The Dobbs Wire: Compare and contrast!

The Dobbs Wire:  Compare and contrast!  Personal history can be inspiring and then there are situations where the past casts a shadow on or even wrecks the future.  Criminal records that might have sat in a courthouse for years gathering dust can now do a lot of damage, it just takes a few keystrokes in the digital age.  There’s increasing public concern about how the past can harm future prospects.  A number of states have enacted laws making sealing and expungement of criminal records easier.  Compare and contrast how media outlets are reckoning with this issue.   Some are changing their…

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The Dobbs Wire: Flashback to 1996

The Dobbs Wire:  Flashback to 1996.  A Massachusetts father writes about his young son — an important matter requiring a trip to the police station.  It’s a powerful, poignant story that the Chicago Tribune published on Dec. 1, 1996.  The father inquires, “What will be done with this information?”  He asked that question shortly after the Massachusetts sex offense registry got rolling, on Oct. 1, 1996.  Massachusetts was the last of the states to create an official blacklist.  This year marks 25 years that every state has had such a registry, a full generation.  After 25 years the ugly name we give…

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The Dobbs Wire: Death Sentence—>Coronavirus in jails and prisons

The Dobbs Wire:  Death Sentence.  Reuters investigated COVID-19 in jails and prisons and has a devastating report, finding coronavirus spread rapidly, authorities had little testing available to track what was happening, and the official number of cases is way off – undercounted.  Kudos to Reuters for a detailed report and shining a spotlight on life inside during a raging pandemic, have a look at their story!  Learn about Charles Peterson, jailed in Colorado and charged with a parole violation involving keeping his sex offense registry listing up to date. Parole, probation and registries come with long lists of rules and, as…

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Fwd: The Dobbs Wire: Out of control Prosecution!

The Dobbs Wire:  A case unfolding in Virginia has much to tell us about justice in the U.S.  For crime the legal system provides punishment, usually incarceration.  In cases of sex wrongdoing, after prison time is done and the price is paid, 20 states and the federal government have something extra – laws that allow keeping an individual locked up, often indefinitely, on a hunch, a mere guess that they might break the law in the future.  On the eve of trial for a Virginia gay man, Philip Fornaci and Roger Lancaster spotlight how these ‘civil commitment’ laws can be…

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The Dobbs Wire: Banishment! Patty Wetterling, Jill Levenson and more

The Dobbs Wire:  Banishment!  In the 21st century many localities in the United States use an ancient means to get rid of people who have been stigmatized and are despised, banishment.  More formally and politely known as “residency restrictions,” the desired result of such laws is to drive individuals who are blacklisted — required to sign the sex offense registry — out of their houses and even out of town altogether.  The most infamous example of these awful laws is the encampment of homeless registered persons that sprung up under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Florida.   In the last several…

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The Dobbs Wire: Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment:  There’s growing awareness that far too many people are getting punished in the U.S., and that they are being given far too much punishment.  Some of the punishment is extreme, even unconscionable — the death penalty, solitary confinement, life in prison (“death by incarceration”), lifetime supervision, sex offense registries, and more.  Organizers are usually unsung but they get the credit for rising public concern about criminal injustices and now they’re hard at work to spotlight harsh measures used in the “worse of the worst” cases.  What about accountability for really terrible crimes?  Have a look at this…

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The Dobbs Wire: First Amendment WIN in Alabama!

First Amendment WIN in Alabama:  Alabama’s sex offense registration law, said to be “the most comprehensive and debilitating sex-offender scheme in the nation,” suffered some damage at the hands of a federal judge.  A provision in the law that requires registrants to carry a driver’s license or official ID with “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” emblazoned in red was struck down.  That horrifying message legitimizes profiling by law enforcement (and others), ensuring that registrants are treated as suspects far into the future; even a coded message should be held unconstitutional.  The court also struck down “internet identifier” provisions in the law.   Kudos…

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The Dobbs Wire: Untouchable NEWS – streaming available – Now!

Some great news about UNTOUCHABLE, David Feige’s award-winning documentary…  At last, the film is available for streaming Now on: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Kanopy See it!  Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire     More people now on sex-offender registry than in jail in the US   Stream it starting January 15 on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.   =================================================     Find it at your public or institutional library on     Watch the trailer   FACT: More people are now listed on sex-offender registries than are currently in jail in the US. It’s an amazing statistic that illuminates one of the darkest…

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The Dobbs Wire: Just out – Florida registry report

The Dobbs Wire:  A report on Florida’s sex offense registry is just out, issued by an agency that works for the state’s lawmakers.  Big takeaway – the number of registrants continues to climb and has been increasing for many years.  Why?   That key question is not answered.   According to the report, the state’s registry has more than 73,000 listings.  However, the number living in Florida communities is much smaller, less than 29,000.   That’s quite a lot of registrants that are classified as living out-of-state, incarcerated, deceased(!), etc.  Also in the report are various ways the Florida Department of Law Enforcement…

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