« Fourth Circuit finds fast-track variance unreasonable | Main | The sad realities of the modern death penalty »

July 1, 2006

Missouri Supreme Court addresses sex offender registry

As detailed in news articles here and here, the Missouri Supreme Court on Friday issued a major decision addressing the state's sex offender registry.  The full ruling, which upheld the state's Megan's Law against a range of constitutional claims concerning, can be accessed here.  This news account provides some highlights:

While the high court upheld the constitutionality of the state's sex offender registry law, it ruled that the statute should not apply to nearly all of those convicted of crimes prior to 1995, when the law took effect.  One key exception is sexually violent predators, who will stay on the list regardless of when their crimes occurred.

Just how many of Missouri's more than 11,000 registered sex offenders would be affected by the ruling was unclear Friday....  But Arthur Benson II, the lawyer who brought the case, estimates that thousands would no longer have to be registered as sex offenders.

Currently, the registry includes offenses from 1979 to the present.  Crimes committed during more than half of those years would not be included in the registry.  Benson said the ruling addresses "the height of unfairness" in the current law, which requires people to register even for crimes they committed years before the registry law was conceived. 

Eleven of Benson's clients claimed their inclusion on the sex offender registry was unconstitutional on numerous grounds. The high court rejected nearly all their claims, affirming the constitutionality of requiring offenders to register even after they had completed prison sentences. The court ruled —  as it and others have in the past — that the registration requirement does not represent an additional criminal punishment.

July 1, 2006 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e200d83461352869e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Missouri Supreme Court addresses sex offender registry:

» Meanwhile, In Other State Supreme Courts from A Stitch in Haste
ITEM: The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously upholds that state's bigot amendment despite its flagrant violation of the widespread and uncontroversial "single ques... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 7, 2006 10:12:54 AM

Comments

hello, i am so thankful for this ruling, i am a a parent that plead guilty to child abuse, i spanked my children with a switch and have been on the missouri sex offenders list for the past couple of years now and feared that i would have to be on the list till the day of my death. i am not a sex offender and do not belong on this list so i am very happy not to have to register every again.

Posted by: katina williams | Jul 7, 2006 2:22:54 PM

My family and I are so grateful for this ruling, I plead guilty in 1993 to having sex with a under age girl when I was 17 and she was 16 after her parents found out about it and have been on the registry since it came out. Had I known there was going to be a list my parents would have taken it to trial. I would have never plead guilty.

Posted by: | Jul 28, 2006 9:34:40 PM

they need to have the volter. say ok to registry
as a sex offender. or not, there are alot of peppole that are against this and why dont they
dont talk with them,, win you plead guilty.
make sure you read the fine print. this is double jeopardy in my case the state have fine a lopp hole,, there self,,

Posted by: garry | Aug 16, 2006 4:39:32 PM

I am happy to hear of this new ruling. I am a wife to a man that had to register as a sex offender and it has caused alot of problems for us. With this new law it will take away alot of the problems. Thanks Again.

Posted by: Tammy Hart | Sep 18, 2006 12:25:13 PM

This new ruling sickens me. I've read over the recent postings and the one that bothers me the most is the one from Sept. 18th regarding a wife that it thankful her husband no longer has to register. Denial is a sad thing. Taking husbands, boyfriends, or fathers that have been convicted of a sex crime off the registry doesn't erase what happened. Just a little something for that wife to chew on. I work for a police department and I can tell you that these people that are currently registered are sick. I will guarantee this ruling will only nip us in the bum in the future. I promise you I will not stop until this is taken care of.

Posted by: Randa | Oct 18, 2006 12:41:56 PM

Is this decision any good? I was arrested and forced to register in December 2006 for a 1987 out of state conviction of a reletively minor sex offense not involving children. Any information on whether the constitutional based retrospective application holding by the states high court has no meaning? Must law enforcement comply with these provisions?

Posted by: incognito | Dec 28, 2006 11:11:34 PM

I am an x reg sex offender and have a question, My x wife lost my kids to the dfs and they say that because i am a reg. sex offender they cannot place my kids with me.does this new ruling change this desition that is supose to be some sort of law.My charges ar almost 20 years old and because i did a plea bargan i have paid for it.I was not guilty and i will go to my grave saying the same thing.For those who think i am in denial,think what you want because maybe you ar in denial that maybe some of us are innosent.If anyone knows the answer to my question please e-mail me at [email protected] no pranks please,i love my kids and dont want them to suffer because of my past.(we all make mistakes and boy i made a big one)!!!!! signed desperate!!!

