Is S.C. Supreme Court right? NO! says NARSOL’s E.D. Brenda Jones

By Gregory Yee….

Last week’s S.C. Supreme Court ruling that juveniles convicted of certain sex crimes must be registered for life on the state’s sex offender registry is drawing outcry from attorneys and researchers.

The opinion, issued Wednesday, upheld a family court ruling on an April 2013 incident in Spartanburg County in which a 14-year-old sexually assaulted a 5-year-old. The teen was found delinquent for committing first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Under state law, anyone, regardless of age, who is convicted of or found delinquent under that charge, is required to register as a sex offender and wear an electronic monitor, both for life. Juveniles are treated the same as adults under the law.

Prosecutors applauded the ruling, saying that some young offenders are beyond rehabilitation and need to be monitored, but other attorneys and researchers say the lifetime registry makes rehabilitation difficult if not impossible.

Brandt Rucker, the attorney for the juvenile identified in court documents as Justin B., said the family is deciding whether to pursue further legal action.

“It’s impossible to rehabilitate you if you’re on the registry,” Rucker said. “My view is that there’s a better way to treat juveniles. When you place them on these lists, no matter how hard they try, they can never rehabilitate. We are simply asking for a system where judges have a say.”

The attorney said he is not criticizing the court, but he thinks officials have to consider whether juveniles like his client pose a future risk to the community.

Brenda Jones, executive director at the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, echoed Rucker’s sentiment, calling the registry unjust and ineffective.

As for Justin B.’s case, Jones added, “Let him serve the time, which he deserves, and then let him get the treatment he needs and become a productive member of society,” she said. “You’re not preventing crime by throwing adults or kids in jail for a certain amount of time and putting them on a registry.”

Read the rest of the article in The Post and Courier.

7 comments for “Is S.C. Supreme Court right? NO! says NARSOL’s E.D. Brenda Jones

  1. Registry Rage
    May 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    “This is a message to everybody that we’re not going to tolerate crimes against children.”

    And therein lies the Freudian slip! It’s about retaliatory vengeance and punitive “get even” punishment, NOT “justice.”

    They really do need to stop playing the “children in constant peril” card.

  2. Maestro
    May 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    “Prosecutors applauded the ruling, saying that some young offenders are beyond rehabilitation and need to be monitored..”

    Until the day one of THEIR juvenile (or even adult) kids commits a sex offense.
    Anyone remember the prosecutor whose son got caught up in a sting on “To Catch A Predator”? She quickly went from wanting to send everyone to prison to trying to defend her son in front of the very same court where she tries to send everyone to prison. Hypocritical.

    People who become prosecutors must have been bullied back in school.

    • sandy
      May 11, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Probably not so much hypocritical as just what it takes to see the abuses in the system. How many of us would be on the ‘side’ we are on if we hadn’t become embroiled in it either personally or through someone we know or love? Before that happened, if someone had asked you if you favored laws that were tougher on criminals or laws that made it easier on criminals, what would you have said? Be honest.

      • Maestro
        May 15, 2017 at 9:56 am

        Sandy,

        It’s actually a difficult decision. Let me first pretend I’m a prosecutor or law maker so I can get inside their minds…..

        “We need to get tougher on crime and criminals! Send these bastards away for a long time, followed by years of supervision and outcasting from society. They must never lead a normal life again. Forgiveness is NOT an option.
        Besides, none of OUR loved ones or even ourselves will ever commit these horrible acts so we need not worry.”

        How’s that?

  3. david
    May 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Wow…..Because how people behave at 14 is so indicative of how they will behave the rest of their lives.

    And the tired excuse “it’s for the public safety” isn’t fooling anyone. Show us the data proving registries have made society safer. If 95% of new sex crimes are committed by first time offenders (not on the registry) then the registry is hardly doing what it’s supposed to.

    Keep the registry private- for law enforcement only. If a judge ordered someone to stand on a busy street corner wearing a sign that said “i’m a sex offender” for the rest of their lives, that would be cruel and unusual, no? Putting someone on the public registry for life is essentially the same thing. How horrible that must feel for a young person to realize they will never have a normal life.

    • Maestro
      May 16, 2017 at 2:51 am

      David,

      Trust, it’s fooling enough people that their laws/rules towards us are getting them elected.

  4. Solicitor needs to shade himself under a palmetto leaf
    May 11, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I hope this gets appealed to the next level. This is not a literal death sentence, but it is a virtual one for this teen by what SCSC thinks. Throwing the baby out with the bath water. Who does the solicitor think he is saying the teen is beyond being able to be rehabilitated? Of course, Solicitors are elected officials, so it makes sense to pander to the pubic.

    The youngster who was on the receiving end of this from the teen will be able to move on with their life with the right support, help and knowledge and avoid the perpetual victim label should they chose to.

    S. Carolina, Bible Belt, hypocrites? Makes you think so about the Palmetto State…

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