Sunday, February 24, 2008

AR - Charges filed against trooper and former officer

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02/23/2008

BENTONVILLE - Prosecutors filed formal charges Friday against an Arkansas State Police trooper and a former Rogers police officer in unrelated criminal cases.

Trooper Brian Garrett, 38, is charged with aggravated assault and battery in the second degree, both class D felonies. If convicted, he could receive a sentence of up to six years on each count.

Garrett, who is a trooper assigned to the governor's mansion, was placed on administrative leave with pay, according to Bill Sadler, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police. Garrett was placed on administrative leave after his wife filed for an order of protection against her husband Dec. 11.

Mandi Garrett of Bella Vista claimed in court documents that her husband had physically abused her, and she levied an allegation that he had also been abusive toward her three children.

Garrett is accused of threatening his wife by placing the muzzle of his duty revolver against her face.

According to a probable cause affidavit completed by Mark Kugler, a detective with the Bella Vista Police Department, Mandi Garrett told police that on Nov. 15, her husband had been drinking beer and taking two prescription medications. When he started to leave the home, she told him he should not be driving and asked why he had his gun and badge, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states that Mandi Garrett claims her husband placed the muzzle of the gun against the left side of her face and replied," Just in case I need it. "

Garrett is accused of physically abusing one of his stepchildren.

In the other case, former Rogers police officer Shane Knaust is charged with sexual indecency with a child, a class D felony. Knaust is accused of engaging in sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl. Knaust resigned Jan. 19 after he was arrested.

The girl was interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County. She said Knaust was a good family friend and that he had kissed her with his tongue and tried to lift up her shirt, according to an affidavit in the case. The girl said Knaust made her kiss him a few different times and one time placed her hand on his groin area, according to court documents.

The girl's mother said one morning she found a note under her pillow, court documents state. The girl claimed in the note that Knaust was kissing her and she did not like it, the affidavit states. The girl's father and the pastor of their church met with Knaust and confronted him about the note. They told Knaust that he could not speak to the girl and that he was no longer allowed to be around other youth at the church, according to court documents.

On Friday, Benton County Sheriff's Office investigator Jeremy Felton questioned Knaust, who told the investigator he thought the girl was attractive for her age and he developed a relationship with her, court documents state. Knaust admitted to kissing the girl and touching her on the outside of her clothes, according to court documents.

Knaust's and Garrett's arraignments are scheduled for Monday in Benton County Circuit Court.



AL - Southside police officer arrested for not reporting sexual abuse of a relative

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02/23/2008

A Southside police officer was arrested Friday, charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly failing to report a sexual abuse crime.

Patrolman Brent Holloway has been on leave with pay since Tuesday, Police Chief Tim Diggs said.

Holloway, 37, was arrested by Etowah County Sheriff's Department deputies and an investigator at his home in Southside just before 6 p.m.

He is charged with second-degree hindering prosecution and failure to report child abuse, both misdemeanors.

The Southside Police Department referred the investigation to the Sheriff's Department, Diggs said, after it was discovered on Feb. 14 that Holloway failed to report that he knew about an alleged sex crime involving a relative.

The Police Department was contacted by the Barrie Center for Children after a juvenile victim was interviewed there.

In the course of the interview, it was discovered that the suspect was related to Holloway, who knew about the alleged crime, Diggs said.

The Sheriff's Department investigated and discovered that Holloway interviewed the suspect but did not report anything.

As a law enforcement officer, Holloway is required by law to report any allegations of any type of abuse that involves a child, Diggs said.

Sheriff Todd Entrekin said his department was asked to investigate.

"Handling investigations of this nature for other departments is one of the services we want to provide," Entrekin said.

Entrekin said the sexual abuse investigation is being handled by the Sheriff's Department and is ongoing.

Diggs said Holloway has been with the Police Department almost four years.



WY - Records show state paid $350,000 to settle prison suit

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02/24/2008

CHEYENNE -- The state of Wyoming paid $350,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former prison inmate who claimed he was beaten and sexually assaulted by another inmate at the state penitentiary in Rawlins.

The Wyoming Attorney General's Office and Jackson lawyer Mel Orchard, who represents the former inmate, both declined to release the payment amount, saying they had agreed to keep it confidential.

However, the State Auditor's Office turned over information about the December payment in response to a public records request filed by The Associated Press. The news agency isn't naming the inmate who filed the lawsuit because it has a policy of not naming victims of sexual assault.

Bruce Salzburg, Wyoming attorney general, said this week he could not comment on the payment because his office had agreed not to speak about it.

Orchard, however, said he believes the Wyoming Department of Corrections as well as the entire state government needs to pay attention to the message the settlement sends.

"What the state should learn from this, which I guess is something we all should learn, is that the value of human life is cheapened when we disgrace the people that are in our penitentiaries," Orchard said. "A civilization is judged by the most needy, and sometimes the most vilified members of its society."

In the federal lawsuit filed in 2006, the former inmate claimed he had warned officials at the state penitentiary in Rawlins when he arrived there in August 2004 that he had a conflict with his cousin, who was also an inmate there.

The former inmate told prison officials that he had provided information to prosecutors that had helped send his cousin to prison, the lawsuit stated. The inmate told prison officials he was afraid his cousin might try to kill him.

The lawsuit also claimed prison officials assured the inmate he would never come in contact with his cousin. However, the suit said the two men were later assigned to the same prison cell for seven months

The inmate's cousin subjected him to severe sexual, physical and psychological abuse, according to the lawsuit. Meanwhile, prison officials denied the inmate's repeated pleas for a transfer.

Orchard said he believes those who break the law belong in prison, but the state has a responsibility to treat them humanely.

"Humane treatment of them, and just like the humane treatment of prisoners we're seeing nationally with waterboarding, is an important litmus test about our civilization," Orchard said.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer oversaw operations at the Rawlins prison from 2002 until last year. That lawsuit was prompted by the 1999 beating of inmate Brad Skinner by three other inmates. The ACLU agreed last fall with the state's request to end the federal oversight.

ACLU lawyer Stephen Pevar of Connecticut handled the Skinner lawsuit in Brimmer's court.

Regarding the recent financial settlement obtained by Orchard, Pevar said: "Presumably, this amount covers damages to (the inmate), the costs incurred in the litigation, and attorneys' fees. However, I really can't comment on whether it's a fair amount, although the parties obviously thought so.

"Either way, it's a considerable sum of money, and shows what can happen when prison officials fail to take reasonable measures to protect prisoners from assault," Pevar said.

Bob Lampert, director of the Wyoming Department of Corrections, said last year that the agency had recently instituted a system for keeping track of inmate conflicts. He said the system was under development, but not implemented, at the time Orchard's client claims he was attacked at the Rawlins prison.

"The system itself gives us an additional tool to prevent people who have documented conflicts from being housed together, or being in the same area," Lampert said.

