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Cato Inst. files amicus brief to Supreme Court in ex post facto case

Used with permission

By Ilya Shapiro and Nathan Harvey . . . Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution provides that “[n]o State shall … pass any … Ex Post Facto law.” The Ex Post Facto Clause was incorporated into the Constitution to prohibit states from enacting retrospective legislation, which the Framers believed to be inherently unfair and contrary to the principles of limited, constitutional government. Despite the Framers’ clear aversion to retrospective lawmaking, the Supreme Court has since adopted the view that states are uninhibited from enacting retroactive civilpenalties. So long as a retrospective law contains a discernable legislative purpose and a “civil” label, retroactive application will not run afoul of the Ex Post Facto Clause. Consequently, states have imposed increasingly burdensome retroactive penalties on convicted sex offenders under the guise of civil regulatory laws. Even after offenders have paid their debts to society, they continue to face excessive registration requirements and other onerous civil penalties.

Back in 2004, 19-year-old Anthony Bethea was convicted of six counts of sexual activity arising from non-forcible, consensual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl. He pled guilty and agreed to be sentenced to up to 48 months of imprisonment, complete a sex offender treatment program, and register as a sex offender for 10 years. He successfully completed the treatment program in 2006 and his period of probation in 2007. Beginning in 2006, however, North Carolina drastically transformed its sex offender statute, adding a laundry list of additional burdens on previously convicted sex offenders. Today, Bethea is subject to numerous restrictions that did not exist at the time of his plea agreement, such as limitations on where he can go, where he can live, and what jobs he can hold. Perhaps worst of all, the new restrictions have prevented him from being a father to his children. Due to his continued registration, Bethea has been forced to miss his son’s graduation ceremonies, parent-teacher conferences, and school field trips. Bethea should have been off the registry four years ago, but North Carolina retroactively lengthened his registration period from 10 to 30 years.

In 2014, 10 years after he registered, Bethea petitioned the North Carolina courts to be removed from the registry. He argued that retroactively applying the statutory provisions enacted after Bethea’s conviction violated the Ex Post Facto Clause. Although the court found that Bethea was in no way a threat to public safety, his petition was denied. On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the state’s sex offender statute was civil, rather than punitive, and thus did not constitute a violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause. The North Carolina Supreme Court denied review and Bethea has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take his case.

Cato has filed an amicus brief supporting that petition, arguing that the Court must return to an original understanding of the Ex Post Facto Clause guided by its twin historical aims: to prevent vindictive legislation targeted at unpopular groups and provide sufficient notice of the consequences in place. Without a principled foundation in original meaning and historic purpose, the Court’s multi-factor ex post facto analysis has come to rest on shaky ground, supplying unimpeded deference to legislative intent. The Court’s continued unwillingness to invalidate statutes for their retroactive punitive effect has given states a perverse incentive to enact increasingly burdensome civil penalties that alter the legal consequences of previously committed conduct without constitutional accountability.

The Supreme Court should take up Bethea v. North Carolina and reaffirm that the Constitution’s prohibition against ex post facto lawmaking forbids states from skirting constitutional scrutiny by simply labeling increasingly burdensome retrospective penalties as “civil” regulatory laws.

Originally printed October 12, 2018, at Cato at Liberty under the title “States Can’t Make Up New Laws to Punish Old Conduct Just Because They Call Them ‘Civil.’ “

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This topic contains 43 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Timothy 5 days, 23 hours ago.

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  • #47720 Reply

    Glen

    Well written. I pray SCOTUS grants cert.

    Further, thank you to NARSOL and all their staff for their hard work and efforts in bringing these kind of cases to justice.

    I’m not always, in every case, in complete agreement with all views NARSOL presents. As some may recall, the recent article regarding victim shaming, I don’t agree fully with all that was written but I respect, support and fully agree that everyone has a view. My sincere apology to anyone that felt offended based on my view with that regard. I am especially passionate in defending the innocent, both victims and the accused. I wasn’t always.

