is like living in a nazi regime.”

    • #9955
      Avatar
      Travel_question

      Hello Ron,
      when an rso tries to fly overseas, what happens? Do they check permissions, etc at the custom before leaving?
      does anyone have international travel experience?
      thanks

    • #9956
      Avatar
      Ron

      The federal government has a vauge and exclusive requirement for you to generally report your travel intention at least 21 days in advance so the the country of intended travel would be notified respectively of your travel plans. Seemingly prima facie this appears to be a regulatory requirement but truly contains an element of detention, which hinders ones ability to travel freely on short notice as business and dislocated travelers do. Any form of apprehension detainment or holding of anyone against his or her will in he good ole USA , is easily construed as unlawful detention and or kidnapping. For a subgroup of people , particularly RSO’s this right to the pursuit of happiness and the freedom to travel as one pleases is ripped from the expats expectation within the universal understanding of unaileable human rights. Now if you travel there is no remedy to go or plan most events on short notice. If on probation their are allowed prohibitions, but this rule was created to circumvent the plans of registrants and rehabilitated offenders whether no requirement is necessary or not with no real benefit or accomplishment by the government than individual embarassment and routine run of the mill TSA tugging.

    • #9957
      Avatar
      Ron

      If you have no wants or felony warrants child support owed in thousands of dollars or haven’t been reprimanded by the courts you generally have the right to depart plus or minus a visa in countries that do or don’t require it based on length of stays and moral turpitude stipulations. Soooooo many ex convicts fail or fear to ask if they have he right to obtain a passport and don’t bother trying due to the probability of denial. Their are already certain biometrics and data within a USA passport that identifies past criminal history and other alerting parameters of travelers. The countries that have access to your information are not nearly intrusive as the US but still seem slightly skeptical on your presence and embarking in their country.

    • #9958
      Avatar
      Alan M

      No, you’re permitted to fly. But when you get to your destination and hand over your passport you’re denied entry and deported back to the USA, then given the terrorist treatment in the returning airport.
      The USA has shifted the burden of the denial onto the host country, but they’ve sent them an Angel Watch Green Notice saying a “sex offender X is coming to your country on X date on X flight possibly to commit sex crimes”

    • #9959
      Avatar
      d

      Thanks for sharing your story Maestro!! I’ve had four P.O.’s. Most of em were alright…i’m lucky to have a probation department that is mostly younger and they seem to have a more rational attitude about sex crimes. I still have three more years to go. We’ll see how it plays out. I look forward to having more freedom and the chance to be more assertive and outspoken about how i feel in regards to my crime and the punishment i received.

      So are you back out at drag shows? Sounds fun.

    • #9960
      Avatar
      tom

      Does anyone have information on exactly what the cops are allowed to do on these ‘random check of sor residences in NY ?
      i own my home and update my info as required each year as a level 2.
      Last week 2 (alleged) officers came to my home, and entered my front porch. (it’s not an open porch, it has a door which i didn’t have locked as i generally leave it unlocked during the day so my wife doesn’t have to take more time in inclement weather to enter). They did not identify themselves as law officers, simply demanded to know if i was so & so. I did not answer and asked ‘who gave you permission to enter my home’. They again demanded name. I asked if they had a warrant, or if they had reason to suspect criminal activity. They said “maybe we do and maybe we don’t”.
      I told them to leave my house, they refused and demanded identification. I asked what gave them the authority to enter my house without permission.
      They responded “you’re a rso. That’s all the permission we need”.
      They again demanded i produce an id.
      I stated that an occupant of a private dwelling was not required to even have a conversation or open the door to anyone, nor provide any identification.
      At that point i was threatened with arrest unless i immediately produced id.
      This is the second year they have come around acting like thugs, although it’s the first time they actually had the nerve to come inside my home.
      I find nothing in the law or on the NY dcjs website that requires me to verify my info with anyone other than the state and I certainly don’t know when they got permission to enter your home without a warrant.
      Anyone have any info or advice ?

      Thanks for any help.