Wyoming currently houses about 644 inmates at the Rawlins prison and about 375 at a private prison in Oklahoma.

The state is building a new prison in Torrington. Officials say they plan to bring all the prisoners back to Wyoming once that prison is completed in 2010.

An investigation last fall by the Wyoming Department of Corrections into the beating of a Wyoming inmate by other inmates at the Oklahoma prison determined that Wyoming had no policies in place to track violence against inmates being housed in out-of-state prisons.

The state probe also found that the inmate beating at the Oklahoma prison was not thoroughly investigated by Corrections Corporation of America, the private company that operates it.

The Associated Press obtained the state investigative report under the state's public records law.

Steve Lindly, deputy director of the Wyoming Corrections Department, said recently that the department is now satisfied the Oklahoma prison now is meeting its obligation to ensure Wyoming inmates are protected from assault.

Orchard, however, said he believes that the investigative report is disturbing. He said it, "highlights the fact that we are still seeing lip service paid to something that is fundamental to our democracy, which is a constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment."



IA - Former corrections officer arrested on sexual abuse charges

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02/24/2008

HAWARDEN (AP) - Inappropriate text messages have led to the arrest of a former correctional officer on charges of sexual abuse involving two under age girls.

Joshua Brunsting, of Sioux City, was charged this week with third-degree sexual abuse as well as sexual exploitation of a minor.

Woodbury County Sheriff Glenn Parrett says Brunsting had worked at the Woodbury County Jail until he resigned his position on Friday.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff's Office, officers from the Hawarden Police Department and the Sioux County Sheriff's Office responded to West Sioux High School in Hawarden after a report of inappropriate text messages.

The sheriff's office says the text messages were found on a student's cell phone that were of a sexual nature.

Brunsting could face up to 17 years in prison for both charges. He would also be required to register as a sex offender if convicted.



WI - Angry Neighbors Meet About Convicted Sex Offender

Video - 11/21/2007



How To Behave On An Internet Forum



MO - Sex offender proposal isn't what will keep our kids safe

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02/24/2008

St. Charles County Council members may think a law that bans child molesters from county parks will keep kids safe, but the proposal really won't protect anyone.

Councilman Joseph McCulloch, D-5th District, modeled the bill after a similar measure passed by the Florissant City Council last month after a convicted sex offender there allegedly exposed himself to five children and two adults at the city's civic center.

The county measure, scheduled for final approval at Monday's council meeting, would allow police and park rangers to go on the offensive when they get a complaint or find a sex offender loitering in a park, McCulloch said. Nothing like that is currently on the books. A conviction would carry a a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

McCulloch's heart seems to be in the right place — and I'm certainly not supporting the activities of child molesters. Currently, 171 registered sex offenders are listed in St. Charles County, and I'd like to keep all children safe from them. But McCulloch's proposal has several problems.

The first is that this law assumes most child molesters are strangers to their victims.

If you asked people around here who they think about when they hear the words "child molester," Michael Devlin probably would come to mind. But a bigger threat is much more familiar: a family member or a trusted friend.

Child advocates say that children not only are more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know, but that abuse usually happens in their homes. Attacks by strangers are very rare, less than 5 percent of the total.

But because people such as Devlin garner banner headlines, and molesters who target relatives don't, the public and apparently the County Council have a skewed perception about who poses the bigger threat.

In addition, a 1994 Justice Department study found that only 5.3 percent of sex offenders were arrested for another sex offense within three years of being paroled from prison. The arrest rate for all other offenders is 68 percent.

Another problem with the proposed law is enforcement. Florissant reportedly is installing an electronic identification system at city parks and recreation sites to record people as they enter. If a person's name registers as an offender, police will be called, and that person will be arrested.

St. Charles County sheriff's deputies patrol 560 square miles. If the county installed a similar system here, the abuse already could have taken place by the time a deputy got on scene.

The county's proposal, however, doesn't call for anything quite that elaborate or expensive. McCulloch said it would require only that offenders be told about the new law when they are registering with the county. Offenders who are already registered will be sent a letter.

Does anyone really think this would stop a child molester?

What about the molesters who haven't come to the attention of authorities yet and don't have the letter? What about a sexual offender from St. Louis County who decides to take a drive over to a St. Charles County park?

This bill could end up doing more harm than good by giving parents a false sense of security. They may feel this will keep their children safe from predators at parks.

The law certainly shouldn't become a substitute for parental responsibility. When my children were small, I would never take my eyes off them when we were at a park, or anywhere else for that matter. I still never let my daughter, who's 13 now, go anywhere without asking a lot of questions. That type of vigilance shouldn't change.

Maggie Menefee, executive director of the Child Center in Wentzville, told me last week that any money being spent on the County Council's proposal would help more children if it were used for education and prevention. Her center works with children and families who have been traumatized by child abuse and violence, and educates the public on how to prevent abuse in the future.

"Educate parents on what are the indicators and signs of sexual abuse," she said. "Tell them who is most likely to be a predator. Teach them what to do if their child tells them about abuse, how to make a report, who they can turn to."

If the County Council members intend to protect more children with this law, they won't. The fact is that more children are at risk for child abuse at home then they are at a county park.



OH - Sex offender law not retroactive, Ohio Supreme Court rules

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02/21/2008

Residential restrictions do not apply to previous convictions, justices say

Columbus - Convicted sex offenders who were already living close to a school before a 2003 law barring such arrangements can stay put, says the Ohio Supreme Court.

The high court, in a 6-1 ruling on Wednesday, said a state law blocking offenders from living within 1,000 feet of school buildings cannot be applied retroactively because lawmakers didn't stipulate that when the measure was written.

The ruling means potentially hundreds of ex-offenders who committed their crimes before 2003 and were already living near a school when the law took effect won't have to move, regardless of what lawmakers intended.

It could also help settle five other Supreme Court cases - including two from Cuyahoga County - that have drawn a mixture of interpretations about the law and whether it can be applied retroactively, or is even constitutional.

Chief Justice Thomas Moyer wrote for the court's majority and blamed the confusion on the law's wording, calling it ambiguous. He said it "presents at best a suggestion of retroactivity, which is not sufficient to establish that a statute applies retroactively."

Justice Terrence O'Donnell dissented. He said the law clearly bars sex offenders, regardless of when they were convicted, from establishing or occupying a residence too close to a school. Every intent of a law does not have to be explicitly spelled out, he said.

"We have never required the General Assembly to recite talismanic phrases or magic words when expressing its intent for a statute to be applied retroactively," O'Donnell wrote.

The lawsuit, Hyle v. Porter, was brought by Gerry Porter Jr., a Cincinnati-area man twice convicted in the 1990s of sexual offenses - including having sex with a 14-year-old. He was forced from the home he had lived in since 1991.

