"It's not that I wouldn't be for it because offsetting the costs to the taxpayers is a good thing.I just don't think the majority of them can afford to pay, and they'll quit paying, quit registering and quit showing up and be a bigger problem." -- Polk Co.FL Sheriff Grady Judd on why registry fees are a bad idea.
Perhaps the biggest story on this issue in recent memory is the ordinance proposed by the city of Lake Charles, LA, which would have increased yearly registration fees to 0 per year.
As of this writing, the law is on hold due to a temporary injunction .
Obviously, registry fees and the fear over possible legal trouble for failing to pay fees is a very real concern.
Some state laws consider failure to pay registry fees part of the criminal charge of “failure to register .” Exacerbating the possibility of arrest for failure to pay fees is due to the fact that registrants have far higher rates of unemployment than the average citizen.
In Oklahoma, “nearly 40%” of registrants are considered “unemployed, disabled, or retired ”; Washington State’s unemployment rate for registrants was 25% in 2005, with a 9% rate of homelessness .
While many locations have these laws, is it constitutional?
There have been few stories regarding sex offenders arrested for failing to pay fees, and even fewer court cases addressing the fees.
This article will cover the very sparse commentary on this subject.
In 2008, Philip Horner argued before the New Hampshire Supreme Court that imposing a semi-annual fee of amounted to “disproportional taxation,” while the state argued that the fees were regulatory.
The justices sided with the state, agreeing the fees are regulatory measure and that the “ semi-annual charge imposed upon sex offenders is not intended to raise additional revenue but, rather, is used solely to support a governmental regulatory activity made necessary by the actions of those who are required to pay the charge [This case involved a life without parole sentence for a mere probation violation for not having a registration ID card.
Because Easterling made every effort to comply with the law, at least the registration fee violation was reversed by the First District Court of Appeals.