NARSOL, others, continue battle for those on sexual offense registry

By Sandy and Robin . . . In Wisconsin a new battle is being launched in what is getting to be an old war. Civil rights attorneys Adele Nicholas and Mark Weinberg, seasoned soldiers in this war fought on behalf of persons forced to live as someone on a sex offender registry, have launched this latest skirmish due to a “village’s moratorium on any more sex offenders living there.”

In Texas, NARSOL’s affiliate Texas Voices is unwavering in its battles against legislation that targets those on the registry for special restrictions, most often those that limit the very presence of a registrant within an area designated as a “child-safe area.” These onerous restrictions often make finding housing and employment virtually impossible and can even rip registrants from the support of family. Mary Sue Molnar, the group’s executive director, spends unlimited hours every legislative session ferreting out these bills, organizing the troops, and descending on the capitol in Austin armed with written and oral testimony heavy not only with poignant personal stories but also with researched facts about the issue.

North Carolina has proven to be very fertile ground for these battles. With an extremely active affiliate there, NCRSOL, and a civil rights attorney, Paul Dubbeling, who is no stranger to battles involving restrictions on registered citizens, opportunities abound for challenges on constitutional grounds. The state legislature has continually added blanket restrictions on where registered people can work, live, socialize, and even worship. Mr. Dubbeling is extremely experienced in filing successful civil rights claims on behalf of registered people. Initially an understudy of Atty. Glenn Gerding of Packingham fame, Paul assumed more responsibility in the successful Does v. Cooper challenge to North Carolina’s old premises statute which prevented most registered people from being within 300 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. In response to its loss, the N.C. Attorney General worked with legislative leaders to enact a new premises statute that ended up being more restrictive than the first. Working with NCRSOL and supported by NARSOL’s foundation, Dubbeling filed an ex post facto lawsuit in 2017 patterned after the ACLU’s challenge to the registration scheme in Michigan.  Styled NARSOL v. Stein, the case finally went to trial in April 2021. We anxiously await a decision from Judge Loretta Biggs some time in summer or fall. In the midst of waiting for an outcome in that case, NCRSOL’s attorneys filed additional successful lawsuits challenging the vague statutory language used to determine whether or not people with out-of-state convictions should be required to register in North Carolina (Grabarczyk v. Stein) and are prepared to accept a substantial settlement in a lawsuit against the sheriff of Cherokee County who rounded up all the registered people in his county on Halloween in 2019 (Crisp v. Palmer). The Halloween case is currently in mediation.

In Arizona a battle waged on for years through court after court, only to be lost on the steps of the United States Supreme Court.  May v. Shinn came about as a result of a legislative statute in which the burden of proof was shifted from the state to the defendant. Rather than for the state to be required to prove that Mr. May had criminal intent in his touching of a child, Mr. May, and others similarly situation, were put in the position of having to prove that they did not. Courts differed throughout the years of this lengthy battle with most favoring the plaintiff’s position that this burden-shifting was in violation of the Constitution. Hopes were high as the case reached the Supreme Court, only to be destroyed when the Court did not grant cert.

NARSOL has participated in other skirmishes whose outcomes are not yet determined. Rhode Island has proved a battlefield of long standing. The issue involves residency restrictions and would evict registrants from the homes where they had been living before the law was passed that increased the restricted distance from 300 to 1,000 feet. The ACLU filed Freitas v. Kilmartin on October 29, 2015. A restraining order was sought and granted the very next day, to remain in effect until trial, which was originally set to begin in January of the following year. The state was not ready, citing discovery issues. The trial has never taken place; the restraining order remains in place, and registrants remain, for now, in their homes.

Georgia saw battles launched on several fronts regarding signage on private property required at Halloween and other requirements not authorized by law. One county backed down after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from NARSOL; the sheriff and other officials in another vowed to fight on, and so did NARSOL. That case is ongoing and morphing into something different from what it started. Wherever it goes, we will be there.

Whether the battles are fought in the courtroom or in legislative chambers, they are fought. Some are lost; some are won. They will continue to be fought; NARSOL will continue fighting, until, one by one, enough are won that we will have won the war. This won’t happen in the next few months or, most likely, not even the next few years.

