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May 6, 2013

Don't registered sex offenders need gun rights for personal self-defense more than others?

The question in the title of this post is my initial reaction to this big newpaper story from Iowa, headlined "50 sex offenders have gun permits: Law enforcement is concerned that state law allows offenders to easily obtain permits."  Here are excerpts from the lengthy Des Moines Register story,  which is less than fully informative about legal matters, but provides a lot of interesting facts nonetheless:

Joshua Duehr is one of more than 50 sex offenders in Iowa who can carry a gun in public. “I don’t leave the house without one,” said Duehr, who lives in Dubuque.

It’s legal — and it’s news that has surprised some state lawmakers and alarmed a few Iowa and national law enforcement officers.  An FBI official, the president of the Iowa State Sheriffs’ & Deputies’ Association, the president of the Iowa State Police Association and two state lawmakers told The Des Moines Register they have public safety concerns after learning that a two-year-old state law on gun permits allows registered sex offenders to obtain a weapons permit....

Some, if not most, applications by sex offenders for permits to carry weapons would have been denied by county sheriffs before 2011, according to officials from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.  But under a two-year-old state law, sheriffs no longer have discretion to reject such applications.

The law change means people convicted of misdemeanor sex crimes can now walk the streets, malls or virtually any public place in the state while carrying a gun.  Almost all of the sex offenders on the Register’s list were convicted of misdemeanors such as lascivious conduct with a minor or assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

But the Register found three men convicted of felony sex crimes who had permits to carry weapons in public.  Two of those men had their permits revoked by sheriffs after the Register asked about their situations....

Some sheriffs were aware that sex offenders are carrying weapons in public, primarily because they issue the permits and have firsthand knowledge about the issue.  But other professionals in Iowa’s law enforcement community were caught off guard.

Rob Burdess, a Newton police detective and the president of the Iowa State Police Association, was unaware that sex offenders are being issued weapon permits until he was asked about it by the Register.  He noted that people with felonies or domestic abuse convictions are typically unable to obtain weapon permits, so he questions the logic of allowing sex offenders — even those convicted of non-felony offenses — to carry weapons in public....

[A] review of states surrounding Iowa found that some sex offenders can obtain permits to carry weapons even though authorities said they aren’t aware of a large number being issued.  Those states — including Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin — have laws similar to Iowa’s that do not specifically exclude sex offenders from obtaining such permits. Minnesota law, however, makes it a misdemeanor for a person required to register as a sex offender to carry a handgun.

Just as state laws vary, so do opinions about whether armed sex offenders inherently pose more of a risk than other citizens.  Sex offense recidivism rates are much lower than commonly believed, according to legislative testimony given in multiple states by Jill Levenson, an associate professor at Lynn University in Florida.  She is frequently recognized as a national expert on sexual violence....

National uniform crime data from 2006 — the most recent data available — show that about half of all reported sex offenses included a weapon of some form (including the use of fists) but less than 1 percent of all reported sex offenses included the use of a firearm, according to Jason Rydberg, a graduate student at Michigan State.  Iowa numbers mirror the national trend.  Of the roughly 5,750 people on Iowa’s sex offender registry, 47 — or less than 1 percent — used guns in their crimes, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Safety....

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, a national organization focused on the prevention of sexual abuse, generally advocates for cases to be reviewed individually when assessing if a sex offender is likely to reoffend or jeopardize public safety.  “There’s no blanket way of stating that sex offenders are more dangerous than everybody else,” said Maia Christopher, executive director of the association.

Iowa Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield and a former state trooper, isn’t reassured by the type of research offered by Levenson or groups like the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.  Until he was contacted for this article, Baudler was unaware that the new gun permit law he advocated for in 2010 has allowed dozens of sex offenders to obtain weapon permits....

An Iowa sheriff may deny a permit to carry a weapon if he believes probable cause exists that the person is likely to use a weapon in a way that would endanger themselves or others.  Those types of denials typically must be based on documented actions from the past two years.  Iowans who believe sheriffs have wrongly rejected their applications for a weapon permit may appeal.  Each appeal, generally reviewed by an administrative law judge, can cost a county government and taxpayers hundreds of dollars....

The cost and the real possibility of losing a case is one reason sheriffs don’t deny permits to carry weapons — even in cases where they have reservations — several sheriffs told the Register.

Washington County in January issued a permit to acquire a weapon to Ronald Nicholis Hahn Jr., who has been on the sex offender registry since 2005 because he was convicted of indecent exposure.  Dunbar said he approved the permit because Hahn passed background checks.  Hahn, 51, said he poses no threat to public safety and that he uses guns for hunting.  “My offense happened seven or eight years ago and it has nothing to do with weapons, so why should I be denied the ability to purchase a gun?” Hahn asked.

Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, indicated that he believes Iowa’s new weapons permit law doesn’t need to be revised to specifically ban sex offenders.  People convicted of felonies, including sex offenders, are already prohibited from obtaining a permit, he emphasized. “If their local sheriff does not have probable cause to restrict that person under current law from being able to obtain a permit, then that’s the situation at hand,” said Windschitl, a gunsmith who has advocated for multiple pro-gun bills.

Aggravatingly, this story fails to note that it is a serious federal crime, subject to up to 10 years imprisonment, for any and all persons convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor from even possessing a gun. Thus, as the story indirectly notes, only persons without a felony or domestic violence conviction is even lawfully able to possess a gun, let alone get a lawful state permit for one. (I find notable that somehow three sex offender felons were able to get an Iowa gun permit, which perhaps highlights the need for background checks on how good current background checks are in the permit-issuance process in Iowa.)

More to the point of the question in the title of this post, if we think the Second Amendment right to bear arms is linked in some important and significant way to the natural right of personal self-defense (as Heller suggested), a reasonable claim might be made that it would be uniquely unconstitutional to deny gun permits to otherwise eligible persons on a state sex offender registry. There has long been considerable anecdotal evidence of considerable vigilante violence directed toward persons based simply on their presence on a sex offender registry. Given the history of private violence directed toward sex offenders — not to mention the possibility that local law enforcement might not be too quick to come to the aid of someone they know is a registered sex offender — I can fully understand why Joshua Duehr and other low-level registered sex offender might be afraid to move around in public without packing heat to potentially aid any efforts to exercise their natural right of self defense.

Though I do not fancy myself a Second Amendment expert, I wonder if a state law like Minnesota's  prohibiting misdemeanor sex offenders from having a firearm in constitutional in the wake of Heller and McDonald.  If and when a low-level sex offender in Minnesota or elsewhere could reasonably document a history of serious personal threats of serious violence directed toward him because of his placement on the registry and asserted a genuine belief in his need for a firearm in order to protect himself, could a state really require his name and address to stay on the sex offender registry while also denying him a right to keep and bear arms to defend himself?

May 6, 2013 at 06:21 PM | Permalink

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Comments

People who are listed on the Sex Offender hit list need to their properties walled-off and have lethal weapons on the premises. The laws should be changed that explicitly allow people listed on the hit list to posses weapons on their own properties. It's a requirement.

If you are a person who is listed on a Registry who is not supposed to have a weapon, I recommend walling off your property, adding more residences to it, and letting people who may use guns live in those residences. It is a very inexpensive way to have armed guards.

Some people who are listed on the hit lists probably need to be armed in public. But I think a better solution is to simply move to a large metropolitan area and then you will be able to easily move about and no one will ever know you are Registered. It is completely trivial.

I've been Registered for around 15 years and I can't recall a single time where I've ever run into anyone who didn't already know me who knew I was Registered or would be able to figure that out somehow. So I personally think there's little risk there. The only risk could be if someone who knew you from your home followed you somewhere so they knew you would be less protected. I don't live in a moronic criminal state that requires marked driver's licenses or whatever, so obviously there are some caveats.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 6, 2013 6:34:43 PM

Problem 1: Mr. X beats the 15 year-old into submitting to rape.

Problem 2: Mr. X, after his release from prison, finds that, oh wonder of wonders, he's not too popular in the community.

Answer to Problems 1 and 2: Let Mr. X have a gun so that, instead of having to beat the next 15 year-old, he can secure her submission without so much exertion.

You really do have to love how liberals see the world. They voted against gun rights, before they voted for them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 6, 2013 6:40:12 PM

Not all sex offenders beat minors and rape them. Of course, violent offenders of any ilk should not possess firearms. On the federal level, however, most convicted sex offender have merely looked at pictures. Those present a more coloarble 2d Amendment case. Especially since, due to registries, vigilantes have government-maintained hit lists. I too, however, do not pretend to know much about 2d Amendment jurisprudence. But I agree that sex offenders are more likely than others to fall victim to harassment and crime, and even death. Many wonder each day if they will get shot, or their pets stabbed, or their windows broken, or their tires slashed. And no, I don't think that the fact of an offense, especially a CP offense, justifies harassing and violently harming a person.

I think the better answer to all of this would be to get rid of useless registries, or at least limit access to law enforcement and for use in background chacks for jobs with serious exposure to vulnerable populations.

Posted by: Subethis | May 6, 2013 7:04:22 PM

Problem 1: Mr. X, then 17, and his girlfriend Ms. X, then 15, decide to celebrate Mr. X's birthday with pizza and soda at the bowling alley. After midnight (i.e., after Mr. X turns 18), they decamp to Lookout Point, and have a consensual sexual encounter in the backseat of Mr. X's car. Ms. X mentions evening to her mother who calls the police. As a result Mr. X is branded, for the rest of his life, as a sex offender.

Problem 2: After Mr. X successfully completes his probation, he finds it very difficult to get a job or get an apartment. He finally secures a place to live, but is constantly barraged with angry messages, phone calls, and drop-bys by folks who got his name and address off his state's sex-offender registry. As time goes on, the calls and drop-bys get increasingly bizarre and violent.

Seeking a solution to, or at least protection from, Problem 2, Mr. X heads to his local sportsman's shop to, supposedly, exercise his constitutional right to bear arms and protect himself in his own home. Under the twisted logic above, he is not able to do so. An odd constitutional right, that 2nd Amendment one.

Posted by: Anon | May 6, 2013 9:19:02 PM

Bill:

"Problem 1: Mr. X beats the 15 year-old into submitting to rape.

Problem 2: Mr. X, after his release from prison, finds that, oh wonder of wonders, he's not too popular in the community.

