ACLU wins settlement to remove some from Sex Offender Registry

Columbia, SC (WOLO) — In a settlement agreement with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson along with State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel those wrongly convicted of sodomy in the state of South Carolina will now be taken off of the Sex Offender Registry in the Palmetto State.

The announcement comes after arguments in Mary Geiger Lewis’s courtroom Friday, and argued in conjunction with a 2003 ruling from the United States Supreme Court in the case of Lawrence v. Texas that threw out anti-sodomy laws so they were no longer deemed unconstitutional.

According to Allen Chaney, the Director of Legal Advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union, over the past two decades, South Carolina has used the Sex Offender Registry to “track, shame, and ostracize” people who he argued have been involved in behavior protected by the constitution, and acts that are between consenting adults. Chaney adding in a statement released to ABC Columbia News,

“I am pleased that the State agreed to settle the case, but discouraged that we had to sue at all.”

The ACLU says the move brings justice to men that have long been wrongly classified as sex offenders and as of the settlement will have their cases filed under seal to protect their identities and privacy.  Those who have worked to modify the law says those who have been effected will be able to have their rights and tarnished records restored.

Within 21 days of this new order SLED will have to notify those solely convicted for “buggery” under SC Code 16-15-120 in writing to let them know they will no longer have to register as a sex offender in the state of South Carolina. Fees, costs and expenses accrued to get a full resolution will be paid for out of the total $31,592.30 that has been paid by defendant’s in the case.

To view the order in its entirety click on the link provided here.

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