    Our society, at this time, in my view has taken a particular interest in being more sensitive to accusers than accuses and if my opposing view offended any of you, I’m very sorry. FRED, in particular I apologize; I did try and submit a response first where Stated that you were not suggesting any of thr points I addressed, but I felt compelled to address them as many organized groups were. I in no way meant to offend you, Sandy, or NARSOL
    but felt it important that we all know where we ultimately stand. My particular view was not influenced by my own case, but rather the defense of those who have, and might clearly be undeserving of what we face everyday, if in fact they are truley innocent.

    With regards to this article, your efforts, and your keeping us informed, thank you.

  • #47722 Reply

    Justin

    This is the best news I’ve read yet. I hope its successful. I have endured 22 yrs of this nightmare with same exact circumstances as Anthony Bethea. I was 19 she was 15, non forcible, non violent, consensual contact. I was on vacation in WI. Lived my whole life in FL. WI didn’t even have registration laws in 1996 when I plead no contest, got probation and that’s it. After the fact WI enacted retroactive registration laws that at first I was to register for 15 yrs. They changed that to now its life registration. WI is a walk in the park though for registration. I get a letter once a year to verify my address. FL, has gotten worse and worse over 22 yrs. Now I get physical address verification in person quarterly, i’m an offender, not a predator. I have to reregister in person twice a year. And if I buy/ sell anything, go on vacation or basically want to do anything I have to go visit the sheriff. It’s so horrible I’ve lost jobs, denied jobs, been given 24 hrs to move outside of restricted zones in Gainesville, fl. And I would qualify under romeo juliet act in FL but convicted in WI and the age gap is just outside of WI rules. All this when I plead no contest, registration laws didn’t exist. Otherwise I wouldn’t of taken the plea deal. I’m disgusted, and worse, FL rules say even if WI were to release me from registration if I fight them, FL won’t, and i’m stuck registering in FL for life even if I move out of state. How is that possible if i wasn’t even convicted in FL?! So if i move out i still have to deal with FL or get a warrant for arrest for not replying to FL?! THIS IS ALL UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

    • #47793 Reply

      Jonathon Merritt

      I understand what it feels like to have new flaming hoops put in front of you to jump.
      That is why I moved from SC to GA. All I do is register once a year, and there are no restrictions on any registrant that was convicted before 2005. They were taken to Court by the Southern poverty law center and had to roll back all the bullshit they had imposed on anyone retroactively.

      • #47982 Reply

        Joseph Park

        That would be June 4, 2004, which, technically is before 2005. And, it was The Southern Center for Human Rights, not Southern poverty law center who filed a class action lawsuit against the state. The best I can gather, I believe there was a consent decree to the effect that the state would rewrite the residency and employment restrictions according to the year one committed the offense that caused him to register as a sex offender. Please, give the credit where the credit is due.

  • #47723 Reply

    David

    *Confused* Was this Amicus Brief for SCOTUS’s Gundy Case or for Florida SC’s FSORNA Case?

    • #47777 Reply

      David

      Never mind. I see the Amicus Brief is in support of SCOTUS granting Cert. to Bethea v. North Carolina.

    • #47780 Reply

      Carol Cohen

      A good friend of mine is on the sex offender registry in Illinois but comes to my home in Florida for a few weeks a year and registers in Florida, as well. He may be able to get off the Illinois registry in a few years, but FL states he will be on their registry for life. How can FL do this when his crime was not committed there? People who visit FL for more than 3 days vacation and have to register are also on their list for life. Is this lawful? This lifetime registration in FL is one of the reasons that it looks like FL has so many people registered as SO’s. This number is overinflated due to people simply vacationing there and staying on their registry forever.

  • #47724 Reply

    Freedom

    What I have never understood is if sex offender registration is completely civil in nature, how can it result in felony convictions and long jail times for those who violate it? When I think of civil law, the penalties consist of fines, cease and decist orders, etc.

    If this is truly a civil thing, there should be no jail time if you accidentally forget to jump through the ever number of increasing hoops that registrants are supposed to jump through.

    Plus, if it’s civil, why are all these laws codified in the criminal statues of all states?

    I’m not a lawyer or anything like that, but this whole thing stinks. Just because I call a dog a cat and give it cat food and cat toys does NOT make it a cat! It’s still a darn dog!

