Call for Research Participants ~ Impacts of Sex Offender Legislation

I am writing to request your cooperation with a research project entitled “Contextualizing the Experiences of Sexual Offenders.” I am pursuing, and which is attached to this email. My name is Lisa Anne Zilney and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at Montclair State University. I am conducting a study dealing with the experiences of registered sexual offenders who accept a plea deal. Most sexual offenders who accept a plea deal must register with the sexual offender registry. To date, there are no studies that look at the long-term and short-term impacts or the coercive nature of plea deals. Given that innocent individuals sometimes plead guilty, and that people who accept plea deals are not always aware of collateral consequences, understanding the experiences and perceptions of sex offenders can contextualize factors that make them more or less inclined to accept plea deals. This study also examines the impacts of community notification and registration, and residency restrictions on the lives of registered offenders after a plea.

The study will consist of a short quantitative survey, as well as an in-depth, qualitative interview conducted over the phone. Interviews will be kept completely confidential!

Findings of this research will have policy implications for how to reintegrate sexual offenders successfully into the community after incarceration and how to minimize the labeling effects of criminal justice sanctions for the offender. It is my sincerest hope that you will encourage members who meet the criterion of this study to contact me for participation!

This email requests that you post this call for participation on your website and/or distribute the request for participants via email to your members. Please find the call for participation attached as both a word and pdf document.

I would be more than willing to address any concerns you have about this project or answer any questions!

[Download the study's flyer here]

~Sincerely,

Lisa Anne Zilney, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Montclair State University
Justice Studies Department, 349 Dickson Hall
Montclair, NJ 07043

ACLU Michigan - BREAKING NEWS!

MEDIA CONTACT

Dana Chicklas, (734) 945-8857, dchicklas@aclumich.org
FEBRUARY 14, 2020
ACLU Generic Web Graphics-02.png
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DETROIT –  The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) applauds today’s decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland to provide relief for registrants on the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA). In today’s ruling, Judge Cleland ordered that if the legislature does not bring the law into compliance with constitutional requirements, the state will no longer be able to enforce the law against pre-2011 registrants.

“Unless and until decisive action is taken by the Michigan legislature, no provisions of SORA may be enforced against [pre-2011 registrants] ex post facto subclasses,” Judge Cleland wrote.

Today’s decision follows several prior rulings: two 2015 rulings by Judge Cleland which found many parts of SORA unconstitutional and a 2016 ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that it is unconstitutional to impose new severe restrictions on people who have past convictions. When the state continued to enforce the law despite the court rulings, the ACLU, with the University of Michigan Clinical Law Program and the Oliver Law Group, brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of Michigan’s registrants arguing that the state had to follow the earlier rulings.

“Today’s decision is a win for the public safety of Michigan communities,” said Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan. “The registry is an ineffective and bloated system that makes Michigan communities less safe by making it more difficult for survivors to report abuse, sabotaging people’s efforts to reenter society, and wasting scarce police resources on hyper-technicalities. Today’s decision means that lawmakers must finally do their jobs and pass evidence-based laws that better serve everyone. Michigan families deserve true reform that prioritizes public safety and prevention, not a failed registry.”

In May 2019, Judge Cleland ruled that significant portions of SORA cannot be applied to pre-2011 registrants, but deferred further relief to give the legislature time to bring SORA into compliance with the constitution.  The Michigan legislature has not passed a new, constitutional SORA law.

Judge Cleland wrote: “Making these determinations invites pure speculation on the part of the court and could result in a system in which different versions of SORA apply to different classes of registrants, which would create an administrative nightmare for law enforcement and registrants alike.”

Under today’s ruling, registrants whose offenses pre-date April 12, 2011 will be removed from the registry unless the legislature rewrites the law before judgment is entered in the case. The parties must provide a proposed judgment by March 13 and the judgment will include a 60-day period before entry.

“We urge the Michigan Legislature to focus on what actually works to reduce sexual offending,” said Paul Reingold, law professor at the University of Michigan and co-counsel on the case. “The legislature will now need to overhaul the SORA law, and can do so is a way that is rooted in research and prioritizes prevention, support for survivors, and the successful re-entry of those who have already served time. The legislature has a responsibility to act quickly in order to provide relief to the 44,000 registrants who continue to be unfairly punished by these unconstitutional laws.”

In addition to barring retroactive enforcement of the law against pre-2011 registrants, Judge Cleland’s decision finds that SORA’s exclusion zones, which bar registrants from living, working or spending time in areas around schools, are unconstitutionally vague for all registrants because they cannot determine where they can and cannot be.  The decision also protects registrants from being prosecuted for accidentally violating SORA’s complicated, technical requirements, and bars enforcement of certain unclear reporting requirements.