Posted by: mike | Jan 12, 2007 5:22:28 PM

I don't agree with a sex offender crime and if a child is involved I get really upset.
I do believe that if a person did their time and paid their debt to society then why must they be punished forever?
Posting their name and data everywhere or making it public knowledge isn't right it is just causing more problems or more crimes for the angry person who knows and tries to start problems.
Leave this between the Courts and Law enforcerment.After all isn't this what they are getting paid for?
Post made by Tammy Hart who works for a police department,I'm sure glad you don't work for our Police Dept.We don't need people with your kind of thinking working for and with these offenders.
If these offenders are sick then that is why their is Dr's but the problem is:When does an offender get medical help they may need In the Dept of Corrections?
Sex Offenders after they paid their debt to society has the right to try to make a better person out of theirselves.
Some of the sex offenders were dating willing women who may have got mad or the girl parents may have found out and she may be only 1 year age difference,so who are we to judge others?
God didn't Judge others nor did he put private data everywhere for anyone to see and read.

Where does the privacy act stop at?
It is public knowledge when we get a divorse,go bankrupt,have bad credit and so on and this just isn't right.
There isn't a person out there that can tell me they had never done no wrong or they are angels.
Clean the skeltons out of their closets and watch how many secrets come rolling out of their closets.
Plan and Simple today people are to nosey and want to be in anyone and everyone elses business when it don't or may not involve them.
I am happy with this ruling and if it comes to vote I will not vote to pass sex offenders to be of public knowledge!

Posted by: Angel | Mar 18, 2007 3:41:58 AM

The laws that require sex offenders to register and such are supposed to protect our children. Not all sex offenders have preyed on children. My fiancee slept with someone underage when he was 18. He is a sex offender because of it and has to register even though in the last 14 years all he has had is a seat belt ticket. He can't be a part of his own children's lives in the community. Our registries need to differentiate the people who are a threat to our children and not punish those who just made a mistake. We need to quit lumping everyone together and believing in stereotypes. As a society we need to look at what we are creating. We are causing more harm as the laws get stricter. Studies are showing this. For the person who works for the police dept. I am ashamed to have someone so close minded be in a place of authority. Anyone who preys on children should be punished and kept track of. If you read the sex offender laws there are a lot of crimes you wouldn't realize (like peeing in public) that can put you on that list, so not everyone on the list is sick. This all has turned into a modern day witch hunt. Lawmakers and such are using her fears. I challenge those who believe in this laws to educate themselves. Jessica's law...good right...does anyone realize her father is profiting off of it and his son has committed sex crimes. Before you jump on the bandwagon make sure you know which one you are really getting on. There a lot of good people out there who got screwed over. They paid for their crime and can't ever move on because of it. It is effecting their families and their children because so many people are close-minded and making their decisions based on fear.

Posted by: Jessie | Aug 17, 2007 6:29:37 PM

The Megan's Law is disgusting. A family member Sex offender [of a child] has caused our family to be torn apart. No one wants their children around a sex offender. Family get togeathers are no longer exciting. Everyone has to keep close watch on their children.

All sex offenders should be registered and posted so every parent knows to protect their children. Next offense may be an adult.

Either let's get rid of the law or the Judges.
Grandmother of 20 and Great Grandmother of 16+

Posted by: Wilma | Aug 23, 2007 5:58:20 PM

To the last respondent... you don't need a list. The vast majority of sex offenses occur within the family circle; fathers, step-fathers, parental authorities or family friends. There's your list.

Next, abuses period. There are 5 forms of abuse, not just one, and the degree of severity of the abuses can be as harmful as the one form that is being debated here. They are: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Sexual and Spiritual. Statistics show that one out of every 8 children are abused in one of these fashions enough to provide a lifetime of trauma and anxiety. So, you all put that into your pipe and smoke it. And when you go to bed tonight, ask yourself if I harmed my children in one of the fashions ...then take responsibility for it. At least I sucked in my guts and gave my victim the words she needed to hear, "I'm guilty, your Honor." If I hadn't, then I would have dishonored her even further. In the midst of the dysfunction, I cared enough to do that.