    • #47743 Reply

      Sampson

      Freedom and Jim, my sentiments exactly…you hit the nail on the head:

      “When I think of civil law, the penalties consist of fines, cease and decist orders, etc….If this is truly a civil thing, there should be no jail time if you accidentally forget to jump through the ever number of increasing hoops that registrants are supposed to jump through…Plus, if it’s civil, why are all these laws codified in the criminal statues of all states?”

      “The biggest question I have is, if this being added to the registry after sentencing and the registry not being a punishment. Why Can We Be Arrested For Not Following It”

      The judges sitting on SCOTUS are there for a lifetime unless they resign or die, so they have nothing to lose by doing the right, moral thing and resuscitating the Constitution as it regards registrants. They are getting a second chance to right their wrong from 2003…will they have the spine to stare down a vindictive society and grandstanding politicians, and turn America back from this dark road it has traveled down? We’ve already been there, done that…the Salem witch hunts…the Scarlet Letter…homosexuals…Jews…Japanese internment camps…have we not learned anything from history??! Will SCOTUS justices be like our current POTUS and not give a sh*t what anyone thinks about them? We shall see.

      #SCOTUS #POTUS #SupremeCourt #SexOffenders #Registry #Cato #ExPostFactor

  • #47730 Reply

    Jim

    The biggest question I have is, if this being added to the registry after sentencing and the registry not being a punishment. Why Can We Be Arrested For Not Following It??? Mabie We need to post the judges, senators, and law makers home addresses on the internet as well. You can find this info. Lets start another involuntary registry.

  • #47731 Reply

    Anthony

    The SCOTUS will grant to hear the case and overturn the North Carolina decision as uncostitutioal!

  • #47738 Reply

    Obvious answers

    Well written and a very sound argument.. Saddly like the rest of that foul, putrid , corrupted, despot of a governmental perversion when has it been interested in following the law it claims to prize while bludgeoning its citizens? Never… Unless you can threaten, with beleivable force, that reeking cesspit of an unjustice system with the possibilities of loosing some of its grip on authority it so covets abusing it will not follow or even make pretend the idea of restoring law or order..

  • #47739 Reply

    Thomas

    I have a similar situation. As part of my plea deal I was sentenced to 3 months in jail 5 years probation and 10 years on the registry. That was 2000. Then around 2006 New York changed to law to 20 years for level 2. Now it’s lifetime. It’s so unfair , especially since it was part of my plea.

  • #47740 Reply

    Tom

    I know a number of SO’s that are conservative in their thinking and support conservative causes. I keep telling them that voting this way hurts your cause in reference to registration. They disagree believing that a conservative approach would render a strike down of registration laws because they are clearly unconstitutional. Good luck with that. The original Suprem Court case involving a registratant from Alaska was upheld calling these laws civil penalties was clearly erroneous but the Court sided with the states and against the individuals affected. The conservative Court will side with the State law again. Be careful what you wish for. The Supreme Court will find some “reasoning” to support the laws and the enactment of the laws because the majority of the people in this country hate sex offenders and what their crimes mean to society. Just ask John Walsh and his fellow crusaders. One of whom is an a former Congressman and a “unregistered and unconvivted” sex offender who was a co-sponser of SORNA. Just saying.

    • #47794 Reply

      Jonathon Merritt

      Hopefully with the increase in evidence that can be brought to bare should Smith VS Doe be revisited,even the most conservative Judge will have a hard time pretending that the registry had not been punitive,harmful,shameful and deadly to some people that have been put on it.

    • #48109 Reply

      WC_TN

      Tom, the last two sentences of your post wouldn’t be referring to former Senator Mark Foley would it?
      I am enraged that he engaged in solicitation of a minor by electronic means and got a free pass. He wasn’t subjected to a single one of the sex offender laws that make life for all the rest of us a living hell on earth.

      I think we all should be able to march on Washington, D.C. every time a rich, politically connected person gets a free pass from the debilitating laws that would destroy anyone else’s life who isn’t rich or connected to the powerful.

      I am not saying this in support of this nation’s draconian sex offender laws, but if the justice system isn’t going to apply these laws impartially across the board then they shouldn’t be applied to anyone. There is no greater injustice than systemic selective enforcement.

