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Laws Regulating Individuals with Sex Offense Convictions: A Civil Rights Perspective

(220 reviews)

Produced on July 28, 2016

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Course Information

Time 1h
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Civil Rights

Course Description

In every state, individuals convicted of sex offenses are subject to a number of laws and regulations regulating where they can be physically present and requiring them to provide numerous pieces of identifying information to the government at regular intervals, sometimes for life. Given the political popularity of such laws despite increasing evidence calling into question their efficacy, there is little holding back state and local governments from enacting increasingly harsh and burdensome statutes aimed at this population. Recently, for instance, the federal government passed the International Megan's Law which requires those convicted of a sex offense to have a stamp indicating that fact on his or her passport. These types of regulations are not only relevant for those convicted of sex offenses; many jurisdictions are also considering requiring state and local agencies to create public registries for other crimes, such as animal abuse, domestic violence, or drug offenses.

This course, presented by Erin Beth Harrist, Senior Staff Attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, provides a brief overview of the history of these types of regulations and the three key forms they usually take: registration and notification statutes, residency restrictions, and civil commitment statutes. Through an analysis of the major Supreme Court decisions and other authorities in this area, this course reviews potential constitutional challenges to laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses.

Learning Objectives:

I. Review history of laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

II. Understand the main types of laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

III.  Analyze the major decisions upholding or invalidating laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

IV. Provide guidance for evaluating and challenging laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

Credit Information

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Erin Harrist

New York Civil Liberties Union

Erin Beth Harrist is a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she focuses on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation.

Prior to joining the NYCLU, Harrist was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she litigated a wide range of commercial matters including multi-week trials in federal and state court. She has worked extensively with the National Organization for Women – New York City Chapter advocating for the rights of women and the protection of reproductive rights. During law school, she helped secure asylum status for recent refugees on the basis of sexual orientation at Immigration Equality. She also served as production editor for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.

Harrist graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2002 and from Columbia Law School in 2007, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone and James Kent Scholar.


Laureen D.

Excellent presentation!

Ruth G.

Well done. A clear explanation of the legal rights involved.

Anthony M.

Regulating Individuals with sex convictions a civil rights perspective

george h.

The documents under discussion were presented well in my opinion. They appeared in a timely manner and appeared clearly and readable.

Mary Ellen F.

Great Speaker

William B.

Great program, thank you!

Lisa O.

Great presentation. Interesting subject.

Stefanie F.

This was an extremely interesting topic, with a lot of good information provided.

Jon B.

Excellent, focused presentation.

John D.

Informative Presentation; presenter was knowledgeable and conveyed the information effectively.

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