Dear Members and Advocates,
Some people travel to Los Angeles hoping to run into celebrities or rock stars. My trip to LA for the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) provided just that.
To myself and most people in the advocacy community, Eric Janus, Ira Ellman, Adele Nicholas, Emily Horowitz, Janice Bellucci and the others that presented at ACSOL are our rock stars! I was fortunate to meet with, learn from and speak to these celebrities in person!
Professor (and former Law School Dean) Eric Janus established the Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center that not only puts out incredible research but serves as a think tank for many of us involved in registration litigation. Ira Ellman and his wife, Tara, completely debunked the “Frightening and High” myth that infested the Supreme Court’s decision in Smith v. Doe. Adele Nicholas just prevented the State of Illinois from keeping registered individuals confined after their release dates because they can’t afford housing (freeing hundreds of people), Emily Horowitz completely destroyed Marci Hamilton in a widely watched debate over whether the registry should be abolished, and Janice Bellucci (who is the Executive Director of ACSOL) is beyond a celebrity to those following our movement – If I’m able to accomplish in Florida one-quarter of what Janice has done for California, I will become a rock star myself!
Naturally, the examples referenced above are just one illustration of the tremendous accomplishments these individuals have had and after getting the opportunity to meet them in person, I’m confident that FAC can count on their support and guidance in our own efforts. Aside from getting to see these idols in person, there were a lot of important takeaways from the conference. Mostly in the litigation arena. While there, the Alaska Supreme Court Decision (referenced below was announced). While not binding precedent, the fact that ANOTHER state has found gaping constitutional holes in it’s registry is just more support for all states.
At the conference we also evaluated whether we are at a “tipping point” – the point at which a series of small changes becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. Personally – I think we are almost there. The series of victories in State Courts (and even Federal Courts) are emerging – decisions are no longer all bad. Mainstream media is becoming more balanced – there’s some opinion in our favor as opposed to being all one-sided. And finally, as evidenced by the record turn outs at NARSOL and ACSOL, our movement is growing.
If we all take responsibility and commit to making our own small changes, we can easily cross the tipping point. That small change can be something as simple as showing up at a local legislative meeting and saying “Hi, my name is ___ and I ask you to [Support/Oppose] this legislation”. It can be posting a comment to a news article. It can be forwarding this newsletter to your family and friends and encouraging them to get involved. If you are not sure what small change you can make, refer to last week’s weekly update or call in to our monthly member call.
Shortly before I left for the conference, the State of Alabama passed a law requiring chemical castration as a condition for parole in their state. Whenever something absurd like this passes, I’m always left felt feeling a bit depressed and wondering how something this blatantly inhumane and unconstitutional can become law. I left for Los Angeles hoping to figure out how our advocacy community was going to react and I returned with the answer. In Janice Bellucci’s own words, “we’re going to sue the bastards!” You have to love it!
I look forward to attending next year’s conferences, but I really, really, look forward to the year we no longer have to attend these conferences because the registry will be abolished. With the help of your small changes, that time will come!
The Florida Action Committee
SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK
In another small victory in the “Ex Post Facto Plus” challenge, the Court clarified it’s order granting the plaintiff’s anonymity to prohibit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement from sharing the identities of the “Does” with anyone other than those who have a…
Alaska’s Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the state’s sex offender registry violated the due process rights of those convicted of sex crimes in other states, deeming it “too broad and arbitrary when it includes offenders who are not dangerous.” The court wrote. “But…
State authorities are telling a metro Grand Rapids man who confronts suspected sexual predators to stop what he’s doing, saying “vigilante activity will not be tolerated.” “I strongly urge the public to leave this work to career professionals,” a Wednesday statement…
Ever since the Julia Tuttle Causeway became an encampment for sex offenders more than a decade ago, officials have been trying to shoo the group away from the rest of civilization. Thanks to stringent requirements mandating that child predators live 2,500 feet from…