But it will happen.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As vice chair of NARSOL, Robin is the managing editor of the Digest, director of development, and provides assistance to the webmaster in keeping our websites running smoothly. He also serves as founder and president of Vivante Espero, NARSOL’s 501(c)(3) foundation and legal fund.

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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.

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    • #83063 Reply
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      Lloyd George

      Are offenders being harrassed systematically via Community Oriented Policing, As I am ? Eversince California announced the signing of State Bill SB 384 Summer of 2017, My life has been turned into a nightmare. CONSTANTLY harrassed by Police, being attacked and calling Police ,only to have them not show up or knee slapping, when I report the crimes against me. I had my charges dismissed and expunged under section 1203.4 in May of 2005 ,Yet suffer “Collateral Consequences’
      Of remaining on Meghans Vigilantes Website. I won’t go into all the horrific things they’re doing or have done. I Should be the poster child for why Meghans is nothing but a Tool for Persecution by Vigilantes… 4 years after the signing of SB 384 and not a single person has been given any relief yet, July 2021 first cases to be heard… Unconsciousable that a bill that’s 4 years old now, Still hasn’t gone active yet, Why ? They stand to lose allot of allocated money with 70, 000 plus offenders, coming off Meghans. These groups of, Vigilantes, trying their hardest to get a new FELONY against me….The Black Windowed Car Gang, aka, Community Oriented Policing 🚔

    • #83074 Reply
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      H n H

      Setting aside the increasing damage to lives the registry is 100% responsible for, the question raises, just how much money do the states and government entities spend on lawyers to fight and keep the entire scheme in existence? How much tax $ is put into lawyer fees and fights for appeals and everything else? Yes, the registry is all driven by hatred, and the other thing… money. So many benefactors involved from the implementation of the registry, the number is countless, and the reality is nothing will change. I don’t look for Congress to act. At this point, the entire thing is so bloated and such a golden cow, the powers to be will never let it go. The only thing that will change it is an actual miracle from God, and I don’t know if anyone has looked around the world lately, but God doesn’t seem to be in the miracle business anymore. This is one thing I’d like to ask him about someday when I see him… “Just what good did that do for anyone’s spiritual growth in this life?”

    • #83077 Reply
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      mut

      disenfranchisement, segregation and forced labor by dubious right of ownership is at least akin to chattel slavery.

    • #83079 Reply
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      Perry

      I for one; am not going to question The Almighty, as to why things are going or have gone the way they have with regard to Us Registered Citizens. What I will say however; are these things: I think that we should just call out Congress for what they really are; Cowardly, Money-Grubbing-Got-To-Do-Anything-To-Stay-Or-Get-In-Power-And-Keep-It, Jim Crow/Triple-K Clubbing Corrupted Pharisees! And not just at The Federal Level either. I think it’s High Time we called them out as the same, in Each And Every State too. Moreover; I also believe it’s beyond time for ALL OF THEM, to be Investigated and have THEIR BACKGROUNDS CHECKED, to see what they may have had Covered Up in times past and have it all Exposed as well. Judges at all levels-Including The Supreme Court-should also be in the same group too. I will wager that; at least a Quarter of them all will have something brought out they never wanted known or made record, and that will change A LOT of things around The Country then. It’s time we fought them with their own Political Weapons and Rule of Law. Hold THEM ALL up to the exact same Accountability WE have to be held at. Look. They’re People too. They’re NOT Gods. They’re just plain Human Beings…LIKE WE ARE!
      Nuff Said!

    • #83080 Reply
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      Jamba

      HnH ,
      They don’t care how much it costs . They just printed an obscene amount of money to refill the coffers of the most abusive agencies. They will never run out of money , we will .
      My alleged crime happened before any of this emotional hysteria began . I understand English and have read he constitution. I was sure these UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws would quickly be slapped down by SCOTUS . That was 30 + years ago . Boy was I wrong . We live in a post constitutional world where judges not legislators make law , and the constitution matters not .

    • #83086 Reply
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      JJJJ

      I am so glad to hear you speaking of “troops” and “war” and “battles” and “skirmishes”.
      This is, indeed, a war (that we did not start).
      To be clear: I am not advocating militancy.
      I AM advocating boldness! (And glad to finally see it! — W.omen A.gainst R.egistry gets it!)

