The Emerging Criminal War on Sex Offenders
Corey Rayburn Yung
University of Kansas School of Law
August 16, 2009
Harvard Civil Rights: Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 45, p. 435, 2010
This article addresses four central questions. First, what is the difference between normal law enforcement policy and a “war” on crime? Second, assuming such a line can be discerned, has the enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (“AWA”) in combination with other sex offender laws triggered a transition to a criminal war on sex criminals? Third, if such a criminal war is emerging, what will be the likely effects of such a transition? Fourth, if such a criminal war is emerging with substantial negative consequences, how can it be stopped?
By reviewing America’s history of criminal wars, primarily the War on Drugs, the article identifies three essential characteristics of a criminal war: marshalling of resources, myth creation, and exception making. It concludes that the federalization of sex offender policy brought about by the AWA has turned what was conventional law enforcement into a nascent criminal war on sex crimes. This change can have repercussions as substantial as the drug war has had on American criminal justice and society.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: sex offenders, criminal justice, war on drugs, war on crime, Adam Walsh, commerce clause, ex post facto clause, due process, confrontation clause
Date posted: August 18, 2009 ; Last revised: November 2, 2011