Free Speech

Ban on Legal Name Changes by Sex Offenders Doesn't Violate First Amendment Rights of Transgender Offenders

Seems correct to me.

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From today's Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision in State v. C.G. (opinion by Judge Mark Seidl, joined by Judges Lisa Stark and Thomas Hruz):

Wis. Stat. § 301.47(2)(a)-(b) provides that a registered sex offender may not "[c]hange his or her name" or "[i]dentify himself or herself by a name unless the name is one by which the person is identified with the [DOC]." [C.G. ("Ella")] … contends that, as applied to her, requiring her to register as a sex offender violates her First Amendment rights because the statute's prohibition against legally changing her name restricts her right to self-expression as being a female….

On May 10, 2016, the Shawano Police Department received a complaint that a fifteen-year-old male with disabilities, Alan, had been held down by Ella and Mandy while at Mandy's house, so that Ella could perform oral sex on him. {This opinion refers to the three juveniles as Ella, Alan, and Mandy…. [W]e use pseudonyms when referring to the juveniles in this confidential matter. Ella, a transgender female, prefers that we reference her using feminine pronouns, and we follow her preference.} At the time of her appeal, Ella was nineteen years old, but she was fifteen at the time of the incident. Ella sat on Alan's legs while Mandy held down his arms. Alan was five feet, ten inches tall and weighed 110 pounds. A face sheet from the DOC stated that Ella was six feet, five inches tall and weighed 345 pounds.

Alan is on the autism spectrum and is blind in his left eye. When Alan tried to yell for help from Mandy's parents, Mandy placed one of her hands over Alan's mouth. When Ella stopped the assault, Alan pulled up his underwear and pants and then left Mandy's house. Alan did not report the incident to anyone because he was embarrassed and Ella and Mandy had told him not to say anything. Alan's parents later learned of the incident after they searched his cell phone and discovered Facebook messages indicating that Alan had been held down while a person performed oral sex on him….

Ella pled no contest to … sexual assault [of a child under sixteen], and the disorderly conduct count was dismissed and read in. Ella was adjudicated delinquent, and the circuit court entered a dispositional order placing her at Lincoln Hills School for six to ten months….

[A.] Ella first argues that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion by refusing to stay the disposition requiring her to register as a sex offender…. The circuit court properly considered the seriousness of Ella's offense and its impact upon the victim when denying the request to stay the sex offender registry requirement despite Ella's relatively low risk of reoffense. Although Alan did not suffer bodily harm, the assault was indeed very serious. The court noted that Alan was held down against his will and was prevented from yelling for help. The court further noted that Alan suffered from autism, was progressing slower than his peers in school, had emotional and learning problems in school, and was blind in one eye. Although Ella and Alan were ten months apart in age, Alan was in therapy all his life, and his situation became worse after the assault. Indeed, Alan's mother testified that the assault has affected the whole family. As to the seriousness of the offense, the court reasonably found that Ella's sexual assault of Alan was violent in nature.

Ella's sexual assault was also nonconsensual and arguably premeditated. Prior to the sexual assault occurring, Alan expressed to Ella and Mandy that he was not interested in this type of behavior. Facebook messages reveal that Ella asked Alan if he had ever received "head" before. Alan repeatedly told Ella that he did not want "head" from Ella. Additionally, Alan told Mandy that he did not want to get "head" from a "guy." Although Ella notes that she, Alan, and Mandy were friends, the messages support the circuit court's findings that "[Alan] didn't want to have this type of relationship." Alan was also a vulnerable victim. He is blind in his left eye, a high school freshman functioning at a sixth-grade level, and suffers from attention deficit disorder and autism spectrum disorder. As stated above, Alan was much smaller than Ella. All of these facts strongly support the court's finding regarding the seriousness of the offense.

In Ella's supplemental reply brief, she attempts to minimize the seriousness of her offense and the impact on Alan by asserting that: (1) the offense was a very short incident between three individuals in the same friend group; (2) there was no violence or threat of violence; (3) it was Ella who stopped the encounter; (4) Alan did not report the incident; (5) Alan's parents did not note any changes in his behavior or attitude; (6) although Alan has autism with cognitive delays, he is still in mainstream schools with the ability to make friends; (7) Ella's physical description by the DOC was outdated; and (8) blindness is not a mental deficiency that rendered Alan incapable of understanding the consequences of his actions…. [But] the record contains ample evidence supporting the circuit court's discretionary decision to deny Ella's motion to stay the sex offender registration requirement. Based on the evidence presented, the court could reasonably determine that Ella failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that a stay should be granted….

