Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ohio County Sheriffs Rape Sex Offenders

Notice:
Ohio County Sheriffs are now imposing mandatory fees (up to $100 per year)on those who are required to register on sex offender registries across the state. See also "Forcing Sex Offenders to Pay Fees".

We obtained this letter from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office from a reader:

The imposition of fees on the 30,000+ registered sex offenders in the state now debunks the false notion that the retro-active Adam Walsh Act lifetime registration laws are not "punitive" in nature, as courts across the state have ruled. Fining citizens up to $100 per year for each forced registration reporting is indeed punitive...without question. When will our state courts recognize this fact? What happens if a sex offender does not have $25 at the time of registration? Will they then be denied the ability to register until they pay (thereby putting them in violation of registration laws and exposing them to incarceration)?

Where are the Ohio indigency policies for those who are unable to pay these fees? How many registered sex offenders will be imprisoned because they do not have the $25 fee to pay at the required time of registration? And where are the attorneys and civil rights organizations who should be suing the state over these imposed fees?

WDTN.com : Sex offenders Will Pay Fee to Register

Constitutionalfights spoke with the Montgomery County Public Defender office and the Montgomery County Sheriff office today:

The Public Defender is awaiting direction from the Ohio Public Defender office. We will keep you posted.
The Sheriff SORN office states that the only exemption to these imposed fees is providing proof that an individual falls below 125% of the poverty level (approx $9735 per year for one person, gross).
Any inability to make fee payments will be deferred for one year, after which they will be forwarded to the Montgomery County Prosecuter for prosecution (bill collection). Once this collection process begins, an individual would have 90 days to make full payment. Constitutionalfights never condones violation of any law, but neither do we condemn acts of civil disobedience. For instance, if every sex offender in the state refused to pay these fines for the one year period, it would certainly put the County Sheriff's departments on notice, would heighten public awareness of the issue as it would become a state-wide news story, and would put the squeeze on the already-cash strapped Sheriff Departments across the state

Monday, April 27, 2009

OH Appeals Court Ruling on AWA

CIVIL APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, CASE NO. CA2008-05-057
Case No. 2007-CVH-02365 (Underlying Case No. 1996-CR-05237)

Barry C. Moran vs, State of Ohio (PDF)

Petitioner-appellant, Barry C. Moran, appeals the decision of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas denying his petition challenging the constitutionality of his sexual offender reclassification.

Of course, these cowardly judges ruled against the appeal on every count, refusing once again to acknowledge that these new laws constitute "punishment" under the law:
"Ohio's Adam Walsh Act is not a criminal, punitive statutory scheme and does
not constitute punishment for purposes of the double jeopardy clauses."


Try living under these restrictions, Mr. Justices, and then tell us that it's not punishment!

Streaker or Sex Offender ?

dailycamera.com : ACLU lobbying for changes in nudity laws - Pranksters or sex offenders?

In the wake of last year's naked pumpkin run, when a dozen "Naked Pumpkin Runners" were ticketed for indecent exposure on Halloween, public frustration with Colorado's nudity laws came boiling up. Now, the American Civil Liberty's Union is lobbying for changes that would keep streakers off of sex-offender lists and protect nudity as a constitutionally sheltered freedom of expression.

Public nudity in Boulder isn't exactly uncommon: Last year, more than 60 cyclists biked bare to protest oil-burning cars; a CU student ran naked across campus while tripping on acid, and another, also tripping, jumped naked out of a car and rolled around in the street; a 55-year-old man took several nude jogs along Folsom Street; and a teenager streaked the Boulder-Fairview football game.

But how the nude offenders are ticketed by police -- if they are ticketed at all -- can vary widely, resulting in either a relatively minor offense or life-changing registration as a sex offender.

ohmygov.com : Streaker or Sex Offender? Laws Don't Always Differentiate.

Take the case of Boulder's annual "Naked Pumpkin Run," a bizarre if harmless Halloween antic, where last year a dozen participants were cited for indecent exposure. Colordado's Daily Camera reports that under state law, this is a class 1 misdemeanor and requires registering as a sex offender, whereas the charge of public indecency is a class 1 petty offense, on a par with littering or stealing a book from a library. The public indecency charge doesn't carry sex offender status.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sex Offender Yard Signs Unconstitutional

kansascity.com : Kansas judge's order for sex-offender signs is overturned.

A state appeals court has overturned a judge's order that a Hudson man post signs around his house proclaiming that he is a sex offender. The three-judge panel ruled Friday that Stafford County District Judge Ron L. Svaty overstepped his authority last year by placing the requirement on 73-year-old Leroy Schad.

The ruling said public humiliation such as signs doesn't help rehabilitate sexual offenders.
The appeals court also instructed Svaty to reconsider the five years probation he imposed on Schad, noting that the sentencing guidelines called for three, and allow Schad to leave his house to buy groceries.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Iowa Sex Offender Bill Passes Senate

iowaindependent.com : Sex offender bill passes Senate unanimously, but could face GOP opposition in House.

Iowa’s sex offender laws would no longer include residency restrictions, instead using exclusionary zones and better tracking of individuals convicted of sexual crimes, following a unanimous vote in the state Senate Thursday night.

Senate File 340 ends the law banning some sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care. The new law would create exclusionary zones where registered sex offenders would be prohibited from working or visiting without permission.

“This legislation is strongly supported by Iowa prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and victims’ rights groups,” said Sen. Keith Kreiman, D-Bloomfield, who managed the bill on the Senate floor. “It increases supervision of violent offenders, keeps sex offenders from hanging around schools and other places where children gather, and improves the safety of our communities.”

This bill also imposes annual fees on former offenders up to $100 per year for life.

Update 25 April 2009 : Iowaindependent.com : House overwhelmingly passes sex offender bill.

The Iowa House passed revisions to the state’s sex offenders laws this afternoon by a vote of 93-3.

The bill, Senate File 340, changes Iowa’s law banning some sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care and replaces it with exclusionary zones where registered sex offenders would be prohibited from working or visiting without permission.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Forcing Sex Offenders to Pay Fees

WLWT.com ( Cincinnati) : Sex Offenders Must Pay To Register In Butler Co. -
New Policy Allowed Under Ohio Law, Sheriff Says.

Sex offenders will be required to pay each time they appear for their court-ordered registration, under a new Butler County policy.

Sheriff Richard Jones said that convicted sex offenders will be billed $25 for their initial registration, each time they register a new address with the court, or verify their current address.

The policy, which goes into effect June 1, is allowed under Ohio law, Jones said, as long as offenders are not billed more than $25 per registration or $100 per year.

Now, not only are the rights of 600,000 sex offenders in this nation being violated, but "fines" are also being imposed. Yet, the courts still refuse to see any of this as "punishment"! Understand that these laws are making it virtually impossible for sex offenders to find jobs, earn money or find legal housing. Yet, many counties across the state are forcing former offenders to pay fees each time they are required to register,up to four times each year, for life.

Police Favor Sex Offender Law Changes

www.ottumwa.com (Iowa) : New restrictions could ease residency limits on sex offenders.

Area law enforcement officials like the fact that legislators are considering changes to the state’s restrictions on where convicted sex offenders can live. Frankly, they don’t think the current law accomplishes much. The law is commonly called the “2,000-foot law,” and it prohibits the majority of sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, day care centers and similar sites. But it says nothing about where offenders can go.

In many areas that means sex offenders are effectively banned from living within city limits. Law enforcement has long said that leads to people lying about their residences. That’s important because both Iowa and federal laws require convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement. If they lie on that registration, it makes it that much more difficult for officers to track the offenders.

