With that said:
Recently we found reports of what police are doing in a few places and saved them. Yes, we would consider these harassment, but how to fight it is a question yet to be answered, any LEGAL thoughts would be helpful:
Recently identified Fresno sex offender murdered (4-3-2014)
With that said: First, the Federal law behind home address checks, then move on to state laws. Folks must read carefully!
There is NOTHING written into the Adam Walsh Act (AWA/SORNA) that explains "Home Address Checks." Whether or not it is a logical thing for police to do, there is nothing in FEDERAL law discussing or explaining these checks.
However, with that said, Congress approved Grants for States to TEMPORARILY perform "Home Address Checks" under the section titled "42 USC § 16988 - Jessica Lunsford Address Verification Grant Program." So, by virtue of the TEMPORARY Grant program the checks are done. see:
So are address checks legal? States are clearly paying for them after 2009 as Congress has not approved any extension of these dates ( See 111th Congress bills: HR-1422 and HR-1149) So, until someone makes it a issue in a court action, and wins, home address checks will continue without concern for their legality.
All states have received the AWA/SORNA Final Guidelines from the USAG, through the SMART Office. Since they are Guidelines, states do not have to follow them (Guidelines have no force of law, Rules do), states can do whatever they want according to their state constitution.
However, Congress also added a little provision within AWA which effectively says, if you (the State) do not SUBSTANTIALLY FOLLOW the Guidelines, then the State will be docked 10% of FEDERAL GRANT money usually given to you (a state) annually; a legalized form of extortion. This is done to force states to follow the guidelines.Now remember the requirement to perform Home Address checks are tucked into the Federal Guidelines for State Lawmakers, so states are very likely to permit them, even if a state legislature has not enacted them (codified them) into state law..
Now, here is something a FSO has done, when the local police came to the FSO's home, the FSO asked for the authority that permits local police to perform home address checks. Obviously the police ignored the request, but the FSO demanded authority, and the police ultimately had to provide same (it took a complaint to their superiors). What the police had was a "Local Policy" which outlined how the police were to perform address checks.
Why is having a copy of the Policy, good? Here is something most folks miss, a "Home Address Check" is exactly that, and that means when they come to the door they should not do anything else, and should not ask for anything but verification of the home address, like to see a driver's license or something else to prove that FSO resides at that address; utility bill etc..
Accordingly, if the police begin asking questions that have nothing to do with the checking whether the registrant lives at that address, the FSO should begin to wonder why? Because such questions go beyond verifying the home address (the purpose of the Policy). If they are asking other questions, FSOs -politely- should CONSIDER not answering them without checking with a lawyer.
Next, on to other matters:
At that point they should be satisfied and leave. You might want to ask for a copy of their "Address Check Verification Form" which proves they were there, and you were considered in compliance. Some jurisdictions have these and if you get a copy, add that to your documentation files.
Always try to make that interaction as pleasant as possible, as hard as that may be, this way you don't get tagged as a troublemaker and later harassed legally.
Now we have a problem because U.S. Marshals are not authorized to perform State home address checks, except for someone that has a federal offense, but are authorized to go after ANY SORNA violator once they violate the law, state or federal.
In this article "Authorities checking on sex offenders in Clay County" it seems the Marshals are in violation of the law. But in this article "U.S. Marshals Capture Sex Offender In Guatemala " Marshals would be in compliance with the law.
See the following from the Adam Walsh Act, which no one has questioned yet:
(42 USC 16941) SEC. 142. FEDERAL ASSISTANCE WITH RESPECT TO VIOLATIONS OF REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS.The law does not permit them to perform address checks, but as we have seen they are joining forces with local police in performing address checks; clearly in violation of federal law.
At this point it appears they are ABOVE the law and doing what is not permitted, and there is no system of checks and balances to stop these violations. In addition, this has got to be wasting taxpayer funds on a large scale at a time when taxpayers can least afford such waste.
Other than pointing this out, there isn't much more one can say, they are in control and the little guy has no say, until someone like the ACLU gets involved, this is the way it will be.
Now we are going to make most folks sick, but violations can be as simple as forgetting to sign a registration form, or, inconsistencies in addresses (Spelling errors). Is it any wonder why this country is going broke?
First take a look at "Sex Offenders Focus of Santa Clara Sweep where -in relevant part it says-:
It was the first arrest during the sweep by a special task force, which is comprised of members of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, Santa Clara Police, U.S. Marshals, along with probation and parole agents.Is there any way to tell which group of law enforcement is actually doing the address checks? No, but assuming it is NOT the Marshals, then they are sitting on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs, until someone is found in violation of registration laws.
Only then do they have jurisdiction according to AWA (Federal law), society is being crushed financially by this wanton misuse of taxpayer money. Then, if the Marshals perform the arrests of violators, those registrants end up in Federal court, when state courts could easily have handled the case.
Sadly, cases that are prosecuted in federal court usually end with a sentence to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where that person may be subjected to civil commitment detention (possibly for years before the hearing) and a hearing, and may be held for the rest of their life, in civil commitment.
Note: There are two circumstances that can occur which may subject a registrant to civil commitment: A) If they cross state lines and fail to register; -AND- B) whenever the U.S. Marshals perform an arrest, and the case is prosecuted in federal court, often this circumstance is the result of a multijurisdictional task force, as described above.
Well, there it is, all we can think of to keep folks in the know, its always best that everyone has a full knowledge of possible outcomes, and here we have tried to cover that.
Finally, if anyone has anything more to add to this please e-mail eAdvocate@gmail.com and explain what it is, we will phase it in.
For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
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7 hours ago