The abomination of the sex offender registry

By Jesse Kelley . . . The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that at least 95 percent of all state prisoners will be released from prison at some point. However, convicted sex-offenders almost exclusively face the vengeful, additional punishment of registration under the Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act (SORNA).

Generally, under SORNA, an individual who is required to register as a sex offender must register at least once a year; report any change of address within as little as three days; produce vehicle information, a recent photograph and a DNA sample; and abide by stringent residency restrictions, which can force individuals out of urban areas, away from family and into unemployment

SORNA violates our nation’s founding documents by singling out a specific category of offenders for unfair, unconstitutional punishment. While the Department of Justice cites public safety as its rationale for continuing to enforce the overreaching requirements of SORNA, the program has metastasized, defacing some of our most treasured rights: the right to due process, the right to be free from double jeopardy and the right to avoid cruel and unusual punishment.

The right to due process can be found in the Fifth and 14th Amendments of our Constitution. Due process is commonly understood to include the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and the right to counsel — ideas that ensure a defendant is treated as fairly as possible in our adversarial criminal justice system. It can be “gauged by its aim to safeguard both private and public rights against unfairness.”

Despite what some courts have found, the current requirements of SORNA violate due process, specifically the tenet of presumption of innocence, or the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Each state differs in how it implements SORNA, so an individual’s length of registration varies by state. For example, all sex offenders in California and South Carolina register for life, regardless of the crimes committed. By demanding post-detention reporting for up to a lifetime, the court is presuming that an individual has the propensity to commit a certain type of crime in the future and therefore must be scrupulously supervised.

Read the remainder of the piece here at The Hill.

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    • #39225 Reply
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      Tammie Lawson

      Virginia has two classifications for offenders Non- Violent and Violent Offenders. Thousands of men , women, children and friends are all affected by the Harsh Penalties from SORNA. We demand change and the right to freedom as all other criminals. Stop Unconstitutional Registrar!

    • #39236 Reply
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      Candice Coleman

      Here in Missouri they are on for life. And some are GPS monitored and have to report to a PO for the rest of their lives. This restrics them from getting jobs like OTR truck driving, or even regional if they can not be home at a certain time. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!

    • #39273 Reply
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      Saddles

      One of our great Statesman said the words Give me liberty or give me death. I wonder if that holds any meaning today in this micky mouse in this true liberty and Justice for all? I guess we dont’ have any unalienable rights that are endowed by the creator when one gets wrapped up in this sex delimna of a man made value. Digitual age seems to be overtaken by devils that would want to cast some into jail without a fair trail, plea deals are the better way to bend one’s knees to those in authority.
      Mankind appears to have no remorse of others today and who comes out afreshed in all this, would it be a corrupt government, an over zealous officer doing their best to trick one via the internet, or would it be a those that want to be top guns to glorify thenselve to help save people from something that man induces on others.
      SORNA and those that think seem to be just as callous about human behavior. Even courts of law tend to usurp their own authority and judge blindly. Lawyers can’t even understand how to tackle this and It seems the bible is a “big bang” theory to even some on here. Actually the bible can be used for civil law if one uses it. We all seek true justice or should we go back to understanding Patrick Henry.

    • #39514 Reply
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      Wendy

      I am in Louisiana.
      The registry anywhere is ridiculous. Unless there is a registry for convicted murderers, armed robbers, shoplifting, etc. I don’t want to see a registry that gets people discriminated against and could be the victim of vigilantly crimes. When these people went to court, they got their sentence. They served their sentence. They have paid their debt to society. Just let them live their lives. Completing their time means they should not be punished any further. Rant over.

    • #39547 Reply
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      WC_TN

      Wendy, is it true that in Louisiana the registration fee is obscenely high with NO provision for the fee to be waived in cases of indigence/hardship? I read some time back that many times sex offenders coming out of prison can’t afford the fee and end up being re-arrested for failure to register even though they had no way to pay the fee. I thought debtor’s prison was outlawed long ago. I guess if one is a sex offender it’s another case of the state saying, “Yeah, it’s rigged to put you back in jail and is unfair, but then again f___ you because you’re a sex offender and we could care less about being fair with the likes of you!! Besides, we never wanted your sorry hyde out of prison in the first place, so back you go!!!”

      • #39602 Reply
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        Wendy

        The fees that they have to pay are pretty astronomical especially since it is so difficult to find a job. All the restrictions on them is really just mind blowing. I believe they honestly think they cannot be decent individuals. My biggest problem with the whole thing is if they are on this registry they are subject to compliance checks. So are they really ever off of probation? That sounds like no.

    • #39625 Reply
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      R. Arens

      Sex offenders in “California and South Carolina?” Iowa needs to be added to the list of instant life registry places as well. Ya, under 903B.1, regardless of statute or circumstances of the offense, every S/O gets life parole and life registry. The only way to get off of life parole or registry is executive clemency or parole board approval after waiting 10 years after discharge from the sentence given. The United States would negotiate with a terrorist before Iowa ever let a S/O off any form of supervision. They really need to do a piece on Iowa sex offenders laws. They’re pretty barbaric here and that ain’t no lie.

    • #39915 Reply
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      NH Registrant

      New Hampshire is 25 years for tier 1 and life for the other 2 tiers. They want that $50 a year from the tens of thousands of registrants forced to pay. They make over a million in free tax dollars every year from it. It’s sickening and unconstitutional. The LEAST dangerous/recidivist of all the ex-cons and we are treated like we’re the MOST dangerous.