[B.] Ella argues that the name-change ban in the sex offender registry statute regulates her right to express female identity and is therefore an unconstitutional burden on her free speech. Ella contends that having a name consistent with her gender identity gives her "dignity and autonomy that otherwise does not exist with her birth name." She further contends that her ability to informally identify with a female-sounding name—as long as she notifies the registry that she uses such a name—is insufficient to protect her right to formally identify in that manner with a name other than her current legal name. This inability, according to Ella, prohibits her from truly identifying as a woman, and it also forces her to "out herself as a male anytime she is required to present her legal name." …

[But] Ella's wish to express herself with her desired name does not mean that the ban on legally changing her name implicates the First Amendment….. [A] prisoner ha[s] "no positive right to a name change." … Ella has the right to use whatever name she chooses, provided she includes it in the sex offender registry. Her freedom of expression is therefore not implicated. Neither the fact that she may feel uncomfortable when having to use her legal name, nor that she feels "outed" when she does use her legal name, renders the statute unconstitutional as applied to her. Ella is capable of expressing herself and identifying herself consistent with her gender identity. Because the name-change ban … does not restrict Ella's ability to express herself, we need not utilize a First Amendment analysis because the statute does not implicate the First Amendment.

Nonetheless, if we engage in a First Amendment analysis, we conclude that the name-change ban … is content neutral, and, thus, it does not trigger a strict-scrutiny analysis…. The name-change ban does not target speech based on its communicative content. Specifically, it does not apply to particular speech because of the topic discussed, or the idea or message being conveyed…. [I]t does not determine such matters as what name a person must use—or what must be contained in a name—and does not treat anyone differently based on their name.

The statute might be content based if, for example, it required a male to have a traditionally male-sounding name (e.g., William, John) and prohibited males from legally using "mixed-gender" names (e.g., Payton, Connie) or traditionally female-sounding names (e.g., Suzy, Mary). But, of course, the statute does not do so. The statute merely prohibits an individual from changing his or her current legal name, regardless of the message it conveys. Even if the name-change ban might disproportionately affect transgender persons, the statute is still content neutral. "[A] facially neutral law does not become content based simply because it may disproportionately affect speech on certain topics."

As a content neutral statute, the name-change ban would at most be subject to intermediate scrutiny…. Wisconsin's statutory name-change ban for sex offender registrants easily passes intermediate scrutiny. Under the first prong of the Turner Broadcasting v. FCC test [for content-neutral restrictions], the name-change ban furthers an important or substantial government interest—specifically, to "protect the public and assist law enforcement." Allowing changes to a registrant's legal name would frustrate the ability of the public and law enforcement to quickly identify sex offenders and their locations.

Under the second prong of the Turner test, the governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression. As explained above, the name-change ban is content neutral and is justified without reference to the allegedly regulated "speech."

As to the third prong of the Turner test, the name-change ban is sufficiently tailored to achieve the State's important interest in efficiently tracking registered sex offenders. As noted above, the statute specifically enables Ella to express herself by using her desired name; she simply may not change her legal name. The name-change ban is sufficiently narrow in scope because it does "not 'burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests.'" …

[C.] Ella also raises an as-applied challenge to the sex offender registry under the Eighth Amendment …, which prohibits states from imposing "cruel and unusual punishments." Ella's argument regarding the Eighth Amendment fails because our supreme court has held that Wisconsin's sex offender registration requirement does not constitute punishment at all. In Bollig, the court held that "Wisconsin's registration statute does not evince the intent to punish sex offenders, but rather it reflects the intent to protect the public and assist law enforcement." …

While Ella concedes that, under Bollig, the purpose of the sex offender registry is civil and nonpunitive, she nevertheless argues that its effect is punitive as applied to her, given her transgender identity…. Our supreme court found in Bollig that the intent of the sex offender registry statute is not to impose punishment but, rather, to create a civil regulatory scheme to protect the public and assist law enforcement. Moreover, the effects of the statute, as a whole, are not so punitive as to render it criminal in nature. In asserting an as-applied challenge, Ella is attempting to relitigate the issue of whether mandatory sex offender registration is punitive due to its effects as applied to her. Ella cannot circumvent Bollig's holding simply by bringing an as-applied challenge.