    • #9961
      Avatar
      John

      Ron,
      I believe this to be absolutely correct..
      Two years ago, in April 2013, on a Wednesday, i went to my CLEO with a 3 day notice that I was going to travel to Mexico.on the upcoming Saturday. He told me that he couldn’t allow to let me go because he need a 21 day notice. I informed him that I had traveled many times outside of the country, (which was an exaggeration), and a 3 day notice was all that was required. And I am standing here with all the info and itinerary for my trip and that it’s a violation of my rights for anyone to refuse to me from updating my registration and I got all that right from the mouth of Judge “so-and-so” (which was total bs).
      He then pulls out a form and wrote down all the info, which included the Airline, time, and flight number, but would not give me a copy of the form, but only a copy of my updated registration with a Mexico address. I do not remember the title of the form, but upside down and thru the scratched to hell, dirty, acrylic bullet proof glass. I seen the words SMART, US Marshal, Interpol. That’s all I needed to know he was on the level but there was still something wrong with the picture. I called a lawyer friend of mine and she promised to look into it for me. I found out the next day that it wasn’t a law. I found out that it was a under-the-table policy set up by SMART and certain foreign governments, Mexico being one of them, that I would be apprehended my Mexican authority. searched, interrogated, and sent back on the first plane to USA at my own expense. The 21 day thing was only for planning purposes, because of e-mail and fax machines, they will be waiting for me. Needless to say, I took the financial hit on the airline tickets and resort, and didn’t go.
      The funny part was I went to the CLEO the next Wed. to update my registration, he became livid, I mean blue and red faced angry. I canot prove it, and it might only be my imagination, but I like to think maybe all those .federales and policia, in shined shoes and starched uniforms with loaded guns in front of the reporteros, and all of their hermanos were upset when I was a no-show. I bet my CLEO got his ass chewed by somebody.
      The sad part was, when I relayed all of this story to the ACLU, I got a form letter that basically said, “Too Bad, So Sad” And I don’t think they believed in the secret so called “Angel Watch”, which if I’m not mistaken, it is still not a law but a policy. The reason why I say it’s not law, is because the Us Government cannot dictate to foreign governments,by law, of who they can let into their countries. They can only suggest. Since when does a government have a law that suggests anything?

    • #9962
      Avatar
      John W

      You do realize that Egyptians toppled their government using Social Media, and the US attempts to do the same thing in places like the Ukraine and Cuba.
      Maybe the US realizes their own vulnerabilities because of their own treacherous snake-in-the-grass antics in foreign governments.
      Maybe the reason that the government is so hell bent on keeping us off social media is they don’t want 850,000 registered american citizens and God only knows how many in Canada, Mexico, England Japan, or whatever country they’re dictating morality to, clogging up their systems with plans of travel, like for Thanksgiving 2016.
      I may be mistaken, but I thought the SCOTUS ruled that civil disobedience was not criminal, but a constitutional right.

    • #9963
      Avatar
      Mark

      You are not stopped at the airport or put on a no fly list. I have travelled overseas many times. What they will do is report your travel to the destination country, especially if you are travelling to a country known as a destination for child sex tourism, such ss Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, etc. Then the destination country will.most likely deny you entry and send you back. Homeland Security/ICE gets uour travel information from APIS, the passenger system every airline has to provide information to. The government checks the names of every passenger against a database of terrorists, sex offenders, etc.

    • #9964
      Avatar
      Mark

      They do not check permissions, etc, unless you are on a no fly list as a suspected terrorist, etc. In my home state of California, which did not adopt all of the requirements of the Adam Walsh Act, etc., there is no requrement to give advanced notificatikn of your travel plans, unless you are perhaps still on parole or probation. However, if and when the new International Megans Law takes effect, that will all change.

