At Least That Solves the Residency Problem

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When Cedric Bradshaw was released from prison after serving a sentence for statutory rape, he moved in with his sister. Because she lived near a recreation center, Bradshaw, a registered sex offender, was forced to move. He moved in with his aunt. But his aunt lived within 1,000 feet of a church, so he had to move once again. A friend of a friend offered him a bedroom in a trailer, so he re-registered.  But he (apparently accidentally) gave the wrong address, failed to move  into  the  trailer within the required 72 hours, and stupidly lied to police about having moved into the trailer. The penalty?

The judge had only one option when he sentenced Cedric Bradshaw: life in prison.

Bradshaw had not committed murder, rape or armed robbery. His offense was failing to properly register as a convicted sex offender for a second time —- even though he had repeatedly tried to follow the law.

Welcome to Georgia! The state's supreme court will decide whether Bradshaw's sentence is cruel and unusual. Perhaps a lawyer can explain why residency laws that force convicted sex offenders away from their families and into random trailer parks are amenable to public safety. 

reason slammed Georgia's draconian residency laws here and here

Via Volokh.  

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  1. Wow. This man has never committed a legit crime.

  2. Don’t even get me started on this. I’ll make joe look like an SS spokesman when we talk about sex offender registries. If they’re that fucking dangerous, why the hell are they allowed out of prison? If they aren’t, why are they treated so?

  3. This is so misguided. They’re using up bed space that could be used to imprison marijuana users.

  4. This is what we get when moral hysteria is the driving force behind criminal law.

  5. So, registered sex offenders can’t get within 1,000′ of a place of worship? I wonder if Sen. Obama addresses that in his faith based initiatives? One would think that some places of worship might have beneficial programs for sexual offenders.

    All kidding aside, if these restrictions were not part of the sentencing for these individuals then they should be tossed out.

  6. “Don’t even get me started on this. I’ll make joe look like an SS spokesman when we talk about sex offender registries. If they’re that fucking dangerous, why the hell are they allowed out of prison? If they aren’t, why are they treated so?”

    True enough – if this was an ACTUAL case of rape – by that I mean the other party did not concent I have no pity on the man. If (as I suspect) it was a case of he being a few years older I certainly do. Actual rapists deserve life in prison and deserve to never see blue sky again.

  7. “So, registered sex offenders can’t get within 1,000′ of a place of worship?”

    No wonder the Catholic Church can’t get enough priests.

  8. If I were a judge in this case, I would have flat out ignored the law as clearly counter to the interests of justice, and see the legislature try to impeach me for it.

    Hey, everyone else in law enforcement ignores the law; why not judges? 🙁

  9. Some towns have successfully gerrymandered their zones so that there is literally nowhere in their city limits that a sex offender can live. This has been challenged by the ACLU as akin to banishment.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20051116&slug=sexoffender16e

    Why stop at banishment? Round ’em up with the porn-viewers and WoW players and tar’n’feather their asses!

  10. If the judge used common sense, then Bill O’Reilly would be all over his case.

  11. “Hey, everyone else in law enforcement ignores the law; why not judges? :(”

    Some members of SCOTUS ignore the Constitution.

  12. “So, registered sex offenders can’t get within 1,000′ of a place of worship?”

    No wonder the Catholic Church can’t get enough priests.

    They can still get the unregistered sex offenders.

  13. So life in prison for not hurting anyone (based on available info)? Wow, that’s really the moral high ground. Fucking retards.

    Sex happens people, get over it.

  14. Haven’t read the whole paper yet, but this looks interesting.

    Titled: Why Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Should Be Abandoned.

  15. Dagny T, as a porn viewer I resent your attempt to categorize me with the sort of earth-walking scum that engage in WOW activity. Please try to be more sensitive in the future.

  16. The Georgian politicians were very open that their intent was to get sex offenders to leave the state. As a resident of one of the other 49 states, I’m not pleased.

    It seems that the drug war is no longer the opportunity for free lunch tough on crime legislation it once was and politicians are going after sex offenders instead since they are easy and, frequently, deserving targets. Two observations on this:

    1. How low on the moral pecking order are you when need to look to child molesters to find someone more offensive?

    2. If this follows the usual pattern, politicians will file incrementally harsher penalties against an increasing range of offenders until you hit a backlash. That’s right, politicians will actually drive people to defend sex offenders.

  17. Perhaps a lawyer can explain why residency laws that force convicted sex offenders away from their families and into random trailer parks are amenable to public safety.