Answer to Problems 1 and 2: Let Mr. X have a gun so that, instead of having to beat the next 15 year-old, he can secure her submission without so much exertion.

You really do have to love how liberals see the world. They voted against gun rights, before they voted for them."

Nice worthless neo-con comment! You keep pulling straw out of your ---.

The world would be perfect if it wasn't for libs, abbies or whatever nickname dujour you come up with. I hope you were drinking when you posted your quoted comment. At least that would explain a few things.

I am going to say it again. SO laws are a POS. A significant proportion of those listed on the registry never touched anyone, willingly viewed CP, used force, coercion, threats or incapacitation, or touched a pre-pubescent child. These people should not only have the right but the duty to be able to protect themselves from vigilantes - like you!

Posted by: albeed | May 6, 2013 9:34:24 PM

I spent 20 years in the military. Eight years after I retired, I became a convicted felon. I'll abide by the law as long as I'm not threatened. When it's needed (and in this country, the need will come soon enough) I will obtain a firearm to protect my life, liberty, and property - legal or not.

Posted by: Oswaldo | May 6, 2013 11:19:47 PM

I would like to learn more about the definition and an example of a misdemeanor sex crime, allowing a permit to possess a gun.

No doubt, forcible rape, including that under threat of a gun, is called a felony in Iowa.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 6, 2013 11:22:16 PM

Anon --

Your hypothetical, in which a teenage boy has sex with his underage girlfriend minutes after his 18th birthday, and then the girl's mother calls the police, is a fantasy. Sure, such a bizarre thing might have happened at one point. But that is not what typically gets people on the SO registry, as you full well know.

My statement that sex offenders force unwilling girls (or boys or women) into intimate encounters they don't want is, unfortunately, not a fantasy.

But the major fantasy going on in this thread is that felons want guns for defense. They want them for offense vastly more than the general population of gun buyers.

You don't know this?

P.S. Please cite the case holding that felons have a Second Amendment, or any other, right to possess guns. Yes, Second Amendment rights can be and are limited, as are First, Fourth, etc., rights. And you know that, too.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 6, 2013 11:34:38 PM

Subethis --

"Not all sex offenders beat minors and rape them. Of course, violent offenders of any ilk should not possess firearms."

Why not? Are they not just as likely -- indeed much MORE likely -- to suffer the harassment and crime you discuss later in your comment? And aren't they thus MORE in need of defending themselves with guns? Would you deny them this "right?"

"On the federal level, however, most convicted sex offender have merely looked at pictures. Those present a more coloarble 2d Amendment case."

Then go present it in court and win it. Wanna make a bet on whether you will?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 6, 2013 11:42:05 PM

Oswaldo --

"I spent 20 years in the military. Eight years after I retired, I became a convicted felon."

What do you mean when you say, "I became a convicted felon"? What did you do, specifically? Could we get a case name so we don't just have to take your word for it?

"I'll abide by the law as long as I'm not threatened. When it's needed (and in this country, the need will come soon enough) I will obtain a firearm to protect my life, liberty, and property - legal or not."

Wow. You sure are macho for a guy anonymously posting over the Internet.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 6, 2013 11:49:16 PM

Bill -

Not trying to be "macho." I'm just a guy who defended this country, made one mistake, and saw my life go up in flames. I read the papers, see the postings, and keep a low profile. I have no intention of hurting others, or myself, without cause. Otherwise, I live a relatively quiet life in a state in the Bible belt. People like Erica make me shake my head.
Also - at one time, I posted personal information regarding my case (not name, though). The post was quickly deleted.

Posted by: Oswaldo | May 7, 2013 12:03:50 AM

i'll call bull shit on this statement bill!

"P.S. Please cite the case holding that felons have a Second Amendment, or any other, right to possess guns. Yes, Second Amendment rights can be and are limited, as are First, Fourth, etc., rights. And you know that, too."

till the 1960's criminal stupidity after the JFK killing yes the damn will did have the same fucking rights as any other person in this country.

Up till that point anyone in this country had the right to posess a weapon and use it to defend themself or others.

Therefore i still say it is still both constitution and legal for anyone not on probation/parole to both owne and posess any normal firearm they wish. No matter what the fuckups on the USSC has to say about it

I find it very very very telling that we do not have all this shit about the other 9 amendments in the BILL OF RIGHTS!

notice it is called the "BILL OF RIGHTS" not the "Bill of Privilages"

Sorry a right is a right! no one short of God or Allah or whom ever you belive in has the authorty to fuck with a right!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 7, 2013 12:07:44 AM

Oswaldo --

"Not trying to be 'macho.'"

But you essentially threaten to shoot anyone who crosses you.

"I'm just a guy who defended this country, made one mistake, and saw my life go up in flames."

What was the "mistake"? And why do you refer to your actions with that self-excusing word? You didn't know what you were doing? Really?

"I read the papers, see the postings, and keep a low profile. I have no intention of hurting others, or myself, without cause."

And if someone says to you, "We don't want sex offenders living around here," is that "cause" to blow his head off? Is there any check on what you consider "cause"? Does the person you intend to gun down get an appeal from your judgment? Do you think you might make another "mistake" in concluding he deserves a bullet to the head?

I am the one who gets accused of vigilantism, but you're the one who explicitly proposes exactly that.

"Also - at one time, I posted personal information regarding my case (not name, though). The post was quickly deleted."

This occasionally happens (it happened to me just today). You could try again, if you want to.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 12:40:53 AM

Normally, this would be an "apples and oranges" question. The problem is that the phrase "sex offender" is so volatile that people lose complete rationality.

Keep in mind that no felons, sex offender or not, are allowed to have weapons. Indeed, the only individuals who have weapons whom are on the sex offender registry are misdemeanants (why is "misdemeanants" showing up as a spelling error on a legal blog?). MOST misdemeanants are allowed to hold firearms, with exceptions those whom have domestic assault violations. In fact, most sex offenses that are misdemeanors are on, or less, than the violence threshold that non-sex offender misdemeanants hold, which objectively would justify their 2nd Amendment privilege.

As stated, any discussion about whether a sex offender should have a weapon is meaningless and, frankly, bordering on non-legal irrationalities, which is par for the course for any discussion in American society about registered sex offenders. That said, I predict a sweeping denial and revocation of all 2nd Amendment rights from all misdemeanant registered sex offenders.

(For the record, I've heard of state courts (Minnesota, for one) restricting 2nd Amendment rights for former felons, but no actual US Supreme Court case specifically denying felons from the 2nd Amendment. It is a slope, perhaps not slippery, but one in which too much subjectivity can nullify an effective and rational policy, particularly those whose offenses had been decades ago and not involved violence or weapons).

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 7, 2013 1:35:06 AM

Eric Knight --

"For the record, I've heard of state courts (Minnesota, for one) restricting 2nd Amendment rights for former felons, but no actual US Supreme Court case specifically denying felons from the 2nd Amendment."

The Supreme Court does not create substantive criminal law; Congress does, and its statutes prohibit previously convicted felons from possessing firearms. Neither a single one of those statutes, nor any similar state statute, has been struck down to my knowledge in the five years since Heller, despite many challenges.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 4:35:35 AM

The answer is Yes.

Life in prison for capital-area white supremacist who killed molester

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/04/5394206/life-in-prison-for-capital-area.html

He was on the registry for a misdomeanor not for molesting.

Posted by: Anon | May 7, 2013 5:54:53 AM

"I can fully understand why Joshua Duehr and other low-level registered sex offender might be afraid to move around in public without packing heat to potentially aid any efforts to exercise their natural right of sex defense."
A freudian slip, surely?

Posted by: Vincent | May 7, 2013 8:37:44 AM

Indeed, Vincent, and now fixed.

Posted by: Doug B. | May 7, 2013 9:05:48 AM

As I enjoy the back and forth here, I continue to gravitate to the view that the Second Amendment "right to keep and bear arms" in the form of firearms really seems to be so limited and so easily lost by prior behavior that it really ought to be called an important privilege more than really a true constitutional right.

Critically, there are lots of politicians and voters who will work very hard to ensure a "gun possession privilege" is widely enjoyed and protected from undue government burdens. But this story out of Iowa, and the apparent lack of willingness by the NRA or others to stand up for the gun rights of the despised, confirms my instinct that there are few who are truly eager and willing to defend gun possession as a fundamental right (as First Amendment rights to free speech and worship are defended). In the end, what it seems so-called "gun rights" supporters really care about is preserving a gun possession privilege free from undue government burdens.

That's fine, but it help to highlight why it is the anti-government crowd, not the human-rights crowd, that tend to be so critical of any and all gun regulation efforts. (It also helps me better understand my own position, since I tend to see much wisdom in positions espoused by both the anti-government crowd and the human-rights crowd) In the end, this all ultimately highlights some deep problems/tensions in what SCOTUS is doing and saying in Heller and McDonald, because they are using rights talk, rather than anti-government talk, to explain their still-in-development (activist?) constitutional code of permissible firearm regulation.

Posted by: Doug B. | May 7, 2013 9:22:08 AM

Bill: "You really do have to love how liberals see the world."

me: and let's take a look at who advocated for and supported the law allowing sex offenders to get guns:

article: "Iowa Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield and a former state trooper, isn’t reassured by the type of research offered by Levenson or groups like the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Until he was contacted for this article, Baudler was unaware that the new gun permit law he advocated for in 2010 has allowed dozens of sex offenders to obtain weapon permits"

"Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, indicated that he believes Iowa’s new weapons permit law doesn’t need to be revised to specifically ban sex offenders."

i'm pretty sure that in Iowa the R doesn't stand for "Really Liberal" :)

[not that that one bit of partisan sillyness makes the rest of what bill is saying here invalid]

and btw, isn't it interesting that there are many people in society thinks that they need to have guns to protect themselves or their families from sex offenders?

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 7, 2013 9:43:19 AM

When people say, government, they are referring to the wholly owned subsidiary of the CCE, run by the super dumbass hierarchy for its own benefit, a bunch of VFL with impaired cognition caused by 1L.

The sex offender registry generates government jobs. Please, provide one piece of evidence it has ever benefited a member of the public.

Jessica was taken from her bed. Megan made the simple mistake of opening her front door to the neighbor from across the street. What if mothe child rapists and murderers had been registered. It would have made no difference.

