Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Civil registry proposed in Ohio; ex post facto in VA

On this blog, I try to keep track of serious threats of civil liberty throuh legislation that could short-circuit due process, regardless of the political climate or public outcry about the purported problems.

There is a proposal, well advanced in the Ohio legislature, to give certain officials (like district attorneys) to place certain persons on a civil registry of potential offenders. Of course, this sounds very dangerous to civil liberties and could be unconstitutional. It reminds one of civil commitment (after a sentence or even without a sentence). The story was in the Toledo Blade, Aug. 29, 2006 (a daily paper) at this link.

This bill apparently being passed and it is being used in Hamilton County against a long accused priest. Apparently the law targets persons for whom possible charges expired. The news story (in USA Today Oct 5 2006)is here. The case is to be heard before a judge Dec 5 2006.

Jaqueline L. Salmon, of The Washington Post, reports on Dec. 4, 2006, two groups representing victims of abusive Catholic priests" went door-to-door with 38-page packets in Herndon, VA (Fairfax County) with information about accusations against a 56-year-old priest by the diocese of Wilmington, DE. The story is here. The priest has never been prosecuted or charged.

In Virginia there has been an ex post facto requirement to place non violent offenders on the registry, and this is being litigated in a "John Doe" case where a man wants to keep his name off the registry. The Washington Post story Sept 12, 2006 by Jerry Markdon is at this link (may require a subscription).

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