Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cold Case on CBS - Offender (PROMOTING MURDER OF SEX OFFENDERS!!!)

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What the hell are the promoting here? Killing sex offenders!!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 9pm et/pt

Offender

The cold case detectives must solve the rape and murder of a 6-year-old boy whose father is pushing one registered sex offender off a building every day until the cold case team solves the 20-year-old murder. (R) TVPG-DLV



OH - Judge says new law takes away discretion

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Where are the stats to show this 50% recidivism rate everyone keeps mentioning? Seems to be the norm, but it's false, based on the Department of Justice which shows 5.3%.

08/26/2007

A new sex offender registration law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2008, and local law enforcement officials are saying it is going to cost more money and give judges less discretion.

Stark County Common Pleas Judge Richard Reinbold said he isn’t happy with state legislators. The new law will dictate how he performs his job and mandate hearings without providing any funding.

Sex offenders have been classified into three categories:

  • Tier one – Sexually Orientated Offender: a person who has been convicted of, or has pleaded guilty to, a sexually-oriented offense, but who has not been designated as a sexual predator or habitual sex offender. Sexually-oriented offenders must register for 10 years, but neighbors are not notified.
  • Tier two – Habitual Sex Offender: a person who has been convicted of, or has pleaded guilty to, a sexually oriented offense, to one or more sexually oriented offenses and must register for 20 years after release from prison. The judge may determine whether community notification is necessary.
  • Tier three – Sexual Predator: a person who has been convicted of, or has pleaded guilty to, a sexually oriented offense and who is likely in the future to commit additional sexually oriented offenses. The offender must be convicted with a sexually violent predator specification, or the court can determine the offender is a sexual predator during a hearing. Sexual predators must register for life and the community is notified of their presence.
Under the new sex offender registration law, tier one sexually oriented offenders will have to register every year for 15 years. Tier two habitual sex offenders will have to register every six months for 20 years. Tier three sexual predators will have to register every 90 days for life.

National and state legislators cite the high rate at which sex offenders recommit their offenses – the national average is 50 percent – and the need to standardize laws across the country.
- And this 50% is total BS! Visit the Department of Justice, which shows 5.3% and sex offenders are LESS likely to commit another sex crime after being released than other criminals.

Reinbold said he thinks sex offender registration laws are good overall. By seeing the criminals on a daily basis, Reinbold said, he knows how to minister punishment better than legislators.

I will have no discretion as a judge,” Reinbold said of the law, adding sometimes discretion in sentencing is needed. For example, he said, a 19-year-old man who has sex with a 15-year-old female shouldn’t necessarily be branded a sex offender for years.
- I agree... So why do we even need judges?

“I’m here day after day, he said. “I guess they think they can do this job better than we do. People will end up suffering for this change in the law.”
- They are already suffering, believe me!!!

Reinbold said when someone is labeled a sex offender, it makes it that much harder for the person to find a job and a place to live, especially as communities place more restriction on areas where sex offenders can’t live.

Already, we’re seeing a good number of sex offenders who are homeless or semi-homeless,” Reinbold said. “The new law is just going to make that worse. We’re going to need more jail space and the cost for social programs will go up.”

The taxpayers, he said, will have to foot the bill.
- And they should, they are the non-thinking idiots who wanted all this BS, so they should pay for it...

Another glaring problem, the judge said, is the high recidivism rates for sex offenders and the lack of treatment programs in all prisons.
- Again, the recidivism rate IS NOT HIGH, it's 5.3%, not 50% like everyone believes. Where is this 50% statistic, and who did the research?

“That’s an oversight by legislators,” Reinbold said. “The big problem is trying to find solutions.”

Costs for administering the registration program will go up for the sheriff departments, Reinbold said.

Chryssa Hartnett, assistant chief prosecutor of Stark County’s criminal division, said costs for the prosecutor’s office will also go up because every sex offender who is reclassified is entitled to a new hearing.

She said she believes most offenders will fight reclassification and no one seems to have thought about the time and the cost that will take.
- You darn straight they will. It's punishment after the fact, thus violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution for punishing someone twice for the same crime.

Just the mere fact of getting prisoners to court from prison is going to cost money, Reinbold said. “The legislators never think about these things,” he said. “What do they think, gas is free?”



MA - Despite growing laws, sex offender numbers increasing

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It's my opinion that the number of sex offenders is increasing NOT because of any increase in the number of people who decide to commit sex crimes, but because the lawmakers are creating laws to expand the definition of what a sex crime is. Things that once were not considered a sex crime have now been put on the list. More and more people are being caught in the net and getting charged with something that at one time was not on the list.