 

NEXT: Classes #2: Punishing Sedition & Efficiency and Fairness

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  1. ” . . . (2) there was no violence or threat of violence; , , , ”

    So being outnumbered two to one, and forcefully held down is not violence?

    But true words are?

    This whole codifying of gender dysphoria is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

    1. “Ella was six feet, five inches tall and weighed 345 pounds.” And the victim was 110 pounds. So having someone three times your weight sit on you is somehow not a threat of violence?

    2. There’s also ability to consent — the drunk girl dilemma.
      If he’s autistic enough, he’s not able to consent.

      1. “There’s also ability to consent — the drunk girl dilemma.
        If he’s autistic enough, he’s not able to consent.”

        Never mind if he’s able to — he expressly said he did NOT want it, according to the opinion.

      2. “There’s also ability to consent — the drunk girl dilemma.
        If he’s autistic enough, he’s not able to consent.”

        You don’t even have to probe his level of autism, because you can point out that people who are underage can’t legally consent because they are irrebuttably presumed to be incapable of forming the required mental state of consent.

      3. What does ability to consent have anything to do with this case? He clearly said no, he struggled, he was physically restrained.

  2. Transgender is a mental disorder , pretending that a biological fix will correct a mental illness is delusional

    1. Its not even a fix that corrects the actual issue. Its like ripping off the badge of a camry to turn it into a rolls royce.

      1. Agree – anyone with an iota of brains knows you cant fix a mental issue by castration.

        It should be obvious that it is the diagnosis de jure in the mental health profession. just like the repressed memory diagnosis de jure from the 1980’s or the electric shock treatment.

        1. Yeah, screw all this ‘autonomy,’ biology is destiny, amirite?

          1. Nobody is preventing transgenders from being what they want. All sane people ask is that they quit bothering us about it. Its the attention whoring that is the problem.

            1. Amos –

              Gender dystopia is a fraudulent diagnosis promoted by a small segment of the mental health profession. They are being told by those fraudulent mental health care professionals that they suffer from gender dystopia and they can be cured with hormones and gender re-assignment surgery. Because those individuals have a mental illness, they are easily convinced that the diagnosis is correct.

              What is surprising is the willingness of a segment of the population to support such a bogus diagnosis and treatment as valid which has such a high level of negative and irreversable consequences.

              1. These are the exact same arguments made about homosexuality years ago, and those people who believed it have been proven wrong again and again. Your commitment to repeating the same closed-minded mistake would be admirable if it wasn’t so deplorable.

                How about you just admit that there are things in this world you don’t understand, and people in the world you don’t have the imagination to empathize with, and just let people live their own lives the way they want to live them? Just shake your head, say “well I don’t understand it, but they aren’t hurting anybody” and just let it go.

                1. Brian – at this point in time, there is zero – absolutely zero scientific evidence that gender dystopia is biological in nature.

                  Other the other hand there is substantial evidence of mental illness and substantial evidence of mental health professionals promoting the diagnosis as the de jure gold standard treatment of the day. Very smiliar to the fraudulent diagnosis and treatments of yore.

                  Presuming you are aware of the deplorable history of advocates in the mental health profession promoting dangerous quackery treatments for the mentally ill, you should be able to grasp the absurdity of the diagnosis and treatment.

                  1. “Brian – at this point in time, there is zero – absolutely zero scientific evidence that gender dystopia is biological in nature. ”

                    It occurs solely in biological organisms. The claim that it’s biological in nature stands unopposed by any other kind of scientific claim.

              2. “Gender dystopia is a fraudulent diagnosis promoted by a small segment of the mental health profession. ”

                And this is coming from the guy who INVENTED “gender dystopia”….

          2. To a large extent that is true. A monkey cannot turn into a whale, nor a wombat into a kangaroo

    2. Some people would say the real villain was Alan for being transphobic:
      Is Refusing to Date Trans People Transphobic?
      Dating While Trans
      The thin line between preferences and prejudice.
      – The Advocate

    3. Given the new assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, heterosexuality is more likely to be treated as mental disorder than gender dysphoria is.

      I’ve seen guys who weren’t pretending to be women who made more convincing women. Sheesh.

  3. The mental health profession has a long history of pseudo therapies to cure mental illness, from frontal lobotomies, shock treatments, exorcisms, repressed memory. Its unfortunate that the party of science encourages such a fraud perpetuated by the mental health profession.

