Thursday, November 14, 2013

SSRN - Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?

Original Article

Abstract:
Sex offenders have become the targets of some of the most far-reaching and novel crime legislation in the U.S. Two key innovations in recent decades have been registration and notification laws which, respectively, require that convicted sex offenders provide valid contact information to law enforcement authorities, and that information about sex offenders be made public. Using the evolution of state law during the 1990s and 2000s, we study how registration and notification affect the frequency of reported sex offenses and the incidence of such offenses across victims. We find evidence that registration reduces the frequency of sex offenses by providing law enforcement with information on local sex offenders. As we predict using a simple model of criminal behavior, this decrease in crime is concentrated among “local” victims (e.g., friends, acquaintances, neighbors) with no evidence of less crime occurring against strangers. We also find evidence that notification has reduced crime, but not, as legislators anticipated, by disrupting the criminal conduct of convicted sex offenders. Our results instead suggest that notification deters nonregistered sex offenders, and may, in fact, increase recidivism among registered offenders by reducing the relative attractiveness of a crime-free life. This finding is consistent with work by criminologists showing that notification imposes social and financial costs on registered sex offenders, perhaps offsetting the relative benefits of forgoing criminal activity. We regard this latter finding as important, given that the purpose of notification is to reduce recidivism.


MO - DOE v. KEATHLEY

Justice scales
Original Article

Excerpt:
Doe entered an Alford plea to the charge of sexual abuse in the first degree in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County on October 13, 1992. Doe was ordered to serve five years' probation with counseling, and was given a suspended imposition of sentence ("SIS").

Following his guilty plea, Doe allegedly completed his counseling in March 1995, and was released from probation in March 1996 (nineteen months early). Upon the passage of Missouri's Sex Offender Registration Act ("SORA"), §§ 589.400 to 589.425,3 in 1995, Doe registered as a sex offender. In 2006, however, the Missouri Supreme Court held that, under article I, § 13 of the Missouri Constitution, SORA could not constitutionally be applied to offenders convicted before the state statute's effective date. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833, 852 (Mo. banc 2006). The Supreme Court has recognized, however, that the federal SORNA, enacted in 2006, independently mandates sex-offender registration for individuals convicted of sex offenses prior to SORNA's effective date, and that the federal statute is not subject to the Missouri Constitution's prohibition on retrospective laws. Doe v. Keathley, 290 S.W.3d 719, 720 (Mo. banc 2009). See also Droney v. Fitch, No. 4:10-CV-114 CAS, 2011 WL 890704, at *3-*4 (E.D.Mo. March 14, 2011).

Doe filed a petition seeking declaratory and mandamus relief in the Circuit Court of Cole County on November 22, 2006, seeking to be free of SORA's registration requirements. Although Keathley conceded that Doe did not need to register under SORA in light of the Doe v. Phillips decision, he nevertheless filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that Doe had an independent obligation to register under SORNA. The circuit court initially ruled for Keathley, concluding that, "[u]nder federal law, a suspended imposition of sentence is considered a conviction." After further briefing, however, the trial court reversed course, finding that "[u]nder Missouri law, a suspended imposition of sentence is not a conviction. . . . [A] suspended imposition of sentence will not satisfy a federal statute that requires a conviction to trigger its application." Keathley appeals.


CA - PEOPLE v. SINGH

Justice scales
Original Article

Excerpt:
In this case we address whether subjecting sex offenders convicted under Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a) (section 288(a)) (lewd or lascivious conduct with a minor under the age of 14), to mandatory sex offender registration violates their right to equal protection of the laws where registration for certain other sex offenders is discretionary. (Undesignated statutory references are to the Penal Code.) We conclude that it does not violate equal protection because offenders convicted under section 288(a) are not similarly situated to persons convicted of offenses under section 261.5 (unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor), section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) (section 288a(b)(1)) (oral copulation with a minor), and section 289, subdivision (h) (section 289(h)) (sexual penetration with a minor). Section 288(a) affords a specific protection to minors under the age of 14 and is a specific intent offense whereas section 261.5, section 288a(b)(1), and section 289(h) involve general intent offenses against minors under the age of 18. We also reject defendant's assertion that the evidence was insufficient to convict him because more than one inference can be drawn from the evidence regarding his intent.


CA - PEOPLE v. MOSLEY

Justice scales
Original Article

Excerpt:
We revisit defendant Mosley, who a jury acquitted of any sexual offense. The jury found him guilty only of misdemeanor assault. Yet the court ordered defendant to register as a sex offender based upon its own factual findings about his motivations—facts not proved beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury.

In a prior opinion, we held the facts supporting imposition of discretionary sex offender registration must be found beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury. Defendant has the right to a jury trial on any facts (other than a prior conviction) that increase his offense's penalty beyond the statutory maximum. (Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, 490 [147 L.Ed.2d 435, 120 S.Ct. 2348] (Apprendi).) The court's imposition of sex offender registration for misdemeanor assault effectively increased the penalty beyond the statutory maximum because of Jessica's Law, The Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act, approved in 2006 as Proposition 83. Jessica's Law contains a residency restriction that bars registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. This residency restriction constitutes punishment due to its overwhelmingly punitive effect.


