Listen to RM110: Disturbing Living Conditions in Mississippi
Listen to RM110: Disturbing Living Conditions in Mississippi
Recording live from FYP Studios transmitted across the internet. This is Episode 110 of registering matters. Larry, Larry, Larry, how are you?
Oh, I’m all tired out.
Wait, are you tired? Did you like, why are you tired?
Because I was on the road for the last three days away from my humble abode.
“Humble abode.” Did you drive or fly?
Are your arms tired? I couldn’t resist.
I flew with my shower head.
I was just going to ask you so even for just a couple day trip, do you still pack like the plunger and the pillows and the fan and the air mattress? Do you still carry all that shit?
Well, you’d never carry a plunger on the airplane. They would probably say that shape is being a little strange. So, I don’t hear that, but do I do carry the showerhead and the wrench to remove it that that’s just a standard standing item at the luggage. So yes, I carry that and the pillow standard very soft towels because you know for me my skin is very thin on my hands and fingers and usually what’s in hotel would be about the same as sandpaper. Number 40 grit sandpaper would feel to say to my skin it would.
Yeah well, they like you know you’re staying in like the motel six they’re not known for having a you know like the most precious of toiletries and things.
We were staying at the Marriott and it was, it still feels like sandpaper to my fingers and my hands.
So, you have like your full-length terry cloth robe and do you have a handler that carries all your stuff for you?
No, we do it ourselves.
Would y’all do it? So where were you traveling to? You went to Houston for…?
So well, the National Association for Rational Sexual Fffense Laws and the nonprofit foundation, Vivante, we have a joint board meeting since the foundation is the arm that does the work, that’s the nonprofit arm where we channel the legal efforts and legislative efforts directly through the foundation. So, we bring the boards together to try to do a year’s worth of planning over basically a day and a half. We start Friday afternoon and work through Sunday at noon. So, we did a pretty intense, we like go like 12 hours on Saturday with breaks of course but yeah, it’s jam packed with a lot of work, a lot of slides to look at, a lot of discussion. And then we make decisions that sometimes they don’t get fully executed because a lack of human resources, but we try to come up with an annual plan.
Okay, and can you I’ve actually always personally wondered this. When I started following things. NARSOL was just a 501(c)(3), and then Vivante showed up, and why are there two things? And what’s the difference?
Well, the (c) is like an educational without tax deductibility that the entity itself doesn’t pay taxes, but the donor, the donor does pay the taxes on the money they donate. So, the more attractive vehicle is the (c)(3) designation under the Internal Revenue Code. And then they’re limitations on what (c)(3)s can do. And particularly in the area of lobbying, there’s a lot of discussion and disagreement about what constitutes as lobbying. But what we do doesn’t even come close ‘cause we don’t do any real direct lobbying at NARSOL. We do education and we do litigation, much like the ACLU Foundation. We just named it differently because at the time we created the foundation, their name was Reform Sex Offender Laws not NARSOL. The RSOL was a name that caused a lot of consternation in political circles.
Fair enough. Yeah. I mean, you know, having something that just, you know, takes you away from that, that you don’t mind having some sort of letterhead come up to your house that says Vivante. “Alicia, I know you’re supporting us people.”
Yeah that way no one has a clue what it is. And they’d have to at least Google to figure out what the Vivante foundation is and we just recently are in the process of launching a Vivante website. I don’t know if it’s up and running yet, but it’d be easier to find out about Vivante once the website goes live if it has not.
It’s been there, like for all of time, but I don’t know that anybody has spent any time focusing on it.
Well, it’s being built out now with a professional.
Outstanding, you gotta love some professionals Do you have any important takeaways from your little retreat? Anything worth sharing that you can share?
Well, the takeaway is always very similar as we were overly ambitious about what we hope to be able to achieve, and we don’t find the human resources, the financial resources are improving, but maybe they’re not anywhere near where they need to be. But there’s only so much you can do without human resources. So, we don’t have enough financial resources to hire people. If we did start hiring people, we would, we would go broke very quickly. So, we used the financial resources for other reasons, including seed money for litigation. So, we don’t have people that you can hold us accountable volunteers or, or just that they’re volunteers and it’s hard to hold volunteers accountable for what they commit to doing. They don’t do it.
Well, hang on, I got to bring this up, then. If you would take less salary than they would have more money to focus on other things. That’s just true.
Well, if anybody drew salary, that would be true, but no one does
No one does? No one in NARSOL draws a salary?
No one draws a salary. The only person that draws the salary is the person who, who, who does the data entry. The most consistent job that we need done is processing of transactions if you don’t process transactions for newsletter subscriptions and donations, there’s hardly any reason to ask people to donate so that that one person works part time 12 hours a week or so. That’s the only person that gets paid
And not to like, you know, release all that but he’s like minimum wage-ish. I mean, it’s just clerical.
Little above minimum wage, but yeah, very low. Our minimum wage is a little higher, he works here in my office, but that person, that person earns very low wages for going to work.
Do you manage him with what is the name of that whip that Sally, what’s the name of the whip that they use in Mississippi?
I don’t remember that one.
Oh, come on. We just talked about it.
I know but I don’t remember. I don’t remember.
Well, man, we’re gonna cover it in a minute, just remember this. So, tag this in your brain when we come back to this segment. And so, Larry manages the person doing the data entry stuff with the whip that we’re going to talk about in a few minutes.
You ready to move on and cover some articles real quick?
Yeah, looks like they’re over in Mississippi.
It’s just about we got three articles to talk about some really, I mean, deplorable. These are atrocious, horrible conditions in Mississippi at this one particular place, and I can’t imagine that any of them are all that great. Go find the articles in the show notes. And you can see pictures that you know, obviously, these are from contraband cell phones, but because of these conditions, there have been the staff is quitting left and right because you can’t pay people 10 bucks an hour to go into a war zone. And the inmates, it’s like complete gang warfare and they’re controlling pretty much everything in the prison. They’re controlling all the contraband that controlling the drugs. They’re controlling bed mats, and there’s mold in the showers is even a picture somewhere along the way of some rats hanging out on a rat trapper. Maybe they’re eating the lunch tray or something. How do we get our people? And I mean, our people as in our humans are residents of the United States. How do we get them into these conditions?
Well, this is very tragic to me. I had not lived in New Mexico at the time with the infamous 1980 riot. But I’ve came shortly after what the what the Attorney General’s that they held investigative reports for and the things that contributed to that riot are exactly what you see, in this, this series of stories here. If you look at the pictures of the people sleeping on floor mats, the gross overcrowding and you look at the deteriorated infrastructure, and you look at the lack of programming, just too much idle time and you look at inadequate food and adequate security to keep to the inmates safe. And you, you see exactly what the Attorney General’s report identified as the powder keg that kicked off the most violent uprising in U.S. prison history where 33 inmates were killed, I believe it was February 29th, 1980. and that’s what it’s already there’s already been deaths Mississippi, but this is what’s going to happen in their prison system. If they don’t take their responsibilities seriously to fund these prisons adequately. Folks in Mississippi, if you can’t afford the number of people you got locked up, there’s a solution. Don’t lock up so many people.
So, it was five, but we were trying to find the number earlier it’s five people and the whip is named Black Annie.
Black Annie, yes. But if you can’t afford to run your presence in a safe, humane manner, then you need to let some people out. Stop putting so many people in. But when you put a person in the care of the state, and you deprive them of anything means of doing anything for themselves. it’s incumbent upon us as a society to keep these people adequately fed to keep these people adequate medical needs attended to, and to keep them safe. And if we can’t do that, we need to let them go. I mean, it’s really that simple. If we can’t afford to do those basic things, we need to turn these people loose. Because they were no longer responsible.
There’s some threshold in there, though, that has to be met, like, you know, you start obviously cutting off from the bottom of who gets locked up. But, you know, if you if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. I mean, doesn’t isn’t that where this goes also?
