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Suit: Illinois sex offender statutes unconstitutional, too vague

Sun-Times file photo

Five sex offenders filed a lawsuit Monday asking a judge to halt the enforcement of several of Illinois’ sex offender registration statutes.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court by four state residents and one former state resident, all identified as either John Doe or Jane Doe. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Leo Schmitz, director of the Illinois State Police, are named as defendants.

The five allege that several of Illinois’ sex offender registry statutes are vague to the point that they violate their constitutional rights.

“The vague prohibitions set forth in these statutes unconstitutionally interfere with the Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights, including their right to engage in free speech, their right to practice their religions, and their right to organize their family affairs,” the suit stated.

One man, identified as John Doe 1, alleges he can’t play golf out of fear he’d be charged with a crime.

“In addition, John Doe 1 seeks to play golf at park-district owned golf courses, but he is unsure of the meaning or extent of the restrictions imposed under 720 ILCS 5/11-9.4-1(b) and (c),” the suit stated. “John Doe 1 is in fear of violating 720 ILCS 5/11-9.4-1 and is thus afraid he could be arrested or charged with a crime if he attempts to play golf at park-district owned facilities, even when no children are present.”

None of the five have re-offended since their convictions, the suit stated.

A spokesperson for Madigan’s office said that the office had not been served with or seen the suit Tuesday morning. A representative for Schmitz did not respond to requests for comment.

The suit asks a judge to find several Illinois statutes concerning sex offender registration to be unconstitutional and bar their enforcement.