Posted by: Rickey Moore | Feb 21, 2008 11:53:12 PM

City Engineer

I know a man who is on the sex offender registry. He is probably one of the greatest people i know. My family has known him for years and he has helped raise our children (teenagers now). He was convicted of a sexual offense because he put diaper rash ointment on a little girl who was not his because she was crying and he could not reach her mother. the grandmother called DFS on him and charges were filed. The mother called him to tell him that the child's counselor said the charges were an error maybe created by the grandmother, but that DFS told her if she did not cooperate, she would loose her children. He told her to do what was necesswary to protect her family and that he would not hate her for it.
The child passed the safe exam, but he was never privy to that information until after he pled guilty to this crime that was never committed. His attorney told him he had no evidence for him nor against him and it would be his word to the jury against a "crying grandmother" and that they would crucify him.
This man now lives like scum because he cant get a house in our town that is not close to a school, playground, church...etc. He lives in a shack. He only dates ocassionally because he is embarrassed to entertain at his home. He is a genius and can't get a job because no one wants to hire a sex offender and i have people who don't know him ask me all the time, "how can you hang out with a sex offender"?

These laws need to be modified for first time offenders. This man sacrificed his life and his family for the sake of helping one little girl who was in pain and very much disagree with anyone who says that sex all registered offenders are scum. I know one whom I would trust to raise my chidren.

Posted by: David | Aug 2, 2008 4:13:03 PM

It kinda scared when some stated "If the have done their time then they have paid for their crime" What is this all about??? I am a criminal justice Major and the criminals Better watch out when I get out there working. If Someone has rapped a 9 year old girl they should be put to death. You have possibly ruint that girls live for the rest of it....You have never paid for your crime if You have harmed a child....

Posted by: Billie | Sep 4, 2008 2:48:10 PM

My husband is a registered sex offender and his "victim" was a 28 year old grown woman, but yet he is being treated like he molested a child, and frankly im tired of it none of this law applies to him, and you know especially when he didnt COMMIT THE CRIME IN THE FIRST PLACE. She just got mad and cried rape. Im tired of him being mistreated, we have two beautiful little girls together and we have been together eight years, and he has done nothing i mean nothing at all to hurt me or these girls. I think they need to back off a little bit to those who do there time and dont reoffend.

Posted by: Sarah | Oct 24, 2008 3:13:31 AM

There are many people convicted of sex crimes that are truly not guilty. Oh, whats that you say? If convicted (or just accused) then they are certainly guilty! Check yourselves before the law does. Maybe most of you dont realize that in, i believe it is, 19 states it is illegal to have oral sex with your spouse. Now, how many of your jaws just dropped? Yep, your a sex offender and if your found guilty of it, guess what, your name goes on the same list as any other sex offender including the child sex offenders. So when you look at the lists to see who's on it, dont be surprised some day to see your own name, then lets see you play judge and jury against yourself. Just put yourself in check before you judge anyone. I dont believe its right to have sex with a child, and those found guilty will do their time. Protect your children by being a good parent, but stop trying to parent the world which is judged just as guilty. one sin is just as bad as another in the Lord's view, so again i say, check yourself before you vulgerly try to put someone else in check, you'll feel better about yourself.

Posted by: Jon smith - writer | Oct 27, 2008 2:50:26 PM

I found this blog while doing research on repeat sex offenders. I have worked as a Correctional Officer for over seven years. After reading the post of students, offenders, and professionals, I have to say that everyone stresses some interesting points. Posting them here on this sight may make you feel better, but it will not solve the problem. If you strongly believe that you should not be considered as a registered sex offender, or someone you love shouldn't be required to be on that list, take the measures to have the laws rewritten. People fight with legislators on a day-to-day basis.Make your voice count where it needs to. Blowing smoke on blogs is not the answer.

Posted by: Tonya- Criminal Justice Student | Oct 29, 2008 10:46:12 AM

Law Field

I am looking for information about how having to register as a sex offender has punished you or your family and what kind of problems are a direct result of this law. All comments are welcome.

K.C.
[email protected]

Posted by: K.C. | Dec 14, 2008 9:22:54 PM

What about murderers?? A relative in my family committed a rape in 2005. He pled guilty. He was 40 and it was a 1st time offense. He spent 13.5 years in prison of a 20 year sentence getting out on behavior earned time. NO PAROLE! Parole is not going to happen for most sex offenders. THeir punishment is much worse that if you murder someone. The problem with the laws is that it prevents him from securing a place to live or getting a job. It is a lifetime sentence of making a mistake and there is no way for retribution even after serving 13+ years in prison. There has to be a better way, for these men and women cannot survive on the outside this way. What can we do to help??

Posted by: DP | May 12, 2009 11:16:31 AM

Pardon on the date 2005. That was supposed to be 1995.