Well, it’s not a question of doing the time it is. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have to do time. I’m saying if we’re going to have people do time, we have to provide basics of human decency. We are incarcerating human beings and we’re depriving them of the opportunity to do anything. We’ve decided that they cannot be in society for very reasons and I’m not standing in judgment of how those decisions are made. But once we make that decision through our processes, then it’s incumbent upon us to do the things that we will no longer allow them to do for themselves.
And one of those is keeping them safe.
That is correct. And keeping them close and keeping them fed at a minimal standard. We can’t let people starve to death in prisons and we can’t let people be shanked to death in prison, because we can’t afford security. And we can’t afford to have people will we, if we can’t afford to stop people from being eaten up by rodents, we have to do what we have to let the people go. Running a prison system keeping people’s medical needs, basic medical needs, a basic human need cared for cost money. And those are values and judgments we have to make as a society. Is that worth whatever Mississippi spends, which will be on the low side they run they run a lot of labor in prisons of Mississippi, they try to keep their costs down. But if it’s not worth $28,000 a year to keep that person in prison. Don’t send them to prison. Find an alternate that’s less expensive. But if you’re going to lock them up and deprive them of any ability to take care of themselves, both their medical care and their food and their safety, then you have to do it.
Something that, that I was reading just before it-
Doesn’t seem that complicated, does it?
No, it doesn’t sound that complicated at all. Something that I was thinking about just before, before you returned from your, from your gallivanting across the globe, is the comparison of prison and just locking people up for everything. Versus that we have the emergency room system that like, Oh my god, you have a really traumatic injury, a car accident, whatever, like that’s why you go to the emergency room, but people go to the emergency room for all sorts of other things like hangnail, or you know, just they get sick on Sunday night, and so they go to the emergency room, even though they may just need to get some Milk of Magnesia or Tums or something. It’s the most inefficient method of handling things because they’re there they’re scaled up to handle a bus crash, for example. And this is not the way to handle all of the people. But that’s what we’ve decided to do is all of these other things besides just people being in prison for committing crimes, but we’ve made so many other things like, I’m sure there’s diversion tactics. There are other things that we could do with people instead of sending them to these really terrible places.
Well, well, you’re correct. I mean, the level of crimes when I say level the severity of crime, so we’ll put you in a in an American president, particular Southern American president in the southern part of the United States. It takes a lot less to put you in prison in Mississippi or Louisiana than it does in Vermont, because they look at alternatives. And if you look at the incarceration rates, you’ll see that they’re that they’re significantly lower, and Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and the more Progressive Alliance states, but not only do they take a different approach to that the Southern states tend to be very harsh on vagrancy and the things that the minor crimes that people who are without financial resources commit and so you end up with a repeat offender who’s done minor level shoplifting are pulled out there. You go in public because they couldn’t, they couldn’t find a public restroom. I mean, it may come as a surprise to people who are who are who are not in the homeless or unsheltered population, as they call it. Now, that finding public restroom facilities can be extremely difficult. Most businesses do not want their facilities open. You could go to go to go to business here that are in an area where there’s a lot of unsheltered and they won’t release a key they have the restrooms locked and they won’t release the key unless you’re a customer. I mean, I look reasonably normal. And there’s a taco bell not too far from here. And they walked in and said Can I have the restaurant key before order, and they said you have to buy something first. So, I’m a regular here. And they said, we’ll have to buy something first. And I said, Well, you’re not understanding. I’m not going to buy something and take it to the bathroom. Can I get the key please? And I’m going to come back and buy something and finally they relented and gave me the key. But those type of things will end you have you end up in prison, because you can’t find a place to go the bathroom.
So, then you just gotta let it go, man right there on the floor. They would appreciate that.
Well, it you but there’s also there’s also minor crimes associated with big homeless things. You’ll trespass as a homeless person because you’re looking for a place to go. “This looks really cool, I think I’ll go here”, and you’re told to go away and then you come back again, because it looks pretty cool. That’s the safest place you found. And you come back again. And you get arrested for trespassing because the police have given you a warning.
But Larry displays just had gone out and gotten a job and pulled yourself up by your bootstraps you wouldn’t be homeless.
Well, that’s one way of looking at it, but you have these minor offenses in particular in the south, you’ll they’ll have they’ll have laws in addition to that they’ll have laws about panhandling. Now our ACLU in this state is very aggressive about challenges those is a violation of free speech. And they’ve been quite successful. So, the city here has had very, very little success with panhandling, but you go to a lot of places, they’ll get you for panhandling, you they’ll say that you’re too close to the flow of traffic. And that you’re creating a public safety hazard. And they’ll cite you or arrest you for panhandling. So, you have that segment of the correctional population. Then you have the segment of people who were once institutionalized who, for various degrees of mental illness can’t conform to society’s expectations and they’ll do some minor crime and they’ll be taken to a jail setting or in years past that have been taken to an institutional setting. So, the jails have become a dumping ground of, of problems for the management of jails. What I mean, I don’t envy their position I think I could do a better job of it. But it’s tough managing a correctional facility it really is because of so much that you’re dealing with that you didn’t deal with 30 years ago.
Right and of course also that you are severely tied on how much resources you I have mean, you can’t you’re not in control of what the pay is. And then your whole staff quits because they’re getting paid minimum wage and they’re not going to go into a war zone for minimum wage.
It’s tough but Mississippi particular parts but just what one of these articles was the institution One of these was about a previous shot they’ll take close, but it is not that that prison is apparently a powder keg waiting to explode.
Alright, then let’s move over to you know, like this is our, I don’t even have a word for this tonight.
This article is out of the Washington Post. It says ex officer accused of shoving prisoner faces federal charges. And what appears to have happened is the person that was getting booked was being very disrespectful. And that caused the officer to lose his temper. And he assaulted the person being booked. I guess he was he was past being booked. But so, so he was being he’s being charged. And there’s a there’s a particularly interesting thing there at the end that I wanted you wanted to get your opinion about where he says his attorney says that he hopes that the officers put this behind him and focus on a new career and his family. And now that sounds like a very stark contrast to how they how people talk about our people or just criminal justice folks in general.
Well, I mean, that’s exactly what an attorney would say about their client, even if it was one of our people. But the reality is, they don’t allow our people to put anything behind him. And I only wish that this officer prior to him being on the wrong side of the law. I only wish this officer when he arrested people, he would have said, and we hope that this person if they’re found guilty because they are presumed innocent. But once this person goes through the justice system, that they will be able to put this behind them, whatever this is, something tells me that I doubt that, that, that this officer, former officer, was whole lot worried about people being able to put anything behind them. And that’s what troubles me a lot.
We don’t run into that very often
about the hypocrisy of police officers. You know, I think I was on the soapbox a week or two ago about the about the hypocrisy of when an officer gets arrested, they are they’re very adamantly about saying, Well, you’ve just heard a little sliver of the story. And we went, what you just wait to the whole story comes out, you know, don’t jump to any conclusions. They’re quick to say that, and that’s fine. That’s exactly what they should say. And that’s what I would second them saying, but they never say that when it’s the other way around. When they’ve put the handcuffs on someone and done the perp walk, they don’t say, and we’ve put them watch them into custody, but they are presumed innocent. And that presumption should follow them through the duration of these proceedings. I have yet to hear and I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see that said. And then the other thing that they will never do is I think I said this an episode or two back as well, what they’ll never do. On the officer side, they will say, when we have a bad when there’s a bad officer that does something, they say well don’t judge us by one officer. That is just one officer who messed up and 99 plus percent of us are doing a great job. And I agree with that. I don’t know what the percentages, but I agree that the officers are doing a lot of them are doing very fine work. But I wish they would apply that same principle to when they’re guarding people in a correctional facility. I can guarantee you that 90% of the inmates are not putting stuff up their records. Trying to smuggle contraband in the present, I’ll guarantee that 90% of the people are not trying to fake sick call to get high. And I wish that they would treat those who do put stuff up direct, they would actually violate them for breaking prison rules. And I wish they would still let people have their holiday greeting cards. And I wish they would not treat everybody as if they were all the same. Because I’m in on their doctrine, I believe that you shouldn’t treat all people the same. And assume the worst just because there are one or two bad ones. But I wish you’d flip that over and do it the same way in the other direction.
