Monday, April 25, 2016

Residency restrictions cause problems finding help for homeless registrants in Mobile

I wrote a far better headline than this reporter did.

Tent City Poses Dangers To The Community
Alison Spann
By Alison Spann
Published: April 24, 2016, 9:48 pm  Updated: April 24, 2016, 10:40 pm

Tent city is a homeless camp located less than a mile from downtown Mobile. Several tents are dispersed in a wooded area off of Conception Street Road. Police have identified 28 people who live at the camp, 8 of which are registered sex offenders.

According to Lt. Rowland, Mobile Police Department, the 8 sex offenders have a registered address of “Tent City.”

The camp is littered with human waste and  a ton of trash. Three Mile Creek runs through the homeless camp which makes way for feces and other trash to trickle into Mobile Bay, and in some cases even Mobile’s Water Supply.

Lt. Rowland said, “All of this trash and human waste ends up in the river, which ends up in the bay, which ends up- some of it in the water supply.”

These are just a few of the issues that prompted MPD to shut the camp down. On May 6th, everyone must go.

There are several volunteer organizations working with MPD to aid the homeless in finding housing. Rowland said, “we’re trying to facilitate the different agencies, get these people in touch with 15 Place, the Salvation Army, etc.”

Jennifer Greene, with Delta Dogs, even helps with the care of the animals that live in tent city. They provide the dogs with healthcare as well as provide them with access to food and water.

However, Lt. Rowland says that finding housing for sex offenders is difficult. Sex offenders don’t qualify for many of the housing options that other homeless do.

There are two weeks left until the area has to be cleared out. Officials are actively working to shut tent city down and find real housing for those that live there.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Take the Once Fallen Police Compliance Check Survey -- Take the Once Fallen Police/ Compliance Check Survey

Dear registrant or loved one of a registrant,

Perhaps one of the most stressful experiences we face as those forced to register as “sex offenders” is having a uniformed member of law enforcement coming to your house to perform a “compliance check” or “address verification” operation. This survey is designed to gauge the experiences of registered citizens or their loved ones while subjected to one of these “random” compliance/ address checks. (For purposes of this survey, I prefer to use the term “registered citizens” or “registrants” as opposed to the term “registered sex offender.”)

QUALIFICATIONS: You must be either a registered citizen OR someone living with a registered citizen AND experienced an at-home or at-work compliance check at least once since being forced to register or, if you are the loved one of a registrant, have personally witnessed the check of the registrant. If you have NOT experienced an in-home or at-work compliance check, then DO NOT complete this survey.

If you have questions about this survey, contact me at or call me at 513-238-2873.

Derek W. Logue of

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hb 245: Restoring voting rights to disenfranchised people

ReFORM-AL strongly supports this bill. It restores voting rights for everyone convicted of a crime.

HB 245 summary

Under existing law, a person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude is prohibited from voting until he or she has been released upon completion of a sentence, has been pardoned, has completed probation or parole, and has paid any victim restitution. Restoration of voting rights is made through an application to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

  •   This bill would provide for the automatic restoration of voting rights of a person who has been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude when he or she is discharged from incarceration.
  •   This bill would specify responsibilities of the Secretary of State concerning such voter restoration.
  •   This bill would provide for absentee voting for persons who are eligible to vote and are incarcerated.
  •   This bill would repeal the provisions of state law that provide the procedure for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to restore the voting rights of a convicted felon.
  •   This bill would also establish a temporary legislative oversight committee and a task force to monitor the restoration of voting rights.

Alabama pastor wins round in freedom of religion lawsuit

Triumph Church

It is a small victory. The battle is far from over.

Alabama pastor wins round in freedom of religion lawsuit

By Mike Cason | 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on April 07, 2016 at 8:38 AM
A Chilton County pastor has won a round in his federal lawsuit challenging a state law that ended his residential ministry for sex offenders.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Wednesday denied the state's requests to dismiss the claims by Ricky Martin, who sued in 2014.

Martin, pastor of the Triumph Church, provided housing for sex offenders who were released from prison in campers on property he owned behind the church.

Martin and his wife live next door to the church, which is on the outskirts of Clanton.

About a dozen men normally lived there at one time, a total of about 60 during the whole time Martin operated the settlement, according to Watkins' order.

State law restricts where sex offenders can live. For example, they cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or child care facility.

Two years ago, the Legislature passed a bill, pertaining only to Chilton County, that prohibited two or more registered sex offenders from living on the same property unless the homes were at least 300 feet apart.

That forced Martin to evict the men living on his property.

In his lawsuit, Martin claimed the law infringed upon his right to freely practice his religion under the First Amendment, among other claims.

Chilton County District Attorney Randall Houston, named as defendant in the case, asked the court to dismiss it.

But Watkins ruled on Wednesday that Martin had sufficiently made a claim that the law "creates a burden on his sincerely held religious beliefs," allowing the case to proceed.

Watkins also allowed Martin to proceed on claims that the law is a "bill of attainder" because it singled him out and that the law violates his due process rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama is representing Martin in the case.

"We're really quite encouraged by the judge's opinion," ALCU of Alabama Legal Director Randall Marshall said Wednesday.

The attorney general's office, which represents Houston, declined comment.

C.J. Robinson, a prosecutor with the Chilton County district attorney's office, told the Associated Press two years ago that he did not doubt the sincerity of Martin's ministry, but said it was not safe having that many sex offenders in one place.

Former state Rep. Kurt Wallace of Maplesville said at the time he sponsored the bill that families who lived near the church were worried about the safety.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


As mentioned recently on this blog, Alabama is pushing a bill that would exclude teen sexting from the growing list of registerable offenses. However, it does not go far enough. So Lenore Skenazy of the "Free Range Kids" website (a good website that is among the growing skeptics of the sex offender registry) has created an online petition to compel the state legislature to change the laws to stop criminalizing teens for engaging in behavior best addressed by parents, not police. Take a few moments to sign this petition today. Click the link below to access it.


