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.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Print copies of "Your Life on The List", the OnceFallen registry survival guide, now available on Amazon

For the past 6 weeks, I've been offering free PDF copies of "Your Life on the List", OnceFallen/com's registry survival guide for free on the website. If you aren't aware of that, the free PDF version is at:

http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Your_Life_on_The_List_PDF_Free_Version_08302020.pdf

Since this guide was created with prisoners and those new to the registry in mind, many of whom cannot access the Internet, printed versions were announced as soon in coming.  However, there had been delays on print copies of the book for various reasons.

But FINALLY, printed copies of "Your Life on The List" can be ordered from Amazon.com for $12.95

The link to the printed copy is at:

https://smile.amazon.com/Your-Life-List-Derek-Logue/dp/B08JB1XL3X/ref=sr_1_1

Please note that I'm not making any money from this sale (not even a penny), as I have offered full distribution rights to Reset Missouri, an organization that assisted me in editing the book and is using the proceeds to establish transitional housing. Thus, all profits go directly to them, not to me or OnceFallen.com. The book is priced reasonably to get the info in the hands of people and not to make a profit.

In the near future, I'll offer a handful of signed copies that can be bought directly from me. I'll make that announcement when I have copies of my own available for those who want to buy a signed copy.




FEEDBACK FROM READERS

Since this book was written with the returning citizen and new registrants in mind, it is encouraging to hear positive feedback:

"I just want to thank you for your book 'Your Life on the List'.  I have been 'locked up' since Christmas of 2008 and will be releasing to Halfway House in January.  In my incarceration, I've seen both state and federal prison and can say that I'm scared to death of what awaits in the 'free world'. I had my sister order your book with the intention that when I left, I'd leave it to the guys around here so that they could pass it around.  However, after staying up last night and reading through it, I think I might just have to order another copy to leave here and take my original copy home with me.  The book is well written, gives fact instead of just one person's opinions on what is out there, and the best part, gives resources to contact to help us get on our feet before we leave the walls of prison and stay upright when we get out. Thank you for your work and dedication to this issue.  I look forward to leaving prison behind me and with the Grace of God, will be able to get out, get a job, find a home and live MY life on the list in the most productive and peaceful way that I can. Thank you again for your fact filled book.  Every registered or soon to be registered person needs to read this one!!!" -- John G.

"Awesome Awesome Book My Friend. I just finished reading Your book(borrowed) and I loved it. I'd like to buy two of them as soon as You can sell a few, or give Me a address to send a check.. I have no way of ordering from Amazon right now. Thank You and God bless." -- Donald K. 
                                                          

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what her passing means for Registered Persons (with update regarding Amy Coney Barrett)

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what her passing means for Registered Persons

Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020, and with her passing, a fierce fight over the next nomination begins. When Scalia passed away in 2016, the Republicans argued we should let the voters decide the next Supreme Court Justice with our Presidential vote, but before funeral plans for RBG were even announced, Mitch McConnell has vowed to announce a replacement in record time.

Many folks within the Anti-Registry Movement lean to the right politically, but conservative justices have not been our allies. For many years, Justice Kennedy was the swing vote on an evenly divided SCOTUS, leading to many 5-4 decisions. To understand what losing a liberal justice has means for our cause, you must understand the political alignment of the justices and how that impacted many SCOTUS cases:

Kansas v Hendricks, 521 US 346 (1997): A 5-4 split, with conservative justices Thomas, Scalia, Rehnquist, and O’Connor joining Kennedy in upholding civil commitment based on a lower standard for commitment and a lower burden of proof. Justices Ginsburg joined Breyer, Stevens, and Souter in dissent. 

McKune v. Lile, 536 US 24 (2002): A 5-4 split, with conservative justices Thomas, Scalia, Rehnquist, and O’Connor joining Kennedy in denying the Kansas Sexual Abuse Treatment Program violate inmates' Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination. Justices Ginsburg joined Breyer, Stevens, and Souter in dissent.

Smith v Doe, 538 US 84 (2003): A 6-3 split, with conservative justices Thomas, Scalia, Rehnquist, and O’Connor joining Kennedy and liberal justice Souter in denying the Alaska sex offense registry is punitive and thus violating the ex post facto clause. Justices Ginsburg wrote the dissent, joined by Breyer and Stevens. 

“What ultimately tips the balance for me is the Act’s excessiveness in relation to its nonpunitive purpose,” Ginsburg wrote in her dissent. “The Act applies to all convicted sex offenders, without regard to their future dangerousness. And the duration of the reporting requirement is keyed not to any determination of a particular offender’s risk of reoffending, but to whether the offense of conviction qualified as aggravated. The reporting requirements themselves are exorbitant: The Act requires aggravated offenders to engage in perpetual quarterly reporting, even if their personal information has not changed. And meriting heaviest weight in my judgment, the Act makes no provision whatever for the possibility of rehabilitation: Offenders cannot shorten their registration or notification period, even on the clearest demonstration of rehabilitation or conclusive proof of physical incapacitation. However plain it may be that a former sex offender currently poses no threat of recidivism, he will remain subject to long-term monitoring and inescapable humiliation.” (Citations omitted.)