All that could change if legislators in Des Moines adopt changes currently being debated. The new restrictions lift the residency limits for most offenders, and institutes new restrictions that bar convicted sex offenders from going to parks, schools, and other locations where children congregate. Wapello County Sheriff Don Kirkendall likes the changes. “I am in full support,” he said. “I can see it making our job a lot easier.”
Kirkendall said that county law enforcement has handled more sex offenders than it has historically because so many are forced out of cities. That increases the workload for sheriff’s departments.

Appanoose County Sheriff Gary Anderson attended Monday evening’s public hearing at the capital and spoke to legislators in favor of the new changes. He said the proposed law gives officers “better tools” to handle the presence of sex offenders in the community.

While the law enforcement community broadly supports the changes, no one is certain whether legislators will vote to enact them. (Contact the Iowa Legislature!)

“Everyone thought before that [sex offender legislation] was going to be a help,” he said. “It wasn’t.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Common Sense Places Children At Risk

SEX OFFENDER RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS: HOW COMMON SENSE PLACES CHILDREN AT RISK.
Drexel Law Review, Earle Mack School of Law, by Lindsay A. Wagner

INTRODUCTION
Sex offender residency restrictions (SORRs) are a manifestation of the American public’s retributivist attitudes and biased fears —attitudes and fears that ultimately result in ineffective policy choices. Over the last quarter century in the United States there has been a reemergence of “just deserts” as a generalized theory of policy. This retributivist policy is particularly salient in recent civil sanctions levied against sex offenders after their release from prison. Sex offenders, as a group, incite the public’s fear and hatred, and politicians seeking to curry electorate favor often support increasingly harsh sanctions against these “political pariahs of our day.” Most recently, in an attempt to keep communities safe, at least twenty-two states E.2d 69 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008). and hundreds of local municipalities have placed severe restrictions on where sex offenders may live after being released from prison. These restrictions typically exclude sex offenders from living within 1000 to 2500 feet of schools, parks, day care centers, and other areas where children congregate. However, research indicates that these fear-driven laws are ill-advised policy choices based on faulty reasoning. They aggravate recidivism risk factors, and hence may actually make communities less safe.

By framing these public safety laws in the context of modern criminal policy, this paper highlights the possible mechanisms responsible for the restrictions’ development and proliferation despite the growing body of research evidencing their counter-productivity. Understanding the context in which these laws have developed will help shed light on the most useful avenues of sex offender legislation reform. Instead of focusing on the constitutional rights of sex offenders, as most legal scholars have done, strategies for sex offender legislation reform need to focus on uniting the political and legal aspects of the reform effort. More effective reform can be sought through a better informed public, rather than a protective judiciary.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Appeals Court Upholds Sex Offender Law

morningjournal.com (Akron, OH) : Appeals court upholds sex offender registration law.

The 9th District Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a state sex offender registration and notification law that is being challenged by four Lorain County men. The men argued the Adam Walsh Act is unconstitutional as applied retroactively to those who were first classified under an earlier version of the law.

The new law, which took affect last year, automatically classifies offenders in one of three tiers by their crime without considering the likelihood of whether they would reoffend. The law applies retroactively to offenders, many of whom were nearly finished with their reporting requirements under the old law.

Ruling on a lawsuit from Ronald Brooks, Abraham Bowen, Jeffrey York and Steve Keller, a visiting judge deemed that the law's residency restrictions — prohibiting offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school — are unconstitutional. The Lorain County prosecutor's office appealed the ruling and the men's attorney cross-appealed, looking to deem the entire law unconstitutional.

The 9th District court sided with prosecutors, stating the men could not challenge the residency restrictions because they were not affected by them, as their homes were not located within 1,000 feet of a school. The court's ruling also stated sexual offenders only have a case if they can show they were deprived of a protected liberty or property interest as a result of the registration requirement, which they had not done.

The 9th District cited Ohio Supreme Court decisions that stated felons have no right to expect their conduct will not thereafter be made the subject of legislation.

Attorney Jack Bradley, who represents the men, said he will review the decision and decide if they have a right to appeal to the high court, which he does not believe has made a final ruling on the Adam Walsh Act. Bradley, who represents about 50 offenders who are challenging the law, said their case could possibly be consolidated with other similar cases.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Reader Writes...

One of the many emails we receive from readers of our blog:

"Some things that are not always raised about these laws that our politicians pass for their votes into office:

These laws remind me of the tracking and incarceration of the Jewish people during Hitlers rule over Germany. Discrimination also comes to mind, which by the way, we do have laws in this country against discrimination in all forms. What about my rights to privacy, which the privacy act was passed in this country so we can maintain our privacy. I answer my door several times a year between my annual registration date by any and all law enforcement offices (seems like it's over supervision). I don't have a social life. The only thing might be an occasional night at the movie theater. I feel very uncomfortable at times even going to the store. I don't mean to cry, but I did my time and the punishment should be finished, but it doesn't end. It is a constant mental battle to maintain a normal way of life. The policy makers are making that even more difficult for us out here living through these laws, and I am not alone feeling this way. A lot of us feel like we are targets as well to any kind of vigilant(e) individuals. I like hearing the good news you have on your web site, it gives us (Registered Sex Offenders) hope that there are people out there with down to earth common sense. Thank You!"

Parental Control is Best Prevention

tribune-democrat.com : Parental control is best prevention against sex predators.

Expect a tidal wave of anger from politicians over a federal judge’s ruling that one of those oh-so-popular sex-offender residency laws has been ruled unlawful. The judge ruled that a restriction set up in Allegheny County amounted to “after-the-fact punishment” and runs contrary to state laws designed to reintegrate and rehabilitate sex offenders. But not all anger is created equal, and beware of those who are using your fear and outrage as a tool for political gain.

The Allegheny County ordinance is not that different from many that have popped up in our region, with registered sex offenders not permitted to live within one-half mile of schools, community centers, public parks and licensed day-care facilities. Those local ordinances now face repeal or lose-in-court scenarios. Frankly, it was only a matter of time.

Such residency laws, while well-intended by some, were obvious constitutional losers.

Before you start to wonder if I am siding with sex offenders, think for a moment if you are not the one being exploited here. I am a father of three sons, and their safety is foremost in my life.

But bad law is bad law
– except that in this case, bad law makes for good political traction even though it does little in the way of public safety. Worse yet, it erodes your best weapons in this battle:

Vigilance and education.

Let’s say a sex offender can not live near a park. He can, however, live far away and show up there. He can live away from a elementary school, but buy a ticket to the school play or go to the public pool.

Do you really think these ordinances mean there are no registered sex offenders at the grocery stores, the shopping malls, the movies, hockey games, concerts, playgrounds or parks where our kids gather?

I realize this offers little solace for my fellow parents concerned for the safety of their children. My advice to you is to stay close to your kids in such places and talk to them about the dangers and what to do if approached.

That is a real line of defense – not some silly ordinance meant to grab a headline.

Good laws make sense, can be enforced and truly offer an improvement to the public welfare.

Residency restrictions on sexual predators just do not pass that test. They do, however, grab a headline or two and make the political predators among us salivate because of the public approval they will get for stopping these monsters, even though they know their weapon in this battle is an illusion.

Here is another fact you need to keep in mind when considering the real worth of these restrictions: Most children who are abused know their abuser. They trust their abuser.

More than one tortured parent has wrestled with the thought that maybe they should have known that the person who hurt their baby was not some stranger at the playground but a friend or relative who was willingly let in the front door.

