A federal judge in Oakland, California, has ruled against registered sex offenders in a case involving passports and international travel. A statute known as the International Megan’s Law will require sex guilty parties to convey a stamp in their travel permit to alarm outside legislatures of their status.
Region Judge Phyllis Hamilton, who presided over the case, decided that such a law empowers the administration from “anticipating U.S. people from submitting demonstrations of sexual misuse or abuse in different nations and in encouraging collaboration with and reciprocal notifications from other countries,” notes the San Francisco Chronicle.
Hamilton further defended the law against claims that it would add unnecessary stigma to sex offenders. She stated that the US Supreme Court “has already found that any stigma associated with convictions for sex offenses is a product of the sex offenders’ prior conviction and cannot be attributed to sex-offender registration and notification laws.”
Janice Bellucci, a lawyer for the plantiffs in the case, believes the law is dangerous in that “Our U.S. federal government is telling other countries that the person they’ve just marked on the passport is likely to engage in child sex trafficking or child sex tourism”.
“It really is our goal to prevent anybody’s passport from being marked with a conspicuous, unique identifier,” she continued, adding that she will challenge the law in a new lawsuit through a different court, reports the Washington Post.
“The failure of this provision to allow for the individualized consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the traveler’s criminal history, including how much time has elapsed since his last offense, underscores how this provision is overbroad,” Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat, said during February debate of the bill on the House floor, notes Slate. “Details such as whether the traveler is a serial child rapist versus someone with a decades-old conviction from when he was 19-years-old and his girlfriend was 14 … are significant, and would allow law enforcement to more appropriately prioritize their finite resources.”
The law was signed in February by President Barack Obama and will go into effect once a system of identification is established.