Kennedy v Louisiana, 554 US 407 (2008): A 5-4 split, with liberal justices Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter, and Breyer joining Kennedy in a majority opinion declaring a person cannot be executed for a sex offense where no death was involved. Conservative justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas feels it is perfectly fine to execute a Registered Person if his offense did not result in death. 

Packingham v North Carolina, 582 US _ (2017): While this decision was unanimous on upholding a registrant’s right to social media (8-0, as Justice Gorsuch was not a part of the vote), the conservative justices Roberts, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas wrote a concurring opinion that state states should be allowed to regulate activity on certain websites. 

US v Haymond, 588 US _ (2019): In a 5-4 split that ruled 18 USC 3583(k) violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendments by imposing a mandatory minimum punishment on a criminal defendant upon a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant engaged in certain criminal conduct during supervised release, Ginsburg joined liberal justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor and conservative justice Gorsuch in the majority opinion. Conservative justices Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Kavanaugh dissented. The case involved a Registered Person sentenced on a parole violation based on a “preponderance of the evidence” finding the registrant’s computer may have recently contained illicit photos. 

While this pattern has not been universal (See US v Comstock, 560 US 126 (2010), where only conservative justices Alito and Thomas rejected the majority opinion that Congress had the constitutional authority to enact the Adam Walsh Act under the Necessary and Proper Clause), the majority of landmark cases impacting Registered Persons have been divided, with liberal justices more likely to vote against registry laws and other draconian sanctions.

This upcoming battle for the next Supreme Court nominee affects Registered Persons more than you realize. With Ginsburg’s death, only liberal justice Breyer and conservative justice Thomas remain from the Rehnquist court that gave us the Smith v Doe decision. However, John “Price Club” Roberts was the man who argued for the state of Alaska in Smith v Doe. We’re currently left with three left-leaning justices – Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer. The conservative justice voted to uphold the registry, uphold civil commitment, and even voted to execute registered persons. Even when they voted for free speech in Packingham, they failed to commit fully to that belief by writing a concurring opinion. 

A conservative majority is not great news for registry legal reforms. That is evident by a quarter-century of landmark legislation listed in this article. Many of us continue to hope to see Smith v Doe overturned in our lifetimes. In my opinion, having a sixth conservative justice would pretty much kill that faint glimmer of hope. 

ADDENDUM: Trump’s pick, Amy Coney Barrett, will not be good news for us, confirming what I already suspected. In Beley v. Chicago, for example, she wrote an opinion rejecting a homeless man’s claim that the city’s refusal to register him under the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) deprived him of due process. The reason he wanted to be registered is to avoid an arrest, conviction and up to five years in prison for failing to register. The homeless man’s attempt to register was rejected by the city of Chicago because he had no identification card or proof of an address. He was later arrested for failing to register.

In her decision, Coney Barrett was unforgiving: “[S]aying that one has the right to register under SORA is like saying that one has the right to serve a sentence or the right to pay taxes.” She rejected the suggestion that the government must “provide due process . . . for actions that create the potential for a later loss” of the man’s freedom from incarceration due to a SORA violation. Coney Barrett identified no “way in which the possibility of incarceration burdens” a homeless person. Case dismissed.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

WAR's Denver Protest and why Public Demonstrations matter

Women Against Registry is hosting a public demonstration in response to the recent 10th Circuit decision:

JOIN WOMEN AGAINST REGISTRY (WAR) IN A PEACEFUL PROTEST OF THE 10TH CIRCUIT MILLARD v RANKIN DECISION

DATE: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 from 8:00am to 2:00pm

PLACE: 10th Circuit Courthouse, 1823 Stout St, Denver, CO 80257

SUMMARY: The 10th Circuit in the August 20, 2020 decision denies the registry is NOT punitive, a decision contrary to the findings of the Ohio Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the 6th Circuit Court, and the US District Court of Colorado. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter called this decision “a major victory for public safety advocates”; for those of us who have endured hardships as the result of inclusion on the public sexual offfense registry, this decision is an insult and a denial of real-life struggles. The registry looks like punishment and feels like punishment. American society considers the public registry as a part of the punishment. This protest is a demonstration against this horrible 10th Circuit ruling. We KNOW the registry is not only PUNITIVE, but CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT as found by the US District Court in Colorado. Registered Persons, loved ones of Registrants, and anyone who believes the 10th Circuit got it wrong is welcome to attend. For more info or to commit to attend, you can send an email to 10thcirteam@warfamilyfoundation.org or you can contact me at iamthefallen1@yahoo.com for more info. You can also donate to either OnceFallen directly (Paypal email for OnceFallen is the same), or if you prefer, send your donations to Women Against Registry.

