The “Megan’s Law” in Connecticut asserts that an individual convicted of a sexual crime has to register with the a Public Safety department soon as he or she is released from conviction to join the society, the law at Connecticut also requires the former sexual convict to be registered into a registry, his or her name, photos, addresses to be recorded and this details to be availed on the website for perusal of the public in some specific offices of the state. A respondent of a sex offense made a move and filled a legal action on behalf for his rights and any other sexual offender who could also fall a victim of such circumstances. This sexual offender claimed that his inter alia had been violated by the fourteenth amendment of this law (Jean, 2007). The Supreme Court then gave out the respondent’s summary of the judgment, licensed a group of persons subject to the ruling, and undyingly enjoined the legislation’s communal revelation provisions (Bernard, 2007). The petitioner in this case the sexual offender in question claimed that this law denied the person registered according to what the law stated, his or her freedom and liberty of interest (Walter, 1992).
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Amicus become concerned with the additional issue in this case and wanted to seek clarification if the passing of information could be withheld unless there was substantial proof that the passing of the information was essential to guard public safety. The Second Circuit’s hearing and ruling in this case become a contentious issue since it implied that honest in sequence about the convicted offenders of asexual act should not be passed on to the public unless of substantial reason to necessitate that to be done. In this case Amicus was concerned about the interpretation of the law by the Second Circuit’s could lead to across the board limitations on the diffusion of straightforward information (Aaron, 2000).
By this tangible factual foresee by amicus curiae, it was necessary for amicus curiae to request for the Supreme Court to allow the sexual offender who wanted to file a petition to do so.
The intention of Amicus Curiae
The Reporters Committee for autonomy of the Press, which is a charitable, unincorporated union of the media personalities and editors who work in the pursuit of defending the 1st amendment of the freedom and rights of information benefits of the media. This Committee usually forwards representation, direction and investigation in the 1st amendment of Information Act since the year nineteen seventy to safe guard the freedom of media.
This committee had vested interest in the 1st amendment and right of entry of this as it was raised by this case. The 2nd United States of America court of Appeals ruled out that an individual who is convicted with a felon should be subjected to a scrutiny to rule out the possibilities of an individual who was once committed of a sexual offense to rule out the possibilities of him or her committing such a crime in the future. The second amendment gives a barrier, to passing on of the truthful information regarding those who have gotten conviction of crimes which infringes the 1st amendment rights of the public and press and also limits the capability of the community to watch over the works of the state. The court of appeals ruling regarding this matter is troublesome since it follows that there should be a depiction of need before the right information is passed over to the public. The Reporters Committee powerfully refuted any rule that needs proof of need before truthful information may be dispersed. as a final point, the journalists Committee was disturbed by any kind of understanding that could mean that disseminating true information concerning illegal convictions might defame the individual.
Summary of Argument
The Second Circuit stated that protection of the ex convict of a sexual offense must prevail before the government decides that there is necessity of disseminating the truthful information (Alfred, 2004). The journalist association which was concerned disapproved that the prohibition of dissemination of the information regarding the convicted and his conviction was not realistic since the information in the registry about that convict was bear truth and it was the publics right to get to know such information.
The claim that an individual is “dangerous” is not a thing which can be disapproved or proved to be true or false since such a thing needs specific know how of the individual’s future actions which a difficult thing to accomplish. it is even more defaming for the government to claim that an individual will commit a felon in future than to just list information which is true about the past crimes convicted off by an individual. The journalist commission claims that truthful information can’t be used as basis of defamation even if the speaker is a government personnel or a normal citizen.
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The resulting Argument
One of the hot debates was that the dissemination of truthful information regarding a conviction doesn’t result to defamation. Sex offenders argue that their liberty and rights are violated as a result of this amendment since the state sex convicts information dissemination is a form of states defamation and that the need for having registry legislation puts their rights at stake. Although on the contrary the sexual convicts registry on the other hand only tells the truthful information and no more information about the offender’s personal life. In this case, the Second Circuit passed that sex offenders were liable to be subjected to an intense hearing to establish if they are likely to remain dangerous or not before decision of putting their names in the sex offenders registry can be made (Doe verses the Dept. of Public Safety, 2001).
The Supreme Court realized that in putting a sex offenders details in the registry it was like the government branding that person as still having the potential to commit that crime again (Hall, 1999). Although the court decided this it did not find out otherwise if such information was put on the website could actually cause the effect it was claimed that it could do. Yet such information being put on the web could only make easy access of this information and not to act as a warning to the public about a specific individual.
