Chicago sex offenders have filed a lawsuit in federal court saying the city should waive a $100 registration fee because they're too poor to pay, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. David Johnson and Tommy Johnson say the Chicago Police Department unfairly refused to waive their fees. One female sex offender alleged a police officer waived her fee because of financial hardship, but then he creepily called her to ask for a date. They and other plaintiffs are seeking to have their lawsuit certified as a class-action case.
The $100 annual fee may seem like “strong medicine,” but the state decided sex offenders would substantially subsidize the registration process and the law has been repeatedly upheld as constitutional, the city countered. The lawsuit claims the city doesn't have a procedure to determine whether a fee waiver is appropriate, which the city is denying. The police department says it has improved the way a person's ability to pay is evaluated. That process will be applied to the plaintiffs when their annual registration renewal comes due, the city said.