WHY DEMONSTRATIONS ARE IMPORTANT

Demonstration are integral parts of our efforts to reform the registry. There is no one singular action we can take to change the laws. This Anti-Registry Movement has come to believe in recent years that lawsuits are the Madden NFL Hail Mary pass strategy to lead us to ultimate victory, but the 10th Circuit just intercepted that pass and now it is going the other way. You can't win the game on a single strategy. Football is a complex sport. There are running plays and passing plays, trick plays where you fake the run or fake the pass, and sometimes, a big play is a matter or improvising when the designed play breaks down. 

Our movement should learn to value every play we make. The long ball pass in football is exciting but those are not often successful, especially the last second Hail Mary. Yet, it feels like that is all our movement values. Lawsuits are great when successful, but then we hit a bad 10th Circuit ruling or a 6th Circuit ruling, then you realize that the lawsuit strategy is not sufficient if we cannot mix things up a bit. 

I have personally been a fan on public awareness campaigns. They are underutilized in our movement in large part because people fear being recognized and assaulted. Having engaged in such events in Florida, Long Island, California, and Oregon, I have seen none of this happen. With the COVID concerns still taking place, you can wear a mask and sunglasses to hide your identity; we will be in front of a federal courthouse, so there will be DHS or other federal agents patrolling the area to keep people safe. My past protest experiences have been largely positive, too. People behave differently face-to-face than they do online. People who approach us seem more willing to listen to the message. With enough people attending, the media will  cover the event, and it will give us a chance to spread our message to a larger audience than the passersby at the event itself. 

We as a movement need to get out of the mindset that no single event is good if it is not going to instantaneously change the registry. A football game is never won on a single play, but a culmination of all the plays made in the game. Sometimes that one yard run up the middle of the field made the difference. We needs to stop thinking in terms of either-or (lawsuits OR protests), we need to start thinking in terms of both-and (lawsuits AND protests). Where do the courts get their opinions? Would you believe that judges are humans that get their same ideas from the same places the rest of us do, primarily the media and internet? If we're going to educate the public, we have to educate everyone-- judges, lawmakers, the media, and the general public. 

This ios especially important given the way people have responded to the events of this year. Thanks to outlandish conspiracies like QAnon, there has been a renewed focus on increasing punishment for Registered Persons. We need to provide a counterbalance to the QAnon believers. This make this upcoming event important, so support it by donating to WAR or to OnceFallen, or better yet, donate your Thursday, September 24th plan and join us in person. 



Sunday, August 23, 2020

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: "Your Life on 'The List'" - A Survival Guide for Registered Persons -- is now available as a free PDF; New article on OnceFallen discusses the MSOP Moose Lake Civil Commitment Center

http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Your_Life_on_The_List_PDF_Free_Version_08227020.pdf

At long last, I have finished my registry survival guide and I'm making it a FREE PDF download on my website. A printed version for those who cannot download it is in the works, and I hope it will be available through Amazon.com in a couple of weeks. You can download the PDF from the front page of my site if the link above does not work. (I'm enclosing it as an attachment as well.)

I'm asking those of you who have your own websites to please do not post my book to your website without my consent; out of respect for my work, I ask that you refer folks to my site to download the page.

This book contains mostly articles I have written in the past so most of the materials are copyrighted. The PDF version and the print version will be the same but the pages will be numbered differently in the print version (due to being in a 9x6 inch format).

Your Life on “The List”: 2020 Edition

Book Description

“Your Life on ‘The List’” is a survival guide for individuals facing inclusion on the public “sex offender” registry. This guide provides an overview of common laws Registered Persons may face after conviction/ release from incarceration. This guide also provides useful information on finding housing, employment, travel issues, legal rights, and other advice and resources specific to Registered Persons. This guide also contains a list of transitional housing programs and a comprehensive overview of the sex offense registry laws of all 50 state and US Territories; the legal overview covers the registry, residency/ presence restriction laws, community notification, relief from the registry, parental rights, and other laws applicable to Registered Persons (complete with legal statute numbers).

Your Life on “The List” is an indispensable tool for newly registered or soon-to-be registered persons. This book is available for free as a PDF at OnceFallen.com. This guide was created primarily for prisoners and those on probation/ parole/ supervised release who are not allowed internet access. However, those interested in the myriad of laws a Registered Person must endure will also find value in this book.

“Minnesota State’s Other Prison”: The Inside Story of the MSOP-Moose Lake Treatment Center


Don't forget to read my newest OnceFallen.com piece on the MSOP Moose Lake Civil Commitment Center while you are at it. I discuss the establishment and operation of the facility, and the toll it has taken on both staff and inmates at the detainment center. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

How many Registered Persons are there in the US? The answer isn't as simple as you might think

I was asked a question the average person might think is simple:

"Can you tell me, if you know this, how many Registered Sex Offenders there are (approximate) in the United States? Do you know how many more non registered SO's there are?"

My response:

Good question. You may think that's be a simple answer but the truth is no one actually knows!

Up until 2018, the Nat'l Center for Missing and Exploited Children conducted a regular count. Actually, it is motre accurate to say an irregular count. Sometimes, they'd count regularly every six months, but sometimes they did not make a timely account, The last numbers they put out was December 2018, when they claimed there were 917,771 (per 100,000 population - 279) RSOs in the USA. 

