CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

"Special IDs for Sex Offenders: Safety Measures or Scarlet Letters?"

From The New York Times, reporting on a pending cert petition regarding a law struck down on First Amendment grounds by the Louisiana Supreme Court:

A Louisiana law required people convicted of sex crimes to use driver’s licenses on which the words “sex offender” would appear in big capital orange letters under their photographs.

That could make everyday encounters — with bank tellers, hotel clerks, supermarket cashiers, election officials, airport security officers and prospective employers — humiliating. Critics called the notation a modern-day scarlet letter. State officials said it kept the public safe from predators.

. . .

The petition gave examples of why state ID cards should bear the notation, some more compelling than others. “People trick-or-treating on Halloween may need a quick way to verify that their children are safe from predators,” the brief said, though asking to see ID before accepting candy is not commonplace.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2021/06/special-ids-for-sex-offenders-safety-measures-or-scarlet-letters.html

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