Georgia Supreme Court Says It's Okay To Put Non-Sex Offenders On The Registered Sex Offender List

from the this-is-not-good dept

The question of registered sex offenders lists is a tricky one -- because for those people who really do commit sexually-driven crimes against minors, it's hard to be even remotely sympathetic to any complaints they have about the punishment they receive. The problem is that so many things are considered sexual offenses these days that many people are put on the list, and must live with it for life, for something that most people may consider a youthful indiscretion, rather than something that automatically should brand them to neighbors as a possible child molester. Things such as kids having sex with each other after only one of the two teens has reached the "legal" limit or even urinating in public can sometimes be classified as a sexual offense.

And, now, it's gone even further, so that non-sex-offenders can be put on the list. A law passed a few years back says that sex-offender lists must also include those convicted of "kidnapping or falsely imprisoning minors." Again, if you've done one of those things, you certainly deserve to be punished, but should you be put on a sex offender list? A guy who was convicted of "false imprisonment" of a 17-year-old girl when he was 18, during a drug bust gone bad, was added to the sex offender listings in Georgia and he sued to be taken off the list. However, the Georgia Supreme Court has said that it's perfectly legal to put non-sex-offenders onto a sexual offender list.

Again, no one is saying folks like this shouldn't be punished for their crimes -- but this goes beyond punishment for the crime he committed. And the really bad thing is that including all of these other offenses on such a registry dilutes the power and value of any such registry. The purpose behind such a list was supposedly to alert neighbors to be aware -- but when you expand the list to include all sorts of people who are of no risk at all to children, it takes such a list away from its very purpose.


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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    The purpose of a sex offender list is to give warning to people that a particular person might be a sex offender. It's warning device.

    However, warning devices only work when they're used judiciously. If your work does a fire drill five times a day, you start to ignore them.

    Thus, sex offender lists should be very narrow. Only those who pose a legitimate risk of committing predatory sex crimes should be on it. Otherwise it's a useless watered down list that helps no one.

    Why is this so hard for people to understand? God, the story of the boy who cried wolf has been a part of our culture for thousands of years.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      Me, I'm more concerned if I have a thief, a murder, a gang member, or a drug dealer living next to me. You know, people who commit crimes against strangers, and are likely to commit the same crime again after serving time.

       

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      PODAT (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:56am

      Re: WELCOME TO NAZI/AMERICA!

      sex offender laws have a secret agenda, we are trying to expose them see the report at "w?? podat[dot] tk}

      P.O.D.A.T.

       

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    Dean Landolt (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:45pm

    from the adulthood-not-required dept...

    "Things such as kids having sex with each other after only one of the two teens has reached the 'legal' limit"

    Sadly an arbitrary "legal" age limit isn't always necessary. Two underage kids having sex -- even just foreplay -- can lead to one of them being charged with statutory rape and getting slapped with the sex offender label as a parting gift to along with that long jail sentence. Look up the case of Genarlow Wilson -- it'll make you cringe.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:06pm

      Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

      Look up the case of Genarlow Wilson -- it'll make you cringe.

      They eventually let him out and took him off the list, so what's the problem?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

        Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

        That it happened at all.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

        Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

        Looking for the sarcasm tag here... not found... Shirley you aren't serious.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

        Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

        And do you think every single "Genarlow Wilson" is going to get similar treatment in the same situations? Hardly.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

          Race played more of a role in that case than anything else.

           

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        urza9814, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

        Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

        "Look up the case of Genarlow Wilson -- it'll make you cringe.

        They eventually let him out and took him off the list, so what's the problem?"

        The problem is exactly what you just said - "EVENTUALLY". How would you feel if you were thrown in prison for more than two years only to be told by the government later "Oops, we made a mistake. Sorry about that."

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

          The problem is exactly what you just said - "EVENTUALLY". How would you feel if you were thrown in prison for more than two years only to be told by the government later "Oops, we made a mistake. Sorry about that."

          That's the way the legal system works. Sometimes you just have to be patient.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 6:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

            Yeah, it's real easy to say that when you're not the one that had to spend two years of your teenage life in prison, isn't it?

