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Ohio Supremes Ban Retroactive Use of Sex Offender Law

July 14, 2011 Comments off

Court: Sex offender law not retroactive

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 13 (UPI) — A law on registration and community notification for released sex offenders cannot be applied retroactively, the Ohio Supreme Court said Wednesday.

The justices ruled 5-2 the 2007 Ohio Adam Walsh Law can only be applied to offenders who committed their crimes after it became effective, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported. The court reversed a decision by a state appeals court.

“The General Assembly has the authority, indeed the obligation, to protect the public from sex offenders,” Justice Paul Pfeifer said. “It may not, however, consistent with the Ohio Constitution, ‘impose new or additional burdens, duties, obligations, or liabilities as to a past transaction.'”

Justice Terrence O’Donnell in the minority opinion said the court has said in previous rulings that requiring sex offenders to register and providing community notification in some cases are civil sanctions, not criminal penalties.

Ohio Supremes Ban Retroactive Use of Sex Offender Law: Hundreds of previously-convicted sex offenders will be affected

The Ohio Supreme Court, in a ruling published today, has declared that imposing “enhanced” sex offender registration and community notification requirements on previously-convicted sex offenders, as required by the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (AWA) which was contained in 2007’s Senate Bill (SB) 10 is a violation of the Ohio Constitution.

“When the General Assembly adopted the AWA by enacting 2007 S.B. 10,” stated a Ohio Supreme Court press release, “it included statutory language requiring that, regardless of the date on which a defendant’s crime was committed, state courts sentencing sex offenders on or after July 1, 2007 must apply a new three-tiered AWA offender classification scheme and must include in the defendant’s sentence registration and community notification requirements set forth in the AWA that are more severe than similar provisions in the prior, Megan’s Law, version of the statute.”

The decision was based on Article II, Sec. 28 of the Ohio Constitution, which states in part, “The general assembly shall have no power to pass retroactive laws.” Similar wording can be found in the U.S. Constitution as well, where one clause in Article I, Sec. 9 reads, “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto [“after the fact”] Law shall be passed.”

The case at issue was State v. George Williams, where the defendant had been convicted for engaging in sexual conduct with a minor—conduct which took place prior to July, 2007, although Williams was convicted on the charges in December, 2007, after SB 10 had been passed.

“Prior to his sentencing hearing,” the Supreme Court’s press release stated, “Williams entered a motion asking the trial court to sentence him under the Megan’s Law sex offender classification scheme that was in effect on the date of his offense, rather than under the AWA classification scheme. The trial court overruled Williams’ motion. Pursuant to the AWA he was classified as a Tier II offender, which required him to register with the sheriff in his county of residence, and in any other county in which he worked or attended school, every 180 days for the next 25 years.” Under Megan’s Law, his registration and reporting requirements would have been limited to 10 years.

Williams appealed that ruling under the ex post facto/retroactivity clauses of both the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions, as well as arguing violation of the U.S. Constitution’s due process clauses and its ban on double jeopardy.

Another portion of the AWA, which would have allowed the Ohio Attorney General to reclassify sex offenders without the necessity of judicial approval, was overturned by the same court just over one year ago.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision, authored by Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, overturning the AWA was largely based on the fact that while several state decisions had held that the registration requirements of Megan’s Law were considered remedial rather than punitive in nature, “Following the enactment of SB 10, all doubt has been removed: R.C. Chapter 2950 [the AWA] is punitive,” Justice Pfeifer stated in the majority opinion. “The statutory scheme has changed dramatically since this court described (in [State v.] Cook) the registration process imposed on sex offenders as an inconvenience ‘comparable to renewing a driver’s license.’ … And it has changed markedly since this court concluded in [State v.] Ferguson that R.C. Chapter 2950 was remedial…

“Based on these significant changes to the statutory scheme governing sex offenders, we are no longer convinced that R.C. Chapter 2950 is remedial, even though some elements of it remain remedial…,” the high court concluded. “We conclude that SB 10, as applied to Williams and any other sex offender who committed an offense prior to the enactment of SB 10, violates Section 28, Article II of the Ohio Constitution, which prohibits the General Assembly from enacting retroactive laws.”

