Reply To: NC COA: Satellite based monitoring unreasonable without evidence it works

#45429

Chris

Did you mean lifetime satellite-based monitoring or lifetime registration. If you meant lifetime SBM, I would talk to an attorney about filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief based on the Grady and Griffen decisions. It may be worth the time and money if your case is not too egregious.

Lifetime registration may eventually go away but it will have nothing to do with the recent SBM decisions. SBM requirements are being struck down on the findings that:

1) A SBM program constitutes a search upon a citizen because it allows law enforcement to track the wearer at all times, rendering their every movement (even within the confines of their own home) available to whoever is collecting the data.

2) The fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches of citizens by the government. This is why LEOs must have a judge sign off on a search warrant before they can bust down your door and search for evidence to incriminate you. The plan that the founders had in mind is that with separation of powers, the executive branch of government (law enforcement in this instance) cannot act unilaterally; they must rely on the Judiciary to allow it. It works in a perfect world, but wide discretion is often given to law enforcement by the judiciary.

3) Lower courts (for now) must decide for themselves whether SBM meets the test for reasonable-ness (in each individual case, I believe.)

4) NC COA decided that this search is not reasonable because the state has not, will not, or can not prove the effectiveness of SBM monitoring at achieving its stated goal of reducing recidivism.

5) NC’s SBM is an unreasonable search in the cases the COA has reviewed and therefore unconstitutional as applied. Every case will be different and it may take some time for trial courts to use the same reasoning given in Grady and Griffin.

As for lifetime registration, the most likely avenue to have that abolished is to sue on the grounds that it is cruel and unusual punishment because evidence shows that actual risk of reoffense decreases with the age of the offender as well as over time in the community (without committing a new offense) after release from prison. But I think first you would have to get a judge or panel of judges to rule that the sex offender registry as applied amounts to punishment. We are all anxiously waiting for that to happen, and if all goes well NARSOL/NCRSOL’s suit against the state will bring as a step closer to that goal.