I assume that that is something to the effect of just like, you don’t have people trained, like you just it keeps scaling itself down to lower common denominator where everyone like we just can’t trust anybody. No one can do anything. Lock everybody down, and then we don’t have to think about it anymore. And now it’s easy. I think that’s what that has to be.
but that would be the same thing for us we can’t figure out who the bad officers are. So, we just have to treat them all as bad officers, right?
I agree with you yet again. So yeah, so I don’t trust anybody with the little cop car lights on their cars. I don’t trust any of them
because they have demonstrated that they are quick to deploy tasers. They’re quick to, to just stick people with things that they shouldn’t. And therefore, if you’re wearing the badge, we should assume the worst. Of course not. But people get arrested and put in correctional facilities. Sometimes it’s the wrong identity. Sometimes it’s for nothing more than failure to make a payment on something that the person intended to pay but didn’t and there’s a bench warrant and they got taken into custody. I promise you they’re not running around with a baggy up their rectum! They weren’t planning on getting arrested.
All right. Have you come off your soapbox yet?
so, but I wished I wish the cops would merely extend that same courtesy, that they’re asking for themselves and say that No, they’re not all doing this. And let’s try to find the ones who are. And let’s not destroy the whole house for every for everyone because there’s a few bad apples here in the prison. Let’s put those people in isolation. Let’s strip search them. Let’s restrict their privileges. And let’s treat them like bad inmates. And let’s continue to let other people have contact visits. And let’s continue to let the people who are not doing these things. Let’s treat them like human beings.
A quick little detour. I posted something on Twitter this week about hypocrisy and
HYpocrisy I like that.
And someone fired back at me it was something to the effect of, Oh, I see. You’re doing something about the registry. Well, if you didn’t commit your crime, blah, blah. I was like, okay, but I was really mostly referring to this kind of conversation about hypocrisy, just kind of in general that I try super hard. To not be it is impossible to not be hypocritical about something. But I try super hard because it’s a check on me if I’m going to say we shouldn’t judge all of our people this way then we shouldn’t judge all of those people that way. But at least in that context, I don’t want to get shot. So, I think I’m remotely justified in not trusting the people with the guns because it’s easier to get shot with a gun than without one. It’s really hard if there’s no gun present to get shot by one.
That would be true. And I guess I would say, didn’t respond to a long well written email from a listener from South Georgia that he, he responded to. I didn’t think that the punishment fit the crime for the officer. And he’s entitled to his opinion that that the punishment should have been more severe. But that’s the part of the intellectual honesty that I tried to try to adhere to, is that if we want individualize sentencing and if we want people to be punished proportionate to their life, and their one mistake, he’s he makes a valid point that that that officers wearing the badge are held to a higher standard. And that is absolutely true, but they’re not held to such a super high standard that they get life in prison when someone else would get probation. And that was a pretty harsh sentence. And I don’t remember the details of what it was.
But that was the one that made the girls walk around naked.
Yeah. So, it was like a it was like a 10-year sentence or something. It was it was it was not exactly a slap on the wrist. And I thought it was on the harsh side. And so yes, I do believe that. But holding them accountable doesn’t necessarily mean the harshest punishment you could possibly imagine.
max sentences for everybody. Just
that’s the Trump administration. But I don’t agree with that.
Hey, Larry, can you tell me about five cases or at least the ones that you know about the cases that are going on that could significantly reform Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registry, this article comes from the appeal and is written by Joshua Vaughn. He is actually a friend of the movement in general and he actually attended the Ohio conference. So, if you have the opportunity to follow the individual on the social medias, it would be he’s a worthwhile person to follow with criminal justice topics. What’s going on in Pennsylvania?
Well, the Pennsylvania comes up regular on the podcast, we talked about the attempt of the legislature to we roll back the clock 2011 they passed their version of the Adam Walsh Act to come into federal compliance. They don’t want to lose that precious federal funding. And, and they went beyond what was required to be compliant. But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately decided that, that they couldn’t do what they’re doing retroactively. At. So therefore, the question arose, what do they do to respond to the Munez decision, that was the name of the case. They reenacted largely the registry the court had held to be unconstitutional. So that that’s, that’s one of the cases and then there’s another one on civil commitment and I don’t know how to explain all five of them. But this this revolves around bribery, the biggest segment of the people that are going to be the ones who would have gotten relief from the Munez decision except the legislature reenacted what they considered a scaled-down version, but they still put the internet notification, the internet publication now that that component of the registry is back for the state’s highest court again, in terms of whether that violates the Constitution, and the Attorney General was crying. This is law enforcement apparatus you hear me speak about the Attorney General’s is crying the blues about how this is going to compromise public safety. But when push came to shove, they weren’t able to cite anything that supported that position.
This seems to be pretty common that the other than one example from Michigan which is cited in this article, where I think all of the time I guess not the but he’s Philadelphia, Larry Krasner and a handful of other progressive DAs, but they always make carve outs for us peoples. And they say that it is in the interest of public safety. Yet, there’s a pretty big mountain of evidence that says that this doesn’t change anything. So, what is the point
That it satisfies the public? That’s the point
is, how is it that the public is so misinformed about how bad us people are?
Well, you know, I think I’ll probably offend people. If I said, What I truly feel I think, are our wireless are not a part of that public service. They’re listening to be better informed, and I think, to even to know about the podcast, they’re better informed than the average person but they, the average citizen, in my opinion, that doesn’t do a lot of doesn’t exert a lot of effort to be informed on current events. To be informed about. The information is more accessible now. You and I had a conversation last week about what we would have had to have done to research something
I was just gonna bring that up, actually,
yeah, yeah. And now you just clicked your mouse and your keys that you’ve got the information that I would have had to drive into the library for 25, 30 years ago, not even 30 years ago, 20 years ago, when Al Gore invented the internet, if you unless you’re one of those lucky ones that had AOL for 10 hours a month for. Ha ha
whatever it was, 1999
That’s awesome. Yes. I hadn’t thought about that in decades.
But this is, this is a this is a battle that I don’t see ending anytime soon because the court has not halted the enforcement of the registry even having declared it to be invalid. They gave the legislature an opportunity to come up with a registration scheme that would fit within the contours of the Constitution and the legislator went out of their way to reenact as much as they could. And it looks like by all accounts, that they went beyond what’s going to fall within the contours of the Constitution. So, but the legislature is not going to stop legislating the courts can’t require them to stop legislation legislating. It wouldn’t surprise me. If they try it one more time. If the Supreme Court says, Well, your, your second version still violates the Constitution. I don’t think they’re going to throw up their hands and say, Well, I guess that’s it, folks. I don’t think they’re going to do that. I think they’re going to come back. And I think they’re going to try again; they may come closer getting it right the third time. But I think that, that they will legislate a new version of registration. And they may have to turn the lights out on it to meet the requirements for it to be constitutional. They may and this would be a major step if they were to say that the mirror publication is punishment, if they were to affirm that, that that that One challenge of the five because then we’ll have something we can hang our hats on and say, See, we told you that the internet had evolved to the point to merely listing a person’s address and their information is punitive. So, I’m hoping that’s what they decide.
I really do stand by you know, it is a pain in the ass and it is a stressful situation to go to the, the place annually or quarterly, whatever your situation is, and go get booked, fingerprinted, and you know all of that it is a very stressful day. But that compared to the internet piece where someone can just type in your name and roughly your location and you pop up. I personally feel that that is significantly worse. And that is the biggest barrier that we people have to living some modicum of normal life.
