Thursday, March 4, 2010

AWA/SORNA: Send Your Fax to President Obama

Many readers ask what they can do to help in this fight. Here is something you should do, today. With President Obama making news today in his support of the Adam Walsh Act funding ( see post below), we must do the following before the end of this week, if possible:

ConstitutionalFights spoke to a representative at the White House today who expressed interest in our concerns about the Adam Walsh Act and how it violates constitutional rights of 700,000 Americans. She gave potentially useful instructions on how to communicate effectively to President Obama on this issue.

She said to FAX A ONE PAGE OUTLINE summary sheet to 202-456-2461.
You can email but faxes will be MUCH more effective she said, because they receive millions of emails.

1. At the top of the page, put a clear subject line- re: Adam Walsh Act.

2. List clear concise bullet points, not narrative. She said outline form is much more likely to be read than a narrative story.

Now, I no longer use faxes, but I am sure many of you have access to fax machines. And there are some online alternatives to fax from your computer. So while this may result in a lower number of us sending a fax, if many of us do this, it could be effective (according to the secretary).

You know the bullet points to make: constitutional violations of Ex Post Facto/Retroactivity, Separation of Powers, Breach of Contract, ect, how it damages families and children of offenders, how it imposes life-long registration to many who committed a crime decades ago, ect..

Again, one page, in outline form! To download the sample outline below, download here:

Sample Outline:

Adam Walsh Act/SORNA : Destroying Families and Failing to Prevent Crime.

AWA/SORNA violates constitutional rights of 700,000 Americans by:
  • imposing retroactive punishment for crimes committed decades ago
  • breach of contract in plea agreements with states by increasing registration requirements, requiring new lifetime registration for many
  • violating separation of powers provisions by disallowing a court review of individual cases

Correcting Myths:

  • U.S. Department of Justice Statistics: Recidivism of Sex Offenders 1994 (latest available): "5.3% of sex offenders were rearrested for another sex crime."
"An estimated 3.3% of child victimizers 4,300 were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within 3 years of release from prison"
Approximately 60% of boys and 80% of girls who are sexually victimized are abused by someone known to the child or the child's family (Lieb, Quinsey, and Berliner, 1998).
  • Most-Recent Study Statistics from The National Criminal Justice Reference Service: "results DO NOT indicate an increase in child abductions by strangers"
  • A Comprehensive National Study (University of North Carolina, University of New Hampshire): "The great majority of sexual victimizations were perpetrated by acquaintances"
  • The Crimes Against Children Research Center studies:
a) "various forms of child mistreatment and child victimization declines as much as 40-70% from 1993 through 2004, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault..."
b) " sexual abuse started to decline in the early 1990's after at least 15 years of steady increases. From 1990 through 2004 sexual abuse substantiations were down 49%"
  • National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System:
a) "Cases of substantiated sexual abuse have declined approximately 39% nationwide from 1992 to 1999. Despite the dramatic nature of the decline, little discussion of the trend has occurred at either the national or the state level. "

Legal Challenges:

  • AWA/SORNA has been legally challenged in every county in Ohio and within every state. Many State and Federal Courts have ruled retroactive restrictions as unconstitutional.
  • The Indiana Supreme Court ruled retroactive application of SORNA as unconstitutional - Wallace v. State (2009
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared in U.S. v. Juvenile Male, No. 07-30290 (9th Cir. Sept. 10, 2009) that part of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is unconstitutional as applied to former juvenile offenders:
  • The Ohio Supreme Court currently has four cases under review to decide retroactive implementation of SORNA.

AWA/SORNA Damages Families:

  • Registries list offenders whose crimes date back decades, and whom have led productive lives since
  • Many of those on the registry were juveniles when the crime was committed
  • Many of those on registry pose little or no threat to re-offend
  • Public registries include home addresses and expose parents and their children to taunting and threats
  • Employment, education and living opportunities are severely limited to families with a registered sex offender
  • Socially stigmatizing Americans for a lifetime creates instability in their lives and actually increases chances of offending

Conclusion: We urge the President to repeal , or completely re-structure The Adam Walsh Act /SORNA to:
  • remove retroactive application
  • allow judicial review of individual cases
  • allow a means to earn a way off the registry
  • maintain registries for law enforcement use only, and not for public perusal