Courts have ruled that Megan's Law is not punishment, because legislatures did not intend it to be punishment when enacted. True or False? Further, whether true or false, does it still punish? |
"The Punishment" from the perspective of those who live it, and others affected by it! Historically, the oppressed has had little voice.
While the government itself doesn't punish, nor does it legislatively or judicially sentence a punishment, by virtue of and through Megan's law, it inherently implants in the public mind, a subtle insidious seed of hatred, which will flower into punishment at some point. The implanted seed to take fruition upon the first meeting of any sex offender, or any issue or circumstance related to a sex offender. With the seed inherently implanted, the law operates silently, watching, knowing full well, water will come to cause the seed to flower. The courts saying, the legislature intended no punishment, and whatever happens is a consequence of the crime, ignoring the seed inherently implanted through Megan's Laws, and fostered by continuous political speeches in the media!
The sex offender, first sentenced by the court, begins to serve the judicial sentence, knowing full well she or he will again be sentenced by the public when she or he returns to society. What the offender doesn't know, thanks to the construction of Megan's law, is, what the societal sentence will be, nor what form it will take. The sex offender has heard and read of all sorts of atrocities having been committed against some sex offenders, and knows that other sex offenders have simply reintegrated into society will little problems. The uncertainty of knowing which group he or she will fall into, a psychological sentence, a limbo, waiting for the axe to fall.
Officials preach that, Megan's law is a way of watching the sex offender, the watching taking place by law enforcement and the general public. It is Big-Brother in every sense of the word. The sex offender knows that, he understands the watching, and though he may not agree with it, he understands it. However, the sex offender also knows there is something else flowing from Megans' Laws, something beyond the watching, something our government refuses to recognize, and courts minimize, vigilantism. The silent executioner with no face!
The sex offender knows this, because he reads newspapers, and report after report shows the vigilantism is occurring, which the courts and legislatures refuses to recognize. Reports show protestors, stones thrown through windows, car tires slashed, shots fired into apartments, and suicides, and a few being maimed or killed because of having the status of being a sex offender. Courts minimize these acts saying it doesn't happen to all sex offenders, and is really a consequence of the crime and not anything the legislature has done. Courts again ignores that Megan's law tells these vigilantists precisely where the sex offenders are, what they look like, and paints a target on them. The psychological seed implanted.
7-4-2003 Scotland: Vigilante warning to sex offenders!
The sex offender knows the general public has no rules of order, no grievance procedure, no trial, no second chances, no appellate process, no US Public Supreme court, no Constitution, the public acts in ways only known in history in cases of insidious discrimination, the public has no law to control it! Megan's laws have no protection for the sex offender from acts of vigilantism, subtle or otherwise. A few states have mere warnings, no teeth, and local law enforcement ignores them. That, the sex offender knows! It's called reality. Yes, there are laws on the books supposedly to handle all sorts of civil disobedience, but they do not control 100% of the public mind. The public acts in spite of those laws. They have no teeth or enforcement. Vigilantism or discrimination, takes on many faces, from subtle unseen acts to murder, as occurred often in racial discrimination cases found in history.
SEX offenders living close to where Jodi Jones was murdered have been warned by police they may be the target of vigilante attacks while the schoolgirl’s killer remains at large. Five years ago, police made a number of arrests when a mob of 300 gathered outside the home of a suspected paedophile in Dalkeith and threw stones at the windows.
There was a time when public perception was, it's us (the white race [and in another era called the super race]) and them (all other races), however, when that was -besides world wars- legislatures stepped in and enacted legislation defining discrimination and its parameters. This was all repeated with handicap persons and gender issues, although not with such an infected hatred. Today however, the focus has changed, it's us (non-sex offenders) and them (sex offenders), the infected hatred has returned, and no protective legislation is considered, in fact, legislation has taken part in the discriminatory acts, by further legislation, to control, shame and ostrasize the sex offender, providing him no protections, no buffer, and sex offenders' families also live the hatred including acts against them. The original acts of a sex offender should be hated, but once convicted and having served society's prescribed sentence, they need to be allowed to become a productive member of society again.
Legislators have one voice when acting in official capacity, and another in quasi-official capacity or private life, and then, their public speaking voice. These voices are inconsistent, one speaking for the implanted seed (speaking hatred and punishment in tones). They too have been infected by the seed (1). Likewise whoever of the public learns of a sex offender, regardless of their specific crime, becomes -society's vigilantist-. Exacting a personalized form of punishment, from as little as withdrawing normal amenities (hello - good bye, I'll do this for this person, etc.), to actually taking open steps, ignoring Megan's Law warnings, towards some form of punishment (non-renewal of apartment leases, denial of employment, protests, acts against offenders' property, vigilantism, etc.,) against the sex offender or his her family.