According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 14 is the most common age of sex offenders. 

That stat shocks most people, but it shouldn't.  Young people have sex with other young people. That can be against the law in America, even when it is consensual.

This has led to over 200,000 minors being placed on the Sex Offender Registry. Once on it, their lives become a nightmare. They can't live near a school, find work, or even go online. Often they face death threats.

Criminalizing consensual sex or sexting is not making our children any safer. In fact, our kids have a better chance of ending up ON the registry than of being harmed BY someone on it.

For these reasons, we urge you to decriminalize consensual sex or sexting between young people past puberty. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Daily Beast's take on Hurst's 'Wurst slicing bill is the best i've read so far.

The Daily Beast makes a few valid points, especially regarding wrongful convictions.

03.04.16 3:40 PM ET
By: Brandy Zadrozny
Alabama Lawmaker Wants Sex Offenders To Pay For Their Own Castration

Only one small problem—Alabama has wrongfully convicted at least nine men of the kind of sex offenses that would qualify for this lawmaker’s bill.

An Alabama lawmaker known for parading around on a giant gun-shaped barbecue grill has once again taken up his pet project: the surgical castration of sex offenders.

“This bill would provide that any person over the age of 21 years who is convicted of certain sex offenses against a child 12 years of age or younger would be surgically castrated before his or her release from the custody of the Department of Corrections,” HB 365 reads. “This bill would require that the cost of the procedure be paid by the adult criminal sex offender.”

The point of such a bill is clear. The sexual abuse of a young child is horrific, and who wouldn’t want to prevent a repeated attack?

But castration—whether by surgically removing a man’s testicles or chemically diminishing his libido with injections of synthetic female hormone Depo-Provera—has never been proven as an effective means to curb such violent sexual abuse. Despite popular belief, neither forms of castration are guaranteed to cause impotence. Up to 10 percent of surgically castrated men are able to regain sexual function after the procedure.

What’s more, sexual abuse experts say a one-cut-fixes-all strategy does nothing to address the underlying disorder that leads an abuser to commit such a heinous crime. Still, at least seven states have some law on the books for the chemical castration of sex offenders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“It’s naive to think this is a panacea,” Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of The Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, told The Washington Post decades ago, a position he has maintained every subsequent time a reporter has called asking for his opinion on the matter. Not only is it wrong to use a medical treatment as punishment, he has said, but there’s no reason to believe it will have the intended effect.

And then there’s the problem of wrongful convictions, a thing Alabama knows a bit about.
Since 1989, 476 people wrongfully convicted of sexual assault or child sex abuse have been exonerated across the U.S., according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project run by the University of Michigan. Nine of those have come from Alabama.

Antonio Williams spent over four years in an Alabama prison serving a life sentence for the rape of a 7-year-old girl, who was interviewed by investigators after it was discovered she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Williams was vindicated in 2011 after the girl told a social worker a different man—not Williams—had raped her, but threatened to hurt her if she said anything.

In 2006, 24-year-old Birmingham man Zachary Noah Smith denied, but was ultimately convicted of, sexually molesting his 3-year-old daughter. Six years later, his daughter came forward and told a counselor that no abuse had occurred, but that she had been pressured to lie by her great-grandmother. Smith’s conviction was reversed by a new trial.

Convictions can be reversed, surgical castration cannot.

Luckily, Hurst’s castration bill is unlikely to see the light of day, as similar bills proposed in previous sessions died in committee.

In 2013, Hurst told a local paper, The Anniston Star, “I’ll introduce it every year until it gets passed.”
An email requesting comment was not returned and no one answered Hurst’s phone.

Hurst was elected to Alabama’s House of Representatives in 1998 as a Democrat (he switched parties in 2010). He is also the owner of a Talladega pawn and gun shop, and has sponsored legislation including a successful “Stand Your Ground” bill in 2006 that codified a gun owner’s right to shoot almost anyone, and a bill that would require public school students to read the Congressional Record (with the prayer) for 15 minutes each day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Looks like Hurst has been pushing this castration issue longer than I thought.

The Montgomery Advertiser has reported that Steve Hurst has pimped this silly mandatory surgical castration bill since 2005! That's longer than I first reported.

Alabama bill would require sex offenders pay for castration
Melissa Brown, Associated Press 12 p.m. CST March 8, 2016

An Alabama lawmaker is calling for convicted sex offenders to pay for their own surgical castration.

Steve Hurst, a Republican from Munford, has introduced a bill that would require sex offenders older than 21 to pay for their own surgical castration before being released from state custody.

The bill would limit the procedure to people convicted of "certain sex offenses" against victims 12 years old or younger.

Hurst has attempted to pass similar legislation for more than a decade, introducing nearly identical bills seven times since 2006, most of which never made it out of committee. He said he was moved to begin pushing for the legislation after a foster parent advocacy group visited his office some years ago and relayed a "horrible" story of abuse.

"I've often wondered what that child went through, physically and mentally, and what kind of shape he's in now," Hurst said Monday. "They (sex offenders) have marked these children for life. They will never get over it. And if they've marked children for life, they need to be marked for life."

Hurst in 2005 agreed to remove castration requirements from legislation setting tougher sentences for sex offenders. Several House members at the time told The Associated Press they feared the castration language would have made the bill unconstitutional. In 2011, Hurst co-sponsored a bill that classified the sexual abuse of a child 6 years or younger as a capital offense, allowing courts to sentence offenders to life without parole.

