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D.C. Vigil Educates U. S. Supreme Court, Public – Smith v. Doe Must Go!

by | Apr 28, 2024 | NEWS

2 Replays now available.  A vigil was held on Friday, March 15, near the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to educate both the Court and the public regarding significant harms that have resulted from Smith V. Doe, a decision issued by that court in 2003.  Speakers at the vigil included civil rights attorney Janice Bellucci of California, David Garlock of Pennsylvania, Danell Puglisi-Knutson of Florida, Shawna Baldwin of Arizona and Christopher Sparks of Florida.  

The vigil was live streamed using Zoom technology and a recording of the vigil will be available soon on this website. A preliminary recording of the live stream can be viewed below now.

During the vigil each speaker told the court of the harm experienced by some individuals required to register including homelessness, unemployment, vigilante violence and suicide.  Speakers demanded that the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Smith v. Doe in an effort led by Chief Justice John Roberts who as a private attorney stated that registration is similar to applying for membership at Price Club.

“We put the U.S. Supreme Court on notice that the basis of their decision, Smith v. Doe, was one statement made in one article published in Psychology Today magazine and not the result of empirical research,” stated Bellucci.  “If the Court had based their decision on empirical research, they would have discovered that the rate of re-offense for those required to register is extremely low, less than one percent while on parole.”

This year’s vigil was the second vigil held near the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court demanding that the Court overturn Smith v. Doe.  In the future, vigils are expected to take place every year in the month of March.  Plans are underway to conduct a third vigil at the same location on March 5, 2025, which will be the 22nd anniversary of that decision.

“Please make plans now to join next year’s vigil,” stated Bellucci.  “It is important to continue our demands that the Court acknowledge its mistake and overturn Smith v. Doe.”

The Court has made mistakes before, including the decision Plessy v. Ferguson which approved separate but equal education.  The Court overturned that decision 54 years later in Brown v. Board of Education.