             

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 6:46am

      Re: from the adulthood-not-required dept...

      Under Oregon law, if both are underage then sex is a misdemeanor (both parties are breaking the law). If either are overage, then it's a felony even if the age difference between them is 1 day.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    Lists

    Where are the lists for convicted murders, burglars and other violent criminals? I don't want any of those people living near me or children either. Especially considering that sex offenders as a class actually have a lower recidivism rate than other offenders. Once you've been convicted of a violent crime, you should be banned from decent society for life.

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

      Re: Lists

      I would say the exact opposite - that ultimately we need to be working towards a society where even sex offenders lists aren't necessary.

      After all, we do ostensibly believe in the rehabilitation of criminals, even if we aren't very good at it, and I would like to think that one day we will see a world where the majority of violent criminals pay their "debt to society" by rejoining that society as sane and productive members therein.

      Idealistic, yes. But ideals are good so long as we don't let them make us naive.

       

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        Hoby (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:22pm

        Re: Re: Lists

        Perhaps the best way would be to deepen the lists a little: show not just the offenders but a summary timeline of circumstances, and waypoints of "rehabilitation" like lengths of time since offenses and achievements that mean a departure or exoneration from their previous behavior or ruling.

         

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          chris (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Lists

          Perhaps the best way would be to deepen the lists a little: show not just the offenders but a summary timeline of circumstances, and waypoints of "rehabilitation" like lengths of time since offenses and achievements that mean a departure or exoneration from their previous behavior or ruling.

          how about a scoring system? how about something like cross between the credit reporting system and the drivers license system where you get points added for moving violations.

          you could put everyone on "the list" with a score of 0 and add points for indictments, convictions, and other infractions, and have certain points expire over time, like those for misdemeanors and non-violent or non-sex based crimes.

          each person's score (but not the details of the how the score was calculated) could be a matter of public record so it would be cheap and easy to do quick background checks on everyone, including elected officials, employers, and religious leaders.

           

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            Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lists

            Cory Doctorow's first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, takes place in a future where money has been replaced with a system that basically tracks the esteem you garner from others, very similar to what you are proposing. It's a great read.

             

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:38am

        Re: Re: Lists

        "the majority of violent criminals pay their "debt to society" by rejoining that society"

        Too lazy to Google now, but IIRC the rates of recidivism for actual paedophiles is much lower than that of violent offenders.

        I've always wonder why people require a list of sex offenders, but require no knowledge of whether your new neighbour is a murderer...

         

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    Tom Landry (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    so does this mean if the state of Georgia imprisons a minor for an offense and it turns out that the minor in question is innocent, does the state attorney general get listed as a sex-offender under this law?

     

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    FormerAC (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    Sad

    The problem with starting down a slippery slope with something like Megan's Law is that a slope is downhill. If you don't do something to correct it pretty damned fast, it starts to gather momentum. Before you know it, it is barreling out of control down the hill.

    First the lists were for sexual predators. Those who sexually molested children or violently raped people. Then we added a few more things like exposure. Then someone decided urinating in public also included exposure. Now Georgia is adding kidnapping and false imprisonment to the list originally intended for`sexual predators. How long until a teen somewhere sues their parents for grounding them because it is false imprisonment?

    Don't think that can ever happen? Ask the lawmakers who passed the various laws if it was ever intended for urinating in public? The federal Sexual Offender Act was passed in 1994. Sixteen years ago. Thats how quickly the slippery slope gets out of control.

    We keep adding people to the list, despite the fact that the lists DO NOT HELP.
    "A December 2008 study of the law in New Jersey concluded that it had no effect on community tenure (i.e., time to first re-arrest), showed no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses, had no effect on the type of sexual re-offense or first time sexual offense (still largely child molestation/incest), and had no effect on reducing the number of victims of sexual offenses."

