Divided Kansas Supreme Court opinion affirming lower courts’ findings that Kansas’ registration scheme was non-punitive in the context of a violent, non-sexual offense.
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a federal trial court’s finding that even if Plaintiff was “seized” during verification visits by contract employees of the state (Parents for Megan’s Law), that the seizure was not unreasonable in light of the application of the special needs doctrine.
In 2016, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Does v. Snyder declaring Michigan’s sex offense registry unconstitutional. The ACLU has since gone back to federal court seeking to enforce the 6th Circuit’s decision. Miriam Aukerman appeared on NPR’s Stateside to discuss the litigation, ongoing efforts to achieve reform, and sex offense policies more generally.
SORN Secondary Materials
More than forty U.S. states currently track at least some of their convicted sex offenders using GPS devices. Many offenders will be monitored for life. The burdens and expense of living indefinitely under constant technological monitoring have been well documented, but most commentators have assumed that these burdens were of no constitutional moment because states have characterized such surveillance as “civil” in character — and courts have seemed to agree. In 2015, however, the Supreme Court decided in Grady v. North Carolina that attaching a GPS monitoring device to a person was a Fourth Amendment search, notwithstanding the ostensibly civil character of the surveillance. Grady left open the question whether the search — and the state’s technological monitoring program more generally — was constitutionally reasonable. This Essay considers the doctrine and theory of Fourth Amendment reasonableness as it applies to both current and envisioned sex offender monitoring technologies to evaluate whether the Fourth Amendment may serve as an effective check on post-release monitoring regimes.
Sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws have been in effect nationwide since the 1990s, and publicly available registries today contain information on hundreds of thousands of individuals. To date, most courts, including the Supreme Court in 2003, have concluded that the laws are regulatory, not punitive, in nature, allowing them to be applied retroactively consistent with the Ex Post Facto Clause. Recently, however, several state supreme courts, as well as the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, addressing challenges lodged against new-generation SORN laws of a considerably more onerous and expansive character, have granted relief, concluding that the laws are punitive in effect. This symposium contribution examines these decisions, which are distinct not only for their results, but also for the courts’ decidedly more critical scrutiny of the justifications, purposes, and efficacy of SORN laws. The implications of the latter development in particular could well lay the groundwork for a broader challenge against the laws, including one sounding in substantive due process, which unlike ex post facto-based litigation would affect the viability of SORN vis-à-vis current and future potential registrants.
The Marshall Project: When People with Intellectual Disabilities Are Punished, Parents Pay the Price
Carol Nesteikis, 66, has never committed a crime. But for two years, from six in the evening to six in the morning the next day, she lived under de facto house arrest with her 32-year-old son, Adam. It wasn’t because she wanted to. The home itself was a kind of punishment, she says. …Posted: September 13, 2019
Earlier this year, lawmakers in New York proposed a bill that would bar people convicted of multiple sex offenses from ever using New York City’s subway system again. The plan, which would inflict a form of banishment in the name of public safety, is part of a broader pattern. Sex offender registries increasingly include children under the age of 18, and some states permit children as young as 7 to be registered. But a growing body of evidence suggests that our reliance on registries—not just for sex crimes but also for terrorism, gun, and drug offenses—may allow politicians to look like they’re taking action while actually doing little to curb abuse. To discuss the rise of registries, we are joined by Appeal contributor Guy Hamilton-Smith and Elizabeth Letourneau, professor and director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthPosted: September 12, 2019
For some people convicted of sex crimes in Florida, the only shelter open to them during Hurricane Dorian was the county jail. In some counties, people on the registry were barred from shelters set up for those evacuating, and told to go to separate locations, away from children and other community members. If they attempted to stay with friends or relatives, they faced daunting residency and registration requirements, according to the Florida Action Committee, which advocates for reform of sex offender registry laws. Failure to comply can mean a felony conviction and incarceration. In Osceola County, a separate shelter was set up at the housing agency for “sex offenders,” meaning people on the registry, according to a local news report by WKMG-TV. And in Flagler County, registered sex offenders were directed to go to the sheriff’s office for shelter, according to a WJXT-TV report. The Nassau County Board of Commissioners website advised people on the sex offender registry to seek shelter in the county jail. “It was such a traumatic experience to be incarcerated. I’m not going to subject myself to that voluntarily,” a representative with the Florida Action Committee told The Appeal. “I’d rather tie myself to a tree.” …Posted: September 4, 2019