"At the most basic level this means Mr. Porter gets to go home and live with his family," said Porter's attorney, David Singleton. "And it says the court is not afraid to scrutinize sex offender legislation to make sure it is being applied properly."

But because it did not find the law to be retroactive, it declined to take the next step and decide whether the provision is unconstitutional, as Porter contends. That leaves open the possibility for the legislature to revisit the statute.

"We are going to urge the legislature to take another look at that and address it," said Leo Jennings Jr., a spokesman for Attorney General Marc Dann, whose office argued that the law should be applied retroactively.

Singleton doubts the legislature will do that because he believes the high court would throw it out for being unconstitutional.

"I think there is a growing awareness that these provisions are just stupid, they don't protect children," Singleton said. "If we have to go back to court, I think we win."

Porter, 45, a registered offender, was forced from his Green Township, Hamilton County home in 2005 after the chief legal counsel there, Francis M. Hyle, using the law, ordered Porter out.

A Hamilton County court backed Hyle, as did the 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals. The appeals court admitted, however, that another state appeals court had ruled differently and urged the high court to rule.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: rfields@plaind.com, 1-800-228-8272



WI - Two men's DNA exonerations in '88 Austin murder reveal triumph, tragedy

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Just goes to show you, people do plead guilty for something they did not do, because they are threatened with DEATH or LIFE in prison. Almost anybody would accept a plea bargain (not really a bargain) under these circumstances. If you've not been accused of some horrible crime, then you will not understand this.

02/24/2008

In 1988, one man confessed to a murder he didn't commit - and accused an innocent friend

The question dogs Christopher Ochoa. It always will.

In 1988, Mr. Ochoa, then a naive 22-year-old, confessed to a rape and murder he didn't commit, and accused an innocent friend, Richard Danziger, of the same crime to avoid the death penalty.

The two men were sentenced to life in prison. Twelve years later, they were exonerated by DNA evidence and were among the first of a parade of people who have made Texas the national leader in acknowledging wrongful convictions. Their shocking tale still reverberates around the state Capitol, where legislators keep passing laws to fix flaws that the case revealed in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Ochoa, now 41, triumphed over his past. He is now a criminal defense attorney, having graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School – the same school that helped free him. Thanks to a multimillion-dollar civil settlement, he has set up a modest office across from the scenic Wisconsin Capitol, where he can pick and choose cases. He's planning to buy a house and get married.

"This is what I dreamed of" during years hemmed in by guards and razor wire, he says softly.

But Mr. Danziger's story is one of tragedy. Mr. Danziger, who always maintained his innocence, suffered brain damage when another inmate repeatedly kicked him in the head with steel-toed boots. He now lives under his sister's guardianship in Florida, his multimillion-dollar settlements providing medical care and personal assistance.

"Everybody involved in this case has drug himself through the desert behind a Jeep trying to figure out what happened," says Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. "It is far and away the strangest case I can remember."

The real killer came forward and is in prison. The criminal justice system has changed for the better. But many affected by the Ochoa-Danziger case say their faith in the system was permanently shaken.

"In the end, justice did prevail," says John Pray, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin. But "you look at both those [men] and you don't know what to make of it. ... One is very exhilarating, and the other is just downright depressing."

The confession

How could you do it?

It's one thing to make a false confession about yourself; it's another to implicate someone else.

Mr. Ochoa responds patiently. Being threatened with the death penalty during interrogation, the choice seemed clear: lie or die.

Shy by nature, Mr. Ochoa says, "I never liked conflict. I always wanted to make people happy."

He'd been a good student at an El Paso high school, never in trouble with the law.

He moved to Austin to make money for college, getting a job at Pizza Hut. He shared an apartment with fellow employee Richard Danziger, 18, and another restaurant worker.

In the fall of 1988, Austin was buzzing about the brutal rape and murder of 20-year-old Nancy DePriest. Early one October morning, the young wife and mother was assaulted while alone mixing dough at a different Pizza Hut. She was bound, raped and shot in the back of the head.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Danziger suggested that after work, he and Mr. Ochoa grab a beer at the restaurant where the killing occurred. "I found that strange," Mr. Ochoa says. "I just wanted to go home."

But he went along, joining Mr. Danziger in a toast to the dead woman's memory. Mr. Ochoa says he was nervous because Mr. Danziger was underage.

On their way out, Mr. Danziger chatted with a security guard about the killing.

Suspicious employees called the police.

When officers approached Mr. Ochoa two days later on a Friday at work, he assumed they were interviewing all employees. He went willingly to the police station.

"Aren't we all taught that police officers are there to protect you, if you haven't done nothing wrong?" he said. "And I hadn't done nothing wrong."

In an interview room, Mr. Ochoa says, one detective introduced himself by slamming his fist on the table and telling him he was known as el cucuy on the streets – "the boogeyman" in Spanish.

Officers asked him why he and Mr. Danziger had inquired about the robbery.

"Just curious," Mr. Ochoa responded.

"Nobody is just curious," an officer replied. "You've got to know something."

The detectives soon told him "somebody's gotta die" in such a highly publicized case.

"Police officers form a tunnel vision that they think, 'This is our guy,' " Mr. Ochoa explains with the clarity of hindsight. "They're not looking for the truth. They're just trying to find something."

Mr. Ochoa doesn't know how long he sat in the interrogation room because it was "like Vegas casinos – no clocks."

He says he asked for an attorney, but he was wrongly told he couldn't have one unless charged.

Finally, an exhausted Mr. Ochoa told them Mr. Danziger had told him about the crime. "At some point you think, 'If I just get out of here, if this will just stop, I can go talk to an attorney,' " he now says.

That night, he says, the officers took him to a motel for his safety because he'd "cooperated."

When the two officers picked him up Monday morning, Mr. Ochoa still hoped the system – a judge, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, somebody – would realize a mistake was being made.

But that morning, officers suggested he'd been the lookout. As his denials continued, so did the specter of the death penalty.

"By then, I am really mentally exhausted," Mr. Ochoa recalls. "I think back on this and sometimes it just gives me the chills."

The hours dragged on.

Through the two days of interrogation, detectives showed him autopsy pictures, pointed to the vein where the lethal injection would be administered, told him that he'd never hug his mother again and that he'd be "fresh meat to prisoners."

"I kept telling them I didn't know what they were talking about," Mr. Ochoa says.

Once, an officer threw a chair, which bounced off the wall above Mr. Ochoa's head. "That scared me even more."

When another officer offered to "bring out the typewriter and help you with your statement," Mr. Ochoa finally gave in.

His second statement was written with details about the crime apparently provided by the police – such as how the restaurant had been flooded in an effort to destroy evidence. When Mr. Ochoa got a detail wrong, he said, officers went over it with him until it fit the evidence.

That second statement said Mr. Ochoa and Mr. Danziger entered the building, tied Ms. DePriest's hands behind her back, and raped her repeatedly. Mr. Danziger shot Ms. DePriest, Mr. Ochoa said.