    • #40241 Reply
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      Tracee McLeod

      Lets remember our Constitutional Rights. Between the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment our lawmakers are over looking what our founding fathers put into place. Our Fifth Amendment, the Double Jeopardy Clause, aims to protect against the harassment of an individual through successive prosecution. After serving a sentence of over 5 years and probation for 15 years, the sentence has been satisfied. The registry is criminal.

    • #40523 Reply
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      DWM

      I am disappointed in Americans for allowing this “one size fits all” approach in responding to sex offenses to have ever been allowed to exist in the first place.

      It seems to me that people in general would not expect a shoplifter and an armed bank robber to endure the same penalties merely because they fall under a shared title of “theft offense”. While both are illegal, the one is of lesser impact than the other, and everyone knows this! Further, in reaction to the person who shoplifted, it is generally understood that there are different reasons why a person would commit the act and therefore each case should be treated individually. The rich person who stole a blouse to see if she could get away with it is not the same as the woman who stole ground meat from the store so she could feed her children, and both of these are different from the kleptomaniac who steals compulsively and needs psychological help. Different motivations warrant different consequences, and no one of those shoplifters should be penalized as harshly as the person who purchased guns and planned for months how to rob the local bank.

      Why, then, can the public not see that there are degrees and differences when it comes to sex offenses? Yes, there have been horrible crimes committed that were worthy of punishment to the full extent of the law, comparable in analogy to the armed bank robber. Those cases are noteworthy precisely because they are not common.

      I read articles that point to the majority of sex offenses being unreported as incitement of the panic that feeds belief that distance restrictions and a public registry are needed. What if the truth is that these cases don’t get reported because the victims do not believe that those in power will handle the matter appropriately? Maybe they don’t want their loved ones who got carried away in a momentary lapse of reason to have their lives completely destroyed in the name of electing a power hungry politician. Or maybe people don’t feel that some things labeled “sex offense” should be so labeled with all the disgust stigma that comes with those words. Maybe they know that some sex offenders need psychiatric treatment rather than punishment.

      Why is it that those who have not experienced sex offense are the most vocal proponents for stricter and stricter regulations?

      Ultimately, if the public thinks every type of sex offender is equal in malicious intent to those who commit the most heinous crimes, then why ever release SOs into public circulation? Why not execution or deportation from the country altogether? Maybe establish a sex offender island in imitation of the tales of the British banishing their criminals to Australia.

      Why do people hate genitalia so much? Why must a flasher be punished more severely than an arsonist? Why do we let our children play games and watch movies that are essentially an endless stream of glorifying murder, but cover their eyes when a scene of semi-nude lovers appears on the screen?

      Most importantly, how do we get these questions into the spotlight so that when the next blowhard stands behind a podium and promises to crack down on the sexual monsters hiding in plain sight, someone in the crowd will call them out on their fear mongering and remind the audience that the monsters being hunted are actually people in their lives that they love?

      Somebody needs to stand up and ask our society, “If you found out that your father or brother touched a minor in a sexual way, would you wish them the same violent death, the same lifetime of homelessness, hopelessness, suicidal tendencies that you currently impose upon sex offenders you don’t know personally? Or would you want them to be given therapeutic treatment and every opportunity to redeem themselves, to atone for their actions, and regain the lives they once had?”

      Every sex offender is someone’s beloved family member.

    • #40535 Reply
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      James Coghill

      SORNA was supposed to put all states on the same page so that registration regulations would be standardized amongst the states. Unfortunately it just added another layer of regulations on top of what already existed, creating the possibility of being in violation of state law but not in violation of federal law and vice versa. Getting off the registry in one state does not free you from the registry in all of the other states. Arizona has a wonderful little statement in:

      ARS 13-3821. Persons required to register; procedure; identification card; assessment; definitions.
      A. A person who has been convicted of or adjudicated guilty except insane for a violation or attempted violation of any of the following offenses or who has been convicted of or adjudicated guilty except insane or not guilty by reason of insanity for an offense committed in another jurisdiction that if committed in this state would be a violation or attempted violation of any of the following offenses or an offense that was in effect before September 1, 1978 and that, if committed on or after September 1, 1978, has the same elements of an offense listed in this section or who is required to register by the convicting or adjudicating jurisdiction, within ten days after the conviction or adjudication or within ten days after entering and remaining in any county of this state, shall register with the sheriff of that county:

      So you can get off the registry in one state, move to Arizona and have to register once again. To get off the registry after the move you must hire a lawyer and go to court.

    • #40566 Reply
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      Saddles

      The abomination of the sex registry pretty good title for this article about this Judge giving this freshman only 6 months. Sure we can all debate about this ordeal but we all have done stupid things. Would the lady caught in adultry be worse or the man sowing his wild oats if you want to say that.
      While this is a type of violation with SORNA and this me to movement which women want there rights it seems to me principals are all wrong. Hey we all can’t think anymore and it seems this sex registry is a bit one sided also.

      In a way I am glad the judge only gave him six months but in a way I can understand how people feel about all this. Did the judge discriminate, NO. He handed out punishment while the woman and thia Me two movement sounded their brass horn. We could all go back to Adam and Eve and ask why was Eve tempted first but we won’t go their right now.

      Being branded for the rest of one’s life and job discrimination is bad enouth without something like this handing over one’s head for the rest of their life. Sometimes I wonder where is true justice and ethics today in courts and people’s hearts or America today or should we all run over others.

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