Laws were named for these victims of the lawyer client. These clients were protected and enabled by the CCE, the same one run by VFL.

Compare to 123D. Both repeat violent sex offenders would have been deceased a decades before they took those two little girls. We would have the girls today, grown into fine ladies. Instead, we have this stupid, worthless Registry, government jobs, and this silly discussion, with a fundamental flaw, Registries have no validity, and further no governmental interest save rent seeking.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 7, 2013 10:10:17 AM

Bill Otis (May 6, 2013 6:40:12 PM):

The least of Mr. X's problems would be getting a gun. Are you serious? I am 100% sure I could easily acquire a gun if desired.

If people are actually concerned about people like Mr. X, then they should be falling all over themselves to eliminate the nanny Registries. The Registries really, really make people want to hurt people. They turn people into much worse people. They truly are idiotic social policy.

But back to the subject of guns, the lying criminal governments have made targets of the residences of the people who are listed on their Sex Offender Registries. When a person Registers with one of the criminal governments, before the listing is released to the moronic public, the criminal government should deliver weapons to the listed residence. The Registration laws should be rewritten to include the number and type of weapons that the government must supply.

Or hey, how about a compromise? If a listed residence wants to have weapons, then he/she must allow government employees to visit the residence. Without that, it would be just like today - no weapons or government employees allowed.

I personally don't find it acceptable to not have weapons on hit list properties. People who are on these hit lists really do need to build compounds, have armed people in them, and attack anyone who enters without permission. People like "Oswaldo" get that.

I've never really wanted guns very badly in my own residence so I'm pretty naive about it. If the spouse of a felon (who lives in the same house) owns a gun, is that legal for the felon? What if a child of the felon owns one? Other people who live in the same residence?

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 7, 2013 10:58:15 AM

Erika (May 7, 2013 9:43:19 AM):

You said, "and btw, isn't it interesting that there are many people in society thinks that they need to have guns to protect themselves or their families from sex offenders?"

It is interesting and it proves that those people know so little about how children are molested that it's unbelievable. I also personally believe that those same types of people don't care and if they did care a little, they are too lazy to bother with it. It's just so much easier for their fat, stupid, lazy asses to hate "sex offenders" and think they need guns to protect themselves from them. Yee haw.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 7, 2013 11:10:47 AM

Doug B. is using terms loosely. The issue here is not "gun rights of the despised," but for specific groups. A person who has not been found guilty or civilly classified as a sex offender can be quite "despised" akin to OJ per Nicole.

The NRA has a lot to be concerned about these days. It's like gender selection for abortion. On principle, you can do that. It is not like the state can read your mind here. Before viability, there is a right to choose an abortion. But, PP is not going to focus on that. So, yes, the NRA, in the face of various things it deems wrong that covers all (e.g., background checks, putting aside their validity) is not going to focus on sex offenders. This is not surprising. It is a matter of picking your battles. Why is this supposed to be notable here?

Heller/McDonald are but a few years old. There is a lot of law to interpret here and before getting to the rights of convicted sex offenders, there are other questions to be determined. And, no, there is not merely some weak "privilege" here. Yes, guns are somewhat different. A ten year old can buy a book. Can't buy a gun. Felons also might be denied the right to vote. Does that mean the right to vote isn't really a right? Sex offenders also have a restricted right to travel, association etc.

Note that the right to bear "arms" doesn't just mean guns. What about the right of sex offenders to own mace, knives, dogs (if self-defense is the natural right ultimately at issue) and so forth?

Posted by: Joe | May 7, 2013 11:19:11 AM

Isn't the key quote from the article this one? "National uniform crime data from 2006 — the most recent data available — show that about half of all reported sex offenses included a weapon of some form (including the use of fists) but less than 1 percent of all reported sex offenses included the use of a firearm, according to Jason Rydberg, a graduate student at Michigan State. Iowa numbers mirror the national trend. Of the roughly 5,750 people on Iowa’s sex offender registry, 47 — or less than 1 percent — used guns in their crimes, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Safety...." Absent other data (which could be out there, in which case post it), Bill's concern about hordes of gunwielding child molesters seems about as plausible as those 80's prosecutorial fantasies about the supposed epidemic of ritual Satanic abuse at our nation's day care centers. Now, obviously we live in a world where it is a federal offense for people with non-violent felony convictions to possess guns despite the lack of any plausible empirical basis for predicting that, e.g., a corporate CEO who knowingly signed false SEC filings overstating his company's earnings is disproportionately likely once released from prison to engage not only in future crime but (if not restricted from possessing guns) in future gun-related crime. So if the answer is that criminals lose gun rights just as a random punitive sanction for having been being bad people, so be it. But you can't just say that "criminals" shouldn't have guns because of amorphous recidivism risk - that's an empirical claim and it ought to be supported with data at the right level of generality.

Posted by: JWB | May 7, 2013 11:37:24 AM

FRT, i actually agree with you that its irrational for a person to think that she needs a gun to protect herself and her family from sex offenders - but i also think that its irrational for anyone to believe that she needs to have a gun to protect herself. Guns in fact, have been shown repeatedly by studies to be a very poor defensive measure - mainly because their primary - some might say only - purpose is to be an offensive weapon.

the fact that you somehow think that your paranoid fears are rational and everyone else's paranoid fears are irrational is itself a very irrational belief.

Posted by: Erika | May 7, 2013 12:06:46 PM

Doug --

"In the end, this all ultimately highlights some deep problems/tensions in what SCOTUS is doing and saying in Heller and McDonald, because they are using rights talk, rather than anti-government talk, to explain their still-in-development (activist?) constitutional code of permissible firearm regulation."

This is one thing I think you're missing: The Heller dictum, which seems to be the real burr in your saddle, was very likely needed to get Justice Kennedy's vote. Without that vote, the other side wins, and sex offenders (not to mention everyone else) would have lots fewer gun rights than they do today.

If you are truly a partisan of gun rights, you should be happy to have what you've got, because you were one shaky vote away from getting zip.

The other thing I think you're missing is that previously convicted felons are much more likely than the population at large to want guns for offense (i.e., crime) than for defense. And yes, I know all about Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby, but the fact that there are non-violent felons does not negate the truth of the first sentence in this paragraph. Nor does it negate the fact that, for five years now, the courts have uniformly turned away challenges to the felon-in-possession statute, even though those challenges have heavily featured the aforementioned Ms. Stewart and Mr. Libby.

Liberals would sound less hollow in complaining that the Heller majority is too restrictive if they hadn't spent years carrying the flag for the minority's far more restrictive point of view.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 1:35:43 PM

"Liberals" for years opposed the minority.

Sandy Levinson, e.g., regularly cries out on his blog Balkinization about Republican skullduggery in his eyes and his "embarrassing 2A" article was a leading voice that the individual rights view was respectable. Akhil Amar is another liberal/centrist RKBA supporter. Even Lawrence Tribe came into the fold eventually. The 5-4 split in Heller does not really match actual liberal sentiments on this issue. I wonder, now that the issue has been decided, if Sotomayor and Kagan will stick with the Breyer approach.

Posted by: Joe | May 7, 2013 1:41:50 PM

JWB --

"Bill's concern about hordes of gunwielding child molesters seems about as plausible as those 80's prosecutorial fantasies about the supposed epidemic of ritual Satanic abuse at our nation's day care centers."

Actually, I have no such concern (which is why you don't quote me), although perhaps I should in view of the comments of Oswaldo and FRegistryTerrorists.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 1:43:00 PM

ETA: so, basically, "liberals" split on this issue, many supporting the RKBA as an individual right unlike the Heller minority. A minority, more left than mere liberal, agree with the Breyer/Stevens opinions. And, as with John Hart Ely Jr. regarding abortion rights (opposed Roe but if abortion was legal, opposed regulations that discriminated against the poor), even then, the liberals might want rights that are in place to be equally provided.

Posted by: Joe | May 7, 2013 1:46:01 PM

Joe --

Your attempt at historical revisionism, in which liberals were really, really champions of gun rights, is hilarious.

Indeed, liberals are STILL fighting gun rights to the maximum extent they can get away with it. Have you missed the liberal hue-and-cry after Sandy Hook?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 1:54:33 PM

Bill Otis,

Your hypothetical, in which a teenage boy has sex with his underage girlfriend minutes after his 18th birthday, and then the girl's mother calls the police, is a fantasy.

It's not a fantasy to Wendy Whitaker, who "performed oral sex on a high school classmate just after turning 17."

Sex registries are a disaster because they are filled up too often with womne like Wendy Whitaker. Your mistaken assumption that those on sex offender registries are violent rapists is the fantasy. While it's true that violent rapists are on these registries, many on the registries are not. And then idiots like you claim that it's pure fantasy that this is true, when it's easy enough to find examples like Mrs. Whitaker's above (who, if you read the article was faced with the loss of her home because she was/is listed as a registered sex offender).

Posted by: Ken | May 7, 2013 2:19:40 PM

Ken --

Gosh, you forgot to include my next line, which was, "Sure, such a bizarre thing might have happened at one point. But that is not what typically gets people on the SO registry, as you full well know."

And then you say this: "And then idiots like you claim that it's pure fantasy that this is true..."

I'm smart enough to sign my name. A lot of people here sign theirs. Some reason you don't?

BTW, three guys in Ohio are going to get put on the registry after their conviction for kidnapping, and holding for years, two teenage girls and a 20 year-old girl. It's all over the news today, except for those of you who snooze through violent sex crimes.

Hey, look, Jerry Sandusky could use your services. Sign right up! He's only just begun his years of phony appeals. I wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 2:49:31 PM

The Registry for those 3 guys in Ohio will never matter unless they get out of prison, of course. And if they do, the Registries will never do one single thing to keep them from repeating the exact same crime again later any time they want. The Registries will not prevent any crime but it will make it much more likely that they will do it again. The Registries will also make it so they are a lot more secretive and vigilant about it.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 7, 2013 3:35:20 PM

I would say that the risk of violence against myself or a family member is a pretty constant concern for me. I pled guilty to possessing child porn several years ago after getting mixed up with it on the internet. I never sought to minimize or avoid responsibility -- and I served the sentence given to me.

I know that there are plenty of people, many much less deserving than myself (i.e., "victims" who later marry their "rapists") who have been murdered for no reason other than being on the registry. I'm also familiar with a case of a gentleman who was registered for my offense, and had his house burned down with his wife inside as a consequence.

