Arnold, MO, Thursday, September 17, 2020
What should forgiveness look like? This is a question over 912,000 men, women and children (6, 8 and 10 in some states) are asking. Approximately 2.7 to 3.0 million family members of those required to register have a clear ongoing and fearful understanding of punitiveness and annihilation. The US District Court of Colorado ruling in 2017 joined rulings other courts across America, including the Ohio Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals have all agreed the expanding registry schemes are punitive in nature; however, Richard P. Matsch, Senior District Judge for the US District Court in Colorado, took the previous rulings a step further punitive by declaring Colorado’s registry violated the 8th Amendment protections against Cruel and Unusual Punishment.
In Millard v Rankin, 265 F. Supp. 3d 1211 (D. Colo. 2017), Judge Matsch ruled, “SORA’s requirements…subject them to additional punishment beyond their sentences through the pervasive misuse and dissemination of information published by the CBI. Defendant has offered no evidence that any Plaintiff presents an objective threat to society, such as a material risk of recidivism. Yet Plaintiffs have been and continue to be subjected to actual and potential dangers of ostracism and shaming; effective banishment and shunning in the form of limitations on their abilities to live and work without fear of arbitrary and capricious eviction, harassment, job relocation, and/or firing; significant restriction on familial association; and actual and potential physical and mental abuse by members of the public who for whatever reason become aware of their status as a registered sex offender. They are also subject to exposure by local law enforcement agencies making checks of their residences…All of these are foreseeable consequences of the registry. This ongoing imposition of a known and uncontrollable risk of public abuse of information from the sex offender registry, in the absence of any link to an objective risk to the public posed by each individual sex offender, has resulted in and continues to threaten Plaintiffs with punishment disproportionate to the offenses they committed…the state cannot assure that it will ever be proportionate to the offense. SORA as applied to these Plaintiffs therefore violates the Eighth Amendment.
A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit overturned Judge Matsch’s ruling on August 20, 2020. The registry looks and feels like punishment, and is recognized as punishment, but the 10th Circuit denies it is punishment.
On Thursday, September 24, 2020, Women Against Registry and independent activists are hosting a protest at the steps of the 10th Circuit Courthouse, 1823 Stout St, Denver, CO 80257, in response to this ruling. Our message is simple – we want the 10th Circuit to overturn this panel ruling using the simplest of abductive reasoning – the “Duck Test.” If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. The sex offense registry looks like punishment, feels like punishment, and behaves like punishment. The registered citizen registry is punishment.
Women Against Registry is a nationwide family advocacy organization fighting the destruction of families.
A study reviewing sex crimes as reported to police revealed that:
a) 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser;
b) 34.2% were family members;
c) 58.7% were acquaintances;
d) Only 7% of the perpetrators of child victims were strangers;
e) 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victim’s own home;
f) 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative (Jill Levenson, PhD, Lynn University)
Sexual abuse in any form against man, woman or child is never acceptable. There is a tremendous need to fund programs like “Stop It Now” that teaches parents how to begin and maintain a dialog with their children to intervene before harm occurs and about grooming behaviors as well as other things at age-appropriate levels in their Circles of Safety.
WAR, founded in 2011, seeks to educate legislative decision makers as well as the public to dispel the myths and promote child abuse prevention programs such as Stop It Now who teaches parents how to begin and maintain meaningful dialog with their children and age appropriate ways to stay safe.
The President of WAR, Vicki Henry, is available for interviews regarding fundamental fairness, the reptilian brain and clarifying why all children are worthy of care and protection.
Contact Matt Duhamel – Media Liaison
Arnold, MO, Thursday, September 17, 2020
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