We are starting this week with some incredible news that we hope will inspire you.

Guy Hamilton-Smith Passed the Bar Exam!!!

For those who don’t know, I’ll back up a few steps… Like many of you reading this, Guy is required to register as a sex offender. More than a dozen years ago, when he was 22, he was convicted of a child pornography offense. Rather than letting it end his life, his experience on the “other side” of the law inspired him to become a lawyer. Facing a mountain of adversity, he ultimately attended the University of Kentucky, where he graduated in the top-third of his law school class!

Despite that achievement, Guy was far from the finish line. The State Supreme Court sought to block Guy from taking the bar exam. As with his conviction, Guy didn’t let this set-back stop him. Since graduating in 2011 Guy has been fighting to one-day take the bar. But in the mean time he didn’t shrink into his shell waiting and hoping like so many others. He went out there and did something. He did a lot!

For the last decade, Guy has devoted his life to writing and speaking about the injustice in the justice system, particularly in the area of sex offense registries. He previously served as the Legal Fellow for the Sex Offense Litigation Policy and Resource Center at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He has been a regular speaker at not only advocacy conferences, such as NARSOL and ACSOL, but he has spoken at conferences for the American Bar Association and Harvard’s Law School. He has been quoted as an expert in Rolling Stone magazine, among several other places, and has developed a significant following on Twitter (@G_Padraic), where we happen to get notified on many of the happenings in our advocacy movement.

This past Friday I received a text from Guy letting me know he passed! The news is still sinking in because it’s that significant. As an advocate for those who are required to register, I’ve become used to hearing about all the doors being slammed in people’s faces. As a registrant, I know how deflating it is to keep trying, not knowing if one day you’ll come across that door that will open. As someone whose gone down the same road as Guy (though he is much braver than I for doing it so publicly), I know what a treacherous and seemingly insurmountable mountain this has been to climb… But I also know that it is possible! Nobody reading this should ever give up.

I wanted to start off this week by acknowledging the achievement of my friend and colleague Guy Hamilton-Smith. It’s been a very tough road. It will still be a very tough road ahead, but I look forward to navigating it with you so that we can one day open doors for the hundreds of thousands of others who are hopefully coming up the mountain behind us!




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