That statement came after two days and at least 15 hours of interrogations.

Mr. Ochoa says he knows people look at him expecting to see shame or guilt for confessing falsely. "But you know what?" he says. "In your mind, you were trying to survive."

An Austin Police Department review later found "strong indications that investigators supplied Ochoa with information," but there wasn't enough evidence to prove that the confession was coerced.

Two of the detectives could not be reached for comment. A third has since died.

Jamie Balagia, a police officer-turned-defense attorney and the brother of the deceased detective who interviewed Mr. Ochoa, frequently represents police officers. Courts have ruled that it's acceptable for officers "to yell, to scream, to threaten the death penalty," he says, "but never, ever should an officer feed not even one detail."

Michael Burnett, who represented another of the detectives in subsequent civil suits, which were settled by the city and county with no admission of wrongdoing, said some of the blame lies with Mr. Ochoa. Some also lies with the Police Department "for having an understaffed homicide department that relied too heavily on confessions."

Any mistakes were unintentional, both men say.

The plea bargain

Even after his arrest, Mr. Ochoa thought someone in the criminal justice system would realize an injustice was occurring.

He says he told his court-appointed attorney, Erik Goodman, why he'd confessed. But he says Mr. Goodman told him there was "no way an innocent person would give such a detailed statement."

Mr. Goodman declined to comment.

Mr. Ochoa says he also told a second attorney he was innocent.

That attorney, Nate Stark, says he can't recall Mr. Ochoa telling him he had falsely confessed. "That's far too long ago," he says.

But "I never believed that anyone would, No. 1, testify against another person in the compelling way he did and also testify basically against himself, unless a person's committed the crime," Mr. Stark says.

Mr. Ochoa had already confessed when Mr. Stark took the case. Mr. Stark says he performed his job as he should have.

Mr. Ochoa says he felt pressured by his attorneys to plead guilty, "probably because they believed I was guilty – but also because it was easier for them; it was less work," he says. And he admits, "They were trying to save my life."

Mr. Stark denies pressuring any client to plead.

Mr. Ochoa's mother, who believed in his innocence, also encouraged him to take a plea bargain, he says, because "they're going to kill you." When her health deteriorated, possibly from stress, Mr. Ochoa said, he finally agreed.

Four months after his confession, Mr. Ochoa took a polygraph exam as part of the plea bargain, Mr. Stark says. When the examiner reported "deception" to the question of whether Mr. Danziger had been the shooter, Mr. Ochoa changed his confession yet again: He identified himself as the killer.

Mr. Ochoa was offered a life sentence if he testified at Mr. Danziger's trial for aggravated sexual assault. "It was a really hard decision," he says.

He took it.

The trial

Chris Ochoa was a meek, mild-mannered young man. Richard Danziger was an angry one.

Mr. Danziger is the youngest of four in a military family. His world collapsed when his parents waged a nasty divorce, says his sister, Barbara Oakley.

Ms. Oakley declined an interview on her brother's behalf. He "doesn't talk to the media," she explains. "He finds them just as much at fault as he does Chris."

Mr. Danziger dropped out of high school in Beeville but earned a GED. His criminal record was short: five years' probation for forging a $55 check from his mother.

She pressed charges because "she was trying to prove a point to him," Ms. Oakley says. "I think it just made him angrier."

That anger probably kept him from caving in when questioned about the murder. "He was more angry than Chris was," Ms. Oakley says. "More defiant, less willing to give in to authority."

But with the naiveté of youth, Mr. Danziger didn't seem overly concerned when charged. His attitude was, "I didn't do it, so don't worry about it," Ms. Oakley says.

He told police he was asleep with his girlfriend at the time of the murder.

Ms. Oakley, who is five years older, knew her brother wasn't capable of that kind of violence. "You figure the system is going to work," she says.

It didn't.

When the state's star witness took the stand to lie about his friend, press accounts, largely from the Austin American-Statesman, painted Mr. Ochoa's testimony as riveting. According to reports about trial testimony, he concocted an elaborate, excruciating tale:

Mr. Danziger planned the robbery, because he needed cash.

Mr. Danziger told Ms. DePriest "to shut up and give him the money." He pointed the gun at her, hit her, pulled off her pants and blouse and made her lie down.

Mr. Ochoa tied Ms. DePriest's hands with her bra and Mr. Danziger raped her. "He got me to sit down on her shoulders. ... She was kicking. He told her not to move or he'd blow her away."

Then Mr. Danziger told him, "It's your turn now. ... You're going to have fun with her, too."

"She was scared, she was crying. She was asking for help. ... Mr. Danziger said, 'You kill her.' ... I pulled the trigger." Then, he said the two men raped her again.

In contrast, when Mr. Danziger took the stand – wearing a bulletproof vest because of death threats – he was "flat, no passion there," says Judge Bob Perkins, who presided over the trial.

"I just thought, 'Man, this guy is a coldblooded killer.' "

Mr. Danziger simply told jurors he didn't know why Mr. Ochoa and other witnesses were lying.

In about three hours, jurors returned a guilty verdict; they took less than eight minutes to sentence Mr. Danziger to life in prison.

Days later, Mr. Ochoa received the life sentence he expected.

Life in prison

After his conviction, Mr. Danziger's letters home were mostly about working out. The mind-numbing monotony of daily prison life didn't have much chance to sink in because, about a year after he was sentenced, "he got hurt," Ms. Oakley says.

"Hurt" doesn't begin to describe what happened to Mr. Danziger, who, while watching TV, was attacked from behind by another inmate in a case of mistaken identity. The inmate kicked him in the head repeatedly with steel-toed boots.

He survived brain surgery, but he wasn't the same cocky young man. Part of his brain had been removed, leaving him subject to seizures, impairing his mobility, causing memory lapses and slurred speech.

Back in prison, Mr. Danziger found coping difficult. Sometimes he fell out of his bunk, once fracturing his skull. At other times he would get lost, and guards would find him crying in a corner. Sometimes he refused to shower because he was afraid of other inmates. If he didn't take his medication, he suffered from depression and hallucinations.

In December 1991, Mr. Danziger cut his wrist. Other suicide attempts followed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ochoa learned to survive prison life. He was warned to be ready to fight, but it only happened once. "Then they respect you and you settle down," he says.

His low point came in December 1996. For years, he'd marked the weddings, births and job promotions of old friends through his hometown newspaper.

"A man usually looks at life when he's 30 and [asks] ... 'What have you done? Where are you at? How successful are you?' " he says. "I was a failure but not through fault of my own."

When Christmas Eve came and went without a card from his family, Mr. Ochoa says, he broke open a razor and planned to kill himself. A cut across the wrist is "a cry for help," he explains dispassionately. "Up [the arm] will do it."

But he remembered Catholic nuns telling him no one had the right to take a life, including his own.

