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Sex Offenders Win at Mo. Supreme Court

January 12, 2010 Comments off

CrimeSceneKC : Sex offenders win at Mo. Supreme Court.

The Missouri Supreme Court says that registered sex offenders do not have to comply with new regulations that were passed after they were originally sentenced. So if you were convicted of a sex crime before Aug. 28, 2008, you wouldn’t be affected by laws forbidding RSOs from living within 1,000 feet of a school. Same goes for the rule that makes RSOs stay home on Halloween.

Read the court’s decision here: http://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=36535
Opinion issued January 12, 2010

Excerpts:
In the first of these cases, F.R., a convicted sex offender, challenges the constitutional validity of section 566.1471, Missouri’s “School Residency Law,” which prohibits convicted sex offenders from residing within 1,000 feet of any school or child-care facility. Because F.R. was convicted and sentenced before the “school residency law” was enacted (retroactively) , section 566.147, as applied to F.R., is unconstitutionally retrospective in its operation. Judgment is reversed.

In the second case, Charles Raynor, a convicted sex offender, challenges the constitutional validity of section 589.426, which prohibits convicted sex offenders from going outdoors, turning on their outdoor lights and handing out candy on Halloween, and which requires them to post a sign stating “no candy or treats at this residence.” Because Raynor was convicted and sentenced before section 589.426 was enacted (retroactively) , section 589.426, as applied to Raynor, is unconstitutionally retrospective in its operation. The judgment is affirmed.

Conclusion:
The new obligations and duties imposed on F.R. and Raynor are solely the result of their past criminal acts, and the failure to perform these new duties and obligations carries a criminal penalty. The obligations and duties, imposed after the fact of their criminal convictions and based solely on those prior convictions, violate F.R.’s and Raynor’s rights under article I, section 13.
As applied to F.R., the school residency requirement of section 566.147 is unconstitutional. The judgment of the trial court is reversed.
As applied to Raynor, the Halloween requirements of section 589.426 are unconstitutional. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed

Differing Reports on US v Comstock Hearing

January 12, 2010 Comments off

Sentencing Law & Policy: Different perspective on the Justices’ take on federal sex offender civil commitment.

The early reporting on today’s SCOTUS oral argument in Comstock (basics here) provide quite distinct takes on what the Justices are thinking. Consider the lead of this Bloomberg report, which is headlined “Sex-Offender Commitment Law Gets Support at U.S. Supreme Court”:

U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled they are likely to uphold a national law that permits the civil commitment of “sexually dangerous” people after they complete their federal prison terms. Hearing arguments today in Washington, most of the nine justices suggested they viewed Congress as having the constitutional power to enact the law. A federal appeals court said the 2006 measure, under which more than 100 people have been held, exceeded Congress’s authority.

But now consider the lead of this Reuters report, which is headlined “U.S. justices question sex offender confinement law”:

Supreme Court justices on Tuesday expressed skepticism about the Obama administration’s argument that the U.S. Congress can keep sex offenders in custody for an indefinite time beyond their prison sentences.

I suppose we will all just have to read the transcripts of the Comstock oral argument, which is now available here.

Excerpts:

JUSTICE SCALIA: I mean, this — this is a recipe for the Federal Government taking over everything.

JUSTICE SCALIA: But most of the argument for why this is constitutional is simply: It’s necessary, and therefore it’s constitutional. But I’m not even sure it’s necessary.

2009 Constitutionalfights Stats

January 12, 2010 Comments off

2009  Constitutionalfights  Stats
Constitutionalfights.org was founded in January 2008. Since then, we have seen a tremendous growth in the viewership of this blog. Here are the 2009 traffic stats for our blogs.

With over 75,000 views, overall traffic increased over six times from 2008 to 2009 , but predictably declined during the summer and Christmas months.
Viewing total hits from January 2008 through Dec 2009, a steady growth is apparent.


89.63 % of viewers are in the United States. Most of our visitors are from Ohio (22%). Columbus, Dayton and Cleveland ranked 1st through 3rd in Ohio cities, respectively. The second most visitors came from California with
Florida, Texas, Missouri, Indiana, and New York following in site hits, respectively.

Again, just slightly over half of our viewers are male at 51%.
73% of visitors are over age 35 (an increase of 5 %from 2008).
84% white, 8% black, which is not far from the national ethnic distribution.
70% have no children. We would very much like to see more parents made aware of this blog.
52% of visitors earn under $60K income, while 49% earn over $60K.
58% of viewers have a college degree or graduate school education (up 3% from the previous year).

Finally, 71% view this blog at home, versus 29% at a workplace.
2008  Constitutionalfights  Stats
Constitutionalfights.org was founded in January 2008. Since then, we have seen a tremendous growth in the viewership of this blog. Here are the traffic stats for our blogs.
With over 11,000 views, overall traffic tripled from June to November 2008, but predictably declined during the Christmas month of December.
Most of our visitors are from Ohio, as this blog focuses primarily on the Ohio Adam Walsh Act laws, but covers news and information about these laws nationally. Second place went to California with Texas, Illinois, New York Florida, Virginia and Maryland following in site hits.
Just slightly over half of our viewers are male at 51%.
68% of visitors are over age 35.
81% white, 9% black, which is not far from the national ethnic distribution.
71% have no children. We would very much like to see more parents made aware of this blog.
50% of visitors earn under $60K income, while 50% earn over $60K.
55% of viewers have a college degree or graduate school education.
Finally, 80% view this blog at home, versus 20% at a workplace.
15% of visits are from hardcore addicts of our blog.
51% of visits are by regular viewers.
34% of visits are from passers-by.