But all of a sudden, NCMEC quit publishing these numbers and they took down all of their stats. I saved a number of them over the years. 

Part of the problem with getting an accurate count is the fact each state counts registrants differently. 

A website called SafeAtHome.org (a website hocking security software) offers a different count than NCMEC and claims as of Fall 2019, there are only about 752,000 RSOs. However, they give no methodology for making that claim. I don't know if they just yanked their stats out their asses or if they simply counted those listed publicly. 

Many states include registered persons not living in the community; they could be incarcerated, convicted but living in another state or outside the USA, deported, or even dead. Some states list juveniles as young as age 10, some only list adults. Not every state lists every registrant on the PUBLIC registry. I'm listed TWICE on the National Registry website because i'm registered in Nebraska AND in FloriDUH even though I've NEVER lived there. (I was on Alabama's registry for years because they also keep folks on the registry even after they leave the state, but I'm no longer listed publicly.)

Because I did my own count on Alabama's registry for a study, I'll just compare the registry counts:

My own registry count, May 2017 -- 6101 (not counting nearly a thousand listed who were incarcerated)

NCMEC, Dec. 2018 -- 15,591

SafeAtHome, Fall 2019 -- 10,570

Who is right? All of us? None of us? I don't know the answer. 

Here's a 2012 study: 

Alissa R. Ackerman, Jill S. Levenson & Andrew J. Harris (2012): How many sex offenders really live among us? Adjusted counts and population rates in five US states, Journal of Crime and Justice, DOI:10.1080/0735648X.2012.666407

"Registered sex offender (RSO) population data reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) were compared to data obtained directly from registries in five states

and adjusted for those identified as confined, deported, deceased, or living in another jurisdiction. Results indicate that 43% of RSOs in the five states (ranging from 25% in Texas to 60% in Florida) were not living in the community. Similarly, when estimating point prevalence rates of RSOs per 100,000 people in the US population, rates were substantially inflated when not adjusted for those who are residing in the community. 

A study from 2015 (that I denounced as a garbage study because the conclusions were utter nonsense) stated the following:

"The initial NSOR data set received contained 798,805 records. In this dataset, there were over 1,701 data fields for each record. After an extensive effort to clean the database by removing duplicate entries and consolidating records, 153,777 duplicate records were deleted, leaving 645,028 cleaned records." ("Hiding in Plain Sight? A Nationwide Study of the Use of Identity Manipulation by Registered Sex Offenders." Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP), Utica College. Feb. 2015. https://www.utica.edu/academic/institutes/cimip/Hiding_in_Plain_Sight.pdf)

I hate that study and thoroughly debunked their idiotic conclusions but this blurb about how they found many duplicate entiries even in 2015 is still useful info. 

This, unfortunately, means I cannot answer that question because the short answer is nobody knows the actual number. I estimated based on rates a decade ago from NCMEC that we'd have over a million names on the registry. That's entirely possible. Even the lowball estimate of 752k from last year is a huge number (again, there's no answer given how they made their conclusions). 

****

So just how many registered persons are there in America? It depends on who you ask. The count is complicated by double posts, listings that should not be on the website due to death or living outside the registering jurisdiction, and states that list some registrants but not others. 

Why did NCMEC decide to quit counting the number of Registered Persons and why did they remove all of their previous counts from their website? My hypothesis is that NCMEC deliberately quit counting because he number was approaching a million, and with that milestone comes questions of the efficacy of the registry. I believe NCMEC anticipated these questions so they simply removed the count. 

It really isn't that important if there are a million Registered Persons or not. If even one Registered Person suffers from oppression because of this disgusting registry, then it needs to be abolished. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

OnceFallen.com's full statement to the US Dept. of Justice regarding public SORNA input

In case someone missed the announcements from other groups, the US Dept. of Justice is accepting open comments on SORNA rule changes. You can see the full announcement and make your own statement at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/13/2020-15804/registration-requirements-under-the-sex-offender-registration-and-notification-act

So here is my full statement, but since the online form is capped at 5k characters, I shortened it then added this full statement as an attachment, and included writings from OnceFallen.com and my Crimes Against Registrants Database. 

(Note: I hate to shorten the intro on the Federal Register due to space limits, so I included it as an attachment; after a full month, it was published at https://beta.regulations.gov/comment/DOJ-OAG-2020-0003-0283)

PS: To anyone trying to critique what I wrote, it was already submitted so changes can't be made, so telling me of any minor typos is a waste of time at this point. 