"I dropped the blade in the toilet water, and the rest of the night I just cried," he says.

Despite his circumstances, Mr. Ochoa managed to make a life in prison. He renewed his faith, joined a prison choir and earned an associate's degree.

Today, no prison mementos decorate his law office. But a large, framed picture of an eagle in flight – a gift from law school friends – dominates one wall.

"When I was in prison, I would think how nice it would be to be an eagle," Mr. Ochoa says softly, "to be able to go wherever I wanted."

The real killer

Mr. Danziger and Mr. Ochoa were not the only inmates struggling because of the DePriest murder. So was Achim Josef Marino. But Mr. Marino wrestled with guilt.

That morning in 1988, Mr. Marino, an assistant manager at a flower shop, posed as a soda machine repairman. He talked his way into the Pizza Hut, bound Ms. DePriest's arms with handcuffs, raped her and shot her in the head as she knelt beside a sink.

Ms. DePriest was selected at random, Mr. Marino says. The killing was part of a satanic ritual, as well as an effort "to get back at society."

Mr. Marino says he showed symptoms of mental illness – torturing animals, destroying property, assaulting others – from an early age. He's been in and out of the legal system for decades.

In an interview at the South Texas prison where he's serving multiple life sentences, Mr. Marino, who has thick black glasses and the pasty complexion of someone who rarely sees the sun, was articulate and quick. But he's no criminal mastermind.

Still, no one ever suspected him in the DePriest killing.

Shortly after the murder, he was arrested in El Paso for carrying a weapon, which is illegal for ex-felons. The gun was the one used to kill Ms. DePriest, but no connection was made.

A couple of years later, Mr. Marino landed in the Travis County Jail. He received two life sentences for robbery and three more 10-year sentences for sexual assault, possession of a firearm and retaliation.

While in jail, another inmate told him about the confession in the DePriest killing.

"That's impossible," he says he replied. "I know the person who did that."

In prison, he joined Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous and embraced Christianity. Both groups and his new faith mandated that he "make amends to the persons you have hurt in the past."

Prison conversions aren't unusual, but they don't always last. Mr. Marino says he "decided to make a real conversion, not a shallow one."

In 1996, he wrote to Austin police and the American-Statesman, confessing to the DePriest rape and murder. "Chris and Richard needed to get out of prison," he says. "They didn't belong here."

"I don't like innocent people being hurt," he says, in spite of what he did to Ms. DePriest.

In his letter, Mr. Marino told police where to find the bank bag and handcuffs used in the attack. Authorities collected the evidence – but inexplicably did nothing else.

Two years later, the Travis County district attorney received a letter.

"I do not know these men nor why they plead guilty to a crime they never committed. I can only assume that they must have been facing a capital murder trial with a poor chance of acquittal," Mr. Marino wrote. "But I tell you this sir, I did this awful crime and I was alone."

Mr. Marino surmises Mr. Ochoa confessed after aggressive questioning. He's never met Mr. Ochoa but believes "he was very weak and not very assertive."

The district attorney's office interviewed Mr. Ochoa in prison. Without mentioning Mr. Marino's name, new investigators asked Mr. Ochoa about a third party to the crime.

Mr. Ochoa told them there was none. "I did this crime," he reiterated. "I did it, and let me do my time."

Mr. Ochoa says he stuck to his confession because acknowledgement of your crime helps at parole reviews. He says he also feared that remaining evidence might be destroyed if police realized they'd made a mistake. "I just wanted them to think I'm guilty" while getting help from outside the system.

In June 1999, he contacted the Innocence Project at the University of Wisconsin. Most requests for assistance are rejected because evidence often isn't available, co-director John Pray says. But in Mr. Ochoa's case, DNA was available.

False confessions are "a leading cause of wrongful convictions," Mr. Pray says. "We also knew that the reason that Chris gave was the death penalty. ... In Texas, it's not an idle threat. ... I can see how you confess to try to save your own life."

After the Innocence Project located the DNA evidence, the district attorney's office tested the material. About then, Mr. Ochoa's lawyers learned that someone else had confessed to the crime.

In September 2000, Mr. Ochoa was notified that DNA tests excluded him and Mr. Danziger. But they included Mr. Marino.

Mr. Ochoa was confused.

"Who's Marino?" he asked.

Authorities eventually sifted through all the evidence and conflicting stories, and in January 2001, Mr. Ochoa walked out of a courtroom and into the arms of his mother.

"She was happy," Mr. Ochoa remembers. "She was crying. She wouldn't let go of me."

Danziger's life

Richard Danziger's mother was not there to watch her son walk free a few weeks later. His release took longer because officials had to find a place for Mr. Danziger to stay until guardianship could be arranged. His mother had died three months earlier.

"What happened to you was horribly wrong," Judge Perkins told Mr. Danziger, according to the American-Statesman. "I can't say it enough, but we are sorry for what happened to you."

Mr. Danziger, who recovered more than anyone expected, said he didn't want "to be an object of pity."

When asked about Mr. Ochoa, he told reporters that he was "a pretty stupid dude."

Mr. Ochoa soon met with him and his sister to "make peace."

"Richard wouldn't talk to him," Ms. Oakley says. "Richard was in the room but he wouldn't acknowledge him."

Today, Mr. Danziger "has the best quality of life that he's capable of having," Ms. Oakley says. He can't drive and suffers from short-term memory loss. He may leave the stove on or forget to take his medication.

Mr. Danziger now lives a few blocks away from her, where he has a staff to look after him. That was made possible by civil lawsuit settlements – $9 million from the city of Austin, $950,000 from Travis County and $500,000 from Mr. Ochoa. A suit against the state is pending.

The money pays for not only medical care but for the video games he enjoys. Sometimes Mr. Danziger visits a friend at the Skyview prison in Rusk, Texas.

"Most of the staff there knows him," Ms. Oakley says. "They go out of their way to be polite to him. But when he goes to the bathroom, he still goes to the guards to ask permission. It makes me mad."

Ms. Oakley would like to thank Mr. Marino for his role in releasing her brother.

Despite the likelihood that he'll die in prison because of his confession, Mr. Marino says, he doesn't regret it. "No, I was deep in the faith," he says.

He's never heard from either Mr. Ochoa or Mr. Danziger.

Mr. Ochoa has no desire to contact him.

"I'm not a fan," he says. "He still took a life. And it was because of him ... me and Danziger lost our freedom."

Ochoa's life

As soon as Mr. Ochoa regained his freedom, he got an inkling of how the outside world had changed when a student handed him a cellphone. "I'm like, 'Whoa, this is cool. I'm talking on this little thing without a cord," he remembers.

The thrills kept coming – quiet moments at church; a steak instead of prison 'meat substitute'; a trip to Wal-Mart, where he marveled at the merchandise; his first new pair of pants with pockets and a belt.