“The Ohio Supreme Court decision in Williams does a really good job of explaining how in light of these internet websites that we now have, and community notification and criminal penalties attaching and more periodic registration in person with a sheriff there, all of these measures are looking more and more and more like punishment and less and less and less like a driver’s license,” one attorney analyzed, “and as that shift has happened, it’s become more like criminal punishment, and really, the Ohio Supreme Court is the first top court in a state to characterize it that way.”

Kinsley said that through her discovery motions in the case, it had been revealed that hundreds of people in Ohio will be affected by today’s decision, and will now be able to get on with their lives without the stigma of appearing on sex offender websites.

Court: Law applied to convicted sex offenders violates constitution

The legislature’s attempt four years ago to apply a new law to already-convicted sexual offenders violated the Ohio Constitution, the state Supreme Court ruled today.

Imposing enhanced registration and community notification requirements in the 2007 Ohio Adam Walsh Act against defendants whose crimes were committed before the effective date of that law violates a constitutional prohibition on the General Assembly enacting retroactive laws, the justices declared.

The 5-2 decision, which reversed a ruling by the 12th District Court of Appeals, was written by Justice Paul E. Pfeifer.

“The General Assembly has the authority, indeed the obligation, to protect the public from sex offenders,” Pfeifer said. “It may not, however, consistent with the Ohio Constitution, ‘impose new or additional burdens, duties, obligations, or liabilities as to a past transaction.’ “

Joining the majority opinion were Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Judith Ann Lanzinger and Yvette McGee Brown.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell authored the dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Robert R. Cupp.

Today’s decision came on the appeal of George Williams of Warren County, convicted in December 2007 for engaging in sexual conduct with a minor an offense that occurred before the Adam Walsh Act took effect. Williams asked the judge to sentence him under the previous sex offender classification setup, known as Megan’s Law.

The judge rejected that motion and classified him under the more stringent Adam Walsh Act as a Tier II offender, which required him to register with the sheriff in his home county and in any other county in which he worked or attended school, every 180 days for the ensuing 25 years.

Williams appealed, but was turned down by the 12th District Court of Appeals.

Pfeifer noted that in earlier Supreme Court decisions on previous changes in the sex offender law, justices upheld the changes because they were more remedial than punitive, and thus the constitutional ban on retroactive laws did not apply. But the changes in the Adam Walsh Act made them punitive, and therefore unconstitutional.

The Ohio Supreme Court could have new rules when it comes to registering sex offenders…unless the crime was committed before 2007.

Is Application of ‘Adam Walsh Act’ to Crime Committed Before Law Took Effect Unconstitutionally Retroactive?

July 11, 2011 Comments off

Is Application of ‘Adam Walsh Act’ to Crime Committed Before Law Took Effect Unconstitutionally Retroactive?

Under U.S., Ohio Constitutions’ Bans Against Ex Post Facto Laws

State of Ohio v. George D. Williams, Case no. 2009-0088
12th District Court of Appeals (Warren County)

ISSUE: Does retroactive imposition of sex-offender registration requirements enacted in 2007 as part of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (AWA) on offenders whose crimes were committed before the effective date of the AWA violate the ex post facto and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution, and/or the provision of the Ohio Constitution prohibiting retroactive laws?

BACKGROUND: In a June 2010 decision, State v. Bodyke, the Supreme Court of Ohio voided as unconstitutional two sections of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (AWA) that authorized the state attorney general to reclassify sex offenders who had previously been classified by judges under an earlier version of the law, “Megan’s Law.” The Court held that the challenged provisions violated the separation-of-powers doctrine of the Ohio Constitution. The defendants in Bodyke also argued that application of the AWA to crimes that were committed before the July 1, 2007 effective date of that legislation violated the constitutional prohibition against “ex post facto” laws (laws that retroactively increase the punishment for a crime after the crime has been committed). However, because the Court’s ruling on the separation of powers issue voided the Bodyke defendants’ reclassifications under the AWA and reinstated their Megan’s Law registration status, the justices declined to review the appellants’ ex post facto arguments. In this case, a defendant not affected by the Bodyke decision challenges on ex post facto grounds a trial court order that applied the AWA classification scheme in sentencing him for a crime he committed before July 1, 2007.

