Social media, NC legislature needlessly target RSOs

By Dwayne Daughtry . . . When it comes to sex offender restrictions, some legislatures have taken unusual steps to either ban registrants entirely from the internet or restrict access to various social platforms. Convicted sex offenders aren’t allowed to use Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat as per company policies. As Facebook acquires, monopolizes, and removes registrants from its platform, it will have attributed a significant increase in national unemployment numbers of registrants and their families because of inabilities to attain equal access to tools required for industry resources. Some may argue that “removal from the registry will restore accesses to social media because requirements are no longer applicable.” However, Facebook and other company policies that align with banning sex registrants from its platforms are permanent and not subject to state or federal laws and guidelines. This argument extends to juveniles released from sex offender requirements and those pardoned, expunged, or sealed by judicial systems. Facebook policy is vividly clear that a news article is enough incrimination to remove an individual.

The war on sex offenders and compliance requirements is an easy sell by politicians, victim organizations, and community groups. When it comes to crime legislation, there always appears to be a contemptuous way to identify sex registrants in neighborhoods and suburbs quickly. Police resources are no longer able to target meth labs, organized crime networks, or child victims of disturbing home abuses. Its officer priorities are socially motivated and influenced by social media and civic craze. There will always be highly charged rhetoric about stopping opioids and other drugs flowing into neighborhoods and accessible to youth. But registrants are always falsely portrayed as a number one priority in ensuring they are the most surveilled and the highest threat to society.

The State of North Carolina recently passed Senate Bill 199 named Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws. The bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. However, the bill criminalizes citizens and organizations who fail to immediately report a suspicion that a juvenile is or could be abused (§ 14-318.6). The bill directs any person who suspects or witnesses an act where a child could be at risk for physical injury to be identified and notify  law enforcement immediately. That’s right. There are no anonymity provisions for those who initiate reporting to authorities. Witnesses are required to provide full name, address, and telephone number. Therefore, if at a local big box store an individual witnesses a spanking of a child, then it’s either the responsibility of the store or the witness to contact law enforcement immediately because of the suspicion rule mentioned in the bill. While the bill is attempting to target dangerous conditions, its ambiguous wording allows an opening for many scenarios to be weaponized either by law enforcement or people. Essentially the bill, if it becomes law, will arm businesses and people to act on suspicion or else it may criminalize those that fail to become involved if that is discovered during an ongoing investigation. It creates an attack on the Good Faith law.

In part three of the bill, § 15-1, it increases the statutes of limitations from two years to ten years for misdemeanor crimes against children. This is where the law, while intended to target serious offenses, becomes diluted to include adults who feel or believe they were physically abused or felt in danger as a child at the time to prosecute family members, coaches, educators, bullies, former friends, or anyone accused of abuse. This portion of the bill generates a possibility for the defense to exploit an emotionally filled victim impact statement long after defendants are able to produce or contribute plausible exculpatory evidence. The amendment provision appears to be driven by social media and external influencers to align with the popularity of timetable expansions for statutes of limitations in an ex post facto situation. There is no proof or data to suggest an urgency to amend this part of the law by citizens of North Carolina.

Part Four, § 14-202.5, bizarrely named Protecting Children Online From High-Risk Sex Offenders is perhaps the most negligently researched bill introduced in the history of North Carolina legislative cataloging. The bill mentions High-Risk sex offenders, who are not a classification to be found within North Carolina law. (§ 14-208.6 Definitions of Offender Types). According to the bill, High-Risk offender is convicted those found guilty of sex with a minor. Should the bill become law, that would include nearly 87% of the over 17,840 registrants on the North Carolina registry.

Part Four also includes provisions that would prohibit high-risk offenders from contact with a person believed to be under the age of 16. There are several dilemmas about that particular part of the bill in direct conflict with current North Carolina law. First, there are several laws on the books covering contact with a minor for exploitative purposes (§ 14-190.13). However, those particular laws clearly state that a minor is anyone under the age of 18. Additionally, it says, “Mistake of age is not a defense to a prosecution under this section.” Therefore, has the state erroneously created conflict with taking indecent liberties with children (§ 14-202.1), “immoral, improper, or indecent liberties,” by attempting to distinguish two separate ages as a minor, creating an opening for legal challenges?

