A man under a court sentence to spend 15 years as a registered sex offender tried to change his name to match a new “identity” — but got a lesson from the Wisconsin Supreme Court that there might be some sanity left in the legal system after all.
According to The Associated Press and the court’s decision, the now 22-year-old was convicted as a teenager of sexually assaulting another boy, taunting the victim via Facebook and spreading word about the assault in the school they both attended.
The sentence included the man being publicly identified as a sex offender for the next decade and a half, but now he wants a change of identity. Fortunately, the court said “no.”
The convict, identified in the court ruling by his adopted identity of “Ella” and his original initials of “C.G.,” claimed that forcing him to use his original name — the name he was convicted under — amounted to not only a violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech, but also “cruel and unusual punishment” forbidden by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, the AP reported.
The court wasn’t buying it. Wisconsin state law prohibits registered sex offenders from changing their names and that doesn’t change if the offender decides his “sexual identity” has changed, the majority ruled.
The reason a registered sex offender can’t change names should be obvious. Identifying such people is the point of the registry in the first place. Even if a new legal name were placed on the registry instead, it would make for a murkier process in a situation where clarity is crucial.
And in the case at issue, it would be hard to argue it wasn’t important to keep track of the individual in question.
As the court noted, when then 15-year-old now known as “Ella” attacked the 14-year-old victim, identified only as “Alan,” it wasn’t exactly child’s play:
“The facts of the underlying offense are highly relevant. While Ella and Alan were close in age, Alan has autism, was significantly behind in school and is blind in one eye. The sexual assault also involved an element of force; it was a very serious offense. In the words of the circuit court, ‘[t]he serious and forceful nature of this attack should not and cannot be glossed over. The child was physically held down, against his will, with the assistance of an accomplice while [Ella] sat on the child’s legs and pulled his pants and underwear down.’ Mandy placed her hand over Alan’s mouth ‘to prevent him from crying out for help.’ Ella was also significantly larger than Alan. Ella knew what she had done was wrong; she told Alan not to tell anyone. Had Ella been an adult, she would have been guilty of a Class C Felony carrying a maximum penalty of 40 years of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.”
So, if “Ella” had been an adult at the time, the sentence could have been 40 years in prison, not six to 10 months in juvenile detention and 15 years registering as a sex offender.
And now, that convicted criminal is an adult. And not just an average kind of adult who is dealing with the sexual confusion that’s so prevalent in the United States of the 21st century.
C.G.’s size at the time of the attack was not in the court ruling, but the decision notes that a year afterward, he was at least 6 foot 4 inches and about 300 pounds, and possibly 6 foot 5 inches, weighing 345. (It cites two reports with different dimensions.)
But either measure, logic dictates he’s now a towering mass of an adult. By any name, or sexual identity, that’s a large human being.
But hey, he wants to be known as “Ella” now, and who could be afraid of an “Ella”?
As the court ruling noted, nothing in Wisconsin law prevents registered sex offenders from using an alias. So, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Wisconsinite is as free as the wind to wear a dress, sport lengthy tresses and whisper “call me Ella” to strangers all day long.
But there’s no changing the legal name that’s on record with the state’s sex offenders’ registry.
Naturally, considering how absurdly unbalanced public discourse on transgender issues has become, the court’s dissenters brought up completely unrelated issues to try to make their case.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley cited the case of Caitlyn Jenner — the former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner – who could well be the most famous transgender in the country, as well as boxing legend Muhammad Ali — who is doubtless the most famous convert to Islam in American history.
“When Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he did so not only to convey a religious identity, but to shed the ‘slave name’ he was given at birth. Similarly, when Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn, she did so to express an essential piece of her identity — her gender identity. These ‘particularized messages’ are certainly worthy of the label of ‘expressive conduct,’” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote.
Well, Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner might never return to the hero status enjoyed by the athlete who won the Olympic gold medal in the men’s decathlon for the United States in the bicentennial year of 1976, he was never convicted of sexual assault.
And Ali had his share of legal trouble, including a Supreme Court case over defying the draft, but changing his name after a sex assault conviction wasn’t part of it.
(As a side note, it would be interesting to see how Ali would consider the transgender craze, much less the suggestion that he was transgender himself.)
For Americans who’ve watched for the past decade as the country has descended into insanity when it comes to transgender issues, the idea that a sex offender who’s been ordered to be placed on a state registry would be allowed to change his name might have seemed like the final straw.
But the Wisconsin Supreme Court showed there are still elements of sanity left.
Conservatives have to take the “win” where they can.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.