NY - PEOPLE v. HAHLBOHM

Justice scales
Original Article

Excerpt:
Ordered that the People's application to reopen the Sex Offender Registration Act hearing is granted to the extent that a hearing pursuant to Correction Law § 68-d (3) is scheduled for November 13, 2007 at 2:00 P.M. and it is further ordered that the People are directed to provide to the court and Mr. Hahlbohm a written statement setting forth the determinations sought by the District Attorney's Office together with the reasons for seeking such a determination at least 15 days prior to the determination proceeding; and it is further ordered that Mr. Hahlbohm's cross motion to decrease the amount of time that he must comply with global positioning satellite (GPS) monitoring in his order of probation is denied.

Before the court is a motion by the People to reopen a Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) hearing pursuant to CPLR 2221. The defense opposed the motion and cross-moved to modify the conditions of Mr. Hahlbohm's sentence pursuant to CPL 410.20 (1), specifically the duration of time that he is required to be under GPS supervision. The People opposed the cross motion.


WA - IN RE PERSONAL RESTRAINT OF DYER

Justice scales
Original Article

Excerpt:
In 2006, this court directed the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board (ISRB) to redetermine the parolability of Dyer after we concluded the ISRB supported its previous decision with speculation and conjecture. We ordered the ISRB to support its decision with objective facts. After the rehearing, the ISRB again determined Dyer was unparolable because he remained an untreated sex offender. We now consider Dyer's personal restraint petition (PRP) alleging the ISRB again abused its discretion and violated his constitutional rights. We hold the ISRB based its decision upon the objective fact that Dyer is an untreated sex offender and therefore did not abuse its discretion nor violate Dyer's constitutional rights. We affirm the ISRB.


MI - FULLMER v. MICHIGAN DEPT. OF STATE POLICE

Justice scales
Original Article

Excerpt:
This matter is before the Court on the latest challenge to the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act, MCLA § 28.721 et seq, ("SORA"). Plaintiff, an individual convicted of an offense that requires registration as a "sexual offender" pursuant to the SORA, argues that the statute violates constitutionally protected procedural due process.

Defendants are the Michigan State Police, the government entity charged with maintaining the registry, and Colonel Michael D. Robinson (the "Director"), in his official capacity as Director of the department. Defendants contend that Plaintiff's liberty interests are not implicated by the required registration and the public dissemination of registry information; therefore, no procedural due process safeguards are mandated. Further, Defendants assert that the issues raised by Plaintiff have all been considered and decided by other courts in this district and circuit, or that the outcome can reasonably be predicted against him based on these prior rulings.

While these prior decisions have upheld the notification provisions of the SORA against due process challenges, none addressed the specific argument made by Plaintiff here: namely, that the reputation damage resulting from registration as a sex offender, coupled with the ongoing legal obligations of registration and the attendant criminal penalties for failure to fulfill the obligations of registration, alter the registrant's legal status, and, therefore, the "stigma plus" test is met and his right to be free from government defamation entitles him to the procedural safeguards under the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court finds that the Plaintiff has sufficiently demonstrated a liberty interest recognized by the United States Constitution which is deserving of minimal due process protection, because of the damage to reputation as a labeled sex offender, coupled with the burden and duty of continuing registration obligations over a course of years. Because the SORA does not provide notice to registrants or an opportunity to be heard, it is struck down as an unconstitutional denial of due process afforded under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


MN - Gov Dayton halts sex offender release program, asks for more study

Governor Mark Dayton
Original Article

It's all about politics. He will do what he can to make himself look good and "tough" on crime. Just the usual exploitation of fear and ex-offenders.

11/13/2013

By Scott Seroka

ST. PAUL - Governor Mark Dayton has ordered his Commissioner of Human Services to halt any provisional release possibilities for all but three of the state's 698 people civilly committed violent sex offenders. This population has already served prison time for their crimes.
- And yet they are held against their will due to politics!

"The fact that the law hasn't been followed for the last 20 years administratively, this is a big shock to people," he told reporters with Commissioner Lucinda Jesson by his side. The state's position has been widely debated as three cases are up for review; three offenders who have requested provisional discharge from civil commitment.
- Hasn't been followed how exactly?

"I think given the political outcry and concerns over the law, it is very appropriate that we ask the legislature once again to look at this law and take the steps that are necessary," Jesson said. A federal judge is pressuring the state for its practice of unlimited treatment terms for hundreds of people.

"It is our duty to protect our citizens the best we can," Republican Representative Brian Johnson of Cambridge told KARE 11. Johnson, a former Isanti County Sheriff Deputy, is also relieved that the Governor ordered the Department of Human Services to stop the transfer of more than six committed offenders to a Cambridge residential facility that sits in the center of his town.
- And it's also your duty to uphold the Constitution, which you took an oath to do, and which includes the rights of all people! But clearly you are not doing that!

"The community was outraged. They were very nervous, they were very scared," the Representative said. Offenders may still end up in the community. The Governor wants Human Services to look at the security of potential transfer facilities. He has also charged the legislature with coming up with a way to handle this population of past offenders, and they have to figure it out next session, Dayton said.

"We're all facing this problem together," the Governor concluded.