So I understand that the danger is real. I have a lot of friends, and I generally try to conduct myself in a polite fashion, but I know I'm only one media storm away from having someone shot up at my front door, claim to be an FBI agent or some such, and put a gun in my (or one of my family members) face.

And, of course, I'll expect Bill and Erika to write my eulogy.

Kidding aside, it's a real concern that has no real outlet. You just have to learn how to deal with the anxiety and the fear, to live with it. I suppose having a gun would make me feel safer, but I don't particularly like guns anyway. There is a real sense, though, that you're just kind of written off for good. That no one's going to be sad if you're brutally murdered, there will be no cries for justice (save for those from my family and friends).

I mean, I know that most folks want it this way. They want me to live in constant fear and anxiety, to feel as though I'm hunted and on borrowed time. After all, no punishment can ever be enough.

I guess what I mean to say, is rather than live in a society where I didn't feel like I needed a gun as opposed to live in one where I get to have one. Alas, neither of those are really up to me.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 3:38:24 PM

Bill, correct me if I'm way off base here, but I don't think the three guys in Ohio are going to be convicted of misdemeanors.

Posted by: Ryan Waxx | May 7, 2013 3:55:35 PM

FRegistryTerrorists --

"The Registry for those 3 guys in Ohio will never matter unless they get out of prison, of course."

It remains to be seen that they'll be IN prison, as I'm sure their vigilant defense counsel will do everything in his power to make clear to the jury that this whole episode in just being staged by the police and prosecutors for political gain.

Dontcha think?

And they don't belong in prison to begin with, while we're at it, since our prisons are already way overstuffed, they give up on redemption, they just breed more crime, they cost tax dollars we simply don't have, etc., etc.

C'mon, FRT, don't go soft on me now. Don't you think these three men -- these three beleaguered and, as Doug might say, "despised" victims of a Puritanical society -- should have built a wall around their place and armed themselves to the teeth, as you were saying?

Do tell. Please!!!

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 4:21:12 PM

Guy (May 7, 2013 3:38:24 PM):

There is an outlet.

If you care about the safety of your family, put them somewhere where people can't just show up at your front door. I think there are probably a number of solutions to that. I prefer a large property with a wall around it. Then make it so if anyone gets inside that wall without permission and intends harm, that they don't survive it. There are tons of ways to do that these days.

People think things like that are too difficult. But they are not. Decide what is important and just get it done.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 7, 2013 4:26:31 PM

Guy --

"That no one's going to be sad if you're brutally murdered, there will be no cries for justice (save for those from my family and friends)."

Wrongo.

Were I back at my old job, or a similar one, I would be seeking justice, which might well include the death penalty for the fellow who, out of sheer hate, blew your head off. You know me -- I'm one of those stuffed shirt, rule-of-law guys who thinks people have to obey the law even if they don't feel like it.

Meanwhile, some defense lawyer (aren't you hoping to become one of those?) will be trying to figure out a song-and-dance mental-state defense to convince the jury that your killer was, uh, temporarily insane. Really, you never want to underestimate the creativity of defense counsel. If defense lawyers can claim Mr. Abused-By-Nazi-Prosecutors (Jerry Sandusky) was factually innocent (in the face of ten victims testifying and an eyewitness), then, hey, they can do anything.

BTW, if you were able to see the trial of your killer from the next world, who would you be rooting for to win the case? The Nazi, mean-spirited, judgmental prosecutor or the heroic, table-pounding, Constitution-defending defense lawyer who wants to put your killer back on the street to hunt down the next man in your position?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 4:40:06 PM

Guy:

I understand what you're going through.

That is why the registries need to be abolished as they are regulatory and non-punative. Such a big piece of kaka from our very own 9 black pajama government apologists has never before or since been excreted.

Imagine all the nonsense that would have been avoided, residency restrictions, annual fines (er, I mean fees), LE knocks on the door (may I come in, just checking), etc. if the correct decision was made in 2003.

This is what the founders of the Constitution understood:, give an immoral politician (all of them) an inch, and they'll take a mile.

Posted by: albeed | May 7, 2013 4:42:05 PM

Ryan Waxx --

"Bill, correct me if I'm way off base here, but I don't think the three guys in Ohio are going to be convicted of misdemeanors."

If justice is served, they won't be convicted of anything. The whole deal is being staged just to whip up a public frenzy against alleged "sex offenders." You'd know that if you read this site more often.

Don't you just know some blood lusting Ohio prosecutors are licking their chops to tee off on these poor fellows? Think of the publicity they'll get! The scalps on their office wall! The TV interviews!

How many times have we been told on this site that these are the real motivations that drive prosecutors? A hundred? Two hundred? We've all learned by now that it has nothing to do with evidence, and even if it did, evidence is just planted by the cops anyway. I can't wait for the false confessions the police are going to beat out of the people they arrested today. It will probably get so bad that they'll have the arrestees saying something absurd like they kidnapped three young females and held them for years.

Honestly, the way the cops are, they'd be willing try something that crazy and expect people to believe it. What a bunch of fascists!

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 4:59:41 PM

This is truly a magnificent day to discuss why sex offenders, being so unfarily "despised" and all, need guns. Doug gets an A+ for clairvoyant timing.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 5:09:05 PM

Bill:

I'll bet you the guys in Cleveland were not registered SOs.

There is something fishy in this story that I am sure we'll never get to hear.

Oh, and by the way, LE, prosecutors and judges are all so marvelous, honest and impartial. They are God's gifts to earth.

You know, the media and government is a terrible way to get accurate news.

Posted by: albeed | May 7, 2013 5:09:32 PM

my dearest guy,

if someone is really harassing you and threatening you because you are an registered icky perv those are illegal activities which should not be permitted and the police should put a stop to it. i'm sure that the police will come running since the sex offender registries at every state says that its illegal to use that information for hte purpose of harassing people. i mean, i think its like a misdemeanor in virginia to use the information from a sex offender registry to harass someone - and there is like totally this disclaimer right on the sex offender registry - and i've like totally never heard of anyone being convicted of the offense of harassing a sex offender so i'm sure that is because it never happens.

and i am like totally insulted that you not only group me in with bill, but you think that i somehow am in favor of icky pervs being murdered or being violently assaulted - i am not in favor of violence of any type.

i am hurt that you took my perfectly reasonable suggestion that icky pervs such as yourself should be able to free themselves from what you claim to be the extreme problems of the sex offender registry through a nice simple surgical procedure. that is all that my proposed erika's law would do - allow icky pervs such as yourself a second chance.

it is very mean of you to miscontrue my perfectly rasonable proposal that will work to the benefits of icky pervs such as yourself as a call to violence :P

love,

erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 7, 2013 5:17:07 PM

albeed --

"There is something fishy in this story that I am sure we'll never get to hear....the media and government is a terrible way to get accurate news."

I've been having a load of fun suggesting that some lunatic pro-defense wahoo would say these Ohio arrests were all staged -- some kind of government/media conspiracy -- but I never expected to be proved so right so quickly.

Thank you!

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 5:21:55 PM

Bill,

You read a lot into what I posted. I have no intention of blowing anyone's head off. Let's agree to disagree and move on.

Posted by: Oswaldo | May 7, 2013 5:23:11 PM

Erika,

Maybe you should understand a few of the new laws out there. Your comment above about a "nice, simple, surgical procedure" can now be interpreted as a threat. Threats on a site like this have also been successfully prosecuted and the people that made them thrown in prison, which would instantly make you a felon. And your "icky perv" name calling? How old are you, anyway?

Maybe one of the sex offenders on here could have his/her lawyer get in touch with Doug and pull your IP so that you could then be arrested for threatening someone. That would be a glorious day!

RCB

Posted by: RCB | May 7, 2013 6:08:41 PM

@Bill --

I'm sure you would be seeking to convict my hypothetical killer, as that is or was your profession. I don't doubt that. I also don't doubt that you wouldn't be losing a lot of sleep about it, nor that the killer likely would have found where I lay my head at night via the registry. My life is worth less, now, in the eyes of many in society, your fulfillment of your former occupational responsibilities notwithstanding.

And all that I would hope is that they would receive a fair trial and that they receive a competent defense. I also would not wish for them to put to death. I don't think prosecutors, generally, are nazis. Half my friends from law school wound up as prosecutors, and even most of them still talk to me.

But I suppose my point is less about hoping that my hypothetical killer is brought to justice, and more about the idle wish that my life wasn't worth less, and that we lived in a place where that wasn't signaled by the state, much less where to lie in wait for me or my family.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 6:11:01 PM

@erika:

You seem to be laboring under a misapprehension about me, my circumstances, and the circumstances of what I would wager to be most people listed on the sex offender registry.

I am not a pedophile.

Shocking, I know. I got wrapped up in online porn from a very young age, and after several years was at the point where I'd basically download anything I got my hands on. Sure, I had child porn on my computer. I also had equal amounts of MILF porn. Perhaps I shouldn't be allowed to live within a thousand feet of a retirement home.

Point being, I've never sought to contact or otherwise approach a child. It honestly never crossed my mind. The internet became this sort of place of unreality for me, but I was never attracted to any child. It was pretty much completely compartmentalized for me. Denial and justification are strong processes.

I know, you're thinking that's just what you would say, you icky perv! Well, I mean I've got four different psychological assessments basically attesting to the foregoing and have passed polygraphs regarding my sexual history. I'd post all of it for your perusal, but I would like to retain the few scraps of privacy I am still afforded.

That being said, I would object to your seeking to cut off my junk. As would my girlfriend. As would the research that suggests it is of dubious utility in preventing sexual violence. As would the notion that whoops, there goes any possibility whatsoever of having a normal relationship with an age appropriate partner. That is the idea, isn't it?

Also, why is me being on a registry of any utility to begin with? I've never committed a contact offense. I could reoffend right now, at this very moment, at my office. I could reoffend wherever I live. I mean, if I were a depraved pedophile who were determined to snatch kids up off the street, would living 1,000 feet from a school do much to stem that? You know, I'd really like to molest a kid today, but good god damn I'll have to like walk a couple of blocks. Research also suggests that stranger cases tend to take place in neighborhoods where the offender does not live. Ho hum, who's got time for things like rationality and evidence when there's icky pervs to snip, right Inquisitor?

