Registrants in Douglas County recently received a post card from the sheriff's office (reproduced here) whose stated purpose is to verify that the information provided when registrants go to the sheriff's office for "verification" is correct.
The post card raises some questions for the sheriff. They are enumerated below. Don't just scan these questions -- please read each one and think carefully about why it is so important to you that we get answers:
1. In view of the research that shows that most of the people on the Nebraska State Patrol Sex-Offender Registry website are not dangerous, why this extra-legal level of "verification"?
2. Why are you wasting time and resources on this?
3. Are you as hyper-vigilant regarding drunken drivers or oversight of the widely documented questionable operations of your own crime lab?
4. Is the post card retaliation for pushback you are getting from registrants you are mistreating?
5. Will this post card somehow give you some ginned-up "reoffense" numbers? (Research shows that registrants for the most part do not commit new sexual offenses. 6. So is the County using a complicated net of home invasions and "verifications" in hopes of building up the numbers of registrant offenses? Any "reoffense" numbers from Douglas County should themselves be verified before they can be trusted).
7. Because Douglas County refuses to provide registrants with documentation that they have complied with the verification visits required by law, why the extra expense of this post card?
8. If you can send out thousands of post cards, how is providing documentation of a legal verification visit to your office such an impossibly complicated task?
The list goes on and on. We put some of them in a letter to the sheriff. An excerpt from the letter we sent on October 31, 2013:
This mailing states, in part, that because the recipient is on the Sex Offender Registry, they are, “subject to random in person compliance checks to assure the information you have provided is accurate and up to date.” In light of this, we would like to ask the following:
9. Can you provide any legal justification for these checks? Are they provided for in
Nebraskalaw? If so, please cite the statute. There seems to be a presumption of guilt that requires the attention of law enforcement resources for these checks. After all, if RSOs were presumed to be in compliance there would be no reason to “verify” that their information is accurate.
Nebraskalaw require RSOs to comply with these random verification visits? Are they legally required to answer the door or interact with the deputy? If so, please cite the statute.
11. For the purpose of reporting recidivism rates of RSOs, does your office include technical reporting violations as cases of recidivism even though they are not sexual in nature?
This mailing has created a great deal of distress and confusion among many
residents who are striving to comply conscientiously and thoroughly with a law that is burdensome, and often unclear and convoluted. Your timely response is appreciated. Douglas County
As of today, we have not heard anything from the sheriff in response.