Instead of knee-jerk residency ordinance restrictions, how about council funding information packets on signs of abuse in your kids and give them to parents? How about demanding that the state send in an expert or two, and have a seminar free of charge for families? Maybe ask the hospitals, or local abuse experts and the district attorney to hold public forums on what to look for and how to report your concerns?
Has your local police department worked with your school to talk to kids about what to do if approached or touched? Do you know how to use the existing Megan’s law Web site?
These are meaningful efforts.

Someone willing to take your child into the back of his or her van and do unspeakable things is not worried about a borough ordinance.

This is not like cracking down on shoplifting. A convicted sex offender has already hurt a child and gone to prison. You think he fears township supervisors?

But the political predators are about to come rushing forward with moral outrage, declaring that they will fight to keep “some” neighborhoods free of sexual predator residents (who are still free to visit anytime). That is what these ordinances amount to.

Beware those who fight for such rules while not simultaneously offering you real help.
They are running for re-election or planning a run for an even higher office.
Better to do something rather than nothing, you say?

Not so. Not when that something is bound to lose in court, open your municipality to a lawsuit with money going to a sex offender discriminated against while at the same time allowing your children to be tucked into bed under a false blanket of security.

No, I do not want a sex offender living next to me.
But one has a moral obligation to ask that even if such an ordinance could demand that such people live someplace else, where is someplace else and how does it come that there are no children there?

Indeed, our moral obligation is to all children, not just those within a half mile of a licensed day-care center.

Meeting that obligation is a matter of education and awareness, not silly rules that pander to our fears and, in some cases, are crafted to turn that fear into political gain.

Miami's Sex Offender Dilemma

Miamiherald : Broward faces knotty issue of sex offenders.

A 2,500-foot rule that would essentially eliminate all feasible housing for registered sex offenders.

The commissioners heard a series of experts warn about the folly of a Draconian residency restriction that force sex offenders into homelessness. They were told that offenders forced into unstable living conditions become more difficult to supervise, more likely to abscond, more likely to re-offend.

Lori Butts, a lawyer and psychologist who runs a South Florida sex offender treatment program, warned that stable housing was necessary for their jobs, monitoring and treatment. Banishing them to live under bridges, she warned, would leave sex offenders with ``nothing to live for. Nothing to lose.''

During the two-hour hearing on Tuesday, no one pretended that public safety would be much enhanced if sex offenders were banned from residing within 2,500 feet of a school, park, playground or school bus stop.

And Broward sees the ugly conundrum Miami-Dade County has created for itself with the 2,500-foot radius -- 63 sex offenders forced to live in under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

But none of the well-reasoned arguments addressed the peculiar dilemma facing the Broward Commission. Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and most of Broward's municipalities already embraced the get-tough 2,500-ft. restriction. ''I've heard a lot said about these laws being irrational and unconstitutional,'' Broward Commissioner John Rodstrom said. ``Maybe I tend to agree with them. They are probably irrational and maybe unconstitutional.

''But the problem I have is that everyone else has enacted this law,'' Rodstrom said. The perverse effect has been to convert the few remaining slivers of unincorporated Broward into havens for registered sex offenders.

Juan Formoso, the president of Broadview Park, an unincorporated Broward neighborhood with about 6,000 residents, told the commission that the number of registered sex offenders living in his community has risen from 30 to 104 in three years.

''I believe [the 2,500-foot restriction] only gives people a false sense of security,'' Commissioner Kristin Jacobs said. ``But it exists. And it constricts where sex offenders can live. It has concentrated them in our unincorporated areas.''

The commission, reluctantly, enacted its own 2,500-foot rule but only for 90 days, hoping that in the meantime a county task force can come up with a more rational solution. But it's doubtful that any one city or county commission -- however enlightened -- can fix this escalating mess unilaterally.

State Sen. Dave Aronberg, the Fort Myers Democrat, might have the answer. He has authored a tough, rational bill creating ''a single, consistent 1,500 foot residency restriction throughout Florida.'' It includes ''child protection zones,'' prohibiting sex offenders from loitering 300 feet from schools, parks, libraries, bus stops.

Aronberg's office said his proposal, ``backed by law enforcement, prosecutors and child safety advocates, ends the confusion caused by 129 different ordinances and will eliminate the homeless sex offender problem that endangers public safety.''

Aronberg's bill would also give South Florida a way out of an embarrassing dilemma.

Bill Would Expand Vermont Sex Registry

Rutlandherald (Vermont) : Bill Would Expand Vermont Sex Registry.
Timesargus : Expanded Sex Registry Sought For Vermont.

Proposed legislation would quintuple the number of people on Vermont's Internet sex-offender registry and add the home addresses of residents convicted of certain crimes.

The bill, which passed through the Senate last week and is set for debate in a House committee today, expands the list of crimes that make sex offenders eligible for the Internet registry. Vermont currently has about 2,400 sex offenders on its statewide registry, but only about 400 meet the threshold required to land on the more public Internet registry. The Senate bill would add another 1,600 names to the Web. The bill also would revise the registry to include the home addresses of registered sex offenders. The existing registry lists only the offenders' hometowns. (This only serves to promote vigilante violence against these people)

The committee did add certain crimes – such as lewd and lascivious conduct, second-offense voyeurism, and all sexual assaults – to the list of crimes that would land offenders on the publicly accessible Internet database.

Allen Gilbert, head of the Vermont ACLU, said there's no data to support a link between bigger registries and better public protection. He points to a 2005 legislative study, conducted months after Vermont first implemented its Internet registry, that found "no studies or statistics regarding a correlation between the establishment of sex offender Internet registries and rates of recidivism."

"We've always contended that Internet registries are a bad idea, mainly because there's no evidence that they work," Gilbert said. "They provide an illusion of public security, and we also think they stigmatize offenders, thereby making it difficult for them to be assimilated into society again."

Gilbert also opposes the inclusion of home addresses on the online registry. In 2006, two men were gunned down in their Maine homes by a 20-year-old Canada man who reportedly targeted them after finding their names and locations on the state's Internet sex-offender registry. Gilbert said the practice of including offenders' home addresses risks similar vigilantism in Vermont. "We think it's a really bad idea," Gilbert said.

Retroactively applying new Internet registry protocols to previously adjudicated cases, according to Gilbert, could be constitutionally questionable. "We think it is indeed a punishment and should not be applied to people who were convicted prior to the time when the provision goes into effect," Gilbert said.

Adding so many more offenders to a sex offender registry is not better ; it dilutes the purpose of the registry by including many people who are not at-risk of re-offending, and it raises the public hysteria while actually giving them a false sense of security

NCAA Football Sex Offender Cannot Leave State

kstp.com (Minneapolis): Dominic Jones's appeal scheduled for Thursday.

Dominic Jones, the former Gopher football player was convicted of criminal sexual conduct. Jones was released from the Hennepin County workhouse last month after serving eight months for a sex crime against a woman at a party in 2007. Also in March, a judge denied Jones's request to leave Minnesota for one day to try out for the NFL. Prosecutors argued that as an 'untreated sex offender,' Jones should not be allowed to leave the state.
(The point of this posting is to demonstrate that there are thousands of people on sex offender registries who are not only the "monsters" you hear about on your local news.)

Iowa Legislators Deal on Sex Offender Measure

desmoinesregister.com : Legislators reach deal on sex offender measure.

A new version of Senate File 340 given Wednesday to The Des Moines Register would create work restrictions and "exclusionary zones" for child sex offenders, prohibiting them from being in several places - schools, libraries, child care sites - where children are gathered.

Sex offenders also would be required to submit more information for placement on the state's sex offender registry, such as the address of their employers. "It will get us closer, but we won't be completely in compliance" with the Walsh Act, said Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield. (not one state has been able to comply)

The bill would also call for a higher, $250 fee that offenders must pay in order to bolster registry maintenance and help finance a court technology fund. (Forcing people to pay fees is punishment!)

