Steve Smith, who commented here on my violent offender registry post has elaborated his position further on his own blog in response to a comment there. He writes:
1. I do not believe it does the defense bar and its allies in the blogosphere and elsewhere to blindly rail against any and all sex offender (or violent crime registries if this law goes any further) registries. The registries are clearly here to stay and wishful thinking is not making them go away.
2. The defense bar is going to be more effective assisting lawmakers in crafting RATIONAL registry laws in the first instance rather than swinging blind hay makers in the vain hope something will dissuade lawmakers from a “popular” course of action which has so far been upheld by the courts.
3. In my role as a citizen I think its entirely possible for a rationally crafted registration law to be of some use in alerting the public to dangers of which it may otherwise be unaware. I am critical of somewhat random categories of crimes being held up as a rational method of categorization rather than a scientific look at the probabilities a particular individual poses a danger.
There’s more. Go to his site to read the full post.
He does make some valid points. Obviously, sex offender (or any other offender) registries are here to stay, as are residency restrictions. I don’t think anyone in the blawgosphere is delusional about that. However, just because they’re here to stay doesn’t mean that people vehemently opposed to them should temper their criticism because of that reason alone.
The second argument he makes is a valid point going forward. Unfortunately, it assumes that lawmakers would have been amenable to anything other than draconian legislation were it not for the “ruckus” created by the defense bar in many situations.
His third argument is one that many in the defense bar are already advocating. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting New Jersey’s study on the efficacy of Megan’s Law in the state. New Jersey, to the best of my knowledge, does have a tiered system.
In summation, I will repeat what I said in my earlier post: I am not altogether against offender registries, though there has to be more of an evaluation process and the flasher does not need to be in the same category as the child molester.
However, I am and will be firmly against residency restrictions, for I believe they are another form of punishment.