Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thank You, Mississippi

I've written before about the various restrictions on where sex offenders cannot live - within a certain distance of a school, playground, etc. - and that, in some communities, that essentially means they can't live anywhere. The ultimate expression of that would be formal exile, a punishment with a rich history, but one that's fallen out of favor.

Take a case from Mississippi (via SL&P), where a court tried to kick a convicted sex offender right out of the state:

The state Court of Appeals has thrown out a lower court order that a McComb man be banished from Mississippi once he completes a 25-year sentence for a sex crime conviction.

* * *

On the issue of banishment, the Appeals Court said Simoneaux consisted to it as part of the sentencing agreement with prosecutors.

Nonetheless, Appeals Judge Jimmy Maxwell said the 'practice of dumping defendants on other jurisdictions has been held improper by the Mississippi Supreme Court and federal courts on public policy grounds.'

Maxwell said banishment has been upheld where the trial court found, among other things, that it did not hinder rehabilitation and could be shown as in the best interests of the defendant and the public.

'While banishing Simoneaux from Mississippi would perhaps provide a degree of protection to the citizens of our state, we certainly do not want our sister states repaying us for the favor,' Maxwell said.
It really is quite something for the state to tell a citizen, "don't let the door hit you on the way out." It's not like we can dump them all in Australia or something - that's been done. That being said, I would have like to have seen the court get to this result from some kind of core Constitutional value, rather than simply a NIMBY reflex.

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