Judge Critical of Sex-Offender Registry Confirmed to Massachusetts High Court

Critics had argued that Kimberly Budd's criticism of sex-offender registries "render her unfit to serve as a justice."


State of Massachusetts

Making a mild criticism of sex offender registries looked like it could have hurt a Massachusetts judge in her bid to serve on the state's Supreme Judicial Court. But on Wednesday the Governor's Council, an eight-member elected body responsible for approving judicial nominees, voted unanimously in favor of Superior Court Judge Kimberly Budd's nomination to serve as an associate justice.

During a grilling by the Governor's Council last week, Budd had said the state Sex Offender Registry is too expansive, ensnaring people who are far from a threat to anyone. She added that this opinion stemmed not from her "professional experience, but just hearing about people who wind up on the registry that don't necessarily need to be there and aren't really sex offenders."

As anyone who reads Reason editor Jacob Sullum or "Free Range Kids" empress Lenore Skenazy on this topic knows, Budd's is an entirely accurate statement. While registry rules vary from state to state, a growing array of offenses can land someone on the registry, leaving all sorts of non-predators on a list that people think of and lawmakers treat like a compendium of rapists and child molesters.

Budd stopped short of criticizing the registry more broadly, although the logical foundations of the registry as a whole are shaky, as there's scant evidence that perpetrators of sex crimes are more likely to re-offend than other types of offenders. Still, even the judge's suggestion that we should purge people who "aren't really sex offenders" from the list drew loud objections from some.

Going with the government-fellating, tautological tack, Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton) argued that "if you are on the Sex Offender Registry, you have committed a sex crime," and "it is imperative that we have justices that will defend and protect the registry." Budd's statements, said O'Connell, "render her unfit to serve as a justice." She took to talk radio and her own online platforms urging Massachusetts residents to write Governor's Council members and encourage them to reject Budd's nomination.

"The public has a right to know what dangerous sex offenders live and work in their communities," continued O'Connell, missing or intentionally obscuring Judge Budd's whole point: that the registry, in its current manifestation, represents nothing like a list of "dangerous sex offenders."

But Gov. Charlie Baker, who had nominated Budd (along with recently-approved Justices Frank Gaziano and David Lowy) to serve on the state's high court, defended Budd Tuesday. The Republican govenor said Budd would make a "terrific" justice who understands it's a judge's role to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench.

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  1. One thing I’ve never understood about those who lobby so hard for the registries is that I would imagine the majority of them have themselves engaged in activities that, had they come to the attention of the authorities, would have gotten them included in the registries. If nothing else, most of them had sex as young people in ways that would run afoul of the laws. It is the height of hypocrisy for them to demand an expansive registry for others who often have done less than they themselves have.

    1. You could say this about a shit ton of laws from DUI to drug laws.

      Our government and most of life can be summed up by this one unappreciated movie scene:

      Kumar: “This is weed. ”
      George W. Bush: “That’s Alabama Kush. That’s only the finest.”
      Kumar: “So, you get high and then you put other people who smoke weed in jail.”
      George W. Bush: “Duh.”
      Kumar: “That’s so hypocritical.”
      Harold: “Hey, hey.”
      George W. Bush: “Yeah? Well, let me ask you something, Kumar. You like giving handjobs?”
      Kumar: “No, sir.”
      George W. Bush: “You like getting hand jobs?”
      Kumar: “Yeah.”
      George W. Bush: “Alright. Well, that makes you a bleeping hypocriticizer too. So shut the bleep up and smoke my weed.”

  2. I wonder where she stands on the enforcability of the gag order the Commonwealth imposed on the Amiraults as a condition for releasing them from prison after decades incarcarated for a crime that they didn’t commit.

  3. Well, this one apparently hates the children and wants the terrorists to win.

  4. Apparently the principal reason sex offender registries were okayed by the Supreme Court is because Justice Kennedy thought that recidivism is 80% (based on the “ooh scary!” clause in the constitution), a statistic that turned out to be absolute bunk.

  5. I’ll offend your sex register, if ya know whada mean.

    1. I don’t. But I’m going to assume the worst and write a letter to Preet about you.

  6. She’s not your Budd, pall.

  7. You know, I disagree. There ought to be a registry for every single crime. And once you get in one, you’re in it for life. And it doesn’t matter how young you are when you’re put on the list.

    1. There ought to be a registry for every single crime.

      There is, you know. Its called your criminal record.

  8. Pshaw, it should be like the no-fly list, a bureaucrat should be able to put you on the sex offender registry at will, without due process. Anything less is soft on crime!


    1. Careful–you’ll give them ideas. /sarc too

  9. The Republican govenor [sic] said Budd would make a “terrific” justice who understands it’s a judge’s role to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench.

    I’ll bet this guy still refers to ‘ice boxes’ and ‘Victrolas’ and ‘alienists’, too.

  10. Oregon Initiative #3 for 2018 ballot: Repeal the Sex Offender Registration law in Oregon.

    All Sex Offender Registration (SOR) laws are a complete and utter FRAUD and HOAX on the citizens of this land. The facts have long been available that show it to be so. But facts in the face of the persecution of formerly convicted sex offenders (Registrants) do not matter. It doesn’t matter whether the argument to repeal the SOR law says that it is without any relevant underlying supporting facts, or that it ignores Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional considerations, or that it injures the Registrant’s innocent family members who live with him, or that the Registrant himself is denied an
    equal opportunity to employment and housing.

    The harsh fact is that Oregon’s SOR law (like all others) exists to feed and benefit the members of the iron rectangle of political power: The legal monopoly cartel, the political-class “tough-on-crime” careerists, the “news” media profiteers, and the cruelty-focused law enforcement psychopaths.

    1. See 2018 Initiative #3 at

      Repeal the Sex Offender Registry in Oregon.

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