So, well. I know that I know that your safety factor would go up if you weren’t on the internet because then you wouldn’t have the people out, the vigilantes out, or that are looking to do you harm physically or to do you harm in terms of reputation, to create problems because they wouldn’t be able to pay for your neighborhood plaster your neighborhood with flyers. And go door-to-door
there would be that barrier, you know, your employers are still going to do some background check, but they’re paying for that there’s some sort of barrier that they have to just go randomly. do a background check on somebody, your neighbors are most likely not going to do it unless you have some, you know, busybody yenta, that wants to pay all the money to get a background check done. One other thing, if you don’t mind. Do we need to cover that this is a democratic Attorney General?
I don’t see any harm in mentioning it.
That made bashing team red on these things, aren’t we?
So yes, this. This is this is an attorney general who’s doing what Attorney General’s do which is defend the laws of the state, or the nation chase the US Attorney General, but that’s what they do. Very seldom, one in Michigan admitted that, what was her name Dana Nestle, she admitted right now the registry had evolved to no longer serve non punitive purpose and intent. But that is a rarity. That is definitely rare.
To quote here simply put Nestle said “in a state with the state sex offender registration Act has gone far beyond its purpose and now poses burdens that are so punitive in their effect that they negate the state’s public safety justification.” End of quote.
Perfect. All right, and here you go again, with some tech dirt mumbo jumbo Fourth Amendment Fifth Amendment compelled speech stuff. Why do you want to keep peppering me with these articles and taunt me with them?
Because I love this. I love this developing case law this is this is just so fantastic that this issue is being examined by courts across the land that is so illustrates how rational minds can disagree.
This is an Another case where someone in this particular case someone was drunk driving and when law enforcement sought to compel the suspect to unlock his phone so they could search for evidence. The person declined saying Fifth Amendment and so can you can you state your case as to why you think that this should be open to a search warrant?
No state my position why ’cause I’m not sure my position is clear about what is it you’re asking?
So, you know, we were talking about a pre-show, like why do you think that? Well, why do you think either way, take your pick? Why should you be forced open your phone if asked to testify to give up your password or why do you think that it should be a sanctuary?
The phone is not you. And therefore, the Constitution protects in terms of the Fifth Amendment, that’s the against self-incrimination. So therefore, therefore, we merely opening your phone does not provide any testimony. It’s not able to provide testimony. I mean, it could provide evidence, but it doesn’t testify. It may be a source of incriminating evidence that’s on your phone. But it is not a person. And therefore, the Constitution. If you look at it literally and which I know our audience is all in favor of that strict interpretation, Constitution, the phone would not enjoy the protection of because opening that phone and punch it in four digits is not testifying. It would be the same as the cops come in with a warrant and say we’re going to search your house would you like to give us the key or would you like to us to use the battering ram. I mean, they’re going to come in and they may find incriminating stuff in your house. But merely opening the phone is not testimonial, but then you have the issue of when they can the court are pretty solidly saying in order to require, to gain access to the content of the phone, you need a warrant to search the phone. So, so wait. So we have two issues that play regarding phones, we’ve got to get in the phone, by virtue of a call sufficient to justify a warrant, because barely the incident to a lawful arrest doctrine when you when you get arrested your car they that they the incident to arrest they can search the car in your purse. But the phone, the U.S. Supreme Court held a few years ago that that your phone in order to be searched was an exception to the incident to a lawful arrest. So therefore, they needed they needed a warrant to search the phone. But this about providing passwords is centered on the argument of whether it’s testimonial or not and I don’t see how you can say that providing your password is testimonial.
how about so let’s say that they do get a warrant to search your house doesn’t that have to be tailored around a specific thing so they’re looking for, they’re looking for something to support some evidence behind you committing a crime against a minor, you know, something that is related to our people. But while they’re searching your house, they find, you know, some, like they find an arsenal of weapons, like that wasn’t part of the search warrant and not related to the case. Not necessarily legal that you have them or illegal. I’m not trying to go down that path, but they find something illegal, you know, maybe even like drugs, but that wasn’t part of the search warrant. So correct. Doesn’t that get tied into the phone thing? Okay, so I’ve given your past giving you my password to get into my phone. But now you start trolling through all of my other things, bank records, and all these things are not related to all this other stuff. So, doesn’t that tie into the same thing like the search warrant should be tailored to the evidence needed to you know, to develop the case?
You’re absolutely correct. When you when you when you see what a search warrant is a sort of valid search warrants identifies with specificity, the premises to be searched. So, they’ll describe the address. And if it’s a, if it’s a multi-family dwelling, they’ll describe the unit in the multifamily dwelling it at the specificity and then the probable cause that supports the search, and they’ll describe what it is they’re looking for. They’ll say, based on officers’ years of training and experience, that people who do this are likely to have this. So, they’re looking for that for those items. Well, now, when you’re looking for items, you may when you’re coming into porn would be an example that people are on our list would be on our podcast will be able to relate to, well, if they come in the house and they find weapons and they find drugs. Those are not exempt from there. They can’t close their eyes and say we don’t see this. So, the probable cause That that supported the search warrant was the porn because the internet crimes against children Task Force through the what is that organization that reports everything, everybody to the text transmission of images that they that the reports are?
Yes, yes. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children?
and what else they got it they tipped that they based on that tip, they got the IP address, and they did the search warrant, and they come looking for porn. But if they find three weapons in your house, and they already know that you’re a convicted felon, that you’re not allowed to possess weapons, well, they’ve already found a violation of the law. And if they find what appears to be drugs, you don’t get to have a free field day on that what they would do is that they would secure those items and they would go get another warrant.
Yeah but they found them with like, you know, as part of not the premise of the original warrant.
That is correct.
Doesn’t that make it not admissible in court for because you found it unlawfully?
No because they were on lawful business, personal search. And they what they would do is they would secure; they would secure you anyway if they were doing a search warrant so they’d make sure you couldn’t interfere. But if they found the dope, they saw what it looked like dope, they would go back and they would write up another statement of probable cause they would say, that when entering the back bedroom, we found three baggies that were plastic, and there was a white substance in it, and there was a scale sitting beside it. And based on our training and experience, we believe that that that is contraband, they would go back and they would be given another search warrant to seize that and they would seize that they would test it and they would come back and they would have another charge on you is what they would do. So.
Ah, all right. I’m also intrigued though, because I use fingerprint unlock for a lot of things like The bank stuff I use or even the password manager I use so now they would have to you know, I guess they could always do the override to get it to the things to use the password but God they would cost me like hey can you unlock this thing and like constantly getting my fingerprint to unlock this there that the next thing the next thing. Charles says never cook on a hot plate in the back bedroom. That sounds like that’s a decent idea.
Well, why would you not want to cook on a hot plate in the back bedroom?
Because I think maybe you could be cooking up dope.
Or you could be cooking up something good too.
Yeah, I guess you could be cooking up a pocket or something. You know, you get your ramen soups and all the Cheetos and stuff to go in it right? Well, I’m very disappointed that you didn’t use your little expression, but I won’t force you to.
This is a family program.
Okay. I did post it in chat and nobody. Nobody took the bait. Alright, well, alright, so I guess that was the other thing we have to cover about voters being stripped of their voting rights from the Star Tribune. You sent this to me earlier today. Minnesota voters being stripped of their voting rights. Do you want to skip it Since you didn’t read it either?
Well, I glanced at it. I did. I did a Larry read.
Unknown Speaker 42:09
Oh, a Larry read all right.
Why is it that we take people it seems like we would want more people to vote we have a very problem, big problem in the United States with civic engagement. The presidential election, as far as I know, gets something of one third of the People’s vote. And that seems to be pretty dismal that we are supposed to be representative democracy that we would want as many people involved in the voting process as possible.
