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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

WSJ: Law Creating Passport Mark for Sex Offenders Faces First Challenge, Lawsuit targets ‘unique identifier’ for passports of those convicted of sex crimes involving minors By Joe Palazzolo




Update: 

Too Soon to Fight Sex Offender Passport Mark, April 13, 2016
Judge tosses out challenge to sex offender passport law, April 13, 2016

Original Post:


Law Creating Passport Mark for Sex Offenders Faces First Challenge, March 29, 2016
Lawsuit targets ‘unique identifier’ for passports of those convicted of sex crimes involving minors
By Joe Palazzolo

A new federal law requiring the State Department to mark the passports of certain convicted sex offenders is expected to face its first test in federal court on Wednesday. 

A group of convicted sex offenders has asked a federal judge in Oakland, Calif., to block the measure pending the outcome of a February lawsuit they filed that challenges the law’s constitutionality. 

The law, International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking, mandates the State Department to add a “unique identifier” to passports of Americans convicted of sex crimes involving minors and that U.S. officials to alert foreign governments when those Americans travel abroad. 

The judge, Phyllis J. Hamilton, is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday on whether to suspend implementation of the passport mark and the notification requirement. 

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs say the law violates the U.S. Constitution by forcing people convicted of sex offenses to bear the equivalent of a “proverbial Scarlet Letter” on their passports. The First Amendment limits what the government can compel people to divulge. The complaint asks a federal judge to strike down the law as unconstitutional. 

“For the first time in the history of this nation, the United States Government will publicly stigmatize a disfavored minority group using a document foundational to citizenship,” says the lawsuit, filed on Feb. 8 in federal district court in Oakland, Calif.
 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Two Sides of the GOP: Solving Problems and Getting Things Done Or Simply Making Points and Picking Fights, the Latter is Sadly Becoming More Popular


I’m gonna stray off RSO issues with today’s post and I’m going to get political and many of you who follow this blog and my advocacy may not like what I'm about to say about your political party of choice. But I've been listening to SO MANY of you who have praised and defended the VA-GOP to me for the last 8 years at a distance while I've been in the trenches speaking and meeting with your District's Representative's.

Many of you have written to me about RSO laws and RSO issues while singing your support for the VA-Republican Party and your elected official's that you've never even spoken to or tried to meet with so today I'm going to take a direct AND public stand about the very same VA-GOP that so many of you continue to defend to me no matter what they say or do to condemn you and your family (because you're an RSO)........... so hold on to your hats! 

I'm always willing to listen to and consider both sides of any issue/argument ...........which is more than most VA-Republicans can say. 


This morning I read an editorial by former Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling,
What to call a do-something conservative? http://www.richmond.com/zzstyling/view-oped-nosig/article_fb387809-fbad-571f-9279-171dc48c0fd0.html 

Friday, March 25, 2016

In Virginia if You Don’t File an Injunction Before a Law Takes Effect Then There is NO Stopping it After the Fact Because Virginia Prohibits ALL Class Action Lawsuits


For the last 8 years that I’ve been a volunteer advocate working to reform the Virginia Sex Offender Registry and laws it seems I was living under a serious misconception that changes everything about I will advocate in the future. 

I believed that like in other states if a law that was enacted by the Legislature was challenged by one or more people was ruled to be unconstitutional it wouldn’t just be a win for those who took the challenge but it would then result in the law being overturned and EVERYONE affected by the unconstitutional law would find relief. 

Like in Ohio with the retroactive/mass reclassifications of Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) was challenged by just a handful of RSO’s but once ruled unconstitutional EVERY RSO was returned to their original classification. In Kansas with the retroactive extension of time to register for RSO’s when ruled unconstitutional it returned EVERY RSO’s to their original timeframe, not just the ones who challenged it in court.  And in Maryland when they forced Pre-Registry convictions to become public RSO’s and register the win applied to EVERY RSO, not just those who went to court. These are just three examples; the list goes on in other states for other rulings. 

So when Virginia retroactively reclassified thousands of RSO’s from Non-Violent to Violent in both 2006 and 2008 I expected if just one Virginia RSO who was affected came forward today to challenge the law and they won, it would trickle down to EVERY RSO affected. 

