Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lawmakers Consider an Animal Abuse Registry Lawmakers Consider an Animal Abuse Registry.

We warned that this would happen. Once we allow lawmakers to publicly shame one group of citizens on Internet registries, it won't take long before other crimes are listed online. Already registries have been pursued in other states for animal abuse, murder, drugs, DUI ,gun offenders, arson and domestic abuse.

See Related Posts : NH Bill to Create Internet Murderer Registry
Gun Offender Registries
Tenn: Online DUI & Animal Abuse Registry

San Francisco — California may soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.

The proposal, made in a bill introduced Friday by the State Senate’s majority leader, Dean Florez, would be the first of its kind in the country and is just the latest law geared toward animal rights in a state that has recently given new protections to chickens, pigs and cattle.

Under Mr. Florez’s bill, any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s offense.

The bill was drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal-protection group based in Cotati, Calif., north of San Francisco. The group has promoted the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes.

In addition to sex offenders, California lists arsonists in an online registry, and the animal abusers would be listed on a similar site, Mr. Florez said. Such registries have raised privacy concerns from some civil libertarians, but Joshua Marquis, a member of the defense fund’s board and the district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore., said the worries were unfounded.

“Does it turn that person into a pariah? No,” Mr. Marquis said. “But it gives information to someone who might be considering hiring that person for a job.” He added: “I do not think for animal abusers it’s unreasonable considering the risk they pose, much like the risk that people who abuse children do.

“A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught,” said Ms. Deegan, who has written on animal welfare laws. “It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around.” One Web site — — already offers a type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Transcripts of SCOTUS Ex Post Facto Oral Arguments

Sentencing Law & Policy: Today's SCOTUS sex offender Ex Post oral argument transcripts

We now have a chance here to post the transcripts of SCOTUS oral arguments today here for Carr v. United States (08-1301) and here for United States v. Marcus (08-1341). I fear I won't have a chance to read these transcripts for a while, but perhaps readers can note any important highlights we have missed.

Let us be clear: This case is convoluted, for sure, and difficult to follow the details of the facts and law. But the essence of this case is this:

1. Mr. Carr committed a sex offense in 2004 in Alabama. After his release , he registered in Alabama.
2. Later in 2004, he moved to Indiana where he did not register.
3. His failure to register in Indiana was discovered in 2007 when he was indicted under SORNA.
4. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which was part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was enacted on July 27, 2006.

Therefore, this case argues that SORNA, which did not exist when Mr. Carr moved in 2004, should not apply. Mr. Carr moved before SORNA made it illegal for him to move and fail to register. Now, each state has its own registration laws and if Indiana law required him to register, then he could be held liable within that state. But this case revolves around a federal prosecution under a law which did not exist when Mr. Carr violated it.
So...while this is a retroactivity (Ex Post Facto) case, it is somehwat different than the Ex Post Facto challenges on SORNA itself, which challenge whether SORNA can be applied retroactively, as it relates to extending registration requirements. Having said that; it is a very important test case of how the US Supreme Court will rule on retroactive SORNA laws.


JUSTICE BREYER: Well, what is the basic purpose of this statute? I'm having a hard time with it. Is it -- is the purpose of the statute to try to get a lot of people to register who haven't registered at all? Or is the purpose of the statute to get the people who had registered in one State and then moved, and make sure they register in another State?

MR. ROTHFELD: I think that the purpose was generally to encourage registration of sex offenders. Now, of course, when -- when Congress wrote the statute, as -- as has been pointed out, it was not apparent to them that it was going to apply to people who had committed sex offenses before SORNA was enacted at all. That turned upon the Attorney General's subsequent determination.

JUSTICE BREYER: No, I mean if they are just trying to get people to register in general, and they are not particularly worried about travel, then they are using this travel as a kind of jurisdictional hook. And if they are using it as a jurisdictional hook, they would like to get everybody, as many as possible, that argues against you.

MR. ROTHFELD: Well, two points -

JUSTICE BREYER: I -- I -- I have a hard time seeing just what they are aiming at.

MR. ROTHFELD: Well, it -- it's -- to -- to be honest, I think it's not entirely clear that Congress had anything specific in mind beyond a reaction to the prior regime in which there were inconsistent approaches being taken by the States.
JUSTICE SCALIA: I don't know where you get that from. I can understand how you can say, which is what Mr. Rothfeld says, that it has to follow the requirement to register. That's the way the statute reads: Whoever, one, is required to register, not whoever has committed an offense that -- that would later justify registration. It seems to me you are just making up the -- the prior act that -- that triggers the interstate travel requirement.

MR. GANNON: Well, I don't think that we are making it up, Justice Scalia.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, what text do you base it on? One says "is required to register," and the position of the Petitioner is: After you are required to register, you must travel in interstate commerce. And you say: No, it's after you commit the offense that you must travel on interstate. Where do you get that from?

MR. GANNON: Well, we get that from the facts, from the context here, from the anomaly that would be created, the structural anomaly about the differential treatment between Federal and State sex offenders. The fact that the purpose of the statute is to recapture missing sex offenders, which are persons who engaged in interstate travel to elude the registration requirements that already apply to them as sex offenders. And so we think that when Congress invoked the -- its powers to regulate travel and interstate commerce, in order to give that element meaning, we think that it makes sense to apply it to persons who already have the type of sex offense convictions that SORNA requires them to register for.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So your answer to Justice Scalia is that you don't get it from the language? We get it from the anomaly, you get it from the purpose.
JUSTICE BREYER: Do you find any where -where they were both phrased in present tense and it was pretty clear that Congress intended to catch activity that was -- at least where the jurisdictional part took place before the statute took effect? You find that good an analogy anywhere?

MR. GANNON: I -- I'm not aware of -- of a provision that's -- that's phrased like that-

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I -- I tried to find one and -- and couldn't. I mean, looking up travels in -- in the code, in each of those cases that I found it's always -- it looks like it's -- it's linked directly to the activity that's meant to be covered. You know, traveling for the purpose of the -- the activity that's against the law.

MR. GANNON: It's -- that's -- that's true -- in most instances in which Congress has an interstate travel element, that's true. In some -- in some cases like the -- the statute at issue in the Trupin case about possession of -- of -- of stolen goods that have traveled in interstate commerce, that -that's -- that's -- that's an invocation of-

JUSTICE SCALIA: Yes, where -- where it means prior travel, it says so, use of a firearm that has traveled in interstate commerce. They use the past tense when they mean it.
JUSTICE ALITO: But all of those provisions refer now, as a result of the Attorney General's determination that pre-SORNA convictions qualify, all of those provisions use the present tense to refer to activities that can have taken place in the past.

MR. ROTHFELD: That is correct. At the time that Congress wrote those civil provisions, this statute, on its face, applied prospectively only. The Attorney General had not yet retroactively applied it. Congress specifically gave the Attorney General the authority to apply it retroactively in defining which offenders had to register. It did not give him any authority to retroactively change the scope of the -
JUSTICE ALITO: Well, Mr. Gannon may have made an argument that is not helpful to his position. But can you accept that the first provision means exactly what it says: "Is required to register." And that takes effect on day when SORNA is enacted.

Florida Revisits Sex-Offender Laws 5 years after Jessica Lunsford's death, Florida revisits sex-offender laws.

