LAFAYETTE, La. — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has filed a stay request with the United States Supreme Court to halt the state court's decision regarding the identification of people convicted of sex offenses.
The ruling, handed down by the Louisiana Supreme Court in October, said that requiring people with sex offenses to carry special licenses or identification cards marked "SEX OFFENDER" in orange letters amounted to compelled speech that runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution, The Advocate reports.
Landry's office said shortly after the ruling that it was considering what to do next, and said the notice was necessary to alert law enforcement officials to the cardholders' criminal history.
The court's majority opinion, which stems from the case of a Lafayette man who was charged in 2017 with scratching the label off of his driver's license, adds that a variety of less obvious markings might be constitutional, including a "symbol, a code, or a letter designation."
In a statement released after the stay request was filed on Friday, AG Landry commented:
Today, our office asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a ruling that invalidates several provisions of Louisiana's sex offender identification program. Ready access to the registry of sex offenders, who have had their days in court and were convicted of their crimes, is not always an option - especially during natural disasters and other emergencies.
Our Legislature recognized this crisis and established a process to protect public safety. Without the relief we seek from the Supreme Court, sex offenders in Louisiana will be able to move unnoticed through our communities.
For the safety of past and future crime victims, I urge the Supreme Court to grant our request expeditiously and help us continue to protect Louisiana families.
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