Posted by: Deborah Puckett | May 12, 2009 11:18:15 AM

Posted by: Tammy Hart | Sep 18, 2006 12:25:13 PM
This new ruling sickens me. I've read over the recent postings and the one that bothers me the most is the one from Sept. 18th regarding a wife that it thankful her husband no longer has to register. Denial is a sad thing. Taking husbands, boyfriends, or fathers that have been convicted of a sex crime off the registry doesn't erase what happened. Just a little something for that wife to chew on. I work for a police department and I can tell you that these people that are currently registered are sick. I will guarantee this ruling will only nip us in the bum in the future. I promise you I will not stop until this is taken care of.
=====================
Youre an idiot like most police officers are. Dont care what teh crime was just blanket everyone together. These laws are supposed to protect the public yet you have steakers and public urinators on your list. They arent all the sicko child molester or rapist. Whats sick is your attitude

Posted by: freedomwriter | Jul 12, 2009 3:52:51 AM

The reason names and data are registered is because adults who violate children cannot be reformed. Therefore, they need to be tracked forever. About six months ago we moved into a new neighborhood. Over the last few months the man that lives across the street has been walking across the street and talking to my children when they are outside riding bikes, playing etc. We are cautious, paranoid parents and so anytime this guy has come around, we've immediately gone outside. Over the last couple of weeks we noticed him coming around more and more, and that the only time he comes out is when the kids are out, alone. I had a really bad feeling about the guy and warned my kids to stay away from him. Recently, I was perusing the website, "Family Watch Dog," curiously I clicked on some of the RED dots by my house and low and behold who pops up? Our friendly neighbor, who was convicted for molesting a four year old several years ago. I have no doubt that this guy was pursuing my kids and with the level of escalation I saw no doubt he was probably within weeks of attempting to bait them into his home. I did some research on case.net and found that this pervert had failed to register as a sex offender and has a warrant for his arrest. This man, just like any other adult who violates a child, deserves to be tagged, and tracked like an animal, at the very least.

Posted by: Nicole Mayse | Oct 11, 2009 8:50:02 PM

Oh, whats that you say? If convicted (or just accused) then they are certainly guilty! Check yourselves before the law does.I am happy to hear of this new ruling. I am a wife to a man that had to register as a sex offender and it has caused alot of problems for us. With this new law it will take away alot of the problems. Thanks Again.

Posted by: Mary | Oct 14, 2009 4:32:05 PM

To Randa on October 18th, 2006. You sound ignorant! If you really do work for a police dept then you would know what is really going on. You don't need to be in law if you truly believe that this is constitutional or justifiable. You truly are the sick one then. dumb people who are uneducated and make false statements due to their lack of understanding and background in a particular area need not be in any influential system in america.

Posted by: brooklyn lindsay | Oct 27, 2009 11:14:35 AM

Hi, I am a registered sex offender and I am writing this in response to Freedomwriter, whose comments are written above. Firstly, very good job keeping your eyes on your own children. You were aware of the circumstances, and probably did avert something from happening to your children. I am glad in your instance that you were able to notice what was going on with your kids, and your mom instincts were working. In this particular case, the registry was an effective tool for parents and I am glad that it was there for you. However, I take offense to your blanket statement that the people who are on the sex offender registry cannot be reformed and must therefore be tagged and tracked like animals forever. I am a mother and wife and nine years ago I was placed on several prescription medications by several different doctors and for for roughly 15 days I was out of my mind and have no memory of most of what transpired during that time. My son had a 14 year-old friend, who unbeknownst to me, had a huge crush on me. He pursuaded me to take him to a store to buy something and told me to park the car instead, and he says he was able to persuade me to perform oral sex on him. He stated in court that I cried and said no, but that he got me to do it on his third attempt. I was a daycare teacher, I taught sunday school at my church, homeschooled my son and was on the board of directors of my homeschool group. All of my doctor visits and the drugs I was on were documented. It was also documented that I am allergic to Codiene, one of the medications I was taking, and it causes me to hallucinate. I passed 7 lie detector tests verifying that I had no memory of whether what I was accused of happened or not. It was his word only. I was convicted and got a one year suspended sentence with two years probation with lifetime registry. My name was in the paper and on television and my marriage and my family were destroyed. I still suffer consequences today. I got remarried and my new husband cannot deal with the sordidness of having a wife who is on the registry, so he is divorcing me. I have never had a ticket or committed any other crime in my life (51years)except one speeding ticket. That has been nine years ago. Nothing anywhere approaching that nature has happened since then, and I would stake my life on my belief that nothing like that ever would again. I would have said stake my reputation, but I no longer have one that is worth anything because of this. Now I ask you, if you were being treated for 5 stomach ulcers by one doctor, early menopause by your gynocologist, stress and depression by your regular MD, and resurfacing of all of your teeth by your dentist, which is extremely painful, AND you bought all your prescriptions at one pharmacy because they advertise that they will make sure nothing you take will mix badly together, would you take what your doctor told you to take and trust them? I did. And because of that fact, and the fact that the medications put me out of my sanity for a time, it allowed a horny teen-aged boy to take advantage of me. The justice (?) system is not designed for true justice. What happened to me could just as easily have happened to anyone. Should I have to suffer forever for this? I don't think so. Drug dealers, people who are cruel to animals, murderers, arsonists, and alsoholics are all completely more dangerous than I am, yet the police have posted my name, picture, workplace, what happened, what vehicle I drive, and even a MAP TO MY HOUSE for every sicko out there to find me. I get flowers, cards, letters, and marriage proposals, I have gotten obscene phone calls, threatening phone calls, and even men have come to my door wanting to meet me because all of my personal information is on the internet. That seriously jeopardizes my safety and the safety of my young son. Do we not deserve safety too? There needs to be some sort of differentiation of the degree of danger that people convicted of a sex crime presents to the public at large and the laws need to be modified to accomodate that. And more people like you need to take responsibility for the safety of their own children and quit relying on having a national registry to feel safe. And lastly, everyone needs to realize that it is all to easy to end up on that registry and that not everyone who is on it is some sort of monster. Some of us do NOT need or deserve to be on it. Not all people on the registry are "unreformable and need to be tagged and tracked like animals at the very least". I would like to express my appreciation for this forum to allow me to state my point of view. Thank you.

