Thursday, April 29, 2010

International Megans Law Moves Forward in US House International Megan's Law Moves Forward. International Megan's Law Moves Forward in U.S. House.

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved legislation Wednesday that would establish an international database of registered sex offenders and traffickers – an international version of the U.S. “Megan’s Law” – which its sponsors say would greatly assist authorities worldwide in preventing the exploitation of children by international sex tourists.
(and would also ban registered sex offenders from traveling outside the U.S.)

The measure, sponsored by U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, is called “the International Megan’s Law of 2010” and would establish
mandatory reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and registered sex offenders against children who intend to travel overseas.

The House committee cleared the legislation to go to the floor of the full U.S. House of Representatives in a unanimous voice vote.

Currently the fight against keeping sex predators from exploiting children abroad depends on cooperation between national governments and international police agencies, such as between Interpol and U.S. border and customs officers.

But Smith, a longtime human rights leader and author of anti human-trafficking legislation in 2000, 2003 and 2005, said international cooperation is largely “ad hoc” and leaves wide gaps for sexual offenders
to travel to and from international destinations largely unnoticed and anonymous. Despite the “sincere effort” of U.S. and foreign agencies, Smith said that international sharing of information about traveling child sex predators only happens occasionally.

The proposed bill takes specific aim at child sex tourism. Smith’s proposed law
would require that the United States provide advance notice of a “high risk” individual’s intended travel to the government authorities of their destination, and would request foreign governments to notify the United States when individuals with known records of sexually preying upon minors seek to enter the United States.

If approved by Congress, the International Megan’s Law
would establish a sex offender travel notification system for U.S. authorities on the look-out for sex offenders intending international travel to and from the United States, non-public sex offender registries in U.S. embassies to keep critical information on U.S. sex predators living abroad, and would provide the U.S. Secretary of State with the ability to revoke or severely restrict the passport of an individual convicted overseas of a sex crime against a minor.

The proposed bill would also provide financial assistance to other countries to help them establish systems to identify and report child sex offenders to U.S. authorities.

Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) urged his colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle to support the bill, which is expected to come before the full House before the summer recess.

The politicians play-up this bill in the media to make it sound like it is targeted on child sex exploitation, which of course is hideous, but arouses public support of it. But the fact is that this International Megan's Law will prevent virtually anyone ever convicted of a sex offense involving a minor from traveling outside the United States !

See previous post: A Move to Register Sex Offenders Globally

We have previously reported that any registered sex offender can now be banned from entering Canada if they run your passport at the border. If this bill becomes law, anyone ever convicted of a sex offense which involved a minor will be banned by our government from overseas travel. Anyone ever convicted of a sex crime who lives abroad will be on a U.S. sex offender registry to monitor their locations overseas. This is unconstitutional to disallow hundreds of thousands of American citizens from the ability to vacation or travel to Europe, Asia or any other destination. Yes, even sex offenders have dreams to see other parts of the world.

We must all immediately contact our US House Representatives to tell them to stop this bill !

Read text of bill here:

Our Sex Offender Laws are CRAZY Our Sex Offender Laws are CRAZY.

This story
was just sent to me and I am stunned and going out of my mind. A 34-year-old Nevada woman who was convicted of making a 13-year-old boy touch her breasts — I agree, gross and totally wrong — was sentenced to MANDATORY LIFE IN PRISON.

She will be eligible for parole in 10 years. As her public defender said: ”She is getting a greater penalty for having a boy touch her breast than if she killed him.”

No one — Free-Range or not — is in favor of adults molesting minors. But the idea that “public lewdness” can carry a mandatory life sentence just highlights the hysteria of the times we are living in — times when we are so sex offender-obsessed we fail to consider whether we are really making children any safer with our over-the-top laws and our “zero tolerance” for common sense. As one commenter named “justthefacts” wrote beneath the original news story:

"Humor me please... a man leaves a bar intoxicated, gets behind the wheel of his vehicle, chooses to drive off and ultimately gets in an accident and kills a 13 year old boy, unintentionally, but still is blatantly guilty of vehicular manslaughter. He is charged with the following in Nevada: $2000-$5000 fine, 25 years – Life prison sentence with a possibility of parole after 10 years. This is the actual sentence for a crime of this caliber. With that being said, should this woman really, seriously, get the same exact sentence?"

Wouldn’t community service and some rehab or therapy have made a lot more sense? Or maybe a week in jail? We’ve got to change these laws. If anyone is more versed than me in how we go about this, tell all.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sex Offenders : Sex Offender Mp3

We try to always stay focused on topic here at
But we veer off the road momentarily to post an Mp3 audio file by a female-fronted punk rock band called "Sex Offenders".

Download Mp3 here.

Okay, so perhaps we have other motives, like increasing traffic to our blogs to those who would never search for us... and demonstrating how ludicrous the term "sex offender" has become in our culture.

And if this doesn't convince you of how ridiculous the sex offender label has become, you can watch a spoof music video called "The Sex Offender Shuffle" from Scott Gairdner. History has shown that when things get mocked in popular culture, it is often the beginning of the end for them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Utah Towns Rape Sex Offenders Utah Towns Charge Fee to Sex Offenders.
Related post: Ohio County Sheriffs Rape Sex Offenders.

Sex offenders will now have to pay more money to live in certain Utah communities. Some towns are now charging sex offenders $25 a year to make sure offenders' vehicles or places of residence are listed on the sex offender registry. South Ogden, Roy, and Riverdale have started charging. The new fee is in addition to state fees.

Ohio Still Only State Stupid Enough to Enact Adam Walsh Act Requirements Ohio only state to meet federal Adam Walsh requirements. Ohio Only State To Comply With Sex-Offender Law.

One....That's how many states in the U.S. have fully complied with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act of 2006. The nationwide law is aimed at creating an across-the-board method of registering and tracking sex offenders throughout the country, where, a recent study found, a total of 704,777 sex offenders reside.

So far, only Ohio has complied.

Previously, each individual state created and followed their own tracking and registration formats. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and federally recognized Native American tribes were supposed to be in "substantial implementation" of the law by July 2009.

But all jurisdictions received an extension last year, said Scott Matson, a senior policy advisor with Florida's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. "And they have another year if they request it," he added. That means the final deadline could be July 2011 -- five years after the measure became law.

In the meantime, Coffee said Florida did submit a compliance package at the end of last year and that she hopes to hear from the SMART Office within the next few weeks.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as of January there were 7,900 sexual predators, 45,325 sexual offenders and 93 juvenile sexual offenders in Florida.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children President Ernie Allen said he thinks the primary issue boils down to money and there are some states weighing the cost of losing federal funds versus complying with the act.
Ohio is the only state to meet the requirements of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.

The Justice Department rejected the state's first application over how juveniles appear on the list.

The implementation cost about $400,000.

Ohio relies on county sheriff's departments rather than state police as in Pennsylvania to enforce registration of sex offenders and predators.

