Sex Offender Registry

Federal Judge Stops Nebraska From Forcing 13-Year-Old to Register as a Sex Offender

He committed his offense when he was 11.

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Yesterday a federal judge said Nebraska may not force a 13-year-old boy to register as a sex offender based on a crime he committed at age 11 in Minnesota, where he was adjudicated as a juvenile. Nebraska law requires registration of any offender who moves from a state where he was required to register, but people convicted in Nebraska have to register only if they were adjudicated as adults. U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf concluded that the inconsistency was unintentional, noting that Nebraska legislators had deliberately sacrificed federal money to prevent juveniles from being branded as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. 

Under the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, states that exclude juvenile offenders from their registries lose 10 percent of the money that they would otherwise get under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. By failing to comply with that condition, Nebraska forgoes about $163,000 a year.

The boy whose family sought yesterday's ruling was charged with "criminal sexual conduct in the first degree" in Minnesota, where his name was added to a part of the state's registry that only police can see. Nebraska's registry, by contrast, is entirely accessible to the general public. Kopf noted that if the boy had been convicted in Nebraska, he would not have to register as a sex offender and "would not be stigmatized as such." He added that it "makes no sense to believe that the Nebraska statutes were intended to be more punitive to juveniles adjudicated out of state as compared to juveniles adjudicated in Nebraska."

Then again, it makes no sense that any state would impose the lifetime burden of registration on people who commit sex offenses as children, let alone that federal legislation would encourage that policy, which contradicts basic principles of juvenile justice. But good sense tends to fly out the window when the subject is sex offenses. Nebraska legislators and Judge Kopf deserve credit for resisting that tendency.

By describing registration as "punitive," by the way, Kopf called it like it is, but he contradicted the Supreme Court's rationale for rejecting constitutional challenges to the policy. According to the Court, forcing sex offenders to register, although it imposes severe social and economic penalties, is regulation, not punishment.

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  1. “Our regulations say you should be in a jail cell. But don’t worry, it’s not punishment.”

  2. Under the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, states that exclude juvenile offenders from their registries lose 10 percent of the money that they would otherwise get under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.

    I don’t think there is anything redeemable about that particular piece of legislation.

    1. Fucking incentives, how do they work?

    2. It’s the shining example of “Any legislation named after a dead kid will inevitably be terrible”

  3. My God.

  4. “Under the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, states that exclude juvenile offenders from their registries lose 10 percent of the money that they would otherwise get under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program”

    …What?

    1. But they can offset that by applying to the Paul Reubens foundation.

  5. “According to the Court, forcing sex offenders to register, although it imposes severe social and economic penalties, is regulation, not punishment.”

    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    The Supreme Court is so full of shit.

    1. Actually it’s a tax.

      1. A “penaltax”, if you will.

        1. given the context, wouldn’t that be a penile-tax?

    2. Sex offenders engage in commerce, so it’s simply Congress exercising its power under the Commerce Clause.

      1. I mean, it’s not like the state is forcing them to grow wheat, right?

        1. But what if you are raising them for your own intra-state consumption?

  6. …noting that Nebraska legislators had deliberately sacrificed federal money to prevent juveniles from being branded as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

    Had they lost their minds? That’s a double whammy of atypical politician behavior.

  7. Should I be happy that we have one less dangerous sex predator in Minnesoda? Or worried that even with the new Vikings stadium we can’t seem to keep our local talent at home?

    I’m confused.

    1. What could an 11 year old have possibly done to be convicted? Was he banging the babysitter? The mind boggles.

  8. If we turn machine guns into wood chippers, what do we turn wood chippers into?

  9. It’s hard to judge this without knowing the details. Did he “play doctor” with someone? Did he chain someone in a basement and rape them for days?

    1. The Almighty Sex Offender Registry sees no difference, and brooks no guff!

  10. It should be absolutely excluded for any person to be charged with a sex crime if they are below the age of consent themselves. How in the hell can someone who is presumed too young to be a sexual *partner* be considered a sexual *perpetrator*? The sex offender registries are an atrocity in general, but this is just staggeringly evil.

  11. Finally. A judge who uses his kopf.

  12. Strikes me tha the state (Nebraska) and the federal judge have their heads screwed on correctly in this case.

    As to the following, excerpted from the article: “By describing registration as “punitive,” by the way, Kopf called it like it is, but he contradicted the Supreme Court’s rationale for rejecting constitutional challenges to the policy. According to the Court, forcing sex offenders to register, although it imposes severe social and economic penalties, is regulation, not punishment.”

    What sort of double-talk is this last bit, “regulation not punishment”?

    1. It’s pretty much the judicial version of ‘Fuck you, that’s why.”

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