****

To: Regulations Docket Clerk

Office of Legal Policy

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 4234

Washington, DC 20530

Re: Docket No. OAG 157

Statement from Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com on the US DoJ proposed changes to the “Registration Requirements Under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act”

My name is Derek W. Logue, a 43 year old Native American male currently residing in rural Nebraska, and founder of the registry information website OnceFallen.com. I have been a Registered Person since 2003 and will be on this government blacklist for the rest of my life. I am essentially serving a life sentence. Every day my face is on this registry, my life and the lives of my loved ones are in constant danger. Just this year alone, I’ve experienced multiple threats and experience constant harassment because of the registry. I have not held a formal job since 2006 and collect welfare to survive. There is no point in trying to become a productive citizen when few companies hire Registered Persons, and even if I can be hired, I can be too easy fired using my label as a convenient excuse. I live off $803 a month SSDI/ SSI, draw $15 a month in food stamps, and Medicaid/Medicare. 

I have no desire to look for a job so long as my name is on your government blacklist. I had two jobs but lost them both because the registry became a tool of oppression by my employer to silence any dissent. If I fell out of line, there’s a convenient excuse to terminate my employment. At least I have a stable income now and don’t have to consider doing something potentially illegal to survive. 

I’m not alone in this struggle; A 2016 Jobs and Welfare Survey of 307 registered citizens found registrants living in AWA-compliant states were MORE likely than those living in non-AWA states to report being currently homeless (4.05% AWA vs 2.6% non), being unemployed (47.97% AWA vs 36.36% non), being denied a job (61.86% AWA vs 54.61% non), being harassed at work (53.57% AWA vs 47.66% non), and being forced to rely on public assistance (57.43% AWA vs. 50% non). This study strongly suggests the Adam Walsh Act exacerbates the negative consequences of the public registry. Further studies would be needed to understand the impact of the Adam Walsh Act on registered citizens as compared to existing laws.

For the past 15 years, I’ve fought back against these oppressive laws. Victim advocates like Laura Ahearn from Parents For Megan’s Law and Florida State Senator Lauren Book have tried various methods for silencing me, including filing SLAPP Suits against me. Vigilante groups have disparaged my name and have threatened me; I have over a half-dozen websites dedicated to everything I do. I’ve been called many terrible things while being interviewed by the mainstream media. Still, I will continue to speak out because I already feel dead thanks to the Sex Offense Registry.

The Registry is a Weapon of Mass Destruction

On May 14, 2020, Omaha resident James Fairbanks, armed with a gun and information from both the Nebraska Sex Offense Registry and a Facebook group, broke into Matteio Condoluci’s home and murdered him in cold blood. Fairbanks has tried to blame the murder on his victim by claiming he looked too long at a child. This is but one of dozens of murders committed against registered persons since the federal sex offense registry law was established as part of the Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994. The misuse of the registry as a weapon of vengeance, however, is as old as the very concept of the registry. 

The modern sex offense registry originated in 1931 when Los Angeles County Prosecutor proposed a “convict registry” of people convicted of drug crimes or other offenses tied to organized crime. As fears of the likes of famous gangsters Al Capone and Baby Face Nelson gave way to fears of “Sexual Psychopaths” during the 1930s and 1940s, sex offenses became the focus of LA’s criminal registry. By 1947, the citywide registry became the first statewide registry in the United States. 

Even in the early days of the sex offense registry, the registry was utilized as a weapon. During the 1950s, it was used to harass homosexuals engaging in consensual sex, charging them with “sexual perversion.” In 1953, only about 150 rapists and 44 “other sex offenses” like molestation were included on the registry; over 2200 registered persons were homosexuals. Among those placed on the sex offense registry for “sexual perversion” was Bayard Rustin, who becam one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. However, it took a decade after Ruskin’s conviction to be restored within the Civil Rights Movement. 

Sexual Psychopath fears were replaced in part by the fear of violent inner-city minorities. The 1964, Kitty Genocese, a white 28-year-old was raped and murdered by a black man, which helped spark racial tensions in New York City and solidify the widely believed myth of the “black rapist.” Later that year, Barry Goldwater became the first Presidential candidate to run his campaign on the “War on Crime” platform; although his bid failed, Goldwater’s “War on Crime” would be taken up would be perfected by President Johnson. 

As the Cold War and Civil Rights era fears waned, America once again returned to Sex Offender panic in the form of fears of child abductions and Satanic Ritual Abuse. Americans became afraid to leave their homes, and victim advocates like John Walsh were testifying before Congress that America was “littered with mutilated, decapitated, raped, and strangled children.” By the time research discovered that what we believed about Satanic Ritual Abuse and “stereotypical kidnappings” to be false, the belief that Satanic underground pedophile networks fueled demands for stricter penalties for anyone convicted of a sex offense. 

After Jacob Wetterling’s abduction, a law enforcement officer gave Patty Wetterling the idea to advocate for a national registry. Washington had made headlines not long after Jacob’s disappearance by creating a modern sex offense registry. In the year before the Jacob Wetterling Act established a national registry, Joseph Gallardo was scheduled to move to a home near Lynnwood, WA after his release. The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office wrongfully claimed Gallardo murdered children and was sexually sadistic. Neighbors protested in front of the home and later set the house on fire, forcing Gallardo to flee to New Mexico to stay with a relative. After arriving in the small town of Deming, NM, a protest there forced both brothers to leave town. A Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff told reporters he planned on calling the Sheriff of the next county where Gallardo moved. Despite the story of extreme vigilante violence making national news, the Wetterling Act was passed with virtually opposition. 

