Lawsuit filed over ordinance in Apple Valley, Minnesota

By Chris Serres In a federal class action lawsuit filed Wednesday, three sex offenders seek an injunction preventing the city of Apple Valley from enforcing the ordinance, which prohibits people convicted of certain sex offenses from living within 1,500 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, churches and child care centers. The ordinance is so extensive that more than 90% of the…

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Gov. Cuomo’s Social Media Proposal Does Not Make Those Sites Safer

By Guy Hamilton Smith . . . Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a legislative proposal billed as a way to “prevent convicted sex offenders from using social media accounts, dating apps and video game chat functions to exploit children.” But Cuomo’s proposal would do little to stop sexual harm on these platforms—and would most likely undermine public safety…

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The importance of Gundy v. U.S.

By Peter J. Wallison . . . Gundy v. United States is not listed in most media accounts of important matters now before the Supreme Court, yet this case could profoundly change how courts intervene to preserve the constitutional separation of powers in the future. Involving just one individual petitioner, Herman Avery Gundy, and only one issue — how to interpret…

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“Routine compliance checks” are anything but

By Michael McKay . . . What would you do if you answered a knock at your door and were greeted by eight police officers and a television camera crew at your front doorstep?  Chances are, it’s not an occurrence that you would characterize as “routine,” even less so if you happen to be someone who is listed on a…

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First Step Act passes Senate; Cotton amendments rejected

By Nicholas Fandos . . . The Senate overwhelmingly approved on Tuesday the most substantial changes in a generation to the tough-on-crime prison and sentencing laws that ballooned the federal prison population and created a criminal justice system that many conservatives and liberals view as costly and unfair. The First Step Act would expand job training and other programming aimed at reducing…

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Voting restoration amendment in Florida excludes registered sex offenders

Amendment 4, which will be on Florida’s ballot in the upcoming November elections, is a voting rights restoration for felons initiative. A “yes” vote supports this amendment to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or — you guessed it — a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison,…

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A case of unchecked prosecutorial abuse

By Michael M . . . Let’s talk about Bedford County, Pennsylvania’s former district attorney, William Higgins, Jr.  On August the 17th, 2018, Higgins was sentenced after being charged with using his power as a district attorney to coerce female defendants accused of drug offenses into sex acts. At least, that’s how the news media repeatedly framed it. There’s just one…

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Having sex? misdemeanor, no registration; asking for sex? felony, registration for life

By Todd Feathers . . . When he was 18 years old, Bailey Serpa propositioned a 15-year-old he knew for sex. Had the two teenagers actually engaged in consensual sex, Serpa’s crime would have been a Class A misdemeanor with no requirement that he register as a sex offender. They didn’t have sex, but because Serpa, of Nottingham, used a…

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Florida’s sex offender camps: “Animals live better than this”

By Steve Yoder . . . A few miles from Miami International Airport, outside of Hialeah, sits a tent camp of about 280 homeless people. There’s no electricity or running water and no bathrooms. News reports describe the stench of human waste and garbage, tents that flood when it rains, and flies, mosquitoes, and rats infesting the area. “Animals live better than this,” one…

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