And in my household we were planning in 2017 to challenge the 2008 Virginia change in law retroactively extending the timeframe that Non-Violent RSO’s must register before being allowed to petition for removal from 10 years to 15 years hoping that if we were successful then it would apply to everyone who was directly affected by the 2008 Legislative change that blatantly denied them due process. 

Well, yesterday at our meeting with the attorney who we may/or may not be able to challenge Virginia’s SB666/HB1190 we learned this is NOT how Virginia Courts operate and our plans and expectations of the Commonwealth’s justice system were quickly quashed. 

If a law in Virginia is NOT challenged BEFORE it goes into effect with an injunction then any challenge against it if there is a win in court ONLY applies to the plaintiff(s) listed in the court challenge. A win would of course set precedence for all future citizens to then challenge the law and most likely means a win for them too, but they’d have to go to court too. One by one, person by person it would have to be challenged over and over again. But the majority of people directly affected by the law would never receive justice because they don't have the time or the money to challenge a law that has already been ruled unconstitutional previously. 

How is this possible? It’s because Virginia completely prohibits class-action lawsuits.
 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Financial Crime: a New Twist on the Sex-Offender Registry By Jean Eaglesham



Financial Crime: a New Twist on the Sex-Offender Registry, March 24, 2016
Utah is most aggressive jurisdiction in publicly shaming financial criminals
By Jean Eaglesham

States have taken the idea of the sex-offender registry and applied it to everything from kidnapping to animal abuse. Utah is expanding it into new territory: financial crime. 

An early version of the White Collar Crime Offender Registry, which has been online since February, includes more than 100 people convicted of tax, credit-card or insurance fraud; thefts from employers or friends; and bilking investors. 

They include 41-year-old Kenneth Ray Wagner. “Eye Color: Blue. Hair Color: Blonde … Targets: Insurance company.”  

The registry displays Mr. Wagner’s mugshot and explains that he was convicted in 2008 of fraud for dismantling his motorcycle, hiding the parts in a storage locker and claiming to his insurance company that it had been stolen.  

The list makes Utah the most aggressive jurisdiction in the country when it comes to publicly shaming financial criminals. No other state operates such a list. The Securities and Exchange Commission often shields the identities of offenders.  

The agency last month refused a public-records request by The Wall Street Journal for information on sanctions paid by specific individuals, saying that providing such information would be “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority does require disclosure of events like some criminal convictions, regulatory actions and customer complaints. But it only applies to securities professionals, and the disclosures are intermingled in a database that includes more routine facts like work history.  

Utah lawmakers say their list, which is being administered by the state’s attorney general, will help protect investors by offering easy access to information about con artists. 

It could also create leverage to get felons to make their victims whole. Convicts who comply with court orders on time and pay restitution in full won’t appear on the list. 

“That’s the carrot,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said. 

The new policy plunges the state into a broader debate about using name-and-shame tactics to punish convicts who have already served their time. 

Registries have proliferated rapidly in the U.S., experts say. While some lists restrict access to law-enforcement agencies or fire officials, others can be viewed online by anyone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition to the 50 states that publicly track sex offenders, five states including California require registration for arson. Minnesota, Illinois and six others maintain lists of methamphetamine producers. In Indiana, a public website lets visitors use Google Maps to find the location of homes that have been used as meth laboratories. Tennessee requires registration for animal abuse— something nine other state legislatures are debating. Florida law requires registration by anyone convicted of a felony of any kind for up to five years after completing the sentence. 

Utah itself maintains a sex-offender and kidnap-offender list, as well as its new financial-crimes registry.

In all, the number of Americans on such lists will soon approach a million, if it isn’t already there, said J.J. Prescott, a law professor at the University of Michigan. He warned of possible unintended consequences from applying a public alert designed for sex offenses to other crimes, such as the risk of drug-offender registries being used by addicts to find suppliers. 

"Do we want to be a nation of registries?” asked Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University.
 

Reminder: I Could Use Your Help with the Court Costs to Challenge Virginia SB666/HB1190 from Becoming Law on July 1st either with a Contribution or Sharing Past Posts with Family and Friends


Dear Readers, 

I have received a few contributions in the last 3 weeks for the lawyers fees to challenge SB666/HB1190 in court and I’d like to thank those of you who have made a donation. 