As for the remainder of your post, my point isn't bemoaning being harassed in my hypothetical, but getting a .45 to the dome. But I'll tell you what, the first time someone comes to my door and kills me or someone I love, I'll be sure to take that to the appropriate authorities.

And my experience (and the experiences of others similarly situated) with reporting harassment leaves...a lot to be desired. To put it mildly, the police could give a shit.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 6:26:14 PM

Guy --

1. I'm sure you would want correct procedure to be followed in your killer's trial. That's a given, and it wasn't my question. My question was about substance, not procedure. Would you want the prosecutor to win, or the killer to win?

2. I have no doubt that life as an ex-con poses significant difficulties one way or the other. Conviction records are public documents; the only question is ease of availability, and in the age of the Internet, just about everything is available to anyone.

I mean this next thing sincerely: The name of the game in life is not what happens to you, since something disastrous IS going to happen, as it does sooner or later to everyone, including me. That's not the question. The question is how you handle it.

For your efforts to handle it constructively, I congratulate you.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 6:55:17 PM

As a current RSO, I would like to make some comments. Bill, sometimes you are hard to take, but sometimes, you come across as a very caring person. During both of your personalities, at least you make intelligent comments. As for me, I was convicted of 2422B in January 2002, 1 count that included a 17 year old (cop) on a webcam. The normal things happened afterwards. They came to my house took all of my electronic gadgetry using the old stand by of "there has to be more to this. There wasn't, no child porn, no other conversations, not even adult porn. The only thing there werre 3 conversations I had with the cop. Fast forward to my meeting with the USADA and the FBI agents, and I get asked, "what were you thinking" by all of them. My answer was, apparently I wasn't. At that time the sentencing guidelines were in place and 1 count of 2422a with me accepting responsibility, etc. got me 33 months in Federal prison,minimum security, a $50 fine, 50 hours of community service, and 2 years of supervised release.

After all of that was complete, I went back to college. Since then I have received 3 Associates and graduated Cum Laud from that school and this August I will graduate with a Bachelors in Behavioral Science. I have applied to and been accepted to a Physician Assistant program with full paid tuition and a graduate assistants job with a stipend. Every school I have attended knew my background. I have never had an issue. Even the PA program knows and with it being over 11 years ago, I will come off of my state registry in 4 years and also can be licensed as a Physicians Assistant when I reach the 15 year since my guilty plea.

I guess I am saying that life can and will get better. I sometimes focus on the what-ifs and how comes, but for the most part I live my life. I do not sit around and feel sorry for myself. I have done exactly what I was told to do when I left prison---BETTER YOURSELF. When I finish the PA school and my MBA in Health Management and I will be off the registry and 15 years from conviction. I can't wait!

For those of you out there in the same shoes, go to school, educate yourself, ride the financial aid train (I went almost 100% on Pell Grants) which can be gotten if you are not deemed a predator. Good Luck to you all!

Posted by: RCB | May 7, 2013 7:14:52 PM

The "liberal" position in Heller is quite easy to understand. The liberal Justices uniformly believed that Scalia had invented an individual right to bear arms separate from the maintenance of a well-regulated militia out of whole cloth, as a matter of conservative judicial activism based on dubious historical analysis contrary to decades of well-settled precedents. Within legislative bodies in this country, there is great fear of the political intensity of gun rights supporters. This has been reflected in all kinds of legislation since 1994, when the Democrats perceived that they lost a landslide Congressional election based, at least in part, on their votes regarding assault weapons. Mocking liberals for alleged opposition to gun control seems silly. I imagine if you took a look at the vote in favor of this measure, the Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature favored it far more than the Republicans did. Manchin-Toomey went down due to the nearly unanimous opposition of Senate Republicans and of a few nervous Red-State Democrats. I think the tide is turning though, and this Minnesota measure is just one example of it. Wayne LaPierre won the last round in the Senate, but the NRA may be pushing its luck too far.

Posted by: decencyevolves | May 7, 2013 7:17:13 PM

RCB -

A great story of turning things around and overcoming. My hat is off to how you have moved forward. Because you've looked to yourself for answers, rather than looking for others to blame, I predict you have a bright future in store. All the best.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 7:51:12 PM

@Bill:

Hypothetically, surely I would rather he be convicted, but I don't place that desire over and above him being afforded a competent defense. I sincerely believe that justice is in the process, not the result. I don't want him lynched by a mob (presuming that there would be a mob anywhere worked up into such a lather over my corpse).

Though, really, I'd rather just not be dead. That's my first choice.

I do expect to be punished for my actions, and I was. Of my punishment, I take no issue. When I went before the judge and was offered a chance to speak, my words were that I am sorry for the harm that I have caused, and that I take full responsibility for my actions.

But my punishment has ended, and there is no ready way back into society. Nor will there ever be. I don't expect for everyone to just forgive and forget, but the panoply of collateral consequences just levied upon felons is dizzying enough, let alone those placed continually on sex offenders every legislative session and given retroactive effect.

It's not that I don't expect to have been punished, only that, in fairness, it should be a debt that one is capable of paying. Otherwise, why should people bother trying to reintegrate or rehabilitate?

Judging by the recidivism rates for your average criminal offender, many people stopped trying long ago.

And I appreciate your commendation. I'm told by many that I should change my name, and take advantage of my foreign citizenship and leave the states, but there's a lot of people here who need help. Felons, fuck ups, and icky pervs with no one who will speak up on their behalf.

So I figure I owe it to the people who weren't as fortunate as I to stay and fight, These are my people. I still don't know about the bar, ultimately it will come down to a decision of the supreme court as to whether someone on the registry can be an attorney. My attorneys tell me odds are good I'll actually win, but who knows...

You're right, what matters is what we do with the awfulness. I've tried to use my conviction to better myself and those around me. If the supreme court comes back an says I can hit the bricks, it'll just be a matter of finding a way to figure out what to do with that, too.

But I'm lucky. I have family and friends who support me, a lovely girlfriend who helps keep me going, and have been the recipient of much grace and mercy. Many people are not so fortunate.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 7:54:30 PM

Bill:

And I remembered a story driving home that I thought you might enjoy. In law school, I had a prof who was also an AUSA. We got along very well -- the firm I was working for was involved in a federal corruption trial and so we bonded over that. We just hit off generally, and I really enjoyed his class as well.

He didn't, of course, know about my past. Though I was about to tell him and ask his advice (I had spoken with many of my professors about it to hear their thoughts), and one night we got on the topic of child pornography. He told me that he thought it should be capital offense, just kill 'em all. I smiled and nodded. And promptly decided the best course of action would be to shut right the fuck up.

Any rate, fast forward a couple years to this last winter. We bumped into each other and exchanged greetings, and he asked me if I'd had any trials yet. I told him that I hadn't yet taken the bar, and hoped he'd leave it at that, but instead he just got this wonderfully confused look on his face and started counting the years. I described generally my situation -- i.e., that my application had gotten hung up in the office of bar admissions -- and he said that if there was anything he could do to help just ask.

So anyway, I felt like it would be rude just to drop it, but I also felt guilty this whole time for having a friendship on false pretenses. After all, in my mind, the only thing stopping him from wanting to pop a cap in my ass was a law saying he couldn't. Well, and his not knowing. Plus, he's a federal fucking prosecutor, right? His kind wants to nail my ass to the wall.

But I told him. The whole shabang. My past, my conviction, the sentence, the registry, all of it. I figured, well, there goes that friendship.

Instead, he re-upped. It didn't change things for him, and later that night, when I thought about the exchange, it broke my heart. I'd been the cynical, cheap one. I'd badly underestimated his generosity of spirit by virtue of his office and my own shallow, narrow assumptions.

I just thought you might appreciate that story, in light of your resume.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 9:02:24 PM

Guy,

So you went to law school and graduated and just have the BAR left? When was your conviction? How were you perceived in school? How is your life now?

Posted by: RCB | May 7, 2013 9:09:43 PM

RCB:

I'm heartened by your story, truly. That's the same sort of track that I took -- I went to law school after my conviction. I was on the national moot court team, national trial team, and had a law review published. I have a job with a law firm, a roof over my head, and friends and family who support me.

But I think what you and I both have to recognize is this: we got lucky.

So far.

Sure, it sounds like we've both worked very hard and tried to make amends for our crime. But even still, I'd argue that most others in our position aren't as fortunate to even get into school. Hell, despite stellar LSAT scores I almost didn't get in despite disclosing my conviction. Some colleges are even barring sex offenders from attendance at all. I know lots of RSOs. Lots of smart guys who fucked up and have spent their lives since trying to make up for it. Lots of guys who have not been as fortunate as you and I.

And we didn't make it this far just on sheer determination of will. We didn't. Not you or me. I don't mean to undercut your achievements (nor mine), but the fact that we have (thus far) been successful despite the weight we carry doesn't mean that the system under which we labor is either fair, just, or in the public interest.

I don't know about you, but I know that a lot of people in my life were here to give me hope. I remember my father, during my arraignment. The judge read out the charges to a packed courtroom. I pled not guilty and we got a prelim date. I turned around and I saw all the faces there -- angry, disgusted. I put my hands in my pockets and my head down and walked past the bar. My dad was right here and spoke to me in a voice I'd never heard before: Get your hands out of your pockets. Keep your head up.

He was right there with me. So was the rest of my family. So were (most) of my friends. So is my girlfriend. They're all here to give me hope when I have none, and I'm eternally thankful for that.

But lots of people don't. A guy I met last week who just got fired from a job as a mechanic because they found out he was a sex offender, begging me to help him find a job. People sleeping on the streets. Freezing and dying because they can't stay at shelters because of bullshit residency restrictions.

Believe me, I'm not meaning to say you shouldn't be proud. You should. We've both worked fucking hard, and have had to deal with considerable stigma (and likely will always have to). But not everyone is as fortunate as you and I to just up and get an education and better themselves.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 9:20:08 PM

RCB:

I just saw the question you posted. I've completed law school, and did very well. I have a job working as a law clerk at a law firm that does the kind of law I hope to practice (criminal defense) where everyone knows my story.

I do still have to take the bar, and that's the rub. The office of bar admissions in my state is taking the position that no one who is on the registry can be an attorney, irrespective of what I can show regarding my current moral character. Basically, I established a good evidentiary record in front of the bar that I have rehabilitated, am not a threat, and I had dozens of students, professors, and professionals lend their support to my cause either by writing letters or testifying.

