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State of Ohio Establishes "Pre-Crime" Registry 761

I*Love*Green*Olives writes to tell us the Toledo Blade is reporting that State officials have rubber-stamped a "civil-registry" that would allow accused sex offenders to be tracked with the sex offender registry even if they have never been convicted of a crime. From the article: "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."
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State of Ohio Establishes "Pre-Crime" Registry

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  • Re:Worst idea ever. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @09:54PM (#16034999)
    The court are the ones putting your name in that database. FTFA:
    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.

    Who was it that said, "how convenient it is when they're all guilty'?

  • Re:Worst idea ever. (Score:5, Informative)

    by SachiCALaw (856692) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:00PM (#16035021)
    It's not entirely clear from the article, and I'm not an Ohio attorney, but depending on what the registry does, it might be ok. The Due Process Clause of the Constitution requires a hearing before a person is deprived of life or liberty, and that hearing must be proportional to deprivation. Obviously, a criminal case gets *more* due process than a civil case, because the potential deprivation of life and liberty is greater.

    In this case, it seems that the civil registry is designed to be very different from a criminal registry, so let us not assume it would deprive civil registrants of the same rights and liberties as criminal registrants. That said, it is still creepy and upsetting, from a civil liberties standpoint, and worth looking at with a very severe eye.
  • Imo: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:22PM (#16035111) Homepage
    This is slightly worse than wiretapping w/o a warrant on the constitutional level. There's a name for a law that declares someone guilty of some offense and then punishes them for it without a trial - it's called a bill of attainder, and it's specifically prohibited.

    Of course, the proponents of this law are going to claim that the law doesn't declare them guilty, and doesn't punish them, but they're basically saying that these people are guilt of SOMETHING, otherwise they wouldn't be worth being watched. And, obviously, it's easy to see how being on such a list would be a punishment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:24PM (#16035116)
    The actual text of the bill, found here - 6_SB_17 [] shows it to be a lot less scary than the alarmist article says. What it actually reads is that those accused of sex crime but have passed the statute of limitations will have to register if a court finds a preponderance of evidence that that person is guilty. i.e. a person who otherwise would have been convicted but was able to wait out the 20 years or whatever won't go to jail but will have to register.
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by AriaStar (964558) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:40PM (#16035179) Journal
    She was a child kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed by a known molester whose "right to privacy" was deemed more important than his neighbors' right to know that he had a violent criminal record involving children.
  • This is BULL SHIT!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by AriaStar (964558) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @10:45PM (#16035194) Journal
    I have a friend with a clean criminal record who was accused of rape when he was 15. The girl herself even said it wasn't him! His record is CLEAN, and yet he is on Megan's List as a registered sex offender for a rape the court determined he did not commit. Does anyone have any idea how this affects someone's life, to be treated as a criminal for a crime not committed? We are supposed to have something in this damned country called civil rights and the right to a trial by jury. Allowing a judge to "civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit" undermines the criminal system. If you can be declared a criminal without a trial or successful lawsuit (indicates that there was a lawsuit that was UNsuccessful), why the hell not go ahead and commit a crime? If you can be punished for it anyway....

    Ohio already treats men like shit, especially fathers, and I can guarantee you that the majority of false accused will continue to be men. I am a woman on the board of directors of an internation men's rights organization specialising in fathers' rights, and I can see the effect that this will have on more than just the accused. Women already routinely accuse men of sex crimes to get sole custody of children. If they can now be registered as sex offenders based solely on accussations....

    A form of this has been happening in California for many years, but now that one state has enacted it as a law will have a domino effect as other states follow suit. This is a system of abuse that slaughters our Consitutional rights that are supposed to be guaranteed.

    Wait, rights? I forgot, WE ALREADY FUCKING LOST THOSE!!
  • by Bluude (822878) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:09PM (#16035293)
    Man, they can arrest you for anything anymore in Ohio. Yes, I live there.