Read the remainder of Dwayne’s piece here at Subjective Belief.

 

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    • #54513 Reply
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      admin

      By Dwayne Daughtry . . . When it comes to sex offender restrictions, some legislatures have taken unusual steps to either ban registrants entirely fro
      [See the full post at: Social media, NC legislature needlessly target RSOs]

    • #54516 Reply
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      Forrest Skaine

      It is my understanding that Facebook reversed their discriminatory policy 2 years ago for SO’s.

      • #54532 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        No, Facebook has not reversed its policy. The Packingham case in NC, taken all the way to the Supreme Court, resulted in a finding that it was unconstitutional for state registry requirements to exclude those on the registry from access to social and other online media platforms, but Facebook is a privately owned company. It sets its own policies, and so far it is continuing its policy of discrimination and removing the accounts of registrants whenever it identifies them.

        NARSOL sent a letter to the CEO of Facebook after the Packingham decision — https://narsol.org/2017/06/narsol-calls-on-zuckerberg-facebook-to-change-policy/
        and earlier this year Jason, one of NARSOL’s original authors, wrote this: https://narsol.org/2019/03/facebook-unfriended-me/

    • #54517 Reply
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      Lovecraft

      Robin initially brought this bill to my attention a month or so ago. I wrote 2 different emails on 2 seperate instances to all 50 or so senators to urge the legislators to use reason and actual fact and not “common sense” or the feels right mentality. I also attempted phone contact,but was largely unsuccessful. I too noticed the age of 16 in this bill versus the definition of sex crimes with minors under current nc law which references those under 18 years old. Very, very confusing.

      The IP address requirement in this bill is one of the more outlandish things I have ever seen. If this actually makes it into law, I am going to enjoy going to the sheriff’s office with a wheel barrel of IP addresses. Between all the free wi fi places across our county and vpn networks I should have no problem providing about 100,000 IP addresses. If I really wanted to I could probably push 1,000,000. Could you imagine having to log 1 million IP addresses?

      • #54558 Reply
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        Lovecraft

        It dawned on me the ban doesnt just encompass facebook, instagram, and snapchat in part 5 below, but covers sites like eharmony and any other adult dating site that bans rc`s punishable as a class H felony . I find it ironic they make it a crime to those with underage convictions from many adult dating sites…

        (5) To use a commercial social networking Web site in violation of a policy
        posted in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of users,
        prohibiting convicted sex offenders from using the site.
        (e) Punishment. – A violation of this section is a Class H felony. (was class I, but was increased to and H in the second revision)

        Lastly, I wanted to point out the jurisdiction part below. Seems to me it doesnt matter what state you are in to NC, they can still come after you. I am willing to bet it doesnt even matter if you were in direct contact with someone underage in NC for any reason because sites like facebook disseminate your info 24/7 all over the world and that could be considered transmitting.

        Jurisdiction. – The offense is committed in the State for purposes of determining jurisdiction, if the transmission that constitutes the offense either originates in the State or is received in the State.

        • #54869 Reply
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          WC_TN

          The rationale behind restricting registered citizens with offenses involving minors from adult dating sites is the fear that a registrant MIGHT use these sites to find single parents of young children of the gender and age they’re attracted to just so they can get in close and begin the grooming process and claim another victim.

          Marsh v. Alabama would be a good Supreme Court Ruling with which to take on Facebook over its arbitrary banning of registered citizens.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_v._Alabama

          This case deals with the issue of when a private entity is of such public importance that they have to honor the 1st Amendment and not discriminate.

          I can’t find it just now, but there is a case (I think at the Supreme Court) against Nat’l Public Radio for censoring conservative viewpoints and the SCOTUS ruling being cited is Marsh v. Alabama.

      • #54802 Reply
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        Mp

        Thank you for writing the senators. One never knows who might read it and change their mind. It may even just be a clerk, but it all counts as that is how it spreads. .

        • #54908 Reply
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          Lovecraft

          Thank Robin for spearheading the initiative. Without him, I would not have known about the bill or who to contact.

