You are here

For a registered sex offender, how much rehabilitation is enough?

By Sandy . . . Three years ago, a spokesperson for NARSOL, then RSOL, was interviewed for an article about a young man named Guy Hamilton-Smith. In 2011 Guy had graduated from law school in the top third of his class, applied to take the Kentucky state bar exam, and, in spite of numerous awards, supporters, and testimonials on his behalf, had just been refused by the Kentucky State Supreme Court. Guy was, and is, on the Kentucky sex offender registry.

In February, 2015, a suit was filed against the Commonwealth of Kentucky by John Doe, plaintiff. Doe challenged the state’s right to prohibit his access to social media on the basis of his status of a registered sex offender.

On October 20, 2017, a decision was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern Division of Kentucky, in favor of the plaintiff.

The Doe in the case and the hopeful young law school graduate are the same.

The same day Guy posted on Reddit, and what he wrote quickly made its way to other social media platforms. How fitting! Guy wrote: (For those not familiar with Reddit, AMA means “ask me anything” — and this is reprinted with permission by Guy.)

My name is Guy Hamilton-Smith. I am a law school grad who was denied the ability to take the bar exam until I am 49 years old (currently 33). I am on the sex offender registry. I am in a documentary film in production. Today, I won a lawsuit that banned me from social media. AMA.

I’ve made a promise to myself, years ago, that if and when I ever won this lawsuit, I was going to do this. So, here goes. In 2006, when I was 22, I was arrested for possession of child pornography. I know that’s going to shut a lot of people down right there, and I totally get that.

I’m responsible for my actions. Starting when I was a teen, I developed a really unhealthy relationship with porn. I was bullied pretty badly, and so I found retreating to the relative safety of the online world to be comforting.

Porn became an hours at a time thing for me. As time wore on, I found my way into different branches of it, different types of porn. One day, when I was in high school, I came across an image of a nude girl, probably 14 or so. At first, it kind of freaked me out because I had this dull awareness that it was wrong. As time wore on, the taboo nature of it drew me back, and I began to download that amongst pretty much everything else that I came across.

There were times when I’d delete everything and swear I’d not go back to any of it, but I could never stick with it. I was in pretty deep denial, while at the same time in grad school for clinical psychology (ironic). I was terrified to ask for help, and some part of me knew I needed it, but I couldn’t ask.

So help came. My then-girlfriend stumbled across my pretty massive collection of porn, which included child pornography. She went to the police. I remember being in the interrogation room, and just crumbling. I confessed, and I felt so glad to finally be done lying about it.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the arrest saved my life, even in spite of the consequences that have flowed from that — consequences which I accept complete and unequivocal responsibility for. It got me into recovery, and it showed me a calling that I never would have encountered otherwise — law.

My experiences with the criminal justice system, as terrifying as they were for me personally, inspired me to apply to law school. I disclosed everything, and was accepted to the University of Kentucky. I did well, publishing a law review, competing on the National Trial Team and National Moot Court team, and getting a CALI award for my work with the Kentucky Innocence Project, and graduating in the top third of my class (while finishing felony probation and working two jobs).

I was denied the ability to sit for the bar exam by the Kentucky Supreme Court, however, until I am no longer present on the registry despite the fact that I have finished my criminal sentence. In Kentucky, I will be 49 years old when I’m off the registry.

Rather than sit on my laurels, I have endeavored to do what I went to law school to do anyway: be an advocate. To that end, I have used my story, my experiences, and legal training to do what I can to advocate for more effective and humane sexual offense policies and laws, to help those who struggle with addiction, and to advocate for those who have no advocates.

Happily enough, I am a member of such a class, so while I cannot use my legal training to represent anyone else, I can use it on my own behalf. To that end, I am the plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit in the Eastern District of Kentucky which overturned a group of Kentucky statutes that barred anyone on the registry from social media use (which occasions this AMA). You can read the decision here.

I have a lengthy story, with a lot of different aspects to it. AMA about my story, about recovery from porn addiction, about being on the registry, about ways we can craft more effective, humane, and rational responses to sexual offenses, about law school, about civil rights advocacy, or anything, really.

I’m scared as hell doing this, by the way, gang.

Help us reach more people by Sharing or Liking this post.
EMAIL
Facebook
Google+
https://narsol.org/2017/10/for-a-registered-sex-offender-how-much-rehabilitation-is-enough/
PINTEREST
LINKEDIN
YOUTUBE
RSS

Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

This topic contains 12 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Kendal 1 year, 1 month ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #25114 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek
    Admin

    By Sandy… Three years ago, a spokesperson for NARSOL, then RSOL, was interviewed for an article about a young man named Guy Hamilton-Smith. In 2011
    [See the full post at: For a registered sex offender, how much rehabilitation is enough?]