The internet has made access and abuse of publicly registry information extremely easy. Most states list every registered person in their state. There is no differentiation between a teen who engaged in a sexual relationship with a classmate and a teen who forcefully raped a classmate.  

Here are a few key points to consider:

1. Most sex crimes occur at home by someone known to the victim, usually a family member or someone close to the family. The registry was designed with “stranger danger” in mind.

2. Most sex crimes are committed by first time offenders, not a Registered Person. This fact predates the advent of a national public registry and is not proven to be influenced by the registry. 

3. Sex offense recidivism has been extremely low even before the advent of the national public registry. The registry has not been proven to reduce re-offense. Numerous studies using actual numbers of US arrests or convictions have proven re-offense rates are extremely low. 

4. The registry is not often utilized as a public safety tool; on the contrary, it has been used for primarily salacious reasons, including the use by vigilantes to engage in murders, assaults, vandalism, and harassment. OnceFallen has documented nearly 200 murders of people directly tied to the public registry. Here are a few examples:

Stephen A. Marshall murdered two registered persons in Maine in 2006; one of his victims was William Elliott, who at age 19 had sex with a girlfriend two weeks before her 16th birthday.

In 2005, Michael Anthony Mullen used the registry to select his victims; he posed as an FBI agent to enter the home of two registered persons to kill them. While serving time in prison, he shared a cell with career criminal Patrick Drum, who would go on to murder two registered persons in 2012 using public registry information to choose his victims.

In 2013, a self-professed Neo-Nazi couple, Jeremy and Christine Moody, used the registry to murder a registered person and his wife; The Moodys had written a White Supremacist Manifesto (sold on Lulu.com) proclaiming, “The only cure for child abusers and molesters is to have every member of their immediate family killed.”

Murderers of registrants are heralded as heroes even after committing other heinous offenses. In 2014, Jay Maynor murdered a registered person connected with his family; within days, his family started a GoFundMe petition and a Biker Rally to raise funds for Maynor’s release and legal defense fund, receiving thousands of dollars in the process. But just minutes before Maynor murdered the registrant, he shot into a gas station where a children’s birthday party was being held because he was angry with his daughter’s boyfriend; one bullet hit only a few feet from one of the children in attendance. Even Jeremy and Christine Moody received support despite their direct ties to hate groups. 

I have enclosed my Crimes Against Registrants Database (CARD) as evidence the registry has been used as a weapon of hatred. And these are merely the crimes that have been reported by the media; other surveys of Registered Persons have found nearly have been victimized by vigilante violence. 

The registry has never been proven to protect the public; in fact, there is evidence the registry and the laws fueled by the registry may actually increase the likelihood of recidivism. So why are we spending millions on this bloated, useless, ineffective registry? What purpose does it truly serve? The registry has merely propagated the same tired myths that have been thoroughly debunked years ago. We are now seeing a resurgence of these same tired myths; the QAnon conspiracy theory is in part a revival of the Satanic Panic myths of the 1980s. 

The Adam Walsh Act is a Recipe for Disaster

The Adam Walsh Act (AWA) was a culmination of various bad public policies. There is a very reason that only a third of the states have adopted this controversial law in the 14 years since it was signed. This law is a complex mess. 

There are numerous problems with the law, including:

1. The AWA utilizes an offense-based classification scheme. In Ohio, the number of Registered Persons listed as a Tier III (the so-called “high risk” category) tripled from 18% to 54% between 12/31/2007 and 1/1/2008. There were no new charges, just a change in the classification scheme. 

2. The AWA does not differentiate between a 16 year old who engaged in consensual sex with a classmate and a 16 year old who raped a classmate. Both are given the same classification under the AWA. 

3. The AWA costs millions more to implement and enforce than most existing state laws; Texas refused to adopt the AWA because they found that it would cost them $39 million just to implement the law (not including maintenance) while only costing $2 million to pay the fee for not adopting the law. The AWA only awards about $20 million annually in various grants to state, territories, and Indigenous nations to adopt AWA guidelines. Native tribes have been faced with an ultimatum to adopt the registry or lose tribal sovereignty. 

4. Despite the SMART Office claims, the AWA still requires states to place juveniles as young as 14 on the public registry. 

5. The AWA is obviously a form of punishment and is thus unconstitutionally applied retroactively. In State v. Williams, 129 Ohio St.3d 344, 2011-Ohio-3374, The Ohio Supreme Court ruled, “Based on these significant changes to the statutory scheme governing sex offenders, we are no longer convinced that R.C. Chapter 2950 is remedial, even though some elements of it remain remedial…No one change compels our conclusion that S.B. 10 is punitive… It is a matter of degree whether a statute is so punitive that its retroactive application is unconstitutional. When we consider all the changes enacted by S.B. 10 in aggregate, we conclude that imposing the current registration requirements on a sex offender whose crime was committed prior to the enactment of S.B. 10 is punitive.” (SB 10 was Ohio’s version of the AWA.) Similar rulings have been made in Millard v. Rankin, 265 F.Supp.3d 1211 (U.S. Dist., Colorado 2017), Does v. Snyder, 834 F.3d 699 (6th Cir. 2016), and Commonwealth v. Muniz, 164 A.3d 1189 (Pa. 2017). 

