« Is California conducting an "unprecedented experiment in mass forgiveness"? | Main | A few notable sentencing stories from the campaign trail »

February 9, 2016

Prez Obama signs into law the "International Megan's Law," and group immediately files suit against passport scarlet letter requirement

As reported in this AP piece, headlined "Sex offenders challenge new federal passports law," over the last 24 hours President Obama signed a somewhat controversial federal sex offender law and a group has filed suit to block part of its mandates. Here are the basics:

A civil rights group has filed a lawsuit challenging a law that will require sex offenders to be identified on their passports.

President Obama signed the International Megan's Law bill into law on Monday following Congress passing the bill last week. The California Reform Sex Offender Laws filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, challenging the laws, which requires the Secretary of State to add "unique identifiers" to the passports of all registered sex offenders.

Passports today are used as a primary form of identification as well for entry into a foreign country. A passport symbol that identifies an individual as a registered sex offender could place at significant risk that person as well as others traveling with them, including family members and business colleagues, the lawsuit says.

This page on the site of the California Reform Sex Offender Laws organization provides these additional details about the suit:

The lawsuit will be filed in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, on behalf of four registered citizens. The lawsuit alleges that International Megan’s Law violates several provisions in the U.S. Constitution including the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the equal protection and ex facto clauses. Subsequent to filing of the lawsuit, an application for a Preliminary Injunction will be filed which, if granted, would stop the law from being implemented. 

A helpful reader emailed me a copy of the 27-page complaint in this case, and I have provided it for downloading here:  Download Complaint filed against IML Feb 2016

February 9, 2016 at 02:40 PM | Permalink

Comments

I really dislike this country more and more often.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Feb 9, 2016 3:50:28 PM

And I loathe its federal politicians. Every one of them.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Feb 9, 2016 3:51:04 PM

Just vote with your feet. Wait. That was outlawed too.

"Every step you take, I'll be watching you."

Posted by: Anon | Feb 9, 2016 4:05:05 PM

more 'German SS' style impingements from the federal pond scum we call Congress

Posted by: general observation | Feb 9, 2016 5:43:18 PM

Another thing that is completely frigging absurd about this legislation is that there is apparently no foreign counterpart. What are foreign countries going to do with this information? Do they care? IDIOTIC.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Feb 9, 2016 9:25:31 PM

The IML needs to be understood with this in mind: the U.S. government is ALREADY notifying foreign governments when an American Registered Sex Offender is on his/her way. This has been the case for about three years now and based on powers which have left many of us scratching our heads.

Already, scores of Registrants have been refused entry into myriad countries, advance notice of their ill-fated travels having already been received by the various gendarmes waiting to greet them with decidedly closed-arms. Many a trip has resulted in a very abrupt refusal of entry and subsequent, bleary-eyed return back to the States, much sooner than had been anticipated.

IML, though, goes even further: it criminalizes the very act of travel by Registrants who have not first gotten permission from their government overseers (remember, we're talking about citizens whose obligations to the regime of punishment and supervision have already been faithfully discharged and are, ostensibly, free individuals). In fact, the penalty for failing to notify the government that you're headed for a summer holiday in France, for example, will be that you are put in a federal prison for ten years. That's going to happen now. To me, that, and the foreign notification, are even more egregious than the branding of passports, although that element is getting by far most of the attention.

What's happened in this country is that it has taken the very dangerous precedent of establishing degrees of citizenship and codifying a stratified conception of rights with the inevitable consequence that the rights of some will be degraded relative to the rights of others.

It is, of course, to sex offenders that such a concept must first be applied. Could we have doubted it?

Posted by: David Kennerly | Feb 10, 2016 3:36:37 AM

The 'reasoning' behind the IML (indeed, behind the registration itself) seems to be the totally false and disproven assumption that sex offenders must offend again. But if that were true then this law would only serve to keep such people locked in to a country with over 72 million kids (according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation). This means there are approximately 100 kids per registrant (assuming uniform distributions) and if the assumption of near 100% recidivism is true then the number of victims should skyrocket. For shame on Congress and the President for putting so many kids at risk.

Posted by: Joe P | Feb 10, 2016 7:51:04 AM

Won't anyone think of the children? JFC.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Feb 10, 2016 8:43:10 AM

Another reason to vigorously oppose this International Megan's Law is, besides its resemblance to the practice in Stalinist Russian and Nazi Germany of requiring Jews to carry special passports that disqualified them of the right to travel, is that it could ENDANGER our airports' security.

Imagine, if you will, a disgruntled former sex offender at an airport ticket counter angry over being denied the right to fly by simple virtue of his or her scarlet letter passport! That individual might decide to act out at the airport counter by either deliberately running into a highly restricted area of the airport with the intention of putting the entire airport into lockdown with resulting cancellation of everybody's flights for at least several hours of that day, OR of pulling an object out of his or her pocket that resembles a firearm. After all, ticket counters are outside the security check area in most airports. I can just imagine angry passengers upset about their cancelled flights on account of the actions by an individual former sex offender who, in turn, is angry over denial of the right to fly. Who will these angry passengers blame first: the former sex offender who decided to disrupt their flight plans by acting out in frustration over the new International Megan's Law; or against the asinine politicians who authored this law in the first place?

It would be as if this former sex offender is saying, "If I can't fly at your airport, then I'll see to it that nobody else can!"