"In prison, you don't have pockets," law professor John Pray says. "That was a moment of amazing joy."

After Mr. Ochoa's release, the only place he felt comfortable was in the company of lawyers, so he applied to the University of Wisconsin Law School.

His settlement money paid for school and made it possible to open his practice.

Today, he enjoys a few luxuries such as his $40,000 truck, a flat-screen TV and international travel. But he occasionally flashes back to his days behind bars. If he's pulled over for a traffic violation, he gets nervous. And walking into a police station makes him uncomfortable.

Gradually, with therapy, he's put those prison years behind him.

He'll always be an exoneree, he says. "But I want to be respected as an attorney first. ... I want to do more."

Practicing criminal law with his unique perspective is one way to do that, he says. He also speaks about his experience, about how false confessions occur, and makes occasional appearances with Nancy DePriest's mother, now a friend, in opposition to the death penalty.

Everyone agrees the person most wronged was Mr. Danziger.

"What happened to Richard Danziger is a crime," Judge Perkins says. He blames the injustice primarily on police officers who crossed the line by feeding details to Mr. Ochoa to fit the evidence, and partially to Mr. Ochoa, who made the confession.

The system "worked ultimately," Judge Perkins says, "but it took way too long."

Mr. Danziger's sister is disappointed in the system that failed her brother, but is not angry at Mr. Ochoa.

She says she understands Mr. Ochoa feared for his life, but "it's not right to lie and destroy somebody else's life."

Still, Ms. Oakley is glad Mr. Ochoa has done well after exoneration, becoming a criminal defense lawyer. "Maybe Chris can help somebody else," she says, "to where they're not in the same situation him and Richard were."

Mr. Balagia, the brother of one of the detectives, says Mr. Ochoa bears some responsibility for the lost years. "If Ochoa had just said, 'Screw you, get your needle,' he couldn't have been convicted," he says.

Mr. Ochoa says the police are to blame, but he's reflected on how much responsibility he bears. "I used to wrestle with it," he says. "Two percent? Three percent? That's logical, right?"



They Don't Care About Us

This video says volumes, but, what he was accused of doesn't help much, but, I am still posting it here, it's still relevant!



Lyrics:
Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, aggravation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Bang bang, shot dead
Everybody's gone mad

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
Will me, thrill me
You can never kill me
Jew me, sue me
Everybody do me
Kick me, kick me
Don't you black or white me

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Tell me what has become of my life
I have a wife and two children who love me
I am the victim of police brutality, now
I'm tired of bein' the victim of hate
You're rapin' me of my pride
Oh, for God's sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy...
Set me free

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
trepidation, speculation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
black man, black male
Throw your brother in jail

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I'm tired of bein' the victim of shame
They're throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can't believe this is the land from which I came
You know I do really hate to say it
The government don't wanna see
But if Roosevelt was livin'
He wouldn't let this be, no, no

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, speculation
Everybody litigation
Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Some things in life they just don't wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin'
He wouldn't let this be

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, segregation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Kick me, strike me
Don't you wrong or right me

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us



CT - Strangers among us: Local sex offender issue an emotional flash point

View the article here

Go to the above site to see the video that is available.

02/24/2008

The Sunday News-Times takes an in-depth look at Connecticut's sex offender registry and its impact.

Melanie Danyliw stood firmly as she recited the staggering numbers.

"Ninety-five percent of children who are victims of sex crimes know the perpetrator," said Danyliw, director of education and training for the Women's Center of Greater Danbury. "They're people they trust."

The issue of sex offenders has become an emotional flash point for local residents, with more than 100 registered sex offenders living in the Greater Danbury area.

Some towns have chosen to tackle the issue with their own ordinances. Other towns are considering similar steps.

Why is there such anger toward sex offenders? Why is there a registry for sex offenders, but not murderers, bank robbers or other criminals?
- Good question!

"Recidivism," said Danbury Assistant State's Attorney Dave Shannon. "Sex offenders are very often repeat offenders. But I also think it's the nature of the victims. In many of these cases, the victims are children."
- That is a total lie. The Bureau of Justice and many more studies show that sex offenders are LESS LIKELY to reoffend compared to other criminals. You can view these studies at my wiki or here. So if other criminals are more likely to reoffend, why do they not have to live with similar restrictions (i.e. punishment)?

In a 1997 study partly commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, child molesters had a 52 percent recidivism rate over a 25-year period. The same study concluded that rapists had a 39 percent recidivism rate over 25 years.
- This is an total lie. Where is that study? Check out the above links I provided which show a recidivism rate of 5% or less.

According to a 2006 study released by Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, however, convicted sex offenders had the lowest recidivism rates of any criminal category.

The study tracked 9,501 inmates who were released from the Connecticut Department of Correction in 2000. After crunching the numbers, researchers found the recidivism rate for sex offenders was 22 percent.
- So is this a 2006 or 2000 study? You mention two different years here. So which is it. And where is the link to this so called study which shows a 22% rate?

By comparison, the recidivism rate for property offenses, including burglary, was 45 percent. The recidivism rates for drug and weapon offenses, meanwhile, were 36 percent and 41 percent, respectively.
- So where are these studies? It's easy to throw around some numbers. I personally believe drug recidivism is way on up near the 90% rate... You ever read the book "How to lie with statistics?" Sounds like you have.

To Shannon and others, though, there is something inherently disturbing about crimes against children, regardless of the statistics.
- Ok, so you are talking about crimes against children here, not sex crimes. So what about DUI offenders who kill tons of children and adults per year? Or gang members who initiate children into their gangs or murder them? Or drug dealers who sell your kids the drugs that will kill them? Or cigarettes and alcohol sales? Huh?

The Connecticut Sex Offender Registry, which is not limited to perpetrators of sexual offenses against children, is one resource people can use to protect themselves against a convicted sex offender.
- If you know a true sexual predator is living near by, how is a registry going to protect you if they are intent on committing another crime? Do you think knowing they are there, and that they are on a registry, that they will suddenly obey the law? You are fooling yourself, and need to wake up from your candy-coated dream!

The state database also includes convictions for possessing child pornography, kidnapping, solicitation, indecent exposure and violent crimes against women, including rape, sodomy and sexual assault.
- What about prostitution? Prostitutes and Johns? Then we'd know of all the politicians and others who are hiring these women for sex. That is why those are not listed, because then the politicians would be shamed.

All it takes is a few minutes and a few clicks on the registry's Web site, and residents can find the sex offenders in their community.
- Ok, so lets assume you have 10 sex offenders in your neighborhood, and lets assume all of them are predators. What are you going to do? Nothing will protect you from them if they decided to commit another crime, nothing. And are you going to live in your house all the time in constant fear? Come on! The world has always been and will be a dangerous place, period. No matter how many laws you pass it will not prevent a murderer from murdering and drug dealer from selling drugs, etc..