    The war on drugs made plastic baggies, scales, and anything you can smoke tobacco out of into drug paraphernalia which carries a 3 year prison sentence in Ohio.

    The War on Terror made pretty much anything you can carry into a public venue a crime. Plus if you refuse the search they don't just let you go, they throw you to the ground and point guns at you.

    Then Cincinnati made taking your shirt off in public a sex crime and put you on the sex offender registry for it. Yes, even if it is a guy.

    Now someone can just say you looked at their kid funny and you are basically on house arrest for life. But then mutual sex between two 17 year olds also gets you on the list for life, so I guess I saw this one coming.

    The worst part of politics these days is that no matter who you vote for you always lose to the crappy child safety laws. both sides want to look like they are tough on drugs terrorists, and sex offenders, so the rest of us must suffer. I think I might say my senator looked at my nephew funny and see how they like this law.

    The only solution is to get rid of political parties or get a third party, but even then I doubt we will get a pro-child porn party, not that I would relly want one.

    At least I don't live in West Virginia though. I hear they are blocking out Comedy central shows like south park and the daily show.
    Then of course in england I would already be in jail for owning a few bondage videos. :(

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by AriaStar (964558) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:21PM (#16035319) Journal
    There may not be public registries, but the records are public information.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:22PM (#16035323)
    Clicking on the submitters name take you to a pro-pedophile site where he is a contributor.

    This was the 1st quote worthy gem I found.

    Lesson: Consider the source.

    Pedophile means child-lover. (Greek paidos, "child" + philia, "love, affinity"). If you hate pedophiles, you hate children too.
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by spiffyman (949476) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:30PM (#16035353) Homepage
    Was he convicted?

    Yes []. But I see no reason for Ohio citizens to be punished now for Mr. Timmendequas's crimes.
  • Re:Worst idea ever. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Who235 (959706) <(moc.aic) (ta) (9xtnegaterces)> on Sunday September 03, 2006 @11:44PM (#16035420)

    While I am most certainly opposed to warrantless wiretapping, I nonetheless cannot find any constitutional article or ammendment prohibiting it.


    It's called the Fourth Amendment [] and it's in the bill of rights.

    I think it's pretty safe to say that since there were no wires to tap in 1787, the right to security in one's personal papers (letters, etc. . .) should be extended to other, newer private communications like phone and internet conversations. I'd say that's well within the spirit of the amendment.
  • Re:Worst idea ever. (Score:5, Informative)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday September 04, 2006 @12:10AM (#16035521)
    Your lack of understanding of the constitution is horrifying. (Not just you, alot of people make the same mistake, and it's staggering).

    They saved the best for last -- the 10th amendment. If the constitution does not specifically grant the government power to do something, they cannot do it. Not the other way around. (all in theory, of course, current events show otherwise).

  • by russotto (537200) on Monday September 04, 2006 @12:19AM (#16035571) Journal
    I can see where this law could be useful in cases where we know someone has committed a heinous act but the state can't punish him. Maybe the key evidence linking him is inadmissible in court (but still reliable). Maybe the statue of limitations has expired or there are jurisdictional problems. Maybe the victim is unwilling to press charges or has fled. Maybe what the person did is despicable but not criminal, e.g. someone with HIV who knowingly refuses to use protection or inform his/her partners. A criminal conviction is a very high bar. We can't always establish criminal conduct beyond a reasonable doubt even though we know for certain the person has done very bad things. Not saying I think this is the right approach, but it's not as harebrained as many here have suggested.

    Useful? Sure. But these are exactly the kind of uses the Constitution forbids. If the evidence linking him to the crime is inadmissable but reliable, allowing the state to punish him anyway vitiates the prohibition against whatever bad act the state committed which made the evidence inadmissable. Statute of limitations expired -- same thing, punishing the guy anyway eliminates the protection of the statute of limitations. Victim unwilling to press charges or has fled -- punishing him anyway violates the Sixth Amendment. Despicable but not criminal? Punishing anyway eliminates rule of law entirely, allowing behavior to be made malum prohibitorum on an ex post facto and ad hoc basis by any judge. (did I get enough Latin in there?)