That’s one philosophy. But that’s not a universal philosophy. There are people who believe strongly that people are already voting that are not competent enough to vote, that they should own property to vote. Neil Bortz, who was a famous talk show host, I think he’s largely retired now he believed that you should be a net taxpayer before you’d be able to vote. He said a net tax consumer would have every interest to vote adverse to the public interest. So that’s one way of looking at it. But, but it’s not a universal viewpoint that we would want more and more people about. We would want more and more people to vote that are going to vote the way we would like them to vote. And that’s like less like, when you’re picking a jury. Passion, I get a kick out of this. We all say we want a fair jury. Nobody wants a fair jury.
You want one that’s going to acquit you.
That’s well, either side. If you’re a prosecutor, yes, you’re looking for a jury that’s going to see it your way. And you’re trying to get rid of people who might be an impediment to that. And if you’re a defense attorney, we’re looking to exclude people that that are not going to see it our way because we have a theory of the case that we’re trying to find the best possible jurors that might buy into our case theory. So, nobody wants a fair jury. Well, that’s the same thing about voting people, people. People want to expand the voter the pool of voters that will help their side of the election. The republican conservatives, they want to shrink the number of voters who they feel would be detrimental, and some of them will be honest enough to say it. And, and they, they, they want to shrink the voting. And there are people on the Democratic side who they zero in on what they believe would be a majority democratic constituency. And I said we need to get these people registered to vote. And so, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of normal.
Hmm, Okay, because, you know, it has come up here. So, there’s only like, there’s it’s in the single digits of states that have, like some long term if not permanent, is it permanent still?
Yeah, yeah, there’s a few that have, but says, Minnesota is one of 18 states where felons may not vote until they complete post incarceration supervision, such as probation and parole. Others like Michigan, Indiana automatically restore the rights upon release from prison. And that’s where I’d like to see our state go, but we’re not going to be able to get there in the next year or two.
I think it’s only like a Single digit if not maybe like 12 that you are just forever barred that everyone can get back.
Yeah you there’s either an automatic restoration when you complete all obligation or you can file some minimal something there’s there are a few states where you have to get an executive clemency and there are some where I don’t think you can do it period. But it’s the movement it’s towards getting people re-enfranchised. So that’s a good thing. Because I don’t have that fear. I have been around enough people with criminal records, and they don’t automatically vote one way or the other. They, so, so I think it’s gonna be a wash. I think I think if anything, it’s going to lean toward the conservative side. But it is going to be a wash either people are going to vote conservative, you’ll have some offset from the minority community, we have black people tend to vote to vote, more democratic, but that’s going to be offset by the white votes, which they make up the majority of felons. So, I’m not so sure that we’re going to have this mass massive number of people New Democrat voters as Rush Limbaugh likes to refer to.
tell me why that bothers you so bad?
Cause it’s not for the the party.
It’s not Democrat?
and he does it just to ruffle your feathers. Right?
Well, well it doesn’t do it to bind it was it was it was George W. Bush was the first one to use that. And it was like the drive-by heat coined drive-by media phrase and the democrat party and then Russia’s adopted it and has done it for and a lot of talk show hosts the conservative side to it but rush rush is the bigot because he has the largest audience and that he’ll never say Democratic Party. So, if I if I ever had the luck of getting on his show, I would do the same thing to the Republican Party. I’d mispronounce it, I call it the Republican Party.
Okay, now before we lose all of our listeners, we should probably move on. Are you ready for…?
Well if they can’t pronounce the party correctly, why should I?
I don’t disagree with other than the fact that he has 15 million weekly listeners maybe and we have less than, slightly.
Well we have definitely less but we’re catching up.
We are catching up. If he if he keeps getting on the pain pills, then maybe we can catch up for sure. Ready to be a part of registry matters. Get links at registrymatters.co. If you need to be all discreet about it, contact them by email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call or text a ransom message to (747)227-4477. Wanna support registry matters on a monthly basis? Head to patreon.com/registry matters. Not ready to become a patron? Give a five-star review at Apple podcasts or Stitcher or tell your buddies at your treatment class about the podcast. We want to send out a big heartfelt support for those on the registry. Keep fighting. Without you, we can’t succeed. You make it possible. Okay, I had a conversation with someone near and dear to me this week and they are interested about getting involved in advocacy work, and I couldn’t really think of anybody better on the planet than to ask you. Now I need you to, for my sake, I need you to dumb this way down to where what would I do? steps one, two and three Can I don’t know. And can we make this super easy and super dumbed-down again for me? Because what would we do first? Do we run to the legislature and say you need to abolish the registry right off the bat?
Well, when you say advocacy, it’d be helpful to know what level because we’re doing it at city and county levels a little different doing it at state and particular federal level where I have very little experience at the federal level.
I don’t but we often say here there is no federal registry. So, we’re not going to strike down the federal registry because that doesn’t exist. Perhaps striking down AWA and Megan’s Law would improve things. But that wouldn’t abolish the 50 state registries, and then you just brought up about little local ordinances. So, I think most of us have to deal with state level things. So, can you drive it from the state level?
Well, if we were serious about this advocacy, we’d probably do a segment for the next year each episode about building advocacy.
Yep, that’s my plan.
Because it’s not something that’s like those. It’s like those people who do those rings on the on the gymnastic. And what they call the pommel horse, all the stuff, they don’t just do it. They don’t just do a 10-minute training on a podcast and learn how to do all that. So, I will not be able to put decades of experience into a five- or 10-minute answer here about some basic stuff but to Really make it basic. It’s relationships and getting to know the people who represent, and you got you got you got to have a relationship. If you’re really going to be influential you got to have. Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t count at all as a constituent. If you just simply pick up the phone and call your state legislator or senator or representative and express your opinion. But most people when they do that, they have no idea what they’re calling about. And they have no idea that, that they’ll say well make things make things better on criminal justice, and they’re looking for a bill number. So, they said, well, there’s a piece of legislation you want me to support or oppose. And of course, I have no idea. And I said, well, they’ll say just make things better. So, you, you’re going to have to spend some time studying what it is you’re wanting to do and set some goals for yourself. Do you want to it’s hard to tell you were to start, but I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish? What the mission is.
but what about Is it Is it good to know who your local person is? Is that important?
Absolutely it’s important if you if you have any idea that your that your state allows for local, there’s some states where that’s not a real big problem, because either the courts have said that that’s a state registry preempts all local control. Therefore, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about registration or proximity of those type of restrictions. Or in my state state were, my state law, we, we’ve said that they’re preempted. But there are a lot of states where there is no preemption. So, you have to be thinking about not only what the state might do, but what the city or county might do. If you live in Texas, or Florida, or I could go on and on, Louisiana, places where they… does Georgia have any locally imposed restrictions?
not as far as I’m aware.
But a lot of these states do so. So, if you’re, if you’re living in a city or county, you’ve got most commonly city councils, but they’re not always called councils they’re called Board of selectmen, they’re called Board of Aldermen. They’re, they’re called Board of Supervisors. You’ve got you’ve got whatever your local governing structure is, and you usually have a county except in the case of Louisiana, you have Parish, parish level ordinances. So, you’ve got, you’ve got the potential for things to come at you from several directions. And awareness is the first step. You can’t do anything if you’re not aware.
Okay, and so awareness of so someone’s going to go to the legislature and say, Hey, you big piece of poop? I need you to fix these things, because you schmuck-heads didn’t make things better for my people before? Is that the right approach to talk to your local legislator?
Probably won’t be very successful if you use that approach.
So, I realized that the thing that you’re saying about relationships is being respectful and dressed appropriately you know, and but what about committees and I think this will be like the last thing that we cover before we move on. How do you know what committee is in charge of What thing?
