South Carolina’s Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a law imposing *lifetime* registration and electronic monitoring on juveniles for some sex offenses. The Associated Press has the details in a short article, below. In a longer story reporting reaction to the ruling, Charleston’s Post and Courier found an “outcry” from researchers and lawyers. Doug Berman chimes in with legal analysis for Sentencing Law and Policy followed by a link to the court’s decision. Have a look! –Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire
Associated Press via The State | May 3, 2017
South Carolina Supreme Court: Teens can be kept on sex-offender registry for life
By Jeffrey Collins
South Carolina can continue to require some teens convicted of serious sex crimes to appear on the state’s public sex-offender registry and wear an electronic monitor for the rest of their lives, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
A boy from Spartanburg County who was 15 when he sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy and ended up on the registry challenged the law.
The justices had already ruled that it was legal to list juveniles for life on a registry that can only be viewed by law enforcement. Wednesday’s ruling extends that to the public registry on the State Law Enforcement Division’s website .
The teen’s lawyer said being publicly branded a sex offender and electronically monitored for the rest of his life is too harsh a punishment, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on the death penalty for anyone under age 18.
The justices, however, said the Legislature was well within its power to pass a law that treats juveniles and adults differently in criminal punishment, but establishes the same requirements for the registry. They noted that the registry’s goal is to protect the public.
“If the requirement that juvenile sex offenders must register and must wear an electronic monitor is in need of change, that decision is to be made by the Legislature — not the courts,” Associate Justice John Kittredge wrote.
The teen was convicted in Family Court of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and a judge ordered the lifetime monitoring.
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) | May 8, 2017
Should minors convicted of certain sex crimes be required to register as offenders for life? S.C. Supreme Court rules yes as attorneys, researchers cast doubts
By Gregory Yee
Excerpts: Last week’s S.C. Supreme Court ruling that juveniles convicted of certain sex crimes must be registered for life on the state’s sex offender registry is drawing outcry from attorneys and researchers. Prosecutors applauded the ruling, saying that some young offenders are beyond rehabilitation and need to be monitored, but other attorneys and researchers say the lifetime registry makes rehabilitation difficult if not impossible.
Ninth Circuit Public Defender Ashley Pennington said it is clear from the court’s decision that there are major issues with the registration requirement. “The isolation and stigmatization of children and adults caused by these laws can have the effect of increasing despair and future criminality,” he said. “Researchers in (South Carolina) and Ohio have studied this issue and found that their law was not reducing recidivism but tending to generate instability and criminal behavior. Ohio, Rhode Island and other states are now considering changing their law.” MORE:
Sentencing Law and Policy | May 4, 2017
South Carolina Supreme Court rejects constitutional challenge to juvenile sex offender’s mandatory lifetime registration/monitoring
By Doug Berman
Yesterday the South Carolina Supreme Court handed down an opinion in In the Interest of Justin B. unanimously rejecting the contention that “mandatory imposition of lifetime registration and electronic monitoring on juveniles is unconstitutional.” The relatively short opinion is a bit curious because, after reviewing a bunch of previous rulings in which it had “upheld the constitutionality of the mandatory lifetime sex offender registry requirement with electronic monitoring for adults and juveniles,” the opinion does not discuss Graham or Miller but does confront and reject the juvenile’s assertion that the constitutional analysis should “yield a different result under the reasoning of Roper v. Simmons.” MORE:
In the Interest of Justin B.
South Carolina Supreme Court, Case No. 2015-000992
Opinion filed May 3, 2017