Friday, June 2
Protecting Constitutional Rights in the Federal Courts – Phil Telfeyan and Miriam Aukerman
This joint presentation will provide you a comprehensive analysis of two important challenges pending in the federal courts. Miriam Aukerman will discuss the case of Does v Snyder, where the Sixth Circuit held that Michigan’s registry is punishment and that therefore applying it retroactively violates the Ex Post Facto Clause. The state is seeking review of that decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Philip Telfayen will discuss the case of McGuire v Strange (Alabama) which is awaiting a decision in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Telfayen will explain why Alabama’s sex offender registration law is the most debilitating in the country, the constitutional issues asserted, how this registration law has adversely impacted Alabamans like Michael McGuire, and why the law needs to change.
Confronting the “Junk Science” Concerning Offender Risks – Melissa Hamilton
The Supreme Court and lower courts have typically upheld sex offender laws and sentencing policies in the face of constitutional and other legal challenges based on the belief that the recidivism risk of sex offenders is “frighteningly high.” These courts also tend to accept assertions by elected officials based on scientific studies that are often not appropriately supportive. In other words, officials tend to use junk science on which to base their restrictive policies. Advocates must clearly point this out. We will review recent “wins” whereby certain courts have been willing to refute junk science in favor of more accurate scientific results. Reporters have been writing in nationally recognized news media about the possibility that the Supreme Court’s presumption of a frighteningly high risk rate for sex offenders may be unfounded, thus potentially creating momentum for the courts to revisit their assumptions.
Saturday, June 3
Beating Back Banishment and Big Brother – Glenn Gerding
Restrictions on people convicted of sex offenses do little to protect society but take an enormous toll on the people restricted and their families, not to mention run afoul of core constitutional principles. Gerding will discuss challenges to North Carolina restrictions on people convicted of sex offenses. In particular, he will discuss how North Carolina enacted some of the country’s most restrictive premises and internet restrictions, and the history of constitutional challenges to those restrictions.
A Matter of Fact: Recidivism Rates, Current Jurisprudence, and the Need for Fact-Based Litigation – Paul Dubbeling
Recent successes in legal challenges to sex offender statutes have been built upon a combination of strong factual records built by the Plaintiffs and the demand for evidence supporting the state’s deprivation of fundamental liberties. But to expand upon these successes, it’s time to confront the elephant in the room – the judicial presumption that “sex offenders” are uniquely dangerous in a way that justifies the deprivation of basic civil liberties. A key component of constitutional litigation and legislative action moving forward must be a direct challenge to that presumption relying on actual data collected in the now twenty-year history of sex offender statutes.
Sunday, June 4
Where I Began My Journey – Mary Sue Molnar
Mary Sue will inspire us with how she began her crusade. This dynamic lady now leads Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, the NARSOL affiliate in Texas, but she began her journey not even knowing the names of her own state senator or representative. Now Mary Sue is well known at the Capitol and has many connections to legislators and key staff members. She will share how you too can gain the ear of legislators and help influence the formulation of public policy.