      Also, let us stop seeking to remove people from the registry. There is strength in numbers, and we erode our numbers through half measures!
      Let us END this nonsense registry (for all)!!

    • #83081 Reply
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      Joseph F Nusbaum

      In Lackawanna County, Scranton Pennsylvania, those who are on parole vhave to take group counseling and I personally believe that the group counselor is violating our faith amendment by forcing us to take polygraph. First is paid by the state( over $800): if we fail, we have to pay $400. And then take it every year with that we pay the 400. The questions are mostly about things we were never acquitted of or have been in some form of sexual misconduct to others. If we do not participate we can be in violation of uncooperative to the program. That could be 6 months in County jail. The counselor constantly badgering a new convicts. We are to seek help but are afraid to even say anything in fears of incarceration. I do not know of any being arrested for not participating but I do know we go through a lot of convicts and have no idea what happens to them for we are not even allowed ( or not suppose to communicate with one another. ) . How does one in this situation find a mentor?

    • #83084 Reply
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      Sharon Long

      My son is on the registry for life because he saw some pictures on the internet. He did not take these pictures, buy them, know any of the people in the pictures nor did he know the person or persons that posted them. He just saw them when the FBI was monitoring two other people in another city and they say that my son had logged into the same area they were monitoring. Because we could not afford a good attorney, the one we did hire did nothing to help my son at all. In fact, in all the court appearances we made, this attorney said absolutely nothing except to announce to the judge that his name was xxx and he was representing my son. He never one time objected to anything the prosecutor said about my son. We gave this attorney letters from friends and relatives regarding my son’s reputation and how he was around young children ( we have a big family) – the attorney assured me the judge would be given these letters – he did not give the judge one letter.
      My son ended up with a 8 1/2 years sentence in federal prison, 15 years on parole and lifetime registry as a sex offender. My son had a clean record, was an honorably discharged USMC, with a 40% service connected injury from a training accident. He had not even had a traffic ticket in over 20 years.
      Now my son has to go to “therapy” once a week until he is off parole – another almost 13 years. He also just got a new parole officer who has decided my son needs to see a psychiatrist twice a month because my son had said at one time he felt suicidal ( three years ago) because he does not see any kind of a future. He lives with me because he cannot get a job, cannot live in certain areas, restrictions apply to movie theaters, parks, etc…He cannot even drive due to his disability so he sees no kind of future. Since he is living with me now he has not seemed so depressed as he was living in a half-way house and on the street. The VA has helped him as much as they can but he has been turned down for every job he has applied for because of his conviction, not because of his qualifications. He isn’t allowed to have a cell phone or use a computer which really restricts him from applying for many jobs he could do.
      So my son sees his sentence as a life-time sentence, not “just” because of the registry. His conviction states his conviction is a non-contact conviction. But here in CA apparently it doesn’t matter if it is a no-contact conviction or a rape conviction, you have the same label.
      We both are very tired of hearing all about “justice” when it is plain that my son did not get justice. His attorney said my son could appeal his conviction after being sentenced. When he finally agreed to take a plea the judge accepted that plea then told my son he would NEVER be able to appeal it. There are many more instances of the attorney lying to us but he got away with it and still we had to pay for his (lack) of service for us.

      • #83096 Reply
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        JJJJ

        I’m so sorry for your family tragedy!

        • #83145 Reply
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          Dan West

          I feel for your son. in 1998 I was charged ( Never convicted) I did take a plea bargain on the advise of my attorney as he stated ” it doesn’t matter if you are guilty or not, in this county you’ll be convicted if it goes to trial” so 6 years of probation and what was supposed to be 10 years registration. The State changed the law and now I’m a lifetime registrant. It is very hard to find jobs and sometimes when you get them you have to hide still since people love to look up to see if you are on a registration. Tell him to keep his head up and keep fighting for himself. I know have a decent job and am doing okay but remind him daily that the registration isn’t what he is it is a label that was placed upon him.

