Hudson disputes attack ad

Posted April 30, 2014

— Robin Hudson, a state Supreme Court justice up for re-election this year, finds herself battling an attack at accusing her of being unduly sympathetic to child molesters.

The ad is aired by a political action committee known as Justice for All NC but is bankrolled by business interests, ranging form Koch industries to Reynolds American and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

"We want judges to protect us," begins the ad. "When child molesters sued to stop electronic monitoring of their locations, a law that let us track child molesters near schools, playgrounds and day care centers, Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson sided with the predators. Hudson cited a child molester's right to privacy and took the side of the convicted molesters. Justice Robin Hudson: not tough on child molesters, not fair to victims. 

The ad is based on North Carolina v. Bowditch et al, a case the Supreme Court decided in 2010. It involved a 2006 law that required electronic monitoring of those convicted of certain sexual offenses. 

The court upheld the law in a 4-3 decision. Hudson was one of the dissenting justices.

"Of course I didn't side with child molesters. I would never do that," Hudson said this week. "The program in question didn't go far enough to protect children or the constitution."

In her dissent, Hudson cited other court cases that said any additional condition put on a convict after their release has to have "a rational connection to a nonpunitive purpose" and cannot be "excessive with respect to this purpose."

{{cprop name=embed2"}}Hudson argued that the monitoring scheme was an extra punishment being levied on the prisoners after they committed their crime. 

"When weighed against its almost complete lack of efficacy in furthering the purpose of protecting our children,the intrusions of the SBM program become punitive in effect," Hudson wrote at the time. "The physical and practical realities of the SBM program – the size and weight of the ankle bracelet and MTD, the requirement to remain in one place for six hours for daily recharging, the degree to which SBM interferes with everyday work and recreation activities, the degree to which the program impedes enrollees’ freedom of travel, and its invasive requirement for consent to enter an enrollee’s home – transform the effect of the scheme from regulatory to punitive."

Had her view carried the day, the state would have been able to apply monitoring to new offenders but could not have placed the requirement on those already in prison. 

"The evidence in the case was that the program in question did nothing to protect children," she said this week.

But Jay Connaughton, the owner of the firm that produced the ad and who is serving as a spokesman for Justice for All NC, said that Hudson's explanation doesn't wash. 

"Justice Hudson is desperately trying now trying to recreate history by saying she didn’t think the law was tough enough. Really? That’s not what I read in her dissent," Connaughton said, calling the assertion "laughable." 

However, The Winston-Salem Journal explored the monitoring program in a 2012 article. The paper found that the monitoring program does little to keep prisoners from committing new crimes and that "those wearing ankle bracelets aren’t being watched that closely by the state."

Also, Hudson's comments this week are consistent with what she wrote in 2010.

"I conclude only that the retroactive application of these statutes violates the ex post facto clauses of our state and federal constitutions and would therefore prohibit their application solely to those sex offenders who committed their offenses before the effective date of the statute," she wrote in her dissent.


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  • John Gardner May 1, 2014
    user avatar

    I guess only Democratic candidates are "victims".

  • John Gardner May 1, 2014
    user avatar

    Do you think Thom Tillis disputes the attack ad on him. No report found here!

  • Lightfoot3 May 1, 2014

    I base my vote on who does the least amount of attack ads. :)

  • May 1, 2014

    Intelligent folks know and understand by whom and why this ad was run, and will write it off as yet another load of hogwash the right loves to sling. Just look at what happens when they sling it at each other. Let the frivolous lawsuits begin! (Doncha just LOVE how it's always bad for everyone ELSE, but when it involves an actual Republican, then the gloves come off and the lawsuits are fast and furious?)

  • Forthe Newssite May 1, 2014
    user avatar

    ALL of the ads are full of fear mongering, regardless of candidate. NOT ONE OF THEM runs on their own capabilities and/or plans-only on bashing others.

  • BeKind May 1, 2014

    This Ad is horrible. Judge's intentions in applying the law is being misconstrued. NO Judge would be sympathetic to child molesters. Our court officials deserve better respect than this. Judges risk their safety everyday to protect us. Shame on these businesses.

  • tayled May 1, 2014

    Who knows who is telling the truth these days. Politicians will do anything, whether it is true or not, to beat their opponent and many times, the pulbic has no way of finding out the truth. They will say or do anything to get elected.

  • Paul Maxwell Apr 30, 2014
    user avatar

    I have seen the attack ad. It is full of fear-mongering, sound-bite doublespeak; typical of those being funding by the likes of the brothers Koch et.al. It doesn't matter whether the victim of an attack ad is Democrat, Republican, Independent or Martian--self-serving smear campaigns demean our political system, our international standing, and, sadly, the psyche of an entire nation.

  • dwntwnboy2 Apr 30, 2014

    Politics is an ugly, ugly business.

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Apr 30, 2014

    The ads are nasty this year - Thank God for DVR.