  4. Sex offender registries are lawyer rent seeking quackery. None would have helped Jessica. The offender took her from her bed. She was alive in his closet when the police visited his trailer across the street. They failed to search the place even though he was across the street and was well known.

    In Pennsylvania, one may not even criticize the sex offender next door without violation of law.

    China has jaywalking registries, plastering face and personal information of the jaywalker on large screens in the streets. If one has used too much toilet paper, the dispenser in the toilet of the park has facial recognition and locks itself.

    Registries of animal abusers have been proposed. Yell at your dog for pooping, you have now a registered animal abuser.

    Some sex offenses, like the possession of child porn, have reduced the rates of sexual abuse of real children, in on-off natural experiments in nations that legalized then prohibited it.

    I have proposed a registry of people proposing registries. All lawyers on such a registry should be cancelled for their quackery and rent seeking make work.

    1. Is there actual evidence that sex offender registries (a) work and (b) are an efficient use of limited police resources?

      1. Not that I know of, though we did bother to check one when we were house hunting.

        I think it’s just a sign that the right also does virtue signaling.

        1. There are a few cases where offender registry can be helpful. For example, if you have a coach or teacher who abuses the trust, you will often get someone with an incentive to conceal the abuse rather than disclose it. A sports league doesn’t want to announce that they hired an abusive coach, nor does a school want to announce that they hired an abusive teacher. So, when the truth comes up, they may try to cover up the abuse, allowing the abuser to move to a new town and new league or school and new victims. Ideally, there’d be background checks when these people were hired that would reveal the problem, but there aren’t always good background checks done. Mandatory registration helps fix that problem.

          Restrictions like making the registrants live 1000 feet from the nearest school, on the other hand, do basically nothing.

          1. It’s already well established that in most places that aren’t rural, “within 1000 feet from the nearest school” is pretty much everywhere.

  5. In body identity disorder, one believes some body part is not working. For example, one is blind. Or one is an amputee. One lives life as if that is true, but it is not. Which is more intrusive, more drastic, more dangerous, the amputation of 2 healthy legs, the plucking of 2 normal eyes or a sex change? You are the surgeon, a kid comes to you and wants both healthy legs chopped off. What is your ethical reply?

  6. In one Scandinavian study, where transgender preferences are respected, the rate of suicide doubled in the group that got the operations, compared to a matched group that did not.

    1. Did both groups seek the operations and one group was denied for purposes of the experiment?

      1. Stop with the fancy lawyer talking stuff, you’ll trigger David.

      2. It was a retrospective review, not a prospective case control study.

        https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885

        At this point such a case control study seems ethical, because of the great potential harm of the operations. These are expected to grow fast from their promotion by leftist media, and from the lawyer imposed acceptance of this ultimate denial of reality. This forced acceptance is both in statute and in ruinous litigation against anyone trying to point out reality.

        From another angle, the reversal request rate is over 10% in male to female. It is suppressed by its cash cost, of course.

        1. The study you cite seems to be comparing transgender people who have had surgery to the gneral population, not with transgender people who have no. Did you read the study, or even skim it?

          1. Is 345 lbs a “healthy” weight?

            1. It can be if you’re a tall male Olympic powerlifter. Not otherwise

              1. The NFL lineman General. Don’t forget the NFL lineman.

              2. “It can be if you’re a tall male Olympic powerlifter. Not otherwise”

                Depends on how thoroughly you examine the possibilities of “otherwise”.
                Treat it as a physics problem. Under sufficient acceleration, everybody weighs 345 pounds.

          2. The study implies sex change does not improve the mental state of the person. Correct.

            1. That was the voice of experience.

            2. They figured that out at Johns Hopkins, back in the late 70’s. Did a follow up study on their ‘gender reassignment’ patients, then shut down the program, because the long term prognosis was so bad.

              Nothing has changed since except the politics.

  7. Ann Burford’s name was s*** due to her pollute-at-all-costs tenure as head of Reagan’s EPA. Then she got married and her name changed. Problem solved.

    1. And of course we all know what she changed her name to — is this a “today in Supreme Court history” post? Will Josh get basic historical facts wrong again?

  8. This piece about a transgendered person who wants to stay off of the registry for convicted sex offenders has nothing to do with politics, but Republicans have to be dragged into every discussion. Want to dump on her son, the associate justice of the Supreme Court?