Several states already have laws mandating chemical or voluntary surgical castration, though it's unclear how often the procedures are used. No states have mandatory surgical castration laws.

Chemical castrations allow sex offenders to receive regular injections of a drug that lowers testosterone to pre-puberty levels and reduces libido.

Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union argue that castration is a "cruel and unusual punishment."

"Some people have said it's inhumane," Hurst said. "But what's more inhumane than molesting a child?"

Dr. Frederick Berlin, founder of a sexual disorders clinic at John Hopkins University, said lowering testosterone levels reduces libido and combats sexual urges, which could possibly reduce recidivism in some cases.

But not all sex offenses are sexually motivated, Berlin said. Offenders may be motivated by drug and alcohol abuse, anger or a fundamental lack of conscience.

"There are many sex offenders who aren't driven by intense sexual urges," Berlin said. "Some of these folks have other mental health issues, so it could just lull us into a false sense of security."

In addition, if not closely monitored, offenders could possibly reverse the procedure by taking testosterone, which can be procured online. Mandated chemical castration can be monitored more closely because doctors can notify authorities if a patient doesn't show up for a regular treatment.

"Just to do it as a one-glove-fits-all is very unlikely to be helpful," Berlin said. "I do think there is a role for medicines that lower sexual drive and enable people to be in better control. But this should be through a collaborative effort between the criminal justice and the scientific medical community."

Hurst has considered chemical castration legislation, and might again in the future, but he worries the drugs to induce chemical castration could become less effective over time. He realizes surgical castration may not stop offenders in all cases, but it makes a strong statement.

"If you take one step forward, it's better than taking no steps at all," Hurst said.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

After trying and failing eight times to get surgical castration bill passed, Steve Hurst thinks the 9th time is the charm

How many times am I going to have to waste space on this bad bill? He's been pushing this since 2007, and the legislature won't bother to act on it.

Alabama lawmaker introduces sex offender castration bill
By Matt Fernandez
Published: March 4, 2016, 10:26 pm  Updated: March 4, 2016, 10:29 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — An Alabama lawmaker has a plan to permanently and physically punish someone convicted of certain sex offenses against children.

The bill, known as HB 365, would make those sex offenders have to get surgically castrated before they leave prison.

HB 365 was introduced by State Representative Steve Hurst, R-Calhoun County.

He said the bill will be for sex offenders over the age of 21 that committed sex offenses against children 12 years old and younger.

“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,” said Hurst.

This is not Hurst’s first time introducing the bill.

“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said don’t you think this is inhumane? I asked them what’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through. If you want to talk about inhumane–that’s inhumane,” said Hurst.

Hurst is hoping this would make sex offenders think twice.

“If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers,” said Hurst.

Residents have some mixed emotions about it.

“Somebody that wants to mess with a little girl or little boy that age should be castrated, and they should not be able to mess with any other kids,” said Keith Dison.

“I understand prison and going to prison for a long time for some kind of crime like that, but to physical mutilate someone…that’s a little out there…it’s crazy,” Jessica George said.

The bill will have to pass the judiciary committee before it’s heard by the Alabama House and Senate.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 SB 179 -- If passed, would exclude teen sexting from registerable offenses.

This seems to be a good bill for juveniles since it would exempt teens for sexting-related issues. Not perfect, but at least it will add Alabama to the list of states that are excluding teen sexting from the public registry. I think the sentences should be lower, quite frankly.


By Senator Ward
RFD Judiciary
Rd 1 09-FEB-16

SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, it is a crime to disseminate, publicly display, possess, or possess with the intent to disseminate obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age.
  This bill would further clarify the definition of disseminate by removing the requirement of monetary consideration and would include in the definition sharing or trading such visual depictions.
  This bill would include under the crime of possession of obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age a visual depiction of breast nudity.
  This bill would distinguish between adult and juvenile offenders for the offense of dissemination of obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age and would provide different penalties for each.
  This bill would exempt offenders under 19 years of age convicted of disseminating or publicly displaying obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age from the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act on the first or second offense.
  Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.
  The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment.


To amend Sections 13A-12-190, 13A-12-191, and 13A-12-192 of the Code of Alabama 1975, relating to disseminating, publicly displaying, possessing, or possessing with the intent to disseminate obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age; to further define terms; to include under the crime of possession a visual depiction of breast nudity; to distinguish between adult and juvenile offenders for the crime of dissemination and to provide different penalties; to exempt offenders under 19 years of age convicted of disseminating or publicly displaying obscene materials from the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act on the first or second offense; and in connection therewith to have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.


Section 1. Sections 13A-12-190, 13A-12-191, and 13A-12-192 of the Code of Alabama 1975, are amended to read as follows:

"For the purposes of this division, the following terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

"(1) DISSEMINATE. To sell, lend or show for monetary consideration, show, share, or trade or to offer or agree to do the same.

"(2) DISPLAY PUBLICLY. The exposing, placing, posting, exhibiting or in any fashion displaying in any location, whether public or private, an item in such a manner that it may be readily seen and its content or character distinguished by normal unaided vision viewing it from a public thoroughfare, depot or vehicle.

"(3) PUBLIC THOROUGHFARE, DEPOT or VEHICLE. Any street, highway, park, depot or transportation platform or other place, whether indoors or out, or any vehicle for public transportation, owned or operated by government, either directly or through a public corporation or authority, or owned or operated by any agency of public transportation that is designed for the use, enjoyment or transportation of the general public.

"(4) KNOWINGLY. A person knowingly disseminates or publicly displays obscene matter when the person knows the nature of the matter. A person knows the nature of the matter when either of the following circumstances exist:

"a. The person is aware of the character and content of the matter; or

"b. The person recklessly disregards circumstances suggesting the character and content of the matter.