08/26/2007

Carol Willoughby was minding her own business -- a small daycare in her Massachusetts home -- when a neighbor moved into the house two doors down from hers in spring 2005.

She sometimes saw him walk past her driveway, marked by a painted daycare sign.

Willoughby would not find out her neighbor, Robert Gorczyca, was a repeat sex offender until a year later. Two little girls in a neighboring town told police they were waiting for the morning school bus when a man sitting in a car with his pants down fondled himself.

The girls ran away, screaming for help.

Police arrested Gorczyca, one of more than half a million convicted sex offenders living in the United States.

Laws in every state are designed to protect children from repeat sex offenders, but crime figures suggest those laws may not work. What's more, residence laws in some states may put children at greater risk because these sex criminals forced to leave their homes sometimes disappear from police sight.

All states have required sex offenders to register their addresses with local police since 1996. That's when Megan's Law was enacted, after a girl in New Jersey was snatched, raped and murdered by a neighbor no one knew had committed sexual attacks on two young children.

The Adam Walsh Act of 2006 updates those registration guidelines nationwide, ranking offenders by severity of their crimes.

In Illinois, state law says sex offenders must live at least 500 feet from a school and that they must stay at least 500 feet from a park where children play.

A 2005 Illinois law, the latest in the series, precludes more than one sex offender from living at the same address. Only state-owned or operated facilities, or transitional homes licensed by the corrections department, are exempt from this one-sex-offender-per-address rule.

Residence restrictions through state law or local ordinance designed to deliver predators from temptation are in effect in more than half of all states.

Statistics not clear

But do residency laws deliver on the promise of safety?

Crime numbers in states with such bans don't reflect a clear-cut decrease in sex offenses or crimes against children after the laws are enacted. Most molestations track back to perpetrators children already know. Few result from stranger danger.

And residence restrictions for sex offenders are proving expensive, costing taxpayers in lawsuits, enforcement and drops in property value.

Strict residence laws that relegate offenders to society's fringes do not appear to be holding sex offender numbers down. The count keeps growing. And the laws don't determine where sex offenders will settle once released from prison, despite their supporters' claims that absent residence laws, a state or town becomes a pedophiliac haven.

Illinois saw a jump from 1,187 sexual offenses against children in 1999, the year before its residence laws began, to 1,871 offenses in 2005, the most recent year the state police released statistics.

Illinois has 14.7 sex offenders per 100,000 residents.

Alaska leads all 50 states in sex offenders per capita. The northern state of 670,000 has 630 offenders per 100,000 residents -- and no residence laws. But neither does Pennsylvania, at the bottom of that same list, with 62 offenders per 100,000 residents -- about one-tenth of Alaska's rate.

More laws passed

Meanwhile, legislators continue to draw ever-widening circles around parks, schools, playgrounds and bus stops where convicted offenders may not live and sometimes may not loiter.

In June, Nevada became one of the latest states to push through a law that bars the most dangerous offenders from entering a safety zone around kid hangouts: schools, daycares and video arcades.

In Florida, where a 1,000-foot state rule bars pedophiles from schools and parks, many counties and municipalities widened the circle to 2,500 feet. In Miami, that left only a swath of land for five offenders under a bridge, where they lived with state approval.

Willoughby's hometown of Marlborough enacted its law in June -- finalized as a 1,000-foot loop around schools, parks and daycares where sex offenders can't live, plus a 500-foot "safety zone" where they can't loiter.

But a Colorado study found that molesters who reoffended didn't live any closer to schools or childcares than those who didn't abuse again. Sex offenders in that state can live wherever they choose.

"Placing restrictions on the location of ... supervised sex offender residences may not deter the sex offender from reoffending and should not be considered as a method to control sexual offending recidivism," the study stated.

Counting stranger danger

Random stranger attacks on children grab headlines but account for only about 10 percent of sexual assaults on kids, according to the Department of Justice.

Only about 100 of 60,000 annual sex assault reports involve abduction by a stranger.

To challenge residence bans as unconstitutional banishment and ongoing punishment, offenders have sued. Lawsuits dragged on in Iowa and Ohio and continue in Georgia and Missouri. Those ruled on have deemed any retroactive law unconstitutional.

Still, the laws are popular among voters and politically tricky to oppose.

