What would we ask the President?

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NARSOL frequently gets letters with questions in response to Digest pieces. Larry chooses some for the Legal Corner, and we answer as we are able those that adhere to the letter-writing guidelines. This letter-writer asks two questions in response to “NARSOL asks administration to use them as resource,” which also appeared in the Digest. This is our answer, written by Sandy and Larry.

You ask two questions: What is our overall goal and what would we ask of the current – or any – administration if we could sit face to face with the President.

The answers are not the same.

Our overall goal is expressed in our vision statement found on our website: NARSOL envisions a society free from public shaming, dehumanizing registries, discrimination, and unconstitutional laws. So that is our overall goal, to rid society of dehumanizing registries, discrimination, and laws that are in opposition to principles stated in the Constitution.

But if we could sit face to face with the President? That would be a much more complex conversation.

We would first let him know that we understand, though many do not, that some of what we will ask of him is not in his power to grant because much of what makes our advocacy necessary is the result of state laws. Having said that, we do recognize that the President does have a bully pulpit and he can provide leadership which can offer political cover for elected officials in the various states who are inclined to make positive reforms.

We would convey to the President that the entire registry scheme itself should be abolished. NARSOL believes that persons who commit sexual crimes should be treated the same as those who commit other crimes; that when their sentences are complete, they are done; that those who never reoffend drop off of law enforcement’s radar after a few years; and that those who do reoffend are given appropriate sentences and supervision when released.

We would then explain our advocacy and why we advocate as we do. We would emphasize that creating a class of sub-citizens who are prohibited by law from participating in a full, American life is not inducive to public safety nor in society’s best interest.

We would fully expect his agreement with that, so then we would ask his bold leadership to accomplish these goals:

  • End carve-outs that deny benefits or opportunities to those with sexual crime convictions who are otherwise eligible and deny “good-time” or other initiatives connected with the criminal justice system and incarceration.
  • Reform the federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA) so that no state is required to have lifetime registration for Tier III offenders in order to be deemed substantially compliant by the federal government.
  • Reform the AWA so that everyone registered as a Tier I or Tier II would automatically be dropped from the registry after ten years without a reoffense.
  • Reform the AWA so that all registrant information be removed from public view and public dissemination.
  • Officially encourage research and study of the intersection between sexual crime and the intellectually and developmentally disabled.
  • Provide leadership in fostering an environment where state leadership will be able to accomplish these goals:
    1. End restrictions that apply only to registrants and no one else, restrictions such as residency, proximity, Halloween, local and state “carve-outs,” and any others that fit the category.
    2. Discourage the practice of charging juveniles in adult court for sexual crimes committed while minors.
    3. Discourage the practice of charging/punishing probation and registry infractions as sexual crimes.

We would be grateful for any step accomplished towards our long-range goal because we will be helping some with each step along the way.

But we will not be satisfied until all are accomplished and the registry scheme itself, an ill-begotten and worse-imposed malignancy, is annihilated.

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12 Thoughts to “What would we ask the President?”

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  1. Anne Thompson

    I would be happy if minimally all the state laws were the same. Navigating each state is a nightmare.

  2. H n H

    I’d say a good start to reform is for parole to not exceed 1/2 the amount of time a person spent being incarcerated, regardless the crime. 10 yrs in, 5 yrs parole. And the registry and anything that could replace it being outlawed as anything would only exploit the individual further.

  3. Tim in WI

    I’ll state it again. This fight has always been far more about the database than the violent man. If a state can enslave citizens, then what limit is on the higher authorities with respect to individual liberty and the database driven infrastructure use? Talk about GAIN OF FUNCTION research in COVID-19a-d, no different in the case of developing SOR. Really!

    AND while the purveyors of truth pointed to it’s ” mainly administrative nature” it is nonetheless a plain abrigmemeent. The characterization as mainly administrative accurately describes the general day to day duties and obligations of higher courts and it constitutes the bulk of their what?…..LABOR!

  4. d

    I would just tell him what its like to be on the registry, and remind him this could be your son someday.

  5. Edward Easton

    Should be a NARSOL priority project to get this in front of every state legislature in the nation as well as the Federal Congress.

  6. The truth

    Why advocate for only tier 1 & 2 to fall off? As you know, one can be classified as tier 3 based of the alleged victims age alone, not that they did anything any worse than anyone else, not to mention some states even give tier 3 for cp. I myself am listed as tier 3 yet have been put now for nearly 14 years, am married, have young children of my own, and raised step children, yet somehow I’m dangerous, deserving of lifetime registration?

  7. mut

    mr president:
    would you retaliate against me if i sued you under 18 usc 1595?

  8. Brandon

    One of my questions would be if something is civil how come the penalties are severe. Trying to figure out the laws in all 50 states and even in state is like walking through a mind field blindfolded. Resources should be used to actually help people succeed regardless of what’s in their past.

    1. mut

      i think congress was ineptly concerned only with retroactivity and denominated the AWA a civil regulation in order to get around the expost facto clause and did so without ever considering the 13th amendment ban on civil servitude.

  9. mut

    Nevada imposed a “duty” on (1) the criminal history repository, (2) the department of prisons, (3) local law enforcement and (4) certain convicted persons. the word “duty” appears some 43 times in AB579. everyone here is well compensated for their services except the convicted person which is subornation — punishment per se — the substance of which should be evaluated in pari materia:
    being forced from ones home or immediate vicinity (to appear at a registration facility) is a 4th amendment seizure under e.g. Terry and Peyton (as indistingushable from an arrest) that usually results in damages if without a warrant, probable cause or exigent circunstance. the only other government power to intrude on the life of a citizen i am aware of is its subpoena power where a citizen need not respond unless his fees and costs of appearance are advanced to him, which is the civil way of conducting business in america. so here again, is subornation, ultimately for the luxury of others.
    so when a judge says registration is not punishment (civil or criminal) or even burdensome he simply is not in touch with reality.

    imo.

  10. mut

    obamacare litigation makes it clear to me that “regulation” of commerce does not include forcing people to perform the act of buying insurance.

  11. Kevin

    Require states, like Alaska, to follow the Due Process Notice in the Offense, instead of giving the notice it is a “class C felony” and then allowing them to punish it as an Unclassified, just because its a sex offense.
    Also why does the Government not step in and prevent states from knowingly using Mandatory Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines, like AK does, which has been outlaws by US V Booker, for over 15 years???
    Why does the federal government turn a Blind Eye when the states knowingly and willfully violate the Law of the Land, and make a mockery of the Constitution, which sadly includes all those whom have fought and died to protect the Consitution????