"(5) SADO-MASOCHISTIC ABUSE. Such term means either of the following:

"a. Flagellation or torture, for the purpose of sexual stimulation, by or upon a person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in a revealing or bizarre costume; or

"b. The condition of a person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in a revealing or bizarre costume being fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

"(6) SEXUAL EXCITEMENT. The condition of human male or female genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation.

"(7) SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Intercourse, real or simulated, whether genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between a human and an animal.

"(8) MASTURBATION. Manipulation, by hand or instrument, of the human genitals, whether one's own or another's for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

"(9) OTHER SEXUAL CONDUCT. Any touching of the genitals, pubic areas or buttocks of the human male or female, or the breasts of the female, whether alone or between members of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.

"(10) BREAST NUDITY. The lewd showing of the post-pubertal human female breasts below a point immediately above the top of the areola.

"(11) GENITAL NUDITY. The lewd showing of the genitals or pubic area.

"(12) MATTER. Any book, magazine, newspaper, or other printed material, or any picture, photograph, motion picture, video cassette, tape, record, digital video disc (DVD), video compilation, or electronic depiction in a comparable format, or an image, file, download, or other content stored, or reproduced by using a computer or electronic device or other digital storage, or any other thing, articles, or materials that either are or contain a photographic or other visual depiction of a live act, performance, or event.

"(13) OBSCENE. a. When used to describe any matter that contains a visual reproduction of breast nudity, such term means matter that:

"1. Applying contemporary local community standards, on the whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and

"2. Is patently offensive; and

"3. On the whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

"b. When used to describe matter that is a depiction of an act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct, such term means matter containing such a visual reproduction that itself lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

"(14) LOCAL COMMUNITY. The judicial circuit in which the indictment is brought.

"(15) VISUAL DEPICTION. A portrayal, representation, illustration, image, likeness, or other thing that creates a sensory impression, whether an original, duplicate, or reproduction.

"(16) SEPARATE OFFENSE. The depiction of an individual less than 17 years of age that violates this division shall constitute a separate offense for each single visual depiction.


"Any person who shall knowingly disseminate or display publicly any obscene matter containing a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 years engaged in any act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, breast nudity, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct shall be guilty of a Class B felony. punished as follows:

"(1) Any person 19 years of age or older who violates this section or who does not meet the criteria under subdivision (2), shall be guilty of a Class B felony.

"(2) Any person under 19 years of age who violates this section by dissemination or public display of obscene material depicting a person who is older than 12 years of age but under 17 years of age, shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for the second or subsequent offense.

"(3) A person convicted under subdivision (2) shall be exempt from the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act upon the first and second offense, but shall be subject to the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act upon a third or subsequent offense.


"(a) Any person who knowingly possesses with intent to disseminate any obscene matter that contains a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 years engaged in any act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, breast nudity, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct shall be guilty of a Class B felony. Possession of three or more copies of the same visual depiction contained in obscene matter is prima facie evidence of possession with intent to disseminate the same.

"(b) Any person who knowingly possesses any obscene matter that contains a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 years engaged in any act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, breast nudity, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct shall be guilty of a Class C felony."

Section 2. Although this bill would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds, the bill is excluded from further requirements and application under Amendment 621, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, because the bill defines a new crime or amends the definition of an existing crime.

Section 3. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Update: international Megan's law (HR 515) passed the House, goes to Obama

Read my article on International Megan's Law to better understand it. Below is a summary o what IML means to you:

Specifically, Smith’s legislation will:

Authorize and expand the Angel Watch Center, an office within the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and authorize it to notify destination countries of intended travel by registered sex offenders;

Coordinate the work of the Angel Watch Center with the Sex Offender Targeting Center of the US Marshals Service so that the best information is getting to the right people in the shortest amount of time;

Make it a crime, for the first time, for a sex offender to travel abroad without giving 21 days advance notice so that law enforcement has adequate time to vet the traveler and warn the destination country, if needed;

Mandate that the State Department, in consultation with the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, establish, within 90 days, a program for placing a unique passport identifier on the passport of a traveling sex offender with an offense against a child and current duty to register, thereby preventing circumvention of the notification system by travelers who misreport which countries they will visit;

Collect notification response data to understand which countries are working with the U.S. on preventing re-offense by child predators;

Provide the authority for both the Angel Watch Center and the US Marshals Service to receive information from other countries about pedophiles intending to travel to the U.S.;

Clarify the receipt and sharing within U.S. law enforcement of incoming notifications on known sex offenders traveling to the U.S.; and

Direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security, to seek agreements and use technical assistance with other countries so that the United States is notified in advance of incoming foreign sex offenders.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

ACTION ALERT! International Megan's Law is due up for suspension of the rules 2/1/16 @ 6:30pm!

ACTION ALERT! If you have a passport, you have just one day to oppose International Megan's Law (HR 515). If passed, you WILL be required to turn in your passports and have a new one marked with a "unique identifier" marking you as a registered sex offender. I shouldn't even have to mention how heinous that provision will be for us. This is a FEDERAL law, NOT a state law.

Paul Rigney of the Registrant Travel Action Group (a subsidiary of Narional RSOL), urgently requests that everyone please help with the following:

1. Everyone, call and have others call The Speakers office THIS Monday morning. 202-225-600, 202-225-3031.

David: We need to tell them that they must not vote on H.R. 515 under RULES OF SUSPENSION because the bill received an amendment from the Senate that is SUBSTANTIVE and HISTORIC. (U.S. passports have never been branded with criminal convictions of citizens before)

I would like to see 500 phone calls. Please put this up on Affiliates websites. Lets leave hundreds of messages on 202-225-0600 for them to sort through Monday morning
(202) 225-0600
(202) 225-0600
(202) 225-0600
(202) 225-0600
(202) 225-0600
(202) 225-0600
(202) 225-0600

2. Spread Josh Graven’s petition that should go directly to their representative.

(This site will look up your Congressman for you! How convenient, right?)

