Thursday, September 12, 2013

AL - ACLU files suit against Etowah County Sheriff over registered sex offender house searches

Lawsuit
Original Article

09/12/2013

By William Thornton

GADSDEN - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and two officers in the department over what they say are "unannounced, random, and suspicionless" searches of the home of a registered sex offender.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, does not name the three family members. They are identified in the suit as John, Jane and James Doe. The law firm of Jaffe & Drennan filed the suit today, according to a news release.

ACLU Attorney Brandon Buskey said the searches are "unconstitutional harassment."

"These officers are trampling on this family's constitutional rights, and because this is the sheriff's policy, we fear this may be happening over and over again to families around the county," Buskey said in a release.

According to the ACLU, one member of the family is a registered sex offender because of an offense committed as a child. The suit contends he has "fulfilled every requirement" under the offender registration and community notification act. He must register four times a year with the sheriff.

Come back with a warrant
However, the ACLU contends the family is threatened with arrest if they fail to cooperate with random inspections of their home. The suit contends this is a violation of the family's Constitutional rights, because it takes place without a warrant or any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

The suit seeks an end to the searches and the policy of inspecting registered offenders' homes. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Natalie Barton said the department was aware of the lawsuit, but had not seen the complaint and had no comment.


2 comments :

dlc said...

This is so wrong. If they are not under supervision they need to get a warrant. All they can do is make sure the person lives there. Beyond that go get a warrant!

CharlesHiggins said...

Such is the life of a sex offender. They pass draconian laws that no one should accept but no one cares because sex offenders are rejected by society as lepers.