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Is the Sex Offender Registry Flawed?

Is the Sex Offender Registry Flawed?

Since its inception in the mid 1990's the sex offender registry has allowed anyone with access to the internet to make themselves aware of all of the local sex offenders lurking in the neighborhood For some, this came as a welcome tool to keep their families safe from predators and possibly even choose where they should purchase their home.  But a recent article from USA Today points out some possible flaws with the registry and how it could potentially ruin lives.

One example of the way the sex offender registry has failed is in the case of a Michigan man, Robert Dipiazza, who at the age of 18 had consensual sex with his almost 15-year-old girlfriend and was placed on the sex offender registry.  The Detroit Free Press reports that the couple's relationship was exposed when a teacher found a provocative photograph of them and brought it to the attention of the authorities. Dipiazza has since married his then girlfriend and has reported that it has become impossible for him to get or hold down a job with his name on the registry. 

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals recently made a unanimous decision to remove Dipiazza's name from the Michigan sex offender registry calling his punishment "constitutionally cruel and unusual."  Though Dipiazza's case was a victory many argue that there are too many similar cases like this that continue to be unresolved.  Attorney, Erika Julien, is quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying, "There are lots and lots of these cases out there."  Julien also describes Dipiazza's court ruling as "a huge step forward...opening the door to a re-examination of these kinds of cases across the board." 

What do you think of the sex offender registry?

Do you think it is a helpful tool or do you think it is too flawed to work correctly?

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  • juliejlady By juliejlady
    11.06.09  

    I think its a helpful tool and a 14 yr old girl should not be dating an 18 yr old. Thats the chance he took and he is lucky his case was appealed successfully.

  • Lusadi By Lusadi
    11.06.09  

    I think that the sex offender registry, while causing difficulties for a relatively small percentage of people, is a valuable tool to help stop the majority of these continual predators from preying on innocent children. I would rather a few people with questionable judgment have to undertake steps to clear themselves, rather than have no knowledge of the criminals in my area.

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard
    11.06.09  

    I would rather have the option of being safe then sorry. If your name ends up on that list, it is because you commited a crime, they dont just pick names out of a hat. That;s great that the example listed ended up marrying his girlfriend and they are now the happy couple, but the fact still remains that she was underage when they started having sex and he's lucky he didnt end up in jail along with having his name on the registry

  • Katria By Katria
    11.08.09  

    I honestly do not know much about how the system works. I believe it is a useful tool for employers and neighborhoods to keep a watch out for serious sexual offenders. However I do believe it needs to have different levels. I heard from a friend of a person at our college, who was drunk and decided to urinate on a dumpster in an alley one night. He was seen by police and arrested for indecent exposure, which also put him on the sex offender list. While I don't know if this is a true story, my point would be that if something small and silly like this can affect a person for the rest of their lives. If the system was ordered or rated based on the severity of the offense, it may help some people with more minor offenses not be lumped into the serial rapists and child molesters. Just my 2 cents.

  • momagarry By momagarry
    11.08.09  

    I think it is flawed:(

  • jlincon71 By jlincon71
    11.08.09  

    I really don't know because i'm not too sure how the whole thing works, but i'm pretty sure it has some flase everything has them.

  • nitecat002 By nitecat002
    11.08.09  

    I knew someone who got a public indecency charge years ago when she was 18 because she couldn't find any place that had a bathroom open after a concert. Her friend pulled over by a dark, deserted ally and the police pulled up in the middle of things. It made a funny story "This is the police, pull your pants up" but today it would put her on the sex offender registry. There's also a big difference between statutory rape by an 18 year old with a 14/almost 15 year old than if it was a teacher in his 40's. He could have been a senior in high school and she could have been a freshman. It's still a big age difference for that age but it's not the same as someone twice her age. I want to know who's likely to hurt me or my family, not anyone who ever did something stupid. I like the idea of a system based on the severity of the offense.

  • cybrown551 By cybrown551
    11.08.09  

    It is definitely a helpful tool however, it does need to be improved. If we had nothing than that would be far worst. So in my opinion if the person at fault did not want to be damaged in that way then they should make sure that they are not encouraging a relationship with a person who is a minor.

  • Nancijune By Nancijune
    11.08.09  

    I think it is good because at least you have the information about a predator in your neighborhood. Although if not updated enough the person living in the house my not be the predator, and people just associate that address with a predator even after the house is sold and new people live there. But it is also up to people be on watch anywhere and everywhere, and to report anything going on that doesn't seem right.

  • normajx2 By normajx2
    11.09.09  

    How does his name being on the registry keep him from "holding down a job" ?

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