Lawmakers are rethinking how the state monitors sex offenders and the effectiveness of tougher laws passed after Jessica Lunsford's death. The brutal killing of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford five years ago today fueled the creation of a boogeyman in Florida politics: the sex offender.

The designation carries a loaded significance in the legislative process and efforts each year to further restrict the freedoms of sex offenders win broad support. This year is no different with proposed measures to require background checks on athletic coaches and forbid some sexual offenders from using the Internet.

But now -- after time, a trial and the killer's death have dissolved the zeal that spurred the Jessica Lunsford Act in 2005 -- a number of lawmakers are rethinking how the state monitors sex offenders and whether current laws are really making children safer. "The emotion and publicity and political science that comes into play after a horrific situation tends to create an overreaction,'' said Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville, a prosecutor.

The law named in her honor ordered more electronic monitoring and registration of sex offenders, tougher prison sentences, and background checks for people who work at schools. The effort spread nationwide to more than 30 states with the help of her father, Mark Lunsford, a truck-driver-turned-activist.

The attention also propelled city and county officials in Florida to implement tougher barriers prohibiting sex offenders from living or working near schools, playgrounds, bus stops and churches.


Combined with the Jimmy Ryce Act in 1998, which permitted the civil commitment of sexual predators for life, the efforts made Florida among the most restrictive states in the nation. But recent studies and state statistics show the fear that propelled the laws doesn't match reality.

"Across the country, studies are not showing changes in sex crime rates can be attributed to those policies,'' said Dr. Jill Levenson, a professor at Lynn University in Boca Raton who studies sex offenders. "Sex crimes against children are on the downslide -- but since the 1990s.''

The number of people on Florida's sex offender registry has increased almost 50 percent in five years, now topping 53,500. Nationwide, registered sexual offenders top 700,000.

Even more telling, Florida now spends an additional $36 million a year on sex offender programs. But the number of inmates convicted for sex crimes has held steady in the five years since the Jessica Lunsford Act, according to Department of Corrections statistics.

And the laws have created unintended consequences. The restrictions on where sex offenders can reside made hundreds homeless and prompted dozens in Miami to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. And the requirements to register those convicted of lewd crimes put the sex offender label on people who authorities don't deem a threat.

"There is no empirical support that restrictions on where sex offenders live prevents sexual abuse or re-offending,'' said Levenson, a clinical social worker. ``Not every person who commits a sex crime is a predatory pedophile.''


This is the message Jennifer Dritt, a leading victim's advocate at the state Capitol, preaches. As executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, Dritt supported tougher restrictions on sex offenders. But she said the lesson from the Jessica Lunsford case was misunderstood. Most sexual offenders are not strangers across the street. The overwhelming majority are those with familial authority.

"In a positive vein, [Jessica's case] really raised awareness of sexual offender management issues,'' Dritt said. "But I think it also sponsored a lot of knee-jerk reactions.'' Some lawmakers are starting to agree.

State Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, is sponsoring legislation to revamp Florida's sex offender laws by implementing a "circle of safety'' to protect children instead of strong residency restrictions on sexual offenders. The main provision of the bill (HB119) would prohibit sexual offenders from loitering within 300 feet of locations where children are present.

"Sometimes we focus on where those people live,'' Glorioso said. ``Where they are sleeping last night really isn't the issue. It's what they are doing when they are awake.''

Already Glorioso's bill is falling prey to the politics that put current provisions in place. As originally drafted, the legislation would have prevented cities and counties from making barriers tougher than the 1,000-foot standard in state law but because of political opposition, he plans to take it out.

Will Sex Offender Have to Pay for Old Crimes? Will sex offender have to pay for old crimes?

Fifteen years have come and gone since he was arrested, pleaded guilty and received five years' probation for the third-degree sexual offense of trying to solicit sex from a prostitute who was 13 years old. Larry -- a name I've given him for the purposes of this column -- served his probation and took part in weekly group therapy sessions at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Records indicate that he has not committed such a crime -- or any crime -- since then. "In fact," he adds, "I would say I've lived an exemplary life since then."

There aren't many sex offenders going public these days. Larry, who told his story provided I did not use his name, says he "came out of the woodwork" only because of what he (and others) see as election-year hysteria in Annapolis to toughen laws and regulations on sexual offenders, particularly those who victimize children. One of the dozens of measures in the legislature would expand Maryland's sex offender registry to cover cases from 15 to 25 years ago.

That means Larry's face and his record would appear where it doesn't now: on the Internet, for the entire world to see. "I hadn't really been paying attention to all this nutty, knee-jerk sex offender legislation," he says. "But I am now."

When he was arrested in 1995, he had been a consultant on several government-funded projects. He lost his security clearance, lost his job. He had a difficult time finding another. "Categorically turned down by many, many employers," he says. So he took a lot of lousy jobs that didn't last. Finally, he found a good job commensurate with his education and training, but he's sure he would lose it if the General Assembly expands the offender registry.

Larry wrote an anonymous letter to the House Judicial Proceedings Committee. He had a friend deliver it for him. He gave me a copy. I told him I'd let him have his say in this space because an anonymous letter to an Annapolis committee probably never gets much attention.

"Over the past 15 years," he wrote the committee, "I have been continuously employed. I completed an advanced degree; and I have provided time tutoring and guiding adult students in my field. I am involved in an international program to improve technology in third-world countries. I have made valuable contributions using my artistic and creative side.

"I do not seek contact with children, and I usually go out of my way to avoid it. I do have several nieces whose lives I've been invited into with welcome arms. Friends have knowingly welcomed me into their homes. Rehabilitation has not been easy. I've worked extremely hard at it and succeeded at it. Were I to detect potential triggers, I know how to employ avoidance strategies involving family, friends and therapists." Larry credits the group therapy sessions at UMMC with having the most effect on his thinking and behavior, and he thinks the state should spend its money on such programs instead of the costly expansion of its online offender registry.

"I attribute a certain amount of ease in rehabilitation to the fact that I was not subject to any post-probation placement on Internet sex offender lists or unsolicited neighborhood notifications. For example, my current employer, who I hope to be my long-term employer, would not have hired me, according to their policy, had I been on the state's sex offender list. If I get on such a list, who knows whether I'll keep my job? It's open season on you once you're on that list."

Larry believes he made a contract with the state 15 years ago -- a guilty plea in return for five years' probation, the court-ordered therapy and nothing more. "I have lived in a contract with the state of Maryland," he wrote. "Now the state of Maryland wants to impose stringent, retroactive reporting requirements on me and put my picture on the Internet, parading me like a circus freak. The state wants to humiliate me and set me back. The state wants to open me up to potential violence. The state is about to punish me for having done everything right for over 15 years."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Notice: US Marshalls Verifying Ohio Offenders

We have been unable to verify the source of this report independently, but we will post if out of caution. This is not legal advice and does not apply to those on probation. parole or other post release control, whom may be held to stricter standards of compliance. This is simply a statement of Americans' constitutional rights as they relate to law enforcement coming to our homes (see Police Want To Talk to You, What Do You Do?:

U.S. Marshals have descended on Ohio across the state, claiming they are here to check the registry and compare it with the offender's actual address by going to their home. (i.e. sex offender compliance sweep)

Nothing has been found to validate what they are saying, or why they are even there. Validating the registry by checking the addresses with the offender's actual presence is the job of the Sheriff's Department in each county. It is no other law enforcement agency's responsibility. For example, the only reason you should find a U.S. Marshall at your door is if you moved to Ohio and failed to register, as per the Adam Walsh Act requirements, or if a federal sex offense has occurred.

Should you see U.S. Marshals standing outside your door, upon opening your door, you should know:

1. The only information you should give them is your name.
2. If they ask to enter your home, ask them if they have a warrant, if not, the answer is "no".
3. If they ask for other documentation/identification, such as; Vehicle Identification Number, email address, you do not have to provide this information. Name and verification of your address is the only request they can make without a warrant.

You have the right to ask them questions. For example:
Asking for ID, Why are you here? Am I under arrest? Do you have a warrant? Who do you work for? Are you investigating a crime?

It's important to never allow law enforcement into your home without a warrant, in other words when you don't have to, because that gives them the opportunity to "plant evidence" if they choose to. It makes no difference that they are federal agents (US Marshals) or local law enforcement.

There is no guarantee that they won't arrest you if you refuse them entry into your home or if you do not provide additional information they are requesting. If they arrest you for this, that would be "false arrest" and you can sue them for that. Don't speak to them, don't say anything, cooperate, let them take you in, and continually demand you be allowed to have an attorney present before answering any questions or talking to them. Say nothing else.

**If any of you have experienced a visit from the US Marshals, we need the complete story forwarded so that we may give the information to the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, or contact the OJPC directly at (513) 421-1108.

SCOTUS, SORNA and the Ex Post Facto Clause SORNA and the Ex Post Facto Clause -Carr v. United States, Argument preview.

Below, Kate Neilson of Harvard Law School previews Carr v. United States (08-1301), one of two cases to be heard by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 24. Check the Carr v. United States SCOTUSwiki page for additional updates.

The federalization of sex offender policy began in 1994, when Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (Wetterling Act). Twelve years later, Congress expanded and strengthened registration programs in the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which was part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Among other things, SORNA in 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a) created a new felony that penalizes sex offenders who are required to register under SORNA but knowingly fail to do so after traveling in interstate or foreign commerce. SORNA also authorized the Attorney General to determine whether and how the statute’s registration requirements applied to sex offenders convicted before the statute was enacted; on February 28, 2007, the Attorney General issued a regulation in which he indicated that SORNA’s registration requirements applied to all sex offenders, including those who were convicted prior to the statute’s enactment.

On February 24, in No. 08-1301, Carr v. United States, the Court will consider the application of SORNA’s registration requirements to individuals who not only were convicted before SORNA’s enactment but also traveled before the statute became law. This will be the Court’s first consideration of sex offender registration laws since it upheld two state statutes against Ex Post Facto Clause and due process challenges in 2003.

In 2004, petitioner Thomas Carr was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in Alabama and registered as a sex offender there after his release from custody. When Carr moved to Indiana at the end of 2004, however, he failed to register there – a failure that was discovered in July 2007, when he was arrested for an unrelated incident. After Carr was indicted for failing to register under SORNA, he moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that his interstate travel pre-dated SORNA and a conviction would thus violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. The motion was denied; Carr entered a conditional guilty plea and appealed the denial.

The Seventh Circuit consolidated the appeal with that of Marcus Dixon, whose offense and travel had also predated SORNA. In his appeal, Dixon made a similar Ex Post Facto argument but also argued that, as a matter of statutory construction, he did not violate SORNA because his travel occurred before the statute was enacted. The Seventh Circuit rejected the Ex Post Facto argument. In its view, such convictions did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause as long as “at least one of the acts” “required for punishment” takes place after the statute went into effect and the defendant had a “reasonable time” in which to register after the Attorney General issued the regulation. The court of appeals thus affirmed Carr’s conviction, concluding that five months was a “sufficient grace period” in which to register. However, while it also rejected Dixon’s statutory argument, it nonetheless reversed his conviction on the ground that he had not had sufficient time to register.

Carr filed a petition for certiorari, which the Court granted on September 30, 2009. In his opening brief on the merits, Carr argues that SORNA’s use of the present tense “travels” demonstrates that the statute applies only to defendants who engage in current or future travel. Because Section 2250(a)’s other requirements of §2250(a) necessarily refer to post-SORNA activity, the “travels” clause should also be limited to post-SORNA activity. Any ambiguity in the language should be read in his favor, Carr suggests, under the rule of lenity and the presumption against retroactivity.

Carr next argues that SORNA was aimed at interstate travel by unregistered offenders as a harm in itself, which would threaten SORNA’s “uniform system of state registration requirements.” Unlike cases in which Congress has asserted its “full Commerce Clause power” by regulating activities “substantially affecting interstate commerce,” SORNA is limited to offenders who travel “in commerce.” This regulation of the channels of interstate commerce is inherently prospective; Congress cannot “keep these channels free from prior misuse that occurred before enactment of the governing statute.”

Finally, Carr argues that two different interpretations of SORNA both violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. First, even if SORNA merely requires defendants to comply with the Wetterling registration regime, then it impermissibly enhances the penalty for the same crime. Second, if SORNA in fact contemplates a new duty, then Carr was guilty of failing to register at the moment SORNA passed and its retroactive application would thus impose an “impossible duty.” His interpretation, by contrast, is consistent with the canon of constitutional avoidance, while the Seventh Circuit’s construction of the statute as allowing “a reasonable time” amounts to a rewriting of the statute.

In its brief on the merits, the government counters that Section 2250(a) criminalizes a sequence of events: an individual is guilty of failing to register when he first is convicted of a sex offense, then travels, and then knowingly fails to register, even if the travel occurs before SORNA’s enactment. The government argues that this interpretation better effectuates SORNA’s purpose of finding “missing” sex offenders who travel to another state and fail to re-register there. Although Carr suggests that such offenders could still be subject to state prosecution, the government emphasizes that SORNA was enacted precisely because state penalties were inadequate to ensure enforcement of registration requirements.

The government dismisses the canon of constitutional avoidance as inapplicable here. It contends that Congress’s Commerce Clause powers are not implicated by the timing of the travel because the logical connection between a failure to register and interstate travel is unrelated to when the travel occurred. Moreover, there is no “grievous ambiguity” that would justify invoking the rule of lenity.

Finally, the government argues that the law does not operate retroactively for purposes of the Ex Post Facto Clause because the full “course of conduct” criminalized by Section 2250 is not completed until an individual fails to register under SORNA, which necessarily occurs only after the statute’s enactment. The government also distinguishes between offenses under the Wetterling Act and those under SORNA: an individual who cannot register because a state does not have a registry that conforms to the requirements imposed by SORNA may invoke Section 2250(b)’s “uncontrollable circumstances” defense, but he is still liable under SORNA. The government agrees that Congress cannot criminalize conduct in a way that makes it impossible for a defendant to avoid liability, but it describes the allowance of “a reasonable time to comply with a statutory regime” as an uncontroversial “background principle of law.”

Wile this case focuses narrowly on interstate travel with a failure to register, it will be an important case to watch and may give some advance indication of where the Court will weigh-in on other constitutional challenges of SORNA and the Adam Walsh Act.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ohio SORNA Sex Offender Registration Summary

From the Vera Institute Report for the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (2008):
The Pursuit of Safety: Sex Offender Policy in the U.S. All states are summarized in this report. We are posting only Ohio's guidelines here.