     

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      DJ, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

      Re: Sad

      "no effect on community tenure"

      Kind of like car alarms. Admit it, when you hear a car alarm the first thing you think is "Someone please shut that shit off"

      Their original intent was that when someone heard it you'd run and see who's breaking into a car; maybe even try to stop them.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:52am

      Re: Sad

      IIRC, there was a story a couple of years ago about a "sex offender" (public urinator whose drunken piss happened to be near a school at 3am) who was forced into a sex offender area of town - the only area he was allowed to live in because of the terms of his "punishment". The only problem was that between the time of his original offence and when the registration law was passed, he'd had a daughter.

      That's right, the laws set up to "protect the children" forced a young girl to live in a paedophile community because her father took a piss on the wrong street before she was born.

      Anybody who applies this law to anybody who is not a dangerous sex offender is dangerous idiot.

       

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    Anonymous, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:26pm

    Sex offender registries should be illegal. The Supreme Court has ruled such registries constitutional on the grounds that they aren't meant to be punitive, but the truth is that people on these lists effectively keep getting punished by the community even after having served their time. If people in these registries are so dangerous that the general public needs to know who they are and where they live, perhaps they should not be released from jail?

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:23pm

      Re:

      Exactly. There's a pretty valid argument against putting even genuine sex offenders on these lists - or at least there's room for debate, since it seems very archaic to tell someone they are allowed to rejoin society but must be branded a pariah (like you say: someone either belongs in jail or they don't -- perhaps anyway, I'm reluctant to make any firm statements on such a complex issue until I've thought about it a lot more)

      So given that even that is a gray area, the concept of having someone on such a list for public urination seems utterly insane.

       

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      Hoby (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:25pm

      Re:

      it's not quite that simple, especially since "correctional facilities" don't very often do as their name implies

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:19pm

      Re:

      Around here, the rules about where they can't live are so restrictive that the only place left for them is under a bridge. How can we expect to rehabilitate them if they can't get a job? And living under a bridge makes it really hard to find that job. No interwebs, no phone, no address, no shower, no closet for your interview clothing . . .

      There is no safety in preventing them from living near kiddies--they will just travel to where the kiddies are.

      And yes, diluting the list will just make it useless.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:01am

        Re: Re:

        "There is no safety in preventing them from living near kiddies--they will just travel to where the kiddies are."

        Indeed. I can understand the restriction of not living within view of a school or playground. But do these zoning officials really expect that having to spend an extra 5 minutes to drive to the town's (or a neighbouring town's) children is going to deter actual child rapists?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    I may be wrong, but isn't Registered Offender List for people who commit those kind of crimes against minors AND for adults? Seems like Mike is only focusing on the minor aspect of it.

     

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      DJ, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

      Re:

      That's an irrelevant question. Whether the list includes crimes against adults or not doesn't change the situation.

      File that under Relevance fail, please.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    I may be wrong, but isn't Registered Offender List for people who commit those kind of crimes against minors AND for adults? Seems like Mike is only focusing on the minor aspect of it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:52pm

    from the this-is-not-good dept

    A friend of mine ended up on the sex offender list for life because when he was 18 and his GF was 17 she sent an email to him with a picture of her naked. The University's network he was downloading his email through caught him. He was charged with child pornography and ended up on the list. He will be punished for opening that email for the rest of his life.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:57am

      Re: from the this-is-not-good dept

      Which illustrates the idiocy of setting "age of consent" as an arbitary age of some time between the onset of puberty and the "age of majority" where said person can do adult stuff like drink themselves silly and vote.

      Somehow, I'm not at all sure how, we "adults" need to come top grips with the fact that the onset of puberty is the time that nature (evolution, God, whatever) has set for as child becoming an adult.

      That said those of us older and allegedly wiser (?) need to guide this transition to adulthood but recognize that raging hormones or whatever is normal and natural and we ain't gonna stop the kids.

      As for non consensual sexual relations (aka rape) by a parent (the vast majority of those who sexually abuse children and young adults), minister, pastor, teacher, doctor etc that's clearly a criminal offense and needs to be treated as such as must not reporting knowledge of such a thing by people like employers (hello, Roman Catholic Church).

      Sex offender lists tend to be something of a joke, I'm afraid. On one hand they continue punishment while doing little or nothing to rehabilitate and everything to ensure recidivism by the tiny minority who are true, chronic paedophiles while gathering in those like, as you point out, have done nothing at all wrong other than one is one age and the other is another in a clearly consensual exchange of messages.