When the General Assembly adopted the AWA, it specified that, regardless of when a defendant’s crime was committed, state courts sentencing sex offenders on or after July 1, 2007 must apply the new AWA sex offender classification scheme and include in the defendant’s sentence registration and community notification requirements set forth in the AWA that are more severe than similar provisions in the previous, Megan’s Law, version of the statute.

George Williams of Warren County was convicted in December 2007 of engaging in sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl. The conduct on which his conviction was based took place in May 2007. Prior to his sentencing hearing, Williams entered a motion asking the trial court to sentence him under the Megan’s Law sex offender classification scheme that was in effect on the date of his offense, rather than under the AWA classification scheme. The trial court overruled Williams’ motion. He was sentenced to three years of community control and classified as a Tier II offender under the AWA, requiring him to register with the sheriff in his county of residence every 180 days for the next 25 years. If he had been sentenced under the Megan’s law version of the statute, Williams, who had no prior sex-related convictions, would have been subject to once-a-year registration for 10 years.

Williams appealed, arguing that the retroactive application of the AWA registration requirements to his May 2007 offense violated the ex post facto, due process and double jeopardy clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the retroactivity clause of the Ohio Constitution. The 12th District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s classification of Williams under the AWA as constitutional. The court of appeals cited several prior Supreme Court of Ohio decisions including State v. Cook (1998), State v. Wilson (2007), and State v. Ferguson (2008), in which this Court held that the statutory registration and community notification requirements imposed by the state on sex offenders were civil and “remedial” measures designed to protect the public rather than punitive measures intended to punish or deter offenders. Applying that same analysis to Williams’ case, the 12th District held that retroactive imposition of the AWA registration requirements as part of Williams’ sentence did not retroactively “increase the punishment” for his crime, and therefore did not violate the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution or the retroactivity clause of the state constitution.

Williams sought and has been granted Supreme Court review of the 12th District’s ruling.

Attorneys for Williams point out that the Cook, Wilson and Ferguson decisions cited by the 12th District all analyzed the pre-2008 sex offender classification scheme under Megan’s Law, not the more stringent requirements imposed by the AWA. They argue that these earlier decisions relied on the fact that, before a sex offender was classified under Megan’s Law, the court was required to conduct a hearing at which the judge reviewed the facts of that specific case and the defendant’s personal and social history to determine how likely that individual was to reoffend — and then impose whatever level of registration and/or community notification the court found necessary to protect the community. They note that the AWA has eliminated judicial review of an individual offender’s history or the circumstances of his crime for purposes of classification, and instead imposes identical registration and community notification requirements on offenders based exclusively on their offense. The appellants argue that the AWA classification system is no longer primarily a remedial scheme related to the actual danger posed by individual offenders.

Attorneys for the state point to specific language included in the AWA stating that the legislature’s intent was “to protect the safety and welfare of the people of this state,” and that the exchange or release of information required by the statute “is not punitive.” They argue that the registration and community notification requirements in the AWA are merely expansions of requirements that were already imposed under Megan’s Law, and assert that nothing in the 2007 changes to the law have changed the nature or intent of those requirements from remedial to punitive. Accordingly, they assert, the Court should follow its earlier holdings that requiring sex offenders to register with police and disclosing their presence to others who live, work or attend school nearby is not punishment, and applying those requirements retroactively does not offend the ex post facto provisions of the Ohio or U.S. constitutions.

NOTE: An amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief supporting the position of Williams has been submitted by the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center and Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. The American Civil Liberties Union also has submitted an amicus brief supporting Williams’ position. The Ohio attorney general’s office and Franklin County prosecutor’s office have entered amicus briefs supporting the position of the state. Copies of the amicus briefs and all other filings in the case can be accessed by going to the following hyperlink: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/searchbycasenumber.asp and entering the case number, 2009-0088, in the search box provided.

Contacts
Michael Greer, 513.695.1325, for the state and Warren County prosecutor’s office.

Katherine A. Szudy, 614.466.5394, for George Williams.