But they essentially came back and said yeah, but you're on the registry, so ick ick ick. Would have been cool if they would have told me that when I applied to law school, but three years and a hundred grand later, here we are.

My conviction was several years back, in my early early twenties (I think I'd just turned 21). During law school...I was perceived okay I guess. I had numerous friends by virtue of an outgoing personality and by being honest about my past when asked. Some of my closest friends were ex-cops, ex-military, and hopeful prosecutors (along with the menagerie of twisted freaks that you might imagine I'd keep the company of -- other outcasts).

One day I made the front page of the paper for something that I did (something good this time, honest!) and someone googled me. I got pulled into the dean's office to get told that basically my past was all the gossip mill was talking about now. I remember stepping back out of the deans office like I'd just gotten dropped off on mars. For the first few days, it was through sheer force of will that I kept showing up. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. But then it felt more natural. Some people didn't like me, my friends stayed my friends because they already knew, ce la vie.

My life now...sometimes I struggle with depression and anxiety, waiting to find out if I get to be an attorney, getting student loan bills I've no way of paying. But...all in all like I said above I'm just fucking lucky. I have a job I like that pays (some) money, family and friends, a lovely woman in my life....in short I'm doing a hell of a lot better than lot of other people in our position.

I've got a friend who was about my same age who got arrested for child porn about the same time that I did. He got prosecuted federally and got a ten year sentence. He's still in prison. I got to go to law school, instead.

Posted by: Guy | May 7, 2013 9:32:54 PM

Guy,

I totally understand what you are saying and I totally agree with you. I truly did not mean to sound like I did this myself. I, like you, had family and friends to help me through this and I, like you, still battle depression and anxiety. It is a tough road, but as you said, we have both been fairly lucky. Why do you think that is? What made it possible for us to succeed, sort of, and others can't?

I was 38 at the time of my crime and I will turn 50 this year. Do I feel lucky? Hell yes, every damn day. Do I still feel like a stigma is over my head, same answer, yes every damn day.

It is nice to talk to someone in the same boat that has kindof beaten the odds.

Thanks for your comments and hopefully we will see each other on this board again!

Posted by: RCB | May 7, 2013 10:55:12 PM

Guy --

One problem with the Internet is that all you see is a bunch of typed words, not a human being. It's a well known phenomenon that people will say things on the Internet they would never say face-to-face.

Your story reminded me of this fact. Your prosecutor/professor knew you as a person, a student, not just as a rap sheet. It's extremely hard to turn your back on a person you know, because you've seen more than one side of him. Most people will rise to the occasion if given the chance. Most is not all, but it creates a more welcoming world than one might suspect from the outside.

I think I've mentioned this before: Both my house manager and my personal trainer have spent time in jail. But I know them to be good people. Good people sometimes act irresponsibly or immaturely; that's life.

There are some bad people, too. The ability to tell when you're dealing with one kind versus when you're dealing with the other is one of the trickiest, yet most important, things I've had to learn in my career and in life, and I'm still learning.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 7, 2013 11:31:31 PM

RCB, don't be silly, under my proposed Erika's Law, any decision to choose the surgical incapicitation option instead of placement on the sex offender would be made by the sex offender. you are perfectly free to choose placement on the sex offender registry. if life on the sex offender registry is really so awful, icky pervs would jump at the chance of being able to escape the sex offender registry. if life on the sex offender registry turns out to not be so bad after all, few if any icky pervs will choose the surgical option.

guy, as i've told you before, i really have no problem with you becoming an attorney as long as you do not work on juvenile cases with juvenile clients.

and really, as much as i try to have empathy and sympathy for people such as yourself who committed sex offenses as juveniles or young adults such as yourself, i just can't. i was sexually assaulted by a group of teenaged boys when i was 11 - so my sympathies are always going to be with the victims in these cases. i hope that you understand that :)

erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 8, 2013 7:28:10 AM

Bill Otis (May 7, 2013 4:21:12 PM):

If you are going to make up a bunch of things while implying that I agree with it, at least try to be accurate. That whole post is stupid and irrelevant to me. I've never said that certain people don't belong in jail, etc.

I have said that our criminal governments have turned me against them so far that I'm not interested in seeing them succeed at anything and I certainly won't help them. They showed their true colors and they are not to be trusted.

Additionally, I never said anything about people putting walls around their homes so that they could commit crimes. The point of doing that is to protect themselves and their families once a criminal government has targeted their homes.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 8, 2013 8:18:41 AM

Erika (May 8, 2013 7:28:10 AM):

Everyone is sorry that you were sexually assaulted when you were young. I was assaulted too. That doesn't mean that we get to go around ignoring facts and harassing people for the rest of our lives. We have no more right to do that than anyone else.

Do you really think that offering castration instead of listing on the Registry is a viable option? What is the point about continually repeating that? Are you somehow trying to imply that Registration must not be that bad because people won't choose castration?

Let me offer you the actual solution and reality. You have your Registry and judging by the growing stupidity of the U.S., it will be around for a long time. However, it is not going to be accomplishing quite what you think it is.

There are plenty of people listed on the Registries who are going to live very normal, unobstructed lives. I am one of them. You talked about you not wanting "guy" working on juvenile cases with juvenile clients. Guess what? I am around children all of the time. Mostly because that is what normal people living normal lives do. But I also do it because I'm not going to allow terrorists like yourself to dictate my life. I am going to interact and work with children just because of people like you. You people can go F yourselves.

So, there may be some small percentage of people who will put up with your Registration and associated BS, but there are going to be plenty of us who tell you where to shove it. I don't give a shit about your "empathy and sympathy". You people will mind your own business and stop harassing me.

But I'm not just negating your Registration. I own the places where people like you live. I am the employer of people. I am doing what I can to disrupt the lives of people like you. And this is apparently the society that we all want to live in. So let's get on with it.

Speaking of which, how is your work with getting the rest of the Registries created going? You must be having great success.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 8, 2013 8:30:51 AM

@ RCB:

And I don't mean to seem like I'm jumping all over you. It heartens me as well to know that there are other folks out there who are able to make it despite our respective pasts.

As far as why us and not others, I think a big part of it is the fact that it sounds like we both had tremendous amounts of support, had some intellectual abilities, and also just got very lucky. The only difference between me and my friend who was prosecuted federally was that an AUSA decided to take his case up, and not mine. That was essentially the difference in our stories. Dumb, stupid, blind luck.

But anyway, we're at least on a better path now. For me, even in spite of the never-ending nature of the consequence, I'm still thankful to have been arrested, and am still good friends with the woman who turned me in. I never would've gone to law school without getting arrested and seeing the criminal justice system up close and personal, and in a lot of ways it feels right.

Good to run into you as well, and I'm sure we'll see each other around again. Cheers.

Posted by: Guy | May 8, 2013 12:10:31 PM

Bill:

Thanks. I know that phenomenon well, and I'm just as guilty of it as anyone. It's easy to get my head lodged squarely up my own ass and forget that maybe being right isn't as important as having the discussion.

Anyway, my experience has generally followed the example that my AUSA prof provided -- people who knew *me* first, then found out about my past stuck by me. That was even the case with friends I made who talked to me about how sex offenders are scum, etc. People who found out about my past *first* generally wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole. That included the public defender's office, which was the whole reason I wanted to go to law school in the first place. Oh heartbreak.

I digress -- I appreciate your commentary, here and elsewhere. Even if we disagree on lots substantively, I know I'd like to try to remember that there's probably a dude on the other end of all these wires that I'd probably not mind having a beer with. So thanks, and cheers.

Posted by: Guy | May 8, 2013 12:18:22 PM

erika:

My heart breaks for you, it does. I know what those scars are like, too. I was a victim of sexual abuse, as well. I don't say that to mean that it was worse or better than your experience, or that it absolves me of responsibility...but just that I have empathy for you.

Because the felons, the fuck ups, the icky pervs are my people, it's easy for me to forget that there are victims, and that they're not my enemy, but really, my people as well. I mean, I think any time you fight against something, it's easy to see people on the other side of the aisle as the enemy, and I think that's wrong of me.

I guess what I mean to say is that I don't think sympathy is an either / or proposition. It is not as if you have to have sympathy for victims *or* offenders, and that by having sympathy for one means you have to demonize the other. I'll give an example from my experiences:

I had to complete state-mandated sex offender treatment as a consequence of my conviction, as does pretty much anyone else convicted of a sex offense. Pretty much everyone in the process had treated me like an irredeemable piece of shit (and, of course, I started to believe I was an irredeemable piece of shit) until I got to my therapist. She treated me and the rest of us with kindness and compassion, told us that yes we made mistakes, but that did not make us bad people. Helped us sort through the wreckage of the past, and never once said we were bad people. She certainly helped me, and many others, but it always struck me as kind of weird that she treated us with such kindness. Haha -- the message, that we were irredeemable pieces of shit, had been so internalized in me that my initial reaction was why do you like sex offenders so much?

It wasn't until I'd almost graduated that I found out the other half of her practice was working with victims of sexual assault and rape. Not only did she work with offenders, but victims as well, and it completely dumb struck me how she was able to treat us with such kindness while simultaneously seeing the harm and the scars that our actions can leave on others.

In short, she's a pretty amazing person.

But I just mean that to say that I don't think sympathy or compassion is an exclusive club. Where some people get it, and other people don't. And to have sympathy or compassion for someone does not mean to absolve them of responsibility or culpability for their actions, but I believe that even punishment can carry with it some measure of compassion, and that perhaps we would all be better for it. How could more compassion for others be a bad thing?

I know we disagree, and that's okay. But thanks for helping me to remember that we all carry scars, and how could I not have compassion for that?

Posted by: Guy | May 8, 2013 12:31:05 PM

Erika,
You have got to be one of the most immature, unthinking idiots I have ever read anything from. If you had done any research at all, you would understand that sexual abuse or assault is not about the sex. It is about the power. Castration would not stop anything. Think about elderly men that can't "get it up" but still want it. How in the hell do you think castration would stop anything? Power, not sex, controls this type of activity and I would hope that you would know this already. Apparently not. Your abusers took "control" of you and did what they wanted to you, the difference with a teen is that at that time of life EVERYTHING is about sex. And the icky pervs comments? Do you know what the word icky means to some people? It is just an acronym for the words "I Could Kill You". I am sure you will feign stupidity on this tho.

