Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lifetime sex offender monitoring

News14.com: RALEIGH -- A Wake Superior Court judge has ruled that four North Carolina sex offenders shouldn't be subject to lifetime monitoring. The decision was the latest rejection of the state's attempts to track sex offenders who have finished their sentences. Many are contesting the tracking, under which more than 100 people are monitored statewide. Attorneys opposing the monitoring have argued that the system violated constitutional rights and was beset by technical problems. Corrections officials say the department spends almost $3,000 a year to track one offender.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Unfunded Adam Walsh Act

As we have published on this blog, no federal funds have ever been appropriated for implementation of the Adam Walsh Act laws, despite the fact that states like Ohio have irresponsibly rushed to pass these laws in order to gain the promise of federal funding. This is just another example of the backwards ineptitude of our legislators and government.

press-release-depot.com: WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire:
"Nearly two years ago, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 -- the most promising and comprehensive child protection legislation in decades," said John Walsh, host of 'America's Most Wanted.' "Unfortunately, despite the promise of a renewed commitment to protect our nation's children, almost none of the Adam Walsh Act's enforcement programs have been funded.

The US Marshals Service has received no new positions or funding for Adam Walsh related efforts. The USMS has no full-time personnel working these cases. Because no funding for Adam Walsh Act enforcement was included in the FY 2008 budget, the USMS is now facing a severe reduction in trained agents. It is in need of an additional $50 million in funding this year to go after these fugitives.

In other words, the U.S. Congress and Ohio legislature passed laws to appear tough on sex crimes, yet have never approved any money to enforce these unconstitutional laws. Still, the brilliant Ohio legislature has rushed forward to implement these laws on an emergency basis, in order to collect federal funds which never existed. Therefore, the constitutional rights of 30,000 Ohio citizens have been curtailed while there is no money to carry out these laws.

Where will the money come from? Open up your wallets again, Ohioans !

Feds collect your DNA

U.S. Justice Department is proposing a directive to collect DNA samples from all American citizens who are arrested, and to keep these DNA samples on file.

On Friday April 18, 2008 the Department of Justice posted the following in the Federal Register:
The Department of Justice is publishing this proposed rule to implement amendments made by section 1004 of the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005 and section 155 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 to section 3 of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000. ( from sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com)

"This rule directs agencies of the United States that arrest or detain individuals, or that supervise individuals facing charges, to collect DNA samples from individuals who are arrested, facing charges, or convicted,...".

"Agencies required to collect DNA samples under this section may use or authorize the use of such means as are reasonably necessary to detain, restrain, and collect a DNA sample from an individual described in paragraph (a) or (b) who refuses to cooperate in the collection of the sample. [emphasis added]" (from theothersideofkim.com)

We STRONGLY urge you to make your voice heard on this abhorrent proposal. Written comments can be made, and must be submitted on or before May 19, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to David J. Karp, Senior Counsel, Office of Legal Policy, Room 4509, Main Justice Building, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530. To ensure proper handling, please reference OAG Docket No. 119 on your correspondence.

In addition: You may submit comments electronically (That is done from the Regulations.gov website) . Here is the procedure to get you to the proper document on the Regulations.gov website:

1) Click on this link: http://www.regulations.gov/

2) In the SEARCH box enter: DOJ-OAG-2008-0009-0001

3) Near the bottom of the page you will see "View this document" and just above that is this Docket ID: DOJ-OAG-2008-0009 CLICK on that link

4) Now you will see a full page, where you can "add your comment," or see the comments that others have already entered.

Note: To add your comment click on the yellow balloon
which is on the PROPOSED RULE line over to the right side.

CAUTION: BEFORE ENTERING YOUR COMMENTS read the following which explains how to stop your PERSONAL or BUSINESS INFORMATION from appearing online, although your comment will still appear.

Posting of Public Comments:

Please note that all comments received are considered part of the public record and made available for public inspection online at http://www.regulations.gov. If you wish to submit a comment, the public posting will include voluntarily submitted personal identifying information (such as your name, address, etc.).

If you want to submit personal identifying information (such as your name, address, etc.) as part of your comment, but do not want it to be posted online, you must include the phrase ‘‘PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION’’ in the first paragraph of your comment. You also must locate all the personal identifying information you do not want posted online in the first paragraph of your comment and identify what information you want redacted (not printed online).