Sen. Pat Ward, a West Des Moines Republican who is serving on a bipartisan subcommittee crafting the bill, said the measure amounted to a big improvement of existing law. It does more to restrict where sex offenders go, not necessarily where they sleep, she said.

The new measure would require any child sex offender who wants to visit a school, library or child care center to first obtain written permission from administrators. It would also prevent them from loitering or sitting in cars near those places. (So if you're a sex offender and your child gets sick or there is a family emergency, you are legally prohibited from picking them up without written permission)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oprah and the Adam Walsh Act

Sadly, there is not anything we can do to compete with her national exposure, as I am sure she will have thousands of people calling D.C. in a panic.

Unfortunately, she surely doesn't know the facts regarding this issue. She is urging funding for an Act which ruins the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and their families ; and one which has multiple Constitutional problems. If you are an Oprah follower, perhaps you can post or email her website.


Follow up (April 20) : Congratulations to the many readers who have posted messages on the Oprah megasite opposing the Adam Walsh Act. We can each do our parts and our hats are off to those who helped in this case.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fearful Mother Panics About Sex Offenders

www.journal-news.com (Ohio): Mother urges stricter guidelines on sex offenders.

Kristi Benton won’t let her 11-year-old son walk behind her home on Woodtrail Drive to visit his dad by himself. (97% of sex assaults on children are committed by family or acquaintances)

She’s fearful of a convicted Tier III sex offender living near her condo, which is a few hundred feet from the Fairfield Aquatics Center. She asked council to support Ohio House Bill 11, which would expand Sexual Offender Registration and Notification law restrictions. The proposed law would prohibit convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 of where children frequent or linger — like a recreation center, playground or pool. Only accredited day cares and schools are protected under the current law.

She also lied about sex offender recidvism statistics (see U.S. Dept of Justice Data here).

Her email is written in the story if you would like to contact her. And we have previously urged all readers to contact Ohio House members to object to these two bills.

MO Supreme Court Related Rulings

cw11tv.com (St. Louis) : Missouri Supreme court upholds 2005 child-visitation law for sex offenders.

The state Supreme Court has upheld a 2005 law prohibiting child sex offenders from having unsupervised visits with their children.

The unanimous ruling Tuesday reverses the decision of a Cole County judge who had struck down the law as it applied to a divorced sex offender seeking time alone with his two children.

cw11tv.com (St. Louis) : Mo. Supreme Court says psychologist licensure cannot stop hearing for sex offender.

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled against a sex offender seeking to avoid further confinement by challenging his psychological evaluation as a "sexually violent predator."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Notify Police 15 days Before You Move to City

wvgazette.com (W.Va.-AP) - Sex offenders who plan to live in Weirton will have to notify police 15 days before they move to the city.

An ordinance approved Monday by City Council requires the advance notification. It went into effect immediately after passage. Violators face fines of $250 to $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail. The old ordinance required sex offenders to register within 15 days of entering the city.

Now ask yourself; how many people moving to this city will know this law in advance of living there?

Monday, April 13, 2009

IN : Sex Recidivism Rates Low

ktonline.com (Kokomo, IN) : Recidivism rates falling.

Recidivism rate over the past three years has declined, the Indiana Department of Correction reported. (PDF report here)

"The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in
the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements
that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and
residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment
of a new sex crime is extremely low."

For offenders released in 2005, only 37.4 percent had returned to prison by 2008, which is lower than the 2007 recidivism rate of 37.8 percent, according to the IDOC. (This includes all offenders, not sex offenders)

In addition, one statistic regarding a class of offenders stands out — the recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05 percent, one of the lowest in the nation.

This report is further proof that the statistics you hear spouted on TV that sex offenders have the highest recidivism rates of any offender class, is a lie. Also see U.S. Department of Justice statistics here, 3 to 5%.

Most Sex Cases Involve Minors

baycitytribune.com (Texas) : Most sex assault cases involve minors.

Det. Vaughn Dierlam said the majority of the sexual assault cases that cross his desk do not involve "a stranger jumping out of the bushes and attacking."

According to Dierlam, the most prevalent form of sexual assault in Bay City is minors having unconsensual sex with an adult partner. We have a lot of minors having (what the law sees as unconsensual) sex with older boyfriends and girlfriends and that is a felony."

"There are more and more 18-year-old kids who are going to registered and labeled a sex offender for the rest of their life because they slept with their 15-year-old girlfriend," said Dierlam.

OK Reform Sex Offender Tier System

newsok.com (Oklahoma) : Tier drop - State should revisit sex offender rosters.

When the Legislature passed a law two years ago creating a three-tiered system for rating sex offenders (a.k.a. Adam Walsh Act) , a veteran Tulsa police officer warned it would be bad news. He was right.

In advance of the law taking effect in November 2007, Sgt. Gary Stansill, a sex crimes officer, said the language was too broad because it would wind up placing too many offenders in the tier reserved for the worst offenders. Sure enough, two years later the state has 6,084 registered sex offenders and 5,026 of them are on the list for life.

The Oklahoman’s Jay Marks reported recently that since the new law went on the books, the number of offenders in the worst tier — the lifetime registration list — has doubled. That means these people must forever register as sex offenders when they move into a new city. Of course they must disclose their criminal histories on job applications. "Sex offender” ensures a lifetime of menial work, if they’re lucky.

That sort of burden should of course be borne by pedophiles and the worst sex offenders. It should not be borne by people who commit much less serious offenses that are deemed sex crimes.

In 2007, an official with the Oklahoma Sex Offender Management Team said he felt the public would likely favor lawmakers changing the laws "to make more sense and to protect children, because the laws as they are written are not protecting children.” No doubt that’s still the case. The Legislature should give this issue another look.

Ex-Stepdad of Slain Girl : Guilty of Child Porn

dallasnews.com : Ex-stepdad of slain girl pleads to porn charge.

Now, why isn't this story being given more widespread news coverage ????
This girl's killing spurred months of news and forced new sex offender laws in Vermont.
Now comes the news that she was murdered by her own uncle and her step-dad had masses of child porn.
Which sex offender law would have prevented this?

The former stepfather of a 12-year-old girl killed in Vermont last year pleaded guilty to transportation of child pornography under an agreement signed by a federal judge Monday. Raymond Gagnon will be sentenced to at least five years in prison during a hearing July 10, according to the agreement signed by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez. Gagnon could get up to 20 years in prison.

The FBI searched Gagnon's home after his 12-year-old former stepdaughter, Brooke Bennett, disappeared in Vermont last summer.

A 14-year-old girl told authorities at the time that Brooke was going to be initiated into a "program for sex," something the teenager had been involved in since she was 9. Brooke was found dead a week later. Authorities say she had been drugged and raped.

Brooke's uncle, convicted sex offender Michael Jacques, has been charged in her kidnapping, rape and death.

Gagnon (Ex step dad) was initially charged with obstruction of justice in Brooke's disappearance and death but federal authorities later dropped the count. In the plea agreement, Gagnon admitted to having hundreds of images and video files of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including sexual acts with adults. Gagnon collected many of the images when he was living in Alabama, before moving to Texas, according to the document.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama's Sex Offender Brother Denied Visa

News Of The World (UK) : President Barack Obama's half brother was refused a visa to enter the UK after being accused of an attempted sex attack on a young girl in Berkshire. Eagle-eyed immigration officials at East Midlands Airport, using the latest biometric tests, discovered he was linked to an incident here last November. The hi-tech database revealed that Samson - who manages a mobile phone shop just outside Nairobi - was the same man arrested by British police after he approached a group of young girls, including a 13 year-old, and allegedly tried to sexually assault one of them. The White House was informed and a Home Office source told the News of the World: "This was obviously an extremely sensitive issue when it was flashed up by the database.