  • #47741 Reply

    Craig

    I feel your pain Justin. I was convicted in Washington state. Got a short term in county, did sex offender counseling, then spent 10 years on the registry as a level 1. No internet exposure, just had to check in once a year on my birthday. My wife wanted to move back home, gainesville, florida. Now after being free, I’m finding out I have to be on their registry, on the internet. And they don’t see this as punishment. We live in a really small town, everyone knows me. Once I hit the internet I will have 99% fewer friends. And I will have done nothing to hurt them.

    • #47760 Reply

      David

      As I have said before, the real punishment begins AFTER you get out of prison/jail. In prison, you eat the same food the other inmates do, you use the same facilities the other inmates do, you watch the same television programs the other inmates do, and there is no differentiation between you and the other felons. You are all treated the same regardless of your crime by the prison system.
      BUT……….when you get out………..you face a world of restrictions, you are placed on the registry so your name, address, vehicle, license plate number, place of work, and school you attend are available to anyone just by typing in your name, and then you are socially hated, shunned, and scorned. Some people who knew you for years all of the sudden when they find out turn their backs on you and hate you regardless how close you were to them as friends.
      Even some people who know you very personally do not want to associate with you because they don’t want to be known associating with a sex offender even though they know in their heart you are no danger to them or anyone else.
      People don’t want to hire you because the company name will appear on the registry and they don’t want their reputation to be tarnished by hiring a sex offender.
      If you were convicted after 2006, you cannot live within 1000 feet or more of a school.
      Some recreation facilities will not allow you to enter and/or become a member denying you of access to physical fitness equipment for health and well being.
      You have to register periodically in person and hope your job schedule allows you time off to do it, or be arrested and get sent back to prison.
      You can’t even vacation in a neighboring county or state for more than 5 days (Megan’s Law) without registering in that County/State or get arrested and sent back to prison. So much for that nice honeymoon when you get married.
      And if you do get married or are already married, she has to share the burden of your restrictions, bans, social hatred, etc. along with you and face the fear that further restrictions and burdens may be placed upon you that will affect her as well.
      She also has to face being shunned because she married a sex offender.
      You are also subject to being a victim of false police reports, and this happens a lot!
      You, your house, your vehicle, and yes, even your spouse are always in constant danger of assault, property damage, and even deep emotional damage all due to the registry!!!!!!
      The real punishment is out here, not in prison.

      • #48110 Reply

        WC_TN

        David, I scanned your comment and if I missed it, accept my apologies, but I didn’t see any mention of a registered citizen’s children being ostracized and bullied-even by adults who should know better. The kids of registrants face a living hell over something they had NO SAY IN.

        That really makes me see red! All these so-called “respectable God-fearin’, law-abidin’ decent folk” who profess an unwavering concern for the welfare of helpless innocent children show themselves to be the monstrous hypocrites they are when they take their animus for the registrant out on a helpless, innocent child who hasn’t lifted a finger to harm a living soul. To me, “respectable” society is lower than whale dung.

    • #47762 Reply

      Richard Pruett

      John Walsh himself is an admitted sex addict, but he knows George Bush, and had stardom so he was able to get the Adam Walsh Act passed

  • #47757 Reply

    Chris

    I normally don’t agree with a lot of the libertarian agenda of the CATO Institute, but they have been fantastic at filing amicus briefs for our causes. It’s nice to find bi-partisanship, and it seems that conservatives and liberals alike can find something inherently wrong in our registration laws.

  • #47761 Reply

    Richard Pruett

    They had added so far as of 8-10-18, added an additional 10 years to my original 10 years of registration, along with restrictions as to where I can live and go, and I also have to take the registration form to Sherriff’s dept in person, and also, the new law about being able to have a Facebook page, although I can, I have to report that too, then because I am still a registrant, Facebook, boots me right off within a few days anyway, not to mention My ex-wife uses it as leverage to keep my daughter and grandchildren, from seeing me, furthermore it effects me financially

  • #47763 Reply

    WearethePeople

    No one tells us anything so we don’t know if the laws are new or old. When we opened our doors, to be approved. We were denied the first time, this was because someone came when we were away. We asked for another chance which we passed with flying colors. We were made to sign papers, none were left for us to review. The one thing that I do remember being said was no alcohol or firearms in the house. We asked why are we being punished. They did not look at this that way is all of what we were told. We just had to agree. So if my grandson case is like the one above why is the restrictions no alcohol and no firearms when this was not even part of the case? There is so much wrong with every part of this! It is like a nightmare that never ends. So is Nyquil zzz considered alcohol because this was the only thing that may have showed up in his urine when they wist him away. It is 10 days now and I haven’t heard a thing from him. So when people tell me that the laws are right. I am ready to fight!