3. Sign the petition at: 

For those with Twitter accounts, tweet this , “Are you familiar with International Megan’s #Law, or IML?” sends to David Post’s article. Also, please TWEET the following image and message which can be found here (simply right-click and save the image to your hard drive and then insert it, along with the text message, into new Tweets):

Also, you could help further by re-tweeting Tweets already sent to House members which have been sent from that Twitter account.

5. Continue to call and email congressional members.

Use the banner at the top of the screen. 
Below is my letter to Congress. You can use it as a template if you want.

On 2/1/16, the CONTROVERSIAL International Megan's Law is up for "suspension of the rules." This must not pass! IML as written will place a "unique identifier" on the passports of ALL registered citizens and will establish a new bureaucracy for expanded government control.

International Megan’s Law is an attempt at imposing the American way of thinking on the rest of the world, an act of arrogance that will lead to disastrous results if implemented. IML will attempt to force other nations to create a registry and raise the age of consent to conform to the American standards. This is a blatant violation of international law and a show of contempt for the governments of all nations who do not maintain close ties to the US.

Victim industry advocates have tried to justify International Megan’s Law using anecdotal examples, assumptions, unsourced statistics and non sequiturs to attempt to justify this bad piece of legislation. In reality, various government agencies have reported they have found very few examples of actual sex tourism, and even fewer examples of sex tourism from a registered citizen. It is estimated only about 10 convictions a year occur from Americans engaging in sex tourism annually. The GAO, the US Dept. of Justice, ICE, and the now defunct NDIC have all stated they have found few, if any, examples of Americans traveling abroad specifically to engage in sex tourism or sex trafficking. Key researchers studying sex crimes have repeatedly warned their own research or the research of others have been misinterpreted or distorted by those trying to promote human sex trafficking as America’s next social panic.

International Megan’s Law will be a costly and ineffective measure. It will cost millions just to establish a new bureaucratic agency and to revise the passports of registered citizens. It will cost millions more to enforce the various proposed changes to passports proposed by Congress. Passport limits run afoul of international law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), by interfering with the free movement of citizens. The ICCPR was signed, ratified, and enforced by the US. In addition, 22 U.S. Code § 217a has been narrowly tailored to limit passports only to those registrants convicted in a court of law for sex tourism, thus nullifying the perceived need to pass IML passport provisions. As previously noted, very few cases of sex tourism/ trafficking are confirmed by government agencies, so the cost of investigating and prosecuting a mere handful of cases do not justify the need for a new bureaucracy, especially if the SMART office is passing IML notification provisions without the authorization of Congress.

The proposal to mark the passports of registered citizens is unprecedented in American history and is offensive enough that even mass media have made parallels between International Megan’s Law and Nazi law. In 1938, the Nazi government required all Jews to surrender their passports and have new passports issued with a scarlet “J” stamped on them. If IML passes, registered citizens will be forced to surrender their passports and have new passports issued with a “unique identifier” on them. In addition to the obvious parallel to Nazi law, this practice will obviously lead to travel impediments and denials of entry across the globe for all registrants regardless of offense. This mark of infamy could potentially lead to travel problems domestically as states struggle to fall into compliance with the so-called “REAL ID” system and thus requiring passports to fly within the boundaries of the US. Furthermore, IML could have an effect described as “humiliating” and “devastating” for individuals whose passports may be falsely marked as belonging to a registered citizen and would lead to costly litigation.

While certain provisions of IML imply that these provisions would be limited to “high risk/ interest” registrants, the harsh reality is this law will be applied to every registered citizen regardless of offense, even teens who engaged in consensual relations with other teens. The law is especially difficult for juveniles on the registry, who are assumed to be less likely to reoffend, more amenable to rehabilitation, and far less likely to become a “sex tourist.”

Finally, International Megan’s Law violates a number of constitutional safeguards, including the 1st (freedom of association) and 14th (Due process) Amendments, as well as the Ex Post Facto clause. In addition, protecting the reputation of American travels and their privacy is of great governmental interest, especially given the attitude of much of the world regarding American tourists. Unconsidered in this report was the potential chilling effect IML could have on ALL American tourists as the US gains a reputation for being a country full of “sex traffickers.” International Megan’s Law will ultimately do far more harm than good, not just in regard to registered citizens, but for the reputation of this nation as well.

For the full report and references for my assertions, go to

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Truth-Out's interview with the Free Alabama Movement

Challenging Prisons: An Interview With the Free Alabama Movement
Saturday, 12 December 2015 00:00
By Devon Douglas-Bowers, The Hampton Institute | Interview

Click the link above to read the article.

Monday, December 28, 2015

ACTION ALERT: Stop International Megan's Law NOW!!!!

This isn't an Alabama issue, but if you travel internationally, this is of key interest. This is a copy of a letter on International Megan's Law (HR 515), which is on the fast track to passage. This is an ACTION ALERT and we need action NOW! CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR CONGRESSMAN!

On Dec. 18, the U.S. Senate amended and unanimously passed HR 515, which would also include placing unique passport identifiers on passports issued to sex offenders.  The House had previously passed HR 515.  It is very likely this will go to the President to sign in January.

See the bill here:



The Senate passed HR 515 formerly known as "International Megan's Law" with another NEW title "International Megan's Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders" and added a section about passports.

Essentially, all current passports for folks CONVICTED of a sex offense/s MUST be reissued, with the words "SEX OFFENDER" prominently displayed on the passport. And all new passports for folks convicted of sex offenses will be issued with same wording.
The Senate also added a section for appropriating funding ($6,000,000) for each of these years (2017-2019) to implement International Megan's Law.

