Maryland Court of Appeals opinion holding that facts which require registration as a sex offender, in light of the punitive nature of registration, must be established beyond a reasonable doubt in the adjudicatory phase of a criminal proceeding.
Federal trial court in Wisconsin dismissing a First Amendment complaint alleging the unconstitutionality of a Wisconsin state law prohibiting name changes for people with past sex offense convictions.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion affirming the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s ‘sexually violent predator’ designations, which require additional fact-finding beyond a conviction for a sexual offense.
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.
In response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center has published a set of guidelines for law enforcement, policy experts, and others with respect to law and policy focused on those with past convictions …Posted: March 28, 2020
By Hallie Lieberman | Feb. 2020 Sandy Rozek is the polar opposite of what comes to mind when you hear the word activist. A 78-year-old great-grandmother and retired high school English teacher who lives in Houston, Rozek is not woke, doesn’t post on Tw …Posted: January 25, 2020
By Sarah Lustbader | December 10th, 2019 Two days ago, the Union-Recorder in Georgia published a bizarre editorial. The editorial board noted that the state’s sex offender registry system drives people into homelessness and deprived them of counseling …Posted: December 14, 2019