      The lists communicate nothing of value to the neighbourhood and simply allow police agencies to appear to be doing something while they do nothing, really.

      Except take another step towards a police state for our own good, the sake of the children and so on.

      Orwell's 1984 is alive and well in 2010.

      ttfn

      John

       

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    Chris in Utah, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    Do ya one better

    Try finding a gas station on a 300 mile trip. You gata piss somewhere... only where we stopped was 100 feet from school property ON A WEEKEND!

    My friend is now a "sex offender" for indecent exposure near school grounds. Hey pays 50$ a month to be on it.

    Welcome to socialism folks. Land of the free my ass.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:17pm

      Re: Do ya one better

      "Welcome to socialism folks."

      Care to elaborate?

      I'm curious as to why you think this characteristic is attributable solely to socialism.

       

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        Chargone (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

        Re: Re: Do ya one better

        ... it's not. a state can be socialist without being incompetent or totalitarian. the USA has a heck of a lot more problems with the latter two than the first, and these lists have little or nothing to do with the logic behind socialism.

        (unless, i suppose, you're in the usa, where socialism= comunism =totalitarianism = nazis or some such equally crazy stupidity...

        yeah, your republicans are communists and your democrats are nazis. have fun with that horribly broken logic... American politics don't make a blind bit of sense beyond the 'people with money are incompetent and/or want to screw you over' level, at least from the outside. )

         

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:04am

        Re: Re: Do ya one better

        "I'm curious as to why you think this characteristic is attributable solely to socialism."

        Because he's another one of those idiot Americans who listens to the drooling right-wingers who haven't got a clue what the word means, and wrongly use it and other diametrically opposed terms to attack Obama and/or healthcare?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:55am

        Re: Re: Do ya one better

        I think he meant fascism ( ala Nazi ). he must have had too much tea at the tea party

         

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      DJ, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

      Re: Do ya one better

      Yeah, while I tend to agree that this country is heading that way, unfortunately, that one instance isn't exactly an example of socialism. A law/ordinance gone awry? Surely, but nothing more.

       

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      DJ, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

      Re: Do ya one better

      Besides, unless there's a sign posted saying "Next gas 300 miles", like in death valley. There are rest stops and gas stations all over the frickin place.

      And if, for some strange reason, you can't find a facility, you are capable of holding it for another 45 seconds to get out of sight of a school. Which, in case you never attended a school, kids play there on the weekends sometimes.

      So, should you're buddy be on the Sex Offenders list? No, but both of you are clearly eligible for the dip-shit list.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:03pm

        Re: Re: Do ya one better

        ok. then make a national dip shit registry.
        I have three friends, one for public urination in an alley behind a bar at
        2 am. And two, a married couple, for having sex with each other in the bathroom of a bar. All registered sex offenders.
        putting people who do stupid, but completely harmless, shit while drunk
        on a sex offender list, renders the list completely moot and useless.

         

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      Hoby (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:16pm

      Re: Do ya one better

      That's not socialism, it's authoritarianism.

       

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      sam in cali, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:52pm

      Re: Do ya one better

      "Welcome to socialism folks"...

      I am so sorry for your friend - that was unfair.
      BUT, let's not bandy words like 'socialism' about - just because it's unjust does not mean it's socialist. Socialism is about economic systems of use.

      No wonder this nation is in a very sorry state - we throw labels around without really knowing what they mean

       

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        Bob Bundereld (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:08pm

        Re: Re: Do ya one better

        I believe he meant to say "Welcome to Communism". Tons of people get that wrong, and even using it in this context, they should explain WHICH type of Communism they are speaking of, as the first is known from Antioch in the East, and was meant to be as living in a Commune (Community) free from pressure and judgment.

        Not exactly the same type of Communism that was practiced in the Cold War.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:40pm

      Re: Do ya one better

      Welcome to socialism folks. Land of the free my ass.