Kansas shot down a residence ban and prohibited local laws, citing the troubles experienced in Iowa. After Iowa enacted its residence law, police lost track of 400 offenders who gave fake addresses or moved without telling police, compared with 140 the year before.

National sex offender registry

As states sign on to the federal Adam Walsh Act of 2006 (they have until July 2009 to do so or lose federal money), sex offenders nationwide will be ranked according to the same criteria and told to register for 15 or 25 years, or for life, depending on the severity of their crimes.

Meanwhile, in 12 states, offenders must register for life, no matter how trivial the crime. In other states, offenders who insist they pose no danger to society -- those caught having sex with teens a few years younger -- say their years of registration are solely for punishment.

The mother of a Texas teen, who ended up convicted of sexual assault after a Romeo-and-Juliet romance soured, can't believe her son is lumped into the same class as dangerous child rapists.

"The effects of the lifetime sex offender status will never end," she said. "Did my son break the law? Certainly. Should he be punished? Definitely. But should his consequences be the same as those for a violent, forced rape or an offense against a young child?

"Is using a lifetime of resources to monitor someone like this a sensible use of taxpayer money?"



MA - Costs mount to support sex offender laws

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08/26/2007

Laurie Peterson, 27, was surprised to find her 30-year-old husband's photo suddenly appear on the New Hampshire online sex offender registry last fall, thanks to a new addition to the law.

But not as surprised as her neighbors when they realized their Manchester property values would drop once Michael Peterson's registry information was available online. He was convicted in 1997 - when he was 19 - of felonious sexual assault. He had sex with a 15-year-old girl at a party. He claims she told him she was 17.

"They're concerned that if they move, they won't be able to sell their properties for the full value," Peterson said of her next-door neighbors who plan to sell. "And there's also a concern - is there a duty to tell a prospective home buyer?"

A tangible connection between home prices and registered sex offenders exists, according to a Columbia University study done in North Carolina. It's one of the subtler ways that strictly regulating offenders costs ordinary Americans.

Other costs also add up: maintaining registry information, enforcing residency restrictions, litigating for or against strict residency laws. Tighter restrictions on where all these offenders can work, live and loiter aren't cheap, since offenders require a lot of surveillance. And 34 states post every adult convicted of a sex crime on their Internet registry, adding to the bill for taxpayers.

The Adam Walsh Act of 2006 created a national registry and ranked offenders, which added a $47 million federal request to the taxpayers' 2007 tally. The U.S. Marshals Service also has requested an additional $7.8 million and 54 more employees (43 of them deputy marshals) to track down sex offenders who drop off the registry, according to the budget for 2008.

So as the number of offenders on the registry rises - it has already surpassed 600,000 in 2007 compared with about 330,000 in 2000 - so will the price tag of keeping tabs on every single one.

Regulating offenders like Mike Peterson, who pose no further risk, is a waste of time and money, Laurie Peterson said. When the couple moved into their home almost five years ago, they explained his conviction to neighbors, most of whom allow their children to play with the Peterson brood. Peterson keeps her husband's police reports in her kitchen to share in case anyone wonders about the details.

Massachusetts earmarked nearly $4 million in 2007 for the Sex Offender Registry Board, which ranks and regulates some 8,000 sex offenders. Illinois spends more than a half million dollars a year, according to the 2006 and 2007 state budgets. New York has budgeted $1 million to maintain its sex offender management department, and another million to set up a GPS pilot program in Monroe, Suffolk and Rensselaer counties.

Twice a year, for example, a fat envelope arrives in Laurie Peterson's mailbox containing her husband's registration papers and a $9.31 stamp. With New Hampshire's registry reporting 3,677 offenders in June 2007, that's more than $68,000 in postage alone for offenders to check in with police.

"If the police were to actively enforce these things, there would be more costs," said Corey Rayburn Yung, a professor at John Marshall law school in Chicago who runs the Sex Crimes blog (http://sexcrimes.typepad.com).

Pennsylvania State Police dedicate 11 people to track convicted sex offenders and to ensure their information posted on the registry is up to speed.

More than 20 states now track certain offenders using GPS devices to make sure they're not going places they shouldn't. Six of those states require the ankle bracelet for life. The average cost is about $10 per offender per day, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation estimated. GPS will cost that state $88.4 million a year to supervise and monitor its offenders, according to the corrections department.

"These costs would grow to about $100 million annually after 10 years, with costs continuing to increase significantly in subsequent years," the corrections department reported. "Because the measure does not specify whether the state or local governments would be responsible for monitoring sex offenders who have been discharged from state parole supervision, it is unclear whether local governments would bear some of these long-term costs."

