Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nebraska Sex-Offender Website Guidelines

It is time for a refresher course in using the Nebraska Sex-Offender website managed by the Nebraska State Patrol. There are eight basic guidelines, and we'll post one a day until we're done.

Guideline 5:  The Nebraska Legislature’s finding from the 1990s that all sex offenders are dangerous was not based on any scientific, empirical evidence. It was a politically-motivated “made up” finding that was based on popular myth. There is a vast and growing body of evidence that the reverse is actually true – that sex offenders are among the least likely to reoffend. The Legislative Finding is made up in the same way that the oft-repeated “50,000 online predators” number was made up. This round, easy-to-remember number (which is just a lie) was fabricated by the network that brought you “To Catch a Predator.”

View all of the the Guidelines here.

Why we still need statute of limitations for rape

Writing at Reason.com, Elizabeth Nolan Brown explains why the recent push to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases is not such a good idea.
Since the start of 2017, legislatures in Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. have considered bills that would drastically expand or outright end the statute of limitations for pressing charges in sexual assault cases. In late 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure removing the state's statute of limitations on rape and other sexual offenses entirely; prosecution was previously limited to 10 years. 
Supporters of these changes argue that certain circumstances may make it hard for victims to come forward in a timely manner. Those abused in childhood may not come to terms with it until well into adulthood. Those in abusive relationships may be afraid to report. Or sometimes victims do report and there's not enough evidence to prosecute at the time but DNA evidence discovered later changes that. But while all of this may be true, none of it holds up to scrutiny as an argument for ending statutes of limitations entirely.
Read Brown's full argument here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Briefing the Supreme Court: Promoting Science or Myth?

Must read via the Florida Action Committee:

Melissa Hamilton’s forthcoming article in the Emory Law Journal is a must read. It discusses the recent Packingham SCOTUS hearing and how after all this time and all these studies, the MYTH of high recidivism rates is still being thrown around the courts.
Read Melissa Hamilton's report here.

Nebraska Sex-Offender Website Guidelines

It is time for a refresher course in using the Nebraska Sex-Offender website managed by the Nebraska State Patrol. There are eight basic guidelines, and we'll post one a day until we're done.

Guideline 4:  The Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website prior to Jan. 1, 2010, included only individuals who were at high risk to reoffend. Since Jan. 1, 2010, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website has included people who are not dangerous as well as people who are innocent of what they were accused of doing. These are individuals who accepted plea agreements rather than deal with our society’s “guilty until proven innocent” attitude toward sexual offenses. By listing them on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website, the state violated their plea agreements and legal action is being pursued to hold the state accountable.

View all of the the Guidelines here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Supreme Court has not decided whether it will review Does v. Snyder

News from the U.S. Supreme Court – the court has NOT decided whether it will review Doe v. Snyder, last summer’s ground-breaking decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review an important ruling (Doe v. Snyder) which was handed down last summer by a federal appeals court, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The request was discussed in a private conference last Friday and today we learned the result – the Supreme Court has made NO decision on the request for review.  They did not reject it, they did not grant it.  Instead the Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General for their opinion, in the form of a legal brief.  The Solicitor General is the lawyer who represents the federal government – the Trump Administration -- in Supreme Court matters.  What does this mean?  The Supreme Court did not outright reject the request for review but they apparently have some interest in this case and might still decide to grant review in the near future.  So stay tuned for further action by the Supreme Court.

What’s at stake:  Doe v. Snyder is a big victory and when the 6th Circuit issued its decision it became the first federal appeals court to rule that parts of a sex offense registration law are punishment, and unconstitutional if they’re applied retroactively.  Michigan’s sex offense registry law was challenged and it was cut back by the 6th Circuit’s decision.  Michigan lost so they’re hoping to undo the damage to their registration law by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 6th Circuit decision. 

What about Supreme Court review of this case, good or bad idea?   If the Supreme Court rejects the request for review, the 6th Circuit decision stands and is in effect for Michigan and the other states (Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee) in that federal circuit.  If the Supreme Court agrees to review the case, anything can happen – the Supreme Court could uphold the 6th Circuit’s decision or change it or even uphold the Michigan registration law.  If the Supreme Court grants review, by the time the case is actually heard the currently vacant seat on the court is likely to be filled with a Trump administration nominee.  With so much uncertainty, some would prefer the Supreme Court refuse to review the case and just let the 6th Circuit decision alone.  The 6th Circuit decision means that a number of people will be freed from the registry but that is up in the air while the Supreme Court decides what to do.  Bold and ground-breaking, the 6th Circuit ruling is already influencing other courts.   –Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire

Here’s what the U.S. Supreme Court had to say this morning, March 27, 2017:
16-768 SNYDER, GOV. OF MI, ET AL. V. JOHN DOES #1-5, ET AL.

The Acting Solicitor General is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States. LINK HERE

Update: National RSOL considers what the the Supreme Court's action could mean. LINK HERE

Nebraska Sex-Offender Website Guidelines

It is time for a refresher course in using the Nebraska Sex-Offender website managed by the Nebraska State Patrol. There are eight basic guidelines, and we'll post one a day until we're done.

Guideline 3: The Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website includes some people who have been evaluated and deemed to be at high risk to reoffend, but you cannot tell who those people are. Under Nebraska law, some of them are on the registry for only 10 years because Nebraska no longer pays any attention to risk of reoffense.

View all of the the Guidelines here.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nebraska Sex-Offender Website Guidelines

It is time for a refresher course in using the Nebraska Sex-Offender website managed by the Nebraska State Patrol. There are eight basic guidelines, and we'll post one a day until we're done.

Guideline 2:  The Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website includes many people who were evaluated and deemed to be of low risk to reoffend, and thus were not on the website prior to Jan. 1, 2010. Some of those people are now on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website for life even though their offenses were committed years ago and they long ago completed their sentences.

View all of the the Guidelines here.