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Just when you thought that Kansas was nutty

Just when you thought that Kansas was the nuttiest fruitcake in the Union, along comes Ohio with its new sex offender registration law. Now, a conviction for pandering obscenity is considered to be a “Tier 1” offense requiring that an adult remain on the registered sex offender rolls for 15 years. See Ohio Rev. Code, Chap. 2907.32; Ohio Rev. Code, Chap. 2950.

I am not certain how I feel about sex offender registration. One theory behind it is that we need to be informed so that we can protect ourselves and our families from incorrigible and dangerous criminals. Fair enough. On the other hand, these laws seem to be more punitive than protective in nature. Nevertheless, I am not currently of the opinion that sex offender registration laws are necessarily evil.

On the other hand, requiring someone convicted of an obscenity charge to register as a Tier 1 sex offender?

Other Tier 1 offenses requiring registration include soliciting a child to have sex, or actually having sex with one; voyeurism; date rape, or having sex with someone who is incapable of giving consent; softcore child porn; enticing or stalking a child with the intention of having sex with it; or attempting, abetting or conspiring to do any of those things. (source)

I have no problem with sex offender registration for the offenses above. I would want to know if an actual rapist moved into my community.

But what purpose does a law serve that requires someone to bear the scarlet letter for 15 years — for the offense of selling a “dirty movie”?

One guess…

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