Well, how you how you know is by using the legislative website, which we wouldn’t have had 25 years ago. We would have had to drive to the Capitol and would have got a printed-up bill-finder to see they printed a daily document the bill locator overnight, and it was ready for pickup each day. And you would look to see where each bill was in committee. Well now you click your mouse from the comfort of your home, and you watch your watch the legislation and see, but there’s no point to do that if you don’t have a plan. I mean, I’ve always I get a chuckle when people say we’re tracking it and I say okay, you’re tracking legislation. And what is your plan if the legislation starts moving a direction you don’t like tracking it is a prelude it’s a necessary step. You can’t react if you’re not tracking. But do you have a plan of what you’re going to do if the legislation is moving, ‘cause one, legislation never moves, it gets introduced And it just sits there, because there’s too many things and too short of time and bills don’t get hearings and they die. But if a bill begins to move, what’s your plan? And they look at me and say, “well, we’re tracking.” but what is your plan, “well, we’re tracking.” That’s not a plan. I mean It’s a plan to watch it make it well, if you’re going to track it, watch it go the finish line. But if that bill gets set for hearing committee, and it gets heard, and has due-pass favorable recommendation. It’s well on its way to pass in that chamber. And then if it’s if it passes that chamber, that’s a leg up towards getting it introduced past the other chamber and getting to the governor. So, what is your plan? Well, the plan, the plan is what we need to be to focus on is when you approach a legislator, you need to have a wish list of what you’d like them to do. making things better is not a wish list. I’d like you to vote no against House Bill 60 when it comes before your committee, and here’s why, I’m going to give you three good reasons to vote no. Don’t give them my mind full research. Don’t tell them your life story. Give them three sound bites of why they should vote no more than three you can give them less if it’s a really good but no more than three sound bites of why they should vote no.
And one of the things that I think you are a master of Larry is the sound bites This is why I like you are perfect for this podcast because you can you can get your thought down to a very concise 30-ish something second kinda like, here’s this that why done I’m out. And it’s you’ve rehearsed these things; I assume that you already have more or less pre-determined answers to a lot of these things. When you’re when you’re going to go talk to somebody you have your elevator pitch, I guess is a to word it.
That is correct. Now, if I were if I were in, for example, like in Pennsylvania, and assume that I happened to be right. If it does go the way I expect it to go, the court rules in our favor and says that this is unconstitutional, and they start a third version. Then you need a couple soundbites. Well, I don’t know, the committee, I’m assuming if it’s a house bill sponsored by House members going to be House bill is going to be assigned to at least the House Judiciary Committee, possibly another committee or, you know, it may just it may just be one, or it may be two. But when it gets to the committee, you’re going to have to have some sound bites that’s going to appeal to those Pennsylvania still under republican control. So, you’re going to have to have something that that resonates with them. So, I would my sound bite would be, well, we spent an inordinate amount of money to defend that unconstitutional law twice. Why are we going to do this again?
So, kind of hit it from that point from Team Red, so to speak, that that we would hit them from on their side of things.
Well they claim to be guardians of the perps,
and they claim to be stewards of good and careful spending, and say, Look, we spent on these two cases, or there’s five right now, but on these two main challenges against the ex post facto imposition of these enhanced requirements. We’ve spent over a million dollars and legal fees now to a large prosperous state like Pennsylvania that’s not a gob of money, but it’s significant. And, and you certainly
I’m sure they could use it somewhere else.
I’m sure they could and say, Look, we don’t want to go down this rabbit hole again, let us work with you to come up with a constitutional registry. Because when you tell that person, those talking points about wasting money, they’re going to say, and so you want me to throw up my hands and quit? I’m not going to do that. They’re not going to do that. So, you say, Well, okay, well, then let’s work together to come up with something that the courts will accept, and that we will accept. Okay. Well, what will you accept when I come back? Well, well, therein lies the problems the problem. You just gave me if I were a lawmaker, you just told me that you would accept me and registered, and that you would Like it if they didn’t publish you. So, you get your precious registry. And you don’t do you don’t do the worldwide publication. It will stand down If you do that. That would be a position to take. Does that abolish the registry? No, no. But you’re not going to abolish the registry through court action. Because it would be possible to have a registry that could pass constitutional muster. Sorry.
I had to double-take. I was like, wait a minute, if we were going to that would be a place to get it done. But it is not going to get done because we register everything else. A registry is not the unconstitutional piece.
In and of itself isn’t. So therefore, for the court to say you can never have a registry, there would have to be no registry, that could ever be constitutional. And they can’t say that because registries are eminently constitutional. But they might say that you can never humiliate people with putting their address and their picture on the internet because It’s too devastating in a modern society to do that. So therefore, you could register all you want to, but you can’t list these people, we may get to that point. And that would be a fantastic victory, because then people would not be subject to vigilante justice, they wouldn’t be so easily discriminated against. And that would be a dramatic improvement from the status quo. But back to the talking points. Don’t go in with a life story. That’s what people are tempted to do. They know that if they go in and tell their story, that it’s going to be a tear-jerking episode, and that the lawmaker is going to want to do all they can, he or she, to help them. And it doesn’t work like that.
Can we can we sharpen that though, if it is me, going into the legislature saying these things, that is one avenue, but what about a family member, a spouse, a child, someone along those lines, what about them going and telling their tear-jerking story?
That is far more powerful. That is that is far more powerful. They won’t do it. But that would be far more Powerful if they did do it.
Can you can you imagine like a 10-year-old son or daughter going to the legislature saying look, I want my daddy to live with me but because of these stupid residency restrictions he can’t live at home where we’ve had a house for 40 years in the family. But because of this, we can’t live there.
That would be fantastic. An end to vigilantism would be even more fantastic.
we certainly don’t want people gunning getting gunned down just because they have their picture posted on the internet or mistakenly, because we’ve covered that too.
When I said vigilantism that’s what I was meaning to say. But that is as good point. Yeah, I fear vigilantism. But, but what I was what I was intended to say, was the ostracization that they feel when they can’t participate. Because families, their kids, peers won’t let them hang out because his dad is on the registry. And the soccer mom has looked up that person, you can’t go there. You can’t be near that person. And that would be very powerful that they would do that.
Right, because there’s that whole side of it. I was Yeah, I was thinking vigilantism is the case where we have people’s houses getting shot because their picture is on the internet, but because of all of the other restrictions where you know, you can’t be involved in your kid’s life. And that would be, I think that would be a place where the evidence comes into backup. Here’s the testimony saying that this is a really shitty way to have a child grow up without a parent because of these restrictions. Here’s the evidence to also confirm why it’s also a stupid thing to do, because it doesn’t make any sense and it doesn’t protect anybody.
They should have chosen different parents.
Okay, well, I will try to keep coming up with new angles to poke at you in this lobbying. I don’t know what the right word is being an advocate being a person that tries to push legislation in different directions. I will keep trying to come up with different topics to cover with you.
It would be a good series to do it.
All right, then to close the last little bit out, I wanted to ask you, because this comes up all the time too. So if, if, if not NARSOL, and whatever advocacy group this is, you know, if you want to if you want to fund your local animal shelter, and they’re trying to push some sort of legislation through, they have a very finite amount of resources, and they have to pick and choose what they’re going to go after and all that and I wanted to have a conversation with you about how do we pick the right avenue to go? How do we determine whether it’s good or bad? How do we pick which area to focus on and I mean physical areas like north south east west, which part of the country you know, and what are the consequences of us actually, then even trying to go after and change some of these laws?
Well, are you talking about in terms of legal challenges, because that that’s, that’s where I have the biggest role is in terms of our legal efforts?
Yes, absolutely. And so, I wrote down as a note so example, one of my first interactions with you was about the Georgia bill thingamabob, or the law were after two years of probation, you get unsupervised. And while we were interviewing attorneys, you were making trips over here and all the stuff that we’re going to visit people, then, you know, a bill gets introduced and an they ultimately swept the rug out from underneath us, and they changed the law.