Massachusetts and Illinois use GPS for their most dangerous predators on parole and supervision. The Illinois system is supposed to alert police if the person enters any restricted zone.

The Florida Department of Corrections anticipates it will have to monitor almost 13,000 offenders for about 20 years, at a $46 million cost per year. Ohio, Georgia and Oklahoma also make offenders pay for their own GPS monitoring, provided they are able to do so. Realistically, the taxpayers foot the bill, Yung said.

"The way the legislature ends up doing it, offenders have to pay for their own monitoring," Yung said. "But given the financial status of most offenders, most won't afford it."

Offenders have fired back against tightening residency laws by suing, with help from the ACLU and Southern Center for Human Rights. All over the country, offenders have fought to stay in the homes they moved into before the new residency laws kicked in.

A group of nine Georgia offenders, among them men and women convicted as teens, sued the state attorney general in 2006, claiming the law allows them no way to prove they no longer pose a risk to anyone. Georgia's residency restrictions, considered among the strictest in the country because they include bus stops, prevented the offenders from finding homes and threatened to kick elderly and sickly offenders out of nursing homes.

In Oklahoma, a John Doe sold his house twice when told both times he was too close to a school and violated the state's 2,000-foot safety ring around schools and educational institutions. Only after consulting registry staff did he finally find an approved place to live. But months later, Oklahoma City Police Department told him their "new and improved" measuring techniques put his new place once again too close to a school.

Doe settled his 2006 lawsuit later the same year and was allowed to remain without fear of criminal charges.

But a lawsuit over Iowa's 2,000-foot residency law dragged on for years through three courts, with the state's highest court saying that residency laws are not further punishment. The state ACLU tried to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case, but it has not been accepted.

The more offenders whose profiles are posted online, the more home prices that will drop, according to a 2006 Columbia University study. The study, which was done in North Carolina, showed that the value of homes within a tenth of a mile area around a registered sex offender's house falls by an average of 4 percent - about $5,500. Houses outside that circle show no price decline, according to the report, which measured the timing and location of offender move-ins in making its calculations.

"Our estimates suggest that homeowners who live extremely close to a sex offender and sell their homes lose between $4,500 and $5,500, relative to the amount they would have received if the offender did not move in," the report said. "Each offender thus causes an average loss to local homeowners of $156,912. Countywide (in Mecklenburg County), the 373 offenders known to live in private residences depress property values by an estimated $59.5 million."

And a 2003 look at Montgomery County, Ohio, found a 17 percent drop in housing prices within a tenth of a mile from a sex offender's house, and other changes in price in the circle up to a third of a mile away.

But all that is cheaper than keeping offenders locked up, according to the Justice Department's Center on Sex Offender Management.

Treating a released sex offender ranges between $5,000 and $15,000 per offender per year, according to the center. And because offenders who've gone through good therapy reoffend at lower rates than those merely imprisoned, mental health treatment eliminates the need to pay for investigation, prosecution, incarceration and other victim services, according to the center.

Keeping a person behind bars costs taxpayers about $22,000 a year, the center said, and that price tag doesn't even include any therapy.



IL - Nowhere to live?

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08/26/2007

Many sex offenders spend parole in prison

SPRINGFIELD - If the criminal justice system worked like it was supposed to, sex offenders would have supervision and treatment after leaving prison and returning to an Illinois community.

Instead, sex offenders are departing prison and re-entering society with no supervision and no treatment. They must register with state and local law enforcement authorities but are otherwise free from government oversight.

"They walk out with no strings attached and, in many cases, drop into a black hole," said Cara Smith, a deputy chief of staff at the Illinois attorney general's office and chairman of the Illinois Sex Offender Management Board.

As state and local lawmakers allow fewer places for them to live, sex offenders are staying in prison through their parole terms, even after completing criminal sentences. For the sex offenders, parole becomes an extension of the prison sentence. For the rest of Illinois, the value of sex-offender supervision and treatment is neutralized.

"The best way to manage sex offenders is to supervise them in the community," said Jorge Montes, chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. "And the way this is playing out, very few of them are getting supervised. They go straight into the community because they max out (their parole time) in the (Department of Corrections)."

Roughly 540 sex offenders are serving parole in prison and are poised to depart with no supervision or treatment, according to the Prisoner Review Board. On average, sex offenders serve three to five years of parole.

Law enforcement officials are alarmed by the trend, which grew over the last two years. They say treatment is key to minimizing recidivism.