  • #25121 Reply

    Grace imburgia

    This is just another example of who makes the rules. Here is someone who has princes themselves and is trying to help. I pray for you for strength, courage and safety.

    • #25281 Reply

      jerry

      It would be an interesting and challanging thing to find out, but I wonder just how many closet pedophiles are in Congress, or for that matter all politics and position of power, including the Supreme court justices. Back when I was younger when gays and lesbians were struggling with their identities and rights, were bullied and harrassed and a very wise friend of mine made an extremely crazy comment to me. He said,” chances are that many of those persecuting gays and lesbians are most likely gay themselves but cant admit or come to terms with themselves. Get my meaning?

  • #25126 Reply

    Kendal

    So I would have to ask… what the heck does being on the registry have to do with being a lawyer???

    You did the work, you should be able to reap the rewards. What a f***d up system

  • #25199 Reply

    Brian

    Their probably afraid he will help people for less if you know what I mean, I hope some day when he’s off the registry he gets to finish his bar and puts it to these people.
    Hell he could be his own attorney.

  • #25201 Reply

    Saddles

    I myself liked the article and one has to wonder and use common sense for a minute. Yes, I’m sure it was good correction but than one has to say. Who allowed porn in the USA in the first. I believe it was the good ole USA with the tax they could make off of this industry. Whether porn is legal or not I just don’t know but its still a bad thing to do and some get hooked up on it.
    Sometimes we all have to reach out for help but denying this person to take the bar exam is a bit underhanded if you ask me.

  • #25240 Reply

    Tim L

    Guy,

    My middle initials are, D.A.. I can relate to your desire to be admitted to the bar. It was my late grandfathers wish that I ended up an attorney. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I was derailed by an accusation of child molestation on my birthday in 1991. To make a long story shorter, in one fell swoop the state of Wisconsin made me a felon and SO in the spring of 92. I know I was not guilty AND I believe I can prove it.! What I did not know then was the states do not need evidence to convict. A single accusation is enough.

    Our legal system has done this to hundreds maybe thousands of people. What I can not figure is why? Who benefits from this making felons out of those who are not?
    Of particular interest here on the NARSOL site is the ban on FB use. I think it curious that the ban occurred AFTER a man was able to prove his innocence via FB. His accuser admitted in a chat room that she complained in order to get money via law suit from the school which she attended with the man she accused. It worked too!
    I believe the same people who benefit from wrongful felonization are behind the FB ban. It is a way of covering their backsides. We see the same behavior when wrongfully convicted individuals attempt to clear their name. The DAs fight them every step of the way even when DNA points to another person. I have had many a conversation with attorneys dealing with wrongful conviction just to figure out what to do about it. Unfortunately, my case falls to the bottom if the priority list, because I am not in prison as many wrongfully convicted are.

    Never the less, I find myself on the WISORNA list today and suffer the same restrictions and indignities. Like it or not I am on it. Twice I have confronted the system by demanding trial for failure to register. I am 1-1. Truth telling to power is never easy but I will attempt to again soon.

    Would you be interested in playing a role in such an endeavour? If so feel free to respond here. I have nothing to hide AMA! Maybe we can help some others along the way.

  • #25282 Reply

    Rick Fahlbush

    I have recently been released from prison after doing 12 years of a 15-year sentence. I expected that parole may be challenging, but had no idea of the real magnitude. I left the system as a ZERO. That is the number that the system placed on my chances of recidivism after completing a 9-month treatment program. Even though the therapists inside the system placed such a low risk in my file, the parole board sent me out on a Super Intensive Supervised Parole ( known here in Texas as SISP). The new restrictions have made any type of normal life absolutely impossible, not just for, but even for the person that allows me to stay in her home. Schedules need to be made up weeks in advance, including the stop, their phone number, and address. Who knows 3 three weeks in advance the exact moment that they’ll need fuel? Or the phone number of that fuel station. I’m out 6 weeks now and still haven’t got a driver’s license. Not because I haven’t tried, but because little things happen, like the film being offline at the DPS office. That pushed me back two weeks because of scheduling. Normally, you or any other individual would have just gone back the next day. Does somebody want to talk about frustrating?

  • #25308 Reply

    Saddles

    Rehabilitation, That in itself is a good question. I would suppose it would depend on the instructor, the probation officer, and the district attorney, but in the end there is always a rebuttal effect tied to it. Even after a probation or a jail sentence the authorities can come back and say, in their opinion, that the person needs more supervision thus life long controlling factors as most of these sex offense situations’ go.
    Sure I wish that anyone that had a sex conviction does their time or probation and never does something like that again but it does happen.
    That doesn’t look good for those that are trying to get off of the registry. Its sort of mixed and even with this fellow in Virginia that the governor restored his rights it appears to put a damper on the circumstances we all are prone to at this time. Its all about honesty.. If the PO and others say we feel you don’t need rehabilitation than that should be it., but considering all factors they will even have a way of twisting that also.