But for a website that receives 5,000-8,000 page views every month I’m a bit surprised by the very low response rate to my request for assistance. 

I don’t like asking for financial contributions, believe me. If I could do this alone I would but I can’t. 

If you plan on contributing to the cause in a month or maybe in a few months I would be very grateful. 

Please share the below post(s) with friends and family members who believe Registry Reform is needed in Virginia. At the bottom of each post there are icons to share the post on Facebook and Twitter, if you are a member of either of those sites, please share the posts. 

Thank you for your support! 

Mary Devoy 

March 14th Post:
Please Contribute to Court Challenge Against Virginia SB666 and HB1190 From Becoming http://goo.gl/IsHtAi 

March 2ndPost:
Virginia Governor Has Signed SB666 into Law, So I Am Now Taking Donations to Challenge This “Dumb” and Unconstitutional Law in Court http://goo.gl/cIGjcj 

March 1stPost:
Will Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Sign SB666 into Law Before Tonight’s Midnight Deadline? I Don’t See Why He Wouldn’t So I’m Ready to Challenge it in Court With My New License Plate! http://goo.gl/f9rXgr

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Huffington Post - International Megan’s Law: America’s Global Embarrassment, By Tamara Rice Lave


International Megan’s Law: America’s Global Embarrassment, March 22, 2016
By Tamara Rice Lave

What sounds like a good law in a twenty-second sound bite sometimes turns out to be less clear when one digs below the surface. Such is the case with International Megan’s Law, which President Obama recently signed into law. International Megan’s Law requires those who committed a sex offense against a child to have a permanent stamp placed on their passport. While this may sound like a no-brainer if we consider the media’s portrayal of the sexual predator, reality is far more complicated. 

International Megan’s Law means a teenager who was convicted of distributing child pornography for sexting with her boyfriend may not be allowed to do a semester abroad in college. A budding architect who plead no contest to child molestation for having sex with his freshman girlfriend when he was a high school senior may never be able to marvel at the Grand Pyramids. A father may not be permitted to cheer on his daughter as she competes for her country in the Olympics because he touched a 12-year-old boy over the clothes some thirty years ago and has remained law abiding ever since. 

The stated rationale for International Megan’s Law is two fold: (1) Individuals who have offended against a child pose an extremely high risk of reoffending, and (2) Megan’s Law will stop them from doing so. 

The first premise (dangerousness) is demonstrably false. Study after study has shown that sex offenders actually have a low recidivism rate. A 2003 Department of Justice study followed 9,691 sex offenders released from prison in 15 states across the country. It found just 5.3% were rearrested for a new sex crime within 3 years, and only 3.3% of child molesters were rearrested for a new sex crime against a child.(Source.) Juveniles pose even less of a risk.  

A 2009 study of 1,275 juvenile male sex offenders in South Carolina found just 7% were rearrested for a new sex crime within nine years of original offense.(Source.) Women pose the lowest threat. A 2010 meta-analysis of ten studies found only 1% to 3% of women recidivated sexually.(Source.) This premise also ignores that what counts as a sex offense against a child can include a high school senior having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, behavior that should be discouraged but which does not deserve the designation of international pariah.  

The second premise (effectiveness) is wrong as well. Studies show that Megan’s Law has had little to no impact on the incidence of sex offending. Indeed a 2008 analysis by the Department of Corrections in New Jersey concluded, “Given the lack of demonstrated effect of Megan’s Law, the researchers are hard-pressed to determine that the escalating costs are justifiable.”(Source.) 

Instead of crafting a law targeted at those who pose an actual danger, Congress treated sex offending as an immutable characteristic. It ignored research showing that treatment works. (Source.) It closed its eyes to studies demonstrating that sex offending drops with age, and the longer a person remains in the community offense free, the less likely he is to reoffend.(Source.) (Source.) 

Despite the lack of empirical support, it’s not surprising that Congress passed International Megan’s Law. When it comes to legislation controlling sex offenders, facts are beside the point. And so out of misguided hysteria, the United States has passed a law requiring sex offenders to have a permanent mark on their passport. And make no mistake — this is going to curtail their ability to travel outside the country, including to places like England and France, not exactly hotbeds for child sex tourism. 