Posted by: RCB | May 8, 2013 2:07:59 PM

"Have you missed the liberal hue-and-cry after Sandy Hook?"

The move there is an attempt to pass a bill co-sponsored by one of the most conservative Dems in the Senate a Tea Party Republican providing background checks. Meanwhile, the average liberal supports the individual right to keep and bear arms generally. The dissent in Heller denying that is only the view of a minority of liberals along with some conservatives of the Warren Burger mold.

The "embarrassing Second Amendment" by Sandy Levinson written around 1990 was part of a movement to legitimatize the individual rights view as a constitutional matter. Liberal law professors support that. Their beef at most was Scalia's reasoning. Meanwhile, as a matter of policy, individual rights was also widely accepted, including by Dems, nation-wide. A few exceptions, specifically places with large urban areas, are notable for their paucity.

Posted by: Joe | May 8, 2013 2:11:08 PM

Hate to break it to you Joe but the "individual rights view" was the law of the land here for what 160 years or better up till the JFK killing in the 1960's

It was after the govt shakeup and overthrow after it that suddenly what had been a RIGHT for almost two centuries suddenly wasn't a right before!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 8, 2013 6:17:16 PM

But for some reason no matter where i look. I can't find the folowup amendment that removed it!

Which is why i still say it's prefectly legal and constitution for any american not under some type of legal post conviction control to own and posess any weapon they wish and they also have the self same right as any other american to use it to remove any govt fucktard who tries to take them!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 8, 2013 6:19:50 PM

That is false rodsmith. When the constitution was written about bearing arms, the only guns at the time were single shots muskets. That is what the founding fathers agreed to. Not modern day arsenals. Just single shot muskets. Period.

Posted by: RCB | May 8, 2013 6:23:02 PM

National uniform crime data from 2006 — the most recent data available — show that about half of all reported sex offenses included a weapon of some form (including the use of fists) but less than 1 percent of all reported sex offenses included the use of a firearm, according to Jason Rydberg, a graduate student at Michigan State.

Does this make sense? Half of all reported sex offenses included a weapon? Half? If you figure that there are 750,000+ registered sex offenders, this stat would mean that about 375,000 of them used a weapon. I don't believe that for a minute. The vast majority of registrants are non-violent offenders. Child porn is the easiest crime to catch (easiest to commit, too..click) so my wild guess is that child porn users form the largest number of registrants. Watching child porn doesn't involve weapons...unless you do some tricky accounting that assumes weapons were used when every single image was recorded, even though the CP user had nothing to do with the production.

In the federal system, the crime of using child porn is considered to have a 'public safety factor.' The reasoning there has to do with the fact that some CP images include violence. The guys--like my husband--doing time for CP get dinged with the public safety factor, even if the images found in their possession include not even a hint of violence. There's more of that tricky accounting for you.

I do believe that guns were used in a tiny number of offenses. That makes sense to me.


Posted by: marie | May 9, 2013 12:24:02 AM

hmm

"That is false rodsmith. When the constitution was written about bearing arms, the only guns at the time were single shots muskets. That is what the founding fathers agreed to. Not modern day arsenals. Just single shot muskets. Period."

horse pucky! plenty of people along the sea shore and deep in indian country had trading forts armed with what at that time owuld have been start of the art cannons!

What that amendment was written for was to basically tell the friggin govt to keep your hands off the guns. That technically we just spent years running the last bunch of govt stooges into the ocean. Your an experiment we're not quite sure about. So WE are keeping control of the guns!'

Guess what it worked pretty damn good. We built the greatest country in the world! Then in the 1960's we let the retards take over. It's been downhill ever since!

Think i'm wrong. Just remember if during that time. If the majority of the people here had not ALREADY HAD GUNS! it would never been written and we would still be sucking up to Queen Elizabeth!"

Of course considering the total fuckups we have the last few decades. That could only be considered an improvement!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 9, 2013 1:07:39 AM

RCB: "You have got to be one of the most immature, unthinking idiots I have ever read anything from"

me: *eyes roll* considering that you were picked up trolling the internet for teenagers who were young enough to be your children "immature" seems to be "your type." sorry, i'm an attorney so that means i'm an adult and obviously too old for you :P

RCB: "If you had done any research at all, you would understand that sexual abuse or assault is not about the sex. It is about the power."

me: while some people say that, that is a major oversimplication which is a much more a statement of political ideology than fact. In fact, that statement is often based upon a belief that women are inheriently repressed in our society [which is still true to a certain extent, but less true than when this claim first arose] which claims that rape is not about sex, but instead is an expression of male privilege. Of course, many people who hold that ideological belief then to hold some rather dismissive views of women's ability to engage in choice especially involving sex - which reached its nadir in the writings of Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin where radical feminists wound up often sounding downright myosogntic.

While there is no doubt that some offenders do commit sexual assault as an expression of power - a good example would be the documented instances of mass rapes following wars or conquests going all the way back to Biblical times [in fact, the Bible itself documents the seizure of foreign women as "wives" or even into sexual slavery as "prostitutes"] and documented recently in ethnic wars such as in Bosnia and Rwanda. - it does not account for all cases of sexual assault. Some people are sexual sadists who dervive sexual pleasure from violence - for that group, sexual assaults are in fact sexually motivated. Pedophiles also offend due to primarily sexual motivation - they are sexually attracted to children so for them raping a child is based upon their sexual desire to children.

In general, while most group sexual assaults are likely primarily an expression of power and privilege with sex a secondary motivation, it is probably not the case with most individual cases. In fact, considering that some people commit sexual assault and abuse precisely because they derive sexual pleasure from exerting control and power over another person it is probably a chicken and egg type situation. But dismissing sexual motivation in sexual assaults is a mistake - in most offenders both motivations are likely present.

RCB: "Castration would not stop anything."

me: i know, that is why my proposed Erika's Law would provide for castration and penis removal :P

RCB: "Do you know what the word icky means to some people?"

me: icky simply means extremely gross - as in a 38 year old man trolling the internet for teenaged girls young enough to be his daughter is extremely icky :P

RCB: "It is just an acronym for the words "I Could Kill You". I am sure you will feign stupidity on this tho."

me: i have never heard that usage before and i strongly suspect that you are just making it up. and since i am morally opposed to the death penalty for any offender and my primary view is that Icky Pervs should be locked up in prison, that really shows how stupid your interpretation is. but if you prefer, i will change the designation to Yucky Pervs although i'm sure you will come up with some sinister meaning to that as well :P

and please get over yourself, i don't even consider you to be an Icky, oopsie i mean Yucky Perv because while your crime was definitely icky or yucky if you prefer, you didn't target a prebescent child. Saying that you are extremely gross which is the primary definition of icky is simply a description.

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 9, 2013 7:22:08 AM

FRT: "Speaking of which, how is your work with getting the rest of the Registries created going?"

me: Virginia in fact has created a dangerous dog registry - it is off to a big success as shown by the fact that several years after it was created the very populous county where i live has exactly zero dangerous dogs.

Kansas includes drug offenders on their sex offender registry which is rather weird in my opinion. Unless they want to inform potential drug purchasers where convicted drug dealers are located

and i've long believed that there should be a domestic violence registry showing convicted domestic abusers.

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 9, 2013 10:29:31 AM

guy, that really does not surprise me, because many sex offenders have been victims of sexual abuse themselves - that is one reason why i believe in severe penalties for the sexual abuse of children because the consequences of childhood sexual abuse can be extremely damaging to society and that society should take any reasonable potential step to try to break the cycle of abuse. i also believe that once a person has a record of sexually abusing children the primary focus should be on incapitation through long prison terms. i think that in many states (at least in Virginia with a 25 year mandatory minimum to LWOP) penalties for child rape have caught up to an appropriate level - but penalties for other contact offenses against children seem to be way too low.

i also think that forcible sexual offenses against adults tend to be underpunished as well - believe it or not, sexual battery of an adult is actually a misdemeanor in Virginia. A person can commit multiple acts of sexual battery against multiple victims and still have the right to own a gun. That is insane.

an offender like you, i do have quite a bit of sympathy for you - although i find it hard to believe that you never "touched a child" since i'm thinking that there had to be some girl in your class who was willing to dance slow with you at the middle school dance :)

i know that a lot of sex offenders - especially young ones are socially awkward teens or young adults - who react to their inability to, you know, actually talk to girls with turning to the internet and finding a whole lot of pornography. and naturally that creates a rather unrealistic picture of women which likely makes the prospect of actually trying to approach an actual girl to engage in teh normal dating prospect and maybe having to wait awhile to even kiss - which naturally will increase social isolation and lead to more dependance upon porn.

so i know that many young people who commit internet based sex offenses are not necessarily dangerous pedophiles - but i also do not think that society should be forced to take the risk. i want to believe that you are in fact no danger to children - i deplore violence against anyone especially a child [i also experienced a lot of physical abuse as a child] - but the fact is that the physical abuse and sexual assaults [i have also been sexually assaulted as an adult] have made it very difficulr for me to trust anybody. so don't take the fact that i don't really trust you personally :)

erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 9, 2013 11:07:21 AM

Joe: "The dissent in Heller denying that is only the view of a minority of liberals along with some conservatives of the Warren Burger mold."

me: Actually, the vast majority of Constitutional scholars and especially historians agree that the dissent in Heller is right that the Second Amendment was never intended for an individual right to bare arms. The Constitutional and Bill of Rights are very short document which do not contain extraneous phrases and the "right to bear arms" had a well known meaning to people in the 18th century to be referring to the military.

The liberal argument for the right to bare arms is actually based upon the 9th Amendment (and really politics) - and i would argue that the majority reasoning in Heller *only* makes sense as a 9th Amendment case because that is the only way to get around the original intent, plain language, and historic understanding of the 2nd Amendment. Indeed, the majority actually admits to people who actually bother to read it that they are trying to claim that the 2nd Amendment embraces long recognized rights to own firearms to hunt or for protection or for penis extention or whatever reason that someone wants to have a gun. Of course, that makes Heller absolutely no different in reasoning from Roe v. Wade and conservatives just cannot have that (but liberals who embrace the 9th Amednment like it) - so they made up something about the 2nd Amendment knowing that the media will report on the soundbite and ignore that Heller was actually basing its decision on an extra constitutional right [which of course makes it judicial activitism].

