2011 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:
This blog was viewed about 40,000 times in 2011.
The most popular post that day was Weaknesses of Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
Most visitors came from The United States. Canada & The United Kingdom were not far behind.
Constitutionalfights blogs were set to Archive Status and our email address was inactivated on Sept. 22, 2010.
Our blogs were actively updated for 32 months. We had well over 250,000 readers and published more than 1100 blog posts. Our sole and primary mission was to repeal the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (Senate Bill 10) and to defeat it’s unconstitutionally retroactive implementation. However, our mission to defeat the Ohio Adam Walsh legislation has been accomplished. Therefore, we ceased actively updating these blogs.
Our email account is no longer active. You may still try to email us, but we do not check this email account at any regular interval. If you do email us, there is virtually no chance of the message getting to me unless it has a relevant subject line. If your email does not have a relevant subject line, it will surely be lost in the junk mail folder.
Also, if you do try to email us, please do not ramble on about your personal situation and tell me how bad it is. I know how much damage these laws to in the lives of those who are forced to deal with them. Everyone seems to write me long stories about about how unfairly they have been treated and how bad they have it, but don’t do this because I wont read it. Frankly don’t really care about the specific facts of your case. But if you have a legitimate question, I may still catch it if I check the email account periodically. Why do you think I started Constitutionalfights ? The answer is: to fight against these laws, because they were unconstitutional. I already know how damaging they are to families and individuals.
Finally, search our blogs before you ask a question. Most answers are found on our blogs. Use the search box on each blog to find related posts. For example: I am constantly asked by readers about laws in other states, or whom they can contact in their state. We only focused on Ohio legislation. Therefore, we do not know the laws in your state, and we are not familiar with laws related to moving to or from Ohio. If you read the blogs, you will see a Links Page with an RSOL link where each state’s organizer can be contacted.
I am not a legal professional and therefore I cannot and will not offer legal advice. So don’t ask me for legal advice.
Victory in Ohio:
Now, on the heels of the June 3, 2010 Ohio Supreme Court ruling which invalidated the reclassification of ex offenders into more punitive registration requirements, we claim this victory in our mission. we claim this victory for The Constitution of the United States of America and the rule of law.
Continuing the Battles:
But this is just one battle in the war against onerous, unconstitutional and ineffective sex offender laws across this country. We have posted countless times on our blogs how these sex offender laws are unjust, unconstitutional and ineffective. Hundreds of thousands of ex offenders remain victims of these laws. But the task of spearheading the battles of these citizens will have to be taken by others. Someone must and will eventually step forward just as we did. If not, hundreds of thousands of citizens will continue to have their throats under the boots of legislators across this great nation. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I have mixed feelings about ending our active involvement in these fights. I have thought long and hard about it. But the truth of the matter is that everyone in battles such as these are in it for their own interests. I have experienced this many times throughout this 2-1/2 year fight. When an individual’s interests are satisfied, they leave the fight. We lost many of those soldiers throughout these last few years. Even those who were in the fight with us but who did not benefit by this particular court ruling have become dismissive of our work now that we have claimed victory.
Furthermore, very few of those who contacted us, or followed our blogs, actually took any action to join the fight. Sure, there were a few individuals who sent letters and emails or made calls, but these are just a tiny fraction of those who were affected by these laws. Most people took no real action or got actively involved. Most emails I received were complaining to me about their situation, or asking me to do something for them.
I would like to recognize those who did do wonderful and effective work; RSOL, Ohio RSOL, Margie Slagle of the Ohio Justice and Policy Institute, Amy Borror of the Ohio Public Defender Office,
We received only three donations in 32 months. We thank those individuals for their generosity and help. If you would like to contriubute, you can still send a donation here for all the work we have done over the past 2-1/2 years. But once again, this lack of help by others makes the decision to step away much easier.
It’s Not Over:
Even after this victory in Ohio, we continue to see good people trampled on by politically-correct sex offender legislation. These laws are destroying families across the United States. Many good people are caught up in these webs of public shaming created by our state and federal legislators of both parties. Children of ex offenders are ostracized and shamed. Parents are banned from being involved parents. And people are being shamed on public government web sites and banned from living in certain areas or visiting public places.
Of course, there are some real monsters out there. But only these sensational crime cases make the headline news. Most ex offenders are not a danger to society and simply made a terrible mistake. I know of no one in this world who hasn’t made mistakes, yet this is the only group of citizens we refuse to forgive, or allow to continue on living a normal life.
Sadly, the Federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA) remains alive, albeit on “life-support”. It has been crippled with various legal challenges and revisions. All those who are affected by this terrible legislation should continue to seek its ultimate repeal. An AWA Study Guide can be downloaded here.