Ohio Channel Video

http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/oralArguments/11/0301/0301.asp

OH: House Trying to Retroactively Classify Past Offenders (Again)

February 7, 2011 Comments off

As we posted last week, The Ohio House of Representatives has proposed a new bill (HR 77)

If this bill passes, anyone who had not yet matriculated off of the sex offender registry by January 1, 2008 would be hauled back into court for a second sex offender classification hearing where a judge would instate a new sex offender classification. The result of this bill would be exactly what Senate Bill 10 did in 2008 (to reclassify those who should have graduated off of the registry and impose new registry requirements on them, often a life-long registration requirement).

HB 77 is to be debated in the House Criminal Justice Committee on Wed. Feb, 9, 2011 at 9 am. Everyone affected or concerned with this matter should attend this hearing at The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus Ohio. (update Feb 8: we are told by Rep. Slaby’s assistant that only sponsors will participate in this first hearing, and that opponents will not be permitted to participate).

The hearing is open to the public and opposing opinions are allowed. Just fill out the witness form when you enter the statehouse. If you have any written information for the record, you should submit it as well.

If we act proactively and if we have a large number of people attend this hearing, we can avoid a repeat of the 2-1/2 year debacle which we experienced with the implementation of Senate Bill 10 from Jan 2008 through June 2010 when it was finally ruled to be illegal.

We have a good chance to defeat this bill before it advances to a vote. But only if we have others willing to join in the fight, appear at the hearing and communicate your opposition to the bill.

In the meantime, readers should contact the bill’s sponsors and Committee members to clearly express their opposition to this House Bill 77, which would retroactively classify anyone with a sex offense who was not removed from the ESORN sex offender registry before January 1, 2008. This retroactive bill is a violation of the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions which expressly forbid any ex post facto law. It also violates constitutional rights of the Double Jeopardy clause of both Constitutions.

Bill Sponsors:

REPRESENTATIVES:
Hackett Garland Blessing Combs Grossman Hottinger Patmon

Bob D. Hackett, Representative
Phone: (614) 466-1470
Fax: (614) 719-6984
Email: district84@ohr.state.oh.us

Nancy J. Garland, Representative
Phone: (614) 644-6002
Fax: (614) 719-6959
Email: district20@ohr.state.oh.us

Louis W. Blessing, Jr., Speaker Pro Tempore
Phone: (614) 466-9091
Fax: (614) 719-3583
Email: district29@ohr.state.oh.us

Courtney Combs, Representative
Phone: (614) 644-6721
Fax: (614) 719-6954
Email: district54@ohr.state.oh.us

Cheryl L. Grossman, Assistant Majority Whip
Phone: (614) 466-9690
Fax: (614) 719-6962
Email: district23@ohr.state.oh.us

Jay Hottinger, Representative
Phone: (614) 466-1482
Fax: (614) 719-3971
Email: district71@ohr.state.oh.us

Bill Patmon, Representative
Phone: (614) 466-7954
Fax: (614) 719-0010
Email: district10@ohr.state.oh.us


Criminal Justice Committee:

Lynn Slaby R Chair
Phone: (614) 644-5085
Fax: (614) 719-6941
Email: district41@ohr.state.oh.us

Roland Winburn D Ranking Minority Member
Phone: (614) 466-2960
Fax: (614) 719-6940
Email: district40@ohr.state.oh.us

Bill Hayes R Vice Chair
Phone: (614) 466-2500
Fax: (614) 719-6991
Email: district91@ohr.state.oh.us

Nancy J. Garland D
Phone: (614) 644-6002
Fax: (614) 719-6959
Email: district20@ohr.state.oh.us

Louis W. Blessing, Jr. R
Phone: (614) 466-9091
Fax: (614) 719-3583
Email: district29@ohr.state.oh.us

Connie Pillich D
Phone: (614) 466-8120
Fax: (614) 719-3582
Email: district28@ohr.state.oh.us

Danny R. Bubp R
Phone: (614) 644-6034
Fax: (614) 719-6988
Email: district88@ohr.state.oh.us

W. Carlton Weddington D
Phone: (614) 466-5343
Fax: (614) 719-3581
Email: district27@ohr.state.oh.us

William P. Coley, II R
Phone: (614) 466-8550
Fax: (614) 719-6955
Email: district55@ohr.state.oh.us

Sandra Williams D
Phone: (614) 466-1414
Fax: (614) 719-0011
Email: district11@ohr.state.oh.us

Joseph W. Uecker R
Phone: (614) 466-8134
Fax: (614) 719-3966
Email: district66@ohr.state.oh.us

Ron Young R Member
Phone: (614) 644-6074
Fax: (614) 719-3963
Email: district63@ohr.state.oh.us

Call to Action : OH Legislature Going at it Again – Part 2

February 4, 2011 Comments off

It appears that a similar bill was introduced in the Ohio Senate in Nov. 2010. Senate Bill 316 was proposed by Senators: Seitz, Miller, D. Wagoner, Grendell, Turner, and Smith.