So well, and we were looking at a legal challenge against that, to compel them to follow the law as it existed before it was changed. But when you have the very limited resources NARSOL has, which is a fraction of what the ACLU has a fraction of what these alphabet organizations you hear of.
the Southern Poverty Law Center is another one
or the NRA. I mean, we couldn’t even. But so, we have such a small pie compared to that. We’re all the organizations whether they Be the ACLU or the southern poverty law center there in what’s called impact litigation. And they’re looking for, for, for, for some cause that’s going to impact more than just an individual. You could have the greatest injustice in the world being done to you. But if it doesn’t have impact beyond you, you’re probably not going to have any interest whatsoever from an organization. If it’s the Freedom from Religion Foundation, they’re looking at having impact beyond you. They want the nativity scene that’s paid for by the taxpayers to come down off the town square. They’re not trying to get you your dispute with an individual church congregation where they told you not to come back. They’re not trying to resolve that. That’s about you. You see what I’m trying to say?
What about something like the Yeah, I do and what about something like the Georgia challenge what was, can you walk me through part of the decision process with the with the Halloween side and you I mean, we didn’t have any plaintiffs originally, you know. So, it was just sort of something that Larry pulled out of his hiney to go challenge in federal court.
Well, what we look out, there is probably be the best to lay out the types of cases, how we could get involved, we could get involved as the initiator of cases, which is what we did in Georgia, we initiated that case through finding attorneys, and finding plaintiffs. But that’s, that’s not always going to be the case and probably more often not going to be the case. what’s going to be more likely the case is going to be where there’s something already happening. And it’s up in an appellate level for review. And in those cases, where there’s an appeal, then we might come in as a friend of the court as an amicus party and try to affect the outcome because an amicus party, a friend of the court can get information and a brief that the parties to the action cannot. We’re given a little more leeway to give opinions and to bring to bring information to the court that the court might not have developed below. So, we might come in as an amicus party, but what we’re always looking for is impact. Is this going to impact a significant number of our constituency, if a favorable decision should ensue? And so, if we if we come in on a case that’s already underway, we didn’t get to pick any of the stuff. We didn’t get to pick the parties. We didn’t get to pick the attorneys, the trial court level, we didn’t get to have anything to do with how the case was set up, what evidence that should have been brought in. That wasn’t. All we know is that either we’re on the losing side. And we’re trying to reverse that or in the case of Millard v. Rankin in the tenth circuit We’re on the winning side, we joined and put an amicus brief because we want to preserve the victory that was awarded by the trial court below. So in those cases, Millard v. Rankin, and if that is upheld, that is going to have impact far and wide, because if the registry is unconstitutional because it violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause and that becomes the law in the 10th circuit, we’re talking about a number of states whose registries would have to be dramatically altered to remove the punitive nature of the cruel, unusual nature of those of those registration schemes.
That’s Colorado. Is that right?
Yeah, that’s Millard vs. Rankin, Allah, Colorado, which is before the tenth circuit still sitting there. So, so we didn’t, we didn’t have anything to do with the initiation of that case. I mean, that was Allison Rotberg, and that was that was her clients.
We just made sure it recently passed.
That is correct. So, but the common denominator is impact. And if it’s a case, we’re going to initiate, we’re going to try to look at the win-ability factor of it. In an ideal world where you just had unlimited resources, you wouldn’t have to take that into consideration. But our donor base is not going to be excited about us if we constantly initiate losing. I mean, there, there are a few people that would say, “Atta boy, I mean, she tried, and she really did her best.” But if you if you if you don’t win any cases, and particularly if you take those losing decisions up on appeal, those become precedential decisions. So, we’re looking at the win-ability of the case. So to determine win-ability, you’ve got to determine if there’s adverse precedent already in the challenge you want to make or if they’re supporting precedent already, and that requires a little bit of work to figure out if, like in the Fifth Circuit, you’d be foolish to continue to fight residence restrictions after the Fifth Circuit said of this and Lewisville, the case of Lewisville versus Duarte, that Richard Gladden took all the way to the Fifth Circuit. The law, that circuit is not very good in terms of all the challenges that have gone up in the Fifth Circuit. So, you so you’d look at the Fifth Circuit and say, gee, this is not a good place to be, because of the body of case law is not good here. And so therefore, although there’s some crappy stuff going on, and Louisiana is in the Fifth Circuit. If we were looking at anything in the Fifth Circuit, we would automatically we would automatically at NARSOL say if it’s residency or proximity restrictions, we’re going to be very skittish about it because the body of case law already is against us now. For example, Louisiana has a master debtors’ prison where you have to pay for the notification within that zone, or radius I forget how much it is, how many feet around you, you have to pay for that out of your own pocket. And if you don’t pay it within a specified amount of time, they put you in prison. Well that the body of case law is not adverse that the body case laws is actually in our favor on that, because that’s the US Supreme Court and, and Bert Bearden versus Georgia. So that would be a cause of action we’d like to see undertaken in Louisiana. But we haven’t put together the right mix yet. So, we’re looking for win-ability, we think we could win that challenge. We’re looking for the right legal team, which we haven’t assembled. And we’re looking for the right set of plaintiffs which we have assembled.
I was just about to ask you about that is that you also have to have somebody with standing you have to someone that has skin in the game that can be the quote unquote, plaintiff, Right?
That is That’s correct. you need you need someone with legal standing. And in Georgia, what we did, and you were a part of that we sent out hundreds of letters to people who were in the counties that were in contention and Butts and Spalding County, and we sent letters saying, “Hey, this is going to happen to you. It happened to you last year. And if you don’t contact us, it’s going to happen to you again this year. And would you like to try to put a stop to it?”
And the response was overwhelming. So over 200 letters were sent, and 150 people responded, right?
wasn’t quite that good. But there was a good dozen 20 responses there was there were enough that we that we came up with attractive plaintiffs. And that that’s what that’s what it takes what it takes. But NARSOL doesn’t litigate just to feel good. We litigate when we feel like we’ve got the cause of action that will affect a significant number of people, and that there is a reasonable probability of success. And there’s no adverse case law against us. There’s no point to go back in Texas and file another residency restriction against another city, because the panel that decided Lewisville is not going to be overruled by another panel in the Fifth Circuit. So until the US Supreme Court rules, which would be a superior court to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, until the US Supreme Court rules that residence restrictions violate the US Constitution or until we can find some component of the Texas constitution that they violate, were done on that issue, or a total residence restriction. It’s so much more exclusive to Lewisville, they’ll come along that we can distinguish ourselves from that and say, “Well, yes, you did say that in Lewisville, but this one is different.” Well, they had over 90% of Lewisville off-limits, so it’d be hard to conceive of a residency restriction that would be more restrictive than that. I mean, I guess you could have theoretically 100% off limits.
But it would be, it would be foolish to expend a bunch. I mean, our donors would really think we’re great people. If we expended $30,000 to $40,000 to go back and challenge another city in Texas, only to be flushed again into this circuit. I would think our donations would start to dry up if we did that. So, we’re looking at the win-ability of the case, and we’re looking at how many people it’s going to help. And then you always have to decide among that criteria of who’s more important. Are the people in prison more important? For example, there are people in states like Illinois, which that case is in federal court and has been won that that are being held in prison after they’ve served their time. In New Mexico, we’ve got the same situation. Well, if you’ve got limited amount of resources to people who have served their debt to society have paid it in full, and they won’t release them simply because they don’t have a provable address. Does that? How does that rate on the priority against someone who can’t live within 1,500 feet of something, but they’re at least in the free world, which is more important? If you have to pick and choose.
Sounds reasonable to me.
Well, that’s a tough that’s a tough dilemma we’re in so we’re like for like in a position where we have a small amount of a pie a small pie to work with. And there’s a tremendous amount of injustice around the country of things that are wrong, and things that should be challenged.