Lawsuit Against Ohio:
If any reader is a legitimate legal professional who is willing to organize a class action lawsuit against the State of Ohio, in the wake of the Supreme Court rulings which found these laws to be a violation of our constitutional rights, please contact us (or Ohio RSOL). Because these laws were enforced for two years before being ruled unconstitutional, we believe we have standing to form a large class action lawsuit against the State of Ohio.
Logic and Facts:
If we are to have offender registries, they must be risk-based. Evidence must be given in a court of law to prove that an offender is a high risk. If this evidence cannot be made in court, an ex offender should not be on a sex offender registry.
Sex Offender Registries should not be public ! Registries of those truly dangerous should be available to law enforcement agents only. Over 90% of sex assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim. This “stranger danger” hysteria myth must be killed with factual data.
The widespread lies about sex offender recidivism must be defeated. Many research studies have been completed to determine actual sex offender recidivism. Their results almost always provide a recidivism rate range between 5 -15% .
We urge all those who are still adversely affected by sex offender laws in this nation to become actively involved in the fight against them. Join and support the efforts of RSOL and your state RSOL affiliate. Write, email, call and meet with legislators, donate your time and money to the efforts of those actively fighting, create information blogs like ours, post responses to online articles, gather statistics and spread truth.
And so this blog is now set to Archive Mode. This means that we will no longer be updating it, but will retain its content for the world to read. We will also not be checking or responding to any emails after October 1, 2010. In addition to the above referenced reasons, this is partly due to the fact that too many people in the “network” too often abuse the “reply all” button without regard to whom they are sending emails.
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. ”
We have uploaded most of our online files on drop.io over the past three years. Drop.io will cease services on Dec,15, 2010. Therefore, I have decided to try to transfer all drop.io files to our Yahoo group. Readers can search in the Files Tab for the relevant document so that all may access these files after Dec. 15th.
blog.al.com: Alabama Legislature passes limit on housing sex offenders.
The Alabama Legislature has given approval to a bill that would limit the number of registered sex offenders living together in Jefferson County.
The measure would bar landlords from housing more than one registered sex offender under one roof and would require offenders who live in an apartment complex to reside at least 100 yards from each other.
City officials in the western Jefferson County town of Mulga asked Dunn to sponsor the bill because a boarding house there has had as many as four offenders living there. State law prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care. Mulga has no schools or day care facilities.
Rosie Parker, who owns the boarding house, said she has only one registered offender at her home now, her brother. “I was trying to help them out,” Parker said.
Her brother, Samuel Washington, said it was disappointing to learn that the bill had been approved. Washington, 53, who was convicted in Texas of aggravated sexual assault, said he didn’t think the bill was fair because “everybody deserves a second chance at life.
“I can understand how they feel, but I’m human, too,” he said. “It creates a problem for those who are trying to resume a life.”
The bill would affect 122 convicted sex offenders and 23 addresses in Jefferson County that would not be in compliance if it becomes law, including apartments, hotels, a ministry and at least two boarding houses, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
David Gespass, a Birmingham lawyer who is a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said he believes the legislation has the potential to create a cycle because the inability to provide a residence could cause many sex offenders to fail to register, which brings additional convictions and jail time.
The bill does contain some exceptions. A landlord would not be in violation if the registered sex offender is a spouse or child, or the owner of the property. The landlord would also not be in violation if a registered sex offender does not provide written notice of his prior convictions.
Dunn said there was no opposition to the bill. It would become effective three months after it becomes law.
A state law that passed in 2007 doesn’t allow landlords in Birmingham to house more than one registered sex offender under the same roof.
Note: Today was a busy day for constitutionalfights.org
We posted 17 new posts. Please be sure to read through them all.
The University of Calgary Faculty of Law Blog on Developments in Alberta Law:
Challenging the Constitutionality and Applicability of the Sexual Offender Information Registry Act.
Written by: Jennifer Koshan
The Sex Offender Information Registration Act, S.C. 2004, c. 10 (”SOIRA“- Canada’s version of SORNA) came into force on December 15, 2004. The SOIRA and related amendments to the Criminal Code (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46) require courts, on application of a prosecutor, to make an order requiring a person convicted of a designated sexual offence to report to a registration centre within a certain period of time after conviction, and again after moving, to provide information including their address, place of work, and other personal information. SOIRA orders last for a certain length of time (up to life), and must be made unless the impact of the order on the sex offender, “including on their privacy or liberty, would be grossly disproportionate to the public interest in protecting society through the effective investigation of crimes of a sexual nature” (Criminal Code, s. 490.012(4)). Two recent Alberta cases have come to different conclusions on the application of the exemption to the circumstances of the offender, and in a third case, leave to appeal the constitutionality of the SOIRA’s retroactive application was granted.