Mercer County, Ohio Sheriff Jeff Grey, who was part of a task force to hammer out changes, said most were good, but not all. "I don't like that the (law) took discretion away from judges," he said. The Walsh Act requires uniform sentences.

"In Cleveland, Anthony Sowell was in compliance. He apparently was also a serial killer," the sheriff said.
Sowell, 50, of Cleveland, is accused of killing 11 women whose remains were found in or around his Imperial Avenue house.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Social Networking Ban on Sex Offenders Could be Unconstitutional Bill to ban social networking for sex offenders. Harris’ social network ban could be unconstitutional.

Sex offenders in California would be barred from using social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace under a proposed law aimed at making the Internet safer for children.

Citing horrific cases in which children were sexually assaulted by men they met online, Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona (Los Angeles County) introduced the bill last month, which
would make it a crime for Californian's 63,000 registered sex offenders to use any social networking site. The proposed law defines those as a Web site "designed with the intent of allowing users to build networks or connect with other people and that provides means for users to connect over the Internet." (which could be virtually any web site which requires a "log-in" or registration)

Assembly Bill 2208 is similar to legislation passed last year in Illinois, but doesn't go quite as far as a
New York state law that additionally requires sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and online aliases with state authorities, who can then turn over the names to the companies that run the social networking sites. After the New York law passed, 3,500 sex offenders were purged from MySpace and Facebook by the Internet companies.

All of the laws depend to some extent on the assumption that sex offenders will police themselves.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who is sponsoring the measure,
acknowledged that the proposed law isn't a fail-safe measure, but said it will offer a deterrent to sex offenders who do not want to return to jail.
Is there an argument that District Attorney Kamala Harris’ push to ban sex offenders from social networking Web sites is unconstitutional? At least one legal expert thinks so.

Chris Hoofnagle is the director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology's information privacy programs and an expert in information privacy law.

Social networking sites are primarily designed help people communicate with each other and
a ban of sex offenders from them would be overbroad, considering a majority of users of Facebook, for example, are over the age of 18, Hoofnagle said.

“Cutting a class off from a very important communication medium could implicate first amendment issues," Hoofnagle said. “For instance, what if a law was proposed that sex offenders couldn’t use the telephone, or the mail. I mean that clearly would be overbroad and problematic. Well, social networking sites are the new mail, right?”
Harris’s logic is dumbfounding. If it is acceptable to take away access to Internet technology from anyone who has committed a sex-related crime, let’s do the same for anyone who has committed a crime against another human (any form of assault, murder, physical abuse, ect.). The facts are these:

1. Enforcing such laws is impossible. Anyone with half a brain can figure out how to create a false user name or secondary email address to register with any social network.

2. Social networking sites who claim to remove sex offenders are simply practicing public relations. Sure, they may find and remove a few of the really stupid ones who register their real names, but most people do not register on these sites with their real full name.

3. As we have written many times in these blogs, it is very rare for any sex offense to occur as a result of meeting a stranger on a social networking site. This is an urban myth. When rare contact is made between teens and strangers, it is sought out by the teenagers. The study “found that children and teenagers were unlikely to be propositioned by adults online. In the cases that do exist, the report said, teenagers are typically willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems”.

4. Research shows that the median age for facebook /myspace is 27/26 years of age respectively. In other words, social networking sites are not the Internet equivalent to children’s playgrounds, as the media would have us believe.

5. Hysteria about these social networking 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”
Bill Summary:
This bill would, in addition, make it a misdemeanor for any person
required to register as a sex offender who
is on probation or parole for the conviction of a crime that requires
him or her to register as a sex offender
to use any Internet
social networking Web site, as defined , during that period of
probation or parole if the victim of the offense was
18 years of age at the time of the offense or the Internet was used
in the commission of the crime
. The bill would authorize the
person to seek an exception to the prohibition for legitimate
professional purposes by applying through the appropriate parole or
probation supervising agency when that person is on parole
or probation or by applying through the Department of Justice when
that person is not on parole or probation
. Approval would
be valid for one year, unless revoked. The bill would authorize an
annual application for renewal. By creating a new crime, this bill
would impose a state-mandated local program.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flaws Found in State Child-abuse Registries Found in State Child-abuse Registries.

Combatting child abuse is a cause with universal support. Yet a push to create a national database of abusers, as authorized by Congress in 2006, is barely progressing as serious flaws come to light in the state-level registries that would be the basis for a national list.

In North Carolina, an appeals court ruled last month that the registry there is unconstitutional because alleged abusers had no chance to defend themselves before being listed.

In New York, a class-action settlement is taking effect on behalf of thousands of people who were improperly denied the chance for a hearing to get removed from the state registry.

And the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case this fall arising from the plight of a California couple whose names remain on that state's registry years after they were cleared of an abuse allegation made by their rebellious teenage daughter.

"Nobody wants to be seen as soft on child abuse — and that's gotten us where we are," said Carolyn Kubitschek, a New York attorney who has waged several court battles over the registries. "In the state of New York, it is still almost impossible to get off the list."

More than 40 states have the abuse registries — which are distinct from the better-known registries of convicted sex offenders that every state makes publicly available on the Internet. The abuse lists aren't accessible to the public, but are used by day-care centers, schools, adoption agencies and other entities to screen people who want to adopt, be foster parents or get a job working with children.

Even critics of the registries say they can serve a vital purpose in barring perpetrators of serious abuse from roles where they would interact routinely with children. It's the process underlying many of the registries that has come into question — and their potential to entangle innocent people as well as wrongdoers.

A person doesn't have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to get listed. Under the general practice in most states, entries are based on a child protection investigator's assertion that the person committed an act of abuse or neglect; hearings or appeals, if granted at all, often come long after the name is entered.

"Anybody can call a child abuse hotline and report abuse — anybody, including your ex-spouse who hates you, your landlord who's trying to evict you," Kubitschek said.

By law, she said, child protection services must investigate each call — and their subsequent reports can lead to a person's placement on an abuse registry before they are notified or allowed to defend themselves.

The problems with due process were highlighted last year in an interim report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has been directed by Congress to assess the feasibility of a national child abuse registry.

"Strong due process protections could necessitate significant changes to CPS investigation processes in some states that could be costly to implement and may discourage participation in a national registry," the HHS report said.

The report also questioned whether a national registry might be plagued by "false positives" affecting innocent people sharing a name with a perpetrator.

The potential problems will be assessed by a new HHS-commissioned study over the next two years, examining the state registries, gauging the states' interest in participating in a national registry, and trying to determine if one is indeed needed.

"Would a national registry in fact be useful to states?" said Barbara Broman, an HHS official who oversaw preparation of the interim report. "We do not know the answer to that question."

Congress authorized a national child abuse registry in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy abducted and murdered in 1981. His father, John Walsh, hosts the TV series "America's Most Wanted."

Among those urging faster progress toward a national registry is Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who says such a list would help track child abusers who cross state lines to avoid detection and offend again in the new location.

"It doesn't make any sense at all that while we try to watch sex offenders like hawks, we let child batterers, who physically batter children, slip through the cracks," he told a news conference last month.

