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Archive for April 8, 2008

Sex Offender Sues Every Sheriff, Prosecutor

April 8, 2008 Leave a comment

WLKY.com: Sex Offender Files Suit Against Every Sheriff & Prosecutor In Indiana.

SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. — A man filed a lawsuit against every sheriff and prosecutor in the state of Indiana. The law that goes into effect in July would allow law enforcement to search his computer at any time. Morris’ attorney said it’s a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. ACLU attorney Ken Falk said the Supreme Court has expressly said that law enforcement cannot conduct a search without probable cause and a warrant, and that lawmakers completely ignored that.

WTHR.com: ACLU fights sex offender monitoring law ( April 14, 2008):
Indianapolis – A legal effort is underway to stop a law that allows police to monitor Internet use of sex offenders. According to the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the law tramples Fourth Amendment rights. “There has to be at least some reasonable suspicion to enter their homes and violate their Fourth Amendment,” Falk said. “People who are no longer on probation or parole or any court supervision, who are free people, who have all the constitutional rights that all Americans have, one of those, of course, is your Fourth Amendment right.

Law requiring GPS on sex offenders is illegal

April 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Sentencing Law and Policy: Split Sixth Circuit panel addresses challenges to Tennessee sex offender GPS rules.

The Tennessee Serious and Violent Sex Offender Monitoring Pilot Project Act (the “Surveillance Act”), imposes retroactively a requirement that all convicted sex offenders not only register with the Tennessee sexual offender registry, but also wear a relatively large device (a global positioning system, “G.P.S.”) at all times….

Court dissenting opinion:
[G]iven the large size of the G.P.S. device, the Surveillance Act violates Appellant Doe’s constitutional rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause. The box measures 6 inches by 3.25 inches by 1.75 inches. Doe v. Bredesen, 507 F.3d 998, 1005 (6th Cir. 2007). The box must be worn outside any coat or outer garment, making it plainly visible to onlookers. Id. at 1002. In essence, this box is a modern day “scarlet letter,” branding sex offenders with a marker of their crime for all to see.

I believe that the retroactive application of the Surveillance Act constitutes an Ex Post Facto Clause violation because (1) as a catalyst for public ridicule, it is a form of shaming, humiliation, and banishment, which are well-recognized historical forms of punishment; (2) it promotes the traditional aims of punishment; and (3) it is excessive in forcing Doe to broadcast his sex offender status not only to those who choose to inquire, but also to the general public….

Supreme Courts limit sex offender residency restriction

April 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Sentencing Law and Policy: Missouri high court limits application of sex offender residency restriction.

“violates the bar on retrospective laws set forth in article I, section 13 of the state constitution. Missouri has prohibited retrospective civil laws — which create new obligations, impose new duties or attach new disabilities with respect to actions already past…this Court has held that a law requiring registration as a sex offender for an offense that occurred prior to the registration law’s effective date was an invalid retrospective law in violation of article I, section 13. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833 (Mo. banc 2006). The same long-standing principles apply here, as the residency restrictions impose a new obligation on R.L. and those similarly situated by requiring them to change their place of residence based solely on offenses committed before the statute was enacted.”

Sex Crimes: The Property Rights Argument is Gaining Force.

Georgia Supreme Court ruling has refueled the debate on whether states should restrict where sex offenders live. The Georgia court struck down its residency restrictions last week, giving opponents of such buffer zones hope that other state laws will be reviewed and possibly overturned….for the past three years, opposition to residency restrictions has grown.
That’s why Georgia’s ruling was “monumental,” said Corwin Ritchie of the Iowa County Attorneys Association. “When these laws were first bantered about, they sold an awfully convincing bill of goods, that they are awfully good safety measures,” Ritchie said. “I think in Georgia they are seeing the full impact of the unintended consequences and saying this is not constitutional.”

Targeting past sex offenders

April 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Joplin Globe/Missouri: Senators back amendment targeting past sex offenders.

Senators endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday that could undo a Missouri Supreme Court ruling and restore the names and addresses of more than 4,300 past sex offenders to a state registry. They also voted to require sex offenders to stay in their homes on Halloween. The Senate’s effort to increase the tracking and public notification of people convicted of decades-old sex offenses came just moments after a registered sex offender urged a House committee to use restraint in imposing new restrictions. Aside from registering their names, addresses and other information, sex offenders also are prohibited under Missouri law from living or loitering near schools and child care centers.

“I am not for sex offenders,” Rep. Nasheed said. “However, I do believe we can go too far.”

The amendment seeks to undo a June 2006 Missouri Supreme Court decision that sex offenders convicted of crimes before Missouri’s registry law took effect in January 1995 cannot be required to register. The high court ruled the law violated the state constitution’s prohibition on retrospective laws.

As a result, the sex offender registry maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol no longer lists the addresses of 4,364 people whose most recent sex-offense conviction occurred before 1995, said patrol spokesman Capt. Tim Hull. The registry still listed detailed information for 6,995 other offenders as of Tuesday, Hull said.

ACLU challenges new sex offender law

April 8, 2008 2 comments

IndyStar.com : ACLU challenges new sex offender law.

The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit today challenging a new provision of the state sex offender law that will require those who register to agree to searches of their computers. Passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly, Senate Bill 258, which takes effect July 1, addresses several issues related to sex offenders. One is that when a sex offender begins probation, parole or enrolls in the state’s sex offender registry, they must sign a consent form agreeing to searches of computers or Internet-enabled devices at any time. Also, they must agree to install software that monitors Internet usage at their own expense. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, says placing the restriction on sex offenders who aren’t in probation or still on parole violates the U.S. Constitution‘s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Sex offenders generally must register for 10 years after their release from prison, though some must register for life. “It seems to be, in our estimation, a pretty clear violation of the fourth amendment when you’re not on parole or probation,” said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director.

Sex offender laws struck down

April 8, 2008 2 comments

Nevada/ Las Vegas Sun: Juvenile sex offender laws struck down — for now.
…the constitutionality of Nevada’s new sex offender laws as they apply to juveniles — The judge ruled the juvenile sex offender laws Nevada adopted with the passage of Assembly Bill 579 are unconstitutional. The laws being challenged in AB 579 are based on the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, signed into law by President Bush in July 2006. ….expects the laws will not be enforced until the Supreme Court hears the appeals. The state’s high court is not expected to rule on the case before July 1. The new laws, Voy agreed, are unconstitutional because they violate due process.