Note: The point of this posting is not to make a political attack - we post this because it relates to sex offender laws. Perhaps this news will shed more light on the issue and make more people aware that anyone's loved-one or relative can land on these sex offender registries. Yes, one day you could wake up to learn that someone YOU love just became one of those hated sex-offender monsters!

Harsh Federal Law on Shaky Ground

forensicpsychologist.blogspot.com : Harsh federal law on shaky scientific ground.

Did you know that each year, about 10,000 children will have to register as sex offenders for life?

That's part of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, embedded in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act passed by the U.S. Congress two years ago. Under SORNA, these arrested juveniles will be subject to warrantless searches for the rest of their lives, despite the fact that as kids they did not have the same types of due process rights that protect adults in criminal court.

Meanwhile, other aspects of SORNA face challenges, and a few such challenges are headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Specifically, legal challenges assert that SORNA exceeds federal rights by encroaching on state and local decision-making.

As summarized in the current issue of the American Bar Association journal, at least two courts have sided with critics and invalidated some or all of the registry law, and in a third case the new law has been put on hold until arguments are heard. (I reported on one of those cases, U.S. v. Waybright, back in August – the blog post with links is here.)

SORNA-style databases are already being extended to domestic violence offenders, and if they are upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court they are likely to extend even further (to drunk driving, animal abuse, drug offenders, and others) .That is the conclusion of Wayne A. Logan, a law professor at Florida State University and author of the forthcoming book Knowledge as Power: A History of Criminal Registration Laws in America.

So, warn your kids now: Don't ever get arrested. You may be publicly stigmatized - and perhaps even subject to warrantless searches - for the rest of your life.

Do All Sex Offenders Deserve Scarlet Letter?

gazette.com (Colorado) : Do all sex offenders deserve a Scarlet Letter?

There are about 11,000 names on Colorado's sex offender registry. The burgeoning list is growing difficult to manage and just about everyone agrees some of the names don't belong on it, but don't look for changes soon. The support groups for sex offenders don't have much clout.

Colorado Attorney General and former 4th Judicial District Attorney John Suthers acknowledged there are some who don't belong on the list. "There's an issue on the periphery, but I don't want to overstate it," he said. "What's driving the numbers is we have a lot of sex offenders."

"When we enacted some of this stuff we didn't look at the unintended consequences," Dell
volunteers for Colorado CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants) said.

Colorado is one of many states that will not be able to meet a July 1 federal deadline for implementing the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006. Suthers confirmed Colorado asked the U.S. Department of Justice for a deadline extension. California has decided it cannot afford to track everyone on a list created by a strict ballot initiative in 2006.

"What we really want do is protect people," said Chris Lebanov-Rostovsky of the state's Division of Criminal Justice. "Let's make sure that we classify these people based on risk."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Equal Protection Under the Constitution?

There have been several news articles and editorials lately discussing "sex offender residency restrictions". Often they discuss the practicality of 1000 ft vs 2500 ft. barrier lines, or the possibility of making bus stops, parks or other public places (such as beaches or water parks) off-limits to anyone with a sex offense on their record. These discussions miss the main over-riding point in this topic of discussion; The Constitution!

What other group of citizens in this nation's history has it been "okay" to banish from large areas of our cities and neighborhoods?

Perhaps we should ban repeat drunk drivers from living within 2000 feet of any establishment which provides alcohol. Or shall we make it illegal for any wife beater from living near a woman? Let us banish any convicted drug offender from living near a pharmacy or hospital where drugs are kept. And prohibiting anyone convicted of animal abuse from living near a residence with a household pet is a good start, too.

The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV. In other words, the laws of a state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. Generally, the question of whether the equal protection clause has been violated arises when a state grants a particular class of individuals the right to engage in an activity yet denies other individuals the same right.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Residency Restrictions Are Double-edged Sword

pennlive.com : Monitoring sex offenders: local housing ordinances can misfire.

Looking at the idea of an ordinance on an emotional level, it is easy to see why so many have been approved statewide -- and around the country for that matter. But as Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Douglas Grimes said in a recent Patriot-News article, further residency restrictions are a double-edged sword. In some parts of the country -- Florida and California in particular -- residency restrictions have caused more issues than they have solved.

Some restrictions are so severe that sex offenders who register once they leave prison have been packed into a single neighborhood because it is the only place they can live. In other cases, sex offenders cannot find any place to reside and have become homeless. What this means is that state officials no longer have a permanent address for them and no real way to monitor their whereabouts.

It is perhaps also important to remember that Megan's Law, which is only a monitoring system, was never meant to mete out additional punishment on convicts who have served their prison sentences. Yet, in many cases where communities have created additional ordinances, that is what has happened.

In Allegheny County, for example, a federal judge overturned a local ordinance that prohibited convicted offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, child-care facilities and playgrounds. As are many of the local laws that are created, the Allegheny County ordinance doesn't distinguish between dangerous offenders and those unlikely to repeat their offenses.

The judge said last month that the ordinance conflicts with the state's obligation to rehabilitate offenders and return them to society. He added that isolating them keeps them from jobs, family support and the psychological counseling they need.

Added to this is a recent study by the American Association of Correctional and Forensic Psychology showing that residency restrictions had no effect on whether an offender was arrested again.

While well-intentioned, these ordinances might provide a false sense of security for residents and they can cause increased hurdles for rehabilitating and monitoring sex offenders.

13 yr old Registered Sex Offender

thedenverchannel (7news Denver): 13-Year-Old Sex Offender Arrested In School Incident -
Student Arrested On Suspicion Of Attempted Unlawful Sexual Contact.

A 13-year-old boy accused of trying to lift a girl's skirt and verbally harrassing her with sexual innuendos turns out to be a registered sex offender.

Sex Offender Law Goes Too Far

Philadelphia Enquirer : Editorial: Sex offender law goes too far.

States are facing a July deadline to track sex offenders under a misguided federal law that casts too wide a net and is too harsh toward juveniles.

The Adam Walsh Act - named for a 6-year-old boy abducted and murdered in 1981 - makes it a federal felony for a convicted sex offender to fail to reregister after moving to a new state. It also raises the penalties in many states for offenders who never registered.

The law approved by Congress in 2006 is an effort to monitor more effectively an estimated 100,000 sex offenders who are not living where they registered. Many states, including Pennsylvania, already have sex-offender registries modeled after New Jersey's first-in-the-nation "Megan's Law."

But states are finding the new federal law too cumbersome and costly to comply with. Of the 20 or so states that have submitted plans to Washington, none has been deemed in full compliance. Many others have asked the Justice Department for an extension of one or two years.

States that don't comply with the law risk losing some of their federal crime-prevention grants. Some state officials say the loss of grant money would be far cheaper than the cost of meeting all the new requirements for tracking offenders. California estimates that implementing the new law would cost the state at least an extra $38 million.

Pennsylvania is still reviewing its options, said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Gov. Rendell. The state should ask for a delay, to give Congress more time to address numerous concerns with the legislation.

For example, the law requires juvenile sex offenders age 14 or older to be on the registry - possibly for life - with their identities publicized. This provision flies against state laws that generally protect the identities of minors charged with crimes. And it ignores the data showing that juveniles are less likely than adults to commit another sex crime later in life.

Advocates for victims say the law could deter families from coming forward to report abuse, for fear of stigmatizing a youthful offender well into adulthood.