While not forgetting society's victims, and wishing there was a way to wish away their label and all their inner turmoil, there are other unintended victims suffering (News article: "Probation officers have reported 'high levels of anxiety' from wives and children of sex offenders - and from victims."). I am reminded of a few stories which I will coin into one, a sex offender is trying to get on with his or her life, now married and with children in school. Their child just home from school looks up asking, why will the kids not play with me, why do they say bad things about you? Then quietly, I love you . . .
Times Record News Editorial: "Meanwhile, back in Corpus Christi, Texas, Judge J. Manuel Banales has ordered 14 sex offenders to place signs in their front yards reading, "Danger! Registered Sex Offenders Lives Here!" and apply bumper stickers that say "Danger! Registered Sex Offender in Vehicle!" to their cars. Banales says the order is a way to protect the community and rehabilitate sex offenders." Megan's law, while in theory good, in reality, is a law born out of hatred and revenge under the pretext of public safety, which it does not provide for all. Psychological law of fear, stalking legalized, the ultimate effects of which, both, the sex offender and society, has yet to realize and will be disastrous for society.
"Others have questioned why paroled criminals' families should be potentially identified as sex offenders even though they are innocent of any crime. We can only imagine the psychological effect this might have on an offender's child, forced to bear a measure of the shame meant for their parent.
The logic of such labeling, of course, does not run in a straight line. ...however, bureaucrats have chosen to single out a societal group and thereby put them at risk from the actions of an enraged, righteous public. Regardless of the result, like Pilate, their hands are clean." (Editorial 5-24-2001, Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas). See Also: ACLU:
(1)A newspaper has reported that state Assemblyman George Runner and city officials in Lancaster including Mayor Frank Roberts and Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford have picketed outside an apartment where Andre Bradford, 41, a registered sex offender, has moved in with relatives.
| » 6-26-03 Iowa:ICLU Challenges Sex Offender Banishment Law With Class Action Lawsuit!|
The Iowa Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of several "John Doe" plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of Iowa's law banning former sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care facility. (Iowa ACLU News Release)
» 6-26-03 Iowa: Iowa `safety zone' law leaves sex offenders with few places to live!
A man with an ugly past recently moved out of his yellow house on Bel-Aire Road, banished by the reach of a new state law. Convicted in 1993 of "enticing away a child" and sexual abuse, the 46-year-old man and his mother bought the yellow house in February, after his release from prison.
But the law prohibits anyone convicted of a sexual offense involving a minor from living on that stretch of Bel-Aire, or virtually anywhere else in Des Moines, including all of downtown, plus the suburbs. Authorities say Iowa's largest city has fewer than a half-dozen residential pockets where convicted child molesters may legally take up residence after serving their time.
"Every city in Iowa has the same dilemma," said Des Moines Police Sgt. Barry Arnold. The dilemma is about distance -- precisely, 2,000 feet. That is the minimum distance convicted sex offenders can sleep from a school or a licensed day care center, provided the offender had not lived there before the law took effect last July. .(By Rick Montgomery, The Kansas City Star)
» 6-26-03 Iowa:Sex Offenders in Q-C have few places to live!
In a three-month investigation, the Quad-City Times tested the law by mapping schools, child daycare facilities and the addresses of known registered sex offenders in the Quad-City area. It revealed some consequences that supporters of the Iowa residency restriction say they never considered. The investigation shows:
-- Davenport and Bettendorf virtually are blocked off to sex offenders by 344 child daycare facilities and 34 schools, leaving a golf course, a mall and some affluent neighborhoods in Bettendorf as the only areas where sex offenders can legally establish residence.
-- Only one of 77 offenders in Davenport wwho victimized children and are deemed by the state as "at risk" to commit future sex offenses lives outside of the 2,000-foot safety zones surrounding schools and daycare facilities.
-- All seven of the offenders who live in Bettendorf and the 17 who live in Clinton, Iowa, reside within safety zones.
-- Throughout Iowa, urban areas are all buut off-limits to sex offenders whose victims were children -- even to those not deemed by the state as "at risk" to re-offend.
"We have to tell them they can't live here," Danielson said. "Even if the proposed place of residence is with a parent or family member who can best monitor an offender's behavior and help that offender transition into society, it's off-limits if it's within 2,000 feet of a school or daycare."
(by Marc Chase, Quad-City Times)