New publication finds sex offender registry driven by animus.

No similar regime has ever been imposed on any other group of law-abiding former felons who have fully served the sentence for the crime they committed years earlier.”

By Dr. Ira Ellman . . . In Romer v. Evans the Court drew a constitutional distinction between civil laws enacted for a broad public purpose that justifies “the incidental disadvantages they impose on certain persons,” and laws that have “the peculiar property of imposing a broad and undifferentiated disability on a single named group.” Laws of the second kind “raise the inevitable inference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected.” The difficulty lies in deciding when the inference properly becomes a conclusion that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause. The more sweeping and unusual the burdens imposed on the targeted group, the more difficult it may be to discern a common policy explaining them other than the forbidden purpose of harming their targets. At some point the animus inference may be strong enough to require scrutiny of the laws’ purported rationale, including whether it has any actual basis in fact.

An astonishingly broad array of burdens are imposed today on anyone ever convicted of almost any sexual offense of any kind or seriousness, including but extending far beyond their simple inclusion in publicized websites listing “sex offenders.” No similar regime has ever been imposed on any other group of law-abiding former felons who have fully served the sentence for the crime they committed years earlier. This “registry regime” raises as strong an inference of animus as there was in any of the four cases in which the Court sustained such claims, and the claim that it is justified by the clearly valid purpose of reducing the incidence of sexual offending does not survive the scrutiny of scientific studies which find the registry ineffective and often counterproductive. Nor does the fact that many sexual offenses are never reported to law enforcement authorities cast any doubt on the validity of those studies or on the legal or policy analyses relying on them. Much of the registry regime must therefore fall under an Anti-Animus principle.

The full paper may be accessed, without charge, here.

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    • #82797 Reply
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      Gerald

      This was a really good paper. The goals of registry as most may already know are not as cut and dry as implied. The quandary and examples given demonstrate the facts already known that the scheme has become more of a societal servitude of recognized accepted mistreatment of fellow human beings. No matter how it’s painted the registry goes beyond the rule of law from which it was made and I hope that this paper draws attention to that precedent. Although as pointed out many legislators and law makers are keenly aware of that already. The thing I liked most was the paper is that the author asked one to take a step back and look at the registry and it’s requirements outside the box of it’s focus (not pertaining to sex offenders but any legally prosecuted crime). For example robbery, theft, forgery, assault, battery, conspiracy, attempted murder, murder and so on. Really made me think of how so many of these crimes are repeated by some that commit them but are not subject to registry requirements in all states but sexually based offenses are. I hope these revisions are considered but still the stigma will endure because of the point that the paper brings out, the unreported instances. The people that carry those unreported incidents that they haven’t acknowledged but buried deep inside them because of the anger it ignites is why this perpetuates continually. Even in our society today I find when I turn on the news someone was forced to prostitute or do some horrible thing and yes someone is charged, but how many others did not say something about that individual for fear or even worry that they (the victim) might seem less all together in her or his faculties.
      The sad part is that even as much as it is acceptable for a person to say they were a victim in our society, many don’t want that attention and choose to remain silent because the fact of acknowledging a weakness might be or bring another fear in itself up. So these same victims find it easier and more empowering to support the eradication of fundamental rights beyond reason, but it’s understandable given to a degree what is carried by the unknown victim. I hope change is possible but this paper points out hard truths in it as well.

      • #82935 Reply
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        Chris

        I lost the best job I ever had two days ago entirely because of the registry.

        I was convicted of a non-violent, non-contact offense in 2005. I served my sentence, attended and participated in post-release treatment, and successfully completed my parole. I have not committed another offense since my release.

        When interviewing for my late job, I fully disclosed my conviction (a condition of my supervision at the time), describing my charges, what had happened, and the changes I had made in my life to ensure nothing of the kind would ever again occur. The manager agreed that everyone deserves a shot at redemption and hired me. I worked my tail off to validate that trust.

        Two weeks ago, a coworker saw my name on the registry and went to my store’s manager with concerns. Despite absolutely no negative incidents during my tenure, despite the fact that I had not kept my registry status a secret from the company, and despite an exemplary work record, I was summarily dismissed.

        I absolutely believe that some sexual offenders need to be monitored- some for life- but that is the role of law enforcement, not an uninformed public whose knowledge comes entirely from their own tragic experiences as a victim (which hardly lends towards objectivity), or from dialogue spoken by Mariska Hargitay on a sensational, fictional TV show.

        A public sex offender registry does very little public good, and incalculable harm. It needs to be either completely overhauled, or abolished outright.

    • #82800 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      NARSOL,
      I am wondering about my post. It seems to have gone away. Perhaps my pointing to a certain influential group is at fault. The facts is Mr. Rehnquist, Ms. O’Connor, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Scalia, and Mr. Thomas all upheld the States use of forbidden language and applied criminal law. An unregulated Congress is the most dangerous thing for the stability of a nation a free people. That our Congresses have been unregulated is also apparent in our National debt structure. We are only left with a police state.

    • #82811 Reply
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      Delaine

      I see one glaring mistake with this paper. It keeps stating that it effects people who have been convicted of a sex offense. My husband was not convicted or adjudicated but still has to abide to all of the registry requirements. The entire registry and the restrictions placed on these people is wrong in so many ways. It needs to go!

