Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Class-Action Lawsuit filed against Nebraska for improper treatment of out-of-state juvenile registrants

When bad laws ruin lives, the least a government can do is compensate those whose lives were ruined.

Lawsuit filed on behalf of juveniles placed on sex offender list
LORI PILGER Lincoln Journal Star Jan 31, 2018

The attorney who successfully sued to keep a 15-year-old boy's name off the state's sex offender registry now is seeking to file a class-action lawsuit for those who the Nebraska State Patrol did list.

Attorney Joshua Weir said it ruined the lives of the seven -- listed only as Johnny Doe I through VII -- and dozens of others.

"It's been devastating," one said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He's no longer on the registry. But, in his late 30s, he got a letter from the state saying he had to register. He then landed on the registry, alongside adult sexual predators, for playing doctor with a girl when he was a prepubescent, 12-year-old boy, he said.

It wreaked havoc on his life. Suddenly, he couldn't get a job working with cattle and has been made out to be a monster. One night, a stranger pulled up to his home and came to the door, intimidating his wife, yelling he had a right to talk to her husband.

"Everybody makes poor choices. Some make worse choices than others. But holding those poor choices against a child is absolutely irresponsible," he said.

In the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Omaha, his attorney, Weir, said the seven were among 74 who the State Patrol removed from the registry last August, four days after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the 15-year-old Nebraska boy, whose family sued to block the State Patrol from putting him on the list for something he did in Minnesota when he was 11.

The boy in the case was adjudicated in juvenile court there for criminal sexual conduct. A Minnesota judge ordered him to complete probation, counseling and community service, and his name went on a part of that state's predatory offender list that is visible only to police.

Nebraska's registry excludes juveniles unless they are prosecuted criminally in adult court.

But, when he moved to Nebraska to live with relatives, the State Patrol determined by a plain reading of the statute he should be on the public registry.

The attorney general's office conceded if he had done in Nebraska exactly what he did in Minnesota, he wouldn't have been required to register but interpreted the state law to mean all sex offenders who move here must register, regardless of age.

Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf disagreed, saying it made no sense to believe Nebraska statutes were intended to be more punitive to juveniles adjudicated elsewhere than those who go through the system here.

When the state appealed, the 8th Circuit agreed.

Soon after, a State Patrol attorney notified 74 people, including the seven in the civil rights lawsuit filed Monday, that they no longer were subject to the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act.

And Sen. Carol Blood has introduced a bill to make the language more clear to exclude from the registry anyone adjudicated as a juvenile.

But, Weir alleges, the damage already was done.

One of his clients, put on the list for an adjudication when he was 12, wasn't allowed to attend public school with his peers because he was on the registry. At least two were incarcerated for failing to register. Two have been homeless.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for lost earning capacity and wages, among other things, as well as punitive damages.

Asked what he hopes to come of the lawsuit, Weir's client, who is 42 now, said he's not looking for a paycheck, though he admits he'd like to get enough money so he and his family can move.

Mostly, he said, "I'm hoping that this never happens to anybody else again."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Nebraska LB 689 will extend juvenile protection against the SOR to juveniles moving to Nebraska

Nebraska has a law in place to prevent juveniles from being added to the evil government blacklist, but it does not extend to people convicted as juveniles who later move to Nebraska. This bill will change that and apply the protection to ALL juveniles regardless of play of conviction.

Bill would eliminate sex offender registry requirements for all juveniles in Nebraska
Right now, juveniles convicted of sex crimes in Nebraska do not have to register as sex offenders, while juvenile offenders who move here from other states do.

Updated: 10:19 PM CST Jan 24, 2018
Taylor Barth   

A state senator from Bellevue wants to change the rules for Nebraska's sex offender registry. Sen. Carol Blood's bill applies to juveniles convicted of sex crimes in other states who then move to Nebraska.

Blood calls her bill a "cleanup" bill, which would fix language in state law to avoid future lawsuits and treat all juveniles the same.

"It was an error in language and it needs to be corrected," Blood said.

Right now, the law reads that juveniles convicted of sex crimes in Nebraska do not have to register as sex offenders, while juvenile offenders who move here from other states do.

"All things need to be equal for all young people here in Nebraska, regardless whether they're new to the state or born and raised here," Blood said. Her bill would eliminate sex offender registry requirements for all juveniles in Nebraska, both natives and those who move in after conviction.

A Minnesota family agreed. The sued the Nebraska State Patrol in 2017 to fight to keep their 15-year-old son off the registry. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in their favor.

As a result, NSP removed 74 other juvenile names from Nebraska's list and quit requiring any juveniles to register. Blood wants to fix what's broken.