The national law is an overly broad response to high-profile, but relatively rare, cases in which a sex offender is released from prison, relocates to a new state, and preys on another victim. The vast majority of child sexual abuse cases don't result from "stranger danger." More than 90 percent of child victims are harmed by people known to them, most often people in their family.

The new requirements also raise an issue of illegally punishing parolees retroactively. In some states, sex offenders were told they would need to register for 10 years upon their release from prison. Now, they find out they could be on a registry for life.

States should base the monitoring of offenders on an individual's particular circumstances, such as his likelihood to commit another offense or his amenability to treatment. The federal government shouldn't force states to lump the worst criminals into a broad pool for tracking with others who don't pose the same danger.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Missouri Retroactive Constitutional Amendment

chezodysseus.blogspot.com : Dangerous Dots.

The Missouri State Senate has passed – with only one "nay" – a State constitutional amendment to be presented to the voters in November.

The amendment wants to allow retroactive laws in the matter of sex offenders. Previously, retroactive laws were forbidden by the State (and the US) constitution.

The US Constitution still forbids retroactive laws. Congress and the Supreme Court have gotten around that little hurdle. Congress piously intones that its intent is not ‘punitive’ but simply regulatory, like keeping a national database of drivers licenses or accredited doctors, and also – anyway – it’s an ‘emergency’. The Supreme Court has so far managed to agree, a feat achieved by refusing to take note of the world outside the doors of their hallowed hall and with a sly mulishness refusing to take official ‘notice’ of reputable studies – including those done by the Department of Justice – that indicate the ‘sex offender’ class of offense has almost without exception a lower recidivism rate than any other crime category.

After all, if the Court ‘noticed’ that the aggregate sum of all pains attached to the ‘sex offender’ classification adds up to something rather close to wearing a colored star on one’s clothing, or if the Court ‘noticed’ that there is not at all as great a danger to ‘public safety’ as has been asserted by various ‘advocates’, then the whole pyramid would collapse like a Ponzi scheme.

...But the voters of that Great State need to understand: this is not about ‘sex offenders’. What they are facing in November is the first (as far as I know) instance of the most basic Constitutional principles being abridged in the service of that ‘pain’ which has been the cat’s-paw of decades of domestic assault on the entire American political vision, on the American Experiment itself.

After decades of domestic ‘war’ – on this, on that – We have become used to living in a ‘state of emergency’ where ‘pain’ must be addressed immediately, and no ‘law’ can stand in the way. That was precisely the justification given by Lenin and Hitler in their ‘revolutions’ (although Hitler, more apposite in a way to Our present situation, saw that the best avenue of assault is to subvert democracy ‘legally’ and put your own people into the government and the courts – no decent German citizen could take heart from seeing uniformed Brownshirts ‘elected’ to the Reichstag, climbing those marble steps in a jackbooted gaggle to take up their seats and ‘vote’ the Republic away under the guise of ‘saving’ it from pain).

Clearly the Missouri politicians don’t grasp the unique Gift to world history and to the world’s peoples that was the Founding Vision of the United States, duly erected into a plan of self-government in the Constitution. But then, not only do their ‘bases’ not have a grasp of that sterling illumination, but many of them – especially on the ideological feminist Left – are actually committed to denying that historical reality root and branch, and ‘reforming’ it; what ‘good’, after all, can come from patriarchy, males, and whiteness? Oy. Nobody – not ‘victims’, not ‘oppressors’, not men, not women, not children – will benefit from the loss of the Constitutional structure. We are headed down a fatal path.

A house that divided, as Lincoln and Scripture observed, cannot stand.

VT Inmate Challenges Residency Ordinance

rutlandherald.com ( Vermont) : Inmate challenges Rutland sex offender ordinance.

Rutland's (Vermont) law forbids a convicted sex offender from living within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or day-care facility, putting almost the entire city off-limits. Barre also has such an ordinance, and other communities have discussed similar measures.

The law exempts offenders already living in one of the buffer zones when it took effect. Oney had a residence in Rutland at the time of his arrest but was in prison when the law took effect. It was unclear Wednesday what role the residency issue might play in the case but it appears it would block him moving back into his home.

Ohio Supreme Court - Sex Offender Case

Ohio Supreme Court Case No. 2008-0991/ 08-0992
Roman Chojnacki v. Marc Dann, Ohio Atty. General [Nancy Rogers], in his Official Capacity, March 11, 2009

The Ohio Supreme Court - Senate Bill 10 challenge. Oral arguments whether those who challenge their reclassification are entitled to an attorney. Click preview image below to watch this video:



2008-0991. Chojnacki v. Cordray.
Warren App. No. CA2008-03-040. This cause is pending before the court on the certification of a conflict by the Court of Appeals for Warren County. Upon further review, It is ordered that the parties are to brief the following issues:
1. "Whether sex offender reclassification hearings conducted pursuant to the provisions of Am.Sub.S.B. 10 are criminal or civil proceedings."
2. "Whether sex offenders are entitled to the appointment of counsel for Am.Sub.S.B. 10 reclassification hearings if those proceedings are civil in nature." It is further ordered by the court that appellant's brief shall be filed within 40 days of the date of this entry, and further briefing shall be in accordance with S.Ct.Prac.R. VI. Briefing in this case and 2008-0992, Chojnacki v. Cordray, Warren App. No. CA2008-03-040, shall be consolidated. The parties shall file two originals of each of the briefs permitted under S.Ct.Prac.R. VI and include both case numbers on the cover page of the briefs. It is further ordered that this cause shall be scheduled for oral argument upon the completion of the supplemental briefing.

2008-0992. Chojnacki v. Cordray.
Warren App. No. CA2008-03-040. This cause is pending before the court as an appeal from the Court of Appeals for Warren County. Upon further review, It is ordered that the parties are to brief the following issues:
1. "Whether sex offender reclassification hearings conducted pursuant to the provisions of Am.Sub.S.B. 10 are criminal or civil proceedings."
2. "Whether sex offenders are entitled to the appointment of counsel for Am.Sub.S.B. 10 reclassification hearings if those proceedings are civil in nature." It is further ordered by the court that appellant's brief shall be filed within 40 days of the date of this entry, and further briefing shall be in accordance with S.Ct.Prac.R. VI. Briefing in this case and 2008-0991, Chojnacki v. Cordray, Warren App. No. CA2008-03-040, shall be consolidated. The parties shall file two originals of each of the briefs permitted under S.Ct.Prac.R. VI and include both case numbers on the cover page of the briefs. It is further ordered that this cause shall be scheduled for oral argument upon the completion of the supplemental briefing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ron Reagan Talks With Sex Offender

airamerica.com : Ron Reagan Talks with a Sex Offender about Protecting Society from Sex Offenders
(Audio mp3 -17 mins.) Download MP3 here.

Reading Cornelio's story, we began to wonder whether our society was failing to adequately address the issue of sex offenders at both ends of the spectrum.

Are we too lenient with those who will likely always pose a threat to others; too punitive with those whose crimes were less serious, perhaps even inadvertent in nature?

Teen Convicted of Child Porn for Sexting

After his former girlfriend taunted him, Phillip remembered the nude photos she e-mailed to him while they were dating. He took revenge with an electronic blast — e-mailing the photos of the 16-year-old girl to more than 70 people, including her parents, grandparents and teachers. Three days later, Phillip, then 18, was charged with transmitting child pornography. Today Alpert is serving five years of probation for the crime, and he is registered as a sex offender — a label he must carry at least until he is 43. You need to watch this video:




Iowa Ponders Smarter Sex Offense Registry

qctimes.com (Des Moines) : Legislative committee ponders loosening of sex offender residency laws.

