NARSOL, NCRSOL file suit challenging NC’s sex offender registry
Raleigh, North Carolina . . . The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) and its North Carolina affiliate, NCRSOL, have filed a federal civil rights action challenging the state’s amendments and enhancements to sex offender registration requirements going back more than a decade.
Emboldened by a recent decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that set aside similar amendments and enhancements imposed by the state of Michigan, NARSOL and NCRSOL are joined by individual plaintiffs who seek to set aside legislative enactments since 2006 that have incrementally expanded the scope of restrictions imposed upon citizens required to register as sex offenders.
For more than a decade, the North Carolina Legislature has continued to add increasingly burdensome restrictions on its registrant population as evidenced by its recent passage of a revised premises statute (§ 14-208.18) even despite significant push back from the federal courts.
Such restrictions include prohibitions on where registrants may live and work, go to school, dine, recreate, attend sporting events, or even worship. Registered sex offenders are forbidden to change their names, access a wide variety of social media websites, and are generally restricted from being within 300 feet of any location where children frequently congregate including libraries, shopping malls, and many restaurants.
“The time has come to confront these laws more aggressively. They simply do not protect the public. The research is clear that laws such as North Carolina’s actually increase the danger to the public by preventing people from effectively reintegrating into society. At the same time, too many people are being denied basic constitutional rights under the guise of public safety. Nobody disputes the state’s compelling interest in protecting children and adults from sexual abuse. But no American citizen should have to give up fundamental, guaranteed, First Amendment freedoms in the name of a policy that simply doesn’t work,” said Robin Vanderwall, president of NCRSOL.
Paul Dubbeling, a Chapel Hill attorney who was successful in a previous challenge to the state’s defunct premises statute, filed the new complaint in federal district court on Monday. When asked about this new suit, Dubbeling stated: “This is ultimately about public safety. The North Carolina registry law simply fails to actually protect the public while at the same time unnecessarily denying basic constitutional rights to tens of thousands of citizens. To protect both the public and the Constitution, we need to return the power to decide who is dangerous and who isn’t to those best able to judge – the judges themselves.”
33 thoughts on “NARSOL, NCRSOL file suit challenging NC’s sex offender registry”
I didn’t have some expectations regarding that name, but then the longer I was
astonished. The author did a great job. I spent a
few minutes reading and assessing the truth. Everything is
clear and understandable.
How is it unconstitutional for people who’ve sexually OFFENDED children to keep their distance from a public event highly populated with children? I question the motives of a LEADER who advocates for a group like this. I will not stay quiet and I’ll advocate against you.
Hi. Afton. Unfortunately you subscribe to the “Boogey-Monster Herd Mentality.” Children are more apt to be approached about drugs and getting hooked on them; having their lives and their families and friends lives destroyed because of it, than to be approached, or even abducted at a public event. The majority of “sex offenders” have simple possession charges and don’t have a hands-on victims. Its the really rare creep who stalks and abducts a child. Please open your mind to keeping things in perspective. The constitution, like it or not, gives EVERYONE certain rights. These are inalienable. When we suppress the rights of others because of a witch-hunt mentality we begin to erode rights for everyone.
BTW, sex offenders have almost the LOWEST RECIDIVISM rates of ALL convicts. Yet how many times do drug dealers go to back to prison? For shooting people (yes, even innocent children playing in their yards), selling drugs to kids, and DESTROYING core family units due to addiction and suicide? Society is FAR more harmed by drug offenders, even murderers, than ALL sex offenders combined. Yet, there is no registry that allows me to know if THOSE boogey-men are in my neighborhood, lurking and ready to give my kids free drugs to get him/her hooked.
Nicely worded, well done.
I don’t disagree with this, such as the State Fair for example. However, I am a mother of three and a registered sex offender, and it’s kind of terrible that I can’t even take my kids to the fair. I can’t pick them up from school or attend PTA meetings. This is why I am advocating for different laws as far as having to be put on the registry. For example, my situation involved a person that lied about their age, I was young as well, however I was over 18 and they were younger than 16 and their parents found out and I got charged. I was convicted of having indecent liberties with a minor and was put on the sex offender registry for a period of 30 years however I could petition the courts to get off of the registry after 10 years. I don’t think that in my situation I should not be able to go to the fair or take my kids to school. However I absolutely agree that violent sexual criminals should not be able to do these things. That’s why there should be levels of the registry or something like that.
I lived in NC for less than a year between 2011 and 2012, I moved out because the registration requirements were insane and quite honestly go out of their way to either make sure you live as a leper or are always in risk of violating the law.