    I’m no lawyer, but the law certainly deterred me from being a sex offender. Once, I got sentenced to community service at a recycling center. I farted through silk for that 240 hours.

  18. bigbigslacker,

    My sincerest apologies. Good thing I’m not in my native Canada, where offending someone is now a crime.

  19. Setting aside the total fuckedupitude of the story as a whole, I can’t help but have my flabber even more thoroughly gasted by this bit:

    But his aunt lived within 1,000 feet of a church, so he had to move once again.

    They made the area around a church legally “sanctified”? How the hell has the ACLU not already stuffed and mounted the heads of the legislators in question?

  20. How the hell has the ACLU not already stuffed and mounted the heads of the legislators in question?

    I didn’t see them rushing into the Heller case, what makes you think they will be messing around with this one?

  21. They made the area around a church legally “sanctified”? How the hell has the ACLU not already stuffed and mounted the heads of the legislators in question?

    Because the law treats all houses of worship the same, there’s no consitituional issue. The legislature made a rational decision that children are likely to be present in or around churches due to the role religious institutions have in our society. Could the law have been written differently and still protected churches with significant child populations–sure, but the constituion doesn’t require it.

  22. Still seems to me like this is the most literal possible sense of “respecting an establishment of religion.”

  23. I predict that the SCOGA will rule that they can not be banished from the State, but may be herded into a single county.

    Psychic Montag

  24. Jake- the “church” provision applies to all “house of worship”, if I recall correctly.

    Still sounds like a good lawyer could make an equal protection claim out of it- with the party harmed being some secular institution that has similar numbers of kids around and isn’t getting this “protection”. But that would just end up expanding these provisions, and that’s the last thing we want.

    You could also go with the 1A angle- favoring religion over “irreligion” as the justice said- but the end result would be the same. And both arguments are about equally unlikely to be accepted by a court to strike down a wildly popular law with vocal support.

  25. “How the hell has the ACLU not already stuffed and mounted the heads of the legislators in question?

    I didn’t see them rushing into the Heller case, what makes you think they will be messing around with this one?”

    The ACLU has been at the forefront of fighting these stupid laws. Haven’t seen many conservative legal watchdogs doing much…hmmm

    http://www.aclu.org/crimjustice/gen/20127prs20050929.html

  26. “Because the law treats all houses of worship the same, there’s no consitituional issue”

    This is a common misunderstanding. Treating all religions the same, even if it could be done, doesn’t make it constitutional if it still favors “religion over irreligion”. This principle isn’t vigorously enforced by the courts, though.

  27. Still seems to me like this is the most literal possible sense of “respecting an establishment of religion.”

    Seems the opposite to me. I would assume that sex offenders who found Jesus behind bars would be prevented by this law from practicing religion in the state of Georgia. Is freedom of religion, like the right to bear arms, to be restricted based on personal and/or criminal history?

  28. The world has gone insane. When the ignorant masses aren’t worshipping at the alter of global warming, they are burning “sex offenders” at the stake. What makes this age so scary is that it is rather than the pitchfork wielding mobs of peasants who are the most ignorant and suppositious, it is our most educated and influential elites who seem to get more ignorant, hysterical and suppositious each year. We truly live in dark times.

  29. “When the ignorant masses aren’t worshipping at the alter of global warming, they are burning “sex offenders” at the stake.” Aren’t the latter fossil fuels?

  30. I’ve always wondered about the rationale behind this; do legislators believe sex offenders run on batteries that give out after 1,000 feet?

    Seriously, what’s the conclusions of any empirical research into these sex-offender free zones? Have any good studies been done? Obviously I think a priori these are idiotic and, if applied ex post facto, unconstitutional; how far can we go in saying “These have been proven ineffective”?

  31. John, what are you talking about?

    (he wrote, dreading the inevitably ridiculous response)

  32. Now, if there is a “house of worship” on the prison grounds, could Georgia be subject to a injunction barring them from housing sex offenders in the prison?

  33. I mis-read this as “Carrie Bradshaw”, not Cedric at first.

    Really puts a different spin on the article.

  34. Also, let’s cut the bullshit about Stautory Rape not being a “real” crime. If she was 10, would that still be okay?

  35. Skimming the article, it looks like the underlying crime for which this guy will be sent to jail for life is sleeping with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19.

  36. Now, if there is a “house of worship” on the prison grounds, could Georgia be subject to a injunction barring them from housing sex offenders in the prison?

