The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a provision of the state’s sex offender registry law that requires some people who have not committed sex crimes to register as sex offenders, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The law, said to be one of the nation’s toughest, allows the state to keep a tight leash on child molesters, rapists, and other sexual predators after they have served their prison time. It requires anyone convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor to register as a sex offender regardless if a sexual act was committed.
The challenge was brought by a man who picked up a 17-year-old girl who was going to sell them some marijuana. Instead of making a deal, they drove her to a cul-de-sac, took the pot, and abandoned her. Rainer pleaded guilty to robbery and false imprisonment. Because of the latter conviction, he now has had to register as a sex offender. This means he cannot live or work within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate, such as parks, schools and swimming pools. Writing for a 5-2 majority, Justice Harold Melton rejected arguments that the provision was cruel and unusual punishment. Sex offender registry laws, Melton wrote, “are regulatory, not punitive, in nature.”