    • #54571 Reply
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      Ed C

      This legislation illustrates that politicians are not elected for being smart or rational on crime and public safety. If it weren’t so tragic, ineffective and contrary to public interest, it would be funny. On the “upside”, the legislation is an effective full employment program for the lawyers who will be needed to litigate this constitutional minefield.

    • #54633 Reply
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      Ed

      How in the hell can anyone provide a dynamic ip that changes on an hourly basis? Every SO in the county shows up twice every 7 days with stacks of paper? For the less-savvy, who from the sheriff’s dept is going to offer tech support and training?

      What is the house companion bill? Surely this won’t pass intact. Does law enforcement even know about this? There is no way they can even handle the ramifications.

    • #54643 Reply
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      d

      Passing unconstitutional laws without receiving undesirable consequences is the only problem I see here. If undesirable consequences were experienced even 1/2 of the magnitude of the pain and suffering these laws inflict, there would be no registry. We must find a way for the law makers, and their constituents to regret their decision to trample on the constitutional rights of others, and do so without breaking laws in the process. In short we have to follow the rules they do not. Tell me who is the criminal here?

    • #54775 Reply
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      Saddles

      Needlessly target RSO’. Its interesting that you used the jepordy form of a question. While NARSOL is a type of a leader in this sexc offender plight to seek liberty and value to those caught up iin a lot of this social media hysteria we all should appreciate what we have and yes help others in all this plight.
      While social meadia is good for business and pleasure it can also be used as a tool to cause one to stumble .Now nobody likes to foam at the mouth and stumble on things much less lie to ensnare others. I wonder if lying is constutitional or unconstitutional today. Social media has good benefits when one uses it right. It seems law enforcment go a bit too far in all this and with these bills and these bicurious endeavors it is a bit to much.
      I see lovecraft says he’s been writing letters to senators and such. Most letters don’t even get read by the president and all he wants is money to build a wall or a contrubition for whatever.
      I myself can’t see the “justice” in a lot of this sex ordeal. In many ways don’t we offend all.

    • #54888 Reply
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      WC_TN

      Have any of you guys stopped to consider that this horrendous bill is designed to be North Carolina’s spiteful revenge for Packingham’s victory in the Supreme Court? Has anyone considered this bill is insidiously designed to make registrants too scared to use their newly ascribed 1st Amendment rights? They’re going about obtaining the same results of banishing registrants in their state from social media.

      • #55027 Reply
        Charlie
        Charlie
        Moderator

        When I was a young boy, I asked my dad why communism was so bad when they were trying to do the things my friends said they wanted. He replied that communism, socialism, fascism all had one thing in common, the government forced people to choose loyalty to government dictates over loyalty to family, friends, and neighbors. He went in to illustrate Nazis reporting of Jews, children reporting parents, macarthyism, etc. Well, North Carolina is doing the same. Comply with the government and join the bandwagon, or suffer the consequences. History repeats.

    • #55080 Reply
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      Ed

      A lot of frustrated comments here, but I was asking serious questions that need an answer. Does anyone have any insight?

    • #55185 Reply
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      Chris

      Ok people, let’s be very clear on this one. This law is nothing more than Josh Stein following the same path that former NC AG and current governor Roy Cooper did. Cooper thought up and pushed the original law struck down in Packingham. He did it with his eyes set on the governor’s office. He crowed about it during the primaries but by the time the November election rolled around, the case had made its way up to SCOTUS. I’m sure his advisors recommended he avoid mentioning a law, which he proposed and pushed, that everyone knew was unconstitutional.

      Now Stein is the NC AG and he can see the runway lights on the governor’s mansion lawn. All he has to do is get this absurd law passed and he can taxi down the front walk in Raleigh like Cooper did.

      This is political gamesmanship, nothing else. Stein doesn’t give a rats ass about children. They are pawns just like us. We need to stand up and fight this law and call it out for the garbage that it is. NC registered citizens, write your representatives. Push back. Don’t take it up the ass like we have for so long.

