Monday, November 30, 2009

Illinois to Soon Implement Adam Walsh Act

Apparently, the State of Illinois is intending to implement the Adam Walsh Act. Constitutionalfights has not been able to find any official information about this yet (perhaps the legislators are doing this in stealth mode), but we ask readers to forward any official posting about it. Readers in Illinois are encourage to write letters to their legislators here: : IL - Please Oppose the Adam Walsh Act.

Maine Lawsuits Remove Sex Offenders from Registry : Nearly 100 removed from Maine sex offender list.

Augusta, Maine - Maine officials say nearly 100 people have been removed from the state’s sex offender registry two months after of a new law went into effect changing the registry’s rules.

People convicted of sex offenses dating back to 1982 were previously listed on the registry. But after court challenges, the Legislature changed the law so that people convicted of offenses between 1982 and June 30, 1992, no longer had to be on the list if they didn’t have any subsequent felony-level offenses.

Matthew Ruel, director of the State Bureau of Identification, told the Kennebec Journal that as of last week, 245 people had submitted applications seeking to be taken off the registry, with nearly 100 of those being removed.

Jessica’s Law too Vague to Enforce? : Jessica’s Law too Vague to Enforce?

More than 70 percent of registered sex offenders in San Diego County are violating a state law by living too close to schools and parks.

Jessica’s Law, which was approved by California voters in November 2006, toughened sanctions against sex offenders and bars them from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. In San Diego County, 1,266 of 1,731 offenders whose addresses are made public by the state live in those restricted zones, according to an analysis by the Watchdog Institute, a nonprofit investigative journalism unit based at San Diego State University.

That finding surprises virtually no one in law enforcement. They say the law is vague and has holes, making it nearly impossible to enforce. For example, the law doesn’t specify whether residence restrictions apply to all convicted sex offenders or only to those who were convicted or paroled after it passed. There are no penalties for violating the restrictions.

“The initiative itself was so badly written, no one knows how retroactive it is,” said Tom Tobin, a clinical psychologist and member of the state Sex Offender Management Board, an advisory group that includes law enforcement and other professionals who deal with sex crimes.

More than 90 percent of convicted sex offenders listing addresses in Chula Vista are in violation of the state residence restriction, while none violate the municipal ordinance.

Four registered sex offenders, two of whom live in San Diego County, have challenged the residency restrictions, and their case is before the California Supreme Court. The court’s ruling is expected in February.

And while residence restrictions are aimed at keeping strangers away from children, strangers commit a small percentage of child-sex offenses. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office doesn’t track how many child molestations are committed by strangers, but the Justice Department study found that 93 percent of offenders are related to or know their victims. “Often, we’re horrified when we hear about children snatched off the street,” said Phyllis Shess, director of sex-offender management in the District Attorney’s Office. “That is statistically very rare.”

In one aspect, Jessica’s Law has increased concerns about public safety. Since it took effect, more registered sex offenders have identified themselves as transient and are harder to track.

Tobin said sex offenders in an unstable environment, such as homelessness, are more likely to commit another crime. “Why would we want to, with no apparent good reason, increase the risk of re-offending?” he asked. “The reality is we’re pushing people to the brink.”

In January, the Sex Offender Management Board issued recommendations, including one to “rethink residency restrictions.” It stated, “The vast majority of evidence and research conducted to date does not demonstrate a connection between where an offender lives and recidivism.”

Residents Want Sex Offenders Banned from Town (NY) : Residents Want Sex Offenders Banned from Town.

Lake Luzerne - Residents Thomas Condon, Joseph Catoggio and Clinton Freeman on Davern Drive want sex offenders out of their neighborhood and away from the town.

Town Supervisor Eugene Merlino said he’s not sure the town can do that. "There’s not much the town can legally do," he said, adding that the district attorney’s office told him if sex offenders they have served their time, they can live anywhere.

But Catoggio told the board that Colonie had recently adopted a new law that requires businesses to get a license from the town before they can house sex offenders. That way, they are regulating businesses rather than the offenders themselves. Catoggio asked the town’s attorney to look into a similar law for Lake Luzerne.

See previous post: Town Welcomes Terrorists Over Sex Offenders

Town Welcomes Terrorists Over Sex Offenders : Amherst mulls resolution welcoming Guantanamo detainees.

The western Massachusetts university town of Amherst is mulling a resolution urging the Congress to release cleared Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States and calling for the town to welcome those detainees into the community. The town's Select Board voted 2-1 Monday night to endorse a warrant article titled, "Resolution to Assist in the Safe Resettlement of Cleared Guantanamo Detainees."

"The United States has a long history of being a place of refuge and asylum for persecuted people. There's nothing new about this," said Gerry Weiss, one of the two selectmen supporting the resolution. "This is the tradition of the United States."

Mark Wootton, 60, of Worthington, owner of Amherst Books, said, "I agree with those who say this is outside of the expertise of the town, but I think it's a reasonable thing for the town to welcome or accept them if they were cleared by the courts and if they want to be here. They should be free to live here or anywhere else. Banning people from living in certain towns or places is antithetical to a democracy. They're free to live in Worthington, too, so far as I'm concerned."

Update: Amherst- Town Meeting approved it overwhelmingly on November 4.

Terrorists should not be banned from living in certain places, but ex sex offenders should be banned from living in certain places ?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sex Offender Registries are Growing Fast : Tracking Sex-Crime Offenders / Violator Registry Is Growing.

There are more than 716,000 registered sex offenders nationwide, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a 78 percent increase since 2001, and that does not include all offenders because some crimes do not require registration. Sex-offender registries have grown even faster in the Washington area, with more than 24,000 people listed.

The focus on crimes against children that began in the Bush administration shows no sign of abating under President Obama. Federal child sexual exploitation prosecutions are up 147 percent since 2002, and the Justice Department is hiring 81 more prosecutors for these cases. Funding for task forces that bring charges in state courts rose this year from $16 million to $75 million.

But many of those offenders are now leaving prison, even as revenue-strapped states are cutting the budgets of probation departments. In Virginia, probation and parole cuts this year totaled nearly $10 million, including $500,000 for electronic monitoring of sexually violent predators. Maryland also has cut its budget.

"The burden on probation and parole officers is going to explode," said Ernie Allen, the national center's president.
The monitoring of virtually all sex offenders is required by law when they are on probation or parole.

Recent cases underscore a troubled registry system that has been the public face of sex-offender monitoring. An estimated 100,000 offenders do not comply with registration requirements. Law enforcement doesn't know where many of them are.

Sipes said officers are especially worried about social networking sites frequented by children, such as MySpace, which this year said it banned 90,000 registered sex offenders. Facebook has said it is also actively trying to prevent sex offenders from joining its site.

Hysteria about these social netowrking sites has long ago been proven to be overblown.
See our postings
"Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown", and "Sex Offender on Social Site = Felony"

A monitoring program installed on an offender's computer is designed to capture every keystroke, Internet site and program, including chat and e-mail. Officials can monitor the computer remotely by logging onto a Web site or getting an e-mail if the offender does anything troublesome. Yet even this new tool is flawed. The software won't stop an offender from sneaking a laptop, using a family member's computer or logging on at the library. There is virtually no monitoring equipment for cellphones, BlackBerries or children's gaming devices, which require a time-consuming and expensive forensic analysis. The monitoring equipment is expensive, so many agencies can't afford it or use a free program that can't retrieve deleted files.