Advocates and their families and others need to immediately contact their U.S. House Representatives and object to the entire IML bill (and concept), and any other similar bills that may arise.
The FULL bill may be found HERE and the Senate Amendments HERE (The Corker amendment [Sen Bob Corker R-TN] in the Federal Register).

Here's why we should oppose the legislation.

1.  The bill is yet another fear-based, punitive proposal that is absolutely void of empirical evidence that it will promote public safety or reduce child sex trafficking.

2.  The threat to children is proved to be largely (93% according to Department of Justice) from someone they know - a parent, relative or friend – neither a registered sex offender nor a stranger.  Placing travel restrictions on convicted sex offenders 1) does nothing to protect society, 2) adds more restrictions on a group of already-marginalized citizens who have paid their debt to society, and 3) adds another punitive requirement in federal law that is valueless.  According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, “... sex offenders are more likely to be rearrested for nonsexual crimes than sex offenses.”

3.  Citizens across this country have been convicted of single offenses involving someone known to them, have otherwise unblemished records, but are categorized for life as violent offenders.  This punitive proposal targets all convicted offenders.  They currently live and move freely in society without incident, yet somehow they are presumed by this flawed legislation to present a threat in international travel.  Last year, only 18 other countries had enacted any sex offender registration laws, yet Congress is proposing to label its citizens with a past conviction without providing any public safety risk assessment.

4.  Many countries, such as Mexico, don't even have sex offender registries.  Still, U.S. registrants holding valid U.S.passports are routinely being denied entry to Mexico because the U.S. government shares its citizens' criminal histories with other countries.  This punitive bill restricts registrant travel further, causing more collateral damage for family and friends traveling with registrants.

5.  The Angel Watch Center described in the bill is a cute name for more government intrusion into citizens’ lives for absolutely no research-based public safety purpose.  A small minority of states comply with the heavily-referenced Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 and for good reason.  It is another failed memorial policy based on a single tragic event involving one child, not on evidence of improved public safety.

6.  Like its numerous predecessors, this bill is doomed to failure as described by Dr. Richard Wright's book, Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions.  He states,
...American policy responses to prevent or address sexual offending, particularly those enacted within the last twenty years have largely failed.  They have not reduced sex offenders recidivism rates, not provided safety, healing, or support for victims, not reflected the scientific research on sexual victimization, offending, and risk, or not provided successful strategies for prevention. ... these policies have failed by choice.  Policymakers choose to focus on the most heinous sex offenders while ignoring the most common sexual threats that people face.

7.  It’s time for Congress to write laws based on empirical evidence and stop dredging up decades-old memorial laws that have proved themselves to be equally flawed.

As RSOL puts it -

IML will violate the travel rights and due process rights of traveling Americans, may have dangerous collateral consequences for affected citizens, and is not supported by any evidence that it will achieve a reduction in international sex trafficking. There exist proven methods of combating international sex trafficking that are worthy of support by the United States Congress. The International Megan’s Law is not among them. We strongly urge this legislation not be enacted into law.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ACTION ALERT: For those with Facebook, WBRC Fox 6 wants to know how you feel about posting signs in the yards

WBRC asks a loaded question of sorts in regards to a Texas town posting signs in the front yards of registered citizens:

"What do you think of this law just passed in Texas? COMMENT if you'd like to see something like this required in your hometown."

Feel free to let them know why signs in the yards of registered citizens is a terrible idea.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Take Once Fallen's Job & Welfare survey

ACTION ALERT: Please take Once Fallen's survey of registrant employment and welfare assistance survey

This is a survey I devised to help better understand how registered citizens find work or financial support. Please fill it out.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alex City Outlook still plods forth with Sex Offender article, but adds quotes from ReFORM-AL

Last week, ReFORM-AL sent out an action alert regarding the announcement from the Alex City Outlook, which planned on publishing the names of all registered citizens in the county. Response has been overwhelming. I believe this rural paper was shocked there was so much opposition to this story. Friday evening, ReFORM-AL founder Derek Logue was approached for an interview by the paper to offer a balance to the article.

We may not have stopped the article from being published, but at least some of the facts were published. It is also encouraging to know that the majority of the Outlook's rural Alabama readers have never looked at the registry.

Thanks to everyone who contacted the Outlook with their questions and concerns. It is encouraging knowing that people do indeed respond to our action alerts!

SEX OFFENDERS: Do you have one living near you
Published 8:07am Monday, September 14, 2015
Email     Comments

There are 152 registered sex offenders in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. That means that one in 270 residents in our county is a sex offender.

To view the entire registry click this link ********

Even though the number on the list maintained by the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office is smaller at 126, no one would argue that the number living here is high by any standards.

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said that while the numbers are high, he said that anyone looking at the registry should understand all the details surrounding the crimes. Those are available on the website.

Because of the way the law is, they must appear on the same list with pedophiles, serial rapists and must register quarterly with his office.

“Our registry is one that was put together to be very user friendly,” Abbett said. “You are able to tailor a search so that you can track an offender or be alerted when there is any change or when an offender locates in your immediate area. It is updated immediately and what you see there is the latest information available.

“That’s what the law requires. Now is the law fair? I think most would agree that when you sit down and look exactly at what happened in each case, they may change their opinion on whether they think what happen is really a sex crime.

“But on the other hand, most of the people who are on the registry are people you would want to be aware of, particularly if they are living in a place where you or your family may come in contact with them. So until things change, we are doing what we can to comply with the law and present the information in a way where it is easy to use for anyone who wants to access it.”

