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Devastating Sex Offender Law Taken to Court in Louisiana

Sodomy laws are alive and well in Louisiana, and the Center for Constitutional Rights reports that they are having a devastating effect on many people. So they have filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Jindal, in their defense.

The Center for Constitutional Rights: Louisiana

In Louisiana, people accused of soliciting sex for a fee can be criminally charged in two ways: either under the prostitution statute, or under the solicitation provision of the Crime Against Nature statute.  This archaic statute, adopted in 1805, outlaws “unnatural carnal copulation,” which has been defined by Louisiana courts as oral and anal (but not vaginal) sex.  Police and prosecutors have unfettered discretion in choosing which to charge.  But a Crime Against Nature conviction subjects people to far harsher penalties than a prostitution conviction.  Most significantly, individuals convicted of a Crime Against Nature are forced to register as sex offenders.

The registry law imposes many harsh requirements that impacts every aspect of our clients’ lives.  For example, they must carry a state driver’s license or non-drivers’ identification document which brands them as a sex offender in bright orange capital letters.  They must disclose the fact that they are registered as a sex offender to neighbors, landlords, employers, schools, parks, community centers, and churches.  Their names, address, and photographs appear on the internet. 

Alexis Agathocleous, a staff attorney with the CCR, and the co-litigator of the case, writes:

"Every other offense that requires sex offender registration in Louisiana involves violence, lack of consent, or a child. There's no force or lack of consent or children involved here. There's just no public safety rationale that could justify the distinction the state has drawn. All that animates this law is a long history of moral disapproval of non-procreative sex acts and blatant homophobia. And as such, the entire LGBT community should be outraged about what's happening in Louisiana."

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Comments

  1. I thought "crimes against nature" were the only kind of sex they had in Louisiana.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 17, 2011 11:19:07 AM


  2. I have always wondered how CAN laws pass muster post-Lawrence v. Texas. Might be a good topic for a post by your legal contributors...

    Posted by: scottevill | Feb 17, 2011 11:31:55 AM


  3. lawerence vs texas covers the latter BS opening the state to being sued by those they try to use it on

    ALL sodomy laws are unconstitutional per SCOTUS and as a member of the US the state must abide that or get crushed in a war by the US millitary and state guard which falls under presidential orders not the governor. It is that simple

    soliciting a prostitute though......... prostitution should be legalized and regulated by the gov bringing in tax money and licensing fees with mandatory monthly check ups for the licenses

    till then, you get busted for soliciting a prostitute oh well, tough luck

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Feb 17, 2011 12:59:47 PM


  4. This is pretty much a question of application. It seems pretty cut-and-dried that a CAN law doesn't pass muster following the Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Thing is, there are people who will, when they don't like an applicable court ruling, pretend that it doesn't in fact apply to them, in their situation. At least, not until a court says that yes, it does apply specifically to them and now would they please restore the Constitutional rights of those they've been busy persecuting.

    Posted by: JDB | Feb 17, 2011 2:59:22 PM


  5. I don’t know what the solution is to sex offenders, but these sex offender laws have become outrageous. In some states, if you’re a high school senior (18 yrs old) and have sex with someone in the 10th grade, (16 yr old) you can be charged with statutory rape and be on sex offender registries for the rest of your life. I think people’s overreaction to this funneled a lot of people who shouldn’t be there into the criminal justice system. There have been stories about the sex offender laws being so stringent in Miami that the only place to live for people who end up on the registry is under a bridge in the middle of nowhere. Real life shouldn’t be The Scarlet Letter. These laws are being abused. There has to be a better solution.

    Posted by: Isaac | Feb 17, 2011 11:35:57 PM


  6. Jeez, from the land of Jim Crow, and now the marriage and sex police.....

    Onward folks...
    Joe Mustich, CT Justice of the Peace,
    Washington Green, CT USA

    Posted by: Joseph A. Mustich | Feb 18, 2011 7:08:39 AM


  7. "Only in Louisiana can people convicted of selling their bodies be required to register as a sex offender, according to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights. The plaintiffs include several women from New Orleans and the surrounding areas, as well as transgender women and a man.
    The registration requirement only affects people prosecuted under the state's crime against nature by soliciation law, which is used when a person is accused of engaging in oral or anal sex in exchange for money. People accused of prostitution, which includes any sex act, are not required to register.
    Alexis Agathocleous, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the lawsuit, called the legal distinction ""archiac and discriminatory"" and rooted in homophobia.
    The lawsuit was filed against state and local officials, including Governor Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.
    The lawsuit was filed anonymously, but describes the difficulty the plaintiffs have experienced obtaining work and finding housing because they are registered sex offenders. In Louisiana, the driver's license of a registered sex offender is inscribed with those words in bright orange letters. Registered sex offenders appear in a state database and must notify neighbors of their legal status."

    Posted by: vi nam | Oct 20, 2011 5:00:48 AM


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