In R. v. Redhead, 2006 ABCA 84, the Alberta Court of Appeal (per Justices Anne Russell, Ellen Picard and Peter Costigan) declined to consider the constitutionality of the SOIRA because notice of a constitutional challenge had not been provided to the Crown (see also R. v. Aberdeen, 2006 ABCA 164). The overall constitutionality of the SOIRA has not yet been ruled upon by the Supreme Court of Canada or any provincial appellate courts. However, in R. v. Dyck, 2008 ONCA 309, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a similar provincial sex offender registry, implemented via Christopher’s Law (Sex Offender Registry), S.O. 2000, c.1, was constitutional.
R. v. Warren, 2008 ABCA 436 raises the more specific issue of whether the retroactive application of the SOIRA is constitutional. Section 490.02(1) of the Criminal Code provides that a sex offender may be subject to the SOIRA if “on the day on which the Sex Offender Information Registration Act comes into force, they are subject to a sentence for, or have not received an absolute discharge under Part XX.1 from, the offence; …”
(4) The court is not required to make an order under this section if it is satisfied that the person has established that, if the order were made, the impact on them, including on their privacy or liberty, would be grossly disproportionate to the public interest in protecting society through the effective investigation of crimes of a sexual nature, to be achieved by the registration of information relating to sex offenders under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.
In Redhead, the Court of Appeal first noted that SOIRA orders are not part of a convicted person’s sentence, so they should not be subject to the same deferential standard of review as sentencing decisions. The Court likened SOIRA orders to orders requiring convicted persons to provide a sample of their DNA, and held that a similar standard of review should apply: an appellate court “can alter a [SOIRA] order decision only where there is an error of principle, failure to consider a relevant factor, an over emphasis of appropriate factors, or a clearly unreasonable decision” (at para. 13).
Second, the Court considered what evidence the sex offender must put forward in order to make out their entitlement to an exemption. The Court found that while the evidentiary burden was on the offender he need not adduce evidence during the SOIRA application, and that evidence from the trial and pre-sentence report could be considered, or a court could take judicial notice of relevant evidence (at para. 25).
Third, the Court found that the exclusion of certain criteria from the SOIRA that were present in the provisions concerning DNA orders – including the offender’s criminal record and the circumstances of the offence – meant that these criteria were not intended to be included as relevant to whether a SOIRA order should be made. Rather, “[t]he focus … must be on the offender’s present and possible future circumstances, and not on the offence itself” (at para. 28). Factors that might be relevant here were said to include “unique individual circumstances such as a personal handicap, whereby the offender requires assistance to report…; the intangible effects of the legislation, including stigma, even if only in the offender’s mind; the undermining of rehabilitation and reintegration in the community; and whether such an order might result in police harassment as opposed to police tracking” (at para. 31). In a subsequent case, R. v. G.E.W., 2006 ABQB 317, economic impact on the offender was also found to be a relevant factor (as cited in R. v. Owusu, 2008 ABQB 715 at para. 5).
Overall, the impact on the offender must be “grossly disproportionate to the public interest in protecting society through the effective investigation of crimes of a sexual nature” (s. 490.012(4) of the Criminal Code). In terms of the public interest, s. 2 of the SOIRA sets out its purpose: “to help police services investigate crimes of a sexual nature”, requiring “rapid access to certain information relating to sex offenders.” The Court in Redhead noted that “[t]he underlying assumption is that a sex offender will re-offend” (at para. 36, citing R. v. Have, 2005 ONCJ 27 at para. 16). Accordingly, “the focus of the inquiry is not on whether there is a public interest in having the offender registered, but rather on whether the impact on the offender would be grossly disproportionate to the public interest” (at para. 42). “Grossly disproportionate” was said to be a high threshold requiring proof of a “marked and serious imbalance” between the interests of the offender and the public interest (at para. 43, citing R. v. J.D.M., 2005 ABPC 264 at para. 53). At the same time, the exemption should not be interpreted “so narrow[ly] that the SOIRA order is effectively mandatory,” or it will be rendered “meaningless” (at para. 44).
Redhead continues to be seen as the leading case in the application of the exemption under s.490.012(4) of the Criminal Code in Alberta and across Canada. Its guidelines were applied in both R. v. Owusu and R. v. Schultz, 2008 ABQB 679, although the judge in each case came to a different conclusion on the availability of the exemption in the circumstances.