Saturday, September 25, 2021

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen issues scathing dissent of ruling that upheld lifetime registration for juvenile registrant

Dissenting opinions rarely make headlines, but the dissent by Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen is an amazing read and worth sharing. This judge gets it. You may it useful in future battles against the registry. It is more amazing given the fact that while KS Supre Court Justices are appointed, voters elected to retain Rosen in the 2020 election. 


ROSEN, J., dissenting: For more than 15 years I have been a proud member of a court that has historically taken an unyielding stand against the degradation of rights guaranteed by our Constitution. See In re Adoption of Baby Girl P., 291 Kan. 424, 242 P.3d 1168 (2010); In re Adoption of G.L.V., 286 Kan. 1034, 190 P.3d 245 (2008) (protecting rights of natural parents); State v. Ryce, 303 Kan. 899, 368 P.3d 342 (2016), adhered to on reh'g 306 Kan. 682, 396 P.3d 711 (2017) (striking down as unconstitutional statute criminalizing refusal to submit to testing of bodily substances  deemed to have been impliedly consented to); In re L.M., 286 Kan. 460, 470, 186 P.3d 164 (2008) (upholding juveniles' constitutional right to jury trial). Even in the era of Jim Crow and Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S. Ct. 1138, 41 L. Ed. 256 (1896), this court protected civil rights against forces of discrimination. See, e.g., Board of Education v. Tinnon, 26 Kan. 1, 22-23 (1881) (power to divide city into districts does not include power to divide city according to race, color, nationality, or descent); Webb v. School District, 167 Kan. 395, 403-04, 206 P.2d 1066 (1949) (creation of special school district carved out to exclude African-American children was impermissible subterfuge for segregation). 

Today, I feel none of that pride. Today, the court eschews the United States Constitution and the citizens it stands to protect for reasons I cannot comprehend. Today, I dissent. 

I agreed with the majority of the court in Doe v. Thompson, 304 Kan. 291, 327-28, 373 P.3d 750 (2016), when we concluded lifetime registration constituted punishment for adult offenders. And I certainly believe it constitutes punishment for N.R., who was 14 years old when he committed the acts for which he was adjudicated an offender and placed on probation—not an adult convicted of a high-level felony and sent to prison—and for which our Legislature has retroactively imposed a life sentence. 

I will initially consider the requirements and burdens that the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) places on individuals and the negative impacts that ensue from registration. I will then explain why I do not consider this court's opinion in State v. Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. 192, 377 P.3d 1127 (2016), a case with which I disagree in any event, to be constraining precedent in the present appeal. I will point out the differences between public access to juvenile adjudications and public access to sex-offender registries. I will point out the dramatic imbalance between the public benefit of offender registration for juveniles and the lifetime punitive effect that such registration has on juveniles. And I will reiterate the special circumstances of juvenile behavior that distinguishes it from similar behavior committed by adults. I will conclude that registration is plainly punitive in nature, even if not in intention, and the registration statute, as applied to this appellant, is an unconstitutional ex post facto violation.

The Ex Post Facto Clause in the United States Constitution prohibits states from "pass[ing] any . . . ex post facto Law." Article I, section 10. A law violates this prohibition when it "'increase[s] the severity of [the] punishment'" after the crime was committed. State v. Todd, 299 Kan. 263, 278, 323 P.3d 829 (2014) (quoting Weaver v. Graham, 450 U.S. 24, 29, 101 S. Ct. 960, 67 L. Ed. 2d 17 [1981]). The first step in analyzing whether legislation violates this constitutional directive is determining whether it constitutes punishment. In making this assessment, this court applies the "intenteffects" test. Under this framework, we deem legislation punishment when it is punitive either in purpose or effect—even if the Legislature intended a "regulatory scheme this is civil and nonpunitive." To assist with this analysis, this court has turned to the factors utilized by the United States Supreme Court in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144, 168-69, 83 S. Ct. 554, 9 L. Ed. 2d 644 (1963):

"the degree to which the regulatory scheme imposes a sanction that: (1) has historically been regarded as punishment; (2) constitutes an affirmative disability or restraint; (3) promotes the traditional aims of punishment; (4) is rationally connected to a nonpunitive purpose; (5) is excessive in relation to the identified nonpunitive purpose; (6) contains a sanction requiring a finding of scienter; and (7) applies the sanction to behavior that is already a crime." Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. at 198 (citing Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. at 168). 

The United States Supreme Court has noted that the first five factors are the "most relevant." Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 97, 123 S. Ct. 1140, 155 L. Ed. 2d 164 (2003).

The State alleged that when N.R. was 14 years old, he committed acts that, if he had been an adult, would have supported a charge for rape. N.R. pleaded guilty and was adjudicated an offender. A magistrate judge then suspended the imposition of sentence and placed N.R. on probation. The court also ordered N.R. to register as a sex offender "locally" for a period of five years. Shortly before this time expired, the Kansas Legislature enacted legislation requiring N.R. to register for life. N.R. acknowledges that the Legislature intended KORA be civil and nonpunitive but argues the requirement he register for the rest of his life is punitive in effect when applied to him. 

KORA requires N.R. to register—in person—at least four times per year. When he is experiencing homelessness, he must register every 30 days and describe every place he has slept and frequented since the last registration and every place he intends to sleep and frequent until the next registration. K.S.A. 22-4905. He must also register in person anytime he moves, experiences a change in employment status, alters his school attendance, uses temporary lodging for seven or more days, or if any of the following things commence, change, or terminate: name, telephone number, identifying physical characteristics, occupation, employer, driver's license, identification card, vehicle information, professional licenses, designations, certifications, treatment for "mental abnormality or personality disorder," email addresses, online identities, personal web pages, travel documents, or name and telephone number of probation officer. K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 22-4905(h); K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 22-4907. If N.R. manages to keep up with these requirements, much of this information is posted on an easily accessible offender registration website that members of the public may peruse at their leisure. K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 22-4909. If N.R. fails to fulfill the requirements, he can be prosecuted and sentenced to years of prison time, even though he was never confined in a juvenile correctional facility when he was adjudicated an offender for the underlying offense. K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 22-4903; K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 21-6804

N.R. presented evidence that these onerous requirements have wrought havoc on his attempts to move beyond his adjudication and function within his community. To be brief, registration has caused him to experience homelessness, created barriers to substance abuse treatment, forced him apart from his family, created insurmountable financial strain, severely compromised his mental health, and put his life in danger. Countless jurists, scholars, and social scientists have confirmed how common these burdens are to those required to register. See E.B. v. Verniero, 119 F.3d 1077, 1102 (3d Cir. 1997) (registration causes registrants and families "profound humiliation and isolation," jeopardizes employment and housing, destroys relationships, and spurs "'vigilante justice,'" frequently enough "that registrants justifiably live in fear"); Tewksbury, Exile at Home: The Unintended Collateral Consequences of Sex Offender Residency Restrictions, 42 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 531, 533 (2007) (offender registrants report several collateral consequences, "including employment difficulties, relationship problems, harassment, stigmatization, and persistent feelings of vulnerability"); Prescott, Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations and Sex Offender Recidivism, 48 Conn. L. Rev. 1035, 1056-57 (2016) (registration causes difficulty with finding employment, securing housing, and maintaining relationships); Zevitz & Farkas, Sex Offender Community Notification: Assessing the Impact in Wisconsin, 9 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, 2000) (77% of offender registrants reported "being humiliated in their daily lives, ostracized by neighbors and lifetime acquaintances, and harassed or threatened by nearby
residents or strangers").