  • #47764 Reply

    tom

    While i’m not a lawyer, it seems to me that the amicus brief left out two very important issues.
    The entire “civil” basis of Smith v. Doe was considered valid based on the premise that the recidivism rates were astronomical. It is now WELL KNOWN that that argument was completely FALSE and based on misinformation that was NEVER verified. If i remember correctly, this ‘fact’ was actually stated in the decision. If the purpose was based on “the legislature’s finding that sex offenders pose a high risk of reoffending” as filed by the state, the law should be invalidated since it is based, not on fact, but on ABSOLUTE FALSEHOOD. Furthermore, there is also NO EVIDENCE, even after more that 20 years, that registration has deterred or diminished recidivism.
    Secondly, there is something to be said for these ‘legislative schemes’ as being a Bill of Attainder. They clearly single out one group. Murderers, thieves, violent assaulters, burglars, etc., are not required to register. Are these crimes for which the public needs NO protection ?
    Besides being a legislative scheme for which no state can show a compelling governmental interest, it is a LEGISLATORS scheme allowing politicians running for re-election, to claim to be protecting the public.
    And finally, they are written in a MOST PUNITIVE way. The burden of proof is on the offender. And there is NO POSSIBLE proof that courts will find acceptable. An offender can show a recidivism rate of less than 10%, based on OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT statistics, and show that he has not re-offended for more than 20 years, and 99% of the time will lose, due solely to the consequence of public opinion. Virtually every judge will fear the stigma of being seen as soft on sex offenders. No state can provide ANY proof to support the likelihood of re-offending, so to avoid the impossible, they put the impossible upon the offender.

    • #47809 Reply

      Glen

      I’m sure more briefs will be added that will address the faulty recidivism study that was first used by SCOTUS.

      If SCOTUS grants Cert, it will be a very good sign. But, in doing so they would be essentially acknowledging they got it all wrong the first time with regards to civil ex post facto laws. And, a different ruling now would be monumental; effectively destroying the registry altogether it would seem. Sounds fantastic, but it seems to me to be a very rare chance of that happening soon.

      I so hope it’s successful, but the reality is most likely we are all just going to have to continue to plug away at its unconstitutionality in incremental ways for quite awhile still. On that note, wasn’t Michigan’s registry ruled unconstitutional almost 2 years ago? And even still, for the most part it remains in place doesn’t it?

      • #47813 Reply
        Robin Vander Wall
        Robin Vander Wall
        Admin

        It is a thing that requires vigilance and forbearance. The Court unanimously ruled for desegregated schools in 1954. How many years did it take to desegregate schools? I graduated from a public college in South Carolina that didn’t graduate it first African American student until 1971. And are public schools fully desegregated even now? So, yes, the struggle must continue even long after the Court finds its way to our side of the legal arguments.

        There are a number of academic lawyer types who believe that the test created in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144 (1963) must be revisited and perhaps even replaced by a new test for civil regulatory schemes that will prevent states from adopting civil regulatory policies that become subterfuges (policies that have punitive effects and are extra-juridical because they’re enacted by legislative fiat). We can only wait and watch at this point.

    • #48611 Reply

      Timothy

      @tom,
      You’re so right about the uncivil intent of registration. Ultimately the electronic lists are being used to impose affirmative disability by the people. The database is far more a threat to national security than the sex deviant ever could be. The sex offender is the optical key used by the surveillance saints and LEO to insure they appear effective in the minds of the people.