I moved out 7 years ago and returned to my home state. It has been 20 years since my initial offense which was low level. In my home state I am not on the public registry nor am I on the national registry however, I was just denied a new job because I did appear on the National Registry as reported by NC and I am still in their sex offender database. I contacted them and asked why this is happening as I do not live, work or visit there and have not in 7 years. They told me that I will remain in their registry regardless for a minimum of 10years when I can then petition the court to be removed though that is not a guarantee. If I am denied I will then I to wait another year and try again.
I stated that I thought the point of the registry was to inform the community in which the offender lives which makes no sense for me as I am 800 miles away and have been for 7 years. They said that’s the way it is and there is nothing I can do about it. They also said even if I lived in NC for 1 day and registered I’d still be in the system for 10 years.
With companies now expanding background checks to do national sex offender searches this is literally denying me gainful employment and a normal life. I am being punished more now with 20 years of living as a law abiding citizen than when I was fresh out of jail and NC is squarely at fault for this. Do I have any legal recourse for this? It really is deeply affecting my well being, my financial situation, and my quality of life in general.
This is a very good question but it requires a legal response. Recommend that you contact our attorney, Paul Dubbeling, email@example.com.
The registry has affected us tremendously. I know it’s late to be added to the list of plaintiffs, but we are very interested in being added to the next one. Who do we contact, and where do we start. We are located in NC. We appreciate what you do every single day for RSO’s. Paying very close attention to all these cases and their outcomes.
Thank you. We appreciate the support. Right now there are no plans for any additional lawsuit but that shouldn’t stop you from challenge any aspects of registration you find particularly unfair.
No offender who served their debt to society, who has self shame regret remorse and is actively changing their mind n heart should continually be flogged publicly or privately… The justice system doesn’t keep tabs on convicted and released thieves, robbers, murderers nor on the predatory lawyers who take their clients money and does not provide a proper defense. Nor is there any punishment to prosecutors who deliberately withhold facts that could free or minimum the charges and sentencing of a defendant. How many people in our legal system from the judges to clerks commit the same offenses as the persons they are so determined to punish? Either they have been caught and a fellow law enforcer let’s off the hook or they have not been caught yet. Does punishment apply to them? Who is policing the police and policing the justice system? When someone is sent to prison its not just that person, many people connected to them are also effected, many lives are destroyed, permanently altered. And by God’s grace if someone makes it out of prison must they have society further scrutinize their private lives? It’s crazy how it is a intentional effort to keep an offender down thwarting every opportunity creating recidivism just to keep the money racketeering flowing. Since we are a society of one effects all than every citizen should be flagged since each and every HUMAN is capable of the same actions depending on the circumstances. It’s crazy how natural human being behavior is so severely punished by another human that could possibly do the same thing or has already done it but just hasn’t gotten caught.
Tell me how can i join this ?
If you mean join the suit, you can’t. It’s too late. But if you have an interest in being a plaintiff in the future, contact us.
Just curious, hows the case going
Like all federal cases, it moves slowly. We just filed a Reply Motion today. Next will be a new round of hearings. I suspect that will get scheduled some time in October or November. It’s up to the judge.
I know that this case was heard in the court room today. I’m not sure how long it will take for the arguments to be finished or how long it will take for the judge to make a decision. I just wanted to know if things are looking good or bad?
We feel like things look pretty good, but it doesn’t really matter too much at this stage since no matter what the outcome will be, the losing party will appeal to the Fourth Circuit where the case essentially starts from scratch (since the appellate court applies what’s called “de Novo” standard of review to cases arising under Section 1983).
Can I please be included in a Class Action Lawsuit for Virginia RSOs?
Hey Tammie. Right now, I am uncertain whether there are any legal actions pending in Virginia because it’s outside our focus. However, regardless of the outcome of this case in federal district court, it will end up before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. Virginia’s registration scheme will be affected in some way as a consequence of the final disposition.
Is there a way that we can check up on the progress of this case?
All we can report at this point is that the case is in Judge Loretta Biggs’ chambers. We are waiting for her to call a meeting of the attorneys to answer any questions she may have related to the state’s motion to dismiss. There is not much else we can do since we are now on the Court’s time table. And federal district courts operate according to their own allocations of time. Now that the Supreme Court has denied the Snyder petition, we feel confident that our case will begin to move along at a more rapid pace. Still, don’t expect there to be too much movement until late Fall or early Winter. The average life span of a district court case is generally 18 to 24 months.
When reading up on the case what does MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM mean? Sounds like some crazy loophole they are trying to make. Just for the record I’m not very smart when it comes to court terms.