The suggestion that these requirements and their effects are not punitive is simply wrong. But today's majority shrugs its shoulders and tosses these realities aside. It points out that a previous majority of this court held mandatory lifetime registration for adult offenders did not constitute punishment for purposes of a cruel and unusual punishment analysis. Slip op. at 8 (citing Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. 192). It takes the untenable position that, although the State action may be burdensome, it is not technically "punishment" and is therefore permissible. This position is at odds with authority holding that State action need not be intended to be punitive in nature for it to violate constitutional protection. See, e.g., Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251 (1976) (indifference to prisoner needs may create constitutional claim); Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 95, 78 S. Ct. 590, 2 L. Ed. 2d 630 (1958) (even clear legislative classification of statute as "non-penal" does not alter fundamental nature of plainly punitive statute); see also Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 684, 97 S. Ct. 1401, 51 L. Ed. 2d 711 (1977) (White, J., dissenting) (state actions that are so cruel that they are
not permitted as penal acts must not be permitted in non-penal contexts). 

The majority avoids mentioning that, instead of meaningful analysis, much of the Petersen-Beard decision consisted of string cites to federal cases in which courts considered whether other state registration schemes were punitive. See Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. at 214 (Johnson, J., dissenting) (observing that majority looks to federal caselaw even though "[o]rdinarily, any analysis of a Kansas legislative act would not begin with a consideration of merely persuasive federal authority when there are decisions of this court on point"). Then, it considers whether there is anything different about N.R.'s circumstances that would make mandatory lifetime registration punitive for him. It ultimately concludes the registration requirements are not so onerous as to constitute punishment for N.R. Slip op. at 17. Such a stunning conclusion leaves one at a loss as to what, if any, condition KORA could create that the majority would consider onerous. 

In its first point, the majority rejects N.R.'s claim that the registration requirements cause an affirmative disability or restraint by making it difficult for him to find employment and housing and subjecting him to shame and ostracization in his community. The majority reasons that these consequences come from his juvenile adjudication, and those court records are already public, so the registration adds no disability or restraint. Slip op. at 12. The majority relies entirely on the United States Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 123 S. Ct. 1140, 155 L. Ed. 2d 164 (2003), to come to this conclusion. Slip op. at 11. In Smith, the Court concluded that mandatory lifetime registration requirements under Alaska's registration scheme for an adult offender added no affirmative disability or restraint because the offender's conviction was already public. 538 U.S. at 101.

There is a glaring oversight with the majority's reasoning: it pays no attention to the difference between N.R.'s juvenile record being "open for public inspection" and registration on a sex offender database. There are, in fact, very consequential differences. To discover that N.R. was adjudicated for a sex offense through his juvenile record, one must travel to the courthouse, pay a fee, and look up his file on the public database. Alternatively, one can enter personal information into the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's (KBI) website to create an online account, pay a fee, and then look up N.R.'s record. In either case, one must at least know N.R.'s name to complete the search. The KBI website will also ask for N.R.'s birth date. I suspect most people are unaware they can do either of these things. In contrast, any person with internet access can look to see whether N.R. is on the sex offender registry without creating an account and without cost. In fact, one need not even know N.R.'s name to find him on the registry. Anyone can plug in an address and see the names and locations of registered sex offenders in any area they wish. People can find N.R. without looking for him. 

In Thompson, this court noted the problem with relying on the 2003 Smith decision to hold that registration is akin to having a public criminal record. We observed that the Smith Court described the Alaska registration system as a "passive" one and compared it to "physically visiting 'an official archive of criminal records.'" Thompson, 304 Kan. at 321 (quoting Smith, 538 U.S. at 99). Such a description, we explained, is "antiquated in today's world of pushed notifications to listservs and indiscriminate social media sharing." Thompson, 304 Kan. at 321 And we pointed out that, since Smith, the Supreme Court has "recognized the vast amount of data that is currently available to most citizens on their smartphones and that 'a cell phone [can be] used to access data located elsewhere, at the tap of a screen.'" (Quoting Riley v. California, 573 U.S. 373, 397, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 189 L. Ed. 2d 430 [2014].) Other scholars have advanced similar criticisms. See, e.g. Carpenter, A Sign of Hope: Shifting Attitudes on Sex Offense Registration Laws, 47 Sw. L. Rev. 1, 25 (2017) ("[w]hen Smith was decided in 2003, the Internet's impact may not have been as well known or understood. So much so that the Court in Smith concluded that providing a name, address, and conviction on a public registry was tantamount to that same information being made available in a court-created public document"). 

It is clearly much simpler to get to N.R.'s adjudication from his registration than from his public record. But, even more disabling than this easy access is the fact that, once N.R.'s name is registered, he is officially on the list. To the public, being on the sex offender registry is a severe and serious marker; the government has deemed the people on this list so dangerous they need to be accounted for and identified to those around them. A law review article opines that "[s]ex offenders have supplanted insanity acquittees as the most despised segment of the American population." Cucolo & Perlin, "They're Planting Stories in the Press": The Impact of Media Distortions on Sex Offender Law and Policy, 3 U. Denv. Crim. L. Rev. 185, 207 (2013). The authors note that people so labeled are "[r]egularly reviled as 'monsters' by district attorneys in jury summations, by judges at sentencings, by elected representatives at legislative hearings, and by the media" and that "correctional officers rate sexual offenders as more 'dangerous, harmful, violent, tense, bad, unpredictable, mysterious, unchangeable, aggressive, weak, irrational, afraid, immoral and mentally ill' than other prisoners." 3 U. Denv. Crim. L. Rev. at 207-08. Another article explains "[a]s a result of the media's depiction of a one-dimensional 'sex offender' in broadcast news and newspaper articles, the general public has conceptualized what it believes to be the prototype of this 'monstrous imminent evil'—a male who violently attacks young children who are strangers." Cucolo & Perlin, "The Strings in the Books Ain't Pulled and Persuaded": How the Use of Improper Statistics and Unverified Data Corrupts the Judicial Process in Sex Offender Cases, 69 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 637, 644 (2019). This kind of stigma is debilitating; N.R. attested to the ostracization and death threats to which he's been subject since his registration. 

These shocking barriers to N.R.'s ability to move beyond his juvenile adjudication and live a life outside the shadow of that event undoubtedly add an affirmative disability and restraint to N.R.'s life beyond what "public access" to his juvenile record does. The Legislature has constructed a scheme that equates to an effective banishment. This court has acknowledged this before. State v. Myers, 260 Kan. 669, 695, 923 P.2d 1024 (1996) (KORA imposes affirmative disability or restraint because "[u]nrestricted public access to the registered information leaves open the possibility that the registered offender will be subjected to public stigma and ostracism" making it "impossible for the offender to find housing or employment"). And scholars have noted this reality for other registrants. See Prescott, Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations and Sex Offender Recidivism, 48 Conn. L. Rev. 1035, 1055 (2016) ("most agree that carrying the label 'sex offender' is an order of magnitude more difficult to surmount" than "[c]riminal records alone"). The majority's quick dismissal of N.R.'s arguments—without any actual analysis of what registration means for him against the internet of today and the instantaneous access to information via social media—is callously dismissive and grossly blind to realities of the present day. 

Next, the majority summarily dismisses N.R.'s argument that "public dissemination of his information" is excessive in relation to its purpose. It concludes that the analysis regarding whether the public dissemination adds an affirmative disability or restraint resolves this claim, too. Slip op. at 12-13. In doing so, it ignores the crux of the question this factor presents: Is there an acceptable balance between the punitive effects of registration on N.R.'s life and registration's contribution to public safety? The answer is no. 

