Supreme Court refuses to hear Louisiana in protection of a law stamping ‘sex offender’ on driver’s license – Reason.com

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal against Louisiana’s 2006 law requiring people in the state’s sex offender registry to carry IDs or driver’s licenses that are described in orange as “sex offenders.” A year ago, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the requirement was equal to mandatory discourse and was not justified by the state’s legitimate interest in protecting public safety. In addition to raising the First Amendment issue, Louisiana’s current law paints a picture of the long-standing trend of imposing additional penalties on those convicted of sexual offenses in disguise of the law.

Registries, which require sex offenders to regularly report their addresses to local law enforcement agencies to make information publicly available in online databases that include their names, photos and physical details, are primarily punitive, exposing registrants to harassment, and violence Creating employment and housing makes it difficult to find. There is very little evidence that the kind of public notification practiced by each state provides benefits that exceed those costs. The Louisiana customary insult test, which branded registrants with orange letters and had to display them in every transaction that required the creation of a government-issued ID, increased those costs without an offer. No Reasonable advantage.

One problem with sex offender registries is that they are widespread with many crimes, many of which are not related to violence, force or physical contact. Although people imagine rapist or child molestation when they hear the word Sex offender, The reality may be quite different, the way it is important to assess the dangers that an individual may pose to the general public or to people of a particular age.

In Louisiana, for example, compulsory registration applies not only to crimes such as rape and sexual harassment, but also to nonviolent crimes, such as virulence, possession of child pornography, intimate consent between adults, sexuality between high school teachers and students (even when students reach consent age). , And the appointment of minors “any practice, exhibition or place that is dangerous or harmful to the minor’s life, limbs, health, or morals.” Robert Sattel, who posted pictures of his driving license shown above, was forced to register because he was found guilty of intentionally exposing someone to HIV, leading to six months in prison. After a bad breakup, he said, his ex-partner told police he had not been notified of Suttle’s HIV status.

The second line of each record in the state registry shows the “level” of the offender, consistent with the various offenses classified by severity, from tier 1 (minimum serious, requires registration for 15 years) to third level (most serious, requires lifelong registration)). Further down the record, you can see the constitution under which the registrar was convicted (e.g., “a teenager’s physical knowledge”), which still omits potentially important details.

The Louisiana law does not provide so much information that a driving license requires caution, which means anyone who saw it was invited to make the worst impression. Tajin Hill, who challenged the law, ended his prison term in 2013. He was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old and a 32-year-old, which put him on the first level. The way to know the nature or severity of his crime. Rebelling the shame badge imposed by this government, Hill removed the “sex offender” label from his license and covered the gap with clean tape, leading to criminal charges in the case.

Another problem with the sex offender registry is the misconception that those who fall into this broad category are more likely to commit additional crimes than robbers, thieves or arsonists. While it supports compulsory “treatment” of sex offenders in prison, for example, the Supreme Court relies on a highly dubious recurring assumption that was rejected by its original source but was nevertheless repeatedly cited by the lower court. The “sex offender” stamp on a Louisiana driver’s license, even more so than the registry, spreads the false fear that the carrier made an ongoing threat, regardless of his or her crime details, how long ago it happened, or how he or she behaved as he or she did. The sentence is over.

The empirically unreasonable belief that the tendency of sex offenders to repeat is particularly wrong and harmful applies to people convicted as minors, who are included in the Louisiana Registry and therefore had to carry their “sex offender” ID or driver’s license. Judy Mantin, who testified before a state legislature committee this year that was considering amending the Louisiana law in light of the state’s Supreme Court ruling, said her son “made a mistake” at age 14 but is a “very productive citizen” today. He argued that “our children deserve a second chance at life.”

The legislators have clearly given the same verdict in the case of adults convicted of sexual offenses, who have paid their debts to the society after completing their criminal convictions. Yet legislators impose additional burdens on those people for decades after their official punishment. In this case, any interaction involved with the driver’s license যেমন such as, cashier, hotel clerk, bank teller, employer, landlord, election official, or airport security screener-becomes a new invitation to close-range fear and hatred.

What was the rationale for this requirement, which was associated with the imposition imposed by registration, public notices, and residential restrictions? The state argued that the label “sex offender” gives police officers the benefit of law enforcement by warning about the person’s condition. But the police can already easily check it by consulting the state database. And as the Louisiana Supreme Court noted, the state could have overcome even the slightest inconvenience with more discreet labels: “The name of a symbol, code, or letter will tell law enforcement that they are dealing with a sex offender and will reduce redundancy.” Disclosure to others. “

Such a solution would not suffice, the state argued in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, because “the Louisiana Legislature has concluded that Public, And not just law enforcement, need to know about the status of sex offenders in limited circumstances. “Like?

The application states, “When leasing an apartment, a property manager must know the status of the sex offender – or if a tenant is raped on the premises, the manager may have liability.” “A person needs to know his or her position as a sex offender when sheltering from a storm at a church or Red Cross facility. People who have been cheated or treated on Halloween may need a quick way to verify that their children are safe from predators.”

During the lower court hearing, a state lawyer gave another example:

If I decide who I want to be my babysitter and I know I don’t want a sex offender to show my babies, I say, “Okay. I want to see your ID baby.” And, “Oh, it says that.” ‘Sex offender.’ I’m not going to hire you. “

The Halloween scenario suggests state frustration, not only because this particular danger is not an urban legend, but also because it’s hard to imagine a situation where parents would demand neighbors ’driving licenses to hand over candy. Even when the concerns are more reasonable, the public registry is already approved for better or worse. Anyone To look for a person and see if he is listed; This was the first purpose of creating a universally accessible database.

“Louisiana’s branded-identification regiments were outsiders to protest in public,” Hill’s lawyers said in their brief statement, urging the Supreme Court not to consider the state’s appeal. “Identity cards are required to display phrases like ‘sex offender’ in the other two states, and only six states have laws requiring identification cards to disclose other types of sexual offenses – a symbol or constitution number generally recognized by law enforcement.”

Even as an outsider, Louisiana law suggests how willing politicians are to support virtually any burden on sex offenders, whether it makes sense as a tool to promote public safety. Such policies do not serve any useful purpose, but they do make life difficult for a disgraced class of people whose punishment never ends.

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