While the names are available online in a searchable format, 72 percent of the people surveyed in an informal Outlook poll said they have never been to the site to check to see if they had any offenders living near them.

The website reports that 1 in 343 people in Alexander City is a registered sex offender, while 1 in 23 people in Kellyton have the same status. Other municipalities show ratios like 1 in 54 in Jacksons Gap, 1 in 106 in Daviston, 1 in 139 in Dadeville and 1 in 200 in Camp Hill.

In Alabama, 1 in 505 people is a registered offender.

Some may get lost in the numbers. But here are some things to consider.

Keep in mind that a sex offender does not have to register until they are released from custody. So readers may look for a name of an offender who has been recently arrested and not find the name.

The discrepancy in the numbers – 152 recorded by the state, 126 by the sheriff’s department and 98 pictures – exists for multiple reasons. Some offenders may have committed an offense that predates the registry, so for tracking purposes they are in the database at the sheriff’s department, but they are not on the electronic registry. Other offenders may be under the age of 18, so the names of those offenders are not published.

Ohio resident Derek Logue is a reform advocate who heads an outreach called REFORM ALABAMA and the website He is working to end the registries nationwide because he says they creates an atmosphere of hate, vigilantism, unemployment and homelessness.

He said Alabama has the most demanding reporting law in the nation. In his words: “tough isn’t always smart.”

He said that being on a registry makes it almost impossible to find or keep a job or even find a place to live. Logue said a search that is this easy prompts many potential employers to shut down a registered applicant rather than asking questions about why the person appears on the list.

“These registries have proven to not be effective in any way,” Logue said.  “The registry, residency laws and community notification no impact on reducing recidivism.

“The truth is that most of the people on registry are not trenchcoat-wearing pedophiles. They are people who made a one-time mistake and they are paying for it well behind their sentences. In essence, it is a life sentence because of the registry.

Regardless of whether you ever offend or do anything else wrong, your name is always there. You may be outside the bars, but you are still in prison.”

So if all the information is available online, why is it published here in The Outlook today? It is to create awareness and because here in Tallapoosa County, many do not have daily access to the Internet.

Tallapoosa County has a connectivity rate of 62 percent. If you take away the 12.2 percent who say their only access to Internet is through public access from libraries, schools, kiosks and mobile devices, that means that less than 50 percent of our residents have Internet access at home.

“Awareness is a good thing,” Abbett said. “There are a lot of efforts to reform the law and dismiss what the registry is designed to do. But if this information can be used as it is intended, for awareness, then it has done its job.”

Do you want more information?

Go to the county website, ****.

Select “Sex Offenders” in the list on the left side of the page.

Click the “Sex Offender Watch” link in the new page.

At this point the user will be redirected to ******.

Here there are various criteria to use for a search that is organized by tabs into area, name, city and compliance status.

After having chosen one of these options and after having entered the information into the search field, select search.

The results will appear in a scroll down list, and depending on their number, could appear across multiple pages.

For example, a quick search of Alexander City generates 42 results of individuals and their profiles, with the details of their recent and past charges and current location.

The site is updated continuously so that any new registry will immediately appear in the results of a search.

However, for anyone that does not have access to this website, these records can also be viewed at the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Not-So-Sweet-Home Alabama by Steven Yoder

This article was originally published on July 16, 2015 at

The Constitution’s ex post facto clause prohibits passing a law that retroactively increases the punishment for a criminal act that an offender committed before the law was passed. But in an ingenious 2003 Supreme Court ruling, a 6-3 conservative majority held that retroactive placement on a state sex offender registry–being put on a registry that was created after an offender committed his crime–doesn’t violate ex post facto because registration isn’t punishment.

Daily life for those on state sex offender registries makes that claim hard to square with reality. Nowhere is that more true than in Alabama–registrants in that state are subject to a regime every bit as grinding as that of Cold-War Soviet Russia.

Take the case of 60-year-old Michael McGuire. In 2010, after several decades as a hair stylist and jazz musician in Washington D.C., he decided to move back to his hometown of Montgomery to be with his aging mother and extended family.

He’d committed a serious crime 25 years earlier–he’d raped and assaulted his 30-year-old girlfriend, who he’d been with for five years. He was convicted of sexual assault in a Colorado court and served his full jail term, spending three years locked up and a fourth on parole.

After leaving prison, he got his life back together and had no subsequent arrests or convictions.

When in 2010 he arrived in Montgomery, he took the advice of his brother, a local attorney–he visited the police department to confirm that he wouldn’t be subject to the state’s sex offender laws. His crime, after all, happened 26 years before the state’s passage of its most recent 2011 sex offender law, and he’d never been on a registry in any of the states where he’d lived.

What police told him has sent his life into a tailspin. He’s indeed required to be on the state registry–today his photo, name, and address are on the state website. He can’t live within 2000 feet of schools, parks, or playgrounds, which puts nearly all of the city off limits to him. He pays rent on his and his wife’s apartment but can’t live there because it’s in a banned zone. The same is true for the homes of his other relatives since their apartments and homes are too close to those places where children congregate. He can’t live in a home with children, even though his crime didn’t involve a child.

No one will hire him, and he can’t take music gigs because the law also bans offenders from working within 2000 feet of places where children congregate–all of the venues that have offered him work are in banned zones. In fact, 85 percent of jobs in the city are off limits to registrants. Half of Alabama’s registrants are unemployed, eight times the statewide average.

To travel outside the city, he needs a travel permit, which he can get only by applying in person at the police department.

And as is true for all of the state’s registrants, his driver’s license includes the words CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER in big red letters.

Today he’s homeless, living under a Montgomery bridge. He’s required to show up in person twice a week at the police department to register by filling out a three-page form. If he misses one appointment, it’s a felony. Alabama’s law requires lifetime registration, and there’s no provision allowing registrants to be removed.

