Ohio Moves to Register “Sex Offenders” Without Trial

In a bold (and probably unconstitutional) move, a committee from Ohio’s legislature moved forward with a plan to place people in a sex offender registry without being criminally convicted of a sex offense. (Hat tip: Peter B.)

A recently enacted law allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit.

The rules spell out how the untried process would work. It would largely treat a person placed on the civil registry the same way a convicted sex offender is treated under Ohio’s so-called Megan’s Law.

The person’s name, address, and photograph would be placed on a new Internet database and the person would be subjected to the same registration and community notification requirements and restrictions on where he could live.

Hey, nobody likes sex offenders, but that’s why we have a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for criminal convictions in this country. the stigma of being a convict is so high that it’s better that “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer“. This Ohio proposal considers sex offenses so heinous that people ought to be punished for them even if the state can’t prove they actually committed them.

Since the new registry would be civil, it’s subject to the same lower burden of proof that lost Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez his $124,700 in U.S. Currency.

I guess Ohio is following the Federal lead in taking due process protections from Americans. No updates on that from the mainstream media, though Daniel Pipes says that barring Jaber and Muhammad Ismail (both U.S. citizens) from returning home is A-OK, claimiing that denying them the right to return “suggest[s] a possible conceptual breakthrough, signaling that the American government sees the “nationality” of radical Islam to be incompatible with American citizenship.”

To get a reading on the feds’ legal basis, I turned to a former chief of the national security section for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami, William West. “It is a rare decision, but within the legal pale,” he explained to me.

Section 215 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 USC 1185 allows for the “˜travel control’ of the entry and departure of citizens. U.S. citizens use their passports only within the rules, regulations, and proscriptions as issued and decided by the president. Travel restrictions on U.S. citizens are seldom utilized (and usually to keep criminal or national-security suspects from fleeing). The law, however, does also allow for entry control.”

Funny thing, I’ve read that section of the code (linked above) and it doesn’t say anything about excluding U.S. citizens holding valid passports. Maybe William West has a different copy.

Doesn’t it make you feel better to know that Ohio is harshly punishing alleged sex offenders, the Feds can seize a large chunk of cash for no reason, and the Department of Homeland Security can keep you from coming home based on your religion?

posted by nsarwark
  • PeterBB

    The worst part isn’t that the gov is destroying so many of our liberties, they’ve always tried to do that, the worst part is that we’re letting them do it!

  • Julian

    I have no problem with sex offenders being registered under the following conditions:

    1. All pedophiles.
    2. All other offenders convicted of a forcible sexual act.
    3. They must have been afforded due process and been convicted in court as a sex offender.

    Prostitution or the use thereof or being caught urinating or fornicating in a public place or other similiar convictions should not count. If they do, then most people would be guilty and have to register as sex offenders. Can you imagine most people being registered sex offenders? Ridicilous. It cannot be arbitrary just because someone said so.

    This is similiar to the weakness of what happens when someone is angry with another and goes before a judge for a restraining order just because. It is not a due process system and is abused all the time in domestic and divorce disputes. I know. It happened to me.

    Ohio lawmakers and judges are out of line on this issue. This is not due process.

  • Sandra Kallander

    While we’re on the subject of registration, does anyone besides me think it’s unconstitutional to be forced to register yourself after you have served your time? On what grounds can that be mandated? We’d all be hopping mad if we had to advertise our whereabouts every time we move. Who, next?

    If some private registration service wanted to make court records available, and allow a database search on names for past convictions, that would be okay, but I don’t see what authority the government has for this one.

  • Wes P

    I think registration is un-Constitutional when the law that requires it is passed after the crime occurs. This is considered “ex post facto” (after the fact) under my interpretation.

    I think some people claim that it’s only punishment that can’t be ex post facto, so they don’t call this punishment.

    But I think any loss of liberty is as bad as a punishment, and even the innocent keep losing our liberties all the time! The officers of the State have been gradually interpreting our rights out of existence since the beginning.

  • Sandra Kallander

    They always start with those who get no sympathy.

  • ZMan

    Why are they picking on sex offenders and meth cookers?
    Hell, make ALL criminal records public information.

    I’m sure EVERYONE would like to know if a murderer, drug user/dealer, gang member, drunk, bank robber, burglar, etc lives in their neighborhood.

    Why are we singling out sex offenders and meth cooks?
    Do it ALL!!

    This crap has got to stop, it’s hurting MANY people.

    Next will be concentration camps and ovens to throw people
    into.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nobody should be on a registry, it’s all public records,
    go down to your local court house like a good little
    doggy, and look it up…

    This is political BS, and is all for votes, and it’s
    banishing thousands if not millions of people.

    If you do it for one group, that is disrimination, do it
    for EVERYONE!!!!!!

    Stop the HATE!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.frankworley.com Frank Worley

    Can anyone say WitchHunt?

    Why not just burn them at the stake? What happens here, leaves “sex offenders” real or imagined with nothing left to loose, and in the long run will contribute to more crimes, especially rape and the like.

  • Devious David

    In Georgia, they recently passed a law that said, among other things that sex offenders can’t live within 1000 feet of a school bus stop or “anywhere where children might congregate”. It basically made it so that a sex offender couldn’t live or work ANYWHERE. It got struck down by the state supreme court. But my local Republican rep was bragging all about it in the brown-shirt weekly paper.

    Around here, they publish you name and picture in the paper after you are arrested for DUI. No conviction necessary. Just arrest.

    I think the way to beat that Ohio law is to start turning your neighbors and coworkers into sex offenders. Get plenty of people to do it all over the state.

  • Jeff Molby

    In a bold (and probably unconstitutional) move

    Yeah, I saw that too. I can’t imagine how this is constitutional.

    Funny thing, I’ve read that section of the code (linked above) and it doesn’t say anything about excluding U.S. citizens holding valid passports. Maybe William West has a different copy.

    My thoughts exactly. I read that last night and couldn’t, for the life of me, find any restrictions on citizens other than the requirement “to carry and produce the documentation”.

    Plus, this article has several quotes contradicting Mr. West.

  • Tim Parks

    The Sex Offender Registry is a work of your goverment gone bad. I am a retired Police Officer of over 25 years service and I can tell you the person you need to worry about sexualy assaulting your kids is probably someone you know real well an uncle or even a brother. Sex Offenders if they get treatment are one of the least likly to reoffend. Oh yes child molesters most be watched for ever but lets be real the goverment in this case is crying wolf and trying to make a group of citizens who have done thier time still be the bad guys, well the real truth is because the goverment has done such a bad job of other things they would have you think they are doing thier jobs and should be re-elected because they are hard on sex offenders. Look past what your elected officals have done with sex offenders to see if you should re-elect them.

  • http://www.nobeliefs.com/ The Stoopid Law

    Awesome law… I can’t wait to turn in that professor that gave me a D in biology. Oh and damn… I can turn in my ex… sure the sex was consensual but I do not like them anymore!

    And when will the “stoopid people” law go into effect so that I can have stoopid people executed merely because I accuse them of being STOOPID PEOPLE!?

    Ohio is really looking bad in the last 4-8 years!

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