At least, the ones who are registered.
- Yeah, so the unknown sex offenders who have not been caught or are not registered are the ones to be worried about, and that could be your husband, wife, uncle, neighbor, etc. I'd rather not know who lives next to me, because if I did, I'd be scared of them until they moved, and nobody should live like that, so I'd rather not know. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and the media and politicians are fear-mongers who are using it to help eradicate everyones rights, yours will be next.

The computer has also become the weapon of choice for many sexual predators.

"We have seen an increase in people using the Internet to attempt to have sexual contact with underage girls," Shannon said.
- So is this other teens or adults? Nobody seems to want to answer that question. Plus, many recent studies show this is blown out of proportion as well. Just look through my blog which has links to other articles about this hysteria.

Overall, the number of registered sex offenders in local municipalities varies wildly, from zero in Bridgewater to 47 in Danbury.

It's important to remember, Danyliw pointed out, that the sex offender registry is only one tool.

"The people you see on the registry are just the tip of the iceberg," Danyliw warned. "Unfortunately, the public often doesn't see it as one tool.
- Notice the "tip of the iceberg" scare tactic?

"You can't think, 'As long as I know who the sex offenders are in my town and my neighborhood - and I keep my family away from them - I'll be OK.' It's just not true," she said.
- Correct, no matter who lives near you, or where you move, you are always in danger of some one harming you, it's called "The facts of life!"

According to Danyliw, only 16 percent of sex crimes are ever reported to police. And only a fraction of those - single-digit percentages, she said - ever end up with a conviction.
- Where is she getting this info from? Thin air? Anybody can through out statistics to further their agenda. Where are the FACTS???

Danyliw compared the sex offender registry to the growing trend toward GPS ankle bracelets and the call for a driver's license designation for convicted sex offenders.

"It makes the public feel safe," Danyliw said. "But it really doesn't do much to reduce your risk."

Two local municipalities - Danbury and New Milford - already have sex offender ordinances on the books. However, the effectiveness of these ordinances remains to be seen.

In Danbury, for example, city officials are still trying to give their ordinance teeth.

The Rev. P.J. Leopold has seen the heartache of sex crimes up close.

Before Leopold became head of the Association of Religious Communities (ARC) in Danbury, she was a local pastor in New York City.

"I remember someone coming to an altar call I had once and asking me to pray for someone in their family who had been involved in this kind of situation," Leopold said.

"In my experience, the offense always seemed to come from within the immediate nuclear or extended family," she went on. "They were not complete strangers by any means."
- And all these sex offender laws are based on stranger danger, which everyone keeps telling you it's not the norm. Strangers account for 10% or less of all sex crimes.

Liz Carey is the director of ARC's domestic violence prevention program, which served over 400 clients last year.

Although Carey mostly deals with domestic violence, she said there's often an "undercurrent" of sexual abuse and sexual assault in her cases.

"I've spoken with (women) who have been victims of domestic violence in the past and they talk about being raped by their husbands and boyfriends," said Carey, adding that 85 percent of her referrals come from the courts.

Although someone convicted of sexual assault can be kept on probation for 35 years, Danyliw said, the real protection comes from due diligence.

Parents have to be advocates for their kids, she said, and they need to talk to their kids about inappropriate behavior. They need to trust their instincts because kids don't have the emotional, intellectual and physical armor to defend themselves against sexual advances, Danyliw said.
- But why? The public loves to have a scapegoat (i.e. The Government) to blame for when something happens to them. Nobody is being parents anymore. You cannot even whip your child these days without some lawsuit.

Yet sometimes parents are the abusers - and the safety net unravels in a hurry.
- No, from what you stated above, and many other studies show, it's not sometimes but most of the time..

"Unfortunately, most sex offenders are not on the registry. They're the people that you know and trust and see every day in your life," Danyliw said.
- If they have not been caught and convicted, then they are not sex offenders (yet), but, this is why the registry grows and grows every single day, it's the people in your lives who are being caught and made to register. Hell, it may be you on the registry next...

"But you still need to have that element of caution, no matter how respectable or charming a person might be," she went on. "It's a terrible way to live. But you have to protect yourself."
- In other words, do not trust anybody. Remember the old saying "DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS!!!" Well, it still applies...

Contact Brian Koonz at bkoonz@newstimes.com or at (203) 731-3411.



TX - Revised sex offender registry coming soon - Public will be able to find sex offenders' work and school addresses online.

View the article here

Great, I can see even more vigilantism coming down the pipe. We already know that people like Perverted-Justice just love to contact your neighbors and workplace, this will give them another tool in their harassment tool chest. When are you going to put ALL CRIMINAL records online so we can all see if our next door neighbor is a psychopath???

02/24/2008

The Texas Department of Public Safety plans to update its online sex offender registry this spring to let people know where offenders work or go to school.

The move is part of a site overhaul.

The registry update, which is to include conviction history and other elements in addition to employer and school information, will cost the state $1.2 million and be paid for with federal grant money, said Tom Vinger, an agency spokesman.

Anyone can go to the state's site to look up a person by name or ZIP code. The information includes physical descriptions, photos, offenses, aliases and legal status. People also can use a map to find sex offenders who live in a particular neighborhood.

When the registry is revised, sex offender records will also show complete registration histories, former addresses and conviction information in Texas and out of state.

If a sex offender has an occupational license, that will show up, too, Vinger said.

People will be able to sign up for e-mail notification when a sex offender moves into their ZIP code and when that offender's information is updated or changed.

The addition of sex offenders' employers is to comply with a 2007 state attorney general opinion that said people should have access to such information.

Other states can include sex offenders' employers in registration records, but only three do: Missouri, Maine and Alaska.

Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, all states will be required to gather employer information for sex offenders by June 2009.

The agency's revision is unrelated to the federal law, Vinger said. It was planning a rewrite when the attorney general opinion was released.

Employers' associations did not comment on the changes.

But Ruth Epstein, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Central Texas, said people's ability to find sex offenders in their workplaces or classrooms raises privacy concerns and could send offenders who are trying to get treatment into hiding.

"What happens to a criminal who can't work?" because he is being harassed, she asked. "He goes underground, and he commits more criminal activity."

Her colleague, Rebecca Bernhardt, policy development director for the ACLU, echoed those sentiments.

"The overall goal is to have less recidivism for sex offenders, but putting their employer addresses online compromises their ability to work," Bernhardt said. "Undermining their ability to keep a job is a downside for public safety."

Bernhardt said that the accuracy of such information, considering some of the problems sex offender registries have been criticized for in recent years, could be questionable.

Registries have had outdated, limited or incorrect information about some offenders.

At least one man was wrongly labeled a sex offender and feared that he would be targeted by a neighbor in Austin after an erroneous notification letter went out to his neighbors in October.

Most law enforcement agencies in Texas link to the state's database, which automatically updates daily, but Austin police used a different system to track sex offenders for years.