Senate Bill 316 is “to clarify for an offender or delinquent child who had SORN Law duties under the SORN Law in effect prior to January 1, 2008, the offender’s or child’s duties under the current SORN Law and the duration of those duties and to declare an emergency.”

Those who are concerned about this attempt to retroactively re-capture (onto the sex offender registries) all offenders whose crimes pre-dated the 2008 law change, should immediately contact these Senators to voice your opposition.

SB 316 Sponsors:

Bill Seitz (R)
Phone: (614) 466-8068
Email: SD08@senate.state.oh.us

Mark Wagoner (R)
Phone: (614) 466-8060
Email: SD02@senate.state.oh.us

Tim Grendell (R)
Phone: (614) 644-7718
Email: SD18@senate.state.oh.us

Nina Turner (D)
Phone: (614) 466-4583
Email: SD25@maild.sen.state.oh.us

Shirley A. Smith (D)
Phone: (614) 466-4857
Email: SD21@maild.sen.state.oh.us

The intent of SB 316 and HB 77 is to:

“Create a list of all the sex offenders who were reclassified via the 2010 Bodyke ruling, notifying them all by mail, and forcing them into court one at a time to have a judge issue a new Adam Walsh Act sentencing order. It would re-reclassify all of these individuals into the AWA tier scheme, adding thousands to the registry, many for life.”

Both of these bills will be debated within the respective House & Senate Criminal Justice Committees. Readers should contact the members of this committee in order to voice your opposition to these bills.

Senate Criminal Justice Committee (re: SB 316)

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committees/standing/detail/judiciary-criminal-justice.html


Tim Grendell (R)
Chair

Larry Obhof (R)
Vice Chair

Nina Turner (D)
Ranking Minority Member

Eric Kearney (D)

Frank LaRose (R)

Peggy Lehner (R)

Scott Oelslager (R)

Joe Schiavoni (D)

Mark Wagoner (R)

House Criminal Justice Committee ( re: HB77)

http://www.house.state.oh.us/index.php?option=com_displaycommittees&task=2&type=Regular&committeeId=98

Criminal Justice
Name Party Position Name Party Position
Lynn Slaby R Chair Roland Winburn D Ranking Minority Member
Bill Hayes R Vice Chair Nancy J. Garland D Member
Louis W. Blessing, Jr. R Member Connie Pillich D Member
Danny R. Bubp R Member W. Carlton Weddington D Member
William P. Coley, II R Member Sandra Williams D Member
Joseph W. Uecker R Member


Ron Young R Member

Call to Action : OH Legislature Going at it Again

February 3, 2011 Comments off

CALL TO ACTION:

Ohio Legislators are going at it again. Just six months after having been soundly defeated in the June 2010 Bodyke vs. Ohio Supreme Court ruling, seven Ohio House Representatives have proposed new legislation to retroactively revise Ohio’s sex offender laws to re-capture all offenders who committed crimes before 2008 onto the rolls of the sex offender registry.

Those concerned about this proposed legislation must contact the seven Representatives immediately to express their opposition to this bill. If we are forced to do so, ConstitutionalFights will return to the battlefield to help defeat this latest attempt by the Ohio Legislature to violate the constitutional rights of 30,000 Ohio citizens.

The newly proposed bill, House Bill 77 of the 129th General Assembly would amend and repeal parts of the existing Ohio sex offender statutes to:

“clarify that SORN Law definitions of sexually oriented offenses, child-victim oriented offenses, tier classifications, public registry-qualified juvenile offender registrants, and related terms include the specified offenses regardless of when they were committed and to provide for court reclassification of offenders and delinquent children who committed their sexually oriented offense or child-victim oriented offense prior to January 1, 2008, and had SORN Law duties based on that offense into one of the tier classifications of the current SORN Law.

