originally posted 8/26/2010
I am suffering a conviction at bench trial of lewd conduct in public. And made to register as a sex offender even though the only person offended was driving by at 75 mph and saw me off the side of the road.
I have read the Important High court rulings regarding various challenges to the constitutionality of SOR. I am appalled at how misrepresented the process of SOR is in these cases.
For instance in Smith V Doe, Alaska (ASORA) Roberts, claims, and it’s utterly false, that a registrant may update his registration by mail. I have to go to the police station every time I register. As a homeless person this is every 30 days.
Also the courts rely far too heavily on the conviction as the source of all the problems that flow from SOR. But this cannot be so. It is only natural that with time, a person convicted of a crime will change. SOR prevents making a distinction between the person at the time of offense and the person many years later. One cannot say that an 18 year old convicted of statutory rape which carries virtually no stigma for a kid that age, is going to feel the same stigma as a 40 year old who has his current image up on a registry of sex offenders.
Also, as in my case, lewd conduct in public that did not even involve indecent exposure, is going to be a conviction that rises to the level of stigma of being on a registry that labels me as a “registered sex offender.”
The only thing offended in my case is the puritanical notion of sex, and not a person’s rights or person or property.
The ball has been dropped in these cases over and over as the true effects of SOR are simply underrepresented.
Many states have civil tort in which the injury is “emotional distress”, the SRO suffers a great deal of emotional distress, his life is never the same, he is never out from under the oppression of police contact that is demeaning and stigmatizing.
Our scientists are learning that these stresses lead to brain damage, heart disease and even insanity. They interfere with a person’s ability to learn, to sleep, to make social bonds and to feel happiness.
Dismissing all of these factors, the courts have succeeded in declaring these laws “non punitive” while even informal probation is considered to be punitive, a booking process is treated as a “day in jail” and that is punitive, but essentially the same process during sex offender registration is not?
I am trying to establish a new data base to mount an argument to overturn the ruling that SOR are non punitive.
I believe we can accomplish this and have them ruled unconstitutional on multiple grounds for many offenses. Maybe not all.
We have to provide information to researchers that will be able to proof with the clearest evidence that SOR is punitive in its effects despite the legislative stated intent that it is to be purely regulatory.
What I read on this Tales from the Registry is a good start, but we need everyone to document, and to establish a fund to pay for research performed by credible and competent researchers.
I have read that there are millions of RSOs; it should not be too difficult for us to fund research with these numbers. Also legal representation. Money is the only way to get things working and every RSO in the Nation needs to get involved.
As I see it, if you are free, then your crime must not have been so horrible that you are beyond human compassion. I also know there are a great many innocent people who have pled guilty out of fear or were wrongly convicted.
We also need to fund research into the area of wrongful allegations and the ability to overcome the presumption of guilty when innocent.