    There almost invariably is, and this had occurred to me. Hopefully, it will also occur to some inmates’ bored Georgia lawyer.

  37. Also, let’s cut the bullshit about Statutory Rape not being a “real” crime. If she was 10, would that still be okay?

    No, it wouldn’t. That has nothing to do with disagreeing with the current definitions of statutory rape, which are currently in most states fucking idiotic, and *include* a 16 year old sleeping with a 19 year old.

    No, *that* (16->19) is not a crime. Try not to conflate some stupid and unbelievably rare extremity with the actual situation, please.

  38. Now, if there is a “house of worship” on the prison grounds, could Georgia be subject to a injunction barring them from housing sex offenders in the prison?

    I believe he could use the necessity defense.

    it looks like the underlying crime for which this guy will be sent to jail for life is sleeping with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19.

    He did that while he was on probation for “enticing a child for indecent purposes.”

    As Phil Hartman playing Frank Sinatra said to Woody Allen “Keep your hands off the kinder. Go to the bathroom. It’s a one-man band. No one gets hurt.”

  39. Elemenope said:

    No, *that* (16->19) is not a crime.

    Why not? Why should a legal adult be allowed to accept the consent of a minor? If you don’t believe that statutory rape is a crime, wouldn’t you also have to believe that minors should be able to smoke and drink and gamble and do everything else an adult can do? Remember, for all of those acts, the adult provider is the criminal. Why make an exception for sex?

  40. “Seriously, what’s the conclusions of any empirical research into these sex-offender free zones? Have any good studies been done? Obviously I think a priori these are idiotic and, if applied ex post facto, unconstitutional; how far can we go in saying “These have been proven ineffective”?”

    They don’t think about any of that stuff. It is just mass neurosis. Sometimes entire sections of society go completely insane. When that happens and you are not lucky you end up with the great terror or the final sollution. In 21st Century America at best we get nitwits buying hybrid cars to “save the earth” and at worst we get this kind of thing.

  41. MP,

    Don’t forget entering into contracts. This is a libertarian blog you know. Certain list items are sacred.

  42. If you don’t believe that statutory rape is a crime, wouldn’t you also have to believe that minors should be able to smoke and drink and gamble and do everything else an adult can do?

    Yes, and arbitrary ages obfuscate the real problems of childhood abuse.

  43. Yes, and arbitrary ages obfuscate the real problems of childhood abuse.

    Um, so we should use some other age besides chronological?

  44. MP–are smoking and drinking and gambling biological acts that feel natural and that the great majority of us feel compelled to take part in?

  45. Guy–I think the point was that some 17 year olds are more well adjusted for some things than some 19 year olds are. Having set ages for things solves a lot of problems but I think sticking to them too rigidly can lead to major injustices (locking this guy up for life, for instance).

  46. One of hubby’s employees was thrown in jail last month because she had moved and, although she’d told *some* of the right people, she apparently didn’t jump through all the sex offender registry/re-registry hoops.

    Good grief. The government makes it so difficult to deal with, it’s as though they *want* to keep these people in jail.

    Hmmmmm

    Oh, and the other fun part is when some schmuck calls in the evening to say, “did you know you have someone on The List working for you?”

    What list?
    “You know, That List… The one on my computer!”
    Everyone who applies is required to state whether they’ve been convicted of a felony. Sir, would you prefer that I not employ such people, so they and their families can wind up on welfare and thereby fall on YOUR payroll instead of mine?

    That tends to shut them up.

  47. MP–are smoking and drinking and gambling biological acts that feel natural and that the great majority of us feel compelled to take part in?

    Umm.. yes?

  48. Guy–I think the point was that some 17 year olds are more well adjusted for some things than some 19 year olds are. Having set ages for things solves a lot of problems but I think sticking to them too rigidly can lead to major injustices (locking this guy up for life, for instance).

    Yep, this was my point. I’m 19, so you can decide for yourself whether that makes it more or less valid.

  49. Nigel Watt said:

    Yes, and arbitrary ages obfuscate the real problems of childhood abuse.

    Bright lines are an acceptable part of a predictable legal system.

    Ben said:

    Having set ages for things solves a lot of problems but I think sticking to them too rigidly can lead to major injustices (locking this guy up for life, for instance).

    That’s what judges and discretionary sentencing is for. The problem is not the law, per se. The problem is mandatory sentencing rules imposed by law and order type legislators who always want to demonstrate that they are doing something to stop crime.