View proposed HB 77.

Bill Sponsors:

REPRESENTATIVES:
Hackett Garland Blessing Combs Grossman Hottinger Patmon

Bob D. Hackett, Representative
State Representative (R)
District: 84
Term: 2nd
Term Limit: Eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-1470
Fax: (614) 719-6984
Email: district84@ohr.state.oh.us

Nancy J. Garland, Representative
State Representative (D)
District: 20
Term: 2nd
Term Limit: Eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 644-6002
Fax: (614) 719-6959
Email: district20@ohr.state.oh.us

Louis W. Blessing, Jr., Speaker Pro Tempore
State Representative (R)
District: 29
Term: 4th
Term Limit: Eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-9091
Fax: (614) 719-3583
Email: district29@ohr.state.oh.us

Courtney Combs, Representative
State Representative (R)
District: 54
Term: 5th (includes appointed and elected terms)
Term Limit: Not eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 644-6721
Fax: (614) 719-6954
Email: district54@ohr.state.oh.us

Cheryl L. Grossman, Assistant Majority Whip
State Representative (R)
District: 23
Term: 2nd
Term Limit: Eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-9690
Fax: (614) 719-6962
Email: district23@ohr.state.oh.us

Jay Hottinger, Representative
State Representative (R)
District: 71
Term: 3rd
Term Limit: Eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-1482
Fax: (614) 719-3971
Email: district71@ohr.state.oh.us

Bill Patmon, Representative
State Representative (D)
District: 10
Term: 1st
Term Limit: Eligible to run for another two-year term
Address:
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-7954
Fax: (614) 719-0010
Email: district10@ohr.state.oh.us

We seek legal professionals who are willing to engage in a lawsuit against the State of Ohio should this legislation be put into law. We also still seek legal professionals who are willing to engage in a lawsuit against the State of Ohio regarding the Bodyke Supreme Court ruling of June 2010 for damages of those 30,000 former offenders who were maintained on the sex offender registry 2-1/2 years after they should legally have been removed.

We must collectively hit these legislators squarely in the “front teeth” this time to assure that we do not experience what we experienced between 2008 and 2010.

International Megan’s Law Must be Killed in Congress

July 5, 2010 Comments off

See related posts:
The International Megan’s Law of 2010
HR1623 International Megan’s Law
International Megans Law Moves Forward in US House
Sex Offender Law Could Go Global

The proposed International Megan’s Law must be defeated in Congress.

It has undergone several revisions and it’s bill number has changed. But this International Megan’s Law bill (if passed) would virtually ban any registered sex offender from traveling outside the United States. You need to read and learn about this bill and fight vigilantly to kill it.

Bill Summary:
“H.R. 5138 would protect children from sexual exploitation by mandating reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other registered sex offenders against minors intending to engage in international travel, providing advance notice of intended travel by high interest registered sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child sex offender is seeking to enter the United States.”

We at ConstitutionalFights.org abhor sexual exploitation and abuse of any kind. But we similarly abhor laws such as this, which singles out one group of offenders for extreme punishments and restrictions which amount to constitutional infringements upon their liberty in this great country. Former offenders have the same dreams and desires others have of traveling to other parts of the world. What would you think if the government told YOU that you could never travel outside the US without restrictions, and government monitoring?

From Terry at JusticeinJersey.org:

When I met with Rep. Chris Smith’s office (they had 2 attorneys) I was handed a new copy of bill H.R. 5138 and told that they had revised it. We talked about the revisions and since then I have been reading it line by line for intent and objections. I have sent them three pages so far and am 1/2 way through the bill. I just came across another hidden point which is disturbing and I believe we all should be writing to our Senators and all of the representatives on The Congressional Appropriations Committee.


