U.S. judge in Tennessee orders men removed from sex offense registry citing “retroactive punishment”

By Ayumi Davis . . . U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ordered the removal of eight men from the sex offender registry to end their retroactive punishments.

“Tennessee officials continue to flout the Constitution’s guarantees,” Trauger wrote in her ruling Friday. “The federal district courts of this state have repeatedly concluded that the same analysis applies … to Tennessee’s own, very similar scheme and policies. Tennessee officials have continued to impose the state’s repeatedly-held-to-be-unlawful policy on other, similarly situated individuals” despite rulings, she said.

Governments are prohibited from giving more punishment for a crime that was committed previously under the Ex Post Facto of the U.S. Constitution clause, according to The Associated Press. A judge must decide that the law being implemented retroactively is penal to find a clause violation. Trauger said the violation doesn’t depend on the plaintiffs’ hardship, but rather the punitive nature of the law.

Trauger also cited an April ruling where another federal judge in the Middle District of Tennessee ruled that two men should be removed from the sex offender registry. The judge determined enforcing laws created after the committed crimes were unconstitutional.

Read the remainder of the piece here at Newsweek.

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9 Thoughts to “U.S. judge in Tennessee orders men removed from sex offense registry citing “retroactive punishment””

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  1. Tim in WI

    The punitive nature inherent in all forms of indentured servitude as described by the 13th Amendment. There is nothing new about forced property maintenance as it resembles slavery. And while the commitment to the DOC isn’t in of itself punitive ( per Smith V Doe) the compelled presence and upkeep of states property is. Clearly there are some who believe database properties shouldn’t have to abide by the rules established to protect the people from their misuse. Even China has began to shut them down big time for the danger they present to sovereignty.

  2. Jeremy from Indiana

    I’m still trying to find where “a compelling government interest” exists in the constitution as a “test” to ignore our rights enshrined by that same document.

    In most, if not all, of these cases, the judges who write the opinions always cite those words when deciding if an affirmative disability or restraint on an individual’s rights meets the standard of “punitive.” They always go by the “intent” of the law and then if the intent is determined to be civil, they ask: “Is there a compelling government interest that outweighs the individual’s rights?” Um, what? I fail to see this authorized anywhere in the constitution. My rights always trump the government’s.

    1. Ed C

      Although the Constitution does not specifically authorize many things, the “necessary and proper” clause is often used to legitimize statutes. That provision is ambiguous enough to give Congress and the courts ample wiggle room. Over 200 years, the courts have defined the contours of that and other provisions in the Constitution. My personal favorite judicial thread to hate is the interpretation of the “commerce clause”, which was originally intended to allow the feds to settle commercial disputes between the states. It is now used to give the feds jurisdiction over nearly every human activity.

      Veritas.

    2. Tim in WI

      With the exception of a signed standard waiver of civil rights in the hands of the state, Yes. Citizens are considered sovereign in of themselves and personal volition, and importantly why the people (states) via their representative elected seek ” to prevent attack upon persons and the causes their of… ” (Sec 301.01 here). Thus detailing manifest intent sufficient to qualify as civil action rather than punitive action through imposing affirmative restraint. In short, the people reasonably act in their own interest of the people’s sovereignty as a whole. Re:publica! Fact is, even in prison, individuals sovereignty is protected from attack some, albeit not as protected as the general citizens. This question of punitive as to state’s sex crimes database registry mainly rests in the interpretation of property law, as virtually all law has manifested upon the advent of law itself! It is hard to imagine oneself as “property of” anyone. That is the lot of slaves. And registered people are indeed being punished by the same means. Fortunately, we live in the ratified world, and trial rights are still available to every man, even in the context of FTR.
      The good news is the heat is rising in the processor of the big tech sector as the amplified name calling retoric and identity politics reaches fever pitch. The Rehnquist court could have rejected state sponsored online name calling, but chose not to. Why wouldn’t the people follow?

