Civil Liberties

Registration Nation

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To the People notes that New Mexico governor and possible presidential candidate Bill Richardson is proposing a publicly searchable state registry of convicted drug offenders. The bill mirrors a federal proposal now pending in Congress.

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  1. Gawd, I coulda sworn I’d heard this guy had talked about legalization in the past! (Of pot, anyway.)

    WHAT HAPPENED??

  2. I like the idea of the national database. I will not spell it out for you why I like it.

  3. Like the sex offender list, eventually this will be populated primarily by people who have committed very minor infractions, yet are not allowed to live within 1000 feet of civilization.

  4. fyodor, you might be thinking of the previous governor, Gary Johnson.

    Reason interview here.

  5. That was the previous governor of NM, Mr. Johnson. He was a republican, though he lost most of his support after his views on grass came out… Not a bad guy though. (I’m a native of the state, though I was fairly young when he was in office.)

  6. How have we gotten to this stage? So now you aren’t merely charged, arrested, tried, and jailed and/or fined for “really bad things”. No. Now you get fitted for a Scarlet Letterman Sweater on the way out.

    I find it difficult to defend rationally but this seems almost in violation of the Eight Amendment’s “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” clause. As far as I know, there has yet to have been any movement to register convicted killers. I’m not advocating such a database – not in the least – but I am curious why so many people apparently find sex and drug offenders to be more reprehensible than murderers.

  7. This is your government on drug prohibition.

  8. If I had to guess, I would say shock value motivates more people than the harm done by the action. The drugs that are illegal have only been in Western countries for less than 2 centuries, so the public still buys the “spreading plague” propaganda. Murder has been everywhere forever, so the fact that the US has murders isn’t news. People are used to the idea that murders happen once in a while.

  9. Maybe they could call the database “The Drugs Yellowpages”.

  10. Just for the sake of argument: if someone has been convicted of an offense – drugs, sex, theft, murder, or whatever – and the government keeps records of those convictions, why shouldn’t those records be accessible by the general public whose taxes are paying for them? What happened to the ol’ “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime” thingy?

  11. Actually this might be a good idea.

    We get to see the incredibly huge number of people locked up for drug use and at the same time anyone can pick a random sample of convicts to see first hand how they didn’t ruin their lives.

  12. The researcher in me agrees with Agammamon. And of course, having a database of drug dealers publicly available is a good thing if you want to buy drugs.

  13. uncle sam | January 18, 2007, 8:23pm | #
    This is your government on drug prohibition.

    uncle sam wins the thread.

    But, in response to jw’s point: On one level I don’t really disagree with you. Put all of the criminal records out there, as a matter of public record, with all of the details. What I fear is a measure that doesn’t really inform but simply produces a list. Look at sex offenses: Yeah, I’d kind of like to know who’s been convicted of violent rape and stuff like that. But I’m not interested in a list that lumps violent rapists in with the 18 year old who had sex with a 17 year old (or whatever ages the line is drawn at in a particular state), or lumps the child molester in with the guy who got drunk and urinated in an alley (“indecent exposure”).

  14. I think Bill Richardson is getting his legislative ideas from “The Onion”, which had an article on this topic a couple of years ago.

  15. I actually am in favor of most of these types of public information lists provided they carry plenty of details that can be easily broken down and compared.

    I’d like to know if the guy who lives up the block from me and who has a record for “sex with a female minor under age 16” was himself under age 20 at the time.

    I’d also like to see there be a Sunset provision on any such RSO lists so that if an offender goes ?? number of years without a fresh offense, his name is removed (though still available with a legitimate court order in case it’s needed for distant future case)


    With regard to drug offense lists, I say, yeah!

    I want more and more drug users to be outed so that we can easily compile reports and data showing how most users of illicit drugs are solid, strong members of their families and communities.

    NOW I DO OBJECT to the state making employment in certain professions illegal simply on the basis of being a convicted “drug offender”. But that’s a whole secondary discussion to that of having the lists in the first place.