Around the country, thousands like McGuire are on sex offender registries for crimes they committed years before passage of the state laws that created those registries.

In oral arguments during the 2003 Supreme Court ruling, then-lawyer John Roberts (yes, that John Roberts) argued that Alaska’s ex post facto application of its sex offender law should be preserved. Registering with the police four times a year, he said, is much like filling out an application to join Price Club.*

The John Robertses of the world may wish to believe that registration involves just a bit of paperwork. But beliefs aside, the sky really isn’t green, it’s blue. Price Club is to sex offender registration what a hotel room is to a jail cell, what a job interview is to interrogation at a CIA black site, what a conference nametag is to the yellow Star of David badge.

Courts are starting to listen–lawyers and their clients have won cases in state courts in Ohio and Maryland in the last few years. And one day, that 2003 decision, much like Plessy v. Ferguson and Dred Scott v. Sandford, will be upended, standing as a testament to judges’ ability to reach decisions they’re comfortable with, rather than those that fit the facts.

*At another point, Solicitor General Ted Olson defended the law by telling the Justices that the reoffense rate among sex offenders is higher than for other crimes–in fact, the opposite is true.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2015 by admin.

Monday, September 7, 2015

ACTION ALERT-- Coming this Saturday to the Alexander City Outlook-- Naming, shaming, and intimidating Registered Citizens

UPDATE: Derek Logue, founder of ReFORM-AL, was interviewed by the Alex City Outlook and may be in an article accompanying the article announced below. As of 9/13/15 we are awaiting the release of the paper.

I am adding the contact info below so you can voice your concerns to the Alexander City Outlook, who plans on publishing the names of every Registered Citizen in the area in its Saturday paper. You know this disgusting act will lead to more violence and discrimination about registered persons and their loved ones.

COMING SATURDAY: Does a sex offender live near you?
Published 7:10am Monday, September 7, 2015
Does a sex offender live near you?

It seems like a question that we should all know the answer to. But despite some of the toughest reporting laws in the country and easy access to sex-offender data via the Internet, most people simply don’t take the time to check.

The state feels so strongly, that it requires offenders to register every 90 days.

An informal survey conducted by The Outlook showed that more people had looked at the names of those listed as Ashley Madison users than had visited the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department Sex Offender Registry.

There are 152 registered sex offenders in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. That means that one in 270 residents in our county is a sex offender. Looking at the numbers city-by-city, the numbers are even more staggering.

To help raise awareness, The Outlook will publish the names and photos of all the sex offenders in next weekend’s paper.

If you want to be aware, pick up a copy of the Sept. 12 Outlook.

Here is the contact info for the Alex City Outlook. Feel free to let them know what you thunk.

(256) 234-4281

(256) 234-6550

548 Cherokee Road, Alexander City, AL 35010

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 999, Alexander City, AL 35011

Kenneth Boone

Mitch Sneed
Managing Editor

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Courthouse News Service: Alabama Sex Offender Law Challenged

Another challenge to Alabama's SO laws has been filed.

Alabama Sex Offender Law Challenged

Wednesday, August 26, 2015Last Update: 4:57 AM PT

     MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CN) - Sex offenders in Alabama must comply with debilitating restrictions that encompass "virtually every facet of their lives," eight men claim in a class action.
     Eight John Doe plaintiffs sued General Luther Strange III and Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency John Richardson in Federal Court.
     The Aug. 20 complaint seeks court relief to prevent application of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act, or ASORCNA, claiming the law is unconstitutional.
     The lawsuit argues that the act violates due process by denying sex offender registrants certain fundamental rights. It also claims that the law is vague and should be declared void.
     "The plaintiffs ask this court to recognize what other courts across the country have increasingly found: that the nature of sex offender registration has fundamentally changed since 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a registration scheme that imposed registration and Internet notification only with effects that were 'minor and indirect' restraints on registrants," the complaint states.
     Alabama first passed a sex offender registration law in 1967, according to the complaint. The law at the time called for a one-time registration with the sheriff of the offender's home county, and the registration information was only available to law enforcement.
     The state passed its Community Notification Act in 1996, which "was not retroactively applied, and required only written notification upon an offenders change in address," as opposed to in-person registration, the complaint states.
     And in 2011, Alabama passed the current version of its sex offender law, which is retroactively applied to all adult sex offenders in the state and requires quarterly, in-person registration.
     The law places restrictions on where registered sex offenders are allowed to live and work and "requires the distribution of community-notification flyers to those living near a registrant's residence," according to the complaint. It also requires registrants to carry a driver's license or ID card that "enables law enforcement officers to identify the licensee as a sex offender."
     In addition, registered sex offenders are required to report their travel plans whenever they intend to be away from their home county for three or more consecutive days, the lawsuit states.
     "ASORCNA violates the plaintiffs' fundamental rights to travel, to work, to speak and to be free from arbitrary and oppressive laws without being lawfully tailored in a manner to meet Alabama's interest," the complaint states.
     The law's provisions are applied "for life and without regard to the nature of the offense, the age of the victim, or the passage of time since the underlying sex offense," according to the complaint.
     The anonymous plaintiffs claim Alabama imposes an unprecedented number of "obligations, disabilities, and restraints" on registered sex offenders, making its law the most restrictive of its kind in the country.
     "ASORCNA severely limits registrants' ability to: maintain intimate associations with family; find housing and employment; travel; engage in free speech activities or refrain from speaking; be free from shame, embarrassment, humiliation and stigma; and understand what is required of them under the statute," the complaint states.
     The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Alabama's current sex offender law is unconstitutional and void. The eight plaintiffs are represented by J. Mitch McGuire in Montgomery, Ala.