By Sandy . . . When the sheriffs of Butts County and Spalding County last Halloween announced they would erect signs at the homes of those on their sexual offense registries warning trick-or-treaters away from the homes, NARSOL sent letters advising them that they were overstepping their legal authority and to abandon this practice. This was not the first year they had engaged in the signage requirement. One of the counties voluntarily abandoned the signs for Halloween, 2019, while the other was stopped only due to a legal challenge and a restraining order issued by the court. Neither of the sheriffs responded to NARSOL’s requests to communicate with us, and the legal challenges are going forward.
Now comes Sheriff Neil Warren of Cobb County, Georgia. It recently came to NARSOL’s attention that the good sheriff and his deputies were enforcing several requirements against the registrants in their county that are not authorized in their state’s SORNA specifications.
On January 27, 2020, NARSOL sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sheriff Warren enumerating exactly where his office, under his direction, was overstepping legal authority. As with similar letters sent to the other Georgia sheriffs, NARSOL appealed to Warren to respond to us and open up lines of communication in order to avoid the possibility of legal action.
Brenda Jones, NARSOL’s executive director, wants the registrant community to know that the letter was sent “…with the hope of convincing Sheriff Warren to initiate changes in how his office handles registration in order to avoid litigation. NARSOL’s longstanding policy is to seek alternative resolutions rather than going to court.”
However, the sheriffs of Georgia as well as law enforcement in all states need to know that NARSOL is watching. Abuse of power and denial of constitutional rights of registrants will not go unchallenged.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, 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.