  • #25498 Reply

    david

    What other professions are Registrants barred from? I could see if one applied for a high school girls swim coach position- but why not practice law?

    IMO, possessing illegal pornography should be treated more as a mental health issue and less of a criminal matter. Seems insane to put people in prison for years for looking at pictures. Why not do the same for those who view any violent images?

    This sex hysteria reminds me of the failed War on Drugs. Going after the consumers of contraband does nothing to stop the consumption and we only end up with more people in prisons.

    Congratulations Guy for sharing your inspiring story!

  • #25515 Reply

    Rajendra

    Why not challenge the sex offender registry itself as being unconstitutional and along with “supervised release”? They are both punishment after someone has served his/her sentence.

    • #25846 Reply

      Jonny everyman

      The supreme court deemed it regulatory and not punitive where have you been?

  • #25605 Reply

    Phys Ed

    For me, up until my arrest and coerced wrongful conviction, the words “child” and “Porn” always had an oxymoronic correlation. I’m an old man who has spent his life in the arts. Anyone so absorbed also has an inordinate interest in trying to understand the human condition, and especially the bizarre extremes of that condition, is bound sooner or later to accidentally cross the line into illegality. In my case, I was stunned to discover in the manner I did that Journalistic Curiousity could now be considered a heinous crime. After four published novels in the last century, two produced plays, and over 250 written broadcast television documentaries that are still airing both overseas and here on a lot of the Discovery line-up of channels, I found what I thought was a worthwhile subject for a television special on societal witch hunts and wars on sex and sexual expression.
    I discovered that the more things have changed since the 17th century, the more they have stayed the same. I also, to my shame, must admit that I had not kept up on changes in the Federal laws or what passes for justice in the courts.
    For a refreshing view of sanity on this subject I offer up at the following in cutting edge research science three papers put out by Dr. Melissa Hamilton, one of the giant intellects of our movement at the following addresses: (http://ssm.com/abstract=1580016) Public Safety, Individual Liberty, and Suspect science: Future Dangerousness Assessments and Sex Offender laws; (http://ssm.com/abstract=1914496) The Child Pornography Crusade and its Net Widening Effect; (http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol33/iss2/2) Adjudicating Sex Crimes as Mental Disease.
    How much rehab is enough? Check these out if you really want to know.

  • #26919 Reply

    Saddles

    How much rehabilitation is enough. Sure we all should ponder on that one. We should also ponder on protecting and serving and truth. Now the law was made for” Truth’ and those in the truth should abide with the truth. Sure I agree that their shouldn’t be any sexual porn or anything like that to entice others but the true answers are two wrongs don’t make a right.
    I’m sure everybody is curious as to all this sex offense ordeal and how to explain it away but are all not carnal by nature. Doesn’t the bible say try the spirit?
    Remember says their is not a just man upon the face of the earth that doeth good and sinnith not. Protecting is good but it is the way one goes about protecting.
    Yes we all on here want to reason this all out and I hate to mention it does bring shame to everyone of us. It also brings guilt to the one’s that set up these operations.
    Jesus was never undercover for anything or even with his disciples. Today it seems a lot of these sex stings are out of line in a lot of ways.
    Were the Pharisees out of line in a lot of ways. Protecting and serving is good but when it goes against the God’s law than who’s at who’s mercy. How can someone defend one and set one up at the same time. Doesn’t one understand that God’s justice is the best way. Now protecting is good but common sense is a bit better. Even truth and justice for all can go a bit wacko if your not learning the bible and growing I believe everybody should refresh themselves of to the inscription that is on the liberty bell.
    Truth and justice is always the best way.

Reply To: For a registered sex offender, how much rehabilitation is enough?
We welcome a lively discussion with all view points provided that they stay on topic - keeping in mind...

  • *You must check the "I am not a robot" box and follow the recaptcha instructions.
  • *Your submission must be approved by a NARSOL moderator.
  • *Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • *Excessively long replies will be rejected, without explanation.
  • *Be polite and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • *Do not post in ALL CAPS.
  • *Stay on topic.
  • *Do not post links or email addresses..
  • *Please enter a name that does not contain links to other websites.
Your information:





<a href="" title="" rel="" target=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <pre> <em> <strong> <del datetime=""> <ul> <ol start=""> <li> <img src="" border="" alt="" height="" width="">