SORNA Federal Guidelines

OHIO Guidelines

US DOJ Reports on Sex Offenders

In 2008, the Vera Institute of Justice produced two survey reports for the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The first, The Pursuit of Safety: Sex Offender Policy in the U.S. , reviewed federal and state laws concerning sex offenders and the impact of these laws. The second, Treatment and Reentry Practices for Sex Offenders: An Overview of States, analyzed programs for sex offenders in 37 states. Together, the reports provide a look at national trends in responses to sex offenders. This summary highlights their findings.

This summary listed three key findings:

* Policies vary widely in their ability to protect the public, and particularly children, from sexual victimization. Most focus on preventing repeat offenses by strangers, a relatively rare event compared with sex offenses by people known to the victim and the victim’s family.

* Some sex offender policies can have an unintended negative impact on public safety. By making it harder for offenders to find shelter, employment, and social supports, these policies drive some offenders out of contact with authorities.

* More research is needed on how to prevent sex offenses and maximize public safety through more effective policies.

The reports are available at

* - (141 pages)


These reports include a very good summary of the history and background of sex offender laws, and include a state-by-state summary of sex offender laws and registration requirements.


Media Sensationalism: "Some sociologists believe that the recent wave of sex offender laws has been the result of a “moral panic,” an exaggerated public response to a perceived threat. However, as figure 2 shows, 93 percent of offenses against children are committed by family members and acquaintances; the “stranger danger” crimes, which spurred the creation of most sex offense laws, are relatively rare. These observers argue that changes in the media—in particular, the rise of 24/7 cable news stations and Internet news sites have increased public awareness of sex crimes, with the result that many people now believe that crimes against children are on the rise. According to this viewpoint, policymakers have simply responded to the public’s demand for countermeasures. As one legislator recently told a group of researchers, “I can’t go anywhere without someone asking me about some [sex offense] they heard on the news, ‘What are you doing about that?’” Some also point out that the first wave of sex offender laws in the United States—the one that occurred between 1937 and 1955—also coincided with a major advance in communications, the advent of television as a presence in the national media. "

Recidivism: "However, there is a significant body of research that appears to contradict this proposition. One recent study found that sex offenders had a five-year recidivism rate of 24.5 percent for all offenses and a 2.8 percent recidivism for sexual offenses; in contrast, other felony offenders had a five-year recidivism rate of approximately 48 percent for all offenses.24 Another study found that people arrested for sexual offenses had
a five-year offense-specific re-arrest rate (the rate at which they were re-arrested for the same crime within
five years) of 6.5 percent. Only people arrested for homicide had a lower five-year offense-specific re-arrest
rate (5.7 percent); the rates for robbery, burglary, and public order offenses were 17.9 percent, 23.1 percent,
and 21.4 percent, respectively.25 A 1994 study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that 24 percent of sex
offenders were convicted of another crime (including but not restricted to sex offenses) within three years; in
contrast 46.9 percent of all offenders were convicted of another crime within this period."

Public Misinformation: "There is some evidence that the general public, in spite of its strong support for tough sexual offense laws, is not well-informed about the nature and extent of sexual offending. One recent study, which compared survey responses with published data, found that the public significantly overstates both the rate at which convicted sex offenders re-offend and the proportion of sexual assaults that are committed by strangers (see figure 3, below). These findings led researchers to conclude that public misperceptions “present a clear challenge to policymakers seeking to create empirically based policies that meet the public’s expectations.” "

Residency Restrictions: "In spite of their popularity, there is no evidence that residency restrictions are effective in reducing recidivism by sex offenders. Rather, the evidence suggests that residency restrictions are in fact detrimental to public safety. A recent study of sex offenders in Minnesota examined the impact of residency restrictions on recidivism. Researchers found that, of the 3,166 sex offenders who were released from Minnesota correctional facilities between 1990 and 2002—a period when the state did not have residency restrictions—224 had been re-incarcerated for a new sex offense by January 1, 2006. After taking a closer look at these 224 cases, researchers found that none of the offenders had established contact with a child victim in an area that would be likely to fall within an exclusionary zone under a typical residency restriction law."

"There is little empirical evidence that residency restrictions, as currently implemented, protect public safety. Residency restrictions push sex offenders to the fringes of communities, making it less likely that they will be able to obtain housing, find a job, and receive social support. Restrictions may also make it difficult for
otherwise law-abiding offenders to comply with registration requirements—especially those that involve
frequent, in-person reporting."

Fear The Sex Offenders You Know Fear The Sex Offenders You Know.

A story about a registered sex offender who is accused of taking photos of Girl Scouts in Phoenix has provoked strong reactions from commenters. The commenter "beilstwh" writes about where the most danger to children comes from:

"I have a real problem with people putting their heads in the sand. You don't have to worry about the strangers molesting your sons and daughters. The overwhelming (about 95%) of molesters are close friends or family members. While well-publicized, the actual attacks by strangers is very low. You need to be worried about the mother or father or brother or sister or the strange uncle or the family friend. That's who the statistics say will attack your children."

ID: Man Files Lawsuit over Sex Offender Label Boise man files suit over sex offender label

Twin Falls, Idaho (AP) - A Boise man has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the state over a suspended policy that led to him being labeled a violent sexual predator.

In court papers, 56-year-old Mark S. Wicklund claims he was damaged by the designation, which is no longer being applied to sex offenders in Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Correction is no longer using the designation after the Idaho Supreme Court determined it had severe constitutional flaws. Department Spokesman Jeff Ray tells the Times-News a new proposal may be ready for the 2011 Legislature. The violent sexual predator designation was intended to identify high-risk offenders.

A 4th District Judge has vacated the designation for Wicklund, who was convicted of sexual battery of a minor in Ada County in 2001.

This is good news and bad news both. This man is suing because an unconstitutional law was applied to label him as a "violent sexual predator". After the law was defeated in court, he rightly filed suit against the State for damages. Hopefully, as we see these laws defeated in courts across the nation, we will see enormous numbers of lawsuits filed against the States for damages incurred upon individuals by labeling them publicly as dangerous predators online. However, this could also be a reason for unscrupulous courts to become reluctant to find these laws unconstitutional, knowing that their ruling could result in historic liability of the State.

MD: Groups to Oppose Proposed Sex Offender Bills Groups to oppose proposed sex offender bills.

Sex offenders have been a hot topic in Annapolis this session, with a number of bills submitted and Gov. Martin O'Malley reactivating an advisory board. But several groups plan to oppose the bills Tuesday at a House of Delegates judiciary committee hearing. I'm ripping this straight from the press release I just received from the Justice Policy Institute:

Annapolis, MD – Representatives from the Justice Policy Institute (JPI); American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland; the Maryland Office of the Public Defender; the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN), the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Office of the Ohio Public Defender will testify Tuesday, February 23 before the Judicial Committee of the Maryland Assembly, as the Committee considers a host of bills aimed at increasing penalties and post-incarceration requirements for people convicted of sex offenses.

In particular, some bills will expand Maryland’s sex offender registries to come into compliance with the controversial federal Adam Walsh Act, which requires states to include many youth on registries. Other bills would limit employment, living, civic and other opportunities for people who have been convicted of a registerable offense.

WHAT: Hearing by the Judicial Committee of the Maryland Assembly on numerous bills related to sex offenses

WHO: Various experts on sex offense policies and Maryland advocates, including:
Amy Borror, Public Information Officer, Office of the Ohio Public Defender, to discuss the failure of Ohio’s sex offender policies and registries to improve public safety (while costing that state millions of dollars);
Nicole Pittman, Esq., Juvenile Justice Policy Analyst attorney, Defender Association of Philadelphia, on the negative impacts of sex offender registries on youth; Sarah Bryer, National Juvenile Justice Network, on developmentally appropriate responses to youth that have committed sex offenses; Tracy Velázquez, Justice Policy Institute, on the research around what policies are effective in promoting public safety, and collateral consequences to youth and adults of registration and other punitive policies; Cindy Boersma, ACLU of Maryland, on the threat of juvenile registries to public safety and the importance of focusing sex offender management on effective prevention and deterrence rather than stigmatization. Laurel Albin, Esq., Maryland Office of the Public Defender, on the dangers of juvenile registries and importance of risk assessment-based sex offender supervision.

WHEN: 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WHERE: Maryland House of Delegates, Judiciary Committee Room, Six Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD

Friday, February 19, 2010

NH: Bill Prevents Local Residency Restrictions N.H. House passes bill preventing communities from limiting sex offenders.

Concord, NH — A bill that would prevent communities from establishing residency restrictions for sex offenders has passed the state House of Representative and is on its way to the Senate.

House Bill 1484, which would prohibit any political subdivision of the state from adopting an ordinance or bylaw that restricts the residence of a sex offender or an offender against children, passed the House without any discussion, according to state Rep. Beth Rodd, D-Bradford.

Rodd proposed the bill in response to a district court ruling regarding Dover's former ordinance, City Code 131-20, which prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school or day care center. Judge Mark Weaver ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in August after a 2008 challenge by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Rodd said she is confident the bill will make its way through the state Senate and eventually end up in the governor's office to be signed into law because there has been much testimony about how such residency restrictions discourage sex offenders from registering.

"It's dangerous to restrict residency for sex offenders because it diminishes law enforcement's ability to track these offenders," she said.

Bill Text: "651-B:13 Residency Restrictions Prohibited. No political subdivision of the state shall adopt an ordinance or bylaw that restricts in any way the residence of a sexual offender or an offender against children. Any such ordinance or bylaw adopted by a political subdivision of the state prior to the effective date of this section shall be null and void on the effective date of this section. "

VA: Tougher Sex-Offender Bills Die in Committee Tougher Sex-Offender Bills Die in Committee.

Four bills that would have brought tighter restrictions on registered sex offenders died in a House committee this week.

The bills would have prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a child daycare center or school, from entering onto the property of a daycare center at any time and from being within 100 feet of a children’s museum. A fourth bill would have retroactively included offenders convicted before July 1, 2000, in legislation that bans loitering near schools.

Local legislators said that the bills failed because they would have had fiscal impact in a year that allows no room for extra spending.

Some convicted sex offenders may not be dangerous predators. Del. Chris Peace, R-Mechanicsville,said "The truth is, there are sex offenders living in communities all across Virginia,” “and they’re doing so peacefully and they’re abiding by the laws.”

Ohio: State v. Spangler

This is not a new ruling. It dates back to June 2009, but we found we had not adequately posted this ruling in our blogs. Ohio court declares sex offender law a violation of the "Separations of Powers" clause and unconstitutional.

Ohio: State v. Spangler, 2009-Ohio-3178, Ohio Appellate Court, 2009 (PDF)

The 11th Appellate Dist court of Ohio has found the changes made by Senate bill 10 (made according to the Adam Walsh Act) unconstitutional in the case of Spangler v. State, 2009-Ohio-3178. Opinion issued 6-30-2009 which goes as follows:

Appellant, Raymond J. Spangler, appeals the judgment of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, denying his Petition to Contest Reclassification and classifying him a Tier II Sex Offender. The fundamental principle of the “separation of powers” doctrine as written by our forefathers in the United States Constitution is inviolate, and, therefore, mandates reversal of the decision of the court below. However, Spangler must still comply with the notification and registration requirements under his original sentence.

On January 23, 2001, Spangler was convicted, in Case No. 2000-CR-276, of the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, of Attempted Corruption of a Minor, a felony of the fifth degree in violation of R.C. 2923.02 and R.C. 2907.04(A), and Public Indecency, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 2907.09(A). At the time of his conviction, Spangler was seventy-three years old. The charges against Spangler stemmed from allegations that he had exposed himself to and fondled neighborhood children six or seven years previously.

On April 27, 2001, Spangler was sentenced to five years of community control, fined $350, and ordered to register for a period of ten years as a sexually oriented offender. Spangler was also required to annually verify his current residence and/or place of employment by personally appearing before the sheriff of the county, pursuant to former R.C. 2950.06(A) and (B)(2).

On November 26, 2007, the Office of the Attorney General issued Spangler Notice of New Classification and Registration Duties Tier II Sex Offender (Adult). Spangler was advised “of changes to Ohio’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2950, ‘SORN’) *** due to Ohio Senate Bill 10, passed to implement the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.” Under the new classification, Spangler is a “Tier II Sex Offender” and “required to register personally with the local sheriff’s office every 180 days for 25 years.”

On January 23, 2008, Spangler filed a Petition to Contest Reclassification, pursuant to R.C. 2950.031(E) and R.C. 2950.032(E), in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, the county in which he resides and currently registers.

On March 20, 2008, a hearing was held on Spangler’s Petition. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial judge denied the Petition and reclassified Spangler a Tier II Sex Offender. On March 24, 2008, the trial court memorialized its decision in a written Judgment Entry.

On April 22, 2008, Spangler filed his Notice of Appeal with this court. Spangler raises the following assignments of error on appeal.

“[1.] The retroactive application of Ohio’s SB 10 violates the prohibition on ex post facto laws in Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution.”

“[2.] The retroactive application of Ohio’s AWA violates the prohibition on retroactive laws in Article II, Section 28 of the Ohio Constitution.”

“[3.] Reclassification of defendant-appellant constitutes a violation of the separation of powers[] doctrine.”

“[4.] Reclassification of defendant-appellant constitutes impermissible multiple punishments under the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Ohio Constitutions.”

“[5.] The residency restrictions of the AWA violate Due Process Clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I of the Ohio Constitution.”

“[6.] Defendant-appellant cannot be subjected to the community notification requirements under pre-AWA law.”

“[7.] Defendant-appellant cannot be subjected to the community notification requirements under the AWA because it would violate the contract clause of the Ohio Constitution and the plea agreement entered into with the State of Ohio in the underlying criminal proceeding.”

These assignments are considered out of order for the sake of clarity of presentation. ...For the remainder of the opinion.. by 11th Appellate Dist Court

GA: Another Cop Caught with Child Porn Former Forsyth deputy sheriff sentenced on child porn charges.

More corrupt and hypocritical double standards of police officers and public officials possessing child pornography.

Gainesville — Milton Scott Pruitt, 41, of the Forsyth County Sheriff Department, was sentenced today by United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “This defendant was once entrusted with protecting the public’s safety as a law enforcement officer but chose to violate that public trust by victimizing innocent children when he used the internet to receive child pornography on his home computer. To make matters worse, on at least one occasion, he also used a Forsyth County Sheriff’s computer to view child pornography while he was working. By prosecuting child pornography offenders such as defendant Pruitt, this office is working to make our community safer for our children. This sentence underscores the substantial consequences for people who possess images of children being sexually exploited.”

While working the overnight shift on March 15, 2007, Pruitt, a sergeant supervising other patrol deputies, used his in-car laptop computer to access child pornography stored as evidence in a Forsyth County detective’s computer file. Pruitt accessed and viewed 10 images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Pruitt’s illicit computer activity was discovered several weeks later by an employee of Forsyth County’s information technology department, who reported Pruitt's conduct to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office referred the case to the GBI. During a subsequent interview with a GBI agent, Pruitt admitted that he accessed and viewed the pornographic images because he was “just curious.”

Following his admission, GBI seized Pruitt’s home computer and conducted a forensic examination of its hard drive. The examination revealed more than a hundred images of child pornography and numerous Internet searches for such images.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

VT: Another Cop Caught with Child Porn Investigation Continues In Rutland Police Porn Case.

The corrupt and hypocritical double standard of police officers and public officials possessing child pornography.

Rutland, VT. -- Vermont State Police said there's no proof a Rutland police officer intentionally downloaded child pornography onto a department computer while on duty last year. (Yeah, try using that as an excuse and see if the police believe you)

The Burlington Free Press reported that state police released a statement summarizing the status of their investigation. It says there's insufficient evidence that the images were knowingly and intentionally downloaded. The statement also says the downloaded images on the computer did include child pornography, but the ages of those in some of the images isn't clear. (If images of children of a questionable age are found on your computer, you will be arrested and the determination of ages would be made in court)

An investigation continues. It began in August after state police discovered the images on a computer issued to the officer.

Bakersfield Cop Accused of Child Porn Charges Bakersfield Cop Accused of Child Porn Charges.

Former Bakersfield Police Officer Christopher Bowersox was in a Fresno courtroom on Wednesday to face charges of child pornography.

Graphic new details have been revealed in the case of a former Bakersfield Police Officer facing child pornography charges.

Christopher Bowersox is a former Bakersfield Police Detective and is accused of possessing and distributing pornographic videos, as well as hundreds of images of young boys on his home computer.

Court documents outline an internet relationship between Bowersox and a Florida man. The two reportedly shared pornographic pictures and had graphic chats, fantasizing about young boys.

Bakersfield's Police Chief Greg Williamson calls the arrest shocking and embarrassing. Chief Williamson said, “He was well liked within the department and I think that the allegations that have been brought against him have just floored most of the members of the Bakersfield Police Department.”

If convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography, Bowersox faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.(and registration as a sex offender, of course, right?) Further review found conversations between the screen names "cbowersox" and "zdasher18" containing multiple references to the raping, injuring and killing children.

At one point, the two discussed a way to have sex with a child. Screen name "zdasher18" wrote, "I know it can't happen here, it's got to be somewhere else with a bought kid or something. We'd definitely get caught if we did it here." To which "cbowersox" responded, "Cambodia ... Thailand ... Mexico ... deep deep Mexico."

The pair also talked about committing murder/suicide if they should be discovered by law enforcement.

OK Senate Approve GPS Tracking of Offenders

Alva Review/Courier: OK Senate Approves GPS Monitoring of Sex Offenders .

The Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary on Wednesday approved legislation that would allow Oklahoma law enforcement officials to monitor many of the state’s sex offenders through electronic monitoring devices. Senate Bill 2301 would make electronic monitoring devices mandatory for all Level Two and Three sex offenders who have been released from custody, and provides penalties for removal of the device.

Level Two and Three sex offenders are considered the state’s most dangerous, having been convicted of crimes such as rape in the first degree, kidnapping for sexual exploitation and soliciting sexual conduct with a minor.

Sen. Dan Newberry, author of the proposal, said the law would enable law enforcement to monitor the whereabouts of offenders at all times. “The idea behind adding the GPS monitor is that offenders are currently released from prison into an honor system (as are all those released from prison, yet only sex offenders are subject to this monitoring) , and they still may not register as a sex offender,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa.

Under the measure, Level Two sex offenders would be required to wear the GPS monitoring device for a period of five years after their release from a correctional facility. Level Three sex offenders would be required to wear a GPS monitoring device for ten years following their release.

IL Rep: Some Tiring of Piling on Sex Offenders Illinois Legislature: Rep Carol Sente Wins House Approval, 90-16, to Ban Child Sex Offender Employment at “Fairs”; Conservatives, Liberals Oppose.

(Springfield, IL) February 18, 2010 - The Illinois House yesterday overwhelming approved legislation that would ban child sex offenders from working at local municipal fairs.

The bill, House Bill 4675, sponsored by State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), zoomed through the House, 90-16-6, with bipartisan support. However, the opposition, tiny as it was, was bipartisan, too.

Opponents, for example, included liberal lawmakers House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and conservatives such as House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Ron Stephens (R-Greenville).

Harris said he opposed the measure “[b]ecause of overly broad drafting and imprecise language and definitions that would be difficult to enforce and possibly unconstitutionally vague”

House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who voted for the bill, said:

“Some voted no because they have had enough of criminalizing everything a sex offender does after they have paid a debt to society, even breathing. Some voted no because they felt the bill was vague. I voted yes because, even though I agree with all of the above, on balance the bill seemed reasonable.”

The legislation prohibits a child sex offender from managing, being employed or even being “associated” with any local fair operated by a municipality when children under 18 are present. And it seems to have more than “kiddie rides” in mind, because it also includes fairs in which “goods” are traded or displayed, such as art fairs, antique fairs, farm equipment fairs, etc.

Sente’s legislation faces an uncertain future if it reaches Governor Pat Quinn’s desk. The Governor’s office issued the following statement on the bill: “If and when the legislation arrives on the Governor’s desk, he will review it.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sex Offender Counselor Had Sex with Juvenile Offender Woman Pleads Guilty to Having Sex with Juvenile Offender.

A former counselor at a treatment facility for juvenile sex offenders pleaded guilty Wednesday to having sex with a 17-year-old boy who was a resident there.

Tyra M. Greenfield, 26, was sentenced to three years of incarceration, with all but one year suspended, a term she will serve in the Baltimore County Detention Center. Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox stipulated that when she is released, Greenfield is to be on probation for three years. Greenfield works for a private contractor as part of the New Directions program.

Our question: Will she be required to register as a sex offender?

It would be ironic wouldn't it ? If one of those who make their living by feeding off the misfortunes of those fellow humans who have made a mistake in life ....then become one of those to be judged and restricted by others...

TN Lawmakers Debate Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Lawmakers Debate Juvenile Sex Offender Registry.

Nashville, Tenn. - Sex offender registries alert residents that there could be a criminal in the neighborhood. The registry is designed for adults, but there is a debate on Capitol Hill on whether teen offenders should be added.

"Shouldn't victims be notified? Shouldn't they be told? Even though this person, who was 14 years old, committed a violent sexual offense against a small child," asked State Rep. Barrett Rich. Some who work to rehabilitate juvenile sex offenders say no.

"I am just appalled that somebody could murder someone and no consequences after they do that, but here's somebody that has the potential to get better, and yet we are going to stigmatize them for 25 years," said Dr. Valerie Arnold. Dr. Arnold testified before lawmakers 85 percent of sex offenders can be rehabilitated.

"If we feel like somebody is a risk to community, we don't discharge them. We would notify the courts, DHS, the sheriff's departments. We have a duty to warn, and we clearly believe that," said Arnold.

If Tennessee does not create a juvenile registry, the state would not be in compliance with federal laws, meaning the state could lose out on $5 million in grant money. The grant money would go to law enforcement agencies all over Tennessee.

The juvenile sex offender bill passed out of committee on Wednesday. Lawmakers will debate the issue again next week.
Representative Maggart's bill would call for 14 year olds through 18 year olds convicted of rape or attempted rape to go on a juvenile sex offender registry.

WI Bill Puts Voyeurs on Sex Offender Registry WI Bill Puts Voyeurs on Sex Offender Registry.

Madison, Wis. (AP) - Video voyeurs might soon find themselves on Wisconsin's sex offender registry. It's currently a felony in Wisconsin to make a video recording of a nude person if the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy or is recorded in a locker room.

The state Assembly passed a measure in January that would enable judges to order voyeurs to join the Department of Corrections' sex offender registry. The Senate passed the bill last month as well, but amended the measure to require judges to order juvenile voyeurs off the registry when they complete their dispositions. On Tuesday senators withdrew the amendment, clearing the way for Gov. Jim Doyle to sign the bill into law or veto it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

‘Obscene’ U.S. Manga Collector Jailed 6 Months ‘Obscene’ U.S. Manga Collector Jailed 6 Months.

A U.S. comic book collector is being sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex and bestiality. Christopher Handley was sentenced in Iowa on Thursday, (.pdf) almost a year after pleading guilty to charges of possessing “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.” (These are illustrated cartoons, folks!)

The 40-year-old was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Handley was the nation’s first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography.
Without a plea deal with federal authorities, he faced a maximum 15-year sentence.

Comic fans were outraged, saying jailing someone over manga does not protect children from sexual abuse. “I’d say the anime community’s reaction to this, since day one, has been almost exclusively one of support for Handley and disgust with the U.S. courts and legal system,” Christopher MacDonald, editor of Anime News Network, said in an e-mail.

Congress passed the Protect Act after the Supreme Court struck down a broader law prohibiting any visual depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity, including computer-generated imagery and other fakes. The high court ruled that the ban was too broad, and could cover legitimate speech, including Hollywood productions. In response, the Protect Act narrows the prohibition to cover only depictions that the defendant’s community would consider “obscene.”

The case began in 2006, when customs officials intercepted and opened a package from Japan addressed to Handley.

And, yes, he was also ordered to comply with SORNA sex offender registration requirements. and will be listed as a registered sex offender.

United States v. Shenandoah - SORNA Case

United States v. Shenandoah is a very complex case which was decided on Feb, 9, 2010 in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Rather than posting the lengthy case descriptions and challenges, we will post two links to sources which go into the details of this case:

CA Board: Overhaul Sex Offender Rules CA Board: Overhaul Sex Offender Rules.

Sacramento -- A new report written by some of California's top public safety officials has recommended overhauling the way the state deals with sex offenders. Proposed changes include targeting residency restrictions only to serious child predators and doing away with lifetime registration for some low-risk sex offenders.

The 109-page report was prepared by the California Sex Offender Management Board, which was created in 2006 to advise the governor, Legislature and local officials. Current board members include state Deputy Attorney General Janet Neeley and state Corrections Undersecretary Scott Kernan. The report concludes "that the significant increase in the rate of homelessness among sex offenders and lack of appropriate housing in California is the most serious issue facing the field of sex offender management."

Since Proposition 83, known as Jessica's Law, was approved by voters in 2006, sex offenders have been banned from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks where children play. Previous legislation known as Megan's Law requires sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies and makes that information public.

The recommendations are due to be discussed Tuesday morning at a hearing of the California Senate Public Safety Committee.

The California Sex Offender Management Board has previously urged that the state not adopt the federal Adam Walsh Act.

TN: Bill Requires Registed Offenders to Attend Class

Forwarded to us by a reader in Tennessee:

Tennessee General Assembly: HB 3181 by *Turner M ( SB 3290 by *Burchett)

Sexual Offenders - As introduced, requires all sexual offenders who are required to be on the sexual offender registry and whose victim was 15 years of age or younger to attend a class sponsored by the offender's registering agency on the evening of October 31 of every year. - Amends TCA Title 40, Chapter 39.

Bill status: Assigned to s/c Criminal Practice and Procedure of JUD on 02/02/2010
Tennessee citizens must contact their Representative and Senators to voice their opposition against these bills

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time For A New Approach To Released Sex Offenders Time For A New Approach To Released Sex Offenders - Rethinking Crime And Punishment.

New Zealand seems to be "getting it" long before the USA does :

"Sex offenders and paedophiles present the greatest challenge in ensuring their effective reintegration into the community", says Kim Workman of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. He was commenting on the case of Justin Ames Johnston, a released rapist who planned to live with his sister in Raumati. "The public are more afraid of sex offenders than any other kind. Typically, their release is often accompanied by police/media/community scrutiny increasing ostracism and subsequently reducing the likelihood of a successful reintegration. Of all offenders, this group have the least support from the community, even though, especially in the case of paedophiles, the risk of re-offending is very low at around 5% . "

"It is not logical to suggest that these offenders not live near schools. In any New Zealand urban community, the nearest school is probably less than a kilometre away. Children are more at risk where there are less of them; in public parks, swimming holes, or bush walks."

"We have to find some way of increasing the community sense of safety, without resorting to vigilantism, and harassment of people that have served their sentence. Groups such as Prison Fellowship, provide a successful response, through Circles of Accountability and Support (COSA). Around 5 - 7 community volunteers, who are committed to public safety, undertake to monitor and support such an offender, thus lowering any risk to the public, and at the same time assisting the ex-offender with work, housing, and social support. This approach has been operating for more than a decade, and none of the ex-prisoners have reoffended.

This programme is delivered in the absence of government funding. With a bit more government support, it could be expanded and picked up by other voluntary organisations, who have the same commitment to public safety.

NE: Low-Risk Sex Offender Harassed Low-Risk Sex Offender Harassed.

A man says his neighbors have turned on him after Nebraska's state law changed. The new law requires information about all sex offenders to be made public online, not just those considered high-risk to re-offend. The change in Nebraska law January 4th put Jeff's face on a Web site and it didn't take long for neighbors to notice. “I have a friendly neighbor in the neighborhood and she calls me up and says people are passing your picture around the neighborhood.”

That was just the beginning. In the 45 days since the law has changed, Jeff has come home and found threatening notes taped to his front door. The message was move or suffer. “A couple of other ones were really vulgar, talking about what people would like to do to me, removing body parts.” His teenage children have also found them. “There's my picture off the Internet with a message that's too vulgar to say on TV of what this person wants to do to me because I'm a pedophile in their mind and it's taped to my son's truck."

His situation sums up arguments on both sides of the debate. Some say exposing people like Jeff makes neighborhoods safer. Jeff says the law just makes it difficult to find the most dangerous and he is not one of them.