Judge Cleland wrote: “Without the 2011 amendments, SORA registrants and law enforcement officials have no guidance for who must register, what events must be reported, where registrants must report, how often registrants must report, or when registrants become eligible for removal from the registry. Michigan law makes clear that SORA cannot be enforced given such glaring omissions.”

A legislative workgroup met in the summer of 2019 to discuss possible SORA revisions, and the American Law Institute, the nation’s leading independent organization that drafts model legislation, also recently released a draft registry law.

Case background and corresponding documents are at:
https://www.aclumich.org/en/SORA
###

 

FLASH ALERT - Class Action | Ex Post Facto | Void for Vagueness | First Amendment

View this in another page.

 

Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center

 

FLASH ALERT

John Doe et al. v. Richard Snyder et al. (E.D. Mich. 2020)
Class Action | Ex Post Facto | Void for Vagueness | First Amendment

On February 14th, 2020, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued a significant ruling in the case of John Doe et al. v. Richard Snyder et al.

The litigation was brought by the Michigan ACLU in the wake of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' opinion in Does v. Snyder (6th Cir. 2016), and sought to enforce those constitutional claims. The present litigation involved two classes of plaintiffs: people who had committed their offenses prior to 2011 and were required to register, as well as any person required to register as a sex offender in Michigan.

The ruling permanently enjoins Michigan authorities from enforcing any aspect of Michigan's sex offense registry to people who were required to register and who had committed their offenses prior to 2011 on Ex Post Facto grounds. 

Additionally, the ruling prohibits Michigan authorities from enforcing a number of other aspects of its registration scheme against any person required to register--such as banishment zones and requirements to turn over communication-related information to authorities--on Due Process and First Amendment grounds.

Please click here for additional information, including a copy of the opinion itself.

The Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law collects and disseminates information about cases on issues of sexual violence policy, and facilitates communication, sharing, and the development of strategies among the lawyers, advocates and academics who seek a more sensible and effective public policy on sexual violence prevention.

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center, All rights reserved.

 

Sex Offender Laws Are Broken. These Women Are Working To Fix Them. – Reason.com

Dear Friends,

Please take a minute to read the article in REASON Magazine.

https://reason.com/2020/01/18/sex-offender-laws-are-broken-these-women-are-working-to-fix-them/

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE!

On May 29 and 30, 2020 The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) will host the 4th annual conference E.P.I.C.: Empowered People Inspiring Change. The Conference will take place at the beautiful Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, CA.

The 2020 keynote speaker will be Justin Brooks, Director of California Innocence Project. Mr. Brooks worked to overturn the conviction of Brian Banks who was wrongly convicted, imprisoned for 5 years, and listed on the sex offender registry for a sex crime he didn’t commit.

Social justice leader Dr. Alissa Ackerman and civil rights attorney Aaron Marcus will also be presenting, as well as Chance Oberstein, ACSOL President, and Janice Bellucci, ACSOL Executive Director.

There are more details about the 2020 Conference on the ACSOL website https://all4consolaws.org/2020conference/

Check it out and then make plans to attend!

Potentially exciting development on Halloween sign case.

Butts County Sheriff, Gary Long, is appealing the District Court’s Ruling that placing signs on the properties of persons required to register violates their First Amendment Right!

If you recall, Sheriff Long was enjoined from placing signs saying, “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!! A COMMUNITY SAFETY MESSAGE FROM BUTTS COUNTY SHERIFF GARY LONG.” at the homes of people on the sex offender registry in Butts County, Georgia during the week of Halloween.

The decision was a great win, so why is it exciting that he is appealing? Because Florida and Alabama share the same federal appellate circuit as Georgia. A potential win in the 11th Circuit would mean that the decision would become binding precedent in a Florida District Court. So, say someone in Duval wanted to bring a lawsuit challenging their Halloween Sign ordinance, they could rely on the 11th Circuit Case as case law.

It’s important to remember that appeals can take a while, so another Halloween might pass before any decision on their appeal is rendered. Also, it’s important to remember that cases can go either way – while we feel the registrant plaintiffs have a very strong argument and should win, any appeal is a risk. All that said, we’re excited by the potential of this appeal and we will certainly be watching the case.

- https://floridaactioncommittee.org/potentially-exciting-development-on-halloween-sign-case/

A Collateral Damage Research Study

WAR - Women Against Registry

====== UPDATE ========================

For those that have shown interest in the Capella University research study, thank you. I was informed that our researcher has received approximately 20 potential participants and has contacted each of them for evaluation screening. She does not need any further respondents at this time. Again, thank you for your interest.

======================================>

We are writing to tell you of an opportunity to participate in a research study conducted by Cheryl Welch, a PhD candidate at Capella University. Study subjects will be the parents of adult sons or daughters who have been incarcerated for CP. Participants anonymity will be protected and subjects will receive a $30 gift card as appreciation for their participation.