    • #55396 Reply
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      Dwayne Daughtry

      After much lobbying with attempts to provide a visible and passionate voice of reason, this bill passed without one dissenting vote to move to the NC House.

      Some lessons learned is that this bill is pushed by the NC Sheriffs Association and the NC Family Policy Council. In addition to the lobbying efforts by the opposition, there has been speculation bipartisanship will be maintained because of the upcoming 2020 election. Anyone showing a weak voting record will certainly be held accountable later. This is politics as usual.

      A positive step I should share is that representatives both house and senate have invited me to sit down with them to discuss my story and how the registry has affected me, family, career, and my future outlook. This is good news because it is an open door towards listening by lawmakers. Registry legislation is tough work and a hard sell to change minds and perhaps votes. However, it is a rare moment to meet lawmakers face to face and painstakingly educate them on how the registry affects the bigger picture. When a senator takes a look at me, they don’t see an upset or angered person. They see a professional, with educational credentials, smiling, sharing history and bringing solutions – not problems.

      This is why I have chosen to become more visible at our state legislature to engage elected officials in a respectful dialog. Sure, it sounds diplomatic, a bit soft, and assiduously slow. But that is the game of politics. Until registrant organizations can begin the journey to include family, friends, civil rights organizations, and mesh/adjoin to national brands, it will continue to be a crawls-pace. There is no blame assessment. It is how politics has worked for everyone involved in that part of the game.

      The likelihood of this bill becoming law remains above average. But we still have work to be done. I learned this evening that Arizona’s bill to allow petition relief died in his legislative chambers. Sure, this sounds like awful news to many registrants. However, these are stumbling blocks of opportunity to regroup and review lessons learned about what positive outcomes occurred? It is those positive little things that keep the doors of opportunity open and dialog continuing. Eventually, something good will happen from all of this.

    • #55443 Reply
      Avatar
      Ed

      So Dwayne,

      The NC Sheriff’s Association wants this. They surely understand how DHCP works, right? They want this, because they want a logistical nightmare of every RSO in the county showing up multiple times a week with stacks of paper? What specifics do you know, if any, of how they plan to execute this provision?

      I gave up hope of social media long ago. Just another way to detox from Fake News and pictures of everybody’s pizza from last night that has zero value to me

    • #55458 Reply
      Avatar
      Dwayne Daughtry

      Ed,

      There are no provisions or specifics in the bill to explain, educate, fund, or document how the IP address is obtained both registrant and sheriff office. You are correct to assess some poor county deputy having to enter IP addresses one by one will undoubtedly create a backlog somewhere. But I honestly think there will be a complimentary bill to remedy that issue by adding a sex offender registry fee for those in North Carolina. The sex offender $90 annual fee bill died last session, but I am counting that such a bill reintroduced would be a measure to help pay for additional deputy resources without having a tax increase.

      Sex offender legislation has become so easy to pass. I am beginning to refer to it as “fish barrel legislation.” The MeToo movement, allegations, and sex crimes regardless of the value are just too toxic to have a civil discussion with politicians. In fact, some lawmakers may think IP actually means something with regards to urination?

      • #55613 Reply
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        Jerry

        Was the bill for the $90 registration fee going to be retroactive for all?

    • #55477 Reply
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      Ed

      Dwayne,

      Do you anticipate weekly trips to the Sheriff’s Dept, or do you think there will be a “reality” provision that ultimately creates a feasible workaround? Sheriffs and Probation/Parole long ago knew the “300 foot rule” was not feasible from an enforcement standpoint, and so, if they knew you were across the 4 lane highway from a school, eating at a restaurant, they didn’t care.

    • #55521 Reply
      Avatar
      Dwayne Daughtry

      To be quite candid I think the law is useless. If a registrant presented IP addresses daily, weekly, monthly or yearly it wouldn’t matter? IP addresses aren’t permanently assigned. Therefore, I would encourage anyone subject to the law to take a photo of the IP address and hold on to it. This law intends to scare registrants from the internet in general. Under current NC law deputies are not allowed to search a device or enter a property without a warrant. Therefore, I do not foresee how this proposed law could be reasonably enforced? But this is North Carolina we are talking about. Anything is possible?