    Dig it…Many of us aren’t waiting for the government to arrest us:

    http://www.cannabisconsumers.org/gallery.php?gal_id=52

  16. I want to know when a car thief or a burglar moves into the neighborhood. Why single out very infrequent crimes? I say if a government can ban rapists, molesters, and those who behave inappropriately with their genitalia from living in certain places, why not go after other crimes?

    Plus, why do murderers not get on these lists? I think getting raped is something that can be gotten over, much unlike getting killed. That’s a bit hard to recover from, even with the best therapy.

    As it is with drugs, sex is the other big issue that throws common sense out the window when laws are made.

  17. I want to know when Muslims move into my neighborhood. And Jehovah’s Witnesses. And heavy metal aficionados. And Desperate Housewives fans. And while we’re at it: the Chinese. No more free ride for the Chinese.

  18. I like the idea of a drug dealers database, but there’s no reason to create another big government bureaucracy over it. Just add section to the Yellow Pages.

  19. RTA. Richardson is proposing a db of “offenders” not just dealers. And we’ve seen that many “dealer” convictions are based on possession of more than a minimum amount, not intent to actually “deal.”

    It’s rapidly approaching the point where if you find out your kids are doing drugs the sanest alternative is to help them hide the evidence.

    OTOH given SWAT escalation the best thing you can do for the rest of the family is to immediately kick the kids out into the street.

    What a choice.

  20. I am not in favor of a national database of offenders, just a list of dealers. I don’t want to waste my time calling a bunch of guys who say, “no, but if you do find a sack, call me back.”

  21. Add another to the list of people never to vote for.

    How about a database online that shows all criminal, mental and health issues any politician has ever had. After all we need to know these things, how else can we feel safe in our neighborhood if our overlords are crooked, lying, lunatics. They might actual try to take away our freedoms one day!

    damn they all are and they already have.. oh well.. Go SAINTS!!!!

  22. I like the idea of the national database. I will not spell it out for you why I like it.

    You’re either a drug user or an IT consultant. And likely both.

  23. But, in response to jw’s point: On one level I don’t really disagree with you. Put all of the criminal records out there, as a matter of public record, with all of the details. What I fear is a measure that doesn’t really inform but simply produces a list. Look at sex offenses: Yeah, I’d kind of like to know who’s been convicted of violent rape and stuff like that. But I’m not interested in a list that lumps violent rapists in with the 18 year old who had sex with a 17 year old (or whatever ages the line is drawn at in a particular state), or lumps the child molester in with the guy who got drunk and urinated in an alley (“indecent exposure”).

    I have urinated in an alley after imbibing. I wasn’t apprehended or convicted. But that fact is, that would make me a sex offender in some jurisdictions.

    Anyone who has never pissed in an alley or behind the tree is, IMHO, unfit to hold public office.

  24. “[W]hy shouldn’t those records be accessible by the general public whose taxes are paying for them? What happened to the ol’ “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime” thingy?”

    (1) Because adding a person to this type of list is sentencing them to punishment without the protections of a trial. (2) A prison-term can’t be open ended, but being on these lists is an open ended thing. (3) It is assumed that once a person is released from jail they “did their time” and the extra time is doing their time plus getting publicly humiliated after the fact. (4) People generally have to have a reason to pry into your personal business, such as your rap sheet. Living in the same neighborhood isn’t enough of a reason, if we assume that you possess a modicum of personal responsibility. However, if you apply for a job with someone, they have a reason and can have access to your record.

  25. “I want to know when Muslims move into my neighborhood. And Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

    ed,

    Don’t worry…if a Jehova’s Witness moves into your neighborhood, you’ll know about it!!!

    😉

  26. Anyone who has never pissed in an alley or behind the tree is, IMHO, unfit to hold public office.

    That would be *your* opinion, J sub D. I’d keep the field open for people who possess bladders of iron, and women.

  27. I swear this was an Onion article

  28. I’m sure if there are enough people who want to visit a Chinese Legends theme park Disney or someone will be willing to set one up. But why should they feature anything but Disney tales at a Disney theme park? Particularly when tickets are apparently selling well.
    http://www.mirei.com

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