6. The right to travel and to marry a foreign spouse has been impeded by the AWA policies: No thanks to the controversial passport marks of infamy (a policy used previously only by Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany), Registered Persons are routinely denied international travel for legitimate business or recreation. Furthermore, AWA is routinely used to deny Registered Persons the right to bring their families into the country to live no matter where they are from, according to the USCIS. An article posted at ACSOL on Nov. 13, 2016 noted the USCIS expects to reject over 4000 petitions by 2017. "For years after its enactment, the USCIS has either outright denied or intentionally stalled thousands of family petitions that it determined to fall within its own AWA policy. By 2011, after several years of long delays, the USCIS denied virtually all AWA applications held at the agency for review since 2008. The agency reports that it receives 400-600 AWA application per year and boosts that it has denied 99% of all AWA family petitions received."

The SMART Office should be abolished

The SMART Office is a worthless bureaucracy with a sordid history that exemplifies the incompetence of the past three administrations on matters of sex offense treatment and rehabilitation. The SMART Office once had in their mission statement their intent was to place Registered Persons into a series of  “restrictions, regulations and INTERNMENT.” In the past, the SMART Office has been staffed by people who are not experts in the field. Ex-Director Linda Baldwin was a city planner and real estate attorney with little experience in criminal law. 

The SMART Office is rife with biased individuals with a vested interest in promoting sex offense myths. I met many of them in person at last year’s SMART Office symposium in Chicago. There was a severe animus and a gamut of misinformation presented by speakers at the symposium and by attendees there. Perhaps one of the most offensive moments during my participation at the SMART Office was one of the slides shown during a presentation on “Using Analytical Data to Assist With ‘Sex Offender’ Based Operations.”  The slide used a fictitious address of “666 Dead Sex Offender Lane.” This was yet another subtle, passive-aggressive swipe at Registered Persons. I also met a tribal elder from a Montana Indian tribe who bragged that his people banish Registrants from his nation. 

One of the workshops during the Symposium discussed the use of DNA to solve a 1988 rape/ murder case of April Tinsley. The killer had no prior adult arrest record (but had a juvenile sex offense arrest), and lacked records in the DNA and fingerprint databases. The investigator used the term “pervert” a few times throughout the lecture and engaged in some typical police chest-thumping., like bragging how he would have “taken him down” if the suspect entered a nearby park. (It is also worth noting the presenter described a minor who found and a note taunting the police as a “victim.”) This case had 1300 suspects, but was only able to eliminate 900 cases due to jail records or DNA. 

The SMART Office also publishes a biased online report called the “Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative (SOMAPI).” The report includes studies from three controversial researchers—Gene Abel, Robert Prentky, and Sean Ahlmeyer.

The SMART Office cited Abel’s 1987 primary report covering “paraphilias.” Paraphilia means any act considered deviant by societal norms, which should not be confused with pedophilia; it seems Scurich and John failed to notice the difference. Abel’s study had a number of problems –few offenders were voluntary (which would compel false admissions), inclusion of non-criminal paraphilias such as consensual homosexual relations, and Abel lists an estimated number of acts and victims over a lifetime. Abel states the study suggested paraphiliacs, “through coercion or varying degrees of compliance, repeated acts are carried out with the same victims or partners.” Abel provides a Mean and Median estimate of acts and number of victims. The Mean is the sum of all the numbers in the set divided by the amount of numbers in the set. The Median is the middle point of a number set, in which half the numbers are above the median and half are below. Scurich and John cited the highest number possible found in the Abel study, the mean number of estimated number of lifetime acts by those with male victims, listed in the Abel study as 281.7, but the researchers fail to mention the mean number, which is 10.1, far lower than the scarier number. Since half of those in the Abel study committed LESS than 10.1 paraphilic acts while the average (mean) number of acts was assumed to be 281.7, then there must be a small group of people that have grossly inflated the average. (Note 6)

The SOMAPI report also cites the 1997 Prentky study, which made the controversial claim that after 25 years sex offenders’ recidivism is 52% for child molesters and 39% for rapists. However, these numbers were not a true re-offense rate, but a “survival/ failure rate”, i.e., “the estimated probability that child molesters would ‘survive’ in the community without being charged, convicted, or imprisoned for a sexual offense over the 25-year study period.” Prentky himself warned against misusing the stats, primarily because the study involved recidivists who were civilly committed between 1959 and 1985, meaning this was not representative of everyone on the sex offense registry. It is worth noting that even the SMART Office report recognized the limitations of the report, nor does it claim rates presented in the report as an accurate number. (Note 7)

