August 26, 2020, 12:34 pm
Three years ago, a federal judge ruled that such consequences amounted to cruel and unusual punishment of three men who challenged their treatment under Colorado’s Sex Offender Registration Act. Last week a federal appeals court overturned that decision, saying the burdens imposed by registration do not even qualify as punishment, making the Eighth Amendment irrelevant.
While that conclusion might seem counterintuitive, it comports with the U.S. Supreme Court’s understanding of sex offender registration, which it views as civil rather than punitive. Even though there is no evidence that publishing information about people convicted of sex offenses protects public safety, that is what legislators claim they are trying to do. And since their goal is prevention rather than retribution, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled, any harm inflicted by this policy is incidental.
That is not how it looks from the registrant’s perspective.
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Author: Florida Action Committee
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