That’s a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion. It’s the most frequently used motion in these settings. The Rule provides that a motion to dismiss will be granted if there are no issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment. So the job of the non-moving party is to demonstrate the opposite: that there ARE issues of material fact and therefore the motion should be denied. In most cases, there are so many claims advanced that the Court dismisses some and carries the rest over for further proceedings. Good attorneys always include a couple of claims they expect to lose in the hope that the Court will grant the moving party’s motion to dismiss as it pertains to those claims. It’s not a loophole. Both sides have to proceed in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It’s the judge’s responsibility to balance the interests of the parties.
Robert hope this helps. https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/20412061/NATIONAL_ASSOCIATION_FOR_RATIONAL_SEXUAL_OFFENSE_LAWS,_ET_AL_V_STEIN,_ET_AL#
Thanks Jerry, that link was a nice read. I have been considering filing my own civil rights suit but I want to see the results of this case before I proceed. Good luck narsol / ncrsol & doe 1 & 2, a victory on this case would force a change in NC law that is long overdue.
Is this also challenging the retroactive registration period being extended? Its so hard to believe more rules can just be thought up to make people feel safer. I am like lots of people on the registry that were automatically supposed to be removed from the list after 10 years.
Great to read things are on the move. I have a question, as a spouse of a person on the list, when asking our local probation office questions referring to obligations of a registered person- probabtion officer seems to change laws at will. Who can we get the exact verbatim law from on my states sex offender requirements?
As an example;
Offender asks what do I need to do if I want to go on vacation?
Probation officer states:
You can leave the state but you must register with the incoming state.
Our thoughts: doesn’t that remove you from the residing states registry? After all it’s just a week or so vacation not a move out to a new state.
We just can’t understand that reply. Why??
Well because my husband is no longer on any type of supervision and hasn’t been for over 3 years now.
HE was inquiring on going on vacation and we would be driving through various states in our RV.
Does anyone have an idea where on Gods earth we can get solid information on the current laws for those who are not supervised any longer.?
First of all, probation officers are simply not competent to answer these questions. They are not lawyers. Many of them are not even well educated. So, when it comes to asking questions about laws outside of the jurisdiction for which they are responsible, just don’t ask them. Every state in the nation has its own laws stipulating the amount of time a registered individual is allowed to remain in that state before having to register. And no, registration in a new state does not rescind registration in a previous state. There is no federalized formula for this stuff. That’s something a lot of folks have a difficult time understanding.
If your husband is no long on supervision, why are you asking information from the probation office? Just check the statutes in the state you plan to visit and find out what the stipulation is. DO NOT rely on law enforcement personnel below the level of a state attorney general to advise you at all…about anything. They don’t know. Simple as that. They just don’t know. Worse, they don’t even know how to find out.
Most states require registering in their state if you are there for three days or more. Additionally if you intend to revisit a place often even if you are not there for three days in a row you still must register in that state. Registry laws vary little from state to state but there are differences. The best thing to do is plan your route ahead of time check every state that you might enter even if by accident. If there is a state that has registry that is far too harsh then simply steer well clear of that state. There are a few states that require you to register there even if your registration period has ended in the state you were convicted in. Be very careful in states like that. I suggest that as you travel from state to state have their registry laws printed out and at the ready in case a simple traffic stop becomes something far more serious.
I know it’s been awhile since this post, but I’m answering since I travel quite frequently in my RV. I have been off probation for 12 years, so only follow state laws – when I travel I give my sheriff department the dates I’ll be traveling and to what cities I’m going. If I’m going to just one place for over a week they have told me they would have to contact that city. I look up state law for any state I’m staying in, and just make sure I leave that state before I’ve met the amount of days to have to contact that state. When I’ve gone for over a month, visiting several different places, the sheriff told me they would have to probably contact the national registry, but not individual states. If sheriff questions length of time gone, I remind them I’m traveling by RV so most of trip is actually traveling, not staying in one city or state. I don’t want to have to contact other states cause I don’t want my name in other states, just in case. For instance, fla law says they have right to keep your name on registry, even after you leave state. I’ve never had an issue in other states traveling, and each state has different laws. Some are consecutive days, some are if in state more than cumulative amount in one year. I’m also “lucky” in that I’m in a county that isn’t nasty and punitive to people on registry. Our sheriff is actually pretty decent about it.
I haven’t heard anything new on this case. Is this case still ongoing or is it dropped or settled out of court or what???
Federal cases move ever so slowly. There has been quite a bit of activity back and forth between our attorney and the state’s attorney. That’s typical of new litigation. At this point, all the motions, responses, and replies are finished and everything was placed in front of Judge Biggs on June 20. So the ball is in her court–excuse the pun, of course. That’s about all we have to report. But, yes, the case is still very much alive and active. It’s just moving at its own pace. Thanks for asking!
Is it too late to join this?
Probably. But it’s more a question for the attorney.