NARSOL quoted in analysis of recent Colorado Supreme Ct. ruling

By Michael Karlik . . .  Although the Colorado Supreme Court insisted its ruling applied narrowly, advocates for defendants believe the justices have laid a foundation for challenging the constitutionality of the state’s sex offender registration laws more broadly.

On Monday, the Court decided by 6-1 that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment for Colorado to require repeat juvenile sex offenders to register for life on the sex offender registry without possibility of removal. Justice Monica M. Márquez, writing for the majority, found one overriding principle that guided the determination.

“[A] wealth of social science and jurisprudence confirms what common sense suggests: Juveniles are different,” she noted. . . .

Within the majority’s rationale for striking down the mandatory lifetime registration for children, however, some saw hope for challenging the constitutionality of similar requirements for other populations.

“I would not be at all surprised if, at some point in the relatively near future, someone argues that adult lifetime sex offender registry is punishment etc., and cites this opinion’s reasoning in support,” said Ian P. Farrell, a constitutional and criminal law professor at the University of Denver. . . .

Márquez made it clear that the Court was not speaking to the constitutionality of lifetime registration for adults, nor was it casting judgment on the practice of registering children in the first place. However, Johnson [attorney for the minor who brought this case] and other attorneys believed the Court’s majority had presented a decent argument for striking down mandatory lifetime registration for other groups of people, if not for everyone. . . .

One passage in particular appeared to support the notion that the effects of mandatory lifetime registration amount to punishment universally.

“In sum,” Márquez wrote, “mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for juveniles imposes affirmative disabilities and restraints; resembles traditional shame-based punishments; promotes deterrence and retribution; applies only to criminal offenses; and does not bear a rational relationship to — and is excessive in light of — its nonpunitive purposes.”

Sandy Rozek of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws said, in reviewing the Court’s opinion, that the “. . . reasons given for juveniles regarding lifetime registration apply to adults also. The registry, whether applied to juveniles or adults, creates conditions which inhibit successful rehabilitation and is therefore against the best interest of society.”

Read the full piece here at Colorado Politics.

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7 Thoughts to “NARSOL quoted in analysis of recent Colorado Supreme Ct. ruling”

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  1. Perry P.

    I couldn’t agree more. I hope it goes For Everyone on Lifetime Registry.
    Nuff Said!

    1. CherokeeJack

      For all I agree. But especially for those of us who were applied retroactively. There was no registry when my incident took place, nor when I was arrested, and not when I was sentenced.
      Myself and many others never got the opportunity others later on got to do. And that is to be able to plea deal based on being put on the registry. How is that “Fair and just” sentencing? The courts can agrue it is not the judges fault because they didn’t have a registry to base things on. But how is it our fault that we cannot do anything about the retroactive application of the so called “non” punishment ?

  2. Yepyouridiots

    It’s not just that but they keep applying retroactive rules and they heap them up. It’s hypocrisy and cruelty. It doesn’t make people safer if somebody care to do something wrong it would happen anyway.
    It’s a slippery slope in this country’s already slid down to the bottom so it either it’s a slow descent into mediocracy or it’ll be a fast crash, we’ll see soon enough.

  3. Thomas

    If one can move into a lifetime registration simply by “moving” into another state, I’d call that cruel and unusual punishment as well. Convicted in 1998 in Michigan, attempted CSC 4th. Required by Michigan to register for 25 years. Move to another state, they say nope, we don’t have that charge or class here. You are required to register for life here. And in the case of Florida, you can’t even move away from there registry.

    People do realize these show up on background checks right? The registration without regard to how long it’s been in the past. Lifetime ding on it. And the Sherriff’s Office in Wilcox County Georgia, calls any potential employer to verify they are hiring you. So if they don’t get the comprehensive package to get the sex offender check, they get a call from police stating they are hiring a sex offender, and are they sure basically that they want to.

    How does this not violate the 8th, or constitute slander.

  4. Joyce M Lowery

    AMEN! It needs to change for everyone!

  5. Emma Greer

    If the Registry is unconstitutional in
    Some States and not unconstitutional for the rest of the United States. What is really going on? I’m lost in this Corrupt World.

    1. Sandy

      Emma, the establishment of its registry and the construction of the laws governing that registry is left to each state. It is confusing. All the federal government did was require each state to establish a registry. They cannot dictate how that registry is carried out. It’s called states rights, and that is a very important part of our heritage. The Adam Walsh Act is an attempt to equalize the registry across all states, but it wouldn’t because many states have laws and restrictions much stricter than what the AWA puts forth, and they wouldn’t scale those back even if states were forced to all accept AWA. At this point, only 15 states are AWA compliant.