Have the podpeople finally taken over Ohio? Or is there something about this I just don't get right?
An Ohio legislative panel yesterday rubber-stamped an unprecedented process that would allow sex offenders to be publicly identified and tracked even if they've never been charged with a crime.
A recently enacted law allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit.
The rules spell out how the untried process would work. It would largely treat a person placed on the civil registry the same way a convicted sex offender is treated under Ohio's so-called Megan's Law.
The person's name, address, and photograph would be placed on a new Internet database and the person would be subjected to the same registration and community notification requirements and restrictions on where he could live.
A civilly declared offender, however, could petition the court to have the person's name removed from the new list after six years if there have been no new problems and the judge believes the person is unlikely to abuse again.
Does this really mean what I think it means? That someone can be declared a sex offender without a court case?
Think about the power this gives to all those who hate their neighbors or that strict teacher who gives nothing but Cs. Salem witch trials, anyone?
No. I must have it wrong. Or the podpeople have truly taken over.
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