"I tried to find a place to stay. But they say, 'There's no place for you - for sex offenders,'" said Herminio Rodriguez, a Rock River Valley sex offender finishing parole in the Dixon Correctional Center.

In 2001, a Winnebago County judge sentenced Rodriguez to 13 years in prison for aggravated criminal sexual abuse for molesting a family member under the age of 13. The Prisoner Review Board approved parole in May 2006, but the Department of Corrections responded that Rodriguez had not provided "a suitable host site from which he can be supervised electronically."

Parole agents watch sex offenders when they serve parole. They help ensure the sex offenders register and comply with mandated treatment.

But when sex offenders serve parole behind bars, treatment is optional. And when they leave prison after completing parole, agents do not supervise their transition back to the community - and therefore do not watch to see that they register. If sex offenders don't register, the state may not know where they are.

The phenomenon, known as cyclical incarceration, works like this: When the sex offender is eligible for parole, the Prisoner Review Board sets terms of parole. After the sex offender submits addresses for possible homes to the Department of Corrections, the DOC says the specified homes are not suitable and tickets the sex offender for violating parole. Though the sex offender never left prison, the DOC issues a warrant for the inmate's arrest.

The review board then responds that the sex offender did not violate parole and urges the DOC to find a suitable home for the offender. The DOC again tickets the sex offender for violating parole. The cycle continues until the sex offender's parole term expires.

At that point, the sex offender is no longer the Department of Corrections' responsibility, and the department lets the sex offender go.

Rodriguez is scheduled to complete parole Aug. 16, 2008. When he and the other sex offenders return to society, chances are they won't be under state supervision.

"The question is not whether they will come out of prison. The fact is that they will," said Cara Smith, the prosecutor. "Then the question becomes: What is best for the community given that fact? Is it better to have some guy walk out the door and drop into this black hole that's growing larger and larger every day? Or is it better for him to walk out the door under the eyes and ears of a trained supervisor, with treatment and registration?"

There is no clear solution in sight. Some observers suggest rolling back restrictions on where sex offenders can live, though that's an uphill battle with legislators reluctant to take action that may be perceived as soft on crime. Others say the DOC and its parole officers must do more to find homes for sex offenders.

"If you don't like where this guy wants to live, point him to a place. Show him a place," said Charles Fasano, director of the prison and jails program at the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog.

The Prisoner Review Board's frustration with the corrections department also is apparent. In the paper exchange concerning the DOC's citations against sex offenders for not identifying suitable housing, the board in several cases said the individuals couldn't be parole violators when they had not even left prison.

The board in some cases refused to consider any more citations. In one instance, it informed the department it was "futile" to continue ticketing a particular sex offender for not identifying a proper home.

Sergio Molina, spokesman for the Department of Corrections, acknowledged that cyclical incarceration is a significant problem. He said the DOC goes out of its way to investigate and identify possible homes for sex offenders who are done with their sentences.

"What we want to do here at the agency is have them on parole for their parole period so that we can supervise them while they're in the community, make sure that they're receiving treatment and participating in all of their parole requirements, so that by the time they get off parole hopefully we have set them on the right path," he said.

Molina added that about 1,200 sex offenders are on parole, in the community, in Illinois. State and local policy makers limit the places where sex offenders may live. State law says sex offenders must live at least 500 feet from a school, for instance, and that they must stay at least 500 feet from a park where children play.

A 2005 state law, the latest in the series, precludes more than one sex offender from living at the same address. Only state-owned or operated facilities, or transitional homes licensed by the corrections department, are exempt from this one-sex-offender-per-address rule.

The law followed outcry from a Chicago neighborhood where multiple sex offenders were living in a halfway house. But critics say the restriction complicates the task of returning these criminals to society by limiting the availability of halfway houses.

"There are places which will accept former offenders, including former sex offenders, and if you eliminate that restriction you will open up those places once again," said Verlin Meinz, an assistant deputy defender at the state appellate defender's office.

The three prongs of parole for sex offenders - supervision, treatment and registration - are designed to work in combination. When there is no supervision, law enforcement officials say compliance with treatment and registration is much less likely.

"If a person is on mandatory supervised release, there are fairly strict conditions of (parole), especially for a sex offender," Meinz said.

"If the person is just being recycled and never being placed out on (parole), he or she will ultimately hit the streets without supervision of any sort, and that is by far the most dangerous situation. As bad as somebody might think that it may be to have a sex offender out on the street, it's better that the person be under supervision than under no supervision at all."