Judge considers request to halt implementation of IML

A U.S. District Judge has yet to rule on a request for a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the International Megan’s Law. Courthouse News Service reports that Chief Judge Phyllis Hamilton heard arguments Wednesday in San Francisco.

Attorney Janice Bellucci is representing plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the law, which requires the government to place a “unique identifier” on the passports of certain registered sex offenders.

   Bellucci argued that the passport identifier is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.     While a passport constitutes government speech, the identifying mark would constitute compelled speech, she said.     “If the government limited that identifier to people who’ve been convicted of child-sex trafficking or tourism, we’d be okay with that,” Bellucci said.     “But just because somebody is on a sex-offender registry does not indicate that they’re likely to engage in trafficking or tourism.”

The law also requires the Department of Homeland Security to notify foreign governments when a registered sex offender visits their country.

Judge Hamilton did not immediately rule on the request for a preliminary injunction.

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