The most depressing thing about International Megan’s Law may be that President Obama, a second term president and a former constitutional law professor, signed it into law. A man who has experienced being judged by ignorance-grounded “facts.”  

On March 30, Phyllis J. Hamilton, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, will hear a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop implementation of International Megan’s Law. Those challenging the law have an uphill path as judges often defer to legislative findings of fact even when they are ill founded, and the Supreme Court has generally failed to intervene on the dubious assumption that these types of laws do not constitute “punishment.” Sometimes, though, it takes only one courageous judge to listen to what the science actually tells us. Let us hope this is such a case.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Social Media Can be a Life Saver During an Emergency, Except for America's 843,000 Registered Sex Offenders


Today we still make phone calls but not that often, most often to catch up with friends and family we’ll text or we’ll post/message on social media more often than not, Facebook. 

But what happens when the phone lines are down?  During a natural disaster like a tornado, an earthquake, a flood or maybe a hurricane.  

You may be able to text them but if the phone lines are destroyed maybe not. Perhaps you lost your phone in the emergency with all your contacts and you don’t know anyone’s actual number to reach them. 

What about in a mass shooting, a bombing or a terrorist attack? 

In these chaotic and uncertain emergency situations people get separated from their group, all modes of transportation might be shut-down; you could be in a foreign country not knowing your exact location. What do you do?  

You’ll most likely log onto Facebook (maybe Twitter) either with your phone or someone else’s and you search for friends or family members who you were separated from, you let those back home know you are OK and you figure out where to seek transportation or shelter. 

Social media is an amazing resource that doesn’t charge us for access or by duration like with a phone call and its reliability during an emergency can be much better than calling on the phone. 

During these types of events social media has been praised time and time again for reconnecting people and even getting emergency services to those in need. Many journalists have written about social media’s pros and cons during such crisis’s. Emergency management departments and organizations have pages dedicated to using social media instead of the telephone. 

Everyone’s on Facebook and Twitter, right? And if you’re not, you can be just sign up, it’s free. 

After all, access to the Internet was declared a basic human right by the United Nations back in 2011. 

With all the praise for social media during emergencies there is a segment of our population that no Journalist has ever bothered to take note of, Registered Sex Offenders. 

Facebook has a blanket policy ban prohibiting ANY Registered Sex Offender (RSO) from having a Facebook account. 

It doesn’t matter if the conviction that resulted in registration was a misdemeanor or a felony. It doesn’t matter if the conviction was 1 year ago or 20 years ago. It doesn’t matter if the conviction was against a minor or an adult. It doesn’t matter if the conviction was public urination or rape. It doesn’t matter if the conviction was computer-related or not. And it doesn’t matter if the conviction was for a consensual relationship with your teen girlfriend who has been your wife for the last 10 years.  

Facebook has no process for Registered Sex Offenders to appeal this ban. If you’re listed as an RSO you’re banned.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Dear Virginia Senator Amanda Chase………



Emailed to Senator Chase and then the RTD today


Dear Virginia Senator Amanda Chase, 

Good afternoon. 

This morning I read the RTD article For freshman state Sen. Amanda Chase, first session was quite the education http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/article_71790f77-3452-5f9d-9109-b7ccca972198.html and I mulled it over most of the day while contacting the Virginia Representatives in Washington DC about another issue that was in yesterday’s Roanoke Times. 

In the article it mentioned your staffers are women who make practically no money to work for you but they believe in being part of the process, having their voices heard and listening to others voices. The article also said your first impression by many of your own party members was as a freshman  sit down and shut up” and it turns out that instead of speaking your mind or asking questions that you may have had, your vote was uninformed. 

The day before the 2016 session began, I stopped by your GA office and we spoke briefly, I gave you my card I reminded you that I’m always available to discuss legislation, issues or even concerns you may have about Sex Offenders, the Registry and our sexual crime statutes. You had been receiving emails from me for months first as a candidate for the Virginia Senate and then as an elected-Senator so you knew who I was and what my platform was about, or should have. On that January morning you were cordial to me, recognized my name and my platform and I wished you well on the session beginning the next day. 

Then we came face-to-face in the Senate Transpiration Committee hearing on January 27th where SB666 was to be heard and you are a Committee member. 