      What the folks mostly fail to realize is that databases, public and private and any information on them, is inherently vulnerable to misuse of all sorts. Databases are dangerous in some ways, and their use has lead to increases of criminal activity, and are not the ultimate panacea for recidivism as advertised. Nor can a database predict the future which is the invalid basis for SOR.
      Sex offender registration IS and always WAS, about government use of a database and the foundation for the federal electronic surveillance saints misadventure toward continuous electronic searches of the people by government agents. (See ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION) The sex offender made the ideal scapegoat for a deemed civil necessity for database infrastructure and use for the sake of national security. (See Kirsten Neilson, Homeland Security Sec. on c-span interview)

      According to these folks the sexual sadist rises to an important and serious threat to the homeland (motherland) security. Given the history of Man and government I seriously doubt a case can be made to that end. No the sexual sadist more implicates political security than National security.

  • #47796 Reply

    James

    I want to thank everyone fighting this cause and the people behind it supporting it. I’m a SO from PA and I take fight to anything that legislation might throw out there. You must have attorneys that will fight as I got two of them and I dont rest until I get answers. My crime involved an internet sting by the AG of PA. I cant understand how cops or investigators can lie under oath on legal paperwork that they assume identity of a minor, that’s pure falsification. Second if anyone looks at AG precutrials they violated it in many ways. Also with internet stings they are violating terms and service agreement with the provider if you read the print. What a shame to prosecute people for money and labels. What I do believe is the Megan’s Law in any state is a HATE CRIME because we are the only ones labeled and forced do obey their laws if not we get punished again. The states should be held reliable for a HATE CRIME not safety. If anyone wants to get in touch with me let me know.

  • #47795 Reply

    Jay

    I just can’t seem to wrap my head around how law canbe made and upheld on falsehoods. I was convicted in 2014 of a sex offense. Got out in 2017. Yes the punishment starts when released couldn’t have worded it better. This entire system is a farce. It’s a political tool. I’m in a heated battle with the IDOC in regards to my special conditions. I’m to have no contact with minors unless approved by po not even my blood (crime didn’t involve a minor) that’s just one of the conditions I’m challenging. There’s about 8 more that have no tangible correlation to my underlying criminal offense. Even in the face of numerous supreme court rulings telling the IDOC that there are tests that must be passed to validate special conditions. And that if they fail to meet even 1 of those tests the conditions are invalid. They still refuse to take them off. I’ve had to
    relationships/friendships chased away with threats of child endangerment charges(no minor victim). How can one successfully reintegrate back into society which is the creed of corrections when we’re being forced into seclusion. Also get this during my revocation proceeding my attorney subpoenas my entire record. Upon review of assessments done on me i find fraudulent information being used to make sure i get the highest risk score possible. Was giving the max on one part because po checked i had an escape history. The very next page is my criminal history and escape history says none. I was released 11/17/17 started work on 11/28/17 would’ve started earlier but for Thanksgiving. At that job pulling 48 hrs a week. Dec assessment on employment checked unsatisfactory or unemployable. I hope change starts to happen soon. I feel for anyone going thru this. Also once sentenced there’s suppose to be an assessment done to determine wher wether you need treatment. Which would suggest there are some who wouldn’t right. I would love to meet those individuals but I’m pretty sure they don’t exist. It’s a one size fits all. This isn’t a safety issue though with some it could be but the majority it’s not. The numbers speak for themselves and the problem with that is those aren’t the numbers being used to make these decisions. Recidivism among sex offenders are the lowest of any other crime.

  • #47790 Reply

    DavidM

    This case is very important. I hope the case will also decide whether it’s legal for the offenders original State which releases you from the registry but when you move to another State they reinstate you onto there registry because there law on release from the registry are different, because they don’t follow a tier system or there release laws are different.

  • #47791 Reply

    Daniel Silverman

    It seems that those in charge do whatever they like with those of us on the registry. Take my case, for example. Here in Virginia, we don’t have a tier system. They only have “violent” and “non-violent”. Those in the “violent” category are on the registry for life. I was accused of a one-second touch to my daughter’s breast. Due to the way Virginia law is written, because of my relation to the victim and her age, I was able to be charged with Aggravated Sexual Battery. I took a plea deal because I was told that it didn’t matter if I plead not guilty or not, if my daughter was willing to even take the stand, I would get 20 years. I was dumbfounded and afraid.