      Welcome to the land of right winger, get tough way of treating people. It has nothing to do with socialism.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:05pm

    Re: "kidnapping or falsely imprisoning minors."

    In California as a foster parent I was told by the social workers that it was illegal for me to "ground" a foster child as that would be false inprisonment. I could legally lock him/her out of my house but could not force him to stay in the house if they wanted to leave. So, by those rules, one could be a sex-offender listee for "grounding" a child. That was just one of the many rules that made my wife and I give up on fostering kids.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:04pm

    Offender's comment

    To the person who doesn't want a criminal to live near them. You would have to move to your own island. Good Luck.

    What about "those" sex offenders before they were listed on the World Wide Web? S.O. have to register, at least in the State of Missouri with the local county sheriff's Office every 90 days or once a year depending on their case.

    Before the 'Net, the local Counties kept a listing available to the public. (They still do...) But now that we have easy access to that information and don't have to drive to the local office, it somehow has turned into political votes, fear, and a general mess.

    Are there certain person's that need tracked. Yes. Does everyone need to be on the list? No. -- Can someone be reformed, rehabilitated, or retrained? Yes.

    A Registered Sex Offender in Missouri.
    (remaining Anonymous just because)

    ...

     

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      Tea Bagger, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:50pm

      Re: Offender's comment

      To the person who doesn't want a criminal to live near them. You would have to move to your own island. Good Luck.

      Better to put all the criminals on an island and leave them there. They had the right idea with Alcatraz.

      Can someone be reformed, rehabilitated, or retrained? Yes.

      Then let them go do it somewhere else, not around my family.

      A Registered Sex Offender in Missouri.
      (remaining Anonymous just because)


      And that's another thing: we need to get the criminals off the internet too.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:06am

        Re: Re: Offender's comment

        "Better to put all the criminals on an island and leave them there. "

        How do you define "criminal". Someone who broke the law? OK then, you broke a traffic law once, enjoy your island of murderers and rapists. You should think you deserved it...

        (only very slightly more ridiculous than putting public urinators on a list intended for child rapists)

         

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        ForgottenVoter (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

        Re: Re: Offender's comment

        Better to put all the criminals on an island and leave them there

        Yea, Alcatraz.. Did you perhaps forget Australia? It was started out as a Penal Colony for England/U.K. Which, in a convoluted sort of way, proves that even the most hardened criminals will create a society, that, ultimately will be a "normal" (IE: functioning) society. Besides, Alcatraz was a joke. It was shut down for good reasons.

         

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    Hoby (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:09pm

    people are getting list crazy!

    What is it with national lists that make it so authority figures want to keep adding people to them, whether they should or not?

    Maybe they actually want to dilute the list, make it so no one cares because it's full of so many crap entries.

     

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    JB, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Romeo and Juliet

    Anthony Sowell, a registered sex offender in Cleveland, last year raped and killed at least 11 women in his house.

    The sheriff says that they are required to spend too much time and resources tracking all of the low-level offenders when they really need to spend more resources keeping an eye on people like Sowell.

    http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/11/post_127.html

    Deputies check on scores of what Lutz calls "Romeo and Juliet" cases, in which men, typically in their late teens or early 20s, were convicted of having consensual sex with underage girls and are classified as Tier I or Tier II offenders. Some neighbors don't seem as bothered by those types of cases, he said, and deputies think their time would be better spent checking on people who molested children or forcibly raped women.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    The philosophy of having a sex offender list really is a slippery slope, because nobody will ever want to be seen as defending those gosh-awful sex offenders by limiting its scope or curtailing its powers. The "think-of-the-children" mentality makes the scope of these things a one-way street. They will always grow, they will never diminish. Any politician who voices a doubt for even a second about whether our modern witch hunt is really useful or just will be slammed in his next election campaign for being a friend of sex offenders.

    It's dangerous to exist because the growth of its power is inevitable, but I don't think it's just for them to exist in the first place either. The argument supposedly goes that a sex offender could offend again and therefore must suffer certain restraints. But any {criminal} guilty of {criminal_activity} could perform {criminal_activity} again. Murderers could murder again but we let them out of prison and don't make them go door-to-door explaining their murderer status to people. What is so special about this case that we have to create an entire system of modern pariahism? Was there some landmark study about this? Some true summit of clear-thinking and logic that showed we should do this?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:04pm

      Re:

      Murderers could murder again but we let them out of prison and don't make them go door-to-door explaining their murderer status to people.

