Sunday, April 21, 2013

"stigmatic injury"

A year ago, a federal judge said Texas cannot put people on the sex offender registry unless they are actual sex offenders. You read that right: it took a federal judge to make that point.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin, in an order issued late Friday, blasted the state's continuing refusal to provide due process hearings before imposing restrictive sex-offender conditions on felons never convicted of a sex crime. (My emphasis.)
Even better:
Yeakel for the first time ruled that the seven-member state Board of Pardons and Paroles, 12 parole commissioners, state parole director Stuart Jenkins and other parole officials can face monetary damages for their actions....

The order was the latest setback for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and state corrections officials, who have insisted for years that, to ensure public safety, they could impose the stringent conditions on parolees without a due process hearing.
Background: A man was indicted on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child but convicted and sentenced to 25 year for drug charges, not the sexual assault charge. The state tried to put this man on the registry but was blocked by the judge because he had not been convicted of a sex crime. In the decision that this man could sue for damages, the judge said, 
"Any stigmatic injury suffered by [this man] due to the imposition and continued enforcement of Special Condition X [the sex offender registry and restrictions] may entitle [this man] to compensatory damages."
"Stigmatic injury." Think about that for a moment. The judge acknowledges that the sex offender registry and the restrictions that come with it inflict "stigmatic injury."
It is good to see that possibility recognized, though it comes as no surprise to those who have to live with the registry. The stigma falls on the sex offender's family, as well, so for all who think the registry is there to protect children, how do you square this?

1 comment:

Danielle said...

"To protect the children". You know good and well what that means, and what children they are referring to.
Stop blaming your hell on everything else. Don't get me wrong, I think you and your kids are victims. But you are victims because your husband made you victims. If YOUR HUSBAND is on the sex offender registry because he was convicted of possessing child pornography, and you and your kids are stigmatized because of it, you have one person to blame: your husband.