That's something for Obama and Company to think about now that they have signed this stupid bill into law.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Feb 10, 2016 9:28:27 AM

The U.S. federal government, along with most other governments in the U.S., is an illegitimate criminal regime. They are enemies of all good Americans. They deserve all the contempt and disrespect that they get and more.

From what I have heard, only Nazi Germany and Russia have put scarlet letters on their passports. The vast majority of people in the U.S. are scumbags who support the U.S. joining that group. Those people deserve what they are getting.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Feb 10, 2016 12:59:10 PM

william r. delzell | Feb 10, 2016 9:28:27 AM: I don't think this law will do much at airports but it will get people murdered. It will create more domestic terrorists. Perhaps it will get a federal building blown up. It will grow big government even bigger. I know it will do all of that.

And of course it won't protect anyone. Only morons believe it will.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Feb 10, 2016 1:01:25 PM

While I certainly hope it will not endanger our airports, it is my guess that of the millions of former sex offenders out there to whom this International Megan's Law will affect, at least some of them might be hot-headed enough to completely lose it if some airport official tells them that they may not board a flight because of a scarlet letter in their identification card. Not all Americans are all that civil. The same rule probably applies at least to some ex-sex offenders who might feel that they no longer have anything to lose by cutting loose at the airport and putting everybody else at risk as a way of venting their frustrations at this law. By your mentioning that some former offenders might decide to become domestic terrorists, God forbid, proves my point: acting out at an airport in a manner to endanger that airport's security is an example of domestic terrorism. After all, what place would be easier than an airport for them to take their frustrations on since this law specifically applies to flight travel?

Posted by: william r. delzell | Feb 10, 2016 3:56:29 PM

@Fat Bastard

While I agree with much of the comments here Fat Bastard raises what I think is the most interesting point. Namely, at what point in time will potential sex offenders simply move abroad before hand. In reality the entire sex offender regime is simply pushing the problem oversees. It's difficult for me to imagine a sensible pedophile staying in America after this nonsense.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 10, 2016 9:12:22 PM

I wonder if this Scarlet Letter thing will be applied to pedophile priests.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Feb 10, 2016 10:14:35 PM

How about pedophile nuns? We have now had revelations by former victims of nuns having molested these current adults of both genders when the victims were still children. Case in point: in 1994, ABC News exposed a horrible scandal in Quebec prior to 1959 when Duplessis was still that Canadian province's Prime Minister. He covered up for several nuns who ran orphanages where the nuns both sexually and physically abused their child charges. It took decades for the victims, once they achieved adulthood, to finally speak out.

A nun who molests children is no different than a priest who commits such a despicable act. Both need to answer for their crimes under a due process court of law.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Feb 11, 2016 9:38:03 AM

In Europe on my last visit there was a pedophile priest who gave up his ugly past. He became a pedophile muslim and wears a turban.

Posted by: JackMehoff | Feb 11, 2016 9:39:17 AM

A supplemental motion was filed to stop implementation until case can be heard and judged.

Motion Filed to Stop Implementation of International Megan’s Law

http://californiarsol.org/2016/02/motion-filed-to-stop-implementation-of-international-megans-law/

Posted by: Eric Knight | Feb 21, 2016 2:36:42 PM

This law offers nothing more than a false sense of security. In all actually it’s nothing more than a “Gateway Law.” Once this law is implemented, what’s to stop the government from passing a law which requires all U.S. citizens to state additional life threatening information on their passports. If you support this law then you are asking for a future where YOU will have YOUR PASSPORT stating such information as/but not limited to: YOUR RELIGION (imagine how dangerous this would be for you and your family to travel if the passport stated that you are Muslims, Christians, Jewish, Catholics, or any other religion which would target you and your family for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or threats) , YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION (imagine how dangerous this would be for you and your family to travel if the passport stated that you or one of your family members are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or some other sexual classification which would target you and your family for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or threats) YOUR OCCUPATION (imagine how dangerous this would be for you and your family to travel if the passport stated that your occupation or one of your family members occupation was in law enforcement, the military or any other filed which would target you and your family for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or threats). These are just a few examples. What’s to stop the Government from also passing a law that gives them the authority to stop you or any U.S. citizen from traveling outside the country? (imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you were delinquent on government college loans, imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you had a prior arrest for something as minor as disturbing the peace, imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you had a prior arrest even though it was dropped or acquitted, imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you’ve had too many driving tickets or DUI’s, or imagine never being able to travel outside the country because of some other B.S. the Government deems credible) The government is simply using the public’s hatred of sex offenders as a gateway to gain power and authority to overstep their United States Constitutional and Civil boundaries. This sex offender passport law violates numerous United States Constitutional and Civil Laws. Don’t be deceived! Once we let the Government cross the line, there is no going back!!!
-“Who is going to have a unique identifier added to their passport next? Is it going to be Muslims? Is it going to be gays?” asks Janice Bellucci, a civil rights attorney.
The United States Constitutional and Civil Laws were made to protect us United States citizens from Government corruption. What is the point of this country having Constitutional and Civil Laws if we allow the Government to violate them?
**Branding a human being and FOREVER denying them the right to leave a country is exactly what the Nazi’s did to the Jewish people and it‘s also a form of slavery. This is far more than just a Constitutional Rights issue, this is clearly a Human Rights issue and the United Nations should take notice**

Posted by: Wakeup American | Mar 29, 2016 8:44:09 PM

Post a comment

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