July 20, 2009
Should very young sex offenders be placed on a registry?
These two notable pieces from yesterday's Dallas Morning News prompts the question in the title of this post:
- Justice experts say sex offender registry ruins a juvenile's 2nd chance
- Sex-offender label on boys unravels family's lives
Here is how the first of these pieces gets started:
The faces of child sex offenders are startling — chubby cheeks, big eyes, a mop of hair, or wispy strands held back with barrettes. The descriptions on Texas' public registry are equally jolting: 4 feet tall, 65 pounds; 4 feet, 2 inches, 70 pounds. "Those are not the people that we're walking around terrified of," says Michele Deitch, a University of Texas law professor.
The inclusion of children as young as 10 on the state's public sex offender registry is a little-known policy — even to juvenile justice experts such as Deitch. "I'm absolutely a little bit shocked that kids that young can be on the list," says Deitch, who teaches juvenile justice policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
She's stunned because public registration contradicts the purpose of juvenile justice: to give kids a second chance. In the case of some juvenile sex offenders, their criminal records are off limits, but information about their crime is easily accessible on the Internet. "It is a terrible situation," Deitch says. "The juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate kids and to make sure that they can change."
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there is no minimum age for inclusion on the state list. But a child must be at least 10 to be handled by the state juvenile justice system, so a judge may order an offender that young to register. No child can be certified as an adult in Texas until age 14.
Shocked though Deitch and others may be, Texas is actually more liberal on juvenile sex offender registration than some states. After experimenting with mandatory registration from 1999 until 2001, registration was left to judicial discretion. Juvenile registration lasts for only 10 years, and those on the list may petition for removal.
In some states, children can be registered at age 7, though Nicole Pittman, a Philadelphia attorney who monitors juvenile sex offender registration laws nationwide, says adjudication of children younger than 10 is rare.
July 20, 2009 at 09:09 PM | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Should very young sex offenders be placed on a registry?:
Please do not accuse me of being uncivil.
"Dumbass." That is not an epithet. It is a specific, technical term of art in the law. It refers to a modern person with an IQ around 300. The person enters law school. The psychotically delusional education (really more a criminal cult indoctrination) turns them into mental cripples. At graduation, they emerge, you guessed it, as a "dumbass." A quantitative modifier may be taken from the standing of the law school, for greater specificity, e.g. a Top Tier Dumbass refers to anyone graduating from Yale Law School. The drop in IQ is proportional to the standing. The higher the standing the bigger the drop in mentation.
There is a set of boys who pee outside, showing their weewee, who kissed a classmate out of affection, who touched a teacher's boob out of admiration for the low cut dress and heaving wonder. They need verbal redirection. If they fail to get the message, they need a spanking. That some end up on a sex offender registry is evidence of the above phenomenon. Thank a feminist lawyer dumbass.
On the other hand, some kids have been sexually abused over long periods and have gotten into that adult activity, sex. They are into it, and know a lot about it, but still have childhood immaturity. Some are impulsive, are devoid of empathy for others, are aggressive, and cannot be controlled. They cannot keep their hands off other children and adults. They may have dozens or hundreds of victims, everywhere they go.
By their aggressive, sexual predation, they spread what they have, premature sexual rapaciousness. Teachers, foster parents, adoptive parents, neighbors with children should be forewarned before their arrival. Such knowledge will help these children, who are both victims and busy predators, to control themselves. The knowledge will allow greater supervision, therapy, and the prevention of further acts against other children who know nothing about the subject.
One of the other outrages of the feminist lawyer is to impose sicko, premature sex education on children of all ages forced to be in school by truancy laws.
Say, I teach kindergarten students, this is how one makes a bomb, but never do that because it is very wrong. Will we get more bomb making by children or less bomb making? So, sex education teachers are imposing porn on our kids without the consent of parents. It would be more fruitful to list sex ed teachers and their school bullying lawyers on sex offender registries if you want to decrease child sexual victimization.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 21, 2009 12:14:23 AM
"Heaving wonder." You're a poet, SC.
Posted by: pubdefender | Jul 21, 2009 9:30:22 AM
can one really be "absolutely" a "little bit" shocked?
Posted by: anon | Jul 21, 2009 11:10:38 AM
It's her label, too
Mary is 19 years old now, thin, pale and soft-spoken. She forgave her brothers long ago.
But she's never been able to put the matter behind her, primarily because of her brothers' registration. "It's always in the back of my mind," she says. "You know, not so much what happened, but [it's] who we are now."
Posted by: Spartacus | Jul 21, 2009 11:17:01 AM
The Scarlet Letter
Posted by: John K | Jul 21, 2009 12:43:34 PM
The sob story is a bit much, but it seems problematic to have put these kids on a registry. Bill, what say you?
Posted by: federalist | Jul 21, 2009 12:53:57 PM
Is there any question what Bill would say? "If they didn't want to be on a sex offender registry, they shouldn't have committed a sex offense."
Posted by: CN | Jul 21, 2009 3:34:02 PM
Like I said, I take a back seat to no one when it comes to being tough on crime. But the allocation of resources is a very important part of any strategy to fight crime, thereby reducing victimization. These boys, while responsible for their later transgressions, were certainly not helped by this registry. Nor, for that matter, was the victim.
