Colorado’s sex offender registry still hangs in limbo seven months after a judge said it violated the constitutional rights of former offenders, subjecting them to an extended punishment and public shaming.
U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch’s ruling is the latest to reject states that are reaching for more stringent controls on sex offenders even after they have served their sentences.
Criminal justice reformers say it’s about time the courts strike back. The lifelong punishments that sexual offenders face beyond the courtroom and prison conflict with the country’s tradition of rehabilitation and second chances, they say.
But with federal appeals courts now involved in scrutinizing laws in Colorado, Alabama and Michigan, state attorneys general say they are worried that their legislatures’ work to keep communities safe may be undermined.
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