    1. Where does it say that Ella asked to be omitted from the registry? I thought she asked to be included in the registry using her name-of-choice as opposed to her name assigned at birth.

      1. The first section of the opinion was about the defendant’s arguments why they should not be included on the registry at all.

        1. The argument against being place on the registry is weak, but desperation leads to weak arguments being presented. A lot of this comes from using the sex-offender registry as a punishment once prison sentences are completed. There’s a lot of misinformation that goes into the construction and administration of sex-offender registry.

          1. I would tend to agree with that. And the criteria can be absurdly over-inclusive. You’ve got pedophile rapists AND guys who got caught relieving themselves behind a bush. (Or as my son called them when he was 6, “Expedient peeing stations.”) It’s ridiculous.

            My general inclination is to say that criminals should be restored all their rights, every last one, on completion of sentence. Anything else requires societal institutions to support multiple classes of citizenship. If you’ve got a genuine case that somebody can not be rehabilitated, and will forever be a threat to society, you’ve got a case for sentencing them to life in prison.

            1. the problem with sentencing someone to life in prison is that it is fairly expensive.

              1. It’s better than transforming the country into a partial prison so that you can deal with people who are considered a hazard to the public, but you don’t want to lock up.

                1. Depends on whose pockets the money’s coming out of, I suppose.

  9. I think this discussion had buried the lead.
    How have we become a main in which someone, even a juvenile, forcibly rapes a disabled child, the sentence is only 6 to 10 months in reform school, and no one is shocked or outraged?!

    1. Yeah I was wondering the same thing especially given the facts are pretty horrible in the first place.

    2. Is a 14-year-old even considered a “juvenile”?

      IANAL but suspect it would have a lot to do with how that state’s laws were written/interpreted and what the lower end cutoff for criminal responsibility is.

      I also noticed the 345 lbs, which would be morbid obesity for a 40-year-old, let alone a 14 or 19 year old. A lot of psych drugs can cause massive weight gain and it’s a leap — but not an unreasonable one — to speculate on a psych diagnosis being a mitigating factor.

      But at what age is a child too young to be sent to reform school?

      1. My bad — he was 15-years-old.

      2. Yes. Under Wisconsin law, a 17 year old automatically goes straight to adult court. Younger offenders can be transferred to adult court, but my understanding is that has to be signed off on by a juvenile court judge.

    3. “How have we become a main in which someone, even a juvenile, forcibly rapes a disabled child, the sentence is only 6 to 10 months in reform school, and no one is shocked or outraged?!”

      Comes from understanding that sentences for juveniles convicted of any crime, no matter how serious, as a juvenile get sentences that end no later than their 25th birthday. This is why there are provisions for transferring some juveniles’ criminal trials out of juvenile court, AKA “try them as an adult”.

  10. Nothing in this comment is about the merits of the case. I have other things to discuss.

    This is supposed to be a libertarian blog. It is interesting that about a third of the comments here so far focus on the supposed peculiarity, strangeness, or wrongness of the transgender condition, and no comments here on how, from a libertarian point of view, each individual is welcome to whatever gender identity feels right to them. There was a time when trans-racial sex or marriage was condemned and illegal. There was a time when homosexual sex or marriage was condemned and illegal. Libertarians are supposed to be on the side supporting liberal changes that have already happened in these areas. I would hope and expect libertarians to support transsexual rights also, and to speak up when prejudiced people make comments demeaning or critical of transsexuals. Such comments are as ignorant and outrageous as criticisms of religious, ethnic or racial minorities.

    1. The problem with an open mind is that everything can fall out of it.

      1. The good thing about an open mind is everything can enter.

        The problem with a closed mind is nothing can get out and nothing can enter and you’re stuck in the place you where when your mind closed forever.

        1. The good thing about an open mind is everything can enter AND then the rational person can gather additional info, talk to field experts, laypeople, etc. and then decide to accept, reject, or modify the issue.

          You know….like rational people.

      2. The problem with YOUR mind, Ms. Dr. Ed, is that there was never anything in it.

    2. “It is interesting that about a third of the comments here so far focus on the supposed peculiarity, strangeness, or wrongness of the transgender condition, and no comments here on how, from a libertarian point of view, each individual is welcome to whatever gender identity feels right to them.”

      That would be a more viable position were it not for the ever increasing pressure to humor such delusions, or else. It’s much easier for me to not care if a co-worker up and decides to pretend they’re a different sex, or species, or whatever, if I’m not forced to play along with them.

