Dear Members and Advocates,

On Friday we posted something that received positive feedback so we’ll reference it here and encourage everyone to take a read through it when you have time. The post made me theorize about the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution (found at Article IV, Section 2), which states that “the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.” and also Article IV of the Articles of Confederation.

The general idea behind this theory is that the basis of our Union (the United States of America) is that the privileges of citizens in one state should be enjoyed by the citizens of other states. Similarly, as it states, citizens of one state should be “subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions” as citizens of another. In it’s narrowest interpretation, the clause holds that a State is forbidden to discriminate against citizens of other states. But what about a state discriminating against its own citizens by restricting rights enjoyed by citizens of other states?

One of the broadest illustrations that can be applied to this train of thought is voting. Citizens of the United States are voting for their President this year but some states don’t allow all it’s citizens to vote. Florida is one of the most notorious examples of felon disenfranchisement gone wrong. At least with the broader voting rights issue being challenged in Florida, the restriction on voting is tied to part of a criminal sentence and the issue is whether payment of a fine or restitution is part of one’s sentence. But what about a situation where the restoration of voting rights is not tied to a criminal sanction, but one’s “status” as a registrant, which is not supposed to be punishment at all?

In our post we spoke about registration laws and the disparity in punishments (yes, let’s call it what it is) among states. You take two people who commit the exact same federal offense and successfully complete the exact same sentence… but one will be on a sex offender list for life while the other is off in 15 years. One will be listed on a public website while the other will not. One can vote in a federal election and the other cannot. One can attend and speak in a public forum while the other will not. Clearly the two individuals’ “duties, impositions, and restrictions” are vastly different. The only variable effecting that is the state in which they live.

We are not talking about petty stuff here, but things like the right to privacy, freedom of speech, right to parent, in-person reporting obligations, restrictions on housing, employment, travel and other “duties, impositions and restrictions”. Take Brevard County, for example. You have a group of people who are so oppressed they are even banned from protesting their oppression at a public County Commission Meeting where Commissioners will be deciding on an ordinance to further oppress them!

This is not only a Florida issue. Sure, Florida is awful when it comes to human rights, but there are grievous wrongs taking place throughout the United States. In Louisiana there was a crackdown on registrants who were arrested for “not posting on their profile that they were convicted sex offenders, conviction information, address, and other information required by the Louisiana sex offender registry laws”. Seriously?!? Can you imagine how difficult it is to reintegrate and support your family with that on your LinkedIn profile? And if you think I’m just calling out one-off examples of extreme Constitutional violations, I’m not. I’m only up to the First Amendment here, folks!

This is also not just a registrant issue, because when privacy or speech rights are abolished, parenting rights impaired or  restrictions on housing, employment or movement are imposed it doesn’t just impact the registrant, but it impacts their spouse, children, parents, employers, employees and everyone in their life. So the FAC family needs to push back on behalf of all the registrant families and we’re going to take it upon ourselves to make that happen.

A very generous family has pledged $5,727.50 in matching contributions towards our Non-Registrant Collateral Consequences (NRCC) Challenge. Every dollar raised in our NRCC challenge between now and September 30, 2020 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar. That means if you donate $20 we will have raised $40, $50 gets us $100, $100 is $200, and so on. If we can raise our goal of $5,727.50 in the next six weeks, that amount becomes $11,455, which is the exact amount we are short to get this lawsuit started. We are so grateful for this opportunity! To donate, please go to: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/donations/ and under “Use donation for…” Select the Non-Registrant Collateral Consequences Challenge.

Please let’s make this happen!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


Reminders:

TONIGHT – Do you want to be a County Coordinator?  Aug 11- Tuesday at 7:00 pm ET  (Again on  Aug 19- Wednesday at 7:00 pm ET -if you cannot attend tonight).  Choose one date – For current County Coordinators and members who want to become a County Coordinator for FAC.   Only required to attend one of these sessions per month.  Dial 605-472-5596 Access 436675#.   If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 605-472-5596.  You will receive a call-back, enter access code  436675# and be connected to the training meeting.

Aug 13 Thursday at 8pm ET- FAC New Member Orientation Call. Dial 319-527-3487.  If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 319-527-3487.  You will receive a call-back and be connected to the conference.

Aug 17 – Monday at 7pm ET – Next BREVARD Strategic Planning Meeting. Dial 319-527-3487.  Status and discussion of action items to stop proposed amendment.  You do not need to live in Brevard to join this call.  If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 319-527-3487 to receive a call-back and be connected to the conference.

Aug 20 Thursday at 7pm ET – Clay County members call 605-472-5682 Access 662073#.  Talk with your County Coordinator about local issues and concerns.  If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 605-472-5682 .  You will receive a call-back, enter access code  662073# and be connected to the conference.

Aug 27 Thursday.  Polk County members will meet their County Coordinator team at IHOP to discuss local issues and concerns.  Leave message at 407-814-4203 to receive details.

SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK

Shame on the VA for firing registrant-owned business because of bad press.

Well this is horrible… a man convicted of a sexual offense in 2007 turned his life around and started a janitorial business. He gets a contract providing janitorial services for the VA. USA today writes a story about it and the VA cancels the contract. Here we have…

TN: Win in Tennessee – District Court Denies State’s Motion to Dismiss and Grants Injunction on Ex Post Facto Grounds

A Tennessee Federal District Court last week denied the State’s Motion to Dismiss and ordered an injunction preventing them from enforcing the sex offender registry against an individual whose offense pre-dated the enactment of the ordinance. The best part of this…

Why some lawyers don’t take RSO cases.

Wonder why so many lawyers refuse to touch any cases involving RSOs? Here’s one reason why? Attorney, Patricia Sigman is a candidate running for Florida Senate, District 9. She is the target of a smear campaign by her opponent, which accuses her of representing a…

Assembling the Chimeric Sex Offender

The following (very technical) study (from what I could understand of it) discusses the harm caused by the “sex offender” label. Assembling the Chimeric Sex Offender It contains a lot of terms of art, which make it a difficult read, but if you can extrapolate the…

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