Jeff has notified the police. He does not know who made the threats and so at this point no charges have been filed. It's illegal to retaliate against individuals on the registry, their family members or employers. The law is very clear about that. Vandalism or threats are illegal and will be prosecuted.

VA Bill to Further Restrict Sex Offender Residency (VA) : New law would dictate where sex offenders could live.

Delegate Clifford "Clay" Athey (R-Front Royal), recently introduced a bill to the 2010 session of the Virginia General Assembly which would greatly restrict where child predators
(correction: sex offenders) could live. Athey says the measure is necessary “to protect the most vulnerable citizens.”

If approved, HB 1004 would ban those who are court-ordered to register as sex offenders for crimes against children from living within 500 feet of various places children are known to frequent.

Predators (correction: sex offenders) would not be allowed to live near, school bus stops, community parks, playgrounds, rec centers, day cares, public pools, and schools (both public and private).

Once again, this idiotic reporter does not know the difference between a "registered sex offender" and a "predator". Most people listed on sex offender registries are not "predators" by legal definition, but Dave Gibson of the Norfolk Crime Examiner did not bother to learn this before writing this report.

(Read next post below where a Virginia Senator falsely claims that his new bill will help offenders re-integrate into society. Maybe he should talk to Delgate Athey to figure out if Virginia is trying to make this more or less possible)

VA Bill Protects Employers of Sex Offenders Bill Protects Employers of Sex Offenders.

Richmond – A bill making headway in the General Assembly seeks to protect employers of sex offenders by not listing the name of the offender’s workplace on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry. (Yes, folks: in most states, any employment location of a registered sex offender is posted online)

Senate Bill 635, sponsored by Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke), would still list a sex offender’s work address. The bill passed the Senate unanimously this month and now will be considered by the House of Delegates.

Marsden said the bill is meant to help sex offenders integrate back into society.

(All this bill does is to remove the negative publicity of the businesses. It will do nothing to help those on a registry to get a job!
To suggest or believe so is foolish.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Accused Sex Offender Killer Pleads 'Not Guilty' Accused Sex Offender Gunman Pleads 'Not Guilty'.

A reputed drug dealer accused, along with another man, in the death of a convicted sex offender in North Palm Springs pleaded not guilty today to a murder charge. Also accused in Keeley's death is self-avowed white supremacist Steven Banister, 28, who is accused of using California's Megan's Law registry to track down Keeley.

Keeley's address was listed as the home of a convicted sex offender on a publicly accessible database created as a result of Megan's Law, said sheriff's Investigator Josh Button, who prepared the declaration.

Banister reportedly bragged in prison that he planned on assaulting homosexuals, rapists and pedophiles, according to Button. He allegedly used Megan's Law to target pedophiles and sex offenders for his burglaries.

Sexting Makes Teen Register As A Sex Offender Sexting Leads To Teen Having To Register As A Sex Offender.

As soon as he woke up the next morning, Phillip Alpert knew that he had made a huge mistake. Angry that he was unable to get the attention of his ex-girlfriend, the then-18-year-old Florida teen arose from a sleeping-pill-induced stupor at 3 a.m. and forwarded some sexually explicit images that she had given him to everyone on his distribution list as a means of getting a reaction.

When he was arrested on child-pornography charges and ordered to register as a sex offender a short time later, Alpert quickly learned that sexting has very real consequences, ones the teen could never have imagined.

In Alpert's case, after being arrested for child-pornography distribution, he was put on five years' probation and required to register on the public sex-offender list, which lists his age, hair color, eye color and home address and is readily available to anyone and everyone. "I've actually had a lot of neighbors come to my door before ... to check if it was safe for their kids to play around outside, with me here," Alpert says in the show. "I'm extremely sorry for what I did, but the sex-offender thing, which is going to last until I'm 43, that's overkill."

Images taken of someone under the age of 18 constitutes child pornography, according to Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer. "If you take a picture, you can be accused of producing child pornography; if you send it to somebody, you can be accused of distributing child pornography; and if you keep a picture, you can be accused of possessing child pornography," Aftab explained. "Anywhere along this chain of transmission of the images, you can be charged as a registered sex offender.'

Walters said Alpert's message is not that sexting is OK or should be decriminalized, but rather, "Look at me. Don't make the mistake I did." Perhaps the worst part is that Alpert's dream of being an animator has been dashed because of the tight restrictions placed on his Internet use as a registered sex offender. "He can't live within a certain distance of schools, so he can't live with his father, because he lives too close to the high school that [Phillip] attended," the lawyer explained. "He can't be near places where minors congregate, but if you're 18 and have underage friends, what do you do?"

Because of his lack of privacy, Alpert is afraid to even send his lawyer e-mail, because if his probation officer decides that the e-mail was not work- or school-related, Alpert could go to prison for five years. "He can't find a job, because he has to tell people he's a registered sex offender," Walter said. "It's hard to make new friends and date."

But perhaps the worst punishment is the requirement that Alpert attend weekly sex-offender re-education classes for five years.
"Here, he's being trained not to reoffend and deal with his pedophilia or sexual deviance, which does not exist," Walters said. "He's stuck with people who did terrible things with minors, and he's forced to tell his story over and over again and can't move beyond it. For a 19- to 20-year-old kid, that's not a healthy thing. The more he does this and the longer he goes to these classes, the more he concludes, 'I guess I am one of them. I must have done something so horrible to be considered like the dregs of society.' It has a terrible impact on his self-worth."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sex Offender Law Could Go Global Sex offender law could go Global with California lawmaker's bill

- See related posts: A Move to Register Sex Offenders Globally and International Megan’s Law Proposed

Megan's Law soon could go international. The law requires convicted sex offenders to be registered with the government, making it easier to track their whereabouts. Their names can then be put into databases, allowing the public to do a quick online check to determine where offenders reside. While the law now applies to all states, California Republican Rep. Dan Lungren is proposing a worldwide crackdown on high-risk sex offenders.

Under his bill, convicted sex offenders would have to tell local law enforcement of their travel plans 21 days before leaving their country. That information would then be shared with diplomatic officials in foreign countries, who could keep track of the offenders. Lungren is already working with the Mexican government on the proposal.

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the plan, saying it would be wrong to impose new restrictions on people who already have served their sentences. However, Michael Macleod-Ball, the ACLU's chief legislative and policy counsel, said he fears the bill will pass because no one in Congress will want to cast a vote that could be interpreted as supporting sex offenders. "Absolutely, we're worried about something like this passing because it's very easy to get a yes vote," he said. "Maybe we should say the converse: If you vote against something like this, you sort of stick out like a sore thumb."

Lungren said his bill is an attempt to get tough with U.S. sex offenders who leave the country and then commit similar crimes overseas.
If Lungren's plan is passed, Sensley said, the most significant hurdle would be trying to gain the cooperation of other countries, many of which have different laws and different cultural norms. "What we define in the United States as a sex offender may not necessarily be defined as such in other countries," Sensley said.

Macleod-Ball, of the ACLU, said that there are always concerns about accuracy in a large database and that there would be lasting repercussions if anyone were mistakenly included. He said countries would have to work closely to make sure there's consistency about who's included, particularly since local laws can differ widely.

We must all contact our U.S. Congressmen via telephone and letters. Your representative can be found here:
Readers can track the progress of this bill at by searching terms: "International Megan's Law" or "H.R.1623"