      1. Do you call co-workers whatever name you feel like calling them? Do you call Jonathans “Johnny” whether they like it or not? Would you be annoyed to be called a girl all the time at work?

        It’s not “playing along” to call someone what they prefer to be called. If someone introduces themselves by a certain name, it’s just rude and disrespectful to call them something else. Same goes for gendered pronouns and titles; if you call a woman “sir” and she corrects you, it’s just rude to continue to call her “sir.”

        1. “It’s not “playing along” to call someone what they prefer to be called.”

          That really does depend. If they want to be called “John”, I don’t really care, because “John” doesn’t mean anything, I’m not being required to make some kind of factual statement. It’s just a largely arbitrary identifier.

          If a dude wants to be called “her”, I do care, because “her” means something, and that something happens in their case to be FALSE. I’m being asked by them to lie.

          “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”. That’s the sort of issue this is, and saying ‘five’ when somebody holds up four might seem a minor matter to you, but it isn’t really. It’s the thin edge of a wedge intended to break down your devotion to the truth.

          1. Pronouns are just as arbitrary as names are. To you they might indicate what someone has between their legs, but it’s not like you’re checking (I hope) so the factual question is largely irrelevant. Either way, a pronoun is just a word that takes the place of a proper noun.

            It’s like asking Winston how many fingers you’re holding up, but you keep your hand in your pocket and tell Winston it’s five fingers. If Winston says “four” after you just told Winston it is five, then Winston is intentionally lying to your face, and also is saying that she doesn’t respect you enough to take you at your word and knows more about what’s in your pants than you do.

            1. Like hell they’re just as arbitrary. That’s the lie itself.

              1. They’re not only arbitrary, they’re based on assumptions. What happens when you rely on assumptions, Brett?

      2. “That would be a more viable position were it not for the ever increasing pressure to humor such delusions, or else.”

        It’s not up to me to inspect every person’s personal biology to know how to address them. Apparently, you do feel that this is your role.

    3. Eyesay – I agree that we as individuals should tolerant of and make efforts to erase bigotory, racial animosity, etc.

      On the other hand, attempts to embrace an obvious fraudulent diagnosis and treatment for a mental illness is doing far more for the patient than society embracing such a fraudulent treatment.

      The mental health profession as everyone should be aware, has a long history of quackery in diagnosis and treatments that have caused great harm to the mentally ill. shock treatments, frontal lobotomies, repressed memory, to name just a few. Gender dystopia falls squarely into that sorid history.

      1. Were you misdiagnosed?

    4. The same “libertarian” would also allow me to say I don’t want anything to do with them.

    5. As a libertarian, I can support the right of a person with a penis and testicles to wear dangling earrings, silk panties and a skirt because of a delusion that he is a female. At the same time, I can defend my right not to be forced to refer to him with feminine pronouns. When he has the right to ask an appellate court to refer to him by a feminine pseudonym and they feel obligated to go along with his delusion, we’ve all arrived in a Kafka novel.

      1. What’s worse is that I’m supposed to find him sexually attractive.

        1. What’s even worse is that you obviously do.

    6. Libertarians should not support delusions.

      I identify as rich. Send me money to fulfill my delusion. Give me a Rolls Royce, even though I have $10000 to pay for it.

      The sole meaning of life is reproduction. So someone in a wheel chair, with cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities, who flirts with girls, who wants to have sex with them, is less impaired than they are.

    7. ” Libertarians are supposed to be on the side supporting liberal changes that have already happened in these areas.”

      Telling actual libertarians what they’re supposed to support never works well.

  11. So, apparently we need a statute preventing convicted sex offenders from changing their name(s). So, why don’t we have a general statute that prevents convicted anyone from changing their name? What is it about sex offenders, specifically, that suggests changing their name would be especially grievous to the public?

    1. Because the purpose of sex offender registration is for people to know who the sex offenders in the area are so you can take whatever precautions you feel are necessary. If the registration says John Smith, I’m not going to connect that to Ella Smith who just moved in next door.

      1. But there are women on the list, and what happens when Ella Smith gets married and becomes Ella Jones?

        1. Ella Smith gets married and remains Ella Smith, apparently. Turns out, this isn’t as big a deal and the stars remain in the sky if a woman doesn’t change her name when she gets married, and the cats and the dogs don’t start cohabitating.