A working group studying a rewrite of state laws dealing with sex offenders is discussing the possibility of eliminating the residency requirement for all but those who have committed the most serious offenses against children.

Law enforcement officials have complained that the residency requirement, which prohibits some sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or daycare, is too difficult to enforce.

The law left large areas of many Iowa cities off-limits and sent some sex offenders scrambling to find places to live. Law enforcement officials also said it was difficult to prove offenders were breaking the law.

The latest proposal includes new “exclusionary zones” that would prohibit registered sex offenders from gathering or working in places such as parks, daycares and schools or other areas where groups of children might be found. All registered sex offenders would be subject to the exclusionary zones and restrictions on where they could work.

Sen. Keith Kreiman, D-Bloomfield, said the hope is to provide more safety to the public. A 10-member bipartisan committee has met behind closed doors to hash out possible changes to the law. (contact them!)

Rep. David Tjepkes, R-Gowrie, said the working group was looking for a plan that would make Iowa’s laws pertaining to sex offenders more effective and assure as much protection for the public as possible.

“The 2,000-foot rule, I think, to a large degree is proving to be very unworkable,” Tjepkes said.

MO : Passes Retroactive Sex Offender Registry

themaneater.com (University of Missouri,Columbia) - Mo. legislature considers sex offender amendment ; the registry would include offenders who committed crimes before 1995.

A constitutional amendment approved by the Missouri Senate on Thursday will add about 5,000 sex offenders onto the sex offender registry, according to a news release from the office of Sen. Jason Crowell's, R-Cape Girardeau.

The new resolution would add 4,800 Missouri sex offenders who committed crimes before 1995 to the registry, Senate Majority Caucus spokeswoman Farrah Fite said. Fite said senators voted 32-1 approving the amendment. Fite said Missouri law states sex offenders who committed crimes before Jan. 1, 1995, are not required to register their address with state authorities and do not have restrictions on where they can live.

"Many sex offenders who committed crimes before 1995 will live with the same regulations sex offenders after 1995 have," Fite said. (Retroactive "ex post facto" legislation is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, folks)

Senate Joint Resolution 3 would give voters the power to uphold the original intent of Megan's Law, which went into effect in 1995, requiring all convicted sex offenders register with local sheriff's departments, the release stated.

Fite also said this constitutional amendment is retroactive by including people who committed sexual crimes before the sex registry was created.
(Retroactive "ex post facto" legislation is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, folks)

Text of Senate Resolution 3:
"Section 13. That no ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, or retrospective in its operation, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities, can be enacted; however, a law may be retrospective in its operation with respect to requiring sexual offenders to register with law enforcement, restricting sexual offenders from residing within a certain distance of a school or child-care facility, as required by law, or requiring every individual who pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is found guilty or convicted of a felony to have a biological sample collected for purposes of DNA analysis."

In other words, the Constitution applies to everyone, except sex offenders!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

City Protests Sex Offender Housing

news.cincinnati.com : City residents protest sex offender housing.

Westwood (Cincinnati) residents are expected to attend a city council committee meeting that is expected to discuss a 27-resident apartment building that is home to eight registered sex offenders. An additional protest is planned for Wednesday against the Pogue Center, which houses the largest concentration of sex offenders in the county.

The city’s law mirrors those in the state that make it unlawful for sex offenders to live within 1,000 feet of schools and day-care centers. Those that do are subject to eviction. Other area municipalities have additional laws on the books making it difficult for sex offenders to set up residences in their areas. The laws in the city make about 60 percent of the housing areas off-limits from sex offenders.

Folks, that's what you get when you banish sex offenders from most parts of the cities. Now you have to live with it.

Online Predator Just Might be a Myth

crosswalk.com : Study Has Mostly Good News About Online Predator Risk.

The stereotypical online predator just might be a myth, according to new research released by the Crimes Against Children Research Center. Of note, there was no evidence that online predators used personal information obtained from social networking websites to stalk or abduct unsuspecting victims. Rather, most underage sex crimes involving online predators (who were arrested) were with adolescents that knew they were communicating with older adults who wanted sex, and willingly went to meet the offenders face-to-face.

Husted's Residency Investigation

daytondailynews.com : A.G.Brunner might ask Husted to provide documents in residency probe.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner may ask Ohio Sen. Jon Husted, R-Kettering, to produce documents that local Democrats unsuccessfully sought to prove his residency, but the matter is still under review, according to Brunner spokesman Patrick Gallaway.

Brunner's legal staff is reviewing documents provided by the Montgomery County Board of Elections regarding the board's Feb. 25 tie vote on complaints questioning whether Husted is a legal resident where he votes in Kettering. Brunner can break the tie vote or provide further instructions to the board.


Meanwhile, he has stated his intention to run for Secretary of State in Ohio, where his corruption will fit in quite nicely in a state rife with corrupted politicians.

70 years for Child Porn?

newsok.com : Oklahoma sex offender who posed as boy to be sentenced in Arizona.
Google/AP : Sex offender who posed as boy, 12, gets 70 years.

A youthful-looking sex offender who posed as a 12-year-old boy to enroll in several Arizona schools was sentenced to more than 70 1/2 years in prison Tuesday. Authorities didn't find any victims of sexual abuse at the schools Rodreick attended, but they found an extensive collection of child pornography at his home.

While this guy obviously has some mental health issues and should be prosecuted for possession of child pornography , is it Equal Protection under the Constitution to get 70-years in prison for possessing pornography? If he had only raped and killed a student at that school he would get less than half that sentence.

MO Supreme Court Considers Sex Offense Registry

kansascity.com : Missouri Supreme Court considers challenge to sex-offender registry.

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering another challenge to Missouri’s sex-offender registry. The court heard arguments Tuesday from 11 offenders. Some were convicted of sex crimes in other states before 1995, when Missouri’s registry law took effect. Others were convicted of misdemeanors in Missouri before 2000, when those crimes were added to the registry.

In 2006, the Supreme Court said the registry cannot be retrospectively applied to Missouri residents who committed their crimes before 1995. The challenge asserts that the state’s ban on retrospective laws still applies and that the federal requirement does not overrule state law.

http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.asp?id=27

Wetterling Interview

SexOffenderIssues : Interview with Patty Wetterling - June 27, 2008 - From the book "Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions"
(Her 11-yr old son, Jacob, was abducted in 1989 and has never been found. The Wetterling Foundation helped create The Jacob Wetterling Act).

Richard Wright: Let's start where we are today and work backwards. Obviously you know we are operating under the Adam Walsh Act, which is the major rewrite of sex offender federal laws from a few years ago. What are your general thoughts about the Adam Walsh Act?

Patty Wetterling: "Well, I had great concerns about some of what they were trying to do when they proposed the bill. I kept raising questions about treating juveniles the same way we treat adults. It makes no sense at all, and that was one provision that I had concerns over. I was told not to worry about the juvenile provisions because that would get thrown out. I was told there was no way that would pass. Also, when we worked on the Jacob Wetterling Act, we were told that we couldn't make it retroactive, and yet the Adam Walsh Act has done that. One of the other clear pieces that I had concerns over was the amount of money that we are spending on GPS monitoring."

"This law applies to a very, very tiny percentage of our general population. There are many pieces to it that are very costly and don't necessarily work. I worked with a family where the offender was on house arrest and he convinced his girlfriend to go over to his house. While he was on house arrest with a bracelet, he murdered her and took off. These laws don't necessarily stop crimes from happening, and they cost a ton of money Those are two issues I have great concerns over. Additionally The AWA allocates zero dollars for prevention."