Please carefully read the blue text in the PDF for further details about qualifying.  The study is only looking for ten participants so, if you are interested, you should act quickly.

If you would like to participate, please send an email to the following address: cwelch16@capellauniversity.edu and please write "STUDY" in the subject line.

Want to learne more?
Download the full PDF here.


Tech Companies Reported Over 45 Million Child Porn Images & Videos on Their Platforms Last Year

Porn, in some form, has existed for as long as humans have. While it has drastically evolved over time to be what it is today—from caveman drawings to free and accessible hardcore HD videos available 24/7 online—the difference that seems to have had the biggest effect on culture-at-large is access.

We have the rapid improvement of technology, namely the internet and all devices that supply us with access to the internet, to thank for that. Although the internet definitely has major upsides, it also has a very dark side.

Follow this link to continue reading:

https://fightthenewdrug.org/tech-companies-reported-over-45-million-child-porn-last-year/


The Dobbs Wire:  Is the sex offense registry growing or shrinking?

Hard to tell because the long-time keeper of the national statistics, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), has stopped updating the figures!

Every six months for many years NCMEC put a new 50 state map online with the latest numbers.  The updated statistics are now months overdue. NCMEC didn’t respond to our questions but we managed to get a reporter for a major media outlet to query them.

The word came back – NCMEC confirmed that it no longer updates the map.  The reporter, unfortunately, never filed a story, and NCMEC has not announced the change.   So you heard it here first – with 900,000 listings and counting, several million people directly impacted -- the figures have gone missing.  NCMEC is a private entity that gets the bulk of its funding from the federal government, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.  NCMEC is also the group that incited public fears over ‘stranger danger.’  Losing the statistics is lousy but there might be a silver lining – this failure by NCMEC may prompt the federal government to step in and keep tabs on the official blacklist.  The US Department of Justice ought to take on this task because these numbers should not be entrusted to a private group that has other agendas.

If you have any ideas drop us a line:

info@thedobbswire.com 

Below is our dispatch from Dec. 2018 with the last figures released by NCMEC.

 

–Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire

============================

The Dobbs Wire: More than 912,000 on government blacklists – sex offense registry listings INCREASE 4.8% in the last year

The Dobbs Wire has produced a new chart with the latest sex offense registry statistics for every state and Washington DC, along with figures from 2017. One key indicator continues to *increase* -- the total number on blacklists is now 912,643. That’s a 4.8% climb in the last 12 months! 42,001 listings have been added since 2017.

These government blacklists produce no benefit to public safety but they sure pack a punch. Life shattering consequences include routine harassment, discrimination and even vigilante attacks. Are such lists needed? That’s a public discussion that needs to happen.

Oddly, the federal government doesn’t track the numbers; a federally funded non-profit organization does: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) updates an online map with the statistics every six months, those figures are the best available although their accuracy has been questioned.

Have a look at the attachment, our new chart.

-Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire Dec. 12, 2018


ACTION ALERT

 Members and Supporters

I am working on a project that I hope to finish tonight on early Monday. For this project it is important for me to find one or more people that have suffered the loss of a loved one due to suicide or have a loved one that attempted suicide, in both cases because they were entrapped in some form of sting operation either by authorities or vigilantes.

If you or someone you know matches this description, please contact me by email or phone as soon as possible. I will be up late tonight working on this project so please respond even if it is late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Contact me at:

vicki.henry@womenagainstregistry.com

636.208.5949

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

 Trauma and Sexual Abuse

Dr. Melissa Grady at Catholic University and Dr. Jill Levenson at Barry University are conducting a study aimed at understanding the role of trauma and later sexual offending.


Since many of our readers may have a history of sexually offending, please consider participating in the web-based survey that should take approximately 15 -20 minutes. Please forward the link to others who may be willing to participate in the study.

The survey is at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZBTMVS


For questions, please email grady@cua.edu or call 202.319.4387.


Experiences When In Relationship With A Registered Sex Offender


University of Nevada, Reno is also conducting research to better understand the experiences of those who have been in a relationship with someone who is on a sex offender registry. This is the first ever national-level survey to gather data solely from spouses and partners of people on the sex offender registry.

If you or someone you know is in a relationship with a registrant, please participate in the study and forward it to others who can help with the research. It is expected that the research may aid in further understanding how registration and related policies affect spouses and partners of individuals listed on a sex offender registry.

The survey is at:

http://unrcfr.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b1oK7ZdF53PbGbX

For questions, please email sornaproject@gmail.com or call 775.784.4345.


Registry Matters Podcast

You'll be interested in three cases recently reviewed on the Registry Matters podcast. One addressed blanket GPS monitoring, another with Internet prohibitions and a third with the First Amendment and an elected official attempting to restrain the speech of one of our advocates.