ConstitutionalFights Summary:

1. The Adam Walsh Act and other new and expanding sex offender laws are diluting and exploding the sex offender registries to include vast numbers of citizens, which continue to grow each and every day. Meanwhile of course, more of our money is being spent on pursuing these increasing efforts.

2. Even with all the funding and resources devoted to these laws, they are proven to be ineffective as 1-in-7 offenders do not register or cannot be found. And of course, the punishments are being imposed upon those who have registered at least once, or whose locations ares known by law enforcement.

3. Focusing on proven false dangers, such as social networking, only takes away from the effectiveness of a legitimate sex offender policy.

4. Just as with residency restrictions, computer monitoring software only creates the illusion of enforcement because any offender can access a computer at many other locations - just as any offender can
bus, walk or drive to a park.

Dear Santa: Are You A Sex Offender?

Freerangekids : Dear Santa: Are You A Sex Offender?

What’s Christmas without a little overkill, this time at the hands of the U.S. Postal Service? It is acting to keep our children “safe” — and joyless! That’s the true spirit of the season, the way things are going.

The Post Office is afraid of sex offenders responding to childrens’ letters to Santa– admittedly a concern, but compared to having volunteers answer mountains of letters from needy children? As they have for decades? And what are the chances a Santa letter to a child along with some toys would wind up a horrible tragedy?

To me it’s another case of “protecting” kids that leaves the vast majority far worse off — just like when we take all the merry-go-rounds off all the playgrounds just in case someone, somewhere could fall off. We’ve “protected” the kids, yes. Mostly from a joy.

We like Freerangekids and their motto: "Giving our kids the freedom we had without going nuts with worry"...

"Do you ever…..let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk alone to school? Take a bus, solo? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free Range Kid! At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age children go outside, they need a security detail. Most of us grew up Free Range and lived to tell the tale. Our kids deserve no less. This site dedicated to sane parenting. Share your stories, tell your tips and maybe one day I will try to collect them in a book. Meantime, let's try to help our kids embrace life! (And maybe even clear the table.)"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sex Offender Ordinance Results in Only One Arrest (Tampa) : Investigation - Sex offender ordinance results in only one arrest.

Video report: Sex Offender Ordinance Ineffective.

Hillsborough County, FL - Hillsborough County's commissioners created a supposedly tough ordinance that would ban sex offenders and predators from parks and playgrounds. But in the 12 months since the county's sex offender ordinance has gone into affect, how many arrests has the Sheriff's Department been able to make?
"We've made one," says Captain Alan Hill of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

State Representative Richard Glorioso says the problem with Hillsborough County's ordinance is that it contains so many exceptions, it is operationally ineffective. "Right now that person can be in that park sitting on a bench next to your kids and the officer has no authority to tell them to leave." (because that is a violation of a citizen's constitutional rights)

For instance, while it bans sex offenders and predators from parks and playgrounds, there are exceptions for dropping off their own child, or a friend or relatives child. Or while traveling to and from religious services, and to and from official business.

"Right now that person can be in that park sitting on a bench next to your kids and the officer has no authority to tell them to leave." says Glorioso.

Which is why Representative Glorioso is now introducing a bill that would create a new, tougher statewide law which would close many of the loopholes in the Hillsborough County ordinance. "We do two things. First of all if you a sexual offender or predator on conditional release or probation you will not be allowed in a park, period. If you're in the registry we create a circle of safety of 300 feet around the children where you cannot loiter," says Glorioso. However, even under Glorioso's bill those in the sex offender registry could still visit parks if they stay more than 300 feet away from children.

State Representative Richard Glorioso's Bills:
CS/HB 77 - Sexual Offenders and Predators (killed in 2009)
HB 119 - Sexual Offenders and Predators (alive for 2010)

If you live in this man's district, contact him and tell him what you think (he is your servant).

The Plague of Sex Offender Panic : Of Myths and Monsters: The Plague of Sex Offender Panic.

If we want to address sex crimes in America, we need an honest approach. We need to seriously consider what truly works, not what simply feeds our anger and fear and makes us “feel good.” We forget sex offenders are also human beings, capable of remorse and redemption. We forget how easily we can fall into our own sins, all of which is the same in the eyes of God.

There are ways to address this issue from a realistic standpoint. We may not be able to stop every tragedy from happening, but we prevent much more sexual abuse by looking at the issue honestly. We must put aside our preconceived notions and our emotions and stick with what works. The right knowledge is power. Prevention and education programs do indeed exist, which addresses sexual abuse from a realistic and rational standpoint (such as the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center and Stop It Now!). We need to educate our youth on sexual responsibility and accountability, and not just from a fear mongering perspective. Sex education must include discussions on sex crime laws. We also need to have a balanced and healthy view of sex, meaning we can teach sexual responsibility in a tasteful manner without simply saying, “Don’t have sex or you’ll go to hell or jail.” Remember, we are a culture that needs disclaimers on coffee cups lest we burn our laps. We also need to actually talk about sex; these days when a person is struggling with sexual idolatry, they have almost nowhere to turn. Our society shuns sexual deviancy so much, even mental health professionals who work with sex offenders or deviants are shunned.

Prevention is only part of the solution; proper rehabilitation of the sex offender is a must. Of those who do re-offend, two-thirds of them will do so within the first two years of release. Thus, transitional homes and support networks (such as are keys to reducing already low recidivism rates. Social ostracism and denial of services, housing, employment, and support has already proven disastrous for our society; all those approaches achieve is reinforcing faulty belief systems of those struggling with sexual idolatry and giving ample incentive to disobey the law. A Rand Corporation study has shown every dollar spent on prevention and rehabilitation programs save up seven dollars that would otherwise be spent on running offenders through the justice system [16].

Most importantly, we need to honor victims by helping victims of sex crimes overcome the crimes committed against them. These days, if a victim forgives his or her attacker, many people look at them like they are crazy. What good does keeping victims thinking about what happened to them and the guilt and anger they feel rather than dealing with those feelings? The result is many more lives remain broken rather than healed, making them lifelong victims rather than “Thrivers.”

In our narrow focus on the “Registered Sex Offender,” we tend to forget the big picture. Appeals to emotion rather than reason helped create a legal system of perpetual brokenness for victims, offenders, and the community alike. So has the illusion of “innocence.” Your child is innocent until he is thrust into the criminal justice system for crossing a line he or she never addressed or even knew about. Ignorance is not bliss, nor is it an excuse for breaking the law. McDonald’s will give you a disclaimer for hot coffee in a cup. Yet no one is giving your child disclaimers on our legal system. If you don’t learn to be honest with your children about sexual issues, who will?

GA Supreme Court Rules Against Sex Offender : GA Supreme Court Rules Against Sex Offender (click here for audio report)

Atlanta, GA (WABE) - A Georgia sex offender has lost his appeal to the state supreme court. State law requires sex offenders to register with the county sheriff within 72 hours of moving.

