WIN in Wisconsin – federal judge strikes down banishment law

(From the Dobbs Wire)

Win in Wisconsin:  A federal judge struck down a Pleasant Prairie ordinance restricting where individuals forced to sign the sex offense registry can live, ruling the ordinance unconstitutional.  Laws like this are euphemistically known as ‘residency restrictions,’ but their purpose is banishment.  Officials in Pleasant Prairie, short on humanity, had made just about the entire town off-limits, loosening the law only as a lawsuit loomed. The court’s opinion has plenty to say about ‘banishment’ and there’s even a fascinating chart which explains, chillingly, that under the law some, “Must leave the Village by Oct. 18, 2016, and may never return”, while others are simply “Permanently banned from the Village.”  Located between Chicago and Milwaukee, Pleasant Prairie’s official website declares the town a “progressive municipality” with an array of “opportunities,” striving to “provide the best quality of life for our citizens.” No mention that anyone with a scarlet letter best hit the road.  Congratulations to the nine plaintiffs who stood together fighting for their rights, and their Chicago legal eagles, Mark Weinberg and Adele Nicholas. There’s more, a jury trial for damages is coming up in several weeks so stay tuned.  A Kenosha News report is linked below along with a smart on-point essay by Jesse Singal. If you want a copy of the court ruling, drop me a line. –Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire

New York Magazine | Aug. 25, 2014

There’s Literally No Evidence That Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live Accomplishes Anything

By Jesse Singal

The unfortunate thing about this situation is that laws designed to restrict where sex offenders can live are really and truly useless, except as a means of politicians scoring easy political points by ratcheting up hysteria. There are many tricky social-scientific issues on which there are a range of opinions and some degree of debate among experts, but this isn’t one of them. Among those whose job it is to figure out how to reduce the rate at which sex offenders commit crimes (as opposed to those whose job it is to get reelected, in part by hammering away at phantom threats), there is zero controversy: These laws don’t work, and may actually increase sexual offenders’ recidivism rates.  MORE:

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/sex-offender-housing-restrictions-are-pointless.html

 

Kenosha News (Kenosha, WI) | Apr. 18, 2017

Judge finds sex offender ordinance unconstitutional
Village has loosened restrictions in response to suit

By Kevin Murphy

Excerpts:  A federal judge Monday found unconstitutional Pleasant Prairie’s initial ordinance that largely banned registered child sex offenders from residing in the village. In granting summary judgment to the nine plaintiffs, U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller found the village imposed restrictions on where the offenders could live without considering any studies or data regarding the safety risk that posed to other residents.

The result of the ordinance made 90 percent of the village off-limits to offenders, with the remaining 10 percent largely non-residential. Most of the low-income housing, which was all the plaintiffs could afford, was excluded.

Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff testified in a deposition that the ordinance’s goal was to reduce the number of child sex offenders living in the village.  The ordinance may be counterproductive to citizen safety, as Pollocoff admitted that turning child sex offenders into outcasts had “more deleterious (or harmful) impacts.”

Mark Weinberg, a Chicago attorney who filed the suit, called the decision uncommon and important.  “There are a lot of other communities in Kenosha County with similar ordinances. I hope this decision will encourage them to re-evaluate theirs,” he said.  MORE:

http://www.kenoshanews.com/news/judge_finds_sex_offender_ordinance_unconstituitional_492700483.php

 

8 comments for “WIN in Wisconsin – federal judge strikes down banishment law

  1. Rajendra
    April 21, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    These are like breadcrumbs and meanwhile new laws are being passed that undermine more civil liberties. Why can’t we all take the case to the Supreme Court of the US regarding the unconstitutionality of the registry and the related laws with the facts and data?

    • jp
      April 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      where u from Raj..???if u dont mind me asking, im on registry but recently my DA took my statue 7a, 7b in NC off. that statue restrict from being all the places where minors gather, now i am allowed though still remain in registry. does this make sense? i hope there is a lawyer out there to help me get my name off the registry.

  2. david
    April 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Of course residency restrictions make no sense. Using this logic, we should require all those convicted of drunk driving to live 500 feet from anywhere that serves alcohol.

    • Veronica
      May 4, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      These restrictions are ridiculous and has caused more homelessness, children and others suffer enough collateral damage of just being labeled and the stigma behind it that families must endure. No one should be without a place to live. Our country is becoming more and more insensitive to humanity. I wonder what would they do if one of them had to deal with being a registered sex offender, how would they like it.

  3. Rich
    April 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I wish Alabama had a group to challenge this state’s law. SB301 will make things even worse. Being at any place more than 4hrs in one day, more than 3 days will constitute residency. It seems there is no end.

    • Scott
      April 20, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Just contact some civil rights lawyers and ask them if they want to get invovled. They might take some educating on the issues so meet them for coffee and spend some time doing the educating. Some will take cases on a contingency basis so they only get paid by the state when they win. Try this guy in Birmingham:
      http://www.saxonattorney.com/attorney-profiles/

  4. T
    April 19, 2017 at 1:15 am

    It also doesn’t work for law enforcement also because they will have a hard time keeping up with certain areas where registrants can and cannot live, as well as having a place to live so that you’ll be able to look for work. The residency restricted should be abolished.

  5. O
    April 18, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Yes restrictions on where sex offenders are harsh becaus it makes it hard to live. In Ga I can’t live near a church and there is a church almost in every corner. I think it’s all political like the article says it’s for brownie points

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