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Everything you ever wanted to know about Alabama’s chemical castration law but were afraid to ask.

Posted by Andrew Segal | Jun 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Alabama has a new chemical castration law or the “Hasta Libido law” or the “we're going to juice your oranges” law.

This law is new to Alabama but castration as punishment has been around for millennia.

It's part of a long legal history of “punishing” a body part that causes offense.

Examples of this are found even in the Bible:

“If thy right eye offends thee pluck it out”.

“If thy hand offends, thee cut it off and cast it from thee”.

Under this theory, a thief is punished by cutting off his hand since his hand “caused” the offense.

Slaves who ran away were punished by cutting off their feet or toes; the justification being this body part was the offending part used to run away- of course-despite the justification, it served the practical purpose of making it much harder for a slave to run away.

In America, castration for crime has a long history.

Thomas Jefferson proposed laws to physical castrate as punishment.

California was castrating criminals' generations before Alabama ever even dreamed of it.

But what about Alabama's law?

Alabama's law is that male sex offenders convicted of sexual crimes against children under 13 must be chemically castrated if they are to be released on parole.

There are some of the crazy things about this law:

Men who've been convicted of the most serious sex crimes under Alabama law aren't subject to the law.

Yep, that's right.


Because the law only applies to sex offenders who are subject to parole. Men convicted of the most serious crimes in Alabama face a “roach motel sentence”- they check-in but don't check out; well at least until they observe their entire sentence. Men convicted of these most serious sex crimes never get parole. Since they never get parole, this law doesn't apply to them.

Well, who does the law apply to?

It applies to men, not women.

If a female schoolteacher has sex with little 12-year-old Johnny Holmes, she's not subject to the law. That's so even though there are chemicals known to inhibit a woman's libido.

The law has a narrow bandwidth and only applies to a handful of Alabama crimes.

Specifically, men who've been convicted of the lower-level felonies.

Here are some areas where I think chemical castration may apply:

Child molestation; you know where Chester Molester says “hey kid, here's some candy, climb in my van.”

It also applies to men who “facilitate unlawful sexual conduct of a child using a computer” … the “To Catch A Pedophile” situation.

And there are times you'd think this law applies- but it doesn't:

Say Flash the flasher exposes himself to a seven-year-old girl; the crime is indecent exposure.

If this is the first-time Flash was caught, it's a class A misdemeanor. Flash is not facing a felony and isn't subject chemical castration. If he is convicted a second time, it's still a misdemeanor and Flash and his naughty bits are safe from chemical castration.

Only if Flash, gets convicted of indecent exposure involving a child under 13 and it's his third offense, will the law apply. That's because the third offense for indecent exposure is a class C felony.

Now Flash is subject to the law. Since the law only applies to crimes involving children less than 13, Flash and his McNuggets would've avoided the law if he had flashed a child 13 or above.

Men subject to this law may simply refuse treatment and serve their time to avoid having their uhm, oranges juiced.

The few times the law is imposed it may be challenged since it contains a variety of potential legal problems.

There may be both criminal and civil legal challenges. Making a man submit to a drug with potentially dangerous side effects is asking for litigation.

The law only applies to men. Will there be equal protection challenges? We shall see.

Under the law, the judge decides whether to impose chemical consequences for a crime. Since these are both medical and legal issues, we will probably see challenges on that front as well.

In my view, I wish Alabama had spent money on decent lawyers to advise about this law rather than passing it and assuring that many lawyers will be costing the state of Alabama a fortune in civil lawsuits and criminal litigation in the foreseeable future.

 Of course, if you're facing criminal charges here in North Alabama and you'd like our help, just give us a call. Our contact is here:

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About the Author

Andrew Segal

Andrew Segal is a former judge and prosecutor who now represents the accused as a criminal defense attorney in Huntsville, Alabama, area courts. Andrew graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1982. and Washington College of Law at American University in 1988.


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