Wetterling: "Let's take these one at a time. But first of all, I don't believe in registering juveniles. I don't see any, not one redeeming quality in doing that. The goal is to interrupt the behaviors if they've done something wrong, get them some help so they can live a normal, healthy wonderful life. Registering juveniles takes away everything that would allow them a normal, healthy happy life. It takes away any stability and sense of support. Registering juveniles is ludicrous and wrong always."

"Residency restrictions are also wrong and ludicrous and make no sense at all. We're putting all of our energy on the stranger, the bad guy and the reality is it's most sex offenses are committed by somebody that gains your trust, or is a friend or relative, and so none of these laws address the real, sacred thing that nobody wants to talk about."

Wetterling: "I ask a lot of questions. I've always asked a lot of questions. I feel that, when Jacob was kidnapped, I was angry, as you can imagine. I've been angry; I know fear and I know anger, and I don't like living my life like that. I believe that much of the legislation and much of the initiative in this country is to use fear and anger to keep people on guard. I honestly believe, and this is consistent, this is what I felt in 1989 and what I feel today, that there are more good people in the world than bad. We need to pull together and design a world that is safer and better. Just having this absolute anger and pointing our fingers at one or two people as the bad guys, we're denying the realities of sexual offending. We're denying it."

"I've learned a lot. I didn't know that most of the time sexual offenses are committed by someone that the child knows. I learned that by being investigated. Law enforcement always looks at the family, friends, and relatives. They always look very closely at the family. I understand that. It was painful, but I do understand that now. Knowing that, why are we always putting all this stuff under this "stranger danger" mind-set? That's not the solution to this problem."

"Registering and treating them as demons and animals, not even human, that doesn't do anything. It destroys the person. It would destroy me internally and it would not help solve the problem. The problem is how do we treat our kids? If they are victims, we need to get them help right away so that they don't continue the behavior. We've got to build a culture that values and protects its kids."

Wright: You have had access to hundreds of legislators who've passed these laws. Some of these laws have been fairly thoughtful and some have been fairly reactive. Having dealt with so many legislators, how would you characterize their understanding of the problem?

Wetterling: "Overall I would say they have very little understanding of the problem. That's why I ran for Congress. I don't think they want to. Nobody wants to look at the problem. You don't want your child to be a victim. I have said this a lot. In Minnesota, everybody wants to find Jacob and everybody wants to find the man who took him. We've been overwhelmed with just amazing, amazing support, but at the same time nobody wants to find the man who took Jacob... in their family. They don't want to find him in their church, in their school community, in their neighborhood. These people are not monsters. They're living and functioning amongst us, and we've got to figure out a way for them to live amongst us and not harm another. There are many things that need to be looked at, including the effect of pornography. We have a "pornified" culture. It affects the way men view women and the way men view girls. The amount of violence with pornography has greatly grown. We're nurturing that, we are putting that in beer ads and that's everywhere. We are so used to it that we aren't even shocked anymore, and that's sad to me."

Wetterling: "Well, first of all, I would venture to guess that maybe I'm different on this one, too, but when Jacob was abducted, I didn't want a law. It upset me. We had state legislators come to us right at the beginning and say, we want to do something, we're going to pass a law. I thought, why are you talking about laws? I'm looking for Jacob. I didn't want a law named after Jacob, I wanted my son."

"I didn't have the time or energy to put any thought into that. But over time I began looking, and I asked law enforcement, what would have helped you? They said it would have helped to know who was in the area. From a law enforcement perspective, that makes sense. It would have helped to have a central repository of information because we have a very fluid society. Those I think are two valid law enforcement tools, but when they expanded it to community notification, I wasn't even sure if I liked that. It made me very nervous about people not handling that information well."

"On an intellectual level, when these guys are released from prison, we want them to succeed. That's the goal. Then you have no more victims. All of these laws they've been passing make sure that they're not going to succeed. They don't have a place to live; they can't get work. Everybody knows of their horrible crime and they've been vilified. There is too much of a knee-jerk reaction to these horrible crimes."

"I'm not soft on these guys, but I just know that they're not all the same. They're not all the same and we can't treat them as such. There was one time when a man was arrested in St. Paul. My mother called, we were all up at the lake, and she said, "There's a break in your case." I said, "I don't think so. I've talked to the sheriff's department. They know where we are and they haven't called." She said, "Well they've been promoting it all day on TV. There's a break in your case. Watch the news tonight." So we did."

Wright: From your experience, what distinguishes the news media that do a responsible, sensitive, thorough job from the sensational?

Wetterling: "The wording. They tend to right away call someone a rapist, or a child molester. The wording that they use is very inflammatory. I'm not thinking of good examples right now, but I know you'll know them when you hear them. They often suggest it being a stranger. They only report the stranger cases. The sad reality is, they so overemphasize the stranger cases, it suggests that those are the only thing that's happening. There are stations that do a better job. Some really address sexual violence by talking to victims. They know that most cases aren't reported to police and that most of the time it's not a stranger."

"The ones that do, the strangers that do make those high-profile cases are often very bad. I think we have to work out some of the kinks of civil commitment, because there's got to be a way for some of these people to not get out. We've had cases where the offender told people they were going to reoffend. They told them who they were going to go after and how they were going to do it. Now these people are clearly not safe. I don't believe they should be out. So we have to have a place for discerning the differences between these people. They are still human beings."

Wetterling: "I think that one thing that is so sorely missing in all of this, with all of our anger and all of our tough laws, there is no safe place for these guys. There are a lot of people who succeed. They do these terrible offenses and they go to jail and do their time. Then they get out and never reoffend. There is no place to share their stories, because you can't say, well, yeah I was a sex offender once and then I got some help, and I got off alcohol and drugs and I'm cured. As a culture, we don't tolerate that. We have not built into the system any means for success, and I think that's really sad. If I were the parent, the second worst thing to having your child kidnapped, would be to be the parent of someone who did this. I just can't imagine if you are the parent of a juvenile who did something wrong and you get them some help. You want them to lead a healthy, full life, and we've not built that into the equation at all."

Great thanks to SexOffenderIssues for all the hard work they did in transposing this interview
Copyright © 2009, Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved

MS Wants Tougher Sex Offense Laws

Desototimes.com : Supes want tougher sex offender laws.

Some DeSoto County supervisors want to take a look at strengthening laws that govern restrictions and public disclosure of convicted sex offenders living in the county. District 4 Supervisor Allen Latimer said that convicted sex offenders shouldn't live within 2,500 feet of where children congregate. (Now it's up to a half mile, which makes most parts of most cities off-limits to any person with a sex offense in their history).
"They've (sex offenders) brought it on themselves," Latimer said (This man needs to be impeached; he thinks he is a judge who doles out punishment, but he is a lowly small town county supervisor).

Effective in 2008, that law was strengthened to prevent sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of any child-care agency, a group home, playground, ball park or any other recreational facility used by individuals aged 18 and under.

District 1 Supervisor Jessie Medlin said he thinks DeSoto County should consider making sex offenders place signs in their yards stating they are sex offenders, similar to what some parishes in Louisiana require. (..or perhaps residents of Desoto County, MS should insist these ignorant spuervisors place signs in their front yards so the children of the town can stay away from them as well).

County attorney Tony Nowak said privacy issues might come into play if that requirement was mandated. (Novak sems to be the only county officialwith any sense)

Juveniles convicted as adults and juveniles who received adjudications or probationary sentences in youth court also must register if offenses involve use of force against the victim.

Temporary residents who reside, abide or lodge in Mississippi for a period of four days in a month, consecutive or nonconsecutive, or 14 days total in a calendar year must register. This would include sex offenders living in recreational vehicles at RV parks.

Contact the County Supervisors here - the lame web page indicates that this must be a rural redneck smaltown.