SCARLET LETTER LAW RUNS AMISS

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A woman from Orlando, Florida wanted to notify others that she was an organ donor and she expected to have that signification on her driving license. Instead, the state negligently imprinted “Sexual Predator” in blue capital letters on the license. Tammy Lemasters had the license for a few days before she noticed the error. She has threatened to sue the state Department of Highway Safety if they fail to remove the notification and take steps to ensure that someone else does not suffer from similar occurrences. Lemaster’s lawyer, John Phillips, said he will not file the suit if the state takes appropriate steps to correct the problem for his client and to correct such future errors for others in the future. At one Department of Motor Vehicle location, a banner reads, “Serving you is our only business”- this does not seem to be the case in this instance. It is unknown how many other errors the department has made over the years, however, in one other instance, a blind man’s license/ID incorrectly designated his status as a sex offender. He was treated rudely by pharmacists and other business-type concerns and he did not know why until he and his brother attempted to enter a military base and was detained; the military then explained that his license/ID had been stained with the false “Sexual Offender” notation.

The authorization for placing the information on someone’s license comes from legislation dubbed the “Scarlet Letter Law”. The bill has drawn criticism in the past. At one time, the same law provided that single women planning to put their children up for adoption had to first publish their sexual histories in a newspaper, if they did not know the identities of the father- that part of the Act was later repealed. Other provisions of the law continue to be in force.

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