The majority notes that the requirements N.R. faces are imposed in the name of public safety. But studies have shown that, in contrast to what the Supreme Court said in 2003, the risk of recidivism among sex offenders is not "frightening and high." Smith, 538 U.S. at 103 (quoting McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 34, 122 S. Ct. 2017, 153 L. Ed. 2d 47 [2002]). It is, in fact, remarkably low. A Department of Justice study looked at the criminal records of 272,111 released prisoners in 15 states over a designated period of time. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994 1 (2003). It found that only 5.3 percent of sex offenders in the study were arrested for a new sex offense and only 3.5 were convicted. Bureau of Justice Statistics at 1, 2. In contrast, the overall rearrest rate for non-sex offenders was 68 percent. Bureau of Justice Statistics at 2. 

As scholars could have predicted, the registries appear to have had little effect on recidivism rates. A 2011 study found "little evidence to support the effectiveness of sex offender registries." Agan, Sex Offender Registries: Fear Without Function? 54 J.L. & Econ. 207, 208 (2011). Many commentators have written about the failings of these registries. See, e.g. Huffman, Moral Panic and the Politics of Fear: The Dubious Logic Underlying Sex Offender Registration Statutes and Proposals for Restoring Measures of Judicial Discretion to Sex Offender Management, 4 Va. J. Crim. L. 241, 257 (2016) ("a
large majority of lawmakers acknowledge that strict legislative initiatives have led to no appreciable reduction in sexual misconduct"); Caldwell et al., An Examination of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as Applied to Juveniles, Evaluating the Ability to Predict Sexual Recidivism, 14 Psychol. Pub. Pol'y & L. 89, 91 (2008) (citing multiple studies to support the notion that "[e]xtant research has not supported the effectiveness of sex offender registration and notification at reducing recidivism with adults").

And research reveals that registries, by and large, give us information we do not need. In his article "Sex Panic and Denial," Corey Rayburn Yung explains that "[f]amily members, friends, or other persons known to the victim commit approximately 93 percent of sexual offenses against children . . . ." Yung, Sex Panic and Denial, 21 New Crim. L. Rev. 458, 465 (2018). Thus, "[t]he prototypical fear-based myth . . . that there are a plethora of convicted sex offenders lurking in the bushes ready to attack any passing child or other victim" is false. 21 New Crim. L. Rev. at 465. If nearly all former juvenile offenders are not lying in wait to accost a stranger, then I can see no reason to publicly brand all of them for the rest of their lives as if they are. 

Finally, N.R. argues that KORA's registration requirements are excessive because they were imposed as a result of a juvenile adjudication. N.R. claims that, as a juvenile, he was "less culpable and less predatory than adults," and "less likely to reoffend and more amenable to treatment than adults." Consequently, he argues, imposing the same registration requirements to him as the scheme would impose on a convicted adult offender is excessive. For support, N.R. cites cases from this court and the United States Supreme Court that identify differences between child offenders and adult offenders. See State v. Dull, 302 Kan. 32, 52, 351 P.3d 641 (2015) (juvenile offenders have a "diminished moral culpability" compared to an adult offender); Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 471, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012) ("juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform"); Graham v. Florida., 560 U.S. 48, 69, 130 S. Ct. 2011, 176 L. Ed. 2d 825 (2010) (same); Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 569-70, 125 S. Ct. 1183, 161 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2005) (juveniles have "'lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility,'" "are more . . . susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures," and "character" "is not as well formed" so "personality traits . . . are more transitory, less fixed"). 

N.R.'s argument brings the punitive effect of his lifetime registration requirement sharply into focus. If he is less culpable than his adult counterpart, and he is less likely to endanger the public, treating him as if he is just as menacing is indefensible. Social scientists and scholars have confirmed that juvenile offenders are distinct from adult offenders. A report compiled by Human Rights Watch explains:

"It is axiomatic that children are in the process of growing up, both physically and mentally. Their forming identities make young offenders excellent candidates for rehabilitation—they are far more able than adults to learn new skills, find new values, and re-embark on a better, law-abiding life. . . .
. . . .
"Adolescent thinking is present-oriented and tends to ignore, discount, or not fully understand future outcomes and implications. Children also have a greater tendency than adults to make decisions based on emotions, such as anger or fear, rather than logic and reason. And stressful situations only heighten the risk that emotion, rather than rational thought, will guide the choices children make. Research has further clarified that the issue is not just the cognitive difference between children and adults, but a difference in 'maturity of judgment' stemming from a complex combination of the ability to make good decisions and social and emotional capability.
. . . .
"MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) images of the anatomy and function of the brain at different ages and while an individual performs a range of tasks reveal the immaturity of the portions of children's brains associated with reasoning and emotional equilibrium. . . .
. . . . 
"Moreover, the fact that young people continue to develop into early adulthood suggests that they may be particularly amenable to change. . . . Both criminologists and development experts agree that '[f]or most teens, these [risky or illegal] behaviors are fleeting. Only a relatively small proportion of adolescents who experiment in risky or illegal activities develop entrenched patterns of problem behavior that persist into adulthood.'" Human Rights Watch, Raised on the Registry: The irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US 25-27 (2013), available at https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/05/01/raised-registry/irreparable-harm-placingchildren-sex-offender-registries-us#.

A recent study confirms this assessment. It considered 106 different analyses of recidivism rates among juvenile sex offenders between 1938 and 2014. The most recent data set, captured between 2000 and 2015, reported a mean recidivism rate for juveniles of 2.75 percent. Caldwell, Quantifying the Decline in Juvenile Sexual Recidivism Rates, 22 Psychol. Pub. Pol'y & L. 414 (2016). A 2008 study assessed the effects of federal registration requirements on juvenile offenders. It observed that they were "based on the assumption that juvenile sex offenders are on a singular trajectory to becoming adult sexual offenders." But the authors of the study concluded "[t]his assumption is not supported by [the study's] results, is inconsistent with the fundamental purpose of the juvenile court, and may actually impede the rehabilitation of youth who may be adjudicated for sexual offenses." 14 Psychol. Pub. Pol'y & L. at 105. 

The research demonstrates that lifetime registration for a juvenile offender has no rational connection to its purported purpose. This is true for N.R., who committed acts when he was 14 years old for which he was adjudicated an offender—not criminally prosecuted and convicted of a high-level felony, as an adult would have been—and placed on probation. Our justice system did not deem N.R. too dangerous to be outside the confines of a correctional facility; based on the facts before it, the court treated him like the developing, reformable juvenile he was. But the Kansas registration scheme takes no heed of this detail. It subjects N.R. to lifetime registration, which amounts to potentially 80 or so years of quarterly (at least), in-person registration that has and will continue to wreak havoc on N.R.'s life. For the rest of his days, he is branded a sex offender for all to see. This is in light of the reality that N.R. is highly unlikely to reoffend. This means that lifetime registration for N.R. is unrelated to a nonpunitive
purpose, and, consequently, grossly excessive. 

These observations provide more than enough to establish that lifetime registration has a punitive effect on N.R. The remaining Mendoza-Martinez factors that the Supreme Court has considered significant in deciding whether legislation is punitive strengthen this conclusion. Blasting N.R.'s name, identifying characteristics, and location across the internet with a bright red "sex offender" designation is akin to historical public shaming and humiliation tactics. See Smith, 538 U.S. at 116 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting) ("public notification regimen, which permits placement of the registrant's face on a webpage under the label 'Registered Sex Offender,' calls to mind shaming punishments once used to mark an offender as someone to be shunned"); People in Int. of T.B., 489 P.3d 752, 767 (2021) (registration for juvenile resembles traditional punishments of humiliation and shaming, especially in "era of social media").