I stood in opposition of SB666 that day, the first day it was heard in Committee but yet the Patron, the Chairman and legal counsel were discussing it as though it had already come up once before “to work out” any Constitutional issues. 

When I opposed the Bill I pointed out that Senator Black’s claim of  Rob Buswell’s (Robby’s Rule 2015) abuser (a VSP RSO) owned a Kid’s First license plate to use it as a grooming tool to “troll” for additional victims was unfounded, that a Specialty Plate is NOT a government certification that the driver is an endorsed representative, that no other group of Virginians is prohibited from obtaining an offered Specialty Plate, that no other group of Virginians is prohibited from supporting a charity organization, that  that no Legislator has proposed a ban against anyone convicted of Animal Abuse from owning a Virginia Animal Friendly Specialty Plate and that this ban would not just affect those few Registered Offenders but their spouses, parents and driving aged children who co-owned the vehicle too. 

I spoke the truth, I had facts (data from the DMV FOIA), I raised the fear-mongering flag against what Senator Black stated and I pointed out the collateral consequences and most likely Constitutional issues with SB666 as a volunteer advocate. 

What was your response in a room of 50+ people?
 

Roanoke Times Piece on U.S. Postal Service NOT Delivering Mail, an Issue I’ve been Raising for 7 Years with Virginia Legislators, the Administration and the State Police


Emailed to every Virginia Representative's office today


Dear Virginia Representatives in Congress and U.S Senate, 

The Roanoke Times had an editorial yesterday on an increase in USPS mail never arriving at its destination not because it was addressed incorrectly but because of incompetency, laziness and indifference by the US Postal Service. 

In case you missed it, here it is:
Casey: Mail complaints are getting Congressional attention, March 19, 2016
In 2014, 88 million pieces of missing mail ended up at the U.S. Postal Service Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta. Of those, the post office managed to deliver -- or return to the sender -- only 2.5 million pieces. The other 88.5 million were destroyed, donated or auctioned.

Non-delivery of USPS certified letters from the Virginia State Police for re-registration of Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders has been an issue I’ve been raising to our State Legislators and Administration since late 2008. 

First let me give you some numbers directly from the Virginia State Police (I have the FOIA’s for anyone who would like to see them). 

Near the end of 2009:
    • There was approximately 16,238 Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) in Virginia
    • Of those 7,014 were under VSP supervision and 3,171 were under VA-DOC supervision
    • The cost of postage for one USPS certified letter was $10.04
    • The VSP spent a total of $188,360.86 just on USPS postage (not including printing and stuffing) for RSO re-registration letters, (that works out to be approximately 18,761 letters).
Near the end of 2015:
·         There was approximately 22,049 Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) in Virginia
·         Of those 9,278 were under VSP supervision and 3,538 were under VA-DOC supervision
·         The cost of postage for one USPS certified letter was $10.48
·         The VSP spent a total of $584,333.00 just on USPS postage (not including printing and stuffing) for RSO re-registration letters, and they mailed out 55,757 letters to those under VSP and VA-DOC supervision. 

Second.
 
What is a VSP re-registration letter? 

It is a VSP SP-236A form that lists an RSO’s:
·         Name
·         Mailing / Physical address
·         Sex
·         Race
·         DOB
·         FBI number
·         Registration number
·         Social Security number
·         Due Date for Re-registration          (could be a weekend or holiday)
·         Due Date for Next Photo                 (could be a weekend or holiday AND it could be a different date than  the re-registration, so a entirely separate letter and trip to the VSP Barracks is  needed) 

A Virginia Registered Sex Offender must sign and thumbprint the form confirming all information is correct.
 
Completely missing from the SP-236A since 2012 are:
·         All Email addresses
·         All Instant Messenger Names
·         All Chat Identifiers
·         All Phone numbers
·         All Employment information
·         All Vehicles  

Which means at re-registration when an RSO is confirming everything previously registered is still accurate in the VSP database, half of their data is MISSING on the form so they can not confirm that a typo or old data isn’t in the database and yet they are signing their name that all is well. 