When there are barriers to people becoming productive members of society, we all suffer. Now it may be that those barriers are justified, but where they are not, those costs need to be thought about. My takeaway from this is that we can probably do better.
Posted by: federalist | Jul 21, 2009 4:31:00 PM
"Is there any question what Bill would say?"
Well, you could, you know, ask.
What I would say is that putting a ten year-old on a permanent ANYTHING is nuts.
Now let me ask (instead of just presuming) what you would say about something a bit more serious. Would you say, "Hey look, Timmy McVeigh was a misguided man, but the real problem is that the United States is a barbaric and bloodthirsty nation for having cruelly executed him."
Of course, if you supported his execution, feel free to say so.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 21, 2009 9:07:13 PM
I'm sorry, but what does Timothy McVeigh have to do with sex offender registration? Apart from as a vehicle for you to yet again overgeneralize and mischaracterize the views of those you see as "liberals"? It's a wonder you can type with those hams for fists.
The answer to your "question" is no, I would not say that. But of course you already knew that.
Getting back to the topic at hand, I wonder what you would say about a fourteen-year-old? A sixteen-year-old? Should no juveniles (at least those not certified into the adult system) be subject to permanent sex offender registration? That seems like a pretty good dividing line to me.
Posted by: CN | Jul 22, 2009 6:32:25 PM
When you presume to speak for me, don't be surprised when I ask a question designed to show what you're up to. Maybe next time you could ask first. Do you think you could do that?
Your answer was a little opaque. Did you support McVeigh's execution?
As to where one draws the line on sex offender registration, I am no expert on that, and I suspect you aren't either. The line you suggest sounds plausible, but line-drawing, while inevitable in the law, always leaves room for criticism for the cases on just this side or just that side.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 22, 2009 8:23:20 PM
If my answer was opaque, it is because your question was crudely fashioned. FYI, I do not support the execution of anyone because I do not support the death penalty. McVeigh was a monster (and I know you don't really believe that I or other "liberals" would think otherwise), but the barbarity of his act did not change the reasoning by which I come to my opinion on the death penalty.
Yes, Bill, line-drawing is necessary and it is also necessarily imperfect -- thus leaving the line-drawers open to criticism. Is that why you are sometimes reluctant to offer an opinion on policy matters? I have noticed that you are occassionally willing to admit that a criminal law is too harsh as a matter of policy, but you're never willing to consider the matter any further -- it's always, "I'm no expert" and/or "It's a matter for the legislature." Granted, you spent your career enforcing the law, not making it, but surely you must have an opinion. With your vast experience, you are in an ideal position to have an informed opinion on which crimimal laws are better and which are worse. It's okay to have an opinion, even though by definition it can never be defended as 100% correct.
Posted by: CN | Jul 23, 2009 2:20:38 PM
"McVeigh was a monster (and I know you don't really believe that I or other "liberals" would think otherwise), but the barbarity of his act did not change the reasoning by which I come to my opinion on the death penalty."
New or accumulating facts have been known to change people's reasoning. I sometimes hear that it's always wrong for the government to intentionally kill, but almost no one actually believes that. The question is under what circumstances is it acceptable for the government to kill, and that is why I find the refusal to consider the facts of individual cases so curious. When I was in law school, it was considered to be a devastating criticism to say that a person was intentionally oblivious to the facts.
"Yes, Bill, line-drawing is necessary and it is also necessarily imperfect -- thus leaving the line-drawers open to criticism. Is that why you are sometimes reluctant to offer an opinion on policy matters? I have noticed that you are occassionally willing to admit that a criminal law is too harsh as a matter of policy, but you're never willing to consider the matter any further -- it's always, "I'm no expert" and/or "It's a matter for the legislature."
Several points. First and foremost, like all of the commenters here, I do this as an avocation. A lot of other stuff comes first. I can take weeks off or even months.
Second, I think people are well advised to be circumspect in matters about which their knowledge is limited. My parents taught me that modesty is a virtue. As with most other things, they were correct.
Third and relatedly, when a decision is for the legislature, why not say so? The legislature has both incomparably more resources than I do, and a democratically derived portfolio that I entirely lack.
"Granted, you spent your career enforcing the law, not making it, but surely you must have an opinion."
Actually quite often I don't. There are many legal topics about which I know little. I know federal criminal law and procedure, sentencing, and the death penalty pretty well. I don't know that much about state law.
There is one thing I have a strong opinion on, and that is that adults of sound mind are responsible for the consequences of their intentional behavior. Do you disagree?
Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 23, 2009 10:45:55 PM
"I sometimes hear that it's always wrong for the government to intentionally kill, but almost no one actually believes that."
Actually, quite a few people belive that it's always wrong for the government to intentionally kill as a punishment for crime. Including myself.
This is not being intentionally oblivious to the facts; it's about having principles. Certain things are wrong, period. Your view smacks of moral relativism.
Posted by: CN | Jul 24, 2009 1:01:31 PM
I have some questions I need answered. I don't know who to ask, so that's why I'm on here to see if anyone can answer them. My daughter's father is consider as a sex offender. Back when he was 20 he dated a girl that was 14. Well the girl's father turned him in and from then on he was on probation. He got off probation in 2006 a year after our daughter was born. And now he wants to be able to see her. So my question is; is he allowed to be around young children that are girls?
Posted by: Jennifer | Feb 7, 2011 1:56:03 AM