    • #82868 Reply
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      spider

      Take the tax payer money and find a use for it. Take more tax payer money and keep getting reelected based on that use. That’s all this is. Great job Kalifornia. You’ve shown the rest of the country how to exploit democracy, how to elude the separation of powers, and even how to corrupt health care. So the question is, when they come after you will they use their guns? Will they use their bombs? Or will they find a way to do it all right under your nose instead. Don’t trust your Obama-care doctor, especially now. 2008 was a good year for democrats. 2020…

    • #82911 Reply
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      TS Rohnevarg

      It should be well-noted, that history will look back on this registration scheme with the same horror that we look back on slavery, Jim Crow, German anti-Jewish laws, miscegenation laws, abortion and Covid Con edicts for the abhorrent and obscene violations of a free people that they are. Sadly, those who constitute that history are the ones who bear it that others may learn from it.

    • #82912 Reply
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      TS Rohnevarg

      Strangely, but not surprisingly, the author continues to repeat what should be a glaring fallacy that only perpetuates the very irrational scheme he is attempting to refute, i.e., the use of the term sex ‘offender.’ In English, the noun ending in ‘er’ is formed from the verb in the present tense. A present tense verb is a verb in “a tense expressing an action that is currently going on or habitually performed, or a state that currently or generally exists.”’ Adding “er” to a verb forms a noun with the meaning “a person or thing that does something”; “Does” is the third person conjugation of the present tense verb “to do.”

      THEREFORE, an ‘offender’ defines one who is PRESENTLY offending or generally offends, i.e., an habitual characterization, someone who can be generally characterized as offending. For example: builder, farmer, baker… The construction applies equally to terms such as sex ‘offender.’ To assert that one is a ‘sex offendER’ is, unless provably true, bald slander asserting that such individual is habitually in the practice of committing ‘sex offensES.’

      Accordingly, to define one who was previously convicted of a so-called ‘sex offense’ as a sex ‘offender,’ is to assert, falsely, that this individual is presently committing such crime or habitually commits such crimes. This only perpetuates the myth that registrants are perpetually dangerous, perpetually looking to commit more crimes. The term must be eliminated from any discussion and denounced whenever used. It is as false and offensive as terms like “I got ‘jewed’ by the car salesman,” or “gyped,” are offensive to Jews and Gypsies.

    • #82913 Reply
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      Thomas

      Simply put, the sex offender registry is a human rights violation. The US claims to be free but enacts the same type of policies that Hitler did during WW2. You have a sub class of human that must sign a tracking registry which is a list of deplorable humans that are detested by the rest of the world. You restrict there travel, allow the registry to be used as a tool to deny employment, make them carry an identifying license plate or license, and change the rules they must follow any time they move to another area(state).

      Being denied access to normal services makes your life difficult, because you “can” be asked to leave any establishment simply because your on the registry. Groups like Facebook, Twatter, Instagram have already proven that “any” business can get away with it. The YMCA also has a policy of no sex offenders allowed as well.

      It was declared in Michigan that such rule changes and changing of the registration time requirement was imposing additional punishment, and unconstitutional. They have since rewrote it, but didn’t change it very much.

      States like Georgia and Florida simply don’t care. They impose these changes anyway. Both states are lifetime registration states, and require you to follow there time requirements, not the state that you offended in. The law is simple in Georgia, if you are required to register anywhere else, you must register here. They don’t require anyone convicted of a misdemeanor in state to register, but if you move to another state and then back, that triggers your requirement. Florida does not even allow you off there registry when you move out of state.

      In some instances capital punishment is more humane than the public sex offender registries. I was convicted of a misdemeanor charge (attempt CSC4th) in 1998, in Michigan. We were 1 year too many to be a romeo and juliet case. The requirement for registration was for 25 years at the time. I might qualify under Georgia’s, “it’s been over 10 years so I can petition for relief”, but getting an attorney to take me up has been a challenge. So far all my contact requests have been ignored. And the lady who works at the Wilcox County Po-Po(Sheriff’s) office keeps telling me I can only get relief here if Michigan allows it. I already had one attorney tell me she was wrong. Not to mention the states website contradicts her statement.

      I have also been warned (more like threatened) several times if I mess up they don’t play around here, and a warrant will be issued for my arrest. Reminds me of the night when the lights went out in Georgia(song).

    • #82918 Reply
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      Perry

      I have to feel for Delaine and her Husband. There’s too many others who have NEVER BEEN CONVICTED. Yet, just on the basis of being Arrested and Charged-even if thrown out of Court-they STILL end up having to Register any damn way. As for The Supreme Court Justices who uphold this Inhumane Scheme, once again you’ve got to recall that it’s still all about THE MONEY. Federal and State Legislators for the most part, do not and will not give a damn about how the impacts of The Registry are on many Families and the Children within them, again, AS LONG AS IT ISN’T THEIRS! Remember; they don’t care how many kids end up committing Suicide, just to avoid and escape constant harassment and bullying as well as outright death threats from other kids over a Parent or Step-Parent being accused of a Sex Offense. Once again; when more than enough people end up on this thing, you can bet for sure, THERE WILL BE SOME KIND OF FLASHBACK. It will be so Loud, that it will become in all likelihood, the very final straw that creates the tearing apart of this Country no one wants!!
      Nuff Said!

    • #82920 Reply
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      Phil

      This is the one main point why our criminal justice system needs to be torn down & restarted in a dramatic way.

      NOT THE POLICE.

      our criminal justice system has far too much power & far too many criminal codes which they wield at the expense of just normal everyday people. All driven by the media hype & fear mongering even with decades of evidence / research publications specifically stating the media hype & personal opinions are absolutely false…

      Yet laws are passed based on opinion, not facts.

      • #82982 Reply
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        truthisdarkness

        Apathy, corruption, mob rule, and entrenched politicians. They create what they hate, they hate what they create. It’s a vicious cycle.

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