January 29, 2020 –The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) has sent official correspondence to Sheriff Neil Warren of Cobb County, Georgia, reminding him that the sex offender registry is a civil regulatory scheme and not a vehicle for further punishment. The letter also calls on him to cease and desist from imposing unlawful registration requirements or else prepare to meet NARSOL’s attorneys in court.
“Your deputies are imposing invented requirements not contained in the Georgia Sex Offender Notification and Registration Act (SORNA). We strenuously urge you to become familiar with the limitations of your office as it relates to SORNA and train your deputies and staff to act properly and constitutionally,”stated Brenda Jones, NARSOL’s Executive Director.
In a subsequent statement to NARSOL’s supporters, Jones indicated that the letter was sent with the hope of convincing Sheriff Warren to initiate changes in how his office handles registration in order to avoid litigation.
NARSOL’s longstanding policy is to seek alternative resolutions rather than going to court. NARSOL sent similar letters to the sheriffs in Spaulding and Butts counties prior to initiation of two lawsuits currently pending in the United States District Court. Litigation was the only option because neither sheriff chose to respond to NARSOL’s request to open the lines of communication on the subject.
On October 29, 2019, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division,issued a restraining order preventing Sheriff Long from requiring signs to be placed on the property of those on the sexual offense registry at Halloween, validating the complaint brought against Butts County Sheriff Gary Long and other Butts County officials that placing signs on private property breached constitutional rights.
NARSOL delivered a warning letter to another Georgia county sheriff, Ben Hill’s sheriff Lee Cone, who announced a similar policy of signs at Halloween on the property of registrants. Since Sheriff Cone did not respond to the letter, he can likely expect the same litigation as that which Sheriff Long just came out on the losing end of last October.
NARSOL has observed activity across many states seeking to limit persons required to register from fully reintegrating into their communities and participating in society as full-fledged citizens.
“States and communities need to be on notice,” Jones remarked. “They will be challenged the minute they start threatening the constitutional rights of registered citizens.”“They just need to be prepared,” concludes Jones. “We are watching, and we are ready.”