      As for the reality will significantly depend on the county sheriff leadership to how they wish to pursue the spirit of the law methodology?

    • #55553 Reply
      Avatar
      Ed

      Yeah, that’s kind of what I was assuming, another “letter of the law” hand-wringer that really ends up confounding the sheriff’s dept as much as the registrants. I once heard an ADA in the courtroom foyer having a conversation with someone else about the 300 foot rule, and the fact that in Cumberland County, it effectively meant that a registrant could not drive anywhere in the county without violating it. Obviously, it was/is an absurd law, with no feasible enforcement mechanism, so yes, a useless provision.

      I don’t want to drag thioff-topic, but with your pulse on our issues in NC government, do you have any Intel on the GPS case currently in front of the Supreme Court? GA’s court struck theirs down. Surely to god NC isn’t going let georgia look more judicially progressive than we are.

    • #55645 Reply
      Avatar
      Mike

      ONLINE SEX STING
      This is yet more proof that online stings are run by the very perverts they want to believe that they are “protecting” kids from…these sicko cops pretend to be children to entrap men into asking for sex. Here is a recent sting operation that the police in Florida are so proud of.

      NOTE that NOT a single registered sex offender was caught…however, one of the very policemen that participated in these stings deceiving others and trapping them was himself caught! Think he will end up registering as a sex offender…neither do I BUT the point is that these sort of entrapments do not nab registered sex offenders…you know…they ones that the government claims need to be watched and every move monitored.

      Polk’s Sheriff Grady Judd says he got one of his own guys (more will certainly follow). Perhaps he should watch his men instead of so called registered sex offenders. Of course part of his job is to create more “sex offenders” to add to Florida’s inflated registry. Well done…keep it up and soon all your men will be locked up…problem solved.

      During his latest crackdown, dubbed “Operation No Tricks, No Treats,” his deputies arrested Sgt. Luis Diaz, a 17-year veteran of the force. During that time, Diaz had taken part in undercover operations just like the one he was nabbed in. Sounds like rather a moron if you ask me.

    • #56757 Reply
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      Ed

      Bill withdrawn from committee and “re-referred” the same day, June 6. No new editions listed since May. What does this indicate?

      • #56844 Reply
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        Thrunic

        It’s slated to come in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday (19-Jun-2019), and I give it a very high chance of passage (like 90%+).

        My biggest concern is the provision that requires one to provide and update all IPs that you have access to at work. All it takes is that your employer use some computer service (such as a computer-based time clock) and it’s a real mess.

        How am I supposed to get and constantly monitor an employer’s IP? Is that even legal (I’m not aware of any mandate that employers allow their employees to know and be updated in real time about their corporate IPs, nor is there any provision in this bill forcing them to give them up)

        As far as I can see, this bill as written is basically a ban on taking a job, since online time clocks or other small internet-based services seem to be pretty ubiquitous at all but the smallest employers.

        Why hasn’t there been more attention on this employer-IP provision? It seems to be the hardest hitting of all the provisions in the bill taken to its logical conclusion, though the ban on all contact with people under 16 is pretty close too, with no exceptions for family and oddly placed in a section related to the internet but banning offline contact as far as I can tell.

    • #56866 Reply
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      Ed

      Will there be anyone from NCRSOL at the Gen. Ass. to argue these points, bring experts, etc?

    • #57458 Reply
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      Thrunic

      It appears that the requirements for RSOs to report their home and work IPs has been stricken from the house bill today. It’s still a bad bill for numerous reasons, but at least it doesn’t amount to a de-facto ban on employment anymore.

    • #58081 Reply
      Avatar
      Mike

      What i want to know, isn’t legislature and state senators need and have evidence and proof the need for proposed laws. Otherwise they could pass laws because they want to be elected and all the other illogical reasons they want or for revenge. Yet they want the American people to one think they are honest upstanding citizen and do no wrong, even the same thing with the police, they can legally lie to you but you can’t lie to them? I’ve always thought this whole registry thing is like a cop arresting someone because they think some one is going to rob a store or bank just because they look dangerous and/or near one of those places. That just comes down to opinions if there is no evidence to prove it.

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