The SOMAPI report also cited Sean Ahlmeyer’s 2000 study which relied on polygraphs and self-reports. Polygraphs are inadmissible in court but utilized as intimidation tools. The Ahlmeyer study consisted of 60 adult male sexual offender (35 inmates and 25 parolees), which concluded that more incidents and victims were reported, but a second test reported low numbers though they concluded 80% were “deceptive.” But it is worth noting that polygraph studies in general have relied on self-reporting by the subjects and been conducted in settings where incentives were offered to subjects for cooperation. (the controversial 2007 Butner study is the most egregious examples of this.) (Note 8)

The SOMAPI report concludes, “While the magnitude of the difference between observed and actual reoffending needs to be better understood, there is universal agreement in the scientific community that the observed recidivism rates of sex offenders are underestimates of actual reoffending.” It cites the 2004 Harris and Hanson study (Note 9) to claim elevated recidivism levels, but the study is a multinational study so the results are not valid for understanding American recidivism. (For example, the age of consent in Canada was raised from 14 to 16 in 2008, while the age of consent in America is between 16 and 18, thus some sexual acts legal in Canada before 2008 were illegal in America.) While the SMART Office study does not cite the Langevin or Prentky rates as true recidivism rates, it uses them as justification for propagating the myth of widespread underreporting.

The SMART Office has also defended a misleading statistic that claims “sex offenders are 4 times more likely to reoffend than non-sex offenders,” a claim cited by Supreme Court Justice Alito in upholding the use of public registries. The SMART Office tried to defend the myth by citing the Hanson multinational study (that mixes rearrests and conviction rates) and appealed to emotions about having a “duty” to protect children.

In debunking this false light statement, the Washington Post stated, “The reference to sex offender rearrest trends in Alito’s opinion is quite misleading. It measures the likelihood of sex offenders to be arrested for sex crimes after release from prison, and compares it to the likelihood of non-sex offenders to be arrested for sex crimes after release. This makes it seem like recidivism among sex offenders to be a uniquely bad problem, but it is an apples-to-oranges comparison.”

“This opinion cites previous opinions that use outdated data going back to the 1980s — more than 30 years ago. Moreover, it obscures the fact according to 2005 data, the percentage of sex offenders getting rearrested for the same crime is low compared to non-sex offenders, with the exception of people convicted of homicide. It does the public no service when the Supreme Court justices make a misleading characterization like this. We award Three Pinocchios.”

The AWA needs to be abolished

The public sex offense registry has destroyed lives for over a quarter of a century and needs to be abolished. At the very least, the Adam Walsh Act should be repealed. The AWA has not created the universal standard it claims to create. Many states considered AWA compliant have wildly varied rules. Even the SMART Office finds deviations from the AWA in states they consider “substantially compliant. Delaware was AWA compliant, then fell off the list, then was considered AWA compliant again. States like Ohio which ruled against the AWA’s retroactive application are still considered AWA compliant. 

Since the AWA is not a universal standard, the laws are as confusing as ever. A registrant moving from Alabama (a state where everyone registers for life) moves to Ohio (with a 3-Tiered system) and is automatically considered a “Tier 3” without a fair trial. I know this because it happened to me. While Alabama does not consider me a high risk, Ohio declared me so simply because of my lifetime status from Alabama, and Nebraska categorized me as a Level 3 because Ohio did the same. 

There are better solutions than this public government blacklist. The registry should be abolished. The government wastes billions on enforcing this useless blacklist that could be better spent on prevention and education. There are positive forms of treatment such as Circles of Support and Accountability. Supporting evidence-based methods would save valuable taxpayer dollars that could go towards other, more important and effective programs like renewable energy, saving the US Postal Service, or maybe even some tax relief for the poor. 

I’d like to think that there are better use of limited financial resources considering we are in the midst of a pandemic and a looming economic crisis on par with the Great Depression. Global warming is making the summers hotter than ever. The trade war has cost the local economy millions here in the Heartland. Yet, here we are wasting time on a worthless feel-good measure that most US States had the good sense to reject in the first place. I doubt states will place this on a list of priorities while they worry about the next fiscal year and start looking for ways to trim the fat from their budgets.  

I’d love to go out and get a real job again someday and pay taxes, but I cannot do it while the registry exists. My life is in your hands. 

--Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

Saturday, July 18, 2020

I want a Registered Lives Matter mural too

A few days ago, a "Black Lives Matter" street mural was painted in front of the Trump Tower in NYC. In response, police groups want "Blue Lives Matter" painted on streets in NYC as well. 

Perhaps our movement should push for a Registered Lives Matter mural.

The only question is where should we put it? The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children? The Law Offices of Ron Book (which is the same address for Lauren's Kids)? The US Sept. of Justice Building, where the SMART Office is located? Why not all three?

It is a simple propsal. In the meantime, I'm working on having a display put up at the Nebraska State House featuring art from Registered Persons. Contact me if you have art to add to the display. 

Derek Logue, 513-238-2873 or iamthefallen1@yahoo.com