State of Georgia v. Allison

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State of Georgia vs. Allison
Decided 2002
Case history
Subsequent action(s) Various

State of Georgia v. Allison was a Georgia court case. In Georgia vs Allison, Janet Allison was convicted of sexual offenses for allowing her (then pregnant) daughter, aged 15, to have sexual intercourse in her home.[1] The events took place in the year 2000. The young couple later married and had a child of their own,[1] but Allison's name has been entered into the sex offender registry, with various adverse consequences for her life and that of her family.

As a family law matter, the case was not widely reported in the popular press at the time, but Allison's plight has subsequently attracted attention from publications and television programmes critical of the State of Georgia's stance on sex offenders.[2][3][4][5][6]

Allison was not given a prison term, but three of her children were taken into foster care. She was obliged to leave her four bedroom home, because it is unlawful for a sex offender to live within a quarter of a mile of a church, and now lives in a mobile home "way off down a dirt road".[3] She is allowed no contact with the daughter involved, nor with her grandchild.[3] Further changes to Georgia's laws on sex offenders in 2006 strengthened the restrictions on where Allison could live.[7][8][9]

When Georgia's strict sex offender residency law passed the state legislature in 2006, the bill's House sponsor, Jerry Keen, said Georgians should celebrate because sex offenders would be forced to leave Georgia. Keen stated: We want people running away from Georgia. Given the toughest laws here, we think a lot of people could move to another state .... If it becomes too onerous and too inconvenient, they just may want to live somewhere else. And I don't care where, as long as it's not in Georgia.[10]

Allison was one of the plaintiffs who challenged the new provision of the sex offender law. According to the Newstandard News Allison "...has already been informed by county sheriffs that she must move, and, according to the complaint, she has unsuccessfully searched in five counties for an affordable home that would allow her to comply with the new law."

The Southern Center for Human Rights called this outcome "unconstitutional" and has challenged it in the Federal courts.[11][12]

On July 20, 2010 the Georgia legislature amended the law, relaxing some of the restrictions on some sex offenders.[13] According to Associated Press writer Greg Bluestein the relaxed restrictions included an appeal procedure, whereby those on the sex offender list could explain why they thought they should be removed. The restrictions on whether, and how close to schools and churches those on the list could live was also relaxed. Bluestein wrote "After losing court battle after court battle, state legislators were forced to make a change or a federal judge was going to throw out the entire law." As someone convicted before 2003 Allison no longer faces a residency restriction.[14]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "America's unjust sex laws". The Economist. 2009-08-06. Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. 
  2. Sarah Geraghty (2007). "Challenging the banishment of registered sex offenders from the state of Georgia: A practitioner's perspective". Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. 42: 513–. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wendy Koch (2007-02-25). "Sex-offender residency laws get second look". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. 
  4. "Laws end up hurting the not-so-dangerous". The Milford Daily News. Aug 27, 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  5. "Georgia Sex Offender Law". Religion and Ethics Weekly. 2007-01-26. Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. 
  6. Devadatta Ghandhi (2007-05-07). "Flawed sex laws down South". Michigan Daily. Retrieved 2011-10-19. On June 20, 2006, the Southern Center and the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the residency restrictions in Georgia's law. The case is still in court. Currently no one on the registry may work within 1,000 feet of a school, church or daycare center. Many people on the registry have been arrested for living in prohibited locations. The court has yet to make a ruling on the church provision, and several individuals have been told they must move and/or quit their jobs because they either live or work within 1,000 feet of a church.  mirror
  7. Jessica Azulay (2006-07-03). "Challenge to Indiscriminate Ga. Sex Offender Law Validated*". Newstandard News. Retrieved 2011-10-19. If the new law goes into effect, both Whitaker and Allison will be forced to move. Allison has already been informed by county sheriffs that she must move, and, according to the complaint, she has unsuccessfully searched in five counties for an affordable home that would allow her to comply with the new law.  mirror
  8. "Judge may extend block on Ga.'s sex offender law". Gainesville Times. 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2011-10-19. The lawsuit said a Lumpkin County Sheriff's deputy told Allison earlier this month that she would have to leave her home of four years by Saturday because she lives within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.  mirror
  9. "Low-risk, old, on list: Reserve restrictions for the most dangerous" (PDF). Atlanta Journal. 2007-11-04. Retrieved 2011-10-19.  mirror
  10. http://www.hastingsconlawquarterly.org/archives/V35/I2/Canlas-LaFlam.pdf
  11. "Georgia's Sex Offender Law Challenged in Federal Court". Southern Center for Human Rights. 83 Poplar St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  12. Yung, Corey Rayburn (April 2007). "Banishment By a Thousand Laws: Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders" (PDF). Washington University Law Review. 62 (4): 795–. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  13. Greg Bluestein (2010-07-20). "Ga. softens once lauded strict sex offender law". Marietta Daily Journal. Retrieved 2011-10-18. Georgia's old law was challenged by civil liberties groups even before it took effect. After losing court battle after court battle, state legislators were forced to make a change or a federal judge was going to throw out the entire law. Now that the restrictions have been eased, about 13,000 registered sex offenders - more than 70 percent of all Georgia sex offenders - can live and work wherever they want.  mirror
  14. Karen Franklin (2010-07-20). "Under duress, Georgia scales back sex offender law". Retrieved 2011-10-18. Long-time blog subscribers may recall the case of Janet Allison, who became a homeless, jobless leper because she allowed her pregnant daughter's boyfriend to move into the family home. The state of Georgia has now scaled back that residency restriction law in an effort to prevent the courts from overturning it altogether.  mirror