So of course, even the liberals who know that the Second Amendment was never intended to provide for individual rights [and the historical and linguistical evidence is overwhelming] can live with it because they are perfectly fine with judicial activitism, the Ninth Amendment, and extra-constitutional rights.

But i'm never ever going to accept the hypocracy (and based upon the question presented, the dissent is right historically and linguistically, the 2nd Amendment doesn't contain an individual right, the 9th Amendment does).

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 9, 2013 11:26:48 AM

Erika,

First I was not looking for someone underage. While conversing with the said officer of the law, I asked the age. The comment was then, "I am of age". So I went with it because I would have thought early to mid 20s. However, later in the conversation (not in my memory) the age was mentioned again to be 17. And to my knowledge, until I read the discovery, I did not see that, or it did not register. Honestly, I can't say. At the time tho, I was living in Ky where the legal age of consent is 16 so if I saw 17, to me that was legal, immoral or out of line? Maybe. I was not looking for underage because in no way did the cop look underage at all. I was in Florida on vacation when this happened and, I do not know about you, but I do not check what the age of consent is or when I vacation. The main reason is because I do not now or then go looking for underaged.

Posted by: RCB | May 9, 2013 2:43:18 PM

I have a right to know all the people that I am around that have committed crimes. Those people should be visiting our local law enforcement agencies every few months, living away from schools, parks, etc., and following many other restrictions. I should be getting e-mail alerts any time they do anything. Until all that happens, I will continue to understand that the Sex Offender Registries are not really about public safety or protecting children. The main purpose of the Sex Offender Registries is to try to placate stupid, lazy, hateful people.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 9, 2013 6:26:48 PM

Erika,

Then I hope you're able to heal. Holding onto that sort of thing, as they say, is like you drinking the poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Posted by: Guy | May 9, 2013 7:20:32 PM

Erika stated: The Constitutional and Bill of Rights are very short document which do not contain extraneous phrases and the "right to bear arms" had a well known meaning to people in the 18th century to be referring to the military."

Sure, Erika, the founders put in a document that does "not contain extraneous phrases" a phrase that establishes a right for the MILITARY to HAVE WEAPONS. How precious.

Wouldn't that be the very definition of an "extraneous phrase?"

It is akin to adding a comment that one could use his voice for "free speech."

BTW, who made up the military in 18th century America, a country that believed in having only the smallest professional standing military during peacetime?

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | May 9, 2013 10:00:22 PM

Well TarlsQtr1 i can guarantee that she will never admit it was made up of the CITIZENS WHO ALREADY HAD THE DAMN GUNS in the first place!

The govt didn't provide them the people had them already. Wasn't till later in the war that any attempt at some type of standarzation and control was put into place.

Posted by: rodsmith | May 10, 2013 1:17:24 AM

FRT, whether your neighbors have committed a crime is generally going to be a public record - so if you care enough, you can find it out. Same as even without the sex offender registry people could find out about your conviction.

RCB, you were still old enough that you should not have had to be concerned about whether someone was of legal age - even if she was 18, she was still young enough to be your daughter. And that is still yucky.

guy, i am actually healed quite well, thank you :)

tarlqtr, actually given the context of the times, it does makes perfect sense to have an amendment protecting the state militias and protecting the rights of the people to serve in the military. The states had already established militias - the SEcond Amendment was designed to protect it from the new stronger central government. Those militias were military forces - members were required to participate in training, drills, and be available for active military service if called.

And within the historic context of the late 18th Century, the reason why the Bill of Rights would protect the right of the people to be in he military (which is what the phrase "bear arms" was referring to). During the 18th Century, it was common for European Countries to employee mercanaries - the British Army during the pre-Revolution period and Revolutionary War was extensively comprised of paid mercanaries. The British Navy well into the 19th Century would force people (including American sailors, see the War of 1812) to join and serve in their navy. Remember in school when you learned about the story of Washington crossing the Delaware? Remember who the Colonial forces attacked? Hessian mercanaries. The Constitution is full of assurances that the new government would not engage in the prior abuses that the British took place. the Third Amendment prohibition on quartering troops is a way. The Second Amendment not only protected the state militias, it provided an assurance that the U.S. would not employee a standing army of mercanaries which was the common practice in Europe at the time. It also was important to protect the right of Americans to serve in the military and to have an army of Americans.

rodsmith, not everybody was in the Militia and had guns - the militia was only comprised of able bodied white males who were generaly young (and expected to engage in training and serve actively in the military when called). Women, Native Americans, blacks, older men, people not considered able bodied, "lunaticks," criminals, people with religious objections to military service, etc. were excluded.

and in any case, Heller was ultimately not based upon the SEcond Amendment - it was based upon existing pre-Constitutional rights which is to say that it was based upon the Ninth Amendment. If the people already had the guns and the right to have guns, the SEcond Amendment would have no purpose because the Ninth has it covered. That is perhaps the strongest historical evidence that the Second Amendment was never intended as an individual right.

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 10, 2013 10:37:33 AM

Erika,

You do not seem to understand, I saw a WOMAN on that webcam. Not a child. I was not concerned with age because, and this was later confirmed, that she was a mid 20s woman, 26 in fact.

You can call me yucky if it makes you feel superior to me, it seems like that is your whole idea. Belittle those you do not like to make yourself feel better about yourself. You may think me yucky, and that is your right, but my thoughts of you are that you are a bitter woman that is obsessed with her past and way too many others futures. If you are in fact an attorney, I hope one day you end up defending an RSO. Maybe then you will see the other side or MAYBE you will do a crappy job as a lawyer and get disbarred.

As far as legal age of consent, as you should already know, the law is the law and your thoughts on how wrong something is to you, do not really matter. 18 year olds are adults in the eyes of the law, what they are in your eyes does not freakin matter.

Posted by: RCB | May 10, 2013 12:15:29 PM

Erika (May 10, 2013 10:37:33 AM):

It is not good enough that I can look through public records to find out which of my neighbors have been convicted of crimes. If it was, we would not have the Sex Offender Registries.

Until all the rest of those Registries exist, along with a bunch of tag-along laws (e.g. Banishment), I'm going to always know that the Sex Offender Registries are really just for terrorists to get their jollies and make themselves feel better.

RCB (May 10, 2013 12:15:29 PM):

If what you have said about your case is true, the criminal regime that ran the scam are even more bottom feeding scum than the usual. I hate criminal regimes for really good reasons. They really ought to try to hold themselves up to just a slightly higher standard so people could at least try to respect them. In this case it would have been so simple. They should have shown you a picture of someone who was *clearly* underage (e.g. like 12) and *said* they were clearly underage (e.g. like 12). None of this "17 year old" BS. And for certain, anyone who is old enough to legally drive a car on a public road should absolutely be past the age of consent. To think otherwise is ridiculous.

I don't know about you but I truly do believe that one of the huge reasons that the Sex Offender Registries exist is to make people feel better about themselves. I fully believe that there is a quite large percentage of people who, even if they KNEW that the Sex Offender Registries were counterproductive (i.e. more sex crimes than without), they would still want them. I believe a large percentage don't care at all. Which makes the whole witch hunt even more moronic, immoral, and un-American.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | May 10, 2013 4:56:43 PM

Erica:

I will make this as simple as possible:

Multiple wrongs don't make a right.

What happened to you (as you describe it) was terrible and the people who caused you REAL HARM should have been prosecuted. Deception, force, threats, coercion and incapacitation should always be important factors in sentencings of this type. However, prosecutors (realizing the difficulties that these factors presented) simply had the laws changed to say "a minor, a child, a whatever - they cannot give consent) and voila, instant prosecution and persecution. They can then turn around and say, we will try this (underage) person as an adult.

This is social schizophrenia at its finest. Current SO laws are nothing but a POS.

Adam Walsh Act my butt. John Walsh dated Adam's mother Rene, when he was 21 and she was 16 years old. Talk about self-deception.

Posted by: albeed | May 10, 2013 9:48:41 PM

i agree FR i think it's silly that they can use 50 year old cops and convict someone for supposedly talking to a kid.

BUT let some cop try and pass off sugar as coke and see what happens!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 11, 2013 1:19:46 AM

Erika,

Your "explanation" makes no more sense than the first. The 2A does not read that the STATES have the right to have a military or "bear arms" (which would have been clear, concise, and free of "extraneous phrases"). Instead, it clearly says that the "people" have this right.

In addition, your explanation does nothing to address why the framers wanted to be sure the states knew the states could have an ARMED military in comparison to an "unarmed military", the likes of which has never existed on earth. It is nonsense.

Finally, your claim that "bear arms" historically meant military is absurd. The direct antecedent to our Bill of Rights was the British Bill of Rights. It read, "That the subjects which are Protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law."

In other words, ANY PROTESTANT had a "right" to a gun for self-defense with no mention of their having to be a part of the military.

". . .No free man shall be debarred the use of arms within his own land."

1 THE PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSONS, 344 (J. Boyd ed. 1950) (quoting from the proposed Virginia Constitution of 1776)

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | May 11, 2013 1:22:08 PM

In some states your required to register as a sex offender for years or even a lifetime if you urinate in public or "moon" someone. I knew someone who had to register as a sex offender because he was 19 and his girlfriend was 17. Even heard of a case where a young 12 year old boy exposed his self to his younger 8 year old cousin and now has to register for the next 25 years.

Just having the title alone makes a person a target. What's to stop someone who hates registered sex offenders from knocking on the door and shooting the person registered?

Posted by: lyn | Jul 24, 2013 3:46:35 PM

number one someone asked where it says a felon can carry a firearm. it says it right in the 2nd amendment " the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed"... shall not be infringed is the important part. look up the word infringed... it means basically can't be messed with.. no law can be made to stop anyone from carrying a firearm.. if a law is made then it is unconstitutional therefore an illegal law. the founding fathers knew how corrupt law makers are and how they would twist and squirm around all obsticles to eventually ban all people from carrying. this is why they put this in there " shall not be infringed".. if you notice it is the only amendment that has that in it. they did not want this country to deny these rights to anyone period. law makers over time have made laws restricting certian people. may i remind you once free from all obligations from the state you have all rights of an american citizen again. that is why it is called a republic. we are not a democracy with the constitution to be changed at the whim of the people.

Posted by: jim | Sep 8, 2013 1:35:21 AM

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