If you want to submit confidential business information as part of your comment but do not want it to be posted online, you must include the phrase ‘‘CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS INFORMATION’’ in the first paragraph of your comment. You also must identify prominently any confidential business information to be redacted within the comment.

If a comment has so much confidential business information that it cannot be redacted effectively, all or part of that comment might not be posted on http:// www.regulations.gov.

Personal identifying information and confidential business information identified and located as set forth above will be placed in the agency’s public docket file, but not posted online. If you wish to inspect the agency’s public docket file in person by appointment, please see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT paragraph.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tenn: Online DUI & Animal Abuse Registry

Classify this one under the "we warned you this would happen" tab:

Tennessee may add more online crime registries

Tennessean.com: Bills would keep tabs on drunken drivers and animal abusers. Looking up names of methamphetamine makers and sexual offenders in Tennessee is already just a mouse click away. The ability to look up animal abusers and drunken drivers may be just a vote or two away. This year, legislators have proposed doubling the number of crime registries in Tennessee, adding Internet databases of people with animal cruelty and repeat drunken driving convictions to existing registries of people convicted of sexual crimes and making meth.

Jack McDevitt, associate dean of Northeastern University's College of Criminal Justice in Boston, said there's significant debate over the benefits of crime registries. The information they provide may not be useful to the public, and could stand in the way of rehabilitation, he said. "The stigma becomes so concentrated and widespread that people can't ever get away from it, don't feel like they can leave it behind and change their life," he said. "From the offenders' perspective, these kinds of lists don't make it any easier to change their lives around."

Tennessee's proposed drunken driver registry would also be a first. That bill would require court clerks to report second DUI offenses to the state Safety Department, which would maintain the registry. About 8,000 people per year would be added to the database, according to an estimate by legislative staffers. That proposal is advancing in the House. On the Senate side, it appeared all but dead in a committee until it was revived on Thursday. Lawmakers closely questioned Rep. Frank Niceley, a Strawberry Plains Republican who's sponsoring the House version. In the end, they voted in favor of it.

The registry would serve much the same purpose as the sex offender registry, bringing "an element of shame" to people on it, as well as awareness for the people who live near them, Niceley said.

Tennessee Lawmakers Explore Animal Abuse Registry

WDEF.com: Once reserved for sex offenders and meth addicts, Tennessee lawmakers may soon extend a cyber scarlet letter to those convicted of animal abuse. Several Chattanooga area residents like the idea. Kenneth Pickat says "Its right, they should pass that law." While Kathy Brady feels "its probably a pretty good idea".
Under the proposal, anyone convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals, felony animal fighting, or bestiality would automatically be placed on an on-line registry for all to see.

Like sex offenders, animal abusers would also be required to inform authorities when they move, but would only face a fine for violating the law.

The bill sailed through Tennessee's Senate, but faces more debate in the House where some lawmakers say the state needs a registry for drunk drivers first.

If lawmakers sign-off on the "animal abuser registry" bill, it would launch July first. After creating a database of previous convictions, authorities estimate they would add three new offenders each year.

adam walsh act sex offender registry

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Florida : InterState Adam Walsh Act Unconstitutional

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida: USA v. Robert D. Powers Decision:

Congress Has No Power to Regulate Traveling in Interstate Commerce By Unregistered Sex Offenders.

On Friday, April 18th , District Judge Gregory Presnell in Orlando handed down United States v. Powers, a decision striking down part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 on Commerce Clause grounds. In relevant part, the Act requires state sex offenders to register if they travel out of state. Specifically, a state sex offender who "travels in interstate or foreign commerce, or enters or leaves, or resides in, Indian country; and [who] knowingly fails to register" with the sex offender registry can be charged with a crime. 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a).

On Friday, April 18th, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell on Friday ruled that the 2006 federal law requiring state sex offenders to register with law-enforcement officials when they move across state lines was largely a local issue.

As the Government notes, the Adam Walsh Act was enacted with a commendable goal — to protect the public from sex offenders. However, a worthy cause is not enough to transform a state concern (sex offender registration) into a federal crime. If an individual’s mere unrelated travel in interstate commerce is sufficient to establish a Commerce Clause nexus with purely local conduct, then virtually all criminal activity would be subject to the power of the federal government. Surely our founding fathers did not contemplate such a broad view of federalism. Accordingly, the Court finds that the adoption of the statute under which Defendant is charged violates Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause and is, therefore, unconstitutional.