  • A Fee, not to exceed the amount of $25 will be charged by ICE to all sex offenders as a processing fee. However, this fee can be increased thereafter, not earlier than 30 days after consultation with the appropriate congressional committees.
    • This is an unlimited pool of money from hardworking sex offenders to pay for the additional resources and to other counties. They are also asking for 250,000 (a quarter mil) as start up money from the our taxpayers in addition to providing resources, money, and technology to other countries.
    • While they also state that this fee shall be waved if the sex offender demonstrates to the satisfaction of ICE, pursuant to a fee waiver process established by ICE, that the payment of such fee would impose and undue financial hardship on the sex offender. (how could one prove hardship when planing to travel internationally? Most SOs fall just above the income line to be able to qualify.)
When I spoke to the Representatives of Congressman Chris Smith’s office, I was assured that the bill was changed to go after the worst of the worst based on risk based evaluations performed by ICE. If that were true this bill would not constantly say just “sex offender” instead of saying “high risk sex offender as identified by ICE through risk based evaluation testing.”

Of course, this bill applies to all registered sex offenders (as written) whose offense involved a minor. And this fee is just one objectionable point in this legislation. The restriction and monitoring of any ex offender who desires to travel internationally is the main point of objection.


Please write your Senator(s) and the Congressional Appropriations Committee

Appropriations Committee Members

Democratic Members

Senator Portrait DANIEL K. INOUYE
Hawaii, Chairman

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Maryland

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North Dakota

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Louisiana

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Senator Portrait JACK REED
Rhode Island

Agriculture and Rural Development, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Interior, Labor, HHS, Education, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
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Senator Portrait FRANK R. LAUTENBERG
New Jersey

Homeland Security (Interim Chairman),Commerce, Justice, Science, Transportation/HUD, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, HHS and Education, State, Foreign Operations
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Senator Portrait BEN NELSON
Nebraska

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Senator Portrait MARK PRYOR
Arkansas

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Senator Portrait JON TESTER
Montana

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Specter Thumbnail ARLEN SPECTER
Pennsylvania

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Republican Members

Senator Portrait THAD COCHRAN
Mississippi, Vice Chairman

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Senator Portrait CHRISTOPHER S. BOND
Missouri

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Senator Portrait MITCH MCCONNELL
Kentucky

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Senator Portrait RICHARD C. SHELBY
Alabama

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Senator Portrait JUDD GREGG
New Hampshire

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Senator Portrait ROBERT F. BENNETT
Utah

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Senator Portrait KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON
Texas

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Senator Portrait SAM BROWNBACK
Kansas

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Senator Portrait LAMAR ALEXANDER
Tennessee

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Senator Portrait SUSAN COLLINS
Maine

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Senator Portrait GEORGE VOINOVICH
Ohio

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Senator Portrait LISA MURKOWSKI
Alaska

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Please let us know once you have called, emailed or written to the committee and your senator. You should also write to Representative Chris Smith, 2375 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515.


Thank you so much for your time and attention to this important matter.

Terry
www.JusticeInJersey.org
RSOL State Coordinator
NowJustice4All@gmail.com

Veteran Denied Job After Background Check Mistakes Him for Sex Offender

May 24, 2010 Comments off

fox4kc.com: Veteran Denied Job After Company Makes Background Check Mistake.

Kansas City – A metro veteran needed a job to help pay some bills and get back on his feet, but he says the opportunity to work at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, was taken away from him after he was falsely accused of being a sex offender.

Christopher Michael Reynolds says that he was supposed to start at the water park on May 4th, but when he showed up, officials told him to leave after he was informed that he was a registered sex offender.

According to ADP, the company that conducts background checks for Schlitterbahn, Christopher Reynolds was convicted of sexual battery in Bexar, Indiana, on March 11, 2007.

But there is a big problem with the company’s background check. “When this happened, I was in Iraq, serving in the Army National Guard,” said Reynolds. Reynolds has a solid alibi with his military records, and the more he investigated, the more Reynolds learned about ADP’s investigation.

It was a mistake that Reynolds says has some serious implications.

“I was really relying on this job to get some stuff paid off, to get back on my feet,” said Reynolds, who has been out of work for months and is now living at a homeless shelter. “I came home for medical issues for PTSD and depression and have been seeing a doctor for that. When I found out I had this job, I was excited, and when I found out I lost it, I was kind of down again.”



Obviously, this is a terrible thing to happen to this man. But this is what is also happening to hundreds of thousands of people across the country as a result of these sex offender registries. They are being banished from society and barred from holding nearly any job. The Courts and legislators need to be told that these sex offender registries are resulting in economic and social obstacles and burdens for all those who are trapped on these registries. They are punitive – no question about it.