The rights of sex offenders have supplanted the rights of citizens to keep their families safe in Colorado, where a federal court judge in Denver ruled the state's sex offender registry is an unconstitutional violation of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
According to CBS Denver, "the Colorado Bureau of Investigation posts a list of registered sex offenders required under the law," providing to the public names, pictures, addresses, and descriptions of the offenders. Federal Judge Richard Matsch calls that a bridge too far and gives people too much "power to inflict punishments beyond those imposed through the court.”
The attorney representing the sex offenders, Alison Ruttenberg, said the registry caused the sex offenders great psychological harm, forcing them to live in fear of repercussions.
“Making them at risk for vigilantes’ action to have their houses burned down, beaten up or even killed that is cruel and unusual punishment,” Ruttenberg told CBS. "There’s not a single crime in Colorado that has been solved because of the sex offender registry. Sex offenders have probably the lowest recidivism rate of any felon and to single them out for this type of public ridicule and registration is irrational. It doesn’t do anything to keep our community safer."
The suit was filed on behalf of three offenders, not a class action.
Brie Franklin, the Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said that even with the registry, a great deal of sex offenders fly under the radar.