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Last Weird Crime of '05: Using Sex Offender Registry for Identity Theft

by Last Night in Little Rock

The NY Times reported late Saturday that a man arrested in Bentonville, Arkansas had files in his car and was mining data from the Indiana Sex Offender Registry.

Many in law enforcement get their jollies making post-prison sex offenders suffer for the rest of the lives by hounding them, at least there is a sheriff in Arkansas that does that, be we won't mention his name, but here's his website. At least social security numbers are not on the public Internet, but, for a price, there are plenty of websites that sell that personal data and more on all of us.

But sex offenders? Easy targets? Because they were less likely to complain or feared being found "unworthy victims"? Those sex offenders in the unnamed Arkansas County with the unnamed sheriff who call my office complain of constant harassment of unwarranted traffic stops and searches by police, having their faces put on cable TV nearly every day as a "public service" by the Sheriff, citizen harassment of broken windows and damaged cars, hearsay reports of registered sex offenders being burned out of their homes with them in them, and the like.

Not quite a hate crime, I'm afraid, as if the law really cares about rehabilitating them, assuming a sex offender can be. (Depends on the offense, and the "jury's still out on that".)

One would say, in a perfect world, they are getting close to having a tort of outrage claim. The problem is simple, and they all know it: Jury nullification. Would a Rebublicanized jury actually give damages to such a plainfiff? Not hardly. So it keeps on coming.

And now, adding insult to injury, they are the targets of identity theft. I hate to sound cynical (an occupational hazard in criminal defense work), but maybe they should be flattered that somebody thought they were creditworthy and people outside of their home areas don't know about their prior transgression.

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  • Re: Last Weird Crime of '05: Using Sex Offender Re (none / 0) (#1)
    by demohypocrates on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 10:26:33 PM EST
    Those poor child molesters, victimized yet again.

    Those poor child molesters, victimized yet again.
    demohypocrates, Last Night in Little Rock should thank you for further proving his jury nullification theory. However, I am sure you won't be the only one to do so.
    Would a Rebublicanized jury actually give damages to such a plainfiff? Not hardly. So it keeps on coming.
    Last Night in Little Rock, Did you mean republicanized? That aside, I think you would be hard pressed to find any jury to give damages to such a plaintiff.

    Any criminal who would target people on a sex-offender registry makes Willie Sutton look like a genius by comparison. As difficult as it is for any ex-con to get a decent job (former coke dealers with a law degree excepted, of course) -- not to mention the additional stigmatization that comes from being on a sex-offender registry -- I would expect these people to have some of the worst credit in the country. The idiot who would try to steal the identity of someone from these lists obviously has a fetish for rejection.

    Re: Last Weird Crime of '05: Using Sex Offender Re (none / 0) (#4)
    by Rick B on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 01:31:33 AM EST
    I see no reason these identities could not easily be used to pass bad checks and forged payroll checks. Just do it outside the normal area that person lives in. The identity is actually only used for the actual moments cashing the check, and the face does not match the one on the public sex offenders list. The ID info is easy to obtain on a rather large scale. I can see why someone would do it. They don't live the ID every day, and when not actually using it to cash bad checks and forged payroll checks, they avoid hassles.

    Republicanized jury. I love it. Lemme guess, any verdict that comes down that is Last Night disagrees with is from a Republicanized jury. Are they brainwashed in the jury room through talk radio?

    Well, some of the people on the list are, I'm sure, bad people, but many will be 18 year olds with a 16 year old girlfriend. Some will be a person who made one mistake. These registries are, frankly, being over-used to the point of becoming meaningless. There are so many people on them now, one can't keep up. The laws were never meant to result in every single person being convicted of a sex crime to be listed, but judges now feel they must put everyone on the list. OK, I'll get beat up for being a bleeding heart liberal, but once these people are out, if we are to have any hope of their being "reformed" we need for them to be able to get jobs and move through society like the rest of us. You can whine and cry all you want about what evil people they are, and how they deserve what they get, but you only worsen the situation for them and the rest of us by making their lives a continuing and miserable hell. How do you expect people to react when you cut them off from being able to live and function in society?

    Re: Last Weird Crime of '05: Using Sex Offender Re (none / 0) (#7)
    by Johnny on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 09:47:11 AM EST
    B John, you are going to be crucified from both left-wingers and wrong-wingers for your stance.

    B John: I have long felt that the way we deal with sex offenders contributes to their high rate of recidivism. While I find their crimes the most deplorable, we need to deal with them in a way that doesn't diminish their sense of power and belonging to society. Much of what is behind a sex offense has tod o with power and not sex. By treating sex offenders differently than any other criminal we have created a system that strips them of any power and makes them extremely vulnerable to abuse. I believe that senses of helplessness contributes to the high rate of recidivism. Like the crime, which we dont want to talk about, the punishment has become something we dont want to talk about. Our response is ignorant and shamefull!

    Re: Last Weird Crime of '05: Using Sex Offender Re (none / 0) (#9)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 05:08:35 PM EST
    Well, one big problem in this country -- as any sociologist will tell you -- is that the "common sense" (i.e. the kind of "reasoning" that appeals to Republicans) view of crime in general is as wrong as it possibly can be. So, don't look for much to change until people pull their heads out of the sand and/or their rear ends. Which ought to be sometime after the cows come home on flying pigs.

    Re: Last Weird Crime of '05: Using Sex Offender Re (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 05:17:01 PM EST
    Dan:
    While I find their crimes the most deplorable, we need to deal with them in a way that doesn't diminish their sense of power and belonging to society. Much of what is behind a sex offense has to do with power and not sex. By treating sex offenders differently than any other criminal we have created a system that strips them of any power.
    I think you're on to something important there, Dan. If you want to create a demon... demonize someone. Something to think about...

    Thank you "B John" and "Dan" for proving to me that there is still some understanding and compassion left in this world. Learning that sex offenders now have to deal with the threat of 'identity theft' is just one more stab in the heart of an already nightmarish experience. Being married to an S.O. does not make me exempt from public outlash either, but so far I have been fortunate to have a loving family and a network of friends who support and stand by my husband and I. I don't need to go into the whole twisted version of what happened to my husband, but long story short, he was a good man, a first time, non-violent offender, who made a mistake and does not belong in prison nor on some nationwide registry. I am proud to be his wife, and I look forward to when he can come home and get his life back, in so far as this self-righteous and hypocritical government will allow. Plastering my husband's profile all over the internet may give satisfaction to the bounty hunter wanna-be's who create these websites - 'judge not, lest ye be judged!' Attention all judges, lawyers, corrections officers, law enforcement ..... YOUR judgment day is coming; all I ask is that God grants me a front row seat!