      But why not? That's what I want to know. I, for one, do not think that public urination, or even under age sex, is worse than murder. So, if we have a list for sex offenders, then surely we need one for murders and other violent criminals.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 11:22pm

      Re: somebody think of the children

      Reminds me of the current mandatory internet censorship campaign in Australia. There have been comments by the communication minister to the effect that "if you are against the filters you must be pro child porn".

       

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    Bob Bunderfeld (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:51pm

    Well, I guess I should speak up too

    Being a Victim of Sexual Abuse growing up, I have a unique view of this situation.

    The every fiber of my being would rather lock every sick F*** away and never let them out, but that also goes against the every fiber of my being that was taught, "Do the Crime, Do the Time".

    As for putting non-sex-offenders on a the same list as sex-offenders makes just as irate as the other assholes who think sex-registers shouldn't be a part of our life. I hate to break it to you, the World keeps spiraling down a hole, and the only way a Parent or Concerned Citizen could ever know what's going on anymore is by looking up the sex-offender list in their area.

    Now, listen, I really can't see the Supreme Court saying this is a Judicious Use of the System as it was first built, so really, I'll lose the rest of the Faith I have in the Govt., if they don't slap this back and tell them to try it again.

    Alright, so, let me explain this part. My Father and his Brothers all fought in WWII, in Europe and Pacific (my Father). I learned early on listening to Him and my Uncles about the battles, the scary things they've seen, even discussing Flash Backs and supporting one another during those times. It constructed in me a real fundamental base of what this Country is supposed to stand for. While I absolutely detest Child Abusers, I still say, they have the right to free speech as you or I. I don't have to LIKE what they say, but you know what, an awful lot of people died to be certain we had that right, and I'm not going to start sliding down the slippery slope just because sick F**** are around. We as a Nation need to get back to Basics, we need to be Proud of what our Fore-Fathers have done, fought for and Built. Too much anymore I can't even watch the news because one Party or another is talking too loudly and too fast to give a damn about. I'm neither Pro-Obama or Neg-Obama, what I am is someone that thinks we should throw out all of them and fill that place up with people that really give a damn about the average Joe.

    *steps off soapbox*

     

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      Chargone (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:49pm

      Re: Well, I guess I should speak up too

      what on Earth are you talking about here?

      seriously, i lost track. did you manage more than one sentence in a row on the same subject? *very confused*

       

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    trollificus (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

    Meh. What would have been a more accurate formulation would be: "Welcome to totalitarianism."

    The economic or social justification behind totalitarian government is irrelevant. Infringement on individual freedom "for the good of society" is found, with differing justifications, on both sides of the largely-useless left/right dichotomy.

    But as long as "they" can keep us slinging such "I know what it means when I use it!" terms as treehugger, teabagger, anti-American, bible-thumper, socialist, communist, racist, etc, etc at each other the slow gathering-in of all power to a central elite will continue.

    And trust me, "they" aren't all oilmen or hollywood stars, or pointy-head academic proponents of the various -isms or cynical manipulators of clueless religious fundamentalists.

    The problem is systemic. There is a major benefit to ruining these people's lives for some few (prosecutors, lawmakers, campaigners to end child sexual abuse) and not enough benefit to the many who see what a bad thing it has become for them (us, I guess) to do anything about it.

    Same with marijuana laws. Same with imminent domain. Same with public employee pensions. Same with IP and patent policy.

    The forces driving bad law and bad policy, in case after case move things to a worse and less logical and less just place and leave people fuming about the "liberal media" and "hate radio" and ranting about the bad people on the other side of the bogus divisions we've been presented with.

    "Welcome to socialism.", my ass. I wish it was that simple.

     

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    mediaempyre, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:49pm

    Under this law wouldn't Joseph be arrested because Mary was a monir? Thus shouldn't every Bible be thrown out, and burnerd, due to it's content?