  3. Perry P.

    At least THIS JUDGE, got it right.

  4. Larry T

    I believe that the statement about continuing punishment should be put in BOLD CAPITOL LETTERS. Up till now the courts have said that the registry is not an ongoing punishment, but is an administrative action.
    We all know that this is is a steaming pile of cow dung and that it isn’t just a punishment but a form of imprisonment as it restricts a person’s ability to thrive. It effects all known associates.
    The registry is by common law a public punishment and it places us and our associates in the public stocks in the town square.
    I lost my wife and family, not because of the crime but of the public stigma that the system creates. I am aware that every one on the registries across this country know and realize that we are serving a life sentence without any chance of parole. We will never even get a hearing. We can’t hire a lawyer to even look at our cases. Those lawyers that will look are so expensive that we offenders who can’t get good paying jobs, and live in tent towns are unable to afford them. I called one who said he handled sex offence cases said that he would need a $250,000 retainer just to take a look at it. I called the public Defenders Office and they don’t get involved in post conviction proceedings.
    We have been convicted, imprisoned, and thrown away like so much refuse.
    I find no justice, but I do find a lot of just us.
    I will probably not get this published, but I will say this one more time. We live in a nation that like the military industrial complex, makes money on the prison industrial complex.
    We are a commodity.
    If you follow the bouncing buck, you will see why the US has only 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated and 50% of the world’s lawyers.
    There is money in crime fore the law makers and their ilk.
    Merry Christmas yeall.

    1. H n H

      I agree with you 1000%. The legislatures don’t care how much this all destroys people. And people lump all sex offenders into the same group… that we’re all pedophiles ready to rape anyone anywhere at anytime and the only thing keeping society safe is the registry. I did catch Geraldo Rivera on Fox the other day talking about Geslain Maxwell. He made the statement “I don’t know how anyone could be a sex offender and NOT be a pedophile”. This is the stigma everyone has, and the media promulgates. Being on the registry, I step back and take a long hard look at the entire mess of sex “laws”, consent, arousal and everything in between and the messy situations where no intent may have been involved, but body part A touched B, and we’re gonna make that the crime worthy of everything short of death. What I see is an issue that will never go away as ALL people are human. Everyone has skeletons in their closets. Whether they’re ever found out or not is the question. If they are, they’re shunned. If not, then they can be the person shunning whilst hiding their own proclivities and being the moral superior everyone else can lift up as they hide their own secrets…. and it goes on and on. Wonder what secrets ole Ron Book has hidden away?

    2. Tim in WI

      Please explain how the use of the word “Administrative” function proves a non-punitive civil intent NOT to impose “affirmative restraint or disability” by “a new means.” The new means of course referring to specific government use of the electronic SOR database! There wasn’t actually any thing new about indenture of a duly convicted criminal to property and maintenance. Labor is labor and naturally this includes administrative labor along with the necessary ” contemplation ” that belongs side by side with what makes up the human wear and tear from labor. Almost the whole of judicial work itself is Administrative. And they are paid well for those administrative duties. Either free men are paid to maintain machines or they are not. Judges in Doe03 suggest sex offenders should not be paid, as they are, for their labor and should give a large amounts of information to the states database at their own expense and potential peril.
      The basic proposition denies these various iterations of said database machine ARE PROPERTY at ALL! State properties are DOC or DPS properties, like prisons, jails, institutions etc. All require necessary demands for upkeep! All then, must be treated as such whereby commitment come by due processes in courts. Some registrants had already signed waivers at the time of their conviction but some had not. The difference between the two is enormous, but no larger than the difference between the people having a database infrastructure and enslaving the people to its “necessary maintenance” for the sake of the people’s convenience.

  5. mut

    i dont believe plea bargaining for 2 or 3 years imprisonment when facing 15 or 20 years imprisonment following a trial can produce a valid consent to ….. labour for others luxury.