Sixth Amendment off-limits to people accused of sexual offense
When something I write references something read elsewhere, especially when I use direct quotes, I always link to the other piece. Due to my refusal to give the other piece or its publisher any credence or recognition, this post will be the exception to that rule.
In a major election year, one expects nasty, attack campaign ads. The last few years the level of sleaze has deepened and this year threatens, like a spewing volcano, to engulf the entire political process in its roiling, broiling morass.
Interesting parallel — each year the level of sleaze leveled at the entire class of those who are required to be on a sex offender registry deepens, with the list of “cannots” against them growing and spreading, much like the deadly lava of a volcano.
They cannot live where they wish or, often, be where they wish.
They often cannot get/keep employment.
They cannot assume their normal rights as parents or as citizens.
They cannot assume the right to travel freely.
They cannot live free of fear and anxiety for their own and their family’s safety.
Some cannot hide their infamy from anyone viewing their drivers’ licenses or, soon and for all, their passports.
Most importantly, they cannot — ever — be forgiven.
And now, due to an interesting convergence of both political and sex offender sleaze, it seems a new cannot has been added.
In a political ad pretending to be actual journalism, one designed not to directly promote a specific candidate but to destroy one, a candidate was linked with an organization renowned for fighting for unpopular causes in matters of civil rights.
It seems that this organization is “an organization that has an appalling history of providing legal support for sex offenders throughout the nation.”
And the candidate? “Shockingly…like the ACLU, has a history of defending sex offenders as well.”
Appalling history? Shocking? The inference here is that those facing charges for sexual offenses should not be allowed legal support, and that anyone who dares provide it is doing something unconscionable and beyond the pale.
So a new cannot joins the others: Those accused of sexual offenses even though, like everyone accused of any crime, considered innocent until proven guilty, CANNOT be represented by counsel because no attorney worth the name would represent such a person.
Much about the public registry and all that it has spawned plays fast and loose with many of our constitutional protections. Now, with this, the Sixth Amendment is not just biting the dust but being stomped, ground, and broken upon the cold, hard earth.