     

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    Danny, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    A new list needs to be made...

    If they really want to put someone on a watch list for something like kidnapping a minor but no sex crime occured then why not start a new list called like the "Child Endangermen Registry" or something like that like? I'll tell you why. Because the legislators will do anything they can to make it look like they are "tough on crime" and are acting "in the best interests of the child" for the sake of votes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    This doesn't make any sense at all. What next, being placed on the sex offender list for giving kids beers, or smokes?

     

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    Junkyard, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    Do all states have a $50/month fee to be on the list?

    Excuse my ignorance, I don't live in the US. If all places force the sex offender to pay to be on the list then there's your problem right there. Follow the money - someone or some company has a huge incentive to have as many names on the list as possible.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

      Re: Do all states have a $50/month fee to be on the list?

      Follow the money - someone or some company has a huge incentive to have as many names on the list as possible.

      The "criminal justice system" is a *huge* industry in the US.

       

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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    personally, im all for it... hell, put everyone on the list.

    get convicted of stealing $20 from someone under the age of 18? put them on the list. convicted of assault on a major in the presence of a minor? put them on the list also.

    why you ask? dilute the entire list to the point of its being completely and utterly useless or so unconstitutional that the entire thing gets thrown out.
    you can not have such a list of people without having what amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in the aforementioned inability to ever find legitimate work and living quarters.

    but thats just my personal opinion.

     

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    hegemon13, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Doesn't just punish the offenders

    Here's an example where a lot of people are punished due to the registry. In our neighborhood, we have a pool supported by HOA dues. The HOA is optional, however, and in the current economy, a lot of people have opted out. Maintaining the pool has become financially difficult.

    However, a solution presented itself. A bunch of people from the adjoining neighborhood, which does not have a pool, wanted to pay for access to the pool. It would have been more than enough to cover all maintenance needs, and maybe even make improvements. However, in their midst was one sex offender. With no information other than a dot on the sex offender map, the HOA board made a unanimous decision to deny the ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD of their request, simply because one person was on the list.

    Now, everyone loses. The other neighborhood can't access the pool. Our neighborhood struggles to pay for it. And one person who may or may not be dangerous is the cause because of some ridiculous list with inadequate transparency and information.

    The lists need to be banned. Dangerous offenders need to remain in prison. Less tolerance for violent sexual offenders and murderers. It's ridiculous that you can kill someone and be out in 5-10 years. Just keep them in prison and eliminate the lists, but stop unconstitutionally punishing people beyond the tenure of their sentence.

     

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    Scott P (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Not Only That...

    but if you are on the GA sex offender list, you cannot live within 1000 ft of where a school is located or children congregate. This applies even if you were there first and they built a school within 1000ft. You would be forced to sell your house and move. This is not justice

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    I stopped reading these comments about halfway through, because I think that most of you seem to have got this completely backwards.

    The list is *supposed* to serve the purpose of notifying the community... of... what, exactly? That there is a potential criminal living nearby? Well, EVERYBODY is a potential criminal. For a variety of reasons including upbringing, morals (or lack of), mental stability (or lack of), etc. etc. ad nauseum, the vast majority of people do not commit crimes beyond speeding, not using their blinkers, copying movies, games, music etc. While this topic doesn't seem to need to get diverted to piracy and whether or not it's actually harmful, it's not even remotely a problem of the same consequence. My point is this: for most people, commission of most crimes is unsustainable. They are unable to do the time so they don't commit the crime. As a society we have deemed that speeding (generally) is a crime of low consequence so the "time", or fine as the case may be, is typically a minimal investment of cash or community service (though why I can get out of a reckless driving ticket for 163$ and yet it may cost 5 years jail time and a quarter million bucks if I want a bootleg copy of Air Bud: Golden Retreiver is totally beyond me...)

    So what we've got then is a totally screwed up economy of scale. Most crimes carry sufficient punishment when caught to keep most people from committing them. But then there are some people that those consequences are not sufficient to prevent them from committing the crime. And unless the consequences change, the crime will continue to be committed.

