All About the Sex Offender Registry
Types of questions we do not answer: Questions of a PERSONAL NATURE. i.e., "I am not a bad person, why add me to the registry?" .... "What did I do to deserve this?" .... "I never touched anyone! I don't deserve this! Aren't I better than people who have touched someone or a recidivist?" etc. etc. We do not judge folks. Neither do we evaluate folks, thats for professionals. And, we do not promote FALSE HOPES, instead we try to find REAL SOLUTIONS to problems folks bring to us. Solutions are found in laws, ordinances, and case law. Which is why we try to point to those when folks ask questions. And finally, if there is no solution, we will explain that, we do not lead folks on.
Often as folks go through the Criminal Justice System there are things that go on which are not completely explained by lawyers, and after the process is over folks find out other things they are subjected to which they were never told about beforehand. So here we are going to walk through the registry (an overview) to hopefully point out some of the subtle points that lawyers never explained to defendants or their families.
Following the criminal court process comes the shock of registering as a sex offender. For the most part there are no options, convicted of a sex offense requires registration. For some folks they have cuts deals, through Plea Bargaining, so that they are not required to register for the sex offender registry. see "Why are Judges denied the discretion of saying, who goes on the sex offender registry, but Prosecutors have that discretion?" Yes, we are aware that many lawyers FAILED to try to cut deals, but at this point thats water over the dam.
Lets first address "Is registration (i.e., the requirement to register in a sex offender registry)" constitutional? Unfortunately the answer is YES, so sayeth the U.S. Supreme court in two cases back in 2003: "Smith V. Doe (01-729) 538 U.S. 84 (2003)(Oral Argument) -and- Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety V. Doe (01-1231) 538 U.S. 1 (2003)(Oral Argument). No other case has yet made it to the high court on those issues, and every state uses those cases to support their version of a sex offender registry.
Historical note: Those cases were decided in March of 2003, based on 1980 recidivism statistics. The U.S. Supreme court relied on recidivism statistics presented in, McKune V. Lile (2002)(Oral Argument), a case heard the year before. McKune was a Kansas case about in-prison Sexual Abuse Treatment Program.Given that, no higher court (Yes a few lower courts have declared registration in a particular case, unconstitutional), has ever declared registration unconstitutional, then how do we explain some cases where courts have held there was a ex post facto violation? In those cases the court is saying, that, applying registration laws to the FACTS of the case under consideration (Plaintiff's facts), that violated the ex post facto prohibition. Those cases DID NOT hold that registration was unconstitutional, only that applying registration laws to that Plaintiff (or group of registrants) violated ex post facto clauses. There is a significant difference.
With that said, on to registration procedures:
First Time Registration: No doubt the first time someone registers it is a traumatic event, but there is no way to avoid doing it and still remain compliant with laws today (2011). So be ready with all your information (Driver's license or State ID, something that shows where you will be living, Employment address, Schools you are attending, etc. pretty much they can ask for anything [ACLU where are you]) (You will also be required to provide a DNA sample and have your picture taken) (provide finger and/or palm prints, and some want iris scans) (most states have some sort of a fee/s which must be paid in cash) (every state is somewhat different, one even requires shoe size, dumb yes), when you get to the place of registration you will be given FORM/S to complete, and once you complete them you will be required to sign -at least- one of them.
Changes to Registration Information: Generally when you go in to report changes you only need your Driver's license or State ID, and they have change forms for the new information. Some states do charge a fee for changes as well. Get copies of any forms for your files.
Mandatory Reporting Times: When you first registered they told you how often you MUST report to verify your information. It may be, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annually. If you will be reporting that you are "Homeless" or "Transient (as some call it)" you may have another time frame that you are required to report. Whatever forms they require you to complete, get copies of any forms for your files. Again some states do charge a fee.
This ends the registry overview. If we have left something out, please contact eAdvocate@gmail.com.
For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
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