      • #83160 Reply
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        Gerald

        Sharon,

        Your son has hope, I do believe this whole registry will eventually be rid. I’m 95 years old and a Navy veteran in both WW II and the Korean War, I thank your son for his service to our country. I honestly tell my grandson everyday that giving up is not an option. I do admit I have seen many descriptions my grandson has told me about what happens when he attempts to find a lawyer to fight for his rights. Lawyers do not call him back that specialize in appellate law and even when I have written them they do not reply. I’m beginning to think a good appellate lawyer is harder to find than a needle in a haystack. I do have hope to live to 100 so maybe in that time we can get someone to help my grandson so I can see some of his rights restored if not all. I want to see what he can do to help those on the registry after he can get his career growing again. So I do have hope and I hope you continue to have hope for your son and his ability to overcome this. It may take time but it is possible. Thank you for your time.

    • #83093 Reply
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      Noel Brown

      I want to thank everyone who is fighting for our civil rights. I am fortunate that the county I live in has professional officers who do not screw around and are helpful. I am a caregiver for my father and that may help too but without skillful lawyers to help us we are lost in court. I do donate monthly to Illinois voices for reform.

    • #83097 Reply
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      mut

      the original draft of the habeas act of 1867 extended the writ to slaves and those in involuntary servitude. the final draft expanded the writs availability to anyone restrained of their liberty.

    • #83098 Reply
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      mut

      the three types of servitude are: easements, covenants. and profits. when against a person, not as punishment for crime, servitude is unlawful if involuntary.

    • #83099 Reply
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      mut

      if i created a scheme that allowed me to exploit a neighbor to the tune of 200k per year, as sorna has done to thousands, i would have been back in prison like day before yesterday.

    • #83105 Reply
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      mut

      is sorna gender bias?

      a fear of great bodily is required to negate a Defendants consent while that fear is not needed to establish a Victim of sexual assault and only one is required to labor as a registrant subsequent to conviction.

    • #83159 Reply
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      Gerald

      I just got done posting on the article for Kathleen Hambrick requesting those part of stings to do a survey on the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offender Laws website. I loved this article when I looked on Narsol’s website “Fighting to Win” because I’m glad to see more progress than defeat. Nice work Robin and Sandy pointing out the pushes by all groups involved in each state. Although my grandson told me he did not have as promising a conversation with Adele Nichols when he contacted her (just to note at that time he also did not have all the information about what had been done to him in the guise of legal use of statutes so she was confused by what exactly he wanted to proceed with in court), I personally believe Ms. Nichols’ work is less driven in individual cases and better served in class action cases from all I have read and the way my grandson’s conversation with her went.
      Well needless to say I’ve been finding dead ends in getting a lawyer for my grandson to fight the registry trip chord that was triggered on him here in Illinois. Why am I bringing that up, honestly I’m just hoping someone can recommend an appellate attorney worthy to fight what was done to my grandson. I contacted 3 attorneys in Chicago and none wrote me back so I had my grandson contact 2 of them and none called him back. I even wrote an ACLU member and hoped that after explaining how what was done to my grandson was both illegal application of the law and possibly was done to others. Still to no avail there was no response.
      I think it’s beautiful to see so much being done against such practices, I’m just hoping before I leave this world because I am 95 that I can see my grandson live a somewhat normal life again.
      Thank you to NARSOL and all that are fighting this legal oppression of inalienable rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution. Remember you cannot serve 2 Gods, one side is wrong so even if these right restrictions barely effect some, eventually those rights will be taken entirely when considered to be trivial. So we (family and those on this state and national registry) must be focused on stopping this registry from growing in power and taking away guaranteed rights by the Constitution of the United States to every citizen and soon to be citizens.

    • #83195 Reply
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      WC_TN

      It’s very infuriating that the Supreme Court effectively upheld the idea that in child sexual abuse cases by denying cert. in the case where NARSOL filed an amicus curiae brief, the burden is on the defendant to prove innocence; not the state to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. That snub has just upended the totality of American jurisprudence. We have got to get off our butts and get more organized and be heard more loudly, otherwise, every right we ever thought we had will be wiped away by a thousand legislative cuts and millions more judicially dishonest rulings. You’d think conservatives would have greater respect for the letter of the law as it has been applied since this nation’s birth, BUT NO! They’d rather see 1000 innocent men rot in prison and have their lives destroyed by the registry than1 guilty party go free.

      A long while back, Dr. Phil said on his show that a false positive is always better than a false negative when it comes to child sexual abuse.

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