In January, convicted offender Derrick Todd Dunn temporarily located to a motel in Gordon County in northwest Georgia. Six days later he moved to a permanent home. When Dunn then registered, he was arrested for not registering the motel address.

Dunn appealed, saying registration requirements are vague, and that someone entering the state had more leeway than an offender already living in-state. In a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court of Georgia disagreed.

Christopher Paul was Dunn's public defender. He says he's disappointed with the court's decision and the state's sex offender law: "It's at best an inartfully-drafted statute, and there's lots of problems with the statute the way it's currently drafted."

Paul does not know if his client will file an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Derrick Todd Dunn remains in a state prison where he'll likely stay for several years.

This is not surprising coming from Georgia, as this state has some of the harshest and most draconian sex offender laws in the nation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Laws Push Sex Offenders Into High Density (Arkansas) : Laws Push Sex Offenders Into High Density.

Changes in Arkansas state laws in 2003 and 2007 created small concentrations of sex offenders throughout Northwest Arkansas near many residential neighborhoods. Laws restrict how close sex offenders can live to businesses and institutions.

“Certain offenders can’t live within 2,000 feet of a school, public park or a licensed day care center,” said Detective Leonard Graves, Fayetteville’s representative on the Northwest Arkansas Sex Offender and Violent Crime Task Force. “That starts eliminating a lot of a city.” A city like Fayetteville, with about 65 schools and day care centers and numerous small parks, doesn’t have much space left that is eligible, Graves said.

John, a convicted sex offender said,“Every year there’s more restrictions. When I got out of prison, I could live anywhere I wanted to. Now I’m on the registry for the rest of my life. If I was a murderer who was paroled, I wouldn’t have to do anything now.”

It’s been 20 years since John was paroled. He spent 10 years on probation after his release. He has never been in trouble since leaving prison, he said. His good behavior, however, didn’t mean anything when he moved the last time, from an apartment building to a house next door. “People left nasty notes in my mailbox, they put a sign in my yard, they broke out windows trying to get me to move,” John said.

Arkansas set up its database after the passing of the Sex and Child Offender Registration Act in 1997. Those convicted of a sex crime, or those found not guilty of a sex crime on the grounds of mental disease or defect, must register. They are required to register in each law enforcement jurisdiction where they live, attend school or are employed.

Stricter laws forcing people out of more neighborhoods are not the answer, said Paula Stitz, manager of the Arkansas sex offender registry. Tougher laws in other states have led to situations such as in Miami, where sex offenders live under bridges, Stitz said. New legislation in Florida eliminated most of Miami as a living site for sex offenders, according to a story by the Associated Press. In 2007, five male sex offenders started living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway when they couldn’t find a place to live. The number of offenders living under the bridge and nearby grew to 52 by March 2009.

“That’s not a good situation,” said Marc Klaas, founder of KlaasKids, a foundation formed to prevent crimes against children. Polly Klaas, Marc Klaas’ daughter, was kidnapped from her home in California and murdered in 1993 when she was 12 years old. "Sex offenders in close contact tend to network and exchange information that could lead them to committing another sex crime", Klaas said.

So let's get this straight; the manager of the state sex offender registry and a national advocate for sex offender laws both believe that these stricter laws are actually compromising public safety. So why are the public and lawmakers still pushing such laws?

How Likely are Sex Offenders to Re-offend? : How likely are sex offenders to re-offend? Studies suggest rates lower than popularly believed.

Sex offenders are often seen as incurable deviants who lurk in the shadows, waiting to prey on unsuspecting innocents.
But the term "sex offender," is actually much more complex, experts say, and a myriad of misconceptions exist about common traits associated with the population. Not only that, but according to recent studies, recidivism rates for sexual felons may be lower than most people believe.

"The public doesn't quite understand recidivism," says Dr. Adam Deming, a psychologist and director of the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring Program. "They tend to believe all will recidivate." "It varies tremendously," adds Dr. Jeff Burnett, a Mishawaka doctor who specializes in sex offender treatment, psychological evaluations and psychosexual assessments.

Community members often want to be cautious and conservative when assessing the danger of sex offenders because sexual assault and abuse can be so devastating. But that caution, Burnett says, can at times lead to an overestimation of the risk.

Before delving into exact recidivism rates, it's essential to first define the word. In some studies, recidivism is explained as a reconviction for a sexual offense. In others, it relates to an offender being charged with a new sex offense. Other statistics measure recidivism based on arrests for any new type of crime, and some gauge recidivism based on violations of conditional release requirements.

The different ways to measure recidivism make the simple question of how often sex offenders re-offend not so simple.
Length of time is also important to consider when reviewing recidivism, notes a 2004 recidivism study conducted by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. The study included parts of the United States.

"For all crimes ... the likelihood that the behavior will re-appear decreases the longer the person has abstained from that behavior," the study said.

In a 1994 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the study found if sex offenders were re-arrested for a new sex crime, it was likely to happen within the first 12 months of their release.

In the first three years of being released, the study found that 5.3 percent of sex offenders had been rearrested for a sex crime.

The more recent Canadian/U.S. study showed overall recidivism rates based on re-convictions, were 14 percent after five years, 20 percent after 10 years, and 24 percent after 15 years.

"Most sexual offenders do not re-offend over time," the study found. "This may be the most important finding of this study, as this finding is contrary to some strongly held beliefs."

In short, after 15 years, 73 percent of sex offenders had not been charged or reconvicted of another sex offense.

All offenders are also not equally likely to reoffend. In addition, Brunett lists three risk factors leading to a greater chance of recidivism. Offenders whose victims are male, unrelated to them, or a stranger are more likely to repeat their crimes.

Age of the offender also plays a role. The older the sex offender, the less likely they are to reoffend.
And although cases where strangers sexually assault victims are usually more publicized, Deming points out that victims much more often know their perpetrator.

Saturday, November 21, 2009 - “Overcriminalization” : “Overcriminalization” describes the trend in America – and particularly in Congress – to use the criminal law to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives. Criminal law is supposed to be used to redress only that conduct which society thinks deserving of the greatest punishment and moral sanction.

But as a result of rampant overcriminalization, trivial conduct is now often punished as a crime. Many criminal laws make it possible for the government to convict a person even if he acted without criminal intent (i.e., mens rea). Sentences have skyrocketed, particularly at the federal level.

This applies directly to the implementation of Adam Walsh Act laws, where legislators are applying the new laws retroactively to offenders who committed a crime years before the laws went into effect. Since our U.S. and State Constitutions forbid applying criminal penalties retroactively, these corrupt lawmakers argue that the laws are "civil" in nature, and not criminal. The facts are obviously contrary to this argument, however, as criminal penalties are applied to failure to properly follow all the new restrictions registration requirements.
(see Lesson: " Kennedy 7" Criteria ( Punitive vs. Civil ))

Legislation listed on includes the International Megan’s Law of 2009 and the Prevention and Deterrence of Crimes Against Children Act of 2009

NE Sex Offender Tiers To Change : NE Sex Offender Tiers To Change.

It’s been more than three years since former President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, and Nebraska lawmakers are playing catch-up to avoid a 10 percent reduction in Byrne justice grant funding (a blackmail of the states by the Federal government to force them to adopt the AWA).

The Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act is getting an update via LB285 passed in the last legislative session, allowing the act to better comply with federal laws and helping Nebraska retain its funded status.

Cheyenne County Sheriff Darrell Johnson said the new amendments change the way a sex offender is tiered in the program. All offenders will be listed publicly by the amount of years they must register whereas previously only Level III offenders had their information publicly available.

Level I - low risk - and Level II - moderate risk - were forced to register like Level III’s but their information didn’t go any further than the sheriff’s office.

Under the new law, all current and future registrants will be classified by the new levels that determine how long they must register and all will be subject to community notification. That means sex offenders hidden from public view will become known to the community.

New reporting requirements will include all addresses where a sex offender lives or frequents, all employment locations, all school information, travel and immigration documents, professional licenses or certificates, e-mail addresses and chat room ID’s, remote communication device identifiers, signed consent form to search, DNA sample collection and palm prints, in addition to fingerprints. Offenders are required to register within three days prior to release from incarceration.

The offender must report any change in residence/temporary residence, employment or school on an approved form. Anyone required to register is required to report each e-mail address, instant messaging address and any other Internet communication identifiers they use, such as Facebook and MySpace. Any changes must be submitted within 24 hours or else the offender is subject to a felony charge.

If a sex offender was convicted of a registrable offense not punishable by imprisonment for more than a year, they fall within the 15-year category. Fifteen-year registrants are required to report for verification annually in person at the sheriff’s office in the month of the offender’s date of birth.

If a sex offender was convicted of a registrable offense punishable by imprisonment for more than a year, they fall within the 25-year category. Twenty-five-year registrants are required to report for verification bi-annually in person at the sheriff’s office in the month of the offender’s date of birth and six months following.

If a sex offender was convicted of a registrable offense punishable by imprisonment for more than a year, and was convicted of an aggravated offense or had a prior sex offense conviction, they fall within the life category. Life registrants are required to report for verification quarterly in person at the sheriff’s office in the month of the offender’s date of birth and every three months thereafter (until the day they die) .
The bill goes into effect Jan. 1.

Sex Offender Attempts Suicide in Courtroom (OK) : Sex offender tries to slit his throat in Norman courtroom

A convicted sex offender remained hospitalized in critical condition today after trying to slit his throat Thursday in a Cleveland County courtroom. Troy xxxxl, 43, used an X-Acto knife to cut himself after a judge revoked his probation, officials said. Undersheriff Rhett Burnett said. Lucas was able to wrestle the man to the floor, then applied pressure to his neck wound until paramedics arrived.

District Judge William Hetherington had just ordered Leal's probation revoked and was about to sentence him to six years in prison when the incident occurred.

We, as a society will see more of this human tragedy as these draconian laws go into affect. Some barbarians of course, will welcome the death of another human because of a crime they committed. Most Americans, however, can see this as the tragedy and injustice it is.

UK Sex Offender Beaten to Death : Three people beat Birmingham sex offender to death.

Two men and a woman beat a Birmingham man to death after he was recognized as a sex offender, a court was told.
Victim Dennis Golding, aged 49, was targeted because someone at the Birmingham hostel where he was living had seen him on a sex offenders’ wing in prison, it heard.

Dominic Maynard-Francis, 23, Darren Stevens 30, and Rebecca Gordon 20, all deny murdering Mr Golding.
They went to his room on a number of times and repeatedly assaulted him. Another resident living opposite heard his screams and later saw the defendants laughing, said Mr Goss. He said the resident also saw Gordon hitting the victim with a chair. Mr Golding was found lying unconscious with severe head injuries and eventually died three weeks later after also contracting pneumonia.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mans Executes His Own 15 yo Sex Offender Son : Detroit man accused of marching naked 15-year-old son into lot, killing him.

Highland Park, Mich. - A 37-year-old father irate over hearing his 15-year-old son had sexual contact with a 3-year-old girl made the teen strip at gunpoint, marched him to a vacant lot and shot him to death despite pleas from the boy and his mother, a relative said.

Michigan authorities filed a first-degree murder charge Wednesday against Jamar Pinkney Sr. in the shooting death Monday of Jamar Pinkney Jr. in the Detroit enclave of Highland Park. The shooting happened Monday night in a vacant lot in the once-prosperous city of 16,000, where decay, abandonment, fires and demolition have eaten away at many of the sprawling homes.

The boy's mother, Lazette Cherry, told the Detroit Free Press that her son told her he had improper sexual contact with the girl. "I called and told his father. This isn't something you sweep under the rug," she said. Cherry said the elder Pinkney arrived at the home with a gun, ordered his son to strip and marched him outside despite her protests.
"He got on his knees and begged, `No, Daddy, No,' and he pulled the trigger," Cherry said.

News reports such as this are not reported widely, obviously because it demonstrates the hideous result of our social panic about sex offenders in our society. Legislators ,courts, and other citizen proponents of ever-increasing hatred of sex offenders are responsible for this boy's murder.

Sex Offender Hysteria Ends Santa Letter Tradition : Sex Offender Hysteria Ends Santa Letter Tradition.

The U.S. Postal Service is dropping a popular national program begun in 1954 in the small Alaska town of North Pole, where volunteers open and respond to thousands of letters addressed to Santa each year. Replies come with North Pole postmarks.

Last year, a postal worker in Maryland recognized an Operation Santa volunteer there as a registered sex offender. The postal worker interceded before the individual could answer a child's letter, but the Postal Service viewed the episode as a big enough scare to tighten rules in such programs nationwide. (in other words, the man never even responded to a single letter, yet they are canceling the program)

People in North Pole are incensed by the change, likening the Postal Service to the Grinch trying to steal Christmas. The letter program is a revered holiday tradition in North Pole, where light posts are curved and striped like candy canes and streets have names such as Kris Kringle Drive and Santa Claus Lane. Volunteers in the letter program even sign the response letters as Santa's elves and helpers.

North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson agreed caution is necessary to protect children.

The Postal Service began restricting its policies in such programs in 2006, including requiring volunteers to show identification. But the Maryland incident involving the sex offender prompted more changes, even forcing the agency to briefly suspend the Operation Santa program last year in New York and Chicago.

This hysteria is beyond ridiculous Vision:

Today as citizens of the world, we face a daunting array of social and environmental problems ranging from health care and education to global warming and economic inequality. For each of these issues, whether local or global in scope, there are millions of people who care passionately about working for change but lack the information and opportunities necessary to translate their interest into effective action. aims to address this need by serving as the central platform informing and empowering movements for social change around the most important issues of our time.

An American Witch Hunt : Reform Sex Offender Laws to Protect the Falsely- Accused and the Non-Violent.

People on the registry (far too many innocent or not dangerous) have been murdered, committed suicide, had their homes set on fire, been evicted, lost their jobs,etc.etc. Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life. One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he'd slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.

Eighty-seven percent of people who were arrested for sex crimes had not previously been convicted of such an offense, according to a 1997 study. Just 14 percent of all sexual assault cases involved strangers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. These are examples of who is on the dreaded registry:

1. Romeo and Juliet liasons, false accusations of vindictive teens against an older teen (18 or 19)

2. False accusation by vindictive parents in child custody cases and/or family feuds- There are more of these than most people would believe. There are many reports of people who admit to having lied about being molested when they were younger. Now they would like to have the person wrongly convicted on their testimony set free.

3. Mutual consensual sex- but being 3 yrs. and 1 day older than the willing teen (can bring and has brought multiple felony indictments)

4. Sex between consenting teen prostitute (who looks older and even may have lied about her age) with an adult male

5. Criminal charges that later are dropped for insufficient proof but not appealed in time, so are still on a registry

From all I have read, the number of true pedaphiles who are actually dangerous is relatively small. But check out the registry. You're liable to see people who look like your mailman, grocery clerk,etc.etc. And ones who look like they fit the profile could be the least guilty and vice verse. But the numbers are growing exponentially. And as long as politicians and the media can make hay (or reputations) out of this issue, it will breed fear and hysteria and ruin men (mostly) and their families lives who do not deserve to have this happen ! Where are the churches on this issue? Where are people who say they care about justice?

Watch Independent Film, "Witch Hunt" brought to anyone who wants to learn by Sean Penn and two courageous filmmakers.

An American Witch Hunt Trailer

An American Witch Hunt | MySpace Video

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Plight of Homeless Sex Offenders : The Plight of Homeless Sex Offenders.

Last winter shelter season, my eyes were opened to the horrible plight of sex offenders living on the streets. Our street outreach team was called to find shelter for a man. He was a registered sex offender, so he wasn't allowed to stay at the winter shelter. He had done everything right, reported to the police and the shelter workers. But there was no shelter that would allow him to stay.

No matter what you think of the crimes this man committed, he had served his debt to society and was adhering to the terms of his punishment. Still, finding housing - even emergency shelter - proved nearly impossible.

Up until that time, I had rather a hard stance on this subject. I thought sex offenders were dangerous, a threat to society. Who cares if they have to continue paying for their crime once their jail time is up? But one look into this man's eyes gave me different point of view; he was so filled with hopelessness, so beaten down from trying to survive. It's a difficult memory.

I met Tim in Cleveland, Ohio. He's trying to make something of his life. But as a sex offender, it's nearly impossible for him to find the help he needs.

I don't know what Tim did to become a registered sex offender. But I believe an equally heinous crime might be our own society allowing people like him to suffer on the streets, sex offender or not.

Tim from on Vimeo.

FL : Sex Offender's Home Burned Down : Sex offender's Davie home destroyed - A registered sex offender lost his mobile home in a fire police called suspicious.

The blaze destroyed the mobile home in Western Hills Estates. No one was inside at the time.
The cause of the fire was under investigation and it is considered suspicious, said police spokesman Greg Gasse.

The owner registered as a sex offender at the Davie address on Friday.

Richard Fogaros, 38, a parent of two children, 9 and 7, said "I wouldn't want to speculate,' but we are coming to a point where I'm going to have to sacrifice my children's freedom and outside time. Where they [sex offenders] are living is closing in on our area.'' (suspect #1)
Ten sex offenders are registered within a mile of Muniz's address.

S. Korea to Post Sex Offenders Online : Identities of Child Sex Offenders Disclosed Online.

South Korea will soon regret this decision, as they will see what we have seen in the United States. The fact is that these public registries and notification are counter-productive and ineffective with regard to public safety, and result in ostracism and social banishment of whole classes of citizens. We do not know the Korean Constitution, but our guess is that it is modeled after the U.S. Constitution. In that case, they will be experiencing similar nationwide legal challenges to such laws. As friends of South Korea, we honor their desires to model themselves after our nation. But they should have learned from the U.S. and chosen NOT be follow the U.S. in this case.

South Korea will disclose the identities of all convicted child sex offenders on the Internet starting next year in an effort to better protect children amid a growing number of sex crimes against minors.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said all adults aged over 20 will be allowed under a revised law to log on to a government-run Web site featuring the latest information on all convicted child sex offenders, including their names, ages, addresses, photos and summaries of the offenses.

With the opening of the new Web site, South Korea will become the second nation in the world to make public photos of sex offenders after the U.S., Yonhap News Agency reported, adding their personal information will be disclosed for five to 10 years.

The Korean government will also push for separate legal revision to mail the personal information of all convicted child sex offenders to all households with children in their neighborhoods.

Under the present law, the personal information of those who are convicted of sex crimes against minors under 13 is open to the public only on a limited basis, making it available in the district police stations alone.

A growing number of violent sexual assaults on children have recently put escalating pressures on the government and judiciary to get much tougher with sex offenders.

To avoid possible revenge attacks or violence against the registered offenders, the revised law will prohibit the spread of their information through media or Web sites, the officials said.
(This is one thing the U.S. system has failed to do)

MA : Kick Sex Offenders from Homeless Shelters : Sex offender ban sought for homeless shelters.

As the state’s steep budget cuts have forced organizations that help the homeless to cut beds, staff, and programs, the advocates for the needy say banning sex offenders would allow shelters to save money on security, open up space for others, and make shelters safer.

The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, which represents 90 organizations that provide services to the homeless, has urged state lawmakers to add shelters to an increasingly long list of residential bans for many sex offenders. They are already barred in some communities from living near schools, day-care centers, parks, playgrounds, libraries, or nursing homes.

While those who study sex offender recidivism rates say such residential restrictions are counterproductive, state lawmakers who support the proposed legislation argue that it also would fix a loophole in the law, which for five years has required the most dangerous sex offenders to post their names, addresses, and photos on a public website. They say too many sex offenders bypass the law by listing a homeless shelter as their address when they live elsewhere.

In a review yesterday of 162 Level 3 sex offenders - those with a high risk of committing sex crimes again - who list addresses in Boston on the state’s online registry, the Globe found that at least 74 percent reported they were living at homeless shelters.

Those who treat sex offenders and monitor recidivism rates say such residential restrictions make it more likely they will commit future crimes.

Tracy Velazquez, executive director of the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute and author of a report, “The Pursuit of Safety: Sex Offender Policy in the United States,’’ said Massachusetts would be one of the few states to pass such a restriction. Florida also bans sex offenders from homeless and hurricane shelters.

She said if the bill becomes law, Massachusetts would join other states in making it more likely that a sex offender ends up on the street. In 2000, she said only five states had residential restrictions limiting the proximity of an offender to a school, park, or nursing home; now 30 states have such restrictions, forcing many into homelessness.

“If the purpose of this ban is to continue to punish and effectively banish people after they’ve done their time and paid their debt to society, then it’s a pretty effective policy,’’ she said. “If it’s to increase public safety, then banning registered sex offenders from shelters is counterproductive. It will make it harder for law enforcement to keep track of their whereabouts, and harder for them to meet their basic human needs, which in turn makes it harder for them to live successfully in the community.’’ She and others said research shows there’s no link between where sex offenders live and whether they commit new crimes.

Jill Levenson, a professor of human services who researches sex crime policy at Lynn University in Florida, said a study she completed last year of 330 sex offenders who live near schools and day-care centers in Florida found that they were no more likely to re-offend than other former convicts.

“The risk that sex offenders might pose in shelters for women and children may make sense, but to ban them from any shelter would have to be balanced with the need to provide social services to sex offenders,’’ she said. “If someone is homeless, despondent, and desperate, they’re more likely to resume a life of crime.’’

Others questioned the constitutionality of banning sex offenders from shelters, which are often obligated by state contracts to accept just about anyone they have room for who presents themselves as homeless.

Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which has opposed similar residential restrictions from Barnstable to Lynn, argue that they impose additional punishment after convicts have served their time.

“Just as a matter of public policy, these restrictions make no sense,’’ said John Reinstein, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Do we want to cut them loose entirely, so we don’t know where they are? What does someone do with no place to live, and they can’t go to a homeless shelter? And what are the implications for public safety and the sex offender law, which requires them to register where they live?’’

IN : Retroactive Registrations Unconstitutional : Hundreds Of Sex Offenders Removed From Registry -
Court Ruling Calls Retroactive Registrations Unconstitutional.

(If you are registered in Indiana, you must follow this procedure to have your name removed):

Indianapolis - Hundreds of convicted sex offenders could have their names and pictures removed from county lists after a state law was ruled unconstitutional. In 1994, the Indiana Legislature created Zachary's Law, or the sex offender registry. Three years later, the Legislature amended the law to require all persons convicted of sex offenses to register. But this September, the Indiana Supreme Court reaffirmed its own ruling that the law was unconstitutional because it required those convicted before the law was enacted to register.

On the advice of the state attorney general, the Marion County sheriff will now allow those required to register retroactively to have their names removed from the list, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

"We're not going to remove anybody. We're taking no enforcement action," said Lt. Bob Hanna, who oversees the Sheriffs' Sex and Violent Offender Registry. "As far as removing faces, names and addresses, we won't do that without a court order."

Sex offenders who registered retroactively can petition the court that held jurisdiction over their case to remove their names from the registry. They will then have to present that order to the local sheriff's department.

In Marion County, which currently has 3,606 registered offenders, more than 800 sex offenders would be eligible to have their names removed from the list.

Residents said they'll find a way around the law change. "I think what you'll see is groups or agencies that will pop up and track these individuals that will try to take themselves off the list," said Bill Callahan of the Brookside Neighborhood Association. "There's nothing to stop people from getting public information about a person and creating their own list."

Is that a threat of vigilantism or harassment ? Perhaps someone should report this threat to the authorities.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Analysis of New York Sex Offender Law

American Psychological Association : Does a watched pot boil? A time-series analysis of New York State's sex offender registration and notification law.
Sandler, Jeffrey C.; Freeman, Naomi J.; Socia, Kelly M.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Vol 14(4), Nov 2008, 284-302.


Despite the fact that the federal and many state governments have enacted registration and community notification laws as a means to better protect communities from sexual offending, limited empirical research has been conducted to examine the impact of such legislation on public safety. Therefore, utilizing time-series analyses, this study examined differences in sexual offense arrest rates before and after the enactment of New York State's Sex Offender Registration Act. Results provide no support for the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws in reducing sexual offending by: (a) rapists, (b) child molesters, (c) sexual recidivists, or (d) first-time sex offenders. Analyses also showed that over 95% of all sexual offense arrests were committed by first-time sex offenders, casting doubt on the ability of laws that target repeat offenders to meaningfully reduce sexual offending. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

Sex Crimes Laws Need Updating (FLA) - Editorial: Sex crimes laws need updating.

Our society needs a new approach to sex offender laws that will be effective, just and constitutional.

Mind you, we have no sympathy for people who commit sex crimes, but there appears to be a one-size-fits-all approach as it relates to perpetrators. And our society has branded all sex offenders with virtual "Scarlet Letters" making it impossible to live their lives in society once they have served their time.

Last week, lawyers were arguing the constitutionality of a Lee County ordinance prohibiting the presence of sex offenders within 300 feet of a number of areas. These include schools, day cares, video arcades, pools, parks, playgrounds, zoos, skate parks, beaches or "any similar type places where children congregate."
One huge problem is that there is no map to show what is off limits to registered sex offenders.

If our aim is to make life as miserable as possible for sex offenders once they serve their time, then they - and taxpayers - are probably better off if they stay in prison.

However, we need to get over our discomfort on this issue and face up to the fact that a vigilante mentality in dealing with sex offenses must go by the wayside.

We are a nation of laws. Let's start a serious debate - without fear or vengeance - about how we might punish and possibly rehabilitate sex offenders.

Sex Offenders Cluster In Urban Buildings (NH) : Sex Offenders Often Cluster In Urban Buildings.

There are about 2,400 registered sex offenders living in New Hampshire, and often, they end up living in the same building in the state's largest cities. Officials and sex offenders said it often isn't easy for them to find a place to live, and many eventually settle for the same rooming house or apartment building.

Offenders said reintegrating into a place they're not wanted isn't easy. "People don't want to give you jobs, give you a chance for anything," said an offender.

Hundreds of sex offenders live in New Hampshire neighborhoods. Many are clustered in apartment buildings or rooming houses because they are low-profile and cheap. "If they live in a city like Concord, there's only a few landlords that will rent to them," said Scott Dodge, a Concord parole officer.

But it raises the question of whether a cluster of known sex offenders is safe?

(This "clustering" dynamic is what Miami, FL learned when they banished offenders to live under the Tuttle Bridge)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NJ Supreme Court Ruling Changes Sex Offender Laws : NJ supreme court ruling forces upper twp., others, to change sex offender laws.

Upper Twp.- On Monday night the Township Committee voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance that would have the effect of invalidating an existing 2005 ordinance that regulates where convicted sex offenders can live. The 2005 ordinance that Upper Twp. enacted, restricted how close, a convicted sex offender, could live to schools, daycare centers, parks and playgrounds.

In May, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Megan's Law adequately protected children from sexual predators, and that local laws went too far, effectively restricting sex offenders right out of many towns and cities, "....the State Supreme Court has determined that the townships and municipalities are not authorized to adopt such ordinances," said Township Solicitor, Daniel Young.

With such local laws now 'invalidated' by the court ruling, most municipalities are striking them from their books to avoid possible future lawsuits.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Experts: Sex Offender Laws Flawed - Experts: Sex Offender Laws Flawed.

The arrest of two sex offenders in Kenton County this year shows the complications of enforcing Kentucky's strict residence restrictions. A 43-year-old Michigan native was arrested for violating the terms of his bond for allegedly trying to pick up his prescription medication from an Erlanger house he was ordered to move from because it was within 1,000 feet of Railroad Park.

Another sex offender was arrested for not registering after being released from prison, but he claims he is homeless and had no permanent address to give authorities.

"There is not a lot of thought that goes into the residency restrictions," said Robert Lanning, chairman of the Kentucky Sex Offenders Management Task Force, a group of corrections officials, attorneys, prosecutors and treatment experts. "It's a knee-jerk reaction sometimes. Because of that, there are unintended consequences."

While Kentucky's original residency restrictions said registered sex offenders on probation or parole could not live within 1,000 feet of a school or day cares, it was strengthened in July 2006 to include all registrants regardless of probation or parole status. In addition, it added playgrounds to the list of prohibited areas, and measured the distance from the property line as opposed to the wall of the building. Then, on Oct. 1, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the strengthened restrictions couldn't be applied to registrants retroactively.

Critics say the residency restrictions law is still flawed because it is imposed equally upon all offenders without regard to whether their crime was committed against a child or adult.

Richard Tewksbury, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Louisville, has studied sex offenders and said one of the unintended consequences of residency restrictions is that they can force offenders from their homes, creating stress that can trigger new offenses. Those offenses range from going underground and not reporting where they live to committing additional sex crimes, he said.

"Sex offender laws have a whole host of negative implications for individuals and the community, Tewksbury said. "The two arrests in Kenton County are not at all an uncommon scenario."

John Delaney, the head of the public defenders office for Kenton and Campbell counties, said sex offenders are an easy target for authorities trying to look tough on crime. "They are an easy target because no one likes sex offenders," he said. "Everyone hates sex offenders. No one is going to have any sympathy for a sex offender, even when in reality their sex offenses were not that horrible."

Delaney said the laws give people a false sense of security. "While registered sex offenders can't live within 1,000 feet of a school, one could go sit outside of the school on a bench for the entire school day, (legally)" he said.

While the Kentucky Supreme Court had struck down the strengthened restrictions, it didn't prevent Erlanger police from arresting the Michigan native, Trevor Killey. He was placed on the sex offender registry for 25 years after being convicted of being a peeping tom 14 years ago in Michigan. The equivalent charge in Kentucky doesn't even require someone to register as a sex offender.

His wife said her husband had just briefly returned to pick up his prescription medication. While police officers didn't arrest the husband on the spot, Kenton District Judge Douglas Grothaus signed a warrant for his arrest on Sept. 30. It states that Killey was in violation of his bond by going back to the house. His lawyer, Ryan Reed, said by the time his client was locked up, the state Supreme Court had already ruled unconstitutional the law he was accused of breaking. "For Mr. Killey, it is pretty much a black-and-white issue," Reed said. "His crime occurred prior to July 2006. The registry restrictions don't apply to him."

Tewksbury said he doesn't know how many sex offenders are wrongly being arrested after the supreme court ruling knocked down a portion of the residency restrictions.

"In some way, he may well be inviting more difficulties in his life as people see sex offenders of all varieties as the most heinous and dangerous members of our community when in fact so many of our sex offenders really are not any serious threat to us," Tewksbury said.

Delaney said he is currently representing a sex offender who was given $20 and a bus ticket back to Kenton County after being released from the Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Sandy Hook. With no money, job or family living outside of 1,000 feet of a school, Delaney said the sex offender had no permanent address.
"He was essentially homeless," Delaney said, "until authorities arrested him for not registering. Now he is living at the Kenton County jail." While Delaney didn't release his client's name, said the sex offender has chosen to not post his $250 bond and stay in jail because he has no place to go. The sex offender could ultimately be convicted and sent back to prison, Delaney said.

"So now we have taxpayers literally paying the price for a misguided law that has very little positive impact on the community," Tewksbury said.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When Will Ohio Supreme Court Rule on AWA?

ConstitutionalFights spoke with the Ohio Supreme Court, Clerk of Courts this week.
We asked when the Ohio Supreme Court might be expected to release their decision on Ohio Senate Bill 10
(Adam Walsh Act/SORNA). We were told that typically a ruling is made between 4-6 months after oral arguments, which were heard on Nov. 4, 2009.

Thank you: we thank all those who sent letters to the Court. We heard from a large number of those who sent letters.

Download Audio MP3: If you do not have time to watch the videos of the hearings, we have extracted the audio for you in MP3 format so you can listen in your car or on the run. Click here to download:

DE: Sex Offenders Can be Removed from Registry : Sex Offender Registry - Court says Minner pardon restored all of man's civil rights.

For the second time this year, the Delaware Supreme Court has found that a person legally can be removed from the state's sex offender registry -- implicitly finding that the registry is not a permanent life sentence without exception and that the registry statute does not overpower all other state laws.

In this latest case, the justices ruled that a full and unconditional pardon by former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner of a man convicted at 19 of having consensual sex with a girl who was under 16, meant he no longer had to register as a Tier II sex offender.

The ruling was praised by the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union as a needed exception to the registry, but victim advocate Dana Harrington Conner expressed concern about the creation of another way off the state's list of sex offenders.

While the Delaware Attorney General's Office opposed removing Brian Heath from the offender registry, it signaled this week that it accepted the high court's decision and that Heath's removal did not threaten public safety.

Heath completed his probation, fulfilled his registration requirements and stayed out of trouble.
Oberly said Heath, who has since been married and has a child, could not obtain gainful employment and even had difficulty renting an apartment because he was listed on the sex offender registry.

"You would be better off being convicted of manslaughter than a sex offense to obtain a job [today]," Oberly said, adding that the job Heath was having trouble landing because of his status was as a truck driver.
Heath petitioned then-Gov. Minner for a pardon, which was granted in October 2008.

Lee County Sex Offender Law Being Challenged (FLA.):Attorney says Lee County sex offender law is unconstitutional.

On Thursday, a Lee County judge will hear arguments about whether Lee County's "Child Safety Zone" ordinance is unconstitutional. Attorney Peter Aiken says the law is far too broad to be fair.

"I'm a grandfather in this community. I have two little grandkids," Aiken said. "I don't have a problem in the world with real laws, with real penalties." But Aiken says the "Child Safety Zone" law makes it too difficult to understand where offenders can and can't be. "The problem with a law like this, which I call a feel-good law, is it makes the public feel good and feel safe, but it doesn't do anything," Aiken said.

Aiken represents 57-year-old Joseph Comfort, the first person arrested under the ordinance, after visiting a Lehigh Acres swimming pool in July. The law orders offenders to stay 300 feet from areas "where children congregate" like schools, parks, and beaches; but Aiken says the language is so vague, offenders don't know where they can be legally.

"If you read this ordinance technically, you can't go to McDonald's, because McDonald's has the playground out front."

Aiken says Florida law lumps all sex offenders together in one category, whether the past crime involved a child or not. "This law deals with anybody that's been convicted of a sex offense and has been labeled a sex offender, regardless of how long ago, regardless of the conduct," Aiken said.

Aiken says Comfort's crime nearly 20 years ago didn't involve a child; yet the attorney says this ordinance is like punishing his client for life. "A lot of these people are living clean, productive lives, with children, with families. It's not fair," Aiken said. "It is absolutely, 100-percent, not fair."

Aiken says sex offenders are already subject to tough laws and regular visits by deputies.

Read the full ordinance here:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Federal AWA Has an "Out" Clause

The Federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 has an "out" clause.

Federal AWA has an “out” clause: a state can still be in substantial compliance if the state’s highest court rules that part of the law violates state constitution.

Federal AWA is not required to be applied retroactively; one-sentence delegation of authority to the U.S. AG (42 U.S.C. Sec. 16913(d)) Emphasized in recent United States Court of Appeals - 9th Circuit ruling: “The Attorney General, exercising authority delegated by Congress, determined that SORNA would apply retroactively to all sex offenders … including juvenile delinquents.” (U.S. vs. Juvenile Male, CR-05-00054-SEH)

"we conclude that the retroactive application of SORNA’s provisions to former juvenile offenders is punitive and, therefore, unconstitutional".

Section 113 (d) ensures that there will be a means to resolve issues about the scope of SORNA’s applicability, including any questions that may arise concerning the retroactive applicability of its requirements to sex offenders convicted prior to its enactment, and a means to fill any gaps there may be concerning registration procedures or requirements for sex offenders to whom the Act’s normal procedures cannot be applied.

Sec 16913 (d) Initial registration of sex offenders unable to comply with subsection (b). The Attorney General shall have the authority to specify the applicability of the requirements of this title to sex offenders convicted before the enactment of this Act [enacted July 27, 2006] or its implementation in a particular jurisdiction, and to prescribe rules for the registration of any such sex offenders.

Federal AWA requires retroactive classification of those incarcerated, under supervision (parole/probation), on a sex offender registry, and those who re-enter justice system because of another crime.

Section-by-Section Summary of the Act

Sec. 125 (b). States are not required to take action that would violate that state’s constitution, as determined by the state’s highest court. However, the state must act in good faith with the attorney general to reconcile differences between this law and the state’s constitution and the state must implement alternative procedures or accommodations to fulfill the purposes of this law. (Consultation with state governor, attorney general, legislature is not mentioned.)

Sec 125 (b) STATE CONSTITUTIONALITY.— (1) IN GENERAL.—When evaluating whether a jurisdiction has substantially implemented this title, the Attorney General shall consider whether the jurisdiction is unable to substantially implement this title because of a demonstrated inability to implement certain provisions that would place the jurisdiction in violation of its constitution, as determined by a ruling of the jurisdiction’s highest court.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Radio Broadcast on Adam Walsh Act

TalkShoe Radio Broadcast from Americans Reality Check - Nov 11, 2009
Guest: Margie Slagle from Ohio Justice Policy Center (click here to listen to archived audio)
Download audio MP3 file

Episode Notes: Staff Attorney Margie Slagle of Ohio Justice and Policy center discusses the Sex Offender Laws and the Current Ohio Supreme Court hearing on the AWA. We will be discussing the recent Supreme Court of Ohio's hearings on the Adam Walsh Act. Couple thoughts if you seen the footage of the Supreme Court: Did you feel that the Justices asked some very good questions so they can uphold the Ohio constitution? Was the Ast AG lost for words? or was he "punked"? Who do you think was the winning side with the most "factual information" during these hearings? Some of these questions and more will be raised during this episode. So please do join us on this night.

IN Supreme Court Overturns Sex Offender Law, Partly : Sex offender registry reduced by 1/3 -Sex offender registry reduced by 1/3
Supreme court decision opens potential.

Allen County, Ind. - A landmark case at the Indiana Supreme Court may decrease the number of people in Allen County that have to register as a sex offender by more than a third. The Indiana Supreme Court overturned a ruling by a Marion County judge in the case of Richard P. Wallace vs. the State of Indiana . It's a decision that could echo across the state.

In 1988, Wallace pleaded guilty to a Class C felony Child Molesting charge. He completed his sentence in 1992, two years before state legislators passed the Sex Offender Registration Act into law. It required probationers and parolees convicted of child molesting on or after June 30, 1994 to register as sex offenders, among other things. The law was later amended to include all offenders, regardless of conviction date. The Indiana Supreme court ruled making Wallace register as a sex offender is unconstitutional because it violates the state's ban on ex post facto laws.

Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander, the Allen County Prosecutor's office , explained what that means. "[The Indiana] constitution does not allow you to look at an event first and then decide that [it] should be against the law and then retroactively enforce it against people."

On the Allen County Sex Offender Registry alone, the case potentially affects about 245 of the 650 people registered. That's about 37% of Allen County registered sex offenders that potentially won't have to check in with local authorities and have their addresses and other personal information available to their neighbors on the registry website.

"I don't get to interpret the law, my job is to enforce the law," said Allen County Sex Offender Registry Administrator, Detective Jeff Shimkus. "I don't have to like it, but we have to apply the law the way the courts tell us to. That's the bottom line."

Shimkus warns parents that the registry is only a tool, and that thorough parenting is the best preventative measure to protect kids. "You can have someone who's not registered, never been convicted of anything, who may be a very sick individual and he just hasn't gotten caught yet. Parents have to have common sense," said Detective Jeff Shimkus
, Allen County Sex Offender Registry Administrator.

The Allen County Sheriff's Department makes contact with about 200 registrants per month, knocking on their doors to confirm their address is correct. Shimkus admits, reducing the number of registrants by a third would reduce the work for police, who are dramatically taxed by the requirement of the Sex Offender Registration Act. Since it's conception in 1994, the law has been amended time and time again, to include more offenses, and more monitoring of offenders.

The Indiana Department of Corrections , the state registry administrative body, has a message to offenders on its website , regarding the Wallace case. It advises offenders to seek legal counsel if the Wallace case applies to them. Shimkus says locally, offenders have to file a motion to have themselves removed from the registry. A handful of people have already done that in Allen County.

Indiana Supreme Court
Richard P. Wallace v. State of Indiana - No. 49S02-0803-CR-138 - April 30, 2009
Appeal from the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division, No. 49F15-0401-FD-1458
The Honorable Lisa Borges, Judge, On Petition To Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498

The statutes collectively referred to as the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act (“Act”) require defendants convicted of sex and certain other offenses to register with local law enforcement agencies and to disclose detailed personal information, some of which is not otherwise public. In this case we consider a claim that the Act constitutes retroactive punishment forbidden by the Ex Post Facto Clause contained in the Indiana Constitution because it applies to a defendant who committed his offense before the statutes were enacted. We conclude that as applied in this case the Act violates the constitutional provision.

Richard Wallace was charged, convicted, and served the sentence for his crime before the statutes collectively referred to as the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act were enacted. We conclude that as applied to Wallace, the Act violates the prohibition on ex post facto laws contained in the Indiana Constitution because it imposes burdens that have the effect of adding punishment beyond that which could have been imposed when his crime was committed. We therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Indiana Supreme Court
Todd Jensen v. State of Indiana - No. 02S04-0803-CR-137 - April 30,2009

..the Act does not violate the Indiana constitutional ban on ex post facto laws as applied here.

"But the effects of the Act apply to Jensen much differently than they applied to appellant Wallace. The ―broad and sweeping disclosure requirements were in place and applied to Jensen at the time of his guilty plea in January 2000. Nothing in that regard was changed by the 2006 amendments. And with regard to lifetime registration, we note that sexually violent predators may, after ten years, ―petition the court to consider whether the person should no longer be considered a sexually violent predator."

There is an important distinction between these two cases. Registrants in Indiana should contact the authorities to confirm under which ruling their cases fall. It appears that the Wallace case pre-dated any SORNA law in Indiana, whereas the Jensen case occurred at a later date which gets caught up into the SORNA laws. We at are not attorneys, however, and those involved should consult an attorney or raise the matter in a court of appropriate jurisdiction. We advise that no registrant take the word of a law enforcement office, as they are often not a trustworthy source of information on issues such as these.