I can’t believe that we are still having to answer this common sense question. Isn’t it obvious?
Apparently to the judges of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, who recently overturned a lower court’s decision that the registry was cruel and unusual punishment, it’s not so clear. Neither was it clear to the judge in the Southern District of Florida who felt that forcing people into homelessness due to Miami-Dade county’s harsh residency restrictions isn’t punishment either. Incredible given that two of the original defendants on that case had died homeless on the streets of Miami by the time the Court heard the case. How is this possible?
Well what is common sense to us isn’t necessarily common sense to a judge. We must remember that judges, like all of us, live in their own world, socialize with their own friends and exist in their own preconceived notions about society, crime and the law. In other words, they have no clue what’s it like to live one day in our shoes. If, just for a week, one judge could have his name, photo and information listed on the Florida Sex Offender Registry, make him go out and find a job, a place to live while raising two kids or try to find a partner to spend life with, then have him come back and make the decision as to whether or not the registry is punishment. Wouldn’t that be glorious?
Residency restrictions, going to our kid’s schools, having a shot at keeping a job, finding a place to live, going to church, all of these things can continue to be denied us because our presence on the registry isn’t punishment. This is hogwash. You know it but the Court’s don’t see it because apparently we have yet to make our case crystal clear.
In an effort to do that we want to compile a list describing in detail the punitive effects on a registrant, their family, friends, employers and others in their lives, experienced living a lawful everyday life. Please include your experience in the comments below. Be specific and we will compile your comments for a “master list” of the punitive effects of the registry. Also remember that this is specific to our presence on the registry, not the criminal conviction itself nor any hardships as a result of probation requirements. PLEASE only list events that happened to you, not commentary.
Judges don’t know what they don’t know, so we have to tell them. We look forward to your comments.