Is it In Person Registration or Interrogation?

DWAYNE DAUGHTRY –  North Carolina has over 17,000 active citizens on the sex offender registry. Every six months, and sometimes every ninety days, registrants are to appear in person at their local sheriff’s office as mandated by law. However, at the sheriff’s office, deputies are known to question registrants about online identifiers, vehicle registrations, recent or future travel planning, and other personal information. In many circumstances, the line of questioning used by deputies is outside the scope of in-person verification requirements. Many in the academic world find such an investigation by police a civil rights violation.

Many citizens know the Miranda v. Arizona case, where police must inform suspects of their rights before questioning. An appearance at a local sheriff’s office that is supposed to be a verification check turns into a line of police questioning. There are no Miranda rights presented to the registry community. Instead, it is quite the opposite effect. Police use an open-warrant tactic to investigate a group of citizens that continually lose rights at every in-person visit.

The right to remain silent doesn’t appear to be an option for people on the registry in North Carolina. Registrants often complain to NCRSOL about deputies who pepper them with questions unrelated to an in-person appearance requirement. Instead, the in-person condition quickly escalates, becoming an investigatory moment for police to ask anything they want, where civil rights are completely ignored. Those that do attempt to challenge deputies are promptly threatened with a non-compliance arrest. Registrants are often dominated or mentally and emotionally drained to comply, only to have the same police tactics repeated in another six months or ninety days.

Perhaps the state’s culprit of registry conditions is how the registry is managed. There are one hundred counties in the state, with an elected sheriff in each county. However, one hundred county law enforcement chiefs of the registry equate to one hundred different opinions on managing a statewide regulatory scheme. Additionally, the registry has no formalized intake or duplicative measures on paper. Each county creates its version of unofficial forms, making them appear official without any disclaimers of consequences.

Another culprit of spending waste is the certified letter standard on how registrants are informed. In-person registry letters are delivered by certified mail to every active registrant in the state. Registrants sign a postal release and then take the same document to the sheriff’s office to sign again. Is this practical? COVID and postal deliveries were met with many registrants complaining to NCRSOL of certified mail not being delivered or constructively placed back in the postal system as undeliverable without question, which triggered an investigation where Miranda was entirely ignored.

Lastly, another issue is where deputies perform home checks of registrants. Deputies have been known to appear at registrants’ homes knocking on doors in the early hours of the morning or dark hours of the night to verify a registrant. However, police begin questioning the validity of the person that answers the door or will wait until a person appears to make an unnecessary verification and a waste of valuable police resources.

The state registry isn’t a true statewide managed program. It is an outsourced multitudinous policing experiment supervised by political, social, and personal leadership influences inflicting more harm to civil rights than its intended purpose of protecting the general public. The time has come for the state’s registry to end unnecessary in-person appearances that primarily are used as a tool for unconstitutional police questioning and snap investigations.

We should be able to live in a state where we trust those that protect and serve our communities. But equally, citizens without probationary requirements should be able to live in peace without superfluous police knock searches and in-person examinations.

Dwayne Daughtry

Dwayne is NCRSOL's Executive Director.

4 thoughts on “Is it In Person Registration or Interrogation?

  • January 22, 2023 at 1:37 pm
    Permalink

    I think that if drugs dealers and other people that have been accused of a crime why are they not on it. I think that it’s injustice to have sertant people on it…And I think that by have that u can finger point person because they are on it.I think that profiling a person because they on the registry…And any other crimes you can’t find like robbery,Drugs Dealer,are people with interest of corrupting are murder so I think that is unfair..

    Reply
  • January 22, 2023 at 6:22 am
    Permalink

    Recently, the usual deputy made an appearance in my driveway, calls me on the phone and tells me to come where he can see me, sets in my driveway for 5-10 minutes and then leaves. Four days later I get calls from unrecognized numbers, (which I don’t answer) then a text saying the person is deputy so and so and he’s doing “fender checks”, (whatever that is) and will be at my house in 5 minutes. I do not respond.
    I’ve received many threatening phone call scams that the Sheriff’s Department refuses to investigate. So how do I know that someone hasn’t escalated the scam to another level or worse yet it’s some vigilante. Then someone rings my door bell continuously, until I open the door to my front porch. I suspiciously approach the outer door and through the gap in the blinds see a uniform. He repeats that he’s doing “fender checks”. I respond with, “why are you here. A deputy was just here a few days ago.” He says, “well, he didn’t record anything in the computer”.
    So because they don’t do their job, I have to suffer. Yes, suffer. Because you never know what unprofessional, under trained “deputy” is going to show up, or when or under what circumstances.
    Last summer I returned from a trip which I had informed the department about, when a Deputy pulled in behind me because he was never informed that I was out of town. All the forms and visits are just bureaucratic non-sense so they can justify collecting the money appropriated for “sex offender compliance”. These forms and visits do absolutely nothing to make the community any safer.

    Reply
    • January 22, 2023 at 12:56 pm
      Permalink

      The police will never ever call you or text you, if you get a call or text by someone claiming to be police, block it and call the police for your protection! They’ll go to jail for posing as a police officer and more charges!

      Reply
  • January 22, 2023 at 1:56 am
    Permalink

    In person registration being removed from the system would be nice, I’m just wondering how they’ll do it online or just make sure we’re on it still without going there. Also I think people who aren’t on probation shouldn’t have to wait a whole 10 years to petition for removal, maybe half that or less if they haven’t violated probation and have a certification of rehabilitation as well. Also think after you get off the registry you should be apart of the 2nd chance act and be able to expunge the crime as long as it’s non-violent so we can move on with our lives and actually be given a 2nd chance to be normal like everyone else, also getting our civil rights back is very helpful!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *