In a case that should become a model for action brought in Nebraska, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania has found the state’s public-shaming sex-offender website to be unconstitutional and that it cannot be applied retroactively.
In finding that the public shaming of individuals is unconstitutional, the court’s ruling says the public registry “is analogous to traditional public shaming, a historic form of punishment.”
Here is another significant quote from the ruling:
“We note further that the adverse impact to a sex offender’s reputation, imposed purposefully as a consequence of conduct deemed criminal, is widespread. It is not limited to those individuals who would benefit from this information because they might reside or work in close proximity to the offender. Rather, the effect of this affirmative restraint extends to any person who has access to the Internet and who may obtain the registration information solely for gratuitous purposes. Thus, such harm is not merely collateral or incidental, but rather consequential and far-reaching.”
Nebraskans Unafraid has been making similar points about Nebraska law for nearly a decade. Nebraska law is designed to harm registered individuals and their families and there is ample evidence that it does just that. It is time we start bringing this fact to the attention of the courts. Attorneys who are interested in helping Nebraskans Unafraid accomplish needed change should contact us.