Amicus argued on the other hand that there have been many cases where criminals brought defamation claims against those who have passed out accurate information about them. The courts have always dismissed this claim when finding out that the information that was being passed on was true and hence not a basis for defamation of the person. A good example where this happened was in the Newton verses Schaefer case where a convicted killer could not withstand the author calling him a murderer and went to the court to raise his case and the court dismissed him since the information was true, this in per say is contrary to what the court had eventually decided to give a backing to, that the information of a sex criminal should not be made public. Another example which Amicus used to argue is the case between Hall and Bukowski where it was ruled out that a man who asexual criminal cannot raise a suit against his or her victim since such allegation were true.
Amicus also claims that sine the registry had records of other criminals who had committed other crimes rather that the sexual crime had their details in the registry and therefore amicus claimed that this list was just to be used for public access and in itself doesn’t cause potential harm to violate the individuals rights and hence amicus did not see why the sexual convicts list should be made public. The United States of American law system recognizes that the events and facts used in a previous criminal case cannot be carried forward to be used in a future criminal case. This was adopted because the state understood that given the fact that an individual had been convicted in the past times doesn’t follow that this individual will commit another crime.
Hence such factual circumstances and rules should also apply in this case. Although someone might peruse through the list of sexual offender this doesn’t mean that the state has stigmatized the individuals in the list and also does not mean that the individuals are currently harmful since the United States law doesn’t make a connection of the past offenses and the future ones. Hence this common sense should apply in this case and make the list of sex ex convicts to be public just like the way other ex convicts of other cases is treated.
The Second Circuit, which stated that having the names of the sexual convicts in the registry depicted that the individual was currently harmful and found that such an implication was defamatory. Paul’s test says that a defamatory statement should be capable of being proved to be either false or true. The most amazing part of the Second Circuit’s conclusion in the case is when the Supreme Court decided that it was certainly possible to be able to find out whether it was false or true of a particular individual being dangerous at that particular moment.
This is the issue that also made Amicus to disagree with the court ruling, the issue that the sex offender’s registry had a provision which stated that a person could be depicted to be currently dangerous by the public which to Amicus this allegations cannot be proven to be false or true at any specific time.
The Second Circuit’s proposal has far more reaching damaging effects to the ex convict than the effects which the registry list can do. Although the governments intention was to list past conviction information for easy access the second circuit wanted the state to start putting labels to people as being dangerous which mighty not always apply to all the convicts and it might even raise more stigmatization to the person which raises the question that will the stigmatized person file a suit against the person who stigmatizes him or her in case he or she doesn’t commit any other crime.
Hence this can lead to an inference which could go like this, that the second circuit is giving the court the powers to label individuals as future crime committers who might cause a lot of problems to the stigmatized individual. This will be to a large extent more than what the listing of the truthful information in the registry could cause to the individual.
Amicus urged that If due procedure protection are relevant, then they are supposed to apply before the ex sex crime convict’s information is put in the register on the website. The Second Circuit passed out that sex criminals were allowed to be heard to rule out whether there was a necessity of disseminating there information to the public. However, if the judges found out that the sex offender is entitled to a notice and a chance to be heard, then subsequently this protection is supposed to apply prior to registration with the government. It depicts sense to state that sex offenders should register with the state but that the information shouldn’t be passed on devoid of a hearing.
An example is given that a man or woman who is convicted of a sexual crime is supposed to be heard before he or she is registered in the sex offense register. This kind of hearing should also be adopted in the federal sex offender’s law of Alabama.
Amicus disagrees with the rule that says that a sexual offender should register with the state and that the individual first subjected to proof of necessity which is the proof of ascertaining if the individual is actually dangerous before the information is allowed to be passed to the public. Such a rule Amicus says will definitely interfere with the public’s capability of examining how the state is subjecting its laws. Furthermore, it could make the register null and void.
Owing to this turn of events Amicus therefore requested that the court should think and understand that protection of a sexual offender is not necessary before the state may pass on the information to the public.
Aaron L. (2000). Law: Ethical dilemma. USA: Larson publication.
Alfred, Donald G. (2004). Constitutional Law of America: Selected Cases.
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Bernard, C. (2007). Some selected court proceedings and cases. Alabama press journal.
Hall, K. (1999). Law: The Supreme Court of the United States. Oxford University: Oxford publishers.
Jean, R. (2007) Review of the fourteenth amendment of federal and state constitutional rights. USA: Midland publishers.
Walter, L. (1992). Overview: the court system in America. USA: Radon publishers.