OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today applauded the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for overturning a lower court’s decision that prohibited making information on sex offenders available to the public.
In 2018, Attorney General Hunter led a brief urging the 10th Circuit to reverse a U.S. district court judge’s ruling that the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act (CSORA) violated the cruel and unusual punishment clause and due-process rights of the Constitution of three sex offenders because it required them to register with the state on a database accessible to the public.
“Today’s ruling is a major victory for public safety advocates,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Sex offenders are violent, and are statistically speaking, some of the most likely to reoffend. Online sex offender registries allow the public to know who among them is a child predator or has been convicted of rape. To hide this information in order to make individuals convicted of these crimes feel more comfortable is utterly irresponsible. Anyone advocating for this position should talk to victims and survivors of these types of crimes, who will forever remain scarred by these horrific acts, to find out why the registry systems are important.
“My 10th Circuit colleagues and I applaud the court’s decision that will arm citizens with this important public safety tool.”
Joining the 2018 brief in support of Colorado were attorneys general from all other states in the jurisdiction of the 10th circuit including, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
In the court’s ruling today, judges determined the state of Colorado isn’t putting sex offenders on display but is rather disseminating accurate information about a criminal record.
“The Colorado General Assembly did not intend for CSORA to inflict a “punishment.” The legislature expressly indicated through the statutory text that CSORA was not intended to “be used to inflict retribution or additional punishment on any person,” but was rather intended to address “the public’s need to adequately protect themselves and their children” from those with prior sexual convictions,” the judges wrote.
To read the full opinion, click here.