Mar
09

A Letter To Barack Obama: Virginia, RSOL

Dear President Obama:

When you took office you promised to give a voice to the voiceless. You spoke of the audacity of hope. You promised to include those often forgotten and despised. I am appealing to you honor those promises now.

This past weekend you appeared on a television show called America's Most Wanted. You met with the show's creator on national television and listened to him call for yet more laws designed to get tough on crime. As you know, John Walsh is a tireless advocate for crime victims. He lost his own son to murder decades ago.

Immediately after appearing on America's Most Wanted, you were contacted by a group called Virginia Reform Offender Laws. The group asked for a meeting to talk about a class of victims who have no media spokesperson and who garner little sympathy. Members of the group would like to sit down and discuss with you the other America, those stigmatized for life as a result of conduct that often wasn't even criminal a century ago. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans living in fear of the shadows cast by laws that fail to draw meaningful distinctions between those who are a risk of future harm and the overwhelming majority of folks who simply make mistakes.

John Walsh and America's Most Wanted are powerful tools in what is often an hysterical over-reaction to isolate acts of horror. When a young woman is abducted, raped and murdered by a stranger, the nation rightly grieves. But tapping that grief for purposes of stiffing moral panic poorly serves the nation. Many of us were surprised that you agreed to appear on a television show that panders in fear and unresolved rage.

Virginia's, Reform Sex Offender Laws cannot offer you a national forum. There is no television show dedicated to Americans forgotten and scorned by the criminal justice system. But these other Americans are organizing in each and every state in the union to educate lawmakers that the sex offender hysteria is destroying lives. Virginia's group is among the most sophisticated in the nation: In recent weeks, the group has provided lawmakers in Virgina with a recent publication about the weaknesses in our laws regarding sex offenses.

The other America still looks to you for leadership, Mr. President. When the Virginia group called the White House earlier in the week to request a meeting, a promise was made to convey the request and to get back to the group. I am urging you to take a little time to sit down with representatives and hear what they have to say. You can still make a difference for the voiceless folks looking to you for hope. Please do not scorn them. That is the easy and convenient response. But it is a response that fails to look beyond appearances.
Comments (2)
Posted on September 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm by Kevin Price
Ex post factp
Why isn't there anyone taking on the state courts. To be forced to register after the commission of the crime is an ex post facto violation.

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 5:12 am by Ric Moore
Thanks
Thanks for posting this.
For Display:
Number of states in the U.S.
Confidential:
(Won't be displayed with comment)

Link must be approved, then will show on this page.

x

About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

Personal Website

www.normpattis.com
www.normpattis.com

Law Firm Website

www.pattislawfirm.com
www.pattislawfirm.com

I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis

Disclaimer:

Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

Pattis Video