US District Court Decision




Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ohio AG Marc Dann, Sex Charges

Sexual Harassment , Corruption Charges involving Ohio Attorney General, Marc Dann.......
Evidence of Lying, Obstructing Justice, Calls for Dann to Resign or be Impeached:

10May 2008:
The phone number to Marc Dann’s office is (614) 466-4320.
Or you can email Marc Dann directly at marcdann@yahoo.com

2 May 2008:
Marc Dann Under Fire : Marc Dann admits to sexual affair with office subordinate. Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann says he is “heartbroken by my failure” to recognize and stop problems in his office, in the wake of completion of a probe of sexual harassment complaints and other staff problems in his office. He then acknowledged having a romantic relationship with a subordinate and apologized to his wife and children.
“I have not conducted my self in a way that is consistent with my values ...,” he said.

Ben Espy, the executive assistant AG, cited a hostile work environment created by Gutierrez, an office rampant with rumor and inappropriate fraternization, and “poor judgment” on Dann’s behalf.

As for whether Dann, who is married, had an affair with Jessica Utovich, Dann’s former scheduler and the office’s travel director: Both declined to answer that question, Espy said. Espy added, “The refusal is an answer itself.” Utovich acknowledged delivering schedules to Dann’s Dublin condo, and the investigation concluded that she had stayed overnight on more than one occasion. “I don’t think you deliver a schedule overnight,” Espy noted. Dann admitted he did get involved in a romantic relationship that caused his family immense hurt and embarrassment.

We must demand the resignation of Marc Dann. He has demonstrated a shameful disrespect for his office and position and has embarrassed the state of Ohio long enough. The corruption, immorality and abuse of his office will not be allowed to continue. he must be forced to resign. Contact Marc Dann himself at telephone: 614-466-4320. They cowardly don't post an email address at the Attorney General web page, but inquiries can be sent here:

Vindy.com has full coverage of the Marc Dann scandals.

Ohio.com, 19 April 2008: A woman claims she was sexually harassed by a top aide to Attorney General Marc Dann. Police were asked to investigate the matter Friday, intensifying pressure at the office of Ohio's top law enforcer. Stankoski's plan to seek a criminal investigation was first reported Friday by The Columbus Dispatch and The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. Another staffer, Vanessa Stout, also 26, has also filed claims against Gutierrez, who roomed with Marc Dann at a Dublin town house apartment at the time of one of the alleged incidents. Dann, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, was in the apartment that night, Stankoski has alleged. He recused himself from the internal investigation because of his ties to Gutierrez and the apartment.

**the irony is rich. Marc Dann's roommate may be required by Marc Dann's "pet" Adam Walsh Act law to register as a sex offender! ***

Text messages have reportedly been deleted to cover up this scandal involving Marc Dann, Attorney General of Ohio and his top aide. This story is sick and involves him buying her a sex toy, demanding she come over for drinks, driving his Suburban while so drunk that he hit a guard rail, showing up at a State office smelling of alcohol and vomit, and the woman waking to find her pants undone and this pervert lying next to her in his underwear . Marc Dann reportedly refuses to release email records. And now a second aide may be implicated.

Listen to Audio: Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has been good to his friends from the Mahoning Valley, bringing more than a dozen of them to Columbus since he took office in January 2007. But sometimes, that loyalty hasn't served him well. ...

Related Reports:





According to Vindy.com, several emails from Marc Dann's office, demonstrate an odd, emotional, childish, unprofessional, and suspiciously gay-appearing relationship between Marc Dann and his aide (Marc Dann refused to release 19 emails ):

The office released about 2,200 e-mails between the attorney general and his former scheduler.
Attorney General Marc Dann’s then-scheduler chastised him in a Sept. 4 e-mail for “taking things out on me and other people here.”

Two days after that, on Sept. 6, Jessica Utovich wrote Dann, a Liberty Democrat, that she didn’t “appreciate being yelled at in front of everyone.”

In between, Dann sent an e-mail to Utovich: “You are the bff” (text-speak for “best friend forever”).
Some of the e-mails show a curious relationship between Dann and Utovich, of Columbus.

In some e-mails, the two joke with each other, but others show an emotional boss-worker relationship.

In the Sept. 4 e-mail to Dann, Utovich wrote: “Please do not EVER tell me to stop acting emotional. I try to do my job to the best that I can and you s--- on it. I try my hardest to make sure you are taken care of, do what you need too (sic) and prioritize only to have you complain and change everything without telling anybody. Your emotional crap is what makes everyone else so miserable.”

A Sept. 19 e-mail to Dann from Utovich reads: “You realize everytime [sic] that you tell someone to do something re: your schedule, within this office, it allows them to continue to go behind our backs and create more problems.”

Stout said she went to the condo a few times and described Dann, Gutierrez and Jennings as “pigs” who “all drank a lot.”

In what appears to be a response to a question, Utovich wrote a Sept. 27 e-mail to Dann and Colleen K. Brown, Dann’s executive assistant, that read: “Unionize women in this place? You can’t have a conversation about anything serious with any of the guys that work here without them laughing.”

A number of the e-mails between Dann and Utovich are informal, consistent with previous Dann e-mails released by his office at the request of the media.

“Answer your text punk,” Utovich wrote Sept. 25 to Dann.

In an Oct. 10 e-mail exchange, Utovich wrote to Dann: “You look nice in the wsj (The Wall Street Journal) picture. Mean look. Grrr....”

Dann responded: “FAT.”

The two exchanged numerous late-night e-mails on Oct. 16. One sent by Utovich at 11:10 p.m. reads: “I’m cranky. The office is not so comfy to sleep in.”

In response, Dann wrote, “Use the couch.” She replied, “Use the bathroom. Locked. I don’t have your keys.”

wsugop.blogspot.com: reports a history of embarassing conduct by Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann:


April 2007 — Dann fired Rick Alli, his director of law enforcement operations, after Alli failed to resign his Youngstown police job after getting his state job.

May 2007 — David L. Nelson, Dann's driver and a member of his security detail, was fired after it was discovered he served time for involuntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania.

June 2007 — Dann spotted a reporter who had written a story Dann didn't like and yelled, "Hey Steve, write this down: Go f--- yourself."

December 2007 — Dann disciplined Jennings for sending a profane, abusive e-mail to a co-worker.

February 2008 — Dann used a state plane and his state-owned SUV to travel to political events. He paid for the trips out of his campaign account. The SUV was purchased from a campaign contributor instead of through the state purchasing system.

Other incidents include: Responding to criticism of him, Dann, who is Jewish, sent an e-mail to Jennings saying "Jesus had it better on Good Friday." And Dann fired his staff auditor for falsely claiming he is a certified public accountant.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lawsuits test crackdown on sex criminals

Stateline.org: A death-penalty case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week marks the latest constitutional challenge to an ongoing, nationwide crackdown on sex criminals.

From California to North Carolina, a flood of litigation has accompanied an expansion in the scope and severity of penalties imposed by local, state and federal lawmakers on those who commit sex crimes.

In Georgia and Ohio, sex criminals have successfully challenged residency restrictions that forbid them from living within 1,000 feet of schools or other common gathering places for children. California’s highest court also is considering whether to strike down zoning laws that could make huge swaths of the state off-limits to offenders.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meanwhile, is preparing to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a wide-reaching federal law that requires all states to dramatically toughen penalties for sex criminals by July of next year, or risk losing funding from a congressional grant program. A trial judge ruled against parts of the law last year.

A broad spectrum of critics — including civil-rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, law enforcers, prosecuting attorneys and even some victims’ assistance groups — has criticized some of the recent local, state and federal laws aimed at sex criminals.

Many say the laws are more about political opportunism than public safety. Elected officials recognize that they can appeal to voters by piling up penalties on a widely detested criminal population that has few advocates willing to stand up for its rights, critics say

Meanwhile, the federal Adam Walsh Act is likely to face more litigation than any other statute because of its breadth. The law requires some juvenile offenders as young as 14 to be included in online registries and retroactively applies new registration requirements to offenders who have been out of prison for years.

Sarah Tofte, a Human Rights Watch researcher who has studied sex-offender laws and advocates for a comprehensive approach that focuses on treatment, said she thinks it is unlikely that lawmakers will back away from tough new laws — despite the mounting legal challenges.

She noted that the federal Second Chance Act signed by President Bush this month — which eases convicts’ re-entry into society by focusing on rehabilitation — does not apply to sex offenders, who are viewed by the public and by legislators as immutable, lifelong criminals.

“I think it’s going to be quite a while until we let sex offenders be treated like other ex-offenders,” Tofte said.

Monday, April 14, 2008

U.S. Congress H.R. 5760


U.S. Congress H.R. 5760 to extend deadlines for implementing provisions of the Adam Walsh Act laws; from 2009 to 2011.

This may indicate some realization on their parts that the legal challenges are founded and legitimate. In the least case, it relieves the time constraints on states who are rushing to implement these laws in order to gain federal funding.

Read H.R.5760
Title: To reauthorize the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, and for other purposes.

Type in search term: 5760

Proposed Senate Bill 2632 : "To ensure that the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is applied retroactively." "Section 113 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (42 U.S.C. 16913) shall apply to sex offenders convicted before, on, or after the date of enactment of that Act." This retroactive aspect is an clear and shameless violation of the U.S. Constitution !

Read S. 2632
Title: Sex Offender Registration and Notification Retroactivity Correction Act of 2008 (Introduced in Senate)

Type in search term: 2632

No Easy Answers

(New York, September 12, 2007) – Laws aimed at people convicted of sex offenses may not protect children from sex crimes but do lead to harassment, ostracism and even violence against former offenders, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urges the reform of state and federal registration and community notification laws, and the elimination of residency restrictions, because they violate basic rights of former offenders.

The 146-page report, “No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United States,” is the first comprehensive study of US sex offender policies, their public safety impact, and the effect they have on former offenders and their families. During two years of investigation for this report, Human Rights Watch researchers conducted over 200 interviews with victims of sexual violence and their relatives, former offenders, law enforcement and government officials, treatment providers, researchers, and child safety advocates.

“Human Rights Watch shares the public’s goal of protecting children from sex abuse,” said Jamie Fellner, director of the US program at Human Rights Watch. “But current laws are ill-conceived and poorly crafted. Protecting children requires a more thoughtful and comprehensive approach than politicians have been willing to support.”
"Sexual violence affects tens of thousands of people each year, many of them children. For the most part, the media has tended to focus on cases where children are abducted by strangers, who were often previously convicted sex offenders. This leads many to believe that children are most at risk from strangers and those with a history of abusing kids. Perhaps it’s not surprising law-makers have also taken this view – many of us who began work on this report thought the same way as well.

But now we believe current legislation may do more harm than good. I’m Sarah Tofte, US researcher at Human Rights Watch, and for close to two years, I’ve spoken to victims, former offenders, and child safety advocates for a report on United States sex offender laws. We examined various laws – on registration, community notification, and residency restrictions –that apply to former offenders. "

Listen to Report Audio:

NACDL Slams Adam Walsh Act

In a scathing letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the NACDL decried the
Adam Walsh Act as blatantly unconstitutional and contradictory to public safety. The letter, in it’s an entirety can be viewed here: http://www.nacdl.org/public.nsf/2cdd02b415ea3a64852566d6000daa79/Rules&Reg_attachments/$FILE/SORNA.pdf

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is the preeminent organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation's criminal defense lawyers to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or other misconduct. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's more than 12,800 direct members -- and 94 state, local, and international affiliate organizations with another 35,000 members -- include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America's criminal justice system.

Rights and Law Network

Rights and Law Network: Our mission includes establishing a movement to reform or abolish the current sex offender laws that are clearly unconstitutional, and that do more harm than good. Join our discussion forum for more detailed discussions on our legal platforms. A non-profit group seeking to eliminate current legislation alleged to be for the protection of society, but is being used to extend criminal sentences, and to persecute former offenders that have paid their debt to society.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Judge Dismisses Sex Offender Case

WHIO Dayton: Miami County - The Miami County prosecutor said he will fight common pleas judge’s ruling that follows a Piqua sex offender to live too close to a school.
In a written decision, Miami County Common Pleas Judge Robert Lindeman dismissed the pending case against Burge because the residency law, made by the Supreme Court in February 2003, was not in effect when Burge was convicted of his sex offense.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sex Offender Sues Every Sheriff, Prosecutor

WLKY.com: Sex Offender Files Suit Against Every Sheriff & Prosecutor In Indiana.

SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. -- A man filed a lawsuit against every sheriff and prosecutor in the state of Indiana. The law that goes into effect in July would allow law enforcement to search his computer at any time. Morris' attorney said it's a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. ACLU attorney Ken Falk said the Supreme Court has expressly said that law enforcement cannot conduct a search without probable cause and a warrant, and that lawmakers completely ignored that.

WTHR.com: ACLU fights sex offender monitoring law ( April 14, 2008):
Indianapolis - A legal effort is underway to stop a law that allows police to monitor Internet use of sex offenders. According to the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the law tramples Fourth Amendment rights. "There has to be at least some reasonable suspicion to enter their homes and violate their Fourth Amendment," Falk said. "People who are no longer on probation or parole or any court supervision, who are free people, who have all the constitutional rights that all Americans have, one of those, of course, is your Fourth Amendment right.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Law requiring GPS on sex offenders is illegal

Sentencing Law and Policy: Split Sixth Circuit panel addresses challenges to Tennessee sex offender GPS rules.

The Tennessee Serious and Violent Sex Offender Monitoring Pilot Project Act (the “Surveillance Act”), imposes retroactively a requirement that all convicted sex offenders not only register with the Tennessee sexual offender registry, but also wear a relatively large device (a global positioning system, “G.P.S.”) at all times....

Court dissenting opinion:
[G]iven the large size of the G.P.S. device, the Surveillance Act violates Appellant Doe’s constitutional rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause. The box measures 6 inches by 3.25 inches by 1.75 inches. Doe v. Bredesen, 507 F.3d 998, 1005 (6th Cir. 2007). The box must be worn outside any coat or outer garment, making it plainly visible to onlookers. Id. at 1002. In essence, this box is a modern day “scarlet letter,” branding sex offenders with a marker of their crime for all to see.

I believe that the retroactive application of the Surveillance Act constitutes an Ex Post Facto Clause violation because (1) as a catalyst for public ridicule, it is a form of shaming, humiliation, and banishment, which are well-recognized historical forms of punishment; (2) it promotes the traditional aims of punishment; and (3) it is excessive in forcing Doe to broadcast his sex offender status not only to those who choose to inquire, but also to the general public....

Supreme Courts limit sex offender residency restriction

Sentencing Law and Policy: Missouri high court limits application of sex offender residency restriction.

"violates the bar on retrospective laws set forth in article I, section 13 of the state constitution. Missouri has prohibited retrospective civil laws -- which create new obligations, impose new duties or attach new disabilities with respect to actions already past...this Court has held that a law requiring registration as a sex offender for an offense that occurred prior to the registration law's effective date was an invalid retrospective law in violation of article I, section 13. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833 (Mo. banc 2006). The same long-standing principles apply here, as the residency restrictions impose a new obligation on R.L. and those similarly situated by requiring them to change their place of residence based solely on offenses committed before the statute was enacted."

Sex Crimes: The Property Rights Argument is Gaining Force.

Georgia Supreme Court ruling has refueled the debate on whether states should restrict where sex offenders live. The Georgia court struck down its residency restrictions last week, giving opponents of such buffer zones hope that other state laws will be reviewed and possibly overturned....for the past three years, opposition to residency restrictions has grown.
That’s why Georgia’s ruling was “monumental,” said Corwin Ritchie of the Iowa County Attorneys Association. “When these laws were first bantered about, they sold an awfully convincing bill of goods, that they are awfully good safety measures,” Ritchie said. “I think in Georgia they are seeing the full impact of the unintended consequences and saying this is not constitutional.”

Targeting past sex offenders

Joplin Globe/Missouri: Senators back amendment targeting past sex offenders.

Senators endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday that could undo a Missouri Supreme Court ruling and restore the names and addresses of more than 4,300 past sex offenders to a state registry. They also voted to require sex offenders to stay in their homes on Halloween. The Senate’s effort to increase the tracking and public notification of people convicted of decades-old sex offenses came just moments after a registered sex offender urged a House committee to use restraint in imposing new restrictions. Aside from registering their names, addresses and other information, sex offenders also are prohibited under Missouri law from living or loitering near schools and child care centers.

“I am not for sex offenders,” Rep. Nasheed said. “However, I do believe we can go too far.”

The amendment seeks to undo a June 2006 Missouri Supreme Court decision that sex offenders convicted of crimes before Missouri’s registry law took effect in January 1995 cannot be required to register. The high court ruled the law violated the state constitution’s prohibition on retrospective laws.

As a result, the sex offender registry maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol no longer lists the addresses of 4,364 people whose most recent sex-offense conviction occurred before 1995, said patrol spokesman Capt. Tim Hull. The registry still listed detailed information for 6,995 other offenders as of Tuesday, Hull said.

ACLU challenges new sex offender law

IndyStar.com : ACLU challenges new sex offender law.

The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit today challenging a new provision of the state sex offender law that will require those who register to agree to searches of their computers. Passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly, Senate Bill 258, which takes effect July 1, addresses several issues related to sex offenders. One is that when a sex offender begins probation, parole or enrolls in the state's sex offender registry, they must sign a consent form agreeing to searches of computers or Internet-enabled devices at any time. Also, they must agree to install software that monitors Internet usage at their own expense. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, says placing the restriction on sex offenders who aren't in probation or still on parole violates the U.S. Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Sex offenders generally must register for 10 years after their release from prison, though some must register for life. "It seems to be, in our estimation, a pretty clear violation of the fourth amendment when you're not on parole or probation," said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana's legal director.

Sex offender laws struck down

Nevada/ Las Vegas Sun: Juvenile sex offender laws struck down — for now.
...the constitutionality of Nevada’s new sex offender laws as they apply to juveniles — The judge ruled the juvenile sex offender laws Nevada adopted with the passage of Assembly Bill 579 are unconstitutional. The laws being challenged in AB 579 are based on the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, signed into law by President Bush in July 2006. ....expects the laws will not be enforced until the Supreme Court hears the appeals. The state’s high court is not expected to rule on the case before July 1. The new laws, Voy agreed, are unconstitutional because they violate due process.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Operation Awareness

Operation Awareness

Operationawareness.com was started in May 2006, a site devoted specifically to child safety, criminal justice and civil rights issues.

Understanding the Ramifications of The Adam Walsh Act (AWA)

Adam Walsh Act Violations based on Retro-Active Application of AWA

ABS's 20/20 Interview by John Stossel:

Retroactive Law Unconstitutional

Is Retroactive GPS Monitoring Unconstitutional?

[Jonathan Adler, April 1, 2008 at 11:19pm] from: http://volokh.com/posts/1207106347.shtml

Does Tennessee's Serious and Violent Sex Offender Monitoring Pilot Project Act, which requires convicted sex offenders to wear a GPS device (including those previously convicted), violate the Constitution's ex post facto clause? Six judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit thought so, and dissented from the denial of en banc review of a panel decision concluding otherwise. Wrote Judge Keith for himself and five other judges:

I believe that the retroactive application of the Surveillance Act constitutes an Ex Post Facto Clause violation because (1) as a catalyst for public ridicule, it is a form of shaming, humiliation, and banishment, which are well-recognized historical forms of punishment; (2) it promotes the traditional aims of punishment; and (3) it is excessive in forcing Doe to broadcast his sex offender status not only to those who choose to inquire, but also to the general public. The majority, in upholding the Surveillance Act, deliberately turned a blind eye to the obvious effects of forcing Doe to wear such a large box on his person. Moreover, the majority erred in its emphasis that such boxes “will only become smaller and less cumbersome as technology progresses.” The question at hand was whether the required technology under the Surveillance Act violates the Ex Post Facto Clause today, not whether technology could conceivably develop such that it will become inconspicuous in the future.

UPDATE: Here is the original panel's decision in Doe v. Bredesen.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Permanent Underclass

This is an MSNBC story demonstrating the inherent problems with legislation designed to make registered sex offenders a permanent underclass. After being forced to move herself and her family out of her home once, Jennifer Lowe ( a misdemeanor offender) found herself in violation of another new Iowa law forbidding a registered sex offender from living near bus stops or parks. She was imprisoned and her children were taken away from her.

U.S. District Court approves the forfeiture of sex offender's house to the federal government:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Stanek said", We frequently use the federal forfeiture laws in child pornography cases to take the instruments of the crime — computers, printers, video cameras," she said. "But this is the first time we've taken a house."
The city hopes to get the majority of the proceeds from the sale of the house.

15 year old son re-classified to register every 90 days for the rest of his life::

About 2 years ago, her 15-year-old son was convicted of inappropriately touching his 9-year-old younger sister, a tragedy which shocked her family. When her son was sentenced, a judge determined he was a sexually oriented offender, the lowest severity under the law. But in January the law changed. The family received a letter from the Attorney General's office saying the boy was reclassified to the most severe type of offender who must register now every 90 days for the rest of his life !