    So I think that leaves one option: make the consequence so profoundly consequential that the benefit of committing the crime (obtaining something you didn't earn, getting somewhere quicker than you should, etc etc) is staggeringly outweighed by the punishment. And then, if that is insufficient as prevention.... Make it such that there is NO opportunity for repetition. Be it lifetime incarceration without wasting money and effort on rehabilitation, because what's the point?, execution, or dismemberment (pick an appendage based on the crime, perhaps. They cut thieves' hands off in some parts of the word.. and have surprisingly low levels of theft).

    Now, I realize the real world will never be that simple, because there are a million shades of gray. But I think that at the extreme end it's really very simple: Murder = execution. Attempted murder = execution (seriously, you get the reward of not getting the death penalty because you failed? Hell no.) Rape (any type, any age) = execution. All carried out immediately upon conviction. In public.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    why cant they just make two lists?

    one for sex offenders

    and the other for regular offenders

     

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    auyloks (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Further Ramifications of Such Laws

    Reader may also find information on this subject interesting at
    http://www.ncsl.org/IssuesResearch/CivilandCriminalJustice/StateLawsonDNADataBanks/tabid/12737/D efault.aspx
    Article
    State Laws on DNA Data Banks
    Qualifying Offenses, Others Who Must Provide Sample
    February 2010

    As person who has worked in the U.S. Judicial system, I have seen this problem a number of times. Prior to 1999, the frequency in my state was minimal (still not acceptable to me, as it blurred to law, and tainted all the data by including all kinds of non-sexual offenses). After 1999, it was a whole different ballgame, with the case involving non-sexual offenses requirement to register increasing exponentially with each passing week.
    As a person who has utilized the sex offender database as an additional tool to help protect the ones I love, I found it further frustrating. At least I knew that I could only rely on the information, to a certain degree. In my case, it was easy. Better safe than Sorry. However, I am not using it to employee people or for a number of other means that greatly impact those that are now branded (associated with) by crimes they did not commit.

    Yes, they should be punished for what they were found guilty of, ".. a just and fair punishment..."

    However, skewing the data helps no one. The ripple effect of this costs us all greatly in many ways financially and otherwise.

    In my state a person found guilty with requirements to register as a sex offender, whether misdemeanor or felony sexual offense or not, MUST MADITORIALLY provide a DNA sample to the state’s database.


    Thanks your article

     

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    Frances, Apr 15th, 2010 @ 8:20am

    I just want to say that as a Canadian I see this system as corrupt and causing more problems then it is worth. I am a psychology major and know that there is a big diffference between a pedophile and MANY of these people that are on these registeries. There is many examples of people that urinated near a school (stupid moment), but the one that I have the most issues is the person who goes to a bar to do the right thing in society and catching a good looking girl across the bar. He goes and introduces himself and due to a few drinks on both parties they start making out. He figures that he is ok to make out with this girl as she is in a bar and therefore over the age of 21. Wrong. Said girl is 15 and obtained entrancance to the bar through falsified means. She walks away without any legal ramifications and he is charged with child molestion and forced to registered as a sex offender. Today due to the fatness of our generation kids as young as 8 years old are hitting pueburty. (FYI: kids start pueburty by hitting a weight bracket). Girls 15 and 16 look older than myself. I didn't start developing until I was 13. These girls start developing at 8 that by the time they are 15-16 they look like full grown adult females. Yes the guy shouldn't make out with a random girl without getting to know her. But he shouldn't be convicted for life. And that girl who choices to falsly go into a bar should be charged with a crime of endangerment of others, and fraud and more. This would prevent this one aspect of sex offenders from occuring if hte penalty of going into a bar underage was greater.

    That is my beef and forgive my spelling as I didn't proof-read.

     

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    Kaylie, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Dr David Kenneth Cochrane Registered Sex Offender Six Counts of rape including minors, three counts of indecent assault all involving patients dating back to the early millennium. Psychiatrist 6 months in Jail, 2 years probation, including 6 month license suspension. Canada North Bay Ontario and now re-employed for the regional health centre.

     

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