Although not part of the majority analysis, this factor demands our collective attention because the impact of shame and humiliation cannot be overstated. As one set of authors have explained, "'Shame is bordered by embarrassment, humiliation, and mortification, in porous ways that are difficult to predict or contain," and is one of the most important, painful, and intensive of all emotions.'" Perlin & Weinstein, "Friend to the Martyr, a Friend to the Woman of Shame": Thinking About the Law, Shame and Humiliation, 24 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just. 1, 7 (2014) (quoting Massaro, The Meaning of Shame: Implications for Legal Reform, 3 Pyschol. Pub. Pol'y & L. 645, 648 [1997]; Svensson et al., Moral Emotions and Offending: Do Feelings of Anticipated Shame and Guilt Mediate the Effect of Socializing on Offending? 10 Eur. J. Criminology 2, 3 [2012]). And "humiliation is the emotional experience of being lowered in status, usually by another person. There is the associated sense of powerlessness." Cucolo & Perlin, Promoting Dignity and Preventing Shame and Humiliation by Improving the Quality and Education of Attorneys in Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Civil Commitment Cases, 28 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 291, 292 (2017). It is "'the rejection of human beings as human, that is, treating people as if they were not human beings but merely things, tools, animals, subhumans, or inferior humans.'" Bernstein, Treating Sexual Harassment with Respect, 111 Harv. L. Rev. 445, 489 (1997) (quoting Margalit, The Decent Society 121 [1996]). I cannot ignore such a punitive effect. 

The registration requirements also serve the traditional punitive aims of retribution and deterrence. As I've noted, the registration scheme offered no individual assessment of N.R.'s risk of recidivism or general danger to society. Because these requirements "punish a juvenile for his past conduct without regard to the threat—or lack thereof—that the juvenile currently poses," they are, by nature, retributive. People in Int. of T.B., 489 P.3d at 768 (citing Smith, 538 U.S. at 109 [Souter, J., concurring]); see also Thompson, 304 Kan. at 325 ("such arbitrariness is inherently retributive"). As far as deterrence, even the Supreme Court in Smith acknowledges that the registration requirements could have a natural deterrent effect. 538 U.S. at 102. This court noted the same in Myers. 260 Kan. at 695 ("Registration has an obvious deterrent effect.")

My colleagues may be comfortable to keep their heads in the sand and blindly "follow" a 2003 Supreme Court case that considers a different registration scheme and offers an outdated analysis. But when I look at the research and the arguments, I see the truth before us: lifetime registration for a 14-year-old offender is, unmistakably, punishment. My conclusion is not out of line with caselaw from other parts of the country. Across the nation, courts are creeping out of the shadow of Smith and declaring registration requirements punitive. See Does #1-5 v. Snyder, 834 F.3d 696, 705 (6th Cir. 2016) (Michigan's registration scheme punitive because it "severely restricts where people can live, work, and 'loiter,' . . . categorizes them into tiers ostensibly corresponding to present dangerousness without any individualized assessment thereof, . . . requires time-consuming and cumbersome in-person reporting" and is "supported by—at best—scant evidence that such restrictions serve the professed purpose of keeping Michigan communities safe"); People v. Betts, No. 148981, 2021 WL 3161828, at *12 (Mich. 2021) (Michigan registration requirements punitive because they publicize wealth of information, encourage social ostracism, impose state supervision, serve to deter, are retributive because they offer no individualized assessment, and are excessive because their efficacy is unclear at best); Starkey v. Oklahoma Dep't of Corr., 305 P.3d 1004, 1030 (Okla. 2013) (Oklahoma's registration scheme punitive because its "many obligations impose a severe restraint on liberty without a determination of the threat a particular registrant poses to public safety"); Doe v. Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., 430 Md. 535, 568, 62 A.3d 123 (2013) (registration scheme as applied to offender violated state constitution's ex post facto clause because it had "essentially the same effect . . . as . . . probation" and imposed "shaming for life"); Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371, 379-84 (Ind. 2009) (Indiana's registration scheme punitive in effect because it creates "significant affirmative obligations," and "severe stigma," encourages "vigilante justice," resembles shaming punishments, probation, or parole, sometimes requires a finding of scienter, promotes deterrence and retribution, applies to already criminal behavior, and is excessive in relation to purpose because there is no individual assessment of risk). And in a case that is notably reminiscent of the one before us, the Supreme Court of Colorado recently held that lifetime registration for a juvenile offender, who was twice adjudicated an offender for sexual offenses, was punitive and violated the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. People in Int. of T.B., 489 P.3d 752 (Colo. 2021). The court was particularly swayed by the reality that "lifetime sex offender registration for juveniles does not bear a rational connection to, and is excessive in relation to, [the registration scheme's] nonpunitive purposes of protecting the community and aiding law enforcement." T.B., 489 P.3d at 768. The court came to this decision after noting that juvenile offenders have a high capacity for reform. T.B., 489 P.3d at 768. 

I do not suggest that N.R.'s offense was inconsequential or should be overlooked. But I do suggest that we must follow our constitutional imperatives. N.R. is—very clearly—being punished by the Legislature's "civil scheme." The majority's refusal to acknowledge this is inexplicable. To put it plainly, in the words of my recently retired colleague, the majority's holding is "wrong-headed and utterly ridiculous. . . . [I]n the real world where citizens reside, registration is unequivocally punishment." State v. PerezMedina, 310 Kan. 525, 540-41, 448 P.3d 446 (2019) (Johnson, J., dissenting).

Consequently, I would hold that N.R.'s lifetime registration requirement violates the Ex Post Facto Clause because it was enacted and imposed after N.R. committed the actions that led to his adjudication.

*************************

State of Kansas v. Davidson, No. 119,759 (KS Sup Ct, 9/17/21) -- This ruling was issued the same day and involved an adult registrant, and is also worth noting:


ROSEN, J., dissenting: Consistent with my longstanding opinion that the Kansas offender registration requirements are punitive, I dissent from today's decision. My observations regarding the punitive aspects of KORA are once again explained, this time in greater detail, in my dissent in State v. N.R., 314 Kan. __ (No. 119,796, this day decided).

As I pointed out in my dissent in State v. Stoll, 312 Kan. 726, 737-38, 480 P.3d 158 (2021), I stood with the majority of this court and its position that the registration requirements constitute punishment in State v. Redmond, 304 Kan. 283, 371 P.3d 909 (2016), State v. Buser, 304 Kan. 181, 371 P.3d 886 (2016), Doe v. Thompson, 304 Kan. 291, 373 P.3d 750 (2016), and State v. Charles, 304 Kan. 158, 372 P.3d 1109 (2016). When this holding was overturned, I joined two of my colleagues in dissent in State v. Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. 192, 377 P.3d 1127 (2016). In State v. Shaylor, 306 Kan. 1049, 1053, 400 P.3d 177 (2017), State v. Meredith, 306 Kan. 906, 914, 399 P.3d 859 (2017), and State v. Huey, 306 Kan. 1005, 1010, 399 P.3d 211 (2017), my colleagues and I reiterated our fervent opinion that these requirements are punitive. See also State v. Perez-Medina, 310 Kan. 525, 541, 448 P.3d 446 (2019) (Johnson, J., concurring and dissenting); State v. Marinelli, 307 Kan. 768, 796, 415 P.3d 405 (2018) (Rosen, J., dissenting); State v. Rocheleau, 307 Kan. 761, 767, 415 P.3d 422 (2018) (Beier, J., dissenting). 

I opine in N.R, and emphasize it here, that it is time for this court to join the ranks of the many other courts that have rightfully recognized the punitive nature of registration requirements. Slip op. at 38 (citing Does #1-5 v. Snyder, 834 F.3d 696, 705 [6th Cir. 2016]; People v. Betts, No. 148981, 2021 WL 3161828, at *12 [Mich. 2021]; Starkey v. Oklahoma Dep't of Corr., 305 P.3d 1004 [Okla. 2013]; Doe v. Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., 430 Md. 535, 568, 62 A.3d 123 [2013]; Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371, 379-84 [Ind. 2009]).