  50. What these politicians are doing is simple. They are making it impossible for anyone who is declared a “sex offender” (which doesn’t take much these days) to live legally. The goal is to make it so impossible to obey the law that they can be imprisoned again for bureaucratic technicalities instead of real crimes. One person I know who works with such cases told me of a recent case of a man released from prison. He was ordered to register with the state within so many hours. He went to do so and was told he couldn’t register because he didn’t have recent photo ID — which he didn’t have because had been in jail. So the state refused to allow him to register but was happy to hold him accountable for not registering.

    In another case I actually saw the release papers ordering this individual to live in a specific city and only that city. He was not allowed to travel and he was told that he couldn’t live in any part of the city where chiildren lived — his sex partner was a mature teen who was legal in most states but not here, but it wasn’t a child.

    Yet I know the city he was told to live in and every area of the city has children. So he was ordered to live there but forbidden to live there as well. His view was that the orders made it impossible. So he violated his parole to visit his dying grandmother out of state knowing it would get him arrested. And when they came to arrest him he tried suicide but they got him to the hospital in time so that they could incarcerate him again. I guess he thought it worth it since his grandmother passed away shortly after that. But the conditions on his release made it impossible.

    I’ve read articles on RSOs who stay with their family during the day, when they sleep. Then they walk around all night. If they sleep anywhere at night that is their residence and they can’t reside in their town legally so they just wander the streets.

    And all the experts say that most RSOs do not reoffend but that stress and unstable environments significantly increase the chance of reoffending. So the way the state treats these people they make it more likely, not less, that they will reoffend.

  51. “MP–are smoking and drinking and gambling biological acts that feel natural and that the great majority of us feel compelled to take part in?”

    People don’t like drinking? Really?

    OT, but concerning drinking-I’ve read, of course, that drinking harms the liver. And I’ve read that the liver has amazing regenerative powers if given time. Now, if a person drinks twice a week for years, I mean 10-15 drinks to get hammered, but doesn’t drink anything in between those two days, does the time between the two drinkings give his liver enough time to stay ahead of the damage? Any bio or chem majors out there know the answer to this?

  52. I had my first sexual encounter with an adult at age 9. It was fun. No regrets. Second at 13, also fun. No regrets. I’m now 38.

    If anybody wanted to prosecute either of these two I’d absolutely refuse to cooperate.

    Sex is before 18 is not some universally life-shattering nightmare occurrence.

    As to consent for sex I’d have to say that if a 12-13 year old can LEGALLY give informed consent for sex change operation (the total permanent mutilation of their genitals) I can’t see how the results of consenting to sex would be worse or more permanent.

  53. Nobody said people don’t like smoking and drinking, or can’t like those things as much as sex. But smoking and drinking are not fundamental parts of our being or essential motivations as sex is.

  54. This is from the comments over at Volokh. They claims he is a Georgia Public Defender. I find Volokh to be filled with mostly lawyer commentors and have no reason to believe the guy is a troll or lying. Anyway, check this out.

    “Example from my case files: Defendant is on the registry a relatively minor offense – no children, no force and no injury involved. He was unable to find a place to live in his home county that complied with the statutory requirements, so he went to a homeless shelter. He properly registered his residence at the shelter. 30 days later the shelter closed down and kicked everyone out on the street. He went to his probation officer that day and told him what happened. He was promptly arrested for failure to register 72 hours BEFORE he moved. Since this was the second time this set of circumstances had happened to him, he was subject to a mandatory life sentence, but the ADA “forgot” to introduce proof of the first conviction at the bench trial.

    He was sentenced to “only” 10 years to serve.”

    This stuff scares the hell out of me. I don’t see anyway to stop it. People just have no sense or rationality when it comes to anything called a “sex offense”.

  55. I don’t see anyway to stop it.

    Arm everyone.

    Then let them try to drag people away with impunity. If you’re going to prison for the duration anyway…

  56. As to consent for sex I’d have to say that if a 12-13 year old can LEGALLY give informed consent for sex change operation

    They can’t, at least in the US.

  57. Ah, I see, they start “treating” them at 12 with hormones but don’t do the cutting till 16. Still . . . I think the point stands.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=62010

  58. Not quite – 12 for gonadotrophins – puberty delayers, which have no permanent effect. 16 for hormones, which have a permanent effect starting from 6 months to 18 months, depending on the individual. Surgery at 18.

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