    My trial was a bench trial. The judge who sentenced me did something unusual. He ordered me to have to register, but in the court order specifically stated I was NOT to be registered as violent. This was contrary to Virginia code. As a result, I was registered as violent any way. I sent a letter to the judge asking for clarification and his intent on the matter. The letter I got back clearly stated that it was indeed the judge’s intent for me to be classified and registered as non-violent. It took me almost 8 years, but I was finally able to get the Virginia State Police to comply with the court order and register me as non-violent.

    In Virginia, a non-violent sex offender can petition the court to be removed from the registry. So, now that I was finally registered as non-violent, I did just that. The judge I was given verbally admitted, during the hearing, that he was biased against me and, as a result, refused my petition. About a week or so later, I got a letter from the court about another court date. The reason? The attorney general wanted to have my case reviewed to see why I was registered as non-violent when the code is clear that Aggravated Sexual Battery is a violent charge.

    It had been almost 10 years since my release from jail. The original judge, who had ordered me registered as non-violent and had verified this via a letter to me, did not remember the case. Despite reading his own letter, he said this had to have been a mistake. The end-result? They changed my court order and now I am forced to be registered as violent. And the end result of that? I will be on the registry for the rest of my life with no chance to petition for removal.

    How did the attorney general find out about my case? Well, remember that biased judge? He was so angry that I had petitioned to be removed from the registry that he personally contacted the attorney generals office to have them look into it.

  • #47792 Reply

    DavidM

    I hope this case will also determine whether it is constitutional to be released from the registry in one State but when moving to another State they reinstated you on the registry in there state because there laws are different on length of time to serve on the registry . One has a tier system the other doesn’t and there laws concerning who gets on the registry are different.

    • #47815 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall
      Admin

      I am afraid that this case will not have quite the expansive scope you are hoping for, unfortunately. The question presented is vast only insofar as a positive outcome would open up a lot of opportunity for additional challenges. But those challenges would have to be brought from scratch.

      • #48679 Reply

        Timothy

        @Constitutional challenges
        OR
        Opt for trial in fail to register, failure to provide information cases.
        I will in 19.

  • #47847 Reply

    James

    We as SOs need to start a movement.

    I’m not afraid to take a stand to anyone that differs from us. I love challenging people if they are wrong.

    Our movement will be called

    SOMOVEMENT

  • #47890 Reply

    Kurt

    Most of these “exclusionary zones” in which registrants cannot live, work, play, or perhaps even pass through should be considered to be, solidly and without any doubt, part of the “penalty” attached to a crime. The penalties that a crime carries are more than just incarceration. Aside from jail or prison, there are the statuses of being “on parole” and ‘/ or “on probation.” These are long-established and well known schemes by which offenders who are STILL BEING PUNISHED WITH A CRIMINAL SENTENCE IMPOSED ON THEM are given some limited and supervised freedom.

    Anybody who says that “ex post facto” only means you can’t imprison somebody based on a new law that wasn’t on the books when the crime was committed is missing the boat, and not thinking straight. Ex Post Facto analysis anytime somebody’s freedom is significantly limited as a collateral effect of some prior crime that’s already had its due penalty imposed.

    I would say the same thing for any government issued license or benefit, too.
    If being a convicted felon doesn’t disqualify you from living in public housing projects TODAY, then any rule they may come up with in the future should only apply to people who committed their felonies AFTER the new rule took effect.

    If getting a DUI / DWI doesn’t currently disqualify you from holding a General Contractor’s license in your state, it should not ever disqualify anybody who got a drunk driving conviction prior to a new rule that says you can’t have that construction / remodeling professional license if you’ve had a DUI.

    Every criminal should be subject ONLY to the penalties (official penalties, imposed by the government), including restrictions on one’s liberty just for “public safety” reasons, that were part of the law and part of the original sentence in the case back when it was disposed of.

    • #47990 Reply

      Glen

      Kurt,

      I agree. When SCOTUS first ruled 20 years ago, the question of constitutionality of the registry did not include the mass of exclusionary zones that have been piled on since.