"If we don't correct the language in our state statute, we open ourselves up to additional lawsuits," Blood said.

The legislature's judiciary committee heard testimony for the bill Wednesday. Among those speaking were attorneys who said the registry exposes juveniles. Others argued listing juveniles on the registry does not promote juvenile rehabilitation.

"This public information would not only impact the juvenile, but their entire family," said proponent Margene Timm.

Jay, a registered sex offender, also spoke at the hearing Wednesday.

"(The bill) gives these kids a chance at redemption, a chance to change," he said.

Jay said removing juveniles from the registry relieves them of the stigmas that go along with it.

"Juveniles shouldn't have to deal with those things," Jay said. "They should be able to get jobs. We should be able to integrate them back into society."

Jay and one other man at Wednesday's hearing advocated for looser laws when it comes to the adult sex offender registry.

Blood said that is not what her bill is about and said she does not support any other changes.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. The judiciary committee is expected to vote soon on whether or not to advance the bill to the floor.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

IML Battle Part 2: I suspect this lawsuit won't be dismissed for not being "ripe"

I guess the judge in the first case wanted the law to be rotten, not ripe, because this passport identifier idea is pretty rank. CLICK HERE to read the complaint.

Lawsuit Over Passport Marker For Sex Offenders Calls It Scarlet Letter
January 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A group representing sex offenders sued again Thursday to challenge a law that requires a marker to be placed in the passports of people convicted of sex offenses against children.

Attorney Janice Bellucci filed the lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles on behalf of her nonprofit organization, the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws, and two California sex offenders.

Opponents of the marker have called it a “Scarlet Letter.” Former President Barack Obama signed the law in 2016 to comply with a provision of the International Megan’s Law, which seeks to curb child sex tourism and exploitation.

“Never before has this nation stigmatized a class of individuals on a document so foundational to U.S. citizenship,” reads the lawsuit.

A San Francisco-based federal judge dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit in 2016 because the rules were not yet in place.

The State Department said in October it would start using a notice printed inside the back cover of the passport book that reads: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (U.S. law).”

The department said it does not comment on lawsuits.

Bellucci estimated that the requirement could affect more than 500,000 Americans and their families. She said it is having “a dramatic chilling effect,” causing some sex offenders to avoid traveling overseas or to avoid applying for a passport.

Her suit says the State Department violated procedures by failing to let the public comment on its plans. It says the department also exceeded its legal authority by threatening not to issue passports to some offenders.

The State Department previously said the notice will not prevent sex offenders from traveling outside the United States nor affect the validity of their passports. However, other countries may prohibit or place strict restrictions on the travel of convicted felons.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

RI: Crossroads will continue to shelter homeless registrants as lawsuit plays out

I hope you folks enjoy the newest OnceFallen project, the Duval Awards. Check out the ABOUT THE DUVAL AWARDS to get more info about this new project. Unlike he Shiitake Awards, this blog will highlight the BEST stories of those fighting back against registry laws and Predator Panic.

I am glad to see one shelter challenge residency restriction laws. The new restrictions took place on Jan. 1st. This makes for a good start to our new blog.

Lawyer: Crossroads will continue to shelter homeless sex offenders as lawsuit plays out

By Katie Mulvaney
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM
Updated Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM

By Katie Mulvaney
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM
Updated Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Crossroads Rhode Island will continue to take in sex offenders at a homeless shelter in Cranston under an agreement between the parties to a lawsuit challenging a new state law that limits the number of convicted sex offenders who can be housed in homeless shelters.

The parties met in chambers Wednesday afternoon with U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith.

According to Lynette Labinger, a lawyer for the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit, Judge Smith recognized that there are significant legal and factual issues that the state has not yet had a chance to address. The parties agreed that while they are developing the legal issues, no one would be turned away as a result of the new law that allows only 10 percent of shelter beds to go to sex offenders, she said.

Crossroads has not been turning anyone away since the law took effect Jan. 1, she said.

The Rhode Island ACLU is seeking to block the state from enforcing the law. The suit was filed last week on behalf of a group of registered sex offenders and the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project.

In court papers, the ACLU faults the law as being aimed at Harrington Hall in Cranston, a state-owned emergency shelter operated by Crossroads on the Pastore campus, that has become a place of last resort for sex offenders whose options for residency have been limited by restrictive residency laws. The hall has 112 beds, and the new law would limit to 11 the number of beds that could go to sex offenders.

The lawsuit charges that the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause and as well as anti-discrimination laws.

The lawsuit also claims that putting sex offenders on the street will make it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor them; decrease their access to community services and increase the risk to public safety; and, by forcing them to shelter outside during the winter, impose life-threatening conditions on them.