However, Howard Davidson of the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, said most people on the state registries are accused of neglect, not battering or other physical abuse.

Davidson supports use of the registries to screen potential adoptive or foster parents. But he questions whether they're a suitable tool for employers to vet job applicants because of inconsistencies in the level of proof required to register a name.

A disproportionate number of people on the registries are poor, Davidson said, decreasing their chances of successfully challenging an unfair inclusion on the list.

Even the National Child Abuse Coalition, a major player in Washington in advocating on behalf of abused children, is cautious about the proposed national registry.

Tom Birch, the coalition's legislative counsel, said there are many unanswered questions about the registry's costs and how it would reconcile differences in the states' definitions and handling of child maltreatment.

"Rushing ahead to create a national registry is not the way to go at this point," he said. "It would need to be done right."

While the abuse registries remain out of the spotlight in most states, there have been some notable recent developments. Among them:


California has had a series of cases involving people who were exonerated of abuse allegations yet struggled to get their names off the state's Child Abuse Central Index.

One such case is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. Lawyers say it will draw attention to the registry debate even though the issue before the justices involves a dispute over Los Angeles County's position in the case — not some of the more fundamental issues raised during their nine-year legal battle.

The couple, Craig and Wendy Humphries of Valencia, were arrested in 2001 after their daughter, then 15, accused them of abuse; their younger children were placed in foster care. State courts ruled the allegation was false but they remain on the list of 800,000 names.

In 2008, a federal appeals court found the registry system unconstitutional because there's no way for the innocent to clear their names. The ruling empathized with the Humphries as "living every parent's nightmare."

Esther Boynton, the Humphries' attorney, is frustrated by what she considers a slow, piecemeal government response to the ruling.

"It shows how the defendant is circling the wagons, how hard they will fight," she said. "This goes on and on and on. My clients are living through that."

Boynton knows the ordeal firsthand — she was placed on the abuse index in 1990 after accidentally splashing her 17-year-old daughter with hot coffee. Only three years later, applying for a volunteer job, did she learn she was on the list; it took two more years of litigation to get removed.

Later, Boynton represented a Bakersfield stockbroker, Scott Whyte, who had been accused of child abuse by an ex-girlfriend in 1986. Whyte avoided contact with their son for years, worried that another allegation might land him in prison, before he was cleared and won a 2007 court ruling upholding his right to challenge the index system.

Despite the vindication, Whyte says being on the registry left lasting scars.

"I will never get over this — it is still oozing out of me," he said in a telephone interview. "I think I've given up my anger, but I have to continually readdress that. Forgiveness was so difficult."

Boynton says the officials responsible for the registries have good intentions, with the aim of protecting children, but often overlook the harm that can befall people wrongly placed on the lists.

"If they do look, they'll see that parents and children have a shared interest," she said. "Accurate information helps everyone. Inaccurate information can pull people apart unfairly."


North Carolina's Court of Appeals ruled in March that the state's registry process was unconstitutional because it gave suspected abusers no chance to defend themselves prior to being listed. The ruling also required a higher standard of proof before a name could be entered.

Sherry Bradsher, director of the state's Division of Social Services, said the legislature would amend the law to conform with the ruling. Temporarily, she said, the roughly 8,000 names on the list will not be made available — but their long-term status is uncertain.

The law was challenged by Kelly Holt, whose name had been on the list since 2007 even though he denied abusing his son and was never charged with a crime.

His attorney, Miriam Thompson, said the unanimous appeals court ruling brought tears to her eyes with its eloquent affirmation of the right to due process.

"I have two daughters — I'm all for protecting them," Thompson said. "But you've got to provide a better system before you accuse someone and put them on that list. That's a punishment, a state action with consequences. Before you do that, you've got to prove it."


In New York State, lawyer Thomas Hoffman is representing thousands of people who may have been improperly denied the chance for a hearing to get removed from the state abuse registry.

Hoffman says somewhere between 17,000 and 25,000 requests for hearings were terminated prematurely by the Office of Children and Family Services between 2003 and 2007 — in many cases with the request letters simply shredded. Under a proposed class action settlement, the state has agreed to restore their right to a hearing and promised not to allow employers access to their names in the meantime.

However, Hoffman says it may take years for these hearings to be scheduled — which could leave many of the affected individuals in limbo while prospective employers get no response of any sort to screening requests.

"At least 50 percent of the people who get a hearing are exonerated," Hoffman said. "There are a lot of people who don't belong there, and it's taking too long to exonerate them."

"There's a good purpose for these lists," Hoffman added. "But you could have a divorce case, fighting over custody, the dad puts the kid in car with no seat belt on and the mom calls it in. Suddenly you're on the same list as the pedophile, and the employer doesn't know difference."


Missouri's Supreme Court, in a 2007 ruling, said the state's method of placing people on the abuse registry was unconstitutional because it allowed a listing based solely on a state investigator's determination. Now, a hearing is required beforehand.

Since the ruling, disputes have flared over how many names should be removed from the registry.

"It's a horrible thing to be on this list," said Timothy Belz, the lawyer who won the 2007 case. "You can't get a job as a teacher, a nurse. You can't volunteer for your church's nursery duty.

"If you're a sex offender, your name doesn't go on the list until you're convicted," Belz added. "But if you're a little late getting a kid to the emergency room after he cut his finger, you could be on the list for ever."

Belz attributed the due-process problems to zealous legislators.

"You can't find a lawyer or judge who isn't shocked," he said. "Yet you go to the legislature and it's like pulling teeth to get it changed. All it takes is one kid to get molested, one horrible story, and the legislators just go nuts. The legislature ought to require itself to cool off."

It is interestingly hypocritical how everyone seems to recognize that being listed on such a Child Abuse Registry is "punishment" , but refuses to see Sex Offender Registries as being "punishment". This is the only way Courts across the nation have allowed Sex Offender Registry retroactive laws to stand ; by ruling that they are not "punitive", but rather "civil' in nature.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sex Offenses Common Among Troubled Vets Sex offenses common among troubled vets.

In multiple federal studies conducted over the past decade of inmates in U.S. prisons, Veterans were found to be more than twice as likely to be serving time for a sex offense as non-veteran inmates.

Former Marine Mark Peterson is serving time in the Utah State Prison at Draper for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl. He staunchly denies that his service was in any way related to his crime. Convicted in 2001, Peterson was released last year -- only to return after his parole officer found he was viewing pornography, he said.
(Viewing any type of pornography while on parole/probation results in arrest as a "parole/ probation violation". The pornography does not have to be illegal for this to happen.)

Some therapy may be available, but Lynn Jorgensen, who helps incarcerated veterans re-enter society, said he is limited in what he can do for sex offenders. For instance, Jorgensen said, he has helped many parolees find transitional housing at veterans homes in Salt Lake City -- but those homes won't take vets who have been convicted of sex crimes.