      2. “Because the purpose of sex offender registration is for people to know who the sex offenders in the area are”

        So register them under their new names. So that when Bob Studly becomes Mary Jane Vixen, the registry lists Mary Jane Vixen as a sex offender. Meanwhile, Fred Petkiller moves in next door and you have no idea what the secret ingredient is in his prize-winning chili.

        1. This doesn’t even have anything to do with the dude wanting to pretend he’s a girl. He’s equally barred from changing his name to Herbert or Walter.

        2. I would, however, point out that declaring yourself to be ‘transgender’ doesn’t actually obligate you to do anything to pass as the opposite gender. Not drugs, not surgery, not cross dressing or makeup.

          Bob Studly could ‘identify’ as a woman, change his name to Mary Jane Vixen, and continue to lift weights and have a beard, and people in the neighborhood who read that there’s a “Mary Jane” in the area who’s a sex offender would never figure out that it was that dude.

          But that’s not the issue here, of course, as far as the court is concerned, since the ban doesn’t actually have anything to do with the apparent gender of the name.

          1. Gosh, if only the law-enforcement community had some experience dealing with people with more than one name (AKA an alias).

          2. “Bob Studly could ‘identify’ as a woman, change his name to Mary Jane Vixen, and continue to lift weights and have a beard, and people in the neighborhood who read that there’s a “Mary Jane” in the area who’s a sex offender would never figure out that it was that dude.”

            Unless they had functioning brain cells, in which case they’d remember that the registry lists names and addresses. So if Bob has changed his name to Mary Jane, and listened while all his Conservative friends made fun of him for doing so, then went on the registry as Mary Jane so people who saw his(?) name on the registry wouldn’t know that he was the offender forced to register, his cleverness would fail because he’s the only person, male or female, residing at 123 Bellmore Court.

  12. These judges ought to be reprimanded for referring to a 6’5″ 350 lb man as “she” and as “Ella.” All this does is hide the gravity of the offense and make the decision difficult to decipher. “…The statute’s prohibition against legally changing her name restricts her right to self-expression as being a female…”? What the fuck could that even mean? It only makes sense if you realize that it’s a man pretending to be a woman.

    1. I did find it interesting the court chose to use “Ella” and not the defendant’s legal name. Although being a minor, it would have been initials anyway, which makes it doubly strange that the court doesn’t use a pseudonym, although I would strongly suspect the defendant’s own briefs used “Ella”.

    2. “What the fuck could that even mean? It only makes sense if you realize that it’s a man pretending to be a woman.”

      Unless, of course, the transition is already surgically complete.

      1. Even then it’s just a mutilated man pretending to be a woman.

        1. Are you saying that we shouldn’t take you seriously because you’re pretending to be a man?

      2. You can’t change from a man into a woman, surgery or not.

        1. Because you’d totally know, right?

  13. Obama is using Biden as a puppet and will overreach.

  14. “Obama is using Biden as a puppet and will overreach.”

    Are they putting something in your water that isn’t water?

  15. > Our supreme court found in Bollig that the intent of the sex offender registry statute is not to impose punishment but, rather, to create a civil regulatory scheme to protect the public and assist law enforcement.

    What a clever legal fiction.

    1. It’s also true that when the Supreme Court reviewed the sex offender registry, it was still just a registry, and hadn’t yet expanded to become Scarlet Letters, that affected where people could live or work.

      If you look at the federal enabling law, the penalties associated with being put on the registry included… having to show up at the local Sheriff’s office to register in person. The stuff that was added on later like “no living near schools” and “come spend Halloween night with us” hadn’t been thought up yet. Depending on which state you happen to be in, the requirements for registrants vary wildly.

    2. It’s bullshit but this is in line with Supreme Court precedent. See Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003).
      In my opinion whether or not something is punitive should not be related to (obviously false) assessments of legislative intent – otherwise, and incompetent and inconsiderate legislature gets to pass laws a more considerate one can’t.

  16. It appears that the defendant could go by any name informally as long as DOC is notified, but official ID will still include the old name.

    We had a widely publicized case in Massachusetts where a man serving life for a sex crime petitioned for a name change on the grounds that his old name was offensive to his newfound Wiccan beliefs. The court turned him down based on its discretion rather than a statutory prohibition.

  17. Back when Tonya Harding was still in the news, her ex-husband, the ringleader, went through a legal name change…which was covered in the news media, thus largely eliminating the benefit of changing his name.

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