The Dobbs Wire: Changes proposed to Connecticut registry gather momentum

Connecticut:  The Connecticut Sentencing Commission is pushing for changes to the state’s sex offense registration law.  Two years in the making, the commission’s report including recommendations was just sent over to the legislature.  One major proposal concerns the method used to determine an individual’s registration category or “tier”. Currently the process is based on a person’s offense; the report calls for shifting to a system based on individual risk assessments and creating a “sex offender registration board”.  The recommendations include various prospective and retrospective changes. Connecticut currently has about 5,400 individuals on its registry; according to one news article the…

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The Dobbs Wire: Who should join the fight agains the registry?

Scarlet letters:  In a new essay Guy Hamilton-Smith opens with a wide view of this punishment-crazed country and then comes in for a close-up look at 21st century scarlet letters. The number of people forced to sign the sex offense registry continues to climb and is now close to 900,000.  Evidence mounts that registries do not improve public safety or reduce recidivism but cause much damage to the lives of registrants and their kin.  Meanwhile lawmakers are pressing for even tougher registration laws and are enacting new registries for non-sex offenses!   Pushing back these draconian laws is a huge fight…

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The Dobbs Wire: "DEAD time" — possibly forever??!!

For some with sex offenses, laws have gotten so crazy, cruel and convoluted that getting released from prison – after serving the time – becomes practically impossible. That’s right, individuals are held in prison months or even years beyond their release dates in Illinois (and other states).  Why?  Because while still behind bars they must find housing that meets strict state requirements or no release.   The Dept. of Corrections claims it doesn’t even know how many are impacted;  a 2015 news report put the number at 1,000 annually.  This is just another facet of an ongoing human and constitutional rights…

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The Dobbs Wire: Another section of Pennsylvania’s registration law ruled UNconstitutional

Pennsylvania:  Aftershocks from a recent groundbreaking Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling continue.  Now a mid-level appeals court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, has ruled another part of the state’s sex offense registration law violates both the state and federal constitution.  The case involved a man who had consensual sex with a minor dozens of times and was designated a ‘sexually violent predator’ (SVP), a label that carries extra stigma and penalties.  The court overturned his designation, ruled the current SVP designation process unconstitutional, and laid out constitutional standards for the future, calling for the legislature to take action.   Congratulations to Joseph Butler…

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The Dobbs Wire: NO ability to resist stupid ideas

Sat, Nov 4, 2017 at 12:01 PM Residency restrictions is the polite term for banishment laws that are on the books in many states and cities around the country.  The laws target people on the sex offense registry and are usually wreathed in child protection rhetoric.  Are they effective?   Investigative reporter Eric Dexheimer did some serious digging and has a story about Meadows Place, a Texas town that’s fixing to rip a resident right out of her own house.  His article has plenty more about how residency restrictions are used to run people out of town and keep them out…

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The Dobbs Wire: as SOON as the scarlet letter list is ready – IML

Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 10:38 AM An awful new federal law is one step closer:   As soon as Homeland Security prepares a list of people subject to International Megan’s Law (IML), the US State Department will begin putting permanent scarlet letters on their passports.  Such treatment of US citizens is likely unprecedented – searches have not turned up anything similar in this country’s history.  Current passports of those on the list are going to be revoked.  The State Department has just revealed the message to be emblazoned inside new passports:  “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against…

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The Dobbs Wire: Scarlet letter for PASSPORTS revealed by Trump Administration

Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 3:44 PM Ugh!  The Trump Administration reveals how it will implement International Megan’s Law (IML).  An awful bill signed into law by Obama in 2016, IML requires anyone previously convicted of a sex offense involving a minor to have a “unique identifier” – a “visual designation affixed to a conspicuous location” on their passport!  Nothing like this has turned up in US history, the IML scarlet letter is likely the first time US citizens are to be treated in such a fashion by their government.  This scheme, however, does have historical precedent in other countries…

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The Dobbs Wire: A Modest Proposal – REBOOT!!

Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 1:36 AM A modest proposal:   Miriam Aukerman has a modest proposal for changing Michigan’s sex offense registry law, the registry laws in other states and a federal statute (SORNA), too!  In a commentary published by The Hill she makes a strong plea for public safety while urging bold changes in how lawmakers – and the public – ought to reckon with sexual wrongdoing.  Her perspective is all the more valuable for having convinced a federal appeals court to issue a ground-breaking 2016 decision that did serious damage to Michigan’s scarlet letter machinery.  The aftershocks from…

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The Dobbs Wire: Mothers fighting for reason and justice for their sons

Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 1:14 PM College campuses:  For years a battle has raged on many college campuses–how to reckon with and even define sexual wrongdoing.  It’s a high tension controversy with high stakes, spurring mothers to organize and stand together, fighting for reason and justice for their sons.  The New York Times has a report on this important facet of the battle, have a look.  –Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire       New York Times | Oct. 22, 2017 ‘Willing to Do Everything,’ Mothers Defend Sons Accused of Sexual Assault     By Anemona Hartocollis and Christina Capecchi…

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The Dobbs Wire: First Amendment WIN, court overturns REGISTRY law restrictions

Kentucky win:   A federal court judge in Kentucky just struck down two parts of Kentucky’s sex offense registration law!  Individuals on the registry were banned from using social media, and required to divulge so-called internet identifiers–email addresses and such.  Today’s ruling overturns both restrictions and strengthens the First Amendment rights of everyone to use the Internet. The Kentucky decision builds on a major US Supreme Court victory (Packingham v. North Carolina) that came in June when the court unanimously ruled unconstitutional a North Carolina law banning registrants from social media.  Congratulations and kudos to “John Doe”— a subscriber to The…

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