    Yes, criminal conviction is a high bar. It's that way for a reason. If the state can't get over that bar, they lose; if they get to take action against the accused anyway (or without even trying), then all the protections in the criminal justice system have been eliminated.

    Apologists for the law will of course claim being put on the list isn't punishment and therefore doesn't qualify for criminal protections. None of them, I bet, would volunteer to be put on the list to show just how it doesn't punish them. You can be sure that the list is or will be used to screen job applicants for many state positions, for licensed or regulated jobs involving contact with children, and for other things -- things which will just be added to as time goes on. Being put on a state-sanctioned blacklist is punishment, no matter how you word the law.

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday September 04, 2006 @12:28AM (#16035600) Journal
    Not only did it sail over your head, it took a crap in your hair while it was up there.
  • by David_Shultz (750615) on Monday September 04, 2006 @01:15AM (#16035745)
    Liberals (feminists)
    wtf? "Liberals(feminists)"? I think you are confused.

    Liberals (feminists) have long hated that you have to actually be convicted of a crime (as in, evidence, facts, deliberation) before being considered guilty of rape.
    You don't know what you are talking about. I can't believe your comment has been modded up to five -this is absolutely ridiculous! What you have asserted is simply not true. Nothing about feminism involves what you are suggesting.

    For the record, a feminist is any person who believes the following two statements. 1) women are disadvantaged, and 2) we should try to eliminate this disadvantage. Those are the defining beliefs of a feminist. While there are some crazy feminists out there, they are by no means representative of the philosophy of feminism.

    So if you're accused by anyone, you might as well go out and rape an orphan, because you're going to jail for it anyway.
    Might as well! I know that's the first thing I would think of doing... ummmm?
  • by gilroy (155262) on Monday September 04, 2006 @02:03AM (#16035979) Homepage Journal
    Do you have any clue what "statute of limitations" even means? No matter how you slice it, this boils down to gotcha justice: We "know" you're guilty but these pesky constitutional or staturoty restrictions keep gumming up the works. But we're gonna "get" you, by God!

    It's still an attempt to punish people for a crime of which the State is not otherwise able to convict them. It's wrong, pure and simple. Being put on an emotionally-charged list (such as a sex offender list) is not something that should be treated casually, by administrative fiat.
  • by NereusRen (811533) on Monday September 04, 2006 @02:11AM (#16036016)
    those accused of sex crime but have passed the statute of limitations will have to register if a court finds a preponderance of evidence that that person is guilty. i.e. a person who otherwise would have been convicted

    Whoa, slow down there fella. Do you know the difference between civil and criminal court? You're mixing and matching teminology.

    In civil court, the winner is the one with the "preponderance of evidence" on their side, because it's citizen v. citizen and one of them has to win. It's a very low (51%) threshold for victory. Although a judgment is rendered, the defendant is never said to be "guilty" or "convicted" of a crime regardless of the outcome.

    In criminal court, the standard for proving guilt is "beyond a reasonable doubt," because it's government v. citizen and having our government punish an innocent citizen is considered the worst possible outcome. The evidence required in that case is WAY more than the civil 51%.

    Now, if what you say about the bill is correct (and I read it the same way since it refers to everything as "civil" rather than "criminal"), it actually says the opposite of your interpretation. Since it only needs a preponderance of evidence, it can put people on the list who never would have been convicted of any crime, and never would have seen jail time as a result of any regular trial.

    Since being put on the list amounts to government punishment, this is a vile end-run around the constitutionally guaranteed protections for all citizens.
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 04, 2006 @02:27AM (#16036097)
    I'm sure you're familiar with how a child molested often blocks the memories.
    I'm sure you know that most psycologists regard "blocked memories" as bullshit.
  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday September 04, 2006 @03:42AM (#16036405) Homepage Journal
    Maybe someone in Ohio needs to challenge these laws to the supreme court

    Won't work; it's too late. Poorly informed, hysterical and badly educated US citizens let the USSC declare that "registration" wasn't punishment (in order that sex offenders who had previously been convicted be forced to register without running afoul of the constitutionally declared right to be free of ex post facto punishment) and that opened the door (wide!) for the government to register you and yours for any reason it likes. It just has to declare it has "an interest" in you and that's it, buddy, you're on the list.