Posted by: Pamela | Nov 12, 2009 12:47:11 AM

I AM A SEX OFFENDER I AM NOT GOOD FOR THE CRIME I WAS A 17 YEAR OLD KID WHEN IT HAPPEN I WENT TO A MAX PRISON FOR FIVE YEARS I HAVE TO GO DOWN EVERY 90 DAYS AND IT SUCKS BUT I THINK THAT ALL SEX OFFENDERS SHOULD HAVE TO AND THE ONES THAT MESS WITH KIDS SHOULD GIT LIFE WITHOUT

Posted by: bruce | Apr 5, 2010 11:30:09 PM

Hi. I am a reg. sex offender in need of help. When I was 21 I was convicted of stat. sodomy. A crime I committed when I was 16. I regretted it then, I regretted it when I was 21, and I regret even more now. I plead guilty with S.I.S. and 5 years probation with a 10 year backup. I thought I could handle it, you know, "Take it in stride." I have now for 4 years. During these past four years I had a probation violation,a few, in which my probation was revoked and my S.I.S. is now an S.E.S. I was unfamiliar with the terms at first. Anyway, throughout the last four years I have thought tremendously about my future, who I am as a person, and the kind of person I want to be. I have been to MOSOP. I understand everything of my actions as a juvenile and only wish I knew then what I know now. Today I am asking for help. I don't want to have to reg. for the rest of my life. I don't want to make a minor mistake and it cause me to spend my life in prison. I am too young and I have so much going for me. I have paid for what I had done. I am ready to move on with my life and let go of the past. Can this mistake really follow me for the rest of my life? I am a good person. I ask myself if this is really what I deserve. If so, then so be it. I am desperate for some kind of help. Something my attorney may have missed. Something I have missed. A loop hole perhaps. Anything! If anyone knows of anything, please, please contact me. Thanks

Posted by: DESPERATE | Jan 19, 2011 2:54:00 AM

Some very good points made by the offenders , i am a father of 6 and love my children , the registry does nothing but humiliate and destroy the lives of others for as long as they live , once one tries to get on with their lives it is merely impossible and so therefor it takes effect on their family , their friends , their children , i can see where it could drive someone to the point of killing someone to either protect their home , their family , their right to live or even to the point of even killing themselves or someone else just so their cries out for help could b heard , putting people on the net providing their personal info and where they live is a dangerous game to play , I see an upset citizen after viewing the registry followed the address that was given to him by the very law that is sworn to protect and serve , The offender answers the door , you can hear his wife and kids in the background having dinner as his wife calls for him to come eat and the next thing they hear is a loud shot followed by a thud on the floor , now this gets deep , who now is the victim ? The offenders wife and children ! Unless you surgically install a tracking device in each offender you cant keep track of them the registry is only a tool to punish the offender and puts the offender and their families at risk for violence not for public safety . Something to think about .

Posted by: Ray | Nov 29, 2011 1:28:28 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB