Sunday, January 28, 2018

Iowa legislator wants to move the goal posts

Iowa state representative Dean Fisher wants to solve an imaginary problem.
Tier IV Sex Offender Registry – House File 163. This is a bill that I introduced during the 2017 session which I am continuing to work on. This bill addresses the problem of sex offenders that “time out” of the registry after a set number of years (usually 10 years) and then move to a new area of the state or move into Iowa from another state.
Is it a problem when someone successfully serves the sentence handed down by the court? Is it a problem when legislated timelines run out with no further sex offenses?
If a sex offender has timed out, law enforcement has no way of knowing this person is in their community.
What does law enforcement need to know about any law-abiding person?
This bill establishes a new requirement for any person that has ever had to register as a sex offender in Iowa or any other jurisdiction to register with the county sheriff when they move into or around the state. This classification of sex offenders would not be required to re-register quarterly or annually like other classes of sex offenders. [My emphasis.]
New requirement! The bill makes no provision for educating people of the new requirement when their previously-mandated registry time expires. How would a new resident of the state know about the requirement that he or she must register again, after celebrating the end of previous registry time, perhaps years ago?

Laws like this set up citizens for failure.

This bill is nothing more than an attempt to punish those on the registry for ten more years.
Previous Iowa Supreme Court cases (such as Iowa vs. Pickens, 1997) have determined that such registry requirements are constitutional because they do not constitute ex post facto punishment, they are merely regulation. This requirement will give law enforcement greater insight into who is living in our communities. This bill passed subcommittee on Thursday of this week and now goes to the full committee.
As anyone listed on the registry can attest, legislators like Fisher can pretend the registry is not punishment only because they are not listed there.

Fisher has no evidence showing that people on the registry need to be watched by law enforcement. The number of cases where law enforcement used the registry to solve a sex crime must be exceedingly small because the vast majority of sex offenses are committed by first-time offenders.

Fisher especially has no evidence that the registry would help law enforcement after a registrant has completed 10, 15, or 25 years on the registry. Study after study show that criminals in general age out of crime and more studies show that those convicted of sex offenses are unlikely to reoffend at any stage after conviction.

Fisher's bill piles additional requirements on the registrants who are most unlikely to commit further crimes.

State representative Fisher is not alone in this. HF 163 passed out of subcommittee, which means other state reps voted to do that.

The people that Fisher and his colleagues would punish further with no reason, those people are tax-paying citizens of Iowa. Fisher and his colleagues are doing this to their friends and neighbors, their fellow Iowans. Instead of protecting their constituents, instead of encouraging those who left criminal activities behind, they are making life more difficult for those families.

These are not legislators to trust or to vote for. These are legislators who need to be defeated at the earliest opportunity.


  1. A legislator proposing any law that further punishes sex offenders is similar to a boy scout earning a merit badge. Sort of a "rite of passage." The proposed law doesn't have to help anyone and it doesn't matter who it hurts--so long as it impresses the voters and looks good on the resume.

  2. This is sickening it is a PUNISHMENT no matter what is said. They've done their time +, it's time to say enough! I am just truly ashamed of people who can't understand how wrong ALL of this is.

  3. This is a law that is going around the country.

  4. The courts will have to stop this. The politicians thrive on fear mongering and punishing registered citizens who should be square with the state. This may well violate ex post fact.

  5. RSO are the only people who can be convicted of a felony for not doing anything. How can inaction be a felony level crime? When is it time to just say NO and become another ward of the state and non-tax payer.

  6. According to Most studies on Sex Offenders, the Re-offense rate is few and far between.
    There is a bigger threat from Drug Dealers. Most Sex Offenders are a brother, Uncle, Father, Grandfather, or "Trusted" Friend of the Family.
    And many of them never Re-Offend sexually.
    Those who never re-offend are not the ones who should have to be "Punished" in this way.
    Concentrate on those who Offend again and again.
    Instead of making life miserable for those who have gotten their lives straight and are living as they should be. with Low likelihood of ever offending again.
    Instead of trying to win Brownie Points with the Voters by playing on everyone's Fears of "The "Stranger" studies have shown are rarely the Offenders.


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