Today, I dissent alone. But I stand firm in my belief that the oppressive and onerous requirements of offender registration are punitive. This case presents just another prime example. Consequently, I conclude the retroactive application of the registration requirements to Davidson violated the Ex Post Facto Clause. See Shaylor, 306 Kan. at 1053 (Beier, J., dissenting). I would reverse Davidson's conviction.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

"Victim Culture" at the Tokyo Olympics: There's nothing brave about it

I casually watch and follow the olympics. It is interesting to watch sports that I didn't even know existed (3 on 3 basketbal is a thing now? The US won their first Fencing Gold? Okay, that's cool, en garde and whatnot.)

But just about every story in the past week was about Simone Biles, a cocky gymnist who self-styles herself as a "GOAT" (Greatest of All Time for thoose unfamiliar with the term) to the point she had it put on her gymnast attire, decided to tap out after a poor performance at the games. Personally, I just see it as just another athlete who buckled under the pressure and couldn't take the prospect of losing after hyping herself up as some kind of hero. 

But i wouldn't be discussing it here if it was not for the excuses made for her shortcomings, and it is something I've been harping on for years. 

When a person achieves victim status, you achieve an exalted status. You're even more exalted if you are famous. Obviously Simone Biles is famous for being a black gymnast who won some medals, which is apparent rare in that sport, it seems. But apparently, she's also became known as an alleged victim Larry Nassar, who allegedly used his status as a sports doctor to abuse young women. Apparently this didn't stop Biles from competing in the past, but this time it is different. 

It didn't take long for those who worship at the alter of Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood to start making excuses for Biles after she tapped out of the competition. 

Danielle Campoamor of "The Cut" writes: 

Biles traveled to Tokyo to compete after a years-long delay due to COVID-19, and not just to help her team rake in the medals: She came for fellow survivors. Earlier this spring, Biles revealed that she was dedicating her performance to sexual-assault survivors — she told Today anchor Hoda Kotb, “I feel like if there weren’t a remaining survivor in the sport, they would’ve just brushed it to the side”— as well as “Black and brown girls over the world,” as she told the New York Times in a phone interview. “At the end of the day, I am not representing USA Gymnastics.”

Biles is, in fact, the only victim of former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar — who was sentenced to 175 years in prison after more than 140 girls and young women he had abused came forward — representing Team USA. And while Biles went on to tell Kotb that the abuse she endured caused her to sleep “so much because, for me, it was the closest thing to death without harming myself,” she still felt she had an obligation to return...

By choosing to withdraw from the overall team-final competition and the individual all-around gymnastics final to focus on her mental health and prioritize her well-being, Biles reminded the nearly one in five women and one in 75 men who are victims of sexual assault that our stories, our bodies, and our minds do not need to be sacrificed at the altar of social justice. That it’s okay if we know deep in our bones that we can’t do what is required of us; that pushing through would cause us harm; that the pain, physical or not, simply is not worth it."

If Biles didn't have her heart in it, then she should've bowed out in the first place and allowed someone else to step up. But the funny thing about victim status is that you're celebrated for your failures as much as your successes. Had Biles competed and actually earned the medal she got for being there, I'm sure Danielle Campoamor would have wrote a story about how she "overcame the abuse" to win. 

But Biles choked, as even the so-called "GOATs" do. Tom Brady lost Super Bowls. LeBron James lost at NBA Finals. And Simone Biles would have lost at the Olympics had she not taken the easy way out. She could not be truly brave and say that she quit. Admitting you can't do something takes more courage than making bullshit excuses for something that was obvious to everyone but blind loyalists and sports hero worshippers.

But Biles is being celebrated for choosing to quit, with her supporters using victim status as the reason for being brave. That sends the wrong message. 

Too many people spend time playing the victim, be it BLM, MeToo, Conservative Christians, or those whining about having to wear masks in Walmart. These folks whine about perceived diminished rights but would cheer if the rights of their opponents are diminished. Despite what right-wingers claim, what we call "cancel culture" existed long before the term existed and both sides are guilty of it. But "Cancel Culture" is just a symptom of the larger cancer that is "Victim Culture." 

A self-professed GOAT like Simone Biles should not need such pathetic excuses for failure. Own up to the fact today was not your day and move on, or next time, stay out of the way and let someone better do the job. Stop playing the victim. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

An Obituary and Judicial Bias


 A prisoner who has been writing me for a while asked me if the obituary of his sentencing judge, which boasted of being "Known for giving long sentnces for sex offenders" or "especially tough on those convicted of domestic, sex or child abuse", is evidence of judicial bias. 

Intrigued, I asked to see the newsclip; once he sent it to me, I scanned and copied it, which is posted above. 

It is quite amazing to know that judges can be extremely biased and get away with it. In a 2012 interview with NPR, Steven Lubet, professor of law at Northwestern University, explained to listeners what constitutes Judicial Bias:

LUDDEN: So how do you define judicial bias?

LUBET: The courts define bias as favoritism or an inclination to favor one party to the litigation or one of the lawyers. So they exclude things like predisposition to have a certain view of the law. It needs to be personal, or directly in favor or against one side of the case.

LUDDEN: So you can't read bias in their whole history of decisions from the bench.

LUBET: Well, typically you can't read bias through their whole history of decisions. And another factor, which is directly relevant to the Zimmerman situation, is that it needs to come from something outside the case itself. This is called, sometimes, the extrajudicial source rule. So if a judge got mad at Mr. Zimmerman for something that happened in the course of the case, that would not be bias.

LUDDEN: Huh. Interesting. Now, the - is it true that the definition, though, or the parameters for deciding bias can vary from state to state?

LUBET: There is a general approach that most states follow, which is called - the issue is whether there is a reasonable question about the judge's impartiality. But some states have adopted different rules.

LUDDEN: And then what about state versus federal courts?

LUBET: A reasonable question about impartiality is the rule in federal courts...

LUDDEN: OK. Is there a most common list of allegations, a most common reason people might suggest this or allege this?

LUBET: Well, the most common one, of course, is some sort of financial relationship. That happens fairly often, and usually judges just step aside on, you know, of their own accord when something like that shows up. There's also the situation where a judge might have a relative - say the judge is sitting in criminal cases and has a child or a spouse who works for the public defender or the prosecutor or the probation department.

LUDDEN: OK. And then who decides? I mean, is it always the judge who recuses him- or herself? Is there someone who decides for them whether this is a legitimate concern and they should not hear that case?

LUBET: That's a pretty sensitive issue, actually, and it differs from state to state. Almost everywhere, motions to disqualify a judge go initially to the judge herself or himself. Then, in many places, many states, the motion would be referred to another judge, which seems to make a lot of sense, doesn't it?...

So the short answer is that predisposition is not considered bias; it seems only proven acts of favoritism or bias one party over another would be considered judicial bias. Personally, I disagree from a common sense standpoint. If a person has a "predisposition" against a particular group of people, the case would be judged according to the "predisposition" of the person. What is a predisposition of not the potenial for bias? i'm not a judgr or attorney so my opinion is just that, an opinion. Still, I feel this is unethical. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

NextDoor.com is STILL denying services to Registered Persons; they claim law enforcement demands it


 In 2019, I wrote an article for SOSEN.org regarding the neighborhood-focused social media platform NextDoor.com. Considering vigilantes are known to use NextDoor.com (as illustrated by the sign from a proest in Miami-Dade), there is a valid reason for concern for those unable to check the site for potential activity. 