    And as for revolution... don't count on it. The middle name of the America citizen is "gullible" and the surname should probably be "sheep." You'll do what you're told.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday September 04, 2006 @04:28AM (#16036573) Homepage Journal

    I made this point above, but it bears repeating: It is NOT punishment, because the US supreme court has specifically said so. Registration is a state function; they have an "interest", and that's all it takes to make a registry legal.

    This was established during a process where someone who was convicted of a sex offense prior to the enactment of the Megan's Law group of laws was registered *after the fact* and not by order of any court. The sex offender claimed (entirely correctly, in my view) that this was "ex post facto punishment", and the USSC in a leap of illogic incomprehensible to me, declared that registration could not be construed as punishment, hence it wasn't ex post facto punishment at all, and the guy was registered.

    What was established by this is that (a) the state declares it has an interest in keeping you on a list of some kind, then it can, and (b), it can punish you in a myriad of interesting and creative ways if you don't comply. It was one of most ill-considered and least well reasoned USSC decisions in recent history, comparable to the ruling that pot grown in California, for sale and use in California, was "interstate commerce" because it "could" have been sold over state lines (no really, that's the ruling... it sounds like it was made up, it's so unbelievably stupid, but that's the situation.) In each case, a complete mockery was made of what the intent of the constitution was; in each case, the "reasoning" was strictly convenience of the moment.

    The problem is that there is no recourse. Oncce the USSC decides something, you're done. Period. This Ohio law can survive no poblem, all it has to do is refer to the reasoning that underlies the (non) ex post facto status of the currently existing registries.

    We are ruled by idiots. The population won't do anything about it. Mostly, they're idiots too. There's no help for it.

    Democracy: Where any two idiots outvote a genius.
    Democratic Republic: Where any two idiot representatives outvote a genius representative.
    Oh, wait. There aren't any genius representatives.

  • Re:That's not hot. (Score:2, Informative)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Monday September 04, 2006 @06:10AM (#16036868)
    Look at what they're classifying as 'sex crimes' these days.

    Indecent exposure (includes walking around without a shirt as well as streaking and getting caught in the back seat naked)

    Public urination (like, when you've had a few beers, it's 3 AM, & you're too far from home and need to 'find a tree')

    The catch-all is 'gross sexual imposition', which can mean anything from kissing a girl against her wishes to commenting about her attire ('Gee, you look HAWT in that string mesh bikini...'), to some kid still making out with their girlfriend/boyfriend AFTER they turn 18 to full blown violent rape (only in the violent rape cases, they plea bargain it down because their case is weak).

    Hell, up in Nevada, they had some parents of a 6 year old girl try to sue the district for allowing a 'sexual assault' because a 6 year old boy kissed her on the playground. Shall we put that 6 year old kid on the list too?

  • by beaverfever (584714) on Monday September 04, 2006 @08:59AM (#16037285) Homepage
    Cathy Fordham [] showed how it is done [], and how the "system" in Ontario is not prepared to reverse itself [] when its assumptions are wrong.

    Even with courts providing "balance", this is a difficult area for the rights of accused to be respected. Hopefully Cathy Fordham's excesses were an exception, but the irreversible fallout from this one person's manipulation demonstrates how carefully the justice system must handle such cases.

    As with the death penalty, how many wrongful convictions are we willing to tolerate? What is more important; harsh punishment for the guilty or keeping the innocent free?
  • just remember that (Score:3, Informative)

    by Travoltus (110240) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @02:30PM (#16046446) Journal
    all sex is rape. So sayeth Andrea Dworkin.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.