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New NARSOL suit filed in Illinois

On Friday, January 19, 2024, NARSOL filed a federal lawsuit in Illinois challenging the constitutionality of a parole restriction that prohibits individuals with convictions for sexual offenses from using erectile dysfunction medication. The two plaintiffs in the case are NARSOL on behalf of its Illinois members and Jason Ridley, an individual on mandatory supervised release in Illinois who seeks to use ED medications to counter the common side effects caused by prostate cancer surgery. Mr. Ridley is also a member of NARSOL. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are Mark Weinberg and Adele Nicholas. The case is The National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws et al. v. Hughes, #24-cv-50025 (Northern District of Illinois). Plaintiffs seek to certify the case as a class
action.

Plaintiffs allege that the challenged statute (e.g., 730 ILCS 5/3-3-7(a)(7.10))
interferes with fundamental liberty interests—namely, intimate aspects of
sexuality and private medical decisions—and as such violates the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The significance of
the lawsuit goes beyond the substantive legal claims at issue.  This is so
because, under current law in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, individuals
cannot challenge statutory parole restrictions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 but can
only challenge them via a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Habeas corpus petitions are often an inadequate remedy when a parole
condition violates constitutional rights because, before bringing a habeas
petition, the plaintiff must first exhaust state court remedies, which can take
years. Moreover, a plaintiff in a habeas case cannot bring a class action
lawsuit and cannot recover attorneys’ fees from the state. The federal courts
of appeals are split on the issue, and Plaintiffs seek to have the Seventh
Circuit come in line with the other circuits that allow such challenges under 42
U.S.C. § 1983.

Mark Weinberg

Written by 

Mark is an attorney in Illinois and sits on NARSOL's board of directors. He has successfully litigated for registrants in Illinois in areas of residency restrictions and various parole restrictions imposed on individuals convicted of sexual offenses, including the Illinois Department of Corrections no-contact policy with one’s own minor chldren. He has also brought three class actions lawsuits that in combination have undone the Illinois Department of Corrections policy of holding individuals convicted of sexual offenses in prison past their outdates due to their inability to find compliant housing.

One Thought to “New NARSOL suit filed in Illinois”

  1. AvatarTim in WI

    I can appreciate Mark’s effort in Illinois. While I was born in the hospital just over the northern border, my childhood was as lived in Illinois. My mom lived there nearly all her life.
    Illinois however has a very long tradition of corruption in it’s politics. Thus in my opinion its a shambles when it comes to constitutional treatment of it’s citizens. Illinois was the first state to begin with residency restrictions for sex offenders, including bans on home ownership if the residence was too close to a school. The very fact Mr. Weinberg has to inform the state of Illinois that their politicians are behaving in an unconstitutional manner says a lot about their collective reverence for the constitution itself. Indeed Illinois has lost sight of it completely.

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