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December 19, 2006

More on the pros and cons of GPS tracking

Salon.com has this interesting new article entitled, "Tracking sex offenders with GPS."  Here are is how it begins:

It's not every Election Day that voters can cast a ballot to banish thousands of people to the hinterlands, but Californians did just that last month, and eagerly so.  Seventy percent voted to ban registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, effectively outlawing them from many residential areas in the state.  Known as "Jessica's Law," after a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped from her home, sexually abused and murdered by a registered sex offender, the California proposition swept in a myriad of punitive changes.  The crackdown on residency applies to all registered sex offenders, including those convicted of a misdemeanor, such as indecent exposure.

Most notably, felony sex offenders will now be tracked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via GPS (global positioning system), even after they're out of prison and off parole.  The state senator and advocates behind the proposition call the GPS devices a necessary and vital tool to control sexual criminals.  The California measure makes no distinction between habitual offenders at high risk of striking again, worth having their every move tracked electronically once they're out of prison, and the felons who have served their time and present no apparent threat to public safety in the eyes of the court.  Just put a GPS device on all of them, voters said, forever....

But as states rush to impose harsher penalties on sex criminals, critics -- legal and criminal analysts, and even some victims of sex crimes themselves -- state that the punitive new laws violate civil liberties and are ineffective.  And while a technological fix like fastening GPS devices to former felons may make the public feel safer, it will do little to protect the children who are the victims of most sex crimes.

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December 19, 2006 at 08:35 PM | Permalink


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It's nice to see mainstream news sources giving serious treatment to the subject:The broad California measure is symptomatic of a national tide of fear about sexual predators lurking in the bushes by the playground, at the mall, just on the [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 19, 2006 9:56:26 PM


"Because the conditions of parole often restrict where an offender can go, outlawing, say, schools or day-care centers, the device can behave like a 24-hour virtual parole officer, keeping tabs to see if the offender follows the rules."

Has anyone filed a habeas on this equal protection issue? Even if not on probation or parole, there is a loss of liberty while under surveillance, as if on parole or probation, but the goal of rehabilitation is lacking. That subtracts from the "not punishment" claim. Since probation is administrative, there are reasons to argue "similarly situated." Some dissenting SCOTUS justices mentioned this as well in either Smith or Doe.

The legislature is the judge/probation officer issuing constantly changing probation conditions that are not tailored to the individual or to the crime. Are there grounds for habeas arguing for the equal protection rights of probationers - hearings, rehabilitation as a goal, rationally trailered limited liberty, and the usual probationary rights?

Any similar cases?

Posted by: George | Dec 19, 2006 10:10:22 PM

I currently have a relationship theft case in Dallas Texas and the judge was reluctant to allow a bond, so he ordered me on a monitor and drug testing. I have never been involved in drugs and my case has nothing to do with drugs. I think that the laws of texas need to be changed or the judges one!

Posted by: Dee Smith | Dec 5, 2007 9:37:45 PM

I put on for my city

Posted by: Young Jezzy | Oct 14, 2008 2:09:54 PM

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Posted by: Marc Kincade | Jan 20, 2010 2:02:25 PM

It's tough to argue against the fact that any sexual offendor should get any sort of righsts once released from prison. Yeah, maybe they have been rehabilitated through the system, but it doesn't change the fact of what they did to get there in the first place. Additionally, what percentage of sex offenders eventually commit another sex crime...I'm not sure of the numbers, but it sure does seem to show in the news more often than it should.

Posted by: GuideDog | Jul 6, 2010 2:34:38 PM

I am a 35 year old man,In 1995 I was charged with a lewd act on my then girlfriend that was 16.I went to prison for 7years and was released in 2003.In 2006 I was put on probation for a minor drug offense,well the court system here in florida says that because that I have a prior offense some 15years ago that I will be required to wear a GPS monitor..I feel that a person who should be wearing them is the ones that need to be tracked..I paid my debt to society and am now trying to be a productive member of our society and it is hard to do that when I am still be persecuted for a crime that was 15years ago.Is it right to continue to punish a person for an offense that happend over 15years ago.I am not or ever have been a child molester,predator.or any of the other names people call them..I had sex with a 16 year old girl when I was 19.....Is Jessicas Law legaL???

Posted by: james james | Nov 26, 2010 5:18:28 AM

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