      So, now we aren’t just required to register as part of a constitutional (supposedly) civil regulation scheme that was ruled non-punitive…today, our freedom of movement and even freedom of religion (barred from church, etc) is restricted. With the right case, I feel certain SCOTUS would overturn that aspect of the registry especially considering their decision to let Colorado’s and Pennsylvania challenges stand. And the case here in NC that NARSOL is part of looks like a great case to present. I think its just a matter of time before exclusionary zones are ruled against by SCOTUS. Just have to get a case in front of them…

  • #47983 Reply

    Joseph Park

    It is obvious that in the early days of American Jurisprudence, in the case of Calder vs. Bull, the court concocted the idiotic scheme of saying legislation deemed to be civil in nature was not subject to the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution. It seems to me that it was done to protect something from scrutiny that someone wanted protected.

    Now, after all these years, the current Supreme Court of the United States has the ideal case before it to correct the wrong that was done.

    This case should be won, and if there is any justice in the world, Bethea will win a glorious victory and life as we know it will be infinitely better. This is a landmark case of biblical proportions and should be on everyone’s watch list.

    • #47991 Reply

      Glen

      The argument for civil regulation and ex post facto has been often negated by what the intent of the legislature was. They argue it was not “intended” as punishment. They say for example, it’s no different than requiring a drivers license to drive. But, it is now much different. We arent just merely registering, we are being forbidden from public taxpayer lands(that we are forced to pay for, but are prohibited from enjoying a citizens right), and also other properties, residences, churches, parks, and in some cases even our homes for “public protection”. Right off the bat, our constitutional rights of freedom are deprived with regards to exclusionary zones with no evidence that it protects the public in any way, and we are subject to imprisonment as a result. It is so exceedingly punitive and discriminatory that it warrants evidence of effectiveness that would supercede any “intent” that it wasn’t meant to be punitive, discriminatory, or freedom restrictive.

      It’s almost like requiring a drivers license, requiring you to pay taxes for roads, maintain insurance, register your vehicle and obtain a tag, pay inspection fees to the state…and then afterwards, the state legislates that you cannot drive on the public roads that you help pay for due to public protection. But, the states intent wasnt meant to be punitive though…but, if you do drive on public roads, straight to jail you go…

  • #47995 Reply

    T

    Does anyone know if this will help us here in NV. Or know anyone who is willing to help us in NV???

    • #48405 Reply

      Joseph Park

      I can tell you this: if all goes well and if SCOTUS overturns Calder v Bull, this will be an earthquake on a grand scale for thousands of persons who committed the offense that causes them to have to register prior to 2006, when the government lost its collective mind and started heaping the bs on its own citizens.

      Read The Cato Institute’s amicus brief, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. And, with several of the conservative justices professing a desire to return to “original intent”, I’d say there’s a better than even chance that the Supreme Court will do just that. Then there will no longer be any need for the Kennedy v Martinez-Mendoza analysis bs. About the only thing you’ll have to show is that a new law makes things worse for you than before the new law went into effect.

      If Calder v Bull is overturned, life as you know it will forever be changed for the better. This cannot be over-emphasized nor exaggerated. It’s that big.

      • #48648 Reply

        T

        Joseph or anyone who can help me, how do i follow this case? Do we know whats going on with it? Will it be heard by the supreme court?! Im not very educated on all this court stuff but i am trying to help my husband anyway i can bc what they are doing in NV is just wrong and conpletely unfair. What they are doing to everyone is unfair. Please help me learn or give me insight to someone who can help me. Thank you all so much i appreciate all of your help

        • #48778 Reply

          Joseph R Park Jr

          Here you go:

          Bethea v. North Carolina

          You’ll see that it was distributed for conference this past Friday, Nov 9, 2018. We could know if Cert is granted Tuesday. I’m not sure what it means that a Response was requested, due Dec. 5, 2018 and if it has any relevance to the conference of Nov 9.

          The importance of this case cannot be overstated. All that bullshit about proving whether a retroactive law is civil/regulatory, or punative, as in Kennedy vs. Martinez-Mendoza with its subjective criteria, will no longer apply.A ruling for Bethea will mean that retroactive means just that, and the only thing that will have to be proved is that the law operates retroactively.

        • #48862 Reply

          Joseph R Park Jr

          This case was neither granted nor denied cert. A response was requested on Nov 5, due Dec 5. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that, since there was not an opposition brief filed by North Carolina, the Court requested that one be filed. To be continued…

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