Sex Offender Sentenced to Life for Failing to Register Loses Appeal :Sex offender sentenced to life for failing to register loses appeal.

A man sentenced by a Torrance judge to life in prison for failing to register as a sex offender lost an appeal of his sentence Friday.

Wynford Eugene Murray sexually abused two young girls in New York more than a decade ago and failed to register as a sex offender when he moved to California.

Last April, Torrance Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold sentenced Murray to the "third strike" term of 25 years to life in prison after a nonjury trial in which he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.

Murray claimed Arnold abused his discretion in denying his request to vacate at least one of his prior "strikes" from the New York case, but a three-justice panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down his appeal.

Murray, a transient who had lived first in Canoga Park and then Redondo Beach, contended that he did not know until after his arrest that California law required him to register as a sex offender, the justices noted in their eight-page ruling.

Make no mistake: This man was sentenced to life in prison NOT because of any sex crime , but because he failed to register his address with authorities when he moved to California. Does that punishment fit that crime? Of course not. It is insanity.

AL: Legislature Passes Limit on Housing Sex Offenders Alabama Legislature passes limit on housing sex offenders.

The Alabama Legislature has given approval to a bill that would limit the number of registered sex offenders living together in Jefferson County.

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Priscilla Dunn, D-Bessemer, and in the House by Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, now goes to Gov. Bob Riley for his review.

The measure would bar landlords from housing more than one registered sex offender under one roof and would require offenders who live in an apartment complex to reside at least 100 yards from each other.

City officials in the western Jefferson County town of Mulga asked Dunn to sponsor the bill because a boarding house there has had as many as four offenders living there. State law prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care. Mulga has no schools or day care facilities.

Rosie Parker, who owns the boarding house, said she has only one registered offender at her home now, her brother. "I was trying to help them out," Parker said.

Her brother, Samuel Washington, said it was disappointing to learn that the bill had been approved. Washington, 53, who was convicted in Texas of aggravated sexual assault, said he didn't think the bill was fair because "everybody deserves a second chance at life.

"I can understand how they feel, but I'm human, too," he said. "It creates a problem for those who are trying to resume a life."

The bill would affect 122 convicted sex offenders and 23 addresses in Jefferson County that would not be in compliance if it becomes law, including apartments, hotels, a ministry and at least two boarding houses, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

David Gespass, a Birmingham lawyer who is a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said he believes the legislation has the potential to create a cycle because the inability to provide a residence could cause many sex offenders to fail to register, which brings additional convictions and jail time.

The bill does contain some exceptions. A landlord would not be in violation if the registered sex offender is a spouse or child, or the owner of the property. The landlord would also not be in violation if a registered sex offender does not provide written notice of his prior convictions.

Dunn said there was no opposition to the bill. It would become effective three months after it becomes law.
A state law that passed in 2007 doesn't allow landlords in Birmingham to house more than one registered sex offender under the same roof.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Visa Petitions Under the Adam Walsh Act

While this topic is slightly removed from our primary focus, we often hear from readers asking about Visa Petitions and how they are affected by the Adam Walsh Act laws. To be honest, I am unfamiliar with how the immigration visa process works but will try to post some useful links and information below. If any reader would like to submit a clear and concise brief on how the Adam Walsh Act affects Family-Based Visa Petitions, it can be sent to

This memorandum provides guidance for the initial implementation of the recently enacted Immigration Law Reforms to Prevent Sex Offenders from Abusing Children (Title IV of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006).

On July 27, 2006, President Bush signed into law H.R. 4772, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“Adam Walsh Act”), an Act to protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crime, to prevent child abuse and child pornography, to promote Internet safety, and to honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other child crime victims.

Section 402 of the Adam Walsh Act amends section 204 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to prohibit U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident aliens who have been convicted of any “specified offense against a minor” from filing a family-based immigrant petition (including the Form I-130 and the Petition to Classify Orphan, Form I-600A or I-600) on behalf of any beneficiary, unless the Secretary of Homeland Security determines in his sole and unreviewable discretion that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary. Section 402 of the Adam Walsh Act also amends section 101(a)(15) of the INA to remove spouses or fiancés of U.S. citizens convicted of these offenses from eligibility for “K” nonimmigrant status (Form I-129F).

The operative definition of “specified offense against a minor” is contained in section 111(7) of the Adam Walsh Act:

“The term `specified offense against a minor' means an offense against a minor that involves any of the following:
(A) An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping.
(B) An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment.
(C) Solicitation to engage in sexual conduct.
(D) Use in a sexual performance.
(E) Solicitation to practice prostitution.
(F) Video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code.
(G) Possession, production, or distribution of child pornography.
(H) Criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the Internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct.
(I) Any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.”

A minor is defined as an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.

The Adam Walsh Act is effective on the date of enactment. It applies to all petitions pending on or after that date. Headquarters is currently reviewing this recently enacted legislation and will provide detailed guidance for implementation. In the interim, the following procedures are implemented effective this date:

If the petitioner’s IBIS check reveals a hit for any sexual or kidnapping offense that is, or potentially may be a “specified offense against a minor” as defined above, the following actions will be taken:
1. A Request for Evidence will be issued for all police arrest records and court disposition documents.
2. The petitioner will be scheduled for fingerprinting in accordance with Center or Field Office procedures. These fingerprints will be processed without fee.
Adjudication of these cases will be suspended pending further guidance, however these petitions may be denied on grounds not related to the above.
2006 USCIS Memorandum (PDF)
Family Based Immigration Forum
VisaJourney Forum
From an immigration attorney commercial site:
Prohibitions Under the Walsh Act

A petitioner who has been convicted of a specified offense against a minor is not simply prohibited from filing on behalf of a minor child. The petitioner is prohibited from filing on behalf of “any” family-based beneficiary under sections 204(a)(1)(A)(i) and 204(a)(1)(B)(i) of the Act or in accordance with section 101(a)(15)(K) of the Act. “Any beneficiary” includes a spouse, a fiancé(e), a parent, an unmarried child, an unmarried son or daughter over 21 years of age, an orphan, a married son or daughter, a brother or sister, and any derivative beneficiary permitted to apply for an immigrant visa on the basis of his or her relationship to the principal beneficiary of a family-based petition

Section 401 of the Adam Walsh Act amends section 237(a)(2)(A) of the INA by adding a new subparagraph (v). Under new section 237(a)(2)(A)(v), an alien who is convicted under new 18 USC 2250, for failing to register as a sex offender, is subject to removal as a deportable alien.

Approved Family Based Petitions May Be Revoked Under Adam Walsh Act:
If, at any time prior to adjustment of status or consular processing, USCIS becomes aware that the petitioner has a conviction for a specified offense against a minor, it will revoke the approved family-based immigrant visa petition or reopen and reconsider the I-129F.

