« Split Second Circuit panel declares within-guideline child porn possession sentence of 225 months "substantively unreasonable" | Main | Lots of litigation leading to lots of uncertainty as Arkansas execution dates arrive »

April 17, 2017

"Should NC sex offenders pay to be on registry?"

The question in the title of this post is the headline of this local article, which gets started this way:

Sex offenders would have to pay an annual fine to be listed on the state’s sex offender registry under a bill proposed by N.C. Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover.  “There is a cost to continuing to have them on that registry,” Davis said. “The point of this is to get revenue to keep these people on the sex offender registry.”

House Bill 684 calls for sex offenders to pay an initial and annual fee of $90 to be on the registry.  The money would be directed to county sheriff’s offices to offset the costs associated with registering sex offenders, according to the bill.  Failure to pay the fee does not mean a registered sex offender isn’t listed on the registry -- the state attorney general’s office could sue to collect unpaid fees, according to the bill.

Many states require fees to be listed on the registry. In Tennessee, for example, the fee is $150 per year.

Cristina Becker, criminal justice debt fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU), said the bill could amount to adding an additional burden to someone who has served their jail term, serves on probation, lives under the restriction of the sex offender registry and is already facing a host of other fees associated with their conviction.  “It can become a perpetual form of punishment,” she said of an annual fee.  Becker said that because many released offenders “are indigent, their probationary periods can be extended for as long as they owe money.”

April 17, 2017 at 04:52 PM | Permalink


If their conviction predates the imposition of the fee (or if their conviction is out of state), ex post facto should engage. If it's not part of the conviction, then it cannot be required. At least in my view.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 17, 2017 5:15:13 PM

Outrageous. I find the idea of the sex offenders register difficult enough to deal with and that's before lunacy like this. Any chance of a shoplifter's register - more likely to be a recidivist to fund the drug habit you know.

Posted by: ome misesrum | Apr 17, 2017 5:17:52 PM

Pay to be on a sex offender registry, sounds like something Hillary Clinton and her motley crew would dream up. Absolutely positively nobody pays to be on any registry of any kind. Are they brain dead.

In fact Registrys need to be banned, just another item to give bleeding hearts to complain on some poor soul that is on one.

Definition of a sex offender, there isnt one really. An 18 yr old kid having sex with his 17 yr old girl friend, a guy taking a wiz outside by a tree and having a cigarette, but theres a park 50 ft away, its winter and nobody is around e cept for a sicko cop.

Many people are in sex registrys and shouldnt be. Politicians dont have the guts to get involved in that dark area. So my vote is to ban all registrys.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Apr 17, 2017 5:35:38 PM

The registry is a government cash cow.

Posted by: kat | Apr 17, 2017 5:47:56 PM

I think it would have to be prospective and would assume that it would be in effect an amendment to the current criminal law / a sort of mandatory fine. A continuing fee sounds gratutious and at the very least should be needs based.

My virus software blocked access to the article as dangerous.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 17, 2017 5:52:15 PM

Thank you. I am adding Registry Sharking to my Parole and Probation Sharking review.


Posted by: David Behar | Apr 17, 2017 6:50:33 PM

Hell no...it's their law and they put the SO who finished their sentence back on probation with out cause. No they should not have to pay anything!!

Posted by: Book38 | Apr 17, 2017 7:30:34 PM

Great, lets make these abominations self funding so no one ever has to think about them again. And further penalize a group of people, many of the least dangerous of whom have paid dearly with outrageous, disproportionate sentences.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Apr 17, 2017 7:55:38 PM

It is more sex offender exceptionalism.. The issue isn't whether this is right or wrong in the abstract the issues is why do sex offenders have to do things that other criminals do not after they leave prison? All the collateral consequences to being a sex offender are the Scarlet Letter of our day. Sure the letter isn't branded into their skin but it achieves that exact same effect for the exact same reason. It stigmatizes a minority for what the majority sees as sexual deviance.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 17, 2017 7:59:26 PM

Very good information on Sex offenders. Thank you. Keep posting.

Posted by: Lily Dove | Apr 18, 2017 5:37:12 AM


The answer is because the sex offender is the proving ground for the next wave of societal control. Mass incarceration has fallen into disfavor, but given advances in technology and the surveillance state, we don't actually need prisons anymore to exert a relatively similar level of control.

So the government imposes these burdens on the sex offender to soften the blow when they decide to impose them on the DUI offender, the meth offender, until we wind up where everyone is on a registry of some sort.

Posted by: Guy | Apr 18, 2017 8:44:03 AM

North Carolina has a long tradition of defying revenue agents even with violent means, especially in the Appalachians. Some of these former SO's may hail from that part of North Carolina sharing that tradition and may view the makers and enforcers of such a registry payment law the same way they look at revenue agents--and act accordingly. I wouldn't want to be the official saddled with enforcing such a revenue law.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Apr 18, 2017 9:17:05 AM

Sexual crimes have a special horror particularly when done against children. They violate an intimacy given a special importance in society & this is reflected in part in constitutional rights to privacy in particular.

There is also an assumption that sex offenders are particularly dangerous, unable to be subject to self-control. Not sure what other group would comparably be put on registries though some are in effect by being labeled "felons" and being denied rights, having problems getting employment opportunities etc.

Finally, there is likely some long term "Puritan" (putting aside the historical status of that group) sentiment about sexuality and the fear of sex crimes, seen as "dirty" and a specter.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 18, 2017 10:26:42 AM

ETA: To be clear, not supporting such reasons necessarily, but trying to get a sense of why.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 18, 2017 11:36:39 AM

I live with a cousin who is on the NC SOR. He was accused at 16 of intercourse of a younger half-sister. Held in the county jail until he was 18, and then prosecuted as an adult, ther was no trial or testimony, because he was forced into a plea deal by inadequate counsel. Now 30, he can petetion off the registry, but that is not guaranteed. Most of all, the victim has recanted more than 10 years ago - he is innocent, but still branded.

Non-lawyer here, but we track the RSOL sites to keep up with what is going on.

Posted by: Wolfe W | Apr 18, 2017 4:55:19 PM

My opinion is once a debt to society has been paid, no further punishment should be applied. A habitual criminal will get habitual punishment. I find a lot of problems with our judicial system.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Apr 20, 2017 3:36:45 PM

The state forces people to register, then says “There is a cost to continuing to have them on that registry.” Unbelievable.

Posted by: Huh? | Apr 22, 2017 9:21:43 PM

You want a CJS, Amerikuh, YOU gotta PAY for it. Otherwise, you're stealing!

Posted by: Oswaldo | Apr 30, 2017 11:20:32 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