Virginia’s RSO’s depending on their conviction OR if they have any failures to register have varying re-registration timeframes. Some re-register every 30 days, most every 90 days, some every 120 days and a very few are annually. This means their due date(s) never repeats, making remembering/scheduling their re-registration in time of the due date impossible. And 4 years ago the VSP just removed the “next registration date” from all of our RSO’s VSP Internet postings so they can no longer look online to see when their next letter is expected to arrive. 

Since 2008 I have contacted the Virginia Legislators, the Administration and even the VSP about the intentional non-delivery of these USPS certified letters by the postal employees many, many times. 
 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Please Contribute to Court Challenge Against Virginia SB666 and HB1190 From Becoming Law


Back on March 2nd I announced that I would be taking contributions to help cover the high costs of a court challenge to stop SB666/HB1190 from becoming law in Virginia. 

In that post (see link above) you can read all about this new law, the history of it passing through the 2016 Virginia Legislature, why this challenge is needed, what a win could mean for future challenges and how you can help. 

Since then I have contacted approximately 2 Civil Rights groups, 8 Private Attorneys, a few Constitutional Law Professors, a former Federal Judiciary Committee Advisor and a Fellow/Adjunct Scholar/Writer about representation for my challenge.  

I believe I have now found my attorney/law firm and I will be meeting with them in the next 2 weeks. 

Now comes the difficult part, asking you for a contribution. 
 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

RSOL of California: The U.S. Congress Has Successfully Extended the “Megan” Franchise [The International Megan’s Law Court Challenge]



Update: 

Too Soon to Fight Sex Offender Passport Mark, April 13, 2016
Judge tosses out challenge to sex offender passport law, April 13, 2016

Original Post:


I’ve previously posted about the Federal International Megan’s Law moving though Congress, being signed by President Obama and then some great editorials against it. 

California RSOL filed a Federal lawsuit to day after the US President signed it into law to stop it from being enacted while they challenge the law in court. 

Below you will find two updates from California RSOL’s website on the upcoming hearing on IML and International Travel for US RSO’s. The first one is brief and I did not copy it you can follow the link to read it, the second one I did copy. 

I wanted to be sure all my readers saw it. 

Mary Devoy
 

1- IML Motion to be Heard on March 30 in Oakland, March 11, 2016
 

2- The U.S. Congress Has Successfully Extended the “Megan” Franchise, March 11, 2016
RSOL of California By David Kennerly
 

We lost the battle, brewing for some eight years in Congress, which will effectively stop those of us, U.S. ‘registered sex offenders.’ from venturing beyond our own countries. The enactment of International Megan’s Law is not the end of the war, however, as we are fighting back against this injustice in the courts and, to the extent that we wield any influence, in the media. 

The bill was signed into law by President Obama February 8th of this year and will stoke the fire under the simmering cauldron which ‘child sex offenders’ are forced to inhabit and further diminish our already depleted portfolio of rights. 

To capsulate the highlights of the law (and which I see as the nadir of a once free society): 

It will criminalize the act of traveling outside the U.S. without prior notice and permission from the government. Ten-year terms in federal prison await those of us who fail to do so. It will obligate the Department of Homeland Security to notify foreign governments of the anticipated travel of U.S. ‘child sex offenders’ and encourage those governments to do what they will with that information, whether that be to slam the door in our faces or something even worse. It will obligate the Department of State to revoke the passports of U.S. ‘sex offenders’ and require them to reapply for new ones with a designation affixed to each indicating its bearer to be a ‘sex offender.’ [Note: this provision is not limited to ‘child sex offenders’ but includes all ‘sex offenders.’] 

There are a number of other details, none of which ameliorate the law to our advantage, which provide a structure for carrying out this mission or which specify the information which the ‘sex offender’ must provide before travel, such as detailed itineraries, purpose for travel, places one intends to stay, etc. 

So much for spontaneity in travel! Of course, that assumes that there are countries that will let us in the door in the first place. 

Here’s the funny thing: perhaps the most important aspect of this law, the notification of foreign governments of the intended travel by U.S. ‘sex offenders,’ has already been the practice of the U.S. Government for some three years. The U.S. has been issuing these foreign notifications, in the absence of any clear authority to do so, and Registrant travelers have already been turned away in droves by many countries, some of which have, coincidentally, explicitly (and very recently) announced laws forbidding ‘sex offenders’ from entering their countries. 

