"This is my new cause... I have never in my life stood up for anything, let alone been willing to lobby for it. I want this. No I need this to function in life. I am a number and I am a label, and that is what people see, and I am more then just that."
Friday, September 21, 2012
SC justices reconsider sex offender monitoring
JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press
Published 10:27 a.m., Tuesday, September 18, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Even after hearing the case a second time, the South Carolina Supreme Court
isn't sure it is fair to make some sex offenders in the state face
lifetime satellite monitoring of their every move without any chance
The justices Tuesday reheard a case from May where they decided the monitoring may be too harsh in some cases. The Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services asked the court to reconsider its ruling, saying their decision rewrote the law.
A lawyer for Jennifer Dykes
again argued her constitutional rights were violated because she had no
chance to appeal or revisit the decision to put a bracelet on her ankle
that reports her every move to state authorities.
32, was ruled to be a sex offender after being convicted of a lewd act
on a child charge stemming from her relationship with a 14-year-old girl
in Greenville County several years ago. She was found to be at low risk
to abuse a child again.
violating her probation by drinking alcohol, continuing a relationship
with a convicted felon she met while behind bars and rescheduling too
many appointments for sex offender counseling, Dykes' probation was
revoked, according to court documents.
probation violation meant under state law authorities could seek
lifetime monitoring for Dykes without a chance of appeal. That kind of
monitoring can be done for just two crimes — lewd act and first-degree
criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Most other crimes that land
someone on the sex offender registry give an offender a chance to appeal
after 10 years.
Dykes' lawyer, Chris Scalzo, held up his wedding ring and said while he loves his wife and wears it nearly all the time, he can take it off.
"She's not allowed to take that thing off her body unless there is a court order," Scalzo said.
An attorney for the probation agency, John Aplin, said lawmakers passed the lifetime monitoring law to protect the public.
reason you are tracking that person every minute of every day for the
rest of their life is to protect children from further future harm. It's
also to help law enforcement solve crimes," Aplin said.
Chief Justice Jean Toal
said she understands the need for public safety from the most dangerous
offenders. But she said it is a fair question to ask if a
one-size-fits-all law that doesn't allow a timely chance to appeal the
ruling or ask a judge to revisit whether an offender is still dangerous
"This court has no grief for sex offenders. But there are certainly different levels," Toal said.
Associate Justice Kay Hearn,
who wrote her own opinion in May suggesting that revealing every detail
of Dykes' private life to state officials violates her constitutional
rights, pointed out that Dykes was not considered to be a dangerous sex
offender who preys on children and would likely never change
was, what, an 18-month relationship she had with an underage person,"
Hearn said. "Clearly wrong, clearly illegal. But there was no