Steven Powell was convicted of voyeurism for taking photos of neighbor girls using the bathroom. He argued that being forced to discuss his sexual history violated his constitutional right that protects him against self-incrimination
By The Associated Press
TACOMA — A state Court of Appeals has determined that Steven Powell doesn’t have to disclose his sexual history as part of sex-offender treatment because doing so would violate one of his constitutional rights.
Powell argued in his appeal that being forced to discuss his sexual history violated his Fifth Amendment right that protects him against self-incrimination, the News Tribune reports.
The appeals court sided with him Tuesday, reversing a Superior Court judge’s ruling that ordered him jailed for 40 days.
Powell was convicted of voyeurism in 2012 for taking photos of two neighbor girls using the bathroom. He served 30 months in prison and was ordered to complete sexual-deviancy treatment.
The images were found during an investigation into the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell, a former Puyallup resident. His son, Josh Powell, was being investigated for the disappearance of his wife, who went missing from their Utah home in 2009. Josh Powell killed his two sons and himself in 2012.
The man's family history is quite tragic and he has done the time and served his penitence for the crime. We can hope that with careful self monitoring and therapy this odd predilection will end. Or if Prostitution was legal he could pay a professional to watch urinate and that would be fine between consenting adults. Again we are the moral cops here that often lead people to find bizarre ways to satisfy a sexual fetish and in turn do so illegally and inappropriately that brings larger harm to a community. I would prefer he kept that to his own bathroom with the hired help.
So I do wonder what this decision will do with the larger picture of sex offfender registries and this new law:
Passport mark for sex offenders law challenged in court
U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton has scheduled a hearing Wednesday in Oakland on a nonprofit group's request for a preliminary injunction against the so-called International Megan's Law, which President Barack Obama signed into law in February.
The law requires the government to add a mark to the passports of registered sex offenders and for foreign nations to be notified that some registrants intend to travel there.
The group, California Reform Sex Offender Laws, filed a lawsuit challenging the law a day after Obama's approval.
It says a symbol on a passport identifying people as registered sex offenders violates their constitutional rights and puts them and others traveling with them in danger, including family members and business colleagues.
"For the first time in the history of the United States, American citizens will be forced by the government to label and stigmatize themselves on a document foundational to citizenship," the lawsuit filed Feb. 8 reads.
The Department of Justice says the International Megan's Law builds on existing laws and regulations to communicate with foreign governments when registered sex offenders plan to cross international borders. The law attempts to address cases where people evade such notifications by traveling to an intermediate country before going to their final destination, the DOJ said in court filings.
Additionally, a preliminary injunction would be premature because the State Department has yet to take technical or regulatory steps to implement the passport identifier provision, the DOJ said.
The purpose of the law is to prevent child sex trafficking and child sex tourism. But the lawsuit says the passport provision applies to anyone convicted of a sex offense involving a minor regardless of whether they have engaged in child sex trafficking or child sex tourism.