NARSOL has filed an amicus brief in an important case challenging Oklahoma’s “unique identifier” requirement on state-issued driver’s licenses.
Ray Neal Carney is a current resident of the Oklahoma prison system. His conviction was for a sexual crime, and after examining the conditions of registration upon his release, he filed a lawsuit protesting a number of the restrictions he will soon face. Most of Carney’s complaints were rejected by the lower Court, but on appeal, Oklahoma’s onerous driver’s license requirement caught the attention of Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In Oklahoma all registered sex offenders are required to have their designation of ‘sex offender’ stamped across the face of their driver’s license or state-issued identification card.
Andrew Barr is the attorney assigned to represent Mr. Carney’s interests, and Barr, in his preparations, came across the amicus brief NARSOL previously filed on behalf of Lester Packingham, the petitioner in Packingham v. North Carolina. Mr. Barr noted NARSOL’s Supreme Court amicus and reached out to us.
In turn, NARSOL worked with our affiliate organizer in Oklahoma, Lori Hamilton, and with Lori’s help was able to gather personal testimony from a number of OK Voices members about the extremely deleterious effects of publicly marking state-issued licenses with the words “sex offender.”
The contention that constant awareness of sex offenders due to the risk they pose to public safety is nonsense in that it is based on a supposition of high recidivism that is completely erroneous.
Harm to the individual is incurred by such marking in that it severely inhibits his ability for community reentry, which is essential for rehabilitation.
This method of identification of those with past sexual convictions is unnecessary, as ample other means are available by which those on the registry can be identified, and cruel, in that the heightened level of scrutiny increases the risk of vigilante activity and imposes a higher risk of danger to the individual and threat to public safety.
NARSOL is proud to participate in this important litigation and would like to thank OK Voices and the Appellate Advocacy Clinic at Wake Forest University for their assistance in making that possible.