Reading Kafka can at times feel like self-inflicted torture. But who knew he could be prescient about events in modern criminal justice--the H. G. Wells of crime.
Simple Justice, a regular read, has uncovered a criminal justice story worthy of Kafka.*
(*Scott Greenfield's term.)
In the scheme of impossible demands, the sex offender registry concept has more than its share. Much as there may be empathy for certain crimes and criminals, sex offenders remain pariahs as an incident to rape culture and believing women. While there’s empathy for murders, there’s nothing but hatred and damnation for anyone who’s saddled with the “sex offender” characterization, whether deserved or not. So in 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland decided to add another impossibility to the mix, because who doesn’t hate sex offenders?
It appears the federal district judge has somewhat agreed.
The Court agrees with Plaintiffs that the practical effect of the Rule, in conjunction with 18 U.S.C. § 2250, has done exactly what is forbidden by the Constitution: “to declare an individual guilty or presumptively guilty of a crime.” Patterson, 432 U.S. at 210. In the Rule, the Government disavows any obligation or burden “to establish that a registration jurisdiction’s procedures would have allowed a sex offender to register or keep the registration current in conformity with SORNA” before prosecuting the individual for failure to do what it acknowledges is impossible. 86 F.R. at 69867. Doing so subverts the procedural safeguards deeply rooted in our history and constitutional framework.
The Pacific Legal Foundation has this to say on the case.
Represented by PLF free of charge and joined by the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL), John is challenging Congress’ unconstitutional delegation of authority to the Attorney General to issue SORNA requirements—a clear violation of the non-delegation doctrine and separation of powers.
BTW, I'm told that Simple Justice has some leads out on an unfinished story by Lewis Carroll, initially titled 'Alice in KafkaLand.'
Disclaimer: Posts are the authors' personal opinions and do not reflect the position of any organization or government agency.
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