In 2017, NextDoor justified this act of overt discrimination, stating, “We have the added challenge that the success of Nextdoor in a community depends on our members feeling comfortable sharing personal information (both required information like their real names and addresses, as well as optional profile information–including the names and ages of their kids) with their neighbors. So if members decide they no longer feel safe sharing this information on Nextdoor, even if this belief is misguided, Nextdoor can no longer be successful in that community... Nextdoor works with with thousands of police departments and public agencies, whose willingness to work with us and to recommend Nextdoor to their constituents depends in part on our commitment to keeping our members safe. So we have to be conscious of setting policies that these partners are comfortable with. And when I asked our Agency Team the question you asked us (which partner agencies feel strongly about this policy), they responded that they wouldn’t be able to single out specific ones because they are asked about this policy in every single meeting they have with potential agency partners.” 

If government agents are using NextDoor to pass along sensitive info that is typically a violation of the terms of use policy, then this is all the more reason not to exclude anyone from NextDoor.

So here we are in 2021, nearly two full years after I wrote the SOSEN article, and nothing has really changed. Below is an email sent to a Registered Person recently, who lost their account after being able to access the site for a while:

"I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you had accessing Nextdoor."

"Unfortunately, since public records indicate that you are a registered s** o*** on the ****, our policy blocks you from using Nextdoor:"

"https://nextdoor.com/member_agreement/

"We understand there are many people on the s** o***** registries who do not pose a threat to their neighbors. Unfortunately, we have no way to reliably distinguish between those who do and those who do not."

"In addition, Nextdoor has partnerships with more than 500 police departments, city governments, and other public agencies, and they have made clear to us that a no exceptions policy with regard to registered sex offenders is a necessary precondition for these partnerships."

"I'm sorry that we're therefore unable to grant you access to Nextdoor."

Best, Kiefer

Nextdoor


It is intriguing to me that Nextdoor.com claims Law Enforcement agencies are requiring the company to keep Registered Persons off their platform. I'm not sure I buy that explanation. 

There was a lawsuit in the works against Nextdoor in late 2019 but with the courts running behind schedule due to COVID, who knows then that case will be resolved in court?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

OnceFallen.com's new website is up and running

 Finally, the OnceFallen.com website has been updated to be compatible with mobile phones. The info on the website is the same but has a slightly new look. Gone are the options on the left side of the screen; it now has the "drop down tabs" (that I admittedly hate but that's what all modern sites have). Also, the site links outside the main page have changed, so if you link directly to any of my webpages, you may wish to update that. 

I still need to make a couple of minor updates, but as of today, the site is fully operational. Thanks to all who helped me make this update possible, from those who donated for the updates, and those who worked to update the website. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Housing list updates: 4/7/21

Some of the housing is new, and some are updates. As noted on oncefallen.com, I'm unable to update my site for a while, so check back for more updates. The rest of the list is still available on OnceFallen.com

FLORIDA

Diverse Housing LLC

PO Box 580635, Orlando, FL 32858

Ph. (407) 800-2275

www.diversehousing.com

 Michael Murphy, Owner

Details: Price for shared rooms start at and averages around $450 per mo. Price for individual rooms start at $550 per month and averages around $600 per mo. Rental includes use of furnishings (new bed, used dresser, and used night stand).  Common area is furnished with essential kitchenware, appliances, and dining area.  Use of washer and dryer is also included at all locations. Assistance is provided for the following: completion of initial food stamp application and transportation to first visit of Sheriff’s Office (for registration), DMV, and Probation Offenders and Predators are accepted.  Male and/or females may be accepted.  Couples may be accepted on a case by case basis.  All housing is located in the Orlando area, Orange County, FL.  Security Deposit and First Month’s rent due to move-in. NO admin, application, or processing fees are charged.

Project SOAR Recovery Residences Inc

1231-1235 NE 15th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale FL 33304

800-992-0381 extension 0 (toll-free)

954-900-9980 extension 0 (local)

www.projectsoar.us

info@projectsoar.us

LiveChat with a Specialist 24/7 on our website

Since 2010, Project SOAR Recovery Residences has provided transitional supportive housing for men in the South Florida area. Our primary goal is to provide a clean, safe, sober, and responsible environment to recovering alcohol and/or substance abusers which will, in turn, support recovery. As a state certified recovery residence through the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR), a member of the National Alliance of Recovery Residences and BBB Accredited with an A rating, we are committed to only accepting those individuals who are serious about their recovery. We have 12 locations throughout Fort Lauderdale and proudly accept registered sex offenders, including those with the predator designation at five of our communities that are most commonly approved. Our program fee ranges anywhere from $110.00 to $155.00 per week with a $150.00 admission fee. Prospective residents may apply online at www.projectsoar.us or give us a call at 954-900-9980 extension 0 - we'd be happy to help!

PENNSYLVANIA

Sunday Breakfast Mission

302 N. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107  

215-922-3316      


Just For Jesus Outreach

14530 PA-28, Brockway, PA 15824

814-265-0243


Infinite Ministries

207 Highland Ave. Chester PA 19013

267-291-5871


Redemption Housing

PO Box 6326, Philadelphia PA 19139

267-908-6850


Bethesda Project: Our Brother’s Place

907 Hamilton St., Philadelphia PA 19123

215-985-1600


Forgiven Ministries, Inc.

518 Plum St., Erie PA 16507

814-451-0479


Hearken House Ministry

Patrick M Matthews

79 S Franklin Street, Chambersburg PA 17201

Phone - 717-552-2891

Fax- 717-251-3163

Email-  patrick@hearkenhouse.org

www.hearkenhouse.org


Stepping Stones to Freedom

PO Box 5621, Belleville PA 17004

email- info@sstf.info

http://sstf.info

717-447-0546


New Person Ministries

PO Box 223, Reading, PA 19607

610-777-2222

info@newperson.org

http://cr-so.org/

NOTE: Can only accept those convicted in the following PA counties- Adams, Berks, Bucks, Ciumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry, Schuylkill, & York.

WISCONSIN

Conklin Real Estate LLC
819 N 23rd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414)-342-1550
Cell: (414)-791-5315
Fax: (414)-342-1560
Bob@conklinrealestate.com
Details: This is a company with properties all over the city, and some properties available are open to RCs. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: OnceFallen.com to enter transitional period to modernize website, most services to be unchanged

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING ONCEFALLEN.COM'S WEBSITE

On 31 March 2021, the service I have been using for over 13 years will no longer support the software I have used this entire time to update the website. The site has to be "modernized" for mobile phone compatibility. So, for a few weeks, OnceFallen.com will not be updated with the latest information as the necessary changes are made. The website will remain online but in a "frozen" or "archived" state until these changes are made. This means I won't be able to update my most frequent pages, namely my Housing Lists and my Corrlinks ICoN monthly newsletters. However, this website is NOT shutting down, and I'll continue to provide the same assistance I have done during this period of transition. Until the changes are complete, I will post any important info, like new housing leads and ICoN monthly newsletters, at this blog. 

I have made numerous updates to the website and will continue to make updates until the end of the month. 

My latest update for the PDF version of "Your Life on The List", the March 2021 Version, is available on my site now at:

http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Your_Life_on_The_List_PDF_Free_March_2021.pdf

To see the list of changes made to the book:

http://www.oncefallen.com/files/YLOTL_Edits_March_2021.pdf


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Politicians can't reform the Criminal Justice System when they don't even know what it does

There are plenty of things to laugh about regarding this weekend's "Conservative Political Action Conference", like the nightmare-inducing Trump "Golden Calf" statue (that was made in Mexico) or that the CPAC stage is shaped like the "Odal Rune" worn on the collars of Waffen SS units during World War II. It is hard to believe, but I actually read a positive CPAC-related story. 

I have to admit, it just feels odd spotlighting a Florida politician with good intentions trying to get conservatives interested in Criminal Justice reform. It feels like talking about the Cleveland Browns being Super Bowl contenders. 

From Florida Politics:

"Donalds, in his first term representing Florida’s 19th Congressional District, addressed the topic of criminal justice, both in messaging and policy.

