Friday, September 07, 2007

A win for "ex post facto"

Longtime blog readers know that I am very down on the "ex post facto" element of many of the sex-offender laws being passed, and why not? If the government can encroach on somebody's rights after the crime, well, then that right was never really there to begin with and what was taken away from one for whatever person can be taken from another for another purpose.

If governments can dictate today where some people cannot live, based on a prior conviction, it's really a very small step to dictate where they CAN live. (And you can bet it will always be Not In My Back Yard.) There are many people living today who have seen this happen before -- it's just a matter of against whom the hue & cry is being raised. And if the outsiders are made unpopular enough... well, I see signs that maybe it's not going to go that far in this country.

In any event Ohio, which has lately been on the forefront of "beat up the sex offenders" (who've done their time, and federal judicial stats say a significant number will never re-offend at all, much less with a sex offense), got slapped back a little according to this report.

Don't get me wrong -- two strikes are two too many, and if you've got a prosecutor more ethical than Nifong I'm not going to quibble about what you get for a sentence. But all the exclusion zones, branding, Mr Yuck license plates and all the rest, it's all lazy and sleazy politicians with no concern for their constituency grabbing for the easy issues. And so what if it increases recidivism, causes more crimes? It can't be laid directly to their account.

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge struck down part of a law barring convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, saying offenders can remain in their homes if their crimes were committed before the law went into effect.

In a decision Tuesday, Judge James S. Gwin in Akron ruled that the law cannot be applied to anyone who committed a crime before July 31, 2003, the effective date of the Ohio Legislature's ban.


Douglas Powley, chief city prosecutor in Akron, said Wednesday he hopes lawmakers can craft a law that can withstand a constitutional challenge.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh plans to appeal the ruling.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1977, in Colorado, I was arrested for sexual assault and later convicted and sentenced to prison in 1978. I was released from prison in August 1997 and moved to Vegas later that month. In 1998 or 1999, Nevada Department of Public Safety informed me that I would have to register as a sex offender. I complied even though the statute in question is being retroactively applied. This may be a violation of the Ex Post Facto clause. Meanwhile, after reviewing the crime and my prison rehabilitation, Nevada Department of Public Safety determined that I was not a threat to reoffend and recommended that I be classified as a Level 1 (Low risk) sex offender. In 2006, the law changed and I was elevated, without due process and without proper cause, to a Level 3 (High risk) sex offender. In the letter I received from Nevada Department of Public Safety, the explanation given was the sexual assault in 1977 and my violent past (assault in 1970 and a burglary in 1974, both none sexual offenses). In addition, the letter states that the decision to elevate my classification was not appealable. As a result, of this new classification, my picture is now on the sex offender website and the police department is now required to inform the community where I live. Since December 2006,I have been forced to move twice because of this new classification.

10:35 PM  

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