A Judicial Protest Against Expansive Sex Offender Registration
Sex offender registration began as a way to keep track of predators. Eager to appear tough on crime, many state legislators have pushed to expand registry membership to include sex offenders who are unlikely threats. Young adults who have sex with their minor girlfriends or boyfriends exemplify the kind of defendants who pose no threat to the general population, and who do not deserve the stigma of sex offender registration.
A judge who agrees with that reasonable philosophy tried to mete out justice to a 20 year old defendant by staying his felony conviction for 100 years, a creative way to assure that the young man would never have to register. The judge probably knew he’d be reversed – and reversed he was – but the judge at least made a statement that caught the public’s attention.
[Judge] Kirk said Thursday his opinion of the sex registry requirement, because of its lack of discretion, remains unchanged. ... "It is a travesty in my opinion that we are destroying a significant cadre of our young people because the law doesn't discriminate between those that are there because of youthful misadventure or those that are true sex offenders," Kirk said.
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