Further, the approved immigrant visa petitions may be reopened for “good and sufficient cause” under Section 205 of the Act. Revocation of the approval is allowed under 8 CFR 205.2 if the petitioner has been convicted of a specified offense against a minor and USCIS finds that the petitioner poses risk to the beneficiary. Therefore, USCIS conducts additional IBIS checks on the petitioner of the family-based immigrant petition at the time the beneficiary adjusts status. Pursuant to 8 CFR 103.5(a)(5)(ii) USCIS may reopen and reconsider the decision on I-129F if the petitioner has been convicted of a specified offense against a minor and USCIS determines that the petitioner poses any risk to the beneficiary.

What is a "Specified Offense Against a Minor"?

The phrase “specified offense against a minor” in the Adam Walsh Act is defined broadly to take into account that these offenses may be named differently in a wide variety of Federal, State and foreign criminal statutes. The statutory list is not composed of specific statutory violations.

As defined in the relevant criminal statute, for a conviction to be deemed a specified offense against a minor, the essential elements of the crime for which the petitioner was convicted must be substantially similar to an offense defined as such in the Adam Walsh Act. USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) for all police arrest records and court disposition documents and schedule the petitioner for fingerprints if the petitioner’s IBIS check reveals a hit for any offense that is or may be a “specified offense against a minor” as defined above.

If there is an IBIS hit or other indication that a lawful permanent resident petitioner may have a conviction for a specified offense against a minor as defined in the Adam Walsh Act, the USCIS will suspend the case adjudication. If the offense meets the definition of an egregious public safety threat, USCIS will refer the case to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for initiation of removal proceedings against petitioner.

If the petition has been approved or is being processed and there is an IBIS hit, USCIS will issue a RFE or Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and request all police arrest records and court disposition documents. If the petitioner was previously identified as posing risk, USCIS will obtain petitioner’s current rap sheet.

If the petitioner fails to respond to the RFE or NOIR, the petition is denied or revoked accordingly. If the fingerprint results and the evidence submitted in response to an RFE or NOIR indicate that the petitioner was not convicted of a specified offense against a minor as defined by the Adam Walsh Act, USCIS will process the petition in accordance with 8 CFR 204.

If, after review of the fingerprint results and the evidence submitted in response to the RFE or NOIR USCIS is not sure whether the petitioner’s conviction is a specified offense against a minor, or the criminal case against the petitioner is still pending and its disposition is unknown, USCIS will send petitioner’s file for supervisory review and opinion. In some cases, ICE may decide to initiate removal proceedings against any lawful permanent resident who is deportable under section 237(a)(2)(A)(v) of the INA (conviction for having failed to register as a sex offender).

If, after review of the fingerprint results the evidence submitted in response to the RFE or NOIR, USCIS finds that the petitioner has been convicted of a specified offense against a minor as defined by the Adam Walsh Act, USCIS will determine whether the petitioner poses a risk to the beneficiary.

Procedures for Determining whether Petitioner “Poses No Risk” to Beneficiary:

The main purpose of section 402 of the Adam Walsh Act is to ensure that an intended alien beneficiary is not placed at risk of harm from the person seeking to facilitate the alien’s immigration to the United States. USCIS, therefore, may not approve a family-based petition (I-130 or I-129F) if the petitioner has a conviction for a specified offense against a minor unless USCIS first determines that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary on whose behalf a petition was filed. Under section 402 of the Adam Walsh Act, only the Secretary has this discretion and the “sole and unreviewable” authority to decide whether a petitioner poses any risk to the intended beneficiary. The phrase “poses no risk to the beneficiary” means that the petitioner must pose no risk to the safety or well-being of the principal or derivative beneficiaries.

Evidence of Rehabilitation:

We recommend submission of sufficient evidence of rehabilitation if the petitioner is implicated by the Adam Walsh Act. Petitioner must demonstrate by clear evidence and beyond any reasonable doubt, that he or she poses no risk to the safety and well-being of his or her intended beneficiary. The initially filed petition or response to an RFE or NOIR must include whatever evidence and legal argument the petitioner wants USCIS to consider in making its risk determination. Examples of such evidence include, but are not limited to:

*Certified records indicating successful completion of counseling or rehabilitation programs;
* Certified evaluations conducted by licensed professionals, such as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or clinical social workers, which attest to the degree of a petitioner’s rehabilitation or behavior modification;
* Evidence demonstrating intervening good and exemplary service to the community or in the uniformed services;
* Certified copies of police reports and court records relating to the offense (the court records must include the original indictment or other charging document, any superseding charging document, any pre-sentencing report, and the conviction judgment); and
* News accounts and trial transcripts describing the nature and circumstances surrounding the petitioner’s specified offense(s) against a minor and any other criminal, violent, or abusive behavior incidents, arrests, and convictions.

The determination of whether a petitioner’s evidence is credible, and the weight and probative value to be given that evidence, shall be within the sole and unreviewable discretion of USCIS.

Factors USCIS Considers in Adjudication Process:

USCIS considers all known factors that are relevant to determining whether the petitioner poses any risk to the safety and well-being of the beneficiary. Here is the non-exclusive list of the factors:

1. The nature and severity of the petitioner’s specified offense against a minor, including all facts and circumstances underlying the offense;
2. The petitioner’s criminal history;
3. The nature, severity, and mitigating circumstances of any arrests, convictions, or history of alcohol or substance abuse, sexual or child abuse, domestic violence, or other violent or criminal behavior that may pose a risk to the safety or well-being of the principal beneficiary or any derivative beneficiary;
4. The relationship of the petitioner to the principal beneficiary and any derivative beneficiary;
5. The age and, if relevant, the gender of the beneficiary;
6. Whether the petitioner and beneficiary will be residing either in the same household or within close proximity to one another; and
7. The degree of rehabilitation or behavior modification that may alleviate any risk posed by the petitioner to the beneficiary, evidenced by the successful completion of appropriate counseling or rehabilitation programs and the significant passage of time between incidence of violent, criminal, or abusive behavior and the submission of the petition.

The USCIS automatically presumes that risk exists in any case where the intended beneficiary is a child, irrespective of the nature and severity of the petitioner’s specified offense and other past criminal acts and irrespective of whether the petitioner and beneficiary will be residing either in the same household or within close proximity to one another.

During the application process our client has clear understanding that the burden is upon him/her to rebut and overcome the presumption of risk by providing credible and persuasive evidence of rehabilitation and any other relevant evidence that proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he or she poses no risk to the intended child beneficiary.

In cases where none of the intended beneficiaries are children, USCIS closely examines the petitioner’s specified offense and other past criminal acts to determine whether the petitioner poses any risk to the safety or well-being of the adult beneficiary. It considers past acts of spousal abuse or other acts of violence. The fact that a petitioner’s past criminal acts may have been perpetrated only against children or that the petitioner and beneficiary will not be residing either in the same household or within close proximity to one another may not, in and of themselves, are sufficient to convince USCIS that the petitioner poses no risk to the adult beneficiary.

In case of an adult beneficiary, our client is advised that the burden is upon the petitioner to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he or she poses no risk to the intended adult beneficiary. Therefore, it is important to prepare and present documents in the light most favorable to the petitioner that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary. If no such evidence is presented, USCIS will deny the application.