    • #9965
      Avatar
      John W

      What I did since their last visit was I installed electronic locks, with battery back-up that automatically lock when I close the door and I can push a 4 digit code to re-enter. When the police come here on their so called verification sweeps, I step out on the porch while closing the door behind me. For $150 dollars at Best Buy, I installed a motion sensitive security camera that records sight and sound onto an internal disk, and it also sends a copy of the video to my wife’s computer, iphone, and ipad. by wi-fi., no matter where she is, even out of state or the country. And the cam is pretty much in plain sight with a little red blinking light to show its activated. I haven’t had a visit since I installed that, but I am willing to bet that there will be a different attitude.
      When they come to the door, they should already have your picture and registry report, so I don’t know what the ID deal is all about. I think they’re only to verify the info that you are required by law to give. They got your pic, their standing on your porch, that should be the verification right there. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t believe there is any Federal, State, or County law that says you have to possess a drivers license or a passport to answer your door or watch TV in your living room. Isn’t it ironic that we, who are regular people that made an unforgiving mistake one time in our life, have to go through the trouble and expense to protect ourselves from the police for the rest of our lives. And don’t let us kid ourselves. I use to be a cop and I remember the mentality of: “There is us, (the good guys) and there is them, (the enemy)” It hasn’t changed!!!

    • #9966
      Avatar
      Against the fine print of harrassment

      tom-

      There is a NY County using retired LEO’s through subcontracted efforts to validate Reg’d Citizen locations. It has caused quite the stir. Recommend you research this: How Do You Track Sex Offenders? NY County Hires Ex-Cops

      If there is no formal ID presented and/or possibly a business card given to prove who they are and represent, you can refuse their bully tactics. It technically violates the fine print of no harassment, which is what it sounds like these two people did. The ID and/or business card gives you ability to validate their efforts with their office and your atty, if needed.

    • #9967
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      I have not had anything this serious happen to me and this sounds bad. You might consider talking to an attorney and filing a complaint against the department. I have had situations were I was interrogated at my home and asked questions that were none of their business and seemed to be attempts to provoke me or get me to incriminate myself.

      Now to protect myself I always keep my doors locked so they HAVE to knock and can not just walk in behind me. I also keep my smart phone close by. If an unexpected visitor knocks I turn on the camera on my phone and keep it close to me, but not so obvious to them so that I can record any form of harassment. So far there hasn’t been any since I moved back to Michigan, but if there is I will have it recorded and will take it straight to my attorney and go from there.

      We have to take steps to protect ourselves from these rouge cops.

      I am glad to have you with us. I hope to see you on the Message forum where we can discuss this topic in more length.

    • #9968
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      In Michigan if you are a RSO and do not possess an ID when a police officer stops you, you can be arrested. We are required to keep a current id at all times. If it is expired by one day you can be arrested.

    • #9969
      Avatar
      tom

      That’s laura ahern who’s the queen of harassment. She’s cozied up to politicians with her bogeyman mentality and secured grant money to operate a vigilante operation. She can’t come up with a single statistic justifying her outlandish recidivism claims, and in fact, deliberately ignores existing statistics. She’s a narcissist that’s probably paying herself a ridiculous salary from the grant monies to inflate her ego.
      In any event, there is NO LAW requiring cooperation with these ‘compliance’ checks and the tactics of bullying at the door, or requesting a police investigation if RSO’s don’t answer IS harassment, pure and simple.

    • #9970
      Avatar
      tom

      Fred,
      Thanks for your kind reply.
      Is this the message forum, or am i missing something ?
      I’ve done thousands of hours of research and have a great deal to say.
      Without going into details, (because i’m not sure how ‘secure’ this forum is), i’ve already engaged the federal gov’t in a legal battle under certain prohibitions in the adam walsh act and won.

    • #9971
      Avatar
      tom

      John,
      You’re 100% correct. There have been several rulings on the ‘knock & talk concept.
      Without a warrant, or reasonable cause to believe there is active criminal activity, an occupant of a private residence is not required to open the door or speak to them.
      Absent a notification from the state that an offender has not registered, they have no probable cause to obtain a warrant or conduct an investigation. The fact that an rso chooses to exercise 4th amendment rights does not constitute cause for anything.
      Of course, getting a warrant from a friendly local judge is probably a piece of cake.
      I’m like to come up with a method that would unite rso’s across the country to exercise that right and throw a constitutional monkey wrench into these compliance checks.
      They don’t check on murderers, thieves, assault, (domestic or otherwise), or any other type of crime.
      I think it provides food for thought that a registry is CLEARLY a Bill of Attainder.

    • #9972
      Avatar
      d

      I like you. Thanks for sharing your knowledge John.

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