Judge takes action on rule to do the impossible

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A judge in California has blocked enforcement of a new Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act rule that, under the Biden administration, demanded a defendant do something that was physically impossible.

That would be to register as a sex offender after his conviction had been expunged from the records.

It is the Pacific Legal Foundation that fought the case on behalf of a client, whose due process and First Amendment rights were being violated.

“The DOJ almost never loses these cases. That they lost here goes to show just how far out on a limb the DOJ is with this rule,” explained Caleb Kruckenberg, who is with the PLF.

“The rule clearly violated due process and free speech protections. And while the court felt bound by precedent to conclude that the rule didn’t violate the constitutional separation of powers, we will continue to press this issue in the hopes that the Supreme Court will finally enforce constitutional limits on the executive branch.”

The fight developed because of the rule that demands “anyone who had been convicted of a sex crime to register as a sex offender in their state, even if – as in the case of our client, John Doe* – their conviction had been expunged and they were not even allowed by their state to register.”

The foundation reported, “Because John Doe could not register, the DOJ’s rule said that he could be prosecuted at any time, and he would have been forced to prove that registration was impossible – an affirmative defense that turns the presumption of innocence on its head.”

The decision, from U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal, noted the circumstances created by the government rule were problematic.

“For individuals like Plaintiffs, at least some of whom allege a remarkable record of rehabilitation and positive contributions to society following convictions in the distant past, the prospect of being returned to prison for up to 10 years due to circumstances beyond their control is a particularly disturbing one.”

That rule is now unenforceable in California, and that could be expanded to the nation in the judge’s final ruling, the foundation reported.

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