If the USCIS adjudicating officer is uncertain as to whether the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary, or if the adjudicator is finding it difficult to articulate the factual basis for the denial, the office will consult with his/her supervisor and/or USCIS counsel. USCIS cannot approve the petition subject to Adam Walsh Act without guidance from the USCIS’ headquarters.

Denials under Adam Walsh Act:

The denial or revocation of orphan and fiancé cases may be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”). Section 402 of the Adam Walsh Act does not affect the AAO’s jurisdiction in orphan and fiancé/fiancée cases.

This information is general in nature and is not specific legal advice.

US Supreme Court Denies Kentucky AG Petition

On October 1, 2009, The Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled that a law limiting where registered sex offenders can live cannot apply to those who committed offenses before July 12, 2006, the day the law was implemented. The law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, daycare centers and schools, and changed how the distance is measured.

The court, in a decision dated Oct. 1, said the law is punitive in nature and violates the ex post facto clause in the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from passing laws that increase punishment for old crimes.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway
tried to resist this ruling and continued to enforce the law retroactively (and illegally) while he petitioned the United States Supreme Court for further review. His petition was denied by SCOTUS on March 8, 2010.

Case Nos. 2006-SC-000347-CL
Kentucky Attorney General's Office (502)-696-5342
1024 Capitol Center Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601

NJ Lawmaker Pleads Guilty in Child Porn Case N.J. lawmaker pleads guilty in child porn case.

More hypocrites...

Trenton, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey lawmaker who championed legislation fighting child pornography pleaded guilty Monday to distributing nude images of underage girls.

Neil Cohen, 59, acknowledged viewing and printing images meant for sexual gratification from a computer in his former legislative office. He left at least one image at a receptionist's desk, leading to the investigation and charges.

Cohen pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by distributing child pornography and could be sent to state prison for five years when he is sentenced on July 12.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Cohen will have to register as a sex offender under Megan's law and be subject to lifetime supervision by the Parole Board when he is released from prison. He agreed never to seek public office again and to pay at least $1,800 in fines. His use of social networking websites also will be restricted. Cohen, an attorney who now lives in Paramus, likely will be disbarred.

Cohen and his lawyers left court without commenting. Prosecutors also declined to comment. Looking gaunt and sporting a full beard, Cohen answered the judge's questions succinctly in a low, barely audible voice.

"That's correct, sir," Cohen said when asked if he intended to plead guilty. Cohen acknowledged being on medications but told the judge the drugs did not impair his judgment.

In exchange for the guilty plea, other charges against the former assemblyman were dropped. Cohen faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted of official misconduct and child pornography charges.

Cohen was accused of using state computers in his Union County legislative office to view, print and duplicate images of underage girls. The staff member who discovered the photos told the two lawmakers who shared the office with Cohen, Sen. Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman Joe Cryan. They reported Cohen to state authorities in July 2008.

Police Officer Sentenced as Sex Offender Police Officer Sentenced as Sex Offender.

Walton County, FL. - A former Alabama and Florida law enforcement officer initially arrested several years ago during a “Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator” sting has been sentenced. Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells sentenced Todd Monroe Spikes to ten-year’ sex offender probation.

Last month, the 44-year-old pled “no contest” to the charges of lewd and lascivious exhibition with the victim less than 16, and using the computer to seduce and solicit a child. Spikes was one of 21 men who police said had sexually explicit online chats with decoys posing as children. He had several online chats with a police decoy who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He drove five hours to meet with her at a home in Flagler Beach, just outside of Daytona Beach, Florida. Cameras followed Spikes as he drove around the decoy’s house. He was stopped several blocks away where authorities found several loaded weapons in his SUV. His vehicle also contained rope and a boat anchor.

The charges were eventually transferred to Walton County, because the investigation revealed that he used the computer in Walton County to solicit the acts. At the time of his arrest, Spikes was working as an officer for the Florala Police Department. Prior to that, he had spent time with the Samson, Alabama Police Department, the Geneva, Alabama Police Department, the DeFuniak Springs Police Department, and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

Following his sentencing, Spikes came to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office to register as a sex offender.

If this man was not a police officer, his sentence would be much greater than a ten-year probation period.

GA: Revisions to Sex Offender Law

AtlantaJournalConstitution: Senate passes sex offender bill.

In response to several major court challenges, the Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would make several key changes in the state’s sex offender registration law. The full Senate passed House Bill 571, which would clarify the classification of sexual offenders and re-examine residency restrictions on certain sex offenders. The bill passed 45-0.

“This is an important bill. We were obviously facing a series of legal challenges in federal courts,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Seth Harp (R-Midland). “We will correct problems that the federal courts identified.”

At issue is the level of a so-called sex crime. In March, for example, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld a provision of the state’s sex offender registry law that requires some people to register as sex offenders even if they have not committed a sex crime.

Jake Rainer tried to get off the list after he was placed on it following a drug robbery. In 2000, an 18-year-old Rainer robbed a 17-year-old girl in Gwinnett County who was going to sell him marijuana. Rainer and three friends picked up the girl, drove her to a cul-de-sac, stole the marijuana and left her there. In getting a false imprisonment charge, Rainer also had to register as a sex offender, meaning that he cannot live or work within 1,000 feet of any place children gather, such as schools, churches and parks.

Georgia has one of the toughest sex-offender laws in the nation, but courts have continued to chip away at it.
Judges, for example, have granted relief for offenders who own homes, who are homeless and who have gotten mandatory life sentences for failing to register a second time.

What is apparently a controversial provision in some camps would allow some low-level sex offenders to come off the registry. Teenagers, for example, who have had sex with younger teens or classmates have also been labeled as sex offenders in some cases. “I think they’re entitled to a shot at convincing the court they’re rehabilitated” and will not be a further danger,
House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) said.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sex Offender Felon Voting Rights

Are you a sex offender felon or do you know one who thinks he cannot vote? Many do not know that they do still have the right to vote in their states. In Ohio for example, unless incarcerated, any felon has the right to vote. We strongly urge you to vote and be active politically if you have Felon Voting Rights in your state. The trend over the past decade has been to relax such felon voting restrictions, so check with your state to find out if you can vote. We provide the information sources below but you should confirm this information with your state laws. State Felon Voting Laws(Current as of Apr. 08, 2010)

ACLU: Voting Rights for People with Criminal Records: 2008 State Legislative and Policy Changes (This is from 2008 and may have changed)

examples: Felons can vote in Wisconsin after they have completed their probation or parole. January, in the landmark case Farrakhan vs. Gregoire, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned a Washington state law that prohibits convicted felons from voting until they have finished their probation and parole. In this decision, the court ruled that it was unconstitutional for Washington state to disenfranchise felons, because a disproportionate percentage of minorities are prosecuted and convicted of felonies. Therefore, according to the court, the disenfranchisement ordinance violated the right to vote regardless of race outlined in the Fifteenth Amendment. Ex-felons are routinely disenfranchised due to confusion over state laws. Now, Congress is considering a bill that would restore voting rights to prisoners as soon as they pay their debt to society.