University of Nevada Reno: Research Project

The University of Nevada Reno is conducting a research project and this is your opportunity to offer you insight. The intention is to distribute a survey link, which is below, to partners and spouse of registered offenders to assess how they feel registration and notification policies impact their lives. They hope to gather information about the unintended consequences of these policies.

SORNA POLICY PROJECT

Have you ever been in a relationship with a registered sexual offender? If so, we are interested in hearing from you. We know that individuals who have been or are currently in relationships with registered sexual offenders may experience a unique set of challenges and experiences. We want to learn more about your own personal experiences, how this has affected you, and how you feel about current sex offender policies.

This is the first ever national-level survey to gather data solely from spouses and partners of registered sexual offenders. This is your chance to share your voice and address the issues that are affecting you!

If interested, please click the link below to learn more. The first 300 participants will be entered into a raffle for (2) $100 and (6) $50 Amazon gift cards.

http://unrcfr.co1.qualtrics. com/jfe/form/SV_ b1oK7ZdF53PbGbX

Tribeca Film Festival: UNTOUCHABLE

 
Tribeca Film FestivaL: UNTOUCHABLE
Dear Friends,
It has been a long road. From the homeless encampments of South Miami to the Tribeca Film Festival, UNTOUCHABLE has been a labor of love for nearly five years now. I’m writing to you to tell you that finally, it is being released to the public on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Kanopy.
I remain enormously proud of this film. While we knew going in that creating a balanced, complex portrait of the most reviled people in our society might create barriers to its commercial viability, I stand by every frame of what I hope is a film you will watch, consider, and then wildly post and tweet about.
The publicity we’ve gotten since announcing the VOD release has been universally laudatory: And, at least as of this writing, we’re still at 100 percent on rotten tomatoes. Not bad. Here are squibs from two reviews just from the last couple of days:
"UNTOUCHABLE is an incredible example of what documentaries at their best can be - not just informative, but balanced and thought-provoking despite covering very difficult to watch and complicated subject matter.” —Aaron White, Feelin' Film
"An eye-opening look at a thorny topic... Feige’s documentary resounds with sympathy….and open(s) up a dialogue about a hot-button subject that, it contends, is far less open-and-shut than most assume." —Nick Schager, Daily Beast
On behalf of our entire team, I also want to thank the law professors, social scientists, and the small army of concerned academics in many disciplines who have purchased the film for research and teaching. Likewise, the stream of screening requests from hundreds of community activists has kept us busy for the better part of two years.
As I once told my producer, Rebecca, I see making a documentary film as creating a little engine of social change. You build it and set it free in the world. We’re about to set it free. I hope by watching, engaging and thinking about this difficult subject you’ll help bring some nuance and complexity to a difficult subject that is too often painted only in black and white.
So below is the official release information. Please, click view, think, talk tweet, post, and e-mail, and maybe just maybe, word of mouth and your personal endorsements can give this film the life I hope it can have.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.
Excelsior.
David


Stream it now on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.
Untouchable, the award-winning documentary that takes an unflinching look at sex offenders, the laws used to punish them, and the people behind the making of those laws, is now available for personal streaming on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. Look for it also at your public or institutional library that subscribes to Kanopy.

Untouchable

Untouchable

Untouchable

This award-winning documentary (Tribeca Film Festival - Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award) explodes conventional thinking on this topic with data showing that current sex-offender laws and systems of punishment aren't making us any safer.
It's the first documentary to challenge deeply help public perceptions with new and compelling social science research. Untouchable takes you deep into our criminal justice system to reveal the complicated truth behind the explosive growth of what has become one of America’s largest punishment systems.

UNTOUCHABLE

Community Screenings

Please note that individual streams do not include the rights for community screenings. For a screening in any public, theatrical, or semi-theatrical venue, with or without admission charge, please contact us at outreach@untouchablefilm.com
“Exceptional and important… one of the most impressive documentaries I have ever seen.” — Jonathan Leaf, Forbes
"Untouchable does what great documentaries do." — Daniel Glenn, Film Forward
"This film explores the very darkest corner of our legal system, choosing to shine a compassionate light on the pain and complexity of the issue. Untouchable does an excellent job of highlighting the gulf between social science and our current laws and policies in this area. " — CAROL STEIKER, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
( read more reviews here)

UNTOUCHABLE INSTITUTIONAL LICENSING DVD with PPR $460 (includes shipping) Closed captions/scene selection
DVD w DSL and PPR $600 (includes shipping)
For a free online preview or further information contact Jeff Tamblyn, Outreach Producer Outreach@unconditionalfilm.com
Order online now, with credit card, Paypal or check.