//Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

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NOTE FROM EDITOR: All letters to the editor are opinions/perspectives of readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Valdosta Today.

Dear Editor:

The sex offense registry exists as a civil regulatory scheme. It was never meant to be a criminal sanction. Yet offenders must report in person to local law enforcement. These law enforcement personnel don’t understand that this is meant to be a civil registration rather than a criminal penalty, so they tend to treat the registrants as criminals event though many have, decades-ago, paid their debts to society by completing all of their requirements under law.

Any time we, as a country, are “registering” our citizens, we are sliding down a slippery slope of dehumanization. The Nazis “registered” their “undesirable” citizens. History tells us what happened.

By the way, the reason that the registry is a civil regulatory scheme rather than a criminal sanction is because if it were criminal in nature, it would violate double jeopardy and ex-post-facto under the US constitution. The constitution says that you can’t punish someone twice. So after a person is sentenced to prison and probation, and they complete that sentence, you can’t add more penalties. That would violate the constitution.

Thank You,

Jeff Russel