So, the peculiar thing about this new law is that we already have a very good sense of how it will play out and the results, so far, aren’t pretty, with many Registrants facing humiliating refusals at foreign ports of entry and being made to get on the first returning flights to the U.S. 

Exceptions to those countries routinely turning away all Registrants, however, appear to be some Western European countries such as The Netherlands and France (but not the U.K., of course). Many other countries, particularly Asian and Latin American countries, as well as Russia, have joined with the U.K. in refusing entry to U.S. ‘sex offenders.’ 

The eerily-named governmental consortium called ‘The Five Eyes,’ which consists of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had already been turning away each others’ ‘sex offenders’ for many years now, a fact which provides some strong clues as to the origin of this more recent global expansion of the policy of internal exile for ‘sex offenders.’ 

The critical component, which is facilitating this worldwide travel ban, is the international police agency, INTERPOL, which has openly lobbied for such bans. This is an agency which deserves far more scrutiny than it once did when it was mostly a sleepy backwater in danger of complete irrelevance. It has been completely made-over by the most powerful governments who comprise its membership and the new INTERPOL is very muscular and frightening, indeed. If ever there were an entity deserving of a full-on paranoid conspiracy theory, INTERPOL would be it.
 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The New Yorker: The List, When Juveniles are Found Guilty of Sexual Misconduct, the Sex-Offender Registry Can be a Life Sentence By Sarah Stillman


The List
When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence.
By Sarah Stillman
March 14, 2016 Issue
 

One morning in 2007, Leah DuBuc, a twenty-two-year-old college student in Kalamazoo, began writing an essay for English class that she hoped would save her life. She knew that people like her had been beaten, bombed, shot at, killed.  

The essay aired details about her past that she’d long tried to suppress; by posting it on her class’s server, where anyone who Googled her name could find it, she thought she might be able to quiet the whispers, the threats, and possibly make it easier to find a job. Her story, she warned, “is not a nice one, but hopefully it will have a happy ending.” 

DuBuc had grown up in Howell, Michigan, a small town of berry and melon farmers. In high school, she had thrived. She had earned straight A’s, written for the school newspaper, led Students Against Driving Drunk (she voted to change the name to Students Against Destructive Decisions, she says, to stress that “there are lots of bad decisions that can get you killed”), and performed in “Grease” and “Once Upon a Mattress,” while working part time as a cashier at Mary’s Fabulous Chicken & Fish. “High school was bliss for me,” DuBuc said recently. “I tried not to dwell on the stuff that wasn’t good.”  

But, as she was about to start her freshman year at Western Michigan University, she got a call from a close childhood friend, Victoria, who asked, “Did you know you’re on the public sex-offender registry?” 

Her friend, who had just given birth to a baby girl, had logged on to the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry Web site to search for local predators. She had entered her Zip Code, and there was Leah’s face—her copper bangs, her wide cheeks, her brown eyes staring blankly from the photograph. Her name, weight, and height were listed; so was the address where she’d grown up, playing beneath tall pines and selling five-cent rocks that she’d painted with nail polish. Something DuBuc had done at the age of ten had caught up with her. Victoria knew the story, which DuBuc described as “play-acting sex,” in elementary school, with her younger step-siblings. Online browsers would see only the words on the page: “CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT.”

 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Documentary About Lobbyist Ron Book and His Daughter Lauren (Lauren’s Kids) Political and Profitable Mission To Name, Shame, Commit and Push Registered Sex Offenders to the Fringes of Society Premieres at The Tribeca Film Festival April 13-24 2016


UNTOUCHABLE Documentary Premieres at The Tribeca Film Festival April 13-24 2016 

The Film:
When the most powerful lobbyist in Florida discovers that the nanny has sexually abused his daughter, he harnesses his extraordinary political power to pass the toughest sex offender laws in the nation. UNTOUCHABLE chronicles his crusade, and its impact on the lives of several of the 800,000 people forced to live under the kinds of laws he has championed. The film interweaves intimate portraits of men and women who have been branded sex offenders with the heartbreaking stories of those who have suffered sexual abuse. It is a film that pushes viewers toward an uncomfortable place, requiring them to walk in the shoes of those who have survived sexual abuse, but to still bear witness to the experiences of those we revile.