Ohio Supreme Court to Decide if Old Cases Should be Held to New Tougher Rules

Wednesday April 21, 2010: Ohio Supreme Court Oral Arguments were held today in the case of: Robert Gildersleeve et al. v. State of Ohio -Case number 09-1086 - Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals. (PDF)

Ohio Supreme Court Journal Entry and Opinion. (PDF) Thousand of new hearings may be ordered for sex offenders -
Ohio Supreme Court to decide if old cases should be held to new, tougher rules.

The Ohio Supreme Court will decide if people convicted before Ohio adopted a tougher sex-offender law are subject to those tougher penalties. It heard arguments today in a case that could affect hundreds of courts, and thousands of offenders and the neighborhoods in which they live.

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Supreme Court case summary:

Does ‘Adam Walsh Act’ Require New Hearing to Exempt Pre-2008 Sex Offender from Community Notification?

When Sentencing Court Found Notification not Required Under Pre-2008 Law

Robert Gildersleeve et al. v. State of Ohio, Case no. 2009-1086
8th District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County)

ISSUE: In cases where a defendant was sentenced prior to Jan. 1, 2008, for a sexually related crime, and where the sentencing court determined at a hearing that under the pre-2008 version of Ohio’s sex-offender statute the defendant was not subject to community notification, do amendments to the law that took effect in 2008 require that pre-2008 offenders who have been reclassified as Tier III offenders must undergo a new hearing to reestablish their exemption from community notification?

BACKGROUND: Effective Jan. 1, 2008, the General Assembly amended Ohio’s former sex offender registration and community notification statutes to conform them with the federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA). Under the amended Ohio statutes, thousands of persons who had been classified as lower-level sex offenders under the pre-2008 version of the law were reclassified as Tier III (highest level) sex offenders. The new provisions require that, after Jan. 1, 2008, 1) all Tier III offenders must register with local law enforcement agencies every 90 days for life, and 2) sheriffs must provide regular notices regarding the identity, residence, place of employment and other information about Tier III offenders to neighbors, schools and specified others in the communities where the offender lives and works.

However, a separate provision in the 2008 rewrite of the law, R.C. 2950.11(F)(2), specifically exempts a Tier III offender from the requirement of community notification (but not the duty to register): “if a court finds at a hearing ... that the person would not be subject to notification” under the previous version of the sex offender statute (i.e. the version that was in effect from 2002 through 2007).

This case involves a group of nine people, including Robert Gildersleeve, who were convicted and sentenced prior to Jan. 1, 2008 as sex offenders. In each of their cases, the sentencing court held a required hearing and determined that the defendant was not a sexual predator or a high-risk habitual sex offender, and therefore, under the pre-2008 version of the sex offender statute, was subject to registration but was not subject to community notification. Following enactment of the Ohio AWA, each of the plaintiffs received a notice from the attorney general’s office informing him that he had been reclassified as a Tier III sex offender and would from that date forward be subject to both the more stringent registration requirement and the community notification requirement imposed on Tier III offenders by the AWA.

The plaintiffs filed suit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas seeking a judgment that 1) retroactive application of the AWA to offenders who had already been classified under the pre-2008 sex offender statute was unconstitutional; and 2) even if retroactive application of the AWA to them was constitutional, they were entitled to relief from community notification under R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) because each of them had already undergone a hearing and been found not to be subject to community notification under the pre-2008 version of the statute. The trial court ruled that retroactive application of the AWA to previously classified sex offenders was constitutional, and also held that the plaintiffs were not entitled to relief from community notification.

Gildersleeve and his co-plaintiffs appealed. On review, the 8th District Court of Appeals affirmed that the AWA was constitutional as applied to the plaintiffs, but held that they were entitled to relief from community notification under R.C. 2950.11(F)(2), because the courts that sentenced them had judicially determined that they were not subject to community notification under the pre-2008 version of the law.

Both parties sought Supreme Court review of the portion of the 8th District’s ruling unfavorable to them. The Court accepted Gildersleeve’s appeal regarding retroactive application of the AWA and held that appeal pending the Court’s ruling in a similar case that has already been argued but not announced (State v. Bodyke). The Court agreed to hear arguments on the state’s claim that R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) does not provide “automatic” relief from community notification for any past offender who was found not subject to community notification under the prior version of the statute at the time of his original classification.

Attorneys for the state argue that R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) exempts an offender from the requirement of community notification under the AWA only if a court has conducted a de novo (new) hearing at which it considers 11 criteria set forth in the 2008 statute, and has made a new and independent finding that the offender would not have been subject to community notification under the pre-2008 version of the sex offender law. They point out that the hearing requirement in R.C. 2950.11(F)(2) is written in the present rather than the past tense, which they say indicates legislative intent that courts considering appeals by pre-2008 offenders should not rely on the court proceedings conducted at the time of that person’s original classification, but rather should conduct a new and independent review of the statutory criteria and make a new determination regarding the offender’s likelihood of reoffending.

Attorneys for Gildersleeve and the other plaintiffs point out that the hearing criteria set forth in R.C. 2950.11(B)(2) are virtually identical to the criteria that were considered in determining at the time of their original classification that they were not subject to community notification under the pre-2008 version of the statute. They argue that in cases involving offenders who were classified under the former statute, “a court” has already conducted a hearing at which the statutory criteria have been considered, and has ruled that the offender was not subject to community control under the pre-2008 law. They assert that interpreting the law to require an entire new hearing at which the same criteria are applied to make exactly the same legal determination would be redundant and wasteful of judicial resources, and also contrary to the doctrine of res judicata (that issues decided by a court and not appealed should not later be relitigated).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CT: To Criminalize Interstate Travel Without Notice CT Bill Would Criminalize Interstate Travel Without Notice.

Connecticut legislators are considering a bill which would make it a crime for any out-of-state sex offender to enter the state without registering within 48 hours. You may read the proposed law here. From the relevant subsection:

Any person who is a registered sexual offender under the laws of any other state who enters this state and fails to notify the Commissioner of Public Safety in writing not less than forty-eight hours prior to entering the state of the information required under this section or falsely reports such information shall be guilty of a class D felony.

It's likely that this law would raise right to travel issues that have not gained much traction in residency restriction cases.

Sex Offenders Win Appeal Against Indefinite Inclusion on Registry Sex offenders win appeal against indefinite inclusion on register - Supreme court backs case of two sex offenders who claim being on register for life without review breaches their human rights.

A UK Supreme Court ruling today has opened the way for hundreds of sex offenders to challenge whether they should remain on the sex offenders' register for life.

The ruling backed a case brought by two convicted sex offenders who challenged their indefinite inclusion on the register without any right to a review, claiming it breached their human rights.

One, who was convicted of rape when he was 11 years old, argued that being on the register had prevented him taking his family on holiday or playing rugby league. The other offender, Angus Aubrey Thompson, now aged 59, was jailed for five years for indecent assault 14 years ago.