With experience running for, and winning, contested primary elections in the Sunshine State, the Southwest Florida Republican made what he called “two very important acknowledgments” about the kind of policy people wanted.

'First, a system that punishes and completes the punishment of those who do wrong,' Donalds said.

But that punitive approach is only half of it, the Congressman added.

Conservatives should “'appreciate that people who have broken laws are still American citizens and there must be a conduit for them to come back into society.'”

I'm not knocking Rep. Donalds's good intentions here, but the concept that this current system of punishment can ever somehow be "completed" is a foreign concept. to those running the system. Sure, some justice reforms have been made, but they've been largely symbolic and mostly for a select few criminal convictions. 

The highly touted First Step Act has a long list of crimes blocked from obtaining good time benefits, including nearly all sexually-based offenses. The Second Chance Act of 2008 also excluded sex offenses from any beneficial program it created. Registered Persons are banned from many jobs and public places, with some state being worse than others. Florida, the home state for Rep. Donalds, has an abysmally poor record for the treatment of Registered persons. 

People convicted of sex offenses are routinely excluded from criminal justice reform measures. Meanwhile, legislators still find the time amidst the pandemic to expand sex offense registries or to add new prohibitions on the rights of Registered Persons. 

Anti-Registry activists have stated for years that the punishment should end at the completion of a court-imposed sentence. But we like to pretend the sex offense registry is not punishment. We love to pretend that those indefinitely detained (Abu Ghraib-style) in "civil commitment programs" are "patients" receiving treatment. We continue to punish long after the completion of a court appointed sentence while simultaneously denying it is indeed punishment. If it looks, waddles, quacks, and floats like a duck, legislators and courts declare it is a cow. 

Well-meaning criminal justice reformists are seemingly unaware of the fact that the punishment doesn't end the day someone is released from prison or supervision period. I don't know if they are honestly ignorant or willfully overlooking the harm their laws have caused. 

Rep. Donalds told conservatives they should “want to be tough with crime but understanding of the condition of the human being,” to show that “opportunity even exists if you’re rebounding from the worst spot in your life. Everybody has the redemptive ability within them if they actually think the people around them want them to be redeemed.

Right now, that's wishful thinking. Society has to change their viewpoint and it has to be addressed everywhere from the courts and legislators to the mass media. Despite our efforts in recent years, one look at the average comment section of a news story is enough evidence to prove we have a long ways to go. I haven't forgotten that sex offense registry laws are heavily supported by both of our main political parties, either. Both parties have harmed Registered Citizens and their families by espousing nonsensical, revenge-driven laws.

Criminal justice reform is a noble idea, but unless we are included in that idea, then these words ring hollow. Still, it is refreshing to hear someone from the state with one of the worst track records for justice reforms say these words. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

What does a Biden/Harris presidency mean for the Anti-Registry Movement?

 WHAT A BIDEN/ HARRIS PRESIDENCY MEANS FOR RCs

These past four years have truly brought out the worst in American politics, and in many ways, that nightmare is over. However, a transition of power in the White House has meant little to us in the past and will likely not matter this time, either. 

First, consider the fact passing tough-on-crime laws have been a bipartisan effort. Democrat President Clinton signed Megan’s Law in 1996. Republican President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) in 2006. Democrat President Obama signed International Megan’s Law (IML) in 2016. While Republican President Trump never got the chance to sign such sweeping legislation tied to registration laws, he signed FOSTA-SESTA — the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. Both these laws have led to massive internet censorship and helped exacerbate the existing wave of human trafficking panic. (Of course, the 2010s were a decade of various sexual panics from campus assault scares to the #MeToo movement to the PizzaGate/ QAnon conspiracy theories.) And while people were touting Trump’s passage of the First Step Act, very few provisions benefited anyone convicted of anything but petty drug-offenses, as violent/ sex offenses were excluded from most beneficial provisions of the Act. 

This brings us to Democrat President Joe Biden. In Joe Biden’s first Presidential campaign in the 1980s, he ran on a tough-on-crime campaign and had been on the Senate Judiciary Committee since 1981, helping to pass tougher sanctions on drug offenses during Republican President Reagan’s “War on Drugs.” 

Biden has been instrumental in the creation of Sex Offense Legislation on the federal level. Joe Biden helped create the controversial Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994, which he largely wrote and shepherded through the legislative process as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 1994 “Biden Crime Bill” as (Biden himself has called it as recently as spring 2020) created the Jacob Wetterling Act, mandatory minimums, and mass incarceration. Biden defended his passage of the bill during his campaign, claiming it decreased crime (a claim disputed by many criminologists.) 

Biden has referred to the controversial AWA as the “Biden-Hatch Bill.” (Orrin Hatch, R-UT, also was a supporter of the defunct Dateline TV series “To Catch a Predator” and the vigilante group Perverted-Justice.) During the passage of the AWA, Biden stated, “Plain and simple: This legislation will help save children's lives. Sexual predators must be tracked and parents have a right to know when these criminals are in their neighborhoods. We've done a lot to protect our kids against SOs - creating the NCMEC in 1984, enacting the Biden Crime Bill in 1994, and enacting the Amber Alert system in 2003 - but it is not enough. We must do more. The AWA will help prevent these low-life sexual predators from slipping through the cracks.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris is a former sex crimes prosecutor in CA. As DA, Harris co-sponsored a state law that would have banned SOs from social media sites. And as AG, she presided over “Operation Boo,” a mandatory curfew for all homeless SOs on Halloween. Conservative media attacked her for deciding against enforcing a 2000 foot residency restriction law for SOs on parole, which passed by popular vote as part of the state’s “Jessica’s Law. However, the AG office only decided against further enforcement of the restrictions due to In re Taylor, Docket # S206143 (CA Sup Ct, 3/2/2015), which ruled that San Diego Co’s restrictions were unconstitutional as applied. Harris knew that any further enforcement would lead to more lawsuits and decided to no longer enforce the law. 

On the one hand, the powers of the President and Vice-President to pass any laws by Executive Order. (An executive order is a type of written instruction that presidents use to work their will through the executive branch of government.) But Sex Offense Laws have been passed by legislation, not by Executive Orders. But if a federal Sex Offense bill is placed on a President’s desk, be it Trump’s, Biden’s, or whoever is elected in 2024 and beyond, I doubt it will get vetoed.

Part of the problem is Sex Offense Laws have the support of both sides of the political aisle. Conservatives fulfil their moralistic, tough-on-crime agendas, while liberal receive their “justice” for alleged and real crime victims and the belief they are protecting the vulnerable. On a related note, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has a long record of rejecting criminal justice reforms, and had to be pressured by both parties just to get the First Step Act on the floor. This is why registry reform is a hard sell. It is not impossible, since some harsh laws have been scaled back, although most reforms were merely responses to lawsuits. Still, the leader of this country has great influence over public policy, so two tough-on-crime candidates leading this nation could be bad news for registry reformists. 



Friday, January 1, 2021

OnceFallen.com's annual report for 2020 shows record levels for assistance

ONCE FALLEN ANNUAL REPORT 2020 

Since 2016, OnceFallen has published an annual report which tracks the assistance given to and given by OnceFallen.com. While the COVID-19 pandemic altered the focus of Anti-Registry activism this year, demand for assistance reached all all-time high.

MAJOR EFFORTS BY ONCEFALLEN

Despite the global pandemic, OnceFallen still assisted in a number of events throughout the year.

SURVEY & REPORT ASSISTANCE: OnceFallen promoted the Veteran’s Survey conducted by Shawn Rolfe and Emily Horowitz, sending the survey to dozens of federal prisoners. In addition, OnceFallen has conducted its own survey related to the COVID-19 registration issue. OnceFallen also monitored announcements from LEOs to maintain a list of closures during the initial pandemic wave in the spring of 2020. OnceFallen also counted the number of employed registrants in Delaware to determine a 36% unemployment rate for RCs in 2020 in DE.

