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Monday, August 18, 2008

Nevada sex offender laws challenged:

I read this article about Nevada's new sex offender laws. This law would allow the state to post the names, home and work addresses, photos, and vehicle descriptions of those convicted of a sex offense since 1956. Naturally, this is being challenged by those who believe our Constitution should be used as something other than toilet paper upon which we wipe our collective asses. The easiest, and most immediate, challenge to this law would be on the basis of Article I, Section 8. To wit: "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

If that's not enough for you, how about good old Amendment VIII: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." I would call it cruel and unusual punishment to even the worst offenders (who should be in prison anyway and therefore outside the purview of this law). Even more outrageously, though, it unfairly punishes those who are of little to no threat to the public at large, such as those guilty of public nudity.

What I find particularly alarming is that it unjustly removes the right of the judiciary to oversee the administration of justice and places it in the hands of common, petty thugs whose main interest lies with keeping their jobs through gross sycophancy. To the tin pot dictators in the Nevada state legislature, I demand of you: Tell me an ugly truth. I'm a man. I can handle it. I know life is, at times, unfair, and I know that bad things happen to good people. If you are unwilling to tell me an ugly truth, I will, instead, perform that service for you. For those who are a genuine risk to society, punish them, and punish them harshly, ESPECIALLY the abusers of children. You will find no greater advocate for intelligent measures toward that end than me. However, excessively draconian measures such as your law are counterproductive and actually endanger society by driving offenders underground, where they cannot be tracked. Excessively draconian measures unjustly punish those who got drunk and got naked in public every bit as harshly as those who raped children, and THAT'S FUCKING WRONG! It's called the "Justice System", not the "Vengeance System." A lifetime of punishment should not be the penalty for a case of poor judgment while intoxicated that harmed no one.

Furthermore, to the legislature of the state of Nevada (and Ohio who has a similarly over-broad statute), your responsibility, the selfsame responsibility you so utterly abdicated when you drafted your respective states' bills, is to the course of justice and to the well-being of the people of your states. You still have time to correct an error that will be unforgivable the second an innocent person is harmed by your Cromwellian zealotry. Though, given the passage of these laws, I am considerably less than confident you lack the wisdom to do so, it is ultimately the morally right thing to do, and the absolute best way to protect children. Failing that, it is my deepest hope that the courts do unto you what you would do unto others, regardless of the threat they pose to society.



1138 said...

Good to see you posting again.
I'm in full agreement.
One of the egregious elements of this is that all convictions are a matter of public record now, so the purpose of this new sex offender law is not to release the names, those have been known since the convictions.
Over half a century in some cases.
The purpose is as you make clear unregulated vengeance, not justice, not security and not improvement of society.

Nevada the only state in the Union with legal brothels and they come up with this.
Go figure.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

It's even worse than that: They're doing it to keep $300,000 a year from the federal government. Wasn't Judas' integrity sold for more than that if you adjust for inflation?

If someone, say, gets arrested for beating off at a porn theatre (Paul Reubens) or solicits the services of an illegal prostitute (another piece of bullshit, but I'll let it slide for now), the only threat said person poses to society is hygienic, and certainly not worthy of this kind of perpetual infamy and ruination of their lives.

Though I know you were too kind to address it, I understand the last sentence of my post was somewhat convoluted, but the meaning is simple: Should even one innocent be harmed by these law, may those who drafted and enacted these laws face the kind of public scorn and ruination they would inflict on others, threefold.

As someone who is deeply in love with the civil liberties afforded by this nation, I cannot avoid seeing this as a deep betrayal of that public trust by the legislatures and governors of Nevada and Ohio, and an affront to those who have given their lives to protect those rights, be they civilians who died here, or soldiers who died here and abroad to defend those freedoms; or just as sad, to those who lived full lives but died before the causes for which they served their entire lives had even a hope of being accomplished.

The Iroquois have an interesting concept in their Great Laws: "In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation." In some instances, this says "seventh generation" instead of "future generations", but the principle is the same. I think we would do well to heed that exceedingly wise counsel. The website from which I grabbed that quote is here

1138 said...

When I was a kid, my mothers father became a close friend of the chief of the Seneca.
My grand father taught him carpentry, it was a different world for the Seneca back then, they were almost destroyed by this government.
Not perfect, not universally wise but old in ways that we are still young, trusting in ways that we have always be cynics.

Yes if one person loses a job, a home, a spouse, family member or a life at their own hand or at the hand of another because of these (and this is the only word I can muster) criminal laws, then there should be hell on earth to pay for everyone that put a yes vote to these laws and hell on earth to pay for those in Washington that created the situation.