In 2006, the American-Statesman found that the Austin Police Department's sex offender registry had outdated information or wrong photographs for some sex offenders. In August, the local database was replaced with a link to the state agency's Web site.

Sgt. Greg Moss of the Police Department's sex offender apprehension and registration unit said the department decided to link directly to the agency's site to give the public more current information.

"It just didn't update as quickly," Moss said of the police-run Web site. "We also took it down to reduce the impression of inaccuracies."

The department did not have an estimate of the number of visitors to its registry.

At least 5 million unique visitors go to the criminal history section of the state's database each month, most to the sex offender portion, Vinger said. This year, top

tenreviews.com, a Web site that reviews online registries, listed the state agency's sex offender registry as the fourth-best in the nation.



MA - OPINION: Let juries decide who’s dangerous

View the article here

Short answer, YES!!!

02/23/2008

QUINCY - The headline on Friday’s front page of our paper asked is the “Judicial system for sex offenders broken?”

You can take away the question mark because recent events have shown that, indeed, the system to keep the state’s most dangerous sexual deviants away from the public is failing and needs fast and sure repair.
- It's because they are lumping all sex offenders into one group, the worse case, and treating them all as if they killed some child. They are not all the same, and the politicians need to stop being hard-headed and listen to the experts who have told them over and over that these laws will not work, yet the politicians think they know better than some expert who has 20 or more years in the field. Plus, nobody has the balls to stand up for the Constitution anymore, for fear of looking like they are soft on crime. If this is how this injustice system is going to work from now on, THIS COUNTRY IS DOOMED!!!

Many are focusing their ire on Superior Court Judge Richard Moses, whose decision that neither David Flavell nor Corey Saunders were sexually dangerous put them back on the streets where they allegedly have re-offended.

Flavell, a registered Level 3 sex offender, is charged with peering at a woman in a Border’s bathroom stall in Braintree while Saunders, also a Level 3, is charged with raping a 6-year-old boy in a New Bedford library.
- And again, yes there is some people who should be locked up for awhile, but you cannot compare all sex offenders to the like of John Couey or someone else who has killed a child. A majority of all sex offenders are NOT dangerous, yet they treat them all as if they are. They is like calling all white people murderers because some KKK member decided to kill someone they hated. Same thing is being done here. It's discrimination plain and simple.

But Moses, who should be held accountable for his lapses in judgment, is a symptom and not the problem. He is merely a pawn in an effort by sex offenders and their lawyers and experts, usually hired with taxpayers dollars, to shop for judges they deem most sympathetic and likely to rule in their favor.

When the state Legislature resurrected the Sexually Dangerous Persons statute in 1999 as part of the creation of the Sex Offender Registry Board, the law stipulated the district attorney who convicted the offender be notified 90 days before a sex offender was slated to be released.
- Again, this title "Sexually Dangerous Persons" assumes all sex offenders are dangerous, and that is not the case.

The two-level civil process would start with a probable cause hearing on the district attorney’s motion then proceed to either a jury trial or bench trial, whichever the offender chose. The district attorney has no say.
- We must also present FACTS to the public, or else the jury will be biased, due to false facts being spewed in the media and by politicians, which we all know, after being said over and over, eventually people take it as the truth. They should be based on FACTS and not MYTHS, which they are now.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, a longtime prosecutor at both the state and federal level, has filed a bill to change that. He cites some startling numbers from his district that shows since 1999 when a judge is asked to determine dangerousness, only 60 percent are ruled dangerous whereas when a jury decides, it’s nearly 70 percent.
- It's because the jury is brainwashed by the media and people who do not cite facts, but statistics they pull out of thin air. And Hitler said, if you repeat a lie often and loud enough, eventually the people will believe it, and that is what is occurring here.

Every defendant should have the right to due process and when we talk about sex offenders who have already served their sentences and are then looking at a civil commitment that could be for the rest of their lives, the reasonable doubt standard is imperative.
- Just uphold the Constitution!!!!

But reasonable doubt is not the same as no doubt and it should be a panel of citizens who determine that, not a single jurist swayed by hired guns.
- And where are you going to find these people? The media and politicians have spread lies so much that everyone believes them now, so sex offenders, as soon as someone hears sex offender, they are immediately biased, period...

All defendants rights should be inviolate. But so should the public’s. We cannot allow the scales to be tipped so heavy in one’s side favor that someone who is clearly a danger when loose is allowed to manipulate the system to their advantage.



FL - Jessie's Ride draws hundreds

View the article here

See the photos at the end of this article. They claim they do not condone vigilante violence or breaking the law, but the pictures do not say the same thing...

This is actually kind of funny. Last year Mark had over 3000 bikers and this year about 200. Hmm, wonder why? Maybe they are seeing him for who he really is for a change? Seems to me like he's losing his support.. Also check out this video. At the end, there is a women being led away for simply questioning Mark Lunsford. And another video here.


02/23/2008

NEW PORT RICHEY - The day started out stormy, but the weather cleared up just in time for Jessie's Ride from New Port Richey to Homosassa.

Despite the drizzle, hundreds of bikers turned out for the event, buying hats and souvenirs in remembrance of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. The rally and ride were a way to educate the community about child predators and to raise money for a Citrus County children's advocacy center that will be called "Jessie's Place".

"It will provide a sort of one-stop-shop for child abuse victims," explained Sheriff Jeff Dawsy.

Nine-year-old Jessica was abducted and killed by a sexual predator on February 24th, 2005. Since then, her father's been on a crusade to change the law, and change children's lives through the Jessica Lunsford Foundation.

Mark Lunsford had no comment on his negligence lawsuit, which alleges the Citrus County Sheriff's Office bungled the investigation into Jessica's disappearance.

"That doesn't have anything to do with the ride," Lunsford said. "Nobody's here for that. We're here today because we have a problem with our kids being molested here in the state of Florida."

The Jessica Lunsford Foundation has helped organize these types of rides across the country, and bikers always turn out in support. Saturday's police-escorted run ended with a rally at a Harley Davidson dealership in Homosassa.

Mark Lunsford and the Citrus County Sheriff both emphasized this event was all about the kids. And that means supporting the Children's Advocacy Center, a place where innocent victims can feel safe, in memory of Jessica Lunsford.

"I went up to Mark, shook his hand and said, hopefully we'll make a lot of money today," Sheriff Dawsy said.

Citrus County is one of a few counties in the area that doesn't have a children's advocacy center. The sheriff's office is trying to raise money to build the center. They hope today's ride will become an annual fundraiser.



Also check out this blog for more on these people

The photo he had on his MySpace page at one time



So if this isn't condoning violence, what is? What would they say if this had a noose and you replaced "pedophile" with "black man" or something else?



And he clearly doesn't understand this bible verse. This is explained here.



And this is basically a threat!