DENVER PROTEST: OnceFallen assisted in the planning and participated in the protest against the Millard v Camper decision in the 10th Circuit, a bad ruling that denied the registry is punitive. OnceFallen also designed the brochures handed out during the event.

YOUR LIFE ON THE LIST, A REGISTRY SURVIVAL GUIDE: In September 2020, “Your Life on The List” by Derek Logue was published by Amazon.com. The guide was created to help prisoners and the recently released navigate the myriad of “sex offender” laws in place. The guide contains a comprehensive summary of the laws of all 50 states plus DC and the territories and other useful resources for Registered Persons. A PDF version can be found for free on OnceFallen.com while printed versions can be ordered from Amazon.com.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS RETURNED TO NEAR 2017/2018 LEVELS

After two years of steady contributions to OnceFallen’s Anti-Registry efforts, there was a huge dip in financial contributions in 2019. For 2020, donations returned to levels still below but closer to 2017/2018 levels. (A new laser printer of unknown value was donated as well.)

The primary expenses for OnceFallen in 2020 included the annual website fee, the protest in Denver, the material needed to send prisoner requests (ink, paper, envelopes, stamps), copies of books for distribution, and a new computer. Because donations exceeded expenses for 2020, OnceFallen ends on a slight surplus (as opposed to ending on a deficit in 2019). Thus, OnceFallen does not plan on hosting a fundraiser to start the upcoming year.

PRISONER OUTREACH SERVICES INCREASED AT RECORD PACE IN 2020

Prisoner outreach has taken over as OnceFallen’s primary function in 2020. OnceFallen offers the Informational Corrlinks Newsletter (ICoN) through the Corrlinks email system (a correctional email system used by the BOP and a handful of states, such as Wisconsin), answers requests for various guides such as the ACSOL 50 state visitor’s guide (a revision was made independently in Oct. 2020) as well as the newly released registry survival guide. See the resources I provide at http://www.oncefallen.com/icon.html

Subscriptions to the ICoN increased from 473 at the end of 2019 to 637 at the end of 2019 to 637, and increase of 164 subscribers (a 34.67% increase). This marks five years of increasing growth in the Corrlinks network, with 2020 having the largest increase in new subscribers. Here is the growth over the past 5 years:

  • ICoN Subscribers 2016: 155
  • ICoN Subscribers 2017: 221 (+66, 41.7%)
  • ICoN Subscribers 2018: 350 (+129, 63%)
  • ICoN Subscribers 2019: 473 (+123, 35%)
  • ICoN Subscribers 2020: 637 (+164, 34.7%)

A total of 220 individual first contacts came from prisoners or those in civil commitment centers (109 through Corrlinks and 111 by mail).

A total of 285 postal letters arrived in 2020 and while not all letters come from prisoners, nearly all are requests for info related to the OnceFallen prisoner outreach. This year broke all previous records for letters received.

  • Letters to OnceFallen 2013: 43
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2014: 43 
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2015: 73 (+30, 69.7%)
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2016: 121 (+43, 65.7%)
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2017: 184 (+63, 52.1%)
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2018: 172 (-8, -1%)
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2019: 175 (+3, 2%)
  • Letters to OnceFallen 2020: 285 (+110, 62.9%)

NEW CONTACTS FOR ONCEFALLEN HIT RECORD LEVELS IN 2020

In 2020, OnceFallen assisted 476 individuals who reached out for assistance. About 46.2% of those (220 of the 476) were prisoners/ civilly committed. This is the most total contacts in any year overall and the largest increase since OnceFallen was founded in 2007.

  • New Contacts 2016: 291
  • New Contacts 2017: 422 (+125, +42.1%)
  • New Contacts 2018: 401 (-21, -5%)
  • New Contacts 2019: 336 (-65, -16%)
  • New Contacts 2020: 476 (+140, +41.7%)

For 2020, I kept up with the nature of requests to help me better serve those who make inquiries. Some of these may overlap because people sometimes make multiple requests. Also, some folks contact me occasionally with later requests.

  • ·         Legal Questions: 105 contacts. This includes everything from questions about particular state laws or a specific topic like residency laws or IML, or for requests like attorney lists or activist contacts for a particular state.
  • ·         Housing issues: 94 contacts (housing list or advice). Three housing providers, however, contacted me requesting removal from the housing list, and those three aren’t counted here.
  • ·         General Info: 62 contacts. This includes contacts for a variety of reasons, like calls from those from people soon to be convicted or from family members of registrants who don’t know what to expect, or advice on finding employment or other resources.
  • ·         ICoN-specific inquiries: 59 contacts. Direct questions related to the ICoN/ Prisoner services.
  • ·         Resources: 54 contacts. These are direct requests for specific printed guides or books from prisoners. An underestimate since only initial inquiries are counted. Many inmates request multiple guides. This number is expected to go down in 2021 since many resources are contained within the registry guide book created by OnceFallen.
  • ·         Veteran’s Survey requests: 15 contacts.
  • ·         COVID-related issues: 9 contacts.
  • ·         Harassing calls: OnceFallen received threats of violence and harassment from seven vigilantes in 2020.

New contacts by month: 72 in Jan., 33 in Feb., 37 in Mar., 30 in Apr., 38 in May, 54 in June, 37 in July, 46 in Aug., 40 in Sept., 35 in Oct., 40 in Nov., 25 in Dec.

People from a total o 41 US State, one US Territory and Canada contacted me (185 contacts were of unknown origin.) Most contacts by state/ nation: FL (26); CA (23); OH (21); TX (21); NY/VA (14 each); IL (13); PA (12); WI (11); CO (10); AL/GA (9 each); MD/NC (8 each); NJ (7); AZ/IA/MO/OR (6 each); AR/KY (5 each); KS/MI/MN/NE/SC (4 each); ID/IN/LA/TN (3 each); DE/MA/OK/UT/WA/WV (2 each); MS/NM/NV/SD/WY/US Virgin Islands/ Canada (1 each); unknown (185). No contacts from AK, CT, HI, ME, MT, ND, NH, RI, or VT of the known contacts were made in 2020.

New Contacts by means utilized: email (153), Corrlinks (109), Postal Service (107), Phone call (64), Text Message (30), Facebook (11), and LinkedIn (2).

ONCEFALLEN VISIBILITY

OnceFallen.com received 253,132 visitors in 2020. OnceFallen.com counts actual visits, not “hits”, to determine users to the site.  

  • OnceFallen.com Visitors 2016: 133,491
  • OnceFallen.com Visitors 2017: 228,275 (+97,484 or +71%)
  • OnceFallen.com Visitors 2018: 334,687 (+106,412 or +46.6%)
  • OnceFallen.com Visitors 2019: 218,040 (-116,647 or -25.9%)
  • OnceFallen.com Visitors 2020: 253,132 (+35,092 or 16.1%)

At least 24% of visitors to OnceFallen.com use the site multiple times throughout the year.

In total, 2262 free PDF copies of “Your Life on The List”, OnceFallen.com’s registry survival guide and overview of each state/ territory registry laws were accessed. Since OnceFallen gave full distribution rights (and profits) for the physical copies on Amazon.com to Reset Missouri, they would have data on number of physical book sales; thus, I don’t know how many books sold through Amazon. 

Appearances of Derek Logue or OnceFallen.com doubled from 2 in 2019 to 4 in 2020. Two OpEds written by OnceFallen in The Crime Report, and one in the Lincoln Journal Star. The other appearances were in South Florida media after Derek Logue defeated Florida State Senator Lauren Book on 1st Amendment grounds in the Florida Appeals Court.