Their lawyers argued they had been labeled for life without any opportunity to demonstrate they had reformed.

The current legislation says that any sex offender sentenced to a prison sentence of at least 30 months is placed on the register for life and has a duty to keep the police informed of any change of address or travel abroad.

The supreme court decision published today follows an appeal by the home secretary against an earlier appeal court ruling that the lack of any review was incompatible with the European convention on human rights, in particular the right to respect for a private and family life.

Lord Phillips, the supreme court president, said: "It is obvious that there must be some circumstances in which an appropriate tribunal could reliably conclude that the risk of an individual carrying out a further sexual offense can be discounted to the extent that continuance of notification requirements is unjustified."

The judges stressed that the ruling did not mean the sex offenders' register itself was illegal and said that it was entirely reasonable and lawful to monitor someone for life if they were assessed to be a danger to society.

But the judges rejected the home secretary's appeal, saying there was no evidence to show it was impossible to identify which sex offenders had reformed. Home Office research submitted during the case showed that 75% of sex offenders who were monitored over a 21-year period were not re-convicted of any offense.

Mike Pemberton, solicitor for F, who was convicted of the rape of a six-year-old boy when he was 11, said his client wanted a fair chance to show that he had reformed.

"This case is important because it considers the right of a child to mature and develop. At present, any child who commits an offense of this type is labeled for life with no consideration being given to the effect of growing older and learning important lessons from previous mistakes."

He said the men were not arguing to be automatically removed from the register, only for a chance for the risk they now posed to be reviewed.

The supreme court ruling means that an incoming government will need to look again at the law and introduce a review mechanism. Home Office officials will consider the ruling before making any recommendations. The existing requirements on sex offenders to notify the police of their movements remain in force in the meantime.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jon Husted Bad for Ohio

We have reported several times on Ohio Senator John /Jon Husted's unsavory character. Now incredibly, he wants to be Ohio Secretary of State. We thought it only fair that we re-post all the corruption reports of this man's time in office as he advertises his "Husted for Ohio" campaign.

He has thumped his chest about violating the constitutional rights of 30,000 Ohio citizens, lied about his residency, violated Ohio voting laws, long been under state investigation, refused to serve a full term as Senator, accepted free flights and trips from his lobbyist pals, wants blogs like shut down, and more. And now he claims falsely to be a "Tea Party" guy for shameful political advantage.

Jon Husted Is Not Legal Resident in His District
Husted’s Residency Investigation
Husted Residency Ruling
Ohio Representative Jon Husted Investigation
Ohio Senator Jon Husted: Corruption, Fraud, Arrogance

Fla. Sex Offenders Evicted From Temporary Housing Fla. Sex Offenders Evicted From Temporary Housing.

A group of sex offenders who previously lived under a South Florida bridge are again homeless, after being kicked out of a hotel that some had been living in for months.

More than 100 sex offenders set up camp under the bridge in 2007, saying they were unable to live elsewhere because of a stringent county ordinance. Earlier this year, workers took sledgehammers to wooden shacks and huts beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway and took down tents, tearing down the shantytown.

A homeless organization found shelter for the offenders in apartments, trailer parks and hotels at taxpayer expense. About 30 offenders had been living in a Homestead Studio Suites hotel when a manager told them Saturday they had two hours to vacate the property. Roughly half were on probation.

Since then, some of the offenders have been living in their cars camped outside of the probation office. "They were terrified that they were going to be in violation of probation through no fault of their own," said Maria Kayanan, associate legal director of ACLU Florida. In some cases, the county was paying $1,000 a month per offender to live in the hotel because they couldn't find more affordable, permanent housing.

The ACLU is challenging the county's 2,500 foot residency restriction, saying that state law, which imposes a 1,000 foot restriction, pre-empts local government.

It's unclear what prompted the hotel to evict the offenders. One of the boarders was arrested last week for a sex offense involving a minor at a nearby shopping center, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.

The agency is working with each offender to find them housing. Some have moved in with other sex offenders, some are giving street locations as residences, some will likely spend another night at the probation office, Plessinger said.

"It's their job to find themselves a place to live. We will assist them because we need to know where they are. If we don't know where they are we can't supervise them," she said.

Residents said they became aware of the sex offenders' presence when police distributed fliers listing the parolees' names and photos at the hotel's lobby.

Monday, April 19, 2010

FL: To End Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Cases (FL): End to statute of limitations for child sex offender cases advances.

All other crimes have limits on the length of time after which they can be prosecuted. This would be one more law which treats sex crimes more severely than all other crimes, including murder. The Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits this practice.

An effort to do away with the statute of limitations on child sex molestation cases for crimes against children between the ages of 12 and 16 is headed to the Senate floor after some tense negotiations this morning.

The Catholic Church and criminal defense lawyers oppose the measure and tried at the last minute to extend the time limits, now three years after the child reaches age 21. Sen. Alex Villalobos, a former prosecutor and Catholic, asked a series of questions showing his opposition to the measure because of the difficulty those accused of the crimes would have defending themselves after decades pass.

Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Committee Chairman Victor Crist recessed the committee to allow both sides to negotiate on setting a number of years instead of doing away with the time limits completely, sensing bill (SB 870) sponsor Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, may not have had the votes to pass it.

The House version is also ready to be voted on by the full chamber.

The result of this will be a flooding of courts with new allegations of sex crimes which purportedly occurred decades ago, with no material evidence at all (because they occurred decades ago). How will you defend yourself against some child you knew 20 years ago when they accuse you of inappropriately touching them in the 1980s?

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Effects of Transitioning to the Adam Walsh Act’s Federally Mandated Sex Offender Classification System

Sage Journals Online (registration required): Widening the Net - The Effects of Transitioning to the Adam Walsh Act’s Federally Mandated Sex Offender Classification System

Andrew J. Harris- University of Massachusetts Lowell,, Christopher Lobanov-Rostovsky- Colorado Sex Offender Management Board, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, Jill S. Levenson- Lynn University

With the 2006 passage of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA), the U.S. Congress set forth a range of minimum standards governing the operation of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) systems throughout the nation. Many of these standards are based on the AWA’s uniform system of registrant classification, which distinguishes registrants solely based on offense history and the nature of the conviction offense, without regard for additional risk factors. The current study evaluates the impact of the federal registration classification system on the distribution of individuals within state sex offender registries, specifically drawing on the experiences of Ohio and Oklahoma, two of the first states to undertake a reclassification of their registrant populations under the new federal guidelines. The findings indicate that the federal reclassification process produces a redistribution of registrants from lower SORN levels to higher ones and reveals statistically significant differences between newly reclassified "high-risk" individuals and those designated as high risk under prior registration classification systems. Findings also suggest that juveniles and those potentially subject to AWA’s retroactivity provisions may be disproportionately placed into the highest SORN tiers. Implications of these findings for practice and public policy are discussed.

Key Words: sex offenders • Adam Walsh Act • sex offender registration and notification