But Larry, these injustices are so great that shouldn’t the legislature just be barking up you know, calling NARSOL off the hook saying we want to fix these things can How can we help you?
Sure, that would have happened.
Why are you so negative all the time?
Now what should happen is these attorneys ought to just give their time away. And they should fund expenses related to litigation out of their pocket in addition to giving their time away. That’s what they should do.
your role as, like the legal genius behind all of this. That’s again, the reason why I’m asking you these kinds of questions is to try and figure out how we go about what is the idea? How do we go about figuring out what we’re going to challenge where there seems to be more activity in certain places like North Carolina, and there seems to be zero activity in other places, you know, I can’t even think of what it would be because it doesn’t even come to mind, because we don’t talk about it ever. You know, but we have, you know, we talk about the southern states on a pretty regular basis, and, you know, some other places where there’s just constant constant turmoil, but anyway, so that’s why I’m asking you these questions.
Well, they come to us through a variety of ways, I mean, we, we have affiliates who report things to us where they become aware of a court case. I mean, there’s no magic pipeline where all court cases are, are easily available to everybody, particularly when they’re in the trial court level. And when they go when they go up on appeal, it still may not be detected. So, people report things to us that they’re aware of. And, and that’s one way. We’re on various listservs. I’m on the national and the state criminal defense lawyers listservs. I learn some things through that way. And the law, the law itself, like in Georgia, for example, the Halloween there was no law that supported the sheriff’s in those two counties doing that. So that made that all the more appealing. It’s difficult for me to imagine how you would craft a successful defense for a law that doesn’t exist. There’s no law that allows the sheriff or directs the sheriff to place signage on people’s property on Halloween, nor does that require the offenders to comply with those directives. So therefore, that seemed like an easy win. Well, so far, we’ve been right. One county folded their tent decided not to do it, the other county lost. And now they want they want to appeal.
How much do you think that costs them?
It’s certainly 10s of thousands easily. I’d say easily close to $100,000. We’ll put up what they’ve expended.
And thanks Butts County Sheriff for keeping us safe.
But it doesn’t come out of his personal budget though the county has to cover it. Now if it came directly out of his sheriff’s department’s budget, he might think more about it, but he just has to bill the county and they pay it.
Yeah, I get that. It’s just funny to me.
I mean, we would we would welcome just because we can’t do all the challenges. If someone says succinctly sends me a challenge, don’t send me 37 different pleadings about a case. There again, time is of the essence. And I don’t have time to read all this stuff. So, if you send me, if you send me a thick ream of stuff, I’m not gonna read it. If you think there’s a good cause of action out there, that will affect a significant number of registrants. And you care enough about it to write up what that constitutional issue is, and why you think we can win it not just this is wrong it should not be happening. But we can win this because of like what I just said, I just told you why I thought I could win the Butts County case. I could win it because there was no authority underlying the actions they were taking. Therefore, they could not compel a person to do something that the law doesn’t require. That’s succinct, to the point. So if you if you if there’s a cause of action out there that you’re aware of, that you think that we could undertake, then give us give us that idea because we are looking at I hate to say we’re like the Supreme Court because we’re not but they’re looking for of the 9000 cert petitions they’re sifting through and picking 80-90 which is 1% that they would like to hear. And they’re looking for something unique and novel that they haven’t done already. And I’ll almost say they’re looking for a little entertainment. We’re not looking for entertainment, because this is serious business. But we’re looking for something that we can put our very limited resources to work at, and impact people’s lives. I believe when it’s all said and done, when this Georgia case plays itself out on appeal, I believe that we will be able to impact people’s lives. Because although it’s only Halloween, it’s only one day a year, I get that. But it’s also expanded in Tennessee to be a whole zone of holidays around Halloween, and that it’s expanded to be Christmas season. And it is the steppingstone towards greater victories. When we when we nailed them, like on something that we’re going to nail them. Butt’s County Sheriff. We’re going to win. You can’t turn your ship around. I mean, he’s gasping on life support trying to turn his losing ship around, and he’s not gonna be able to do it, because he never had the authority to do what he was doing.
So, his two options are to fold the tent and lose or keep losing-er more.
Well, what his options are, and I’ve been encouraged him to do exactly what he’s doing and I’m hoping he’s listening. His options are to help us get an appellate level decision, so that we will be able to shut this down through the entire southeast coast. ‘Cause the 11th circuit is Georgia, Florida and Alabama. So, what he’s doing is exactly what we need him to do is to help us get an appellate level decision out of the 11th circuit. Now, the lawyers are not as arrogant as I am. They think that the 11th circuit is dangerous, and we could actually lose this. I’m not worrying about that at the level that we’re at, but you never can count your chickens before they hatch. Is it possible we could lose? Yes, we could draw the worst panel on the 11th. And we could lose. But this is such a no brainer that I believe that even a rookie judge could get this right, because without authority to do something, you can’t compel a person to act. Now, we’re not even having a fight about the constitutionality of a statute that requires signage, because there is no statute.
I was just gonna, like, put that icing on that cake, though, because there is the constitutional piece in the First Amendment side of it, and you’ve never even brought that up in this conversation.
Yeah. Well, so without a statute, he doesn’t enjoy any presumption here of constitutionality. So, he is a such a precelled position, that he’s gasping for something that will never happen. He can’t win this case. But no one has either been able to tell him that or convince him of that? And he may know that he can’t win it, but he’s going to play it through the 2020 election. I don’t know what the man is up to. But I know that the that we went either way, if he folds his tent, we win. And if he if he appeals and doesn’t drop his appeal, which he’d be well advised to do, but if he doesn’t do that, we’re going to win there as well. So, and we will build from that body of case law, we will have a good favorable decision in the 11th circuit. And there’s still that case of McGuire’s out of Alabama that’s still pending in the 11th circuit. And who knows, this might help impact the McGuire decision since they haven’t rendered it
McGuire was what? I don’t remember that name.
That’s the case where the attorney named Mitch McGuire had a brother who had been convicted in Colorado in ‘88, who had never had to register. And he moved to Alabama and he went straight to the sex offender office and said, “Now I just want to know I got this old conviction from ‘89 in Colorado. Do I have to register here, and they said, “Well, boy, you hang out here. Let us do a little checking.” And they said, “Yep, you sure do and if you don’t register today, we gonna lock you up. Thank you for coming on in.” And Mitch has spent I think at last count, the last conversation I had with him, he had expended over $200,000 of his personal funds, fighting his brother’s case. And he had he had like a million dollars’ worth of billable time in it between him and the other organization, Equal Justice under, what is it called in DC, Equal Justice Under the Law?
I don’t know. I don’t know
Phil, Phil [unknown]’s group.
Okay. I know who you’re talking about there, but I don’t know the name of the group, but okay.
Between them they had a million dollars’ worth of billable hours fighting this case. Well, whatever is keeping them from rendering their decision, and I have no idea what it is. It could be if we get a favorable decision on something like this with the sheriff. It may help. I don’t think it can hurt. It may help because it’s another nail in the coffin of excesses of the registry. Which is what we’re arguing with the whole thing is constitutionally over the top, it’s nothing approximating a civil regulatory scheme.
I understand and we are much longer than I wanted to go. So, we are going to wrap things up. Is there anything else that you want to have a 32nd sound bite to go over?
I do not.
Excellent. All right, well, visit registrymatters.co. That’s the website. You can leave voicemail or calling questions. Or you could just harass Larry, if you would like to add (747)227-4477. Email address is email@example.com. Larry, and what is our favorite way when people support us? Where do they go?
They go to patreon.com/registrymatters
Outstanding, and then you can follow us on Twitter. You could subscribe to the YouTube channel. That’s how you, I have somebody in chat that says that they’re totally going to call and harass you. Follow us on Twitter, follow us on YouTube and I think that’s all we got Larry. And I think I’ll see you next week.
All right. Thank you. Good night.
Take care. Bye