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Finally someone who believes in portions of the Constitution. If he believed in all of the Constitution, more of these laws would be repealed!
GREENVILLE -- Forcing a registered sex offender to leave a home that he bought before a residence-restriction law went into effect in 2003 violates his constitutional property rights, a lawyer for an offender told the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday.
"We have no quarrel with the government applying this statute prospectively," said David A. Singleton, executive director of the Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice and Policy Center. But, "If that person has established a homeowner interest, that right cannot be taken away. That is bedrock law in this state because property rights are so important."
- Even prospectively it is wrong! Residency restrictions DO NOT WORK, period. The buffer zone could be 50 or 100 miles and it still would not prevent further crime. What about someone who lives with family who is a sex offender, but doesn't own the house? Do they get kicked out which still violates their constitutional rights.
Attorneys for the state attorney general and the Hamilton County prosecutor defended the state law as constitutional.
They said the law, which forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, is a child-protection law that state legislators intended to apply to all registered sex offenders. It also is a remedial law and not punitive, so it does not violate constitutional property rights, they said.
- Remedial law and not punitive! THEN WHY IN THE HELL DOES PEOPLE KEEP SAYING "PUNISHMENT" WHEN TALKING ABOUT SEX OFFENDERS? It is punishment. How can anybody look at these laws and say they are not punitive? I just don't understand that. They are, plain and simple! When it becomes punishment, they know it is unconstitutional, that is why they say it's remedial, which is just another name for punishment.
"It is remedial," said Stephen P. Carney, an assistant attorney general. "The purpose is not to punish him but to protect the children nearby."
- When an ex-offender is forced to move from his/her home, thus having to sell it, cannot find another home within the law due to the residency "buffer" zones, get fired from their jobs due to being on the registry, cannot find a new job due to being on the registry, their husband/wife loose their jobs due to a significant other being on the registry, their children loose their friends and are harassed and bullied in school due to a family member being on the registry, thus destroying the children's lives, ex-offenders are forced into homelessness and to live under bridges, harassed by police, neighbors and probation/parole officers, have to wear "I'm a sex offender T-shirt" or have a neon green license plate on ALL their cars, have "sex offender" on their drivers license and forced to renew their licenses every year, forced from shelters during tornadoes or hurricanes, cannot give blood at some places due to being discriminated against for being on the sex offender registry, denied housing due to being on the registry, signs placed in their yards inviting harassment and ridicule from the neighbors, forced to move when the neighbors start picketing outside the ex-offenders home, the list is endless.
I THINK THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, BEYOND THE EXTREME!
The arguments came in the first constitutional challenge of the state's sex offender residency law that the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear.
Listening from the courthouse bench in Darke County in western Ohio as part of their occasional road trips outside Columbus, the justices were animated as they pelted the attorneys with questions and made their own observations.
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer pointed out that the legislature did not say the law should be applied retroactively.
But Justice Maureen O'Connor said the law is remedial, intended to protect children, and so a constitutional prohibition against applying a law retroactively "is not automatic."
Moyer seemed troubled by the property-rights issue, even as applied to a sex offender.
"The right to own property in this country is a fundamental right," he said, challenging the lawyers defending the law. "Why is he not being deprived of a fundamental right to own and enjoy property?"
- They will just tell you, they can own the property and rent it to someone else, they just cannot live there. More BS! These laws are pure punishment, end of story, IMO.
Justice Paul Pfeifer noted that more communities are passing local laws additionally restricting where registered sex offenders can live. He mused: "Could the legislature go that far: You can't live in Ohio?"
"I don't think that's reasonable," answered Paula Adams, a Hamilton County assistant prosecutor.
"So, when do we get to reasonable?" Pfeifer shot back. He asked whether the legislature and local communities passing more restrictions ever paused "to see the end result as to where these people can live?"
- Never! They force offenders to live in ghettos and congregate together, and felons cannot live near other felons, so someone is going back to prison for violation. And when they do live near each other, the vigilantes come out in force to get them to move, thus more punishment.
At issue is suburban Cincinnati sex offender Gerry A. Porter Jr. He was forced to move from the home that he has owned since 1991 because it is 983 feet from St. Jude Elementary School. He, his wife and two sons moved into an apartment in October 2005.
- That brings up another point. If the buffer zone is 1000 feet, does living 1001 feet away make you more safe? No! So the buffer zone could be 50 or 100 miles and it still does nothing, except banishment/punishment...
Porter committed his crimes at his home before the law took effect, convicted in 1995 of misdemeanor sexual imposition for touching the breasts of one female relative and in 1999 of felony sexual battery for having sex with another.
The state Supreme Court ruling is expected to settle conflicting rulings by state appeals courts. The 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a judge's ruling that Porter had to move. That is at odds with a 2nd District Court of Appeals in Dayton that ruled that Miami County sex offender Charles M. Dover, also convicted before 2003, could not be evicted from the home he owned before the law took effect.
The justices did not indicate when they would issue their ruling.
"The right to own property in this country is a fundamental right. Why is he not being deprived of a fundamental right to own and enjoy property?"
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer
Thursday, October 11, 2007
OH - Sex offenders' rights defended
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