Be They Fish or Not Fish: The Fishy Registration of Nonsexual Offenders
42 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2007 Last revised: 15 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 12, 2011
The article deals with a bizarre but common phenomenon: the registration of nonsexual criminals in sex offender registries. The practice has been challenged in a number of cases, but there is much disagreement among courts - often within the same jurisdiction - on its constitutionality, and on the analysis it entails. The issue has recently picked-up steam - reaching some state Supreme Courts (Florida's and Illinois'), and appearing in the popular news media. The article offers a comprehensive analysis of the Substantive Due Process issues involved, showing why registering nonsexual criminal in sex offender registries is a violation of the federal Constitution (both on the part of the States and on the part of the federal government). It also shows that the registration of nonsexual criminals in sex offender registries is a textbook example of negligent policy-making (supported by faulty data), which frequently received a stamp of approval from an often-poor judicial reasoning, itself supported by an impoverished constitutional jurisprudence.
Keywords: constitutional law, due process, substantive due process, criminal law
JEL Classification: K1, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation