Sunday, June 29, 2008

IN - Cracking Down On Sex Offenders

View the article here

This article is misleading. It affects ALL sex offenders, period. Facebook and MySpace use the email addresses to deny and remove any and all sex offenders from their services, regardless of their crime. So this article is wrong, it affects ALL sex offenders, not just those who committed some crime against children. Watch the video at the link above, or here. Plus they say any site which may have children, so I guess that covers the entire Internet?

06/27/2008

FORT WAYNE - Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter is talking about some new consumer laws that will take effect next week.

Steve Carter highlighted three-different laws, including one that puts Indiana among the most aggressive states in terms of tracking sexual predators.

The law will prohibit sex offenders convicted of certain crimes involving children from using social networking sites, like My Space and Facebook. Sites offenders know include children.

The law also requires the offender to submit e-mail addresses and user names to the sex offender registry.

While a handful of states already require that, Indiana is the first state to restrict internet access of sexual predators.



IN - Man says registering as violent offender doesn't reflect true character

View the article here

06/29/2008

Daniel Hubinger got in the middle of a drug deal gone bad and served a lengthy prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter.

But since getting out of prison, he said he's steered clear of the drugs that got him into trouble as a younger man. He works hard, has a beautiful home in rural Porter County and is loved by his neighbors.

Hubinger admits he's lucky in that he was honest with his neighbors and they see him for the person he is now. His neighbors feel comfortable enough with him to let their children come play in his yard and raid his freezer for Popsicles.

That's why he doesn't understand why -- after about eight years of living a peaceful, law-abiding life, and with his 50th birthday on the horizon -- he's being forced to register with police and be on the Indiana Violent Offender Registry.

"I'm not the same person I was when I was a teenager and in my 20s," Hubinger said. "I'm not that guy anymore."

Hubinger and the other violent offenders, starting July 1, 2007, have been on the same watch lists that Indiana's sex offenders have been on for years. Hubinger said he supports registering sex offenders because they often relapse, but he thinks the violent offender registry "sucks."

"Obviously I'm biased because I have to do this, but I have been home for (almost) 10 years and haven't even had a speeding ticket," he said.

"How many people go off the deep end and kill their neighbor? Are you really going to (kill) again?"

Privately, police say the violent offender portion of the registry isn't as valuable as the sex offender part of the registry because violent offenders are far less likely to commit the same crime again.

The Indiana American Civil Liberties Union even has challenged the constitutionality of the violent offender registry.

Hubinger, who was convicted in Lake County in 1988 and moved to Porter County for a fresh start, said he's no more of a threat than anyone around him. He thinks the violent offender registry wastes his time -- he has to register in the county where he lives and the one where he works -- and the time of the police departments who have to maintain the data.

Hubinger said the violent offender registry could have negative consequences for some offenders who may be shunned by their neighbors and tracked down by the rough, old crowd they've been trying to avoid.



IN - Violent offenders added to online registry

View the article here

06/29/2008

They've always been living among us, but now Lake County and other state residents know where.

A year ago this coming Tuesday, Indiana began posting the names, photos and addresses of violent offenders -- those convicted of murder and voluntary manslaughter -- online in a database that already contained the names of convicted sex offenders.

It's a move that proponents hail as a means to help society protect itself by knowing the whereabouts of violent felons. But many of the offenders, most of whom already have served their court-prescribed sentences, believe the law is comparable to double jeopardy because it punishes them beyond their time in prison.
- And I feel a lot more law suits coming down the pipe. We are wasting millions of dollars on insane law suits, when all this money for these shaming registries could be put to use to help victims and work on prevention instead of shaming, humiliation and basically torture.

A Times analysis of the first year's postings shows 127 registered violent offenders residing or working in Lake County. The total does not represent sex offenders, who have been on the list since the registry's inception in 2003.

Of the violent offenders in Lake County, 90 felons have active profiles, 28 remain in custody, seven failed to register and two moved out of Indiana, state data shows.

Five convicted killers reside in Porter County.

Valparaiso police Sgt. Michael Grennes, in whose city a released murderer lives, said the registry is important because it educates residents and allows them to take whatever steps they feel are necessary to protect themselves and their children.
- Soon folks, anybody who has ever committed a crime, will be on some registry, watch and see...

"We've learned that the public will do the right thing with the information they receive," Grennes said, adding residents have not vandalized offenders' property, but rather have used the information to be cautious with the offenders. "People in general just want to have information and want to know, so this helps."
- So he is apparently not aware of all the murders, beatings, suicides and other harassment of sex offenders. See here.

But Elias Velasquez, of East Chicago, said he feels he is being convicted again.
- Oh, you are, and without due process of law. Eventually people will start checking it, and you will be denied housing, jobs, a life...

More than 20 years ago, the 44-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the 1987 shooting death of a man in a bar. He served five years in prison and was released in 1993 with good-time credit.

Velasquez said he has stayed on the right side of the law for 15 years -- volunteering his time with youth and helping north Lake County residents secure jobs with the construction company where he works.
- In today's society, it doesn't matter if your crime was 100 years ago. The public has been lied to over and over and now everyone is a victim, because the public thinks you will reoffender, and they harass, beat and may kill you. Don't take my word for it, look at the link above.

But the 2007 amendment to state law now requires Velasquez and other violent offenders to register their home and work addresses with the Sex and Violent Offenders Registry.

"It feels like harassment," he said. "It's kinda like double jeopardy. ... I'm trying to live my life. I'm not bothering anybody."

Velasquez's neighbors say they were aware of some of his past but know him only as an "outstanding person and good, loyal friend."

Cynthia Larios said Velasquez would help anyone in need.

"He's always been a good neighbor," she said. "He's always been kind and very nice. He even worked on our house."

Although it has been called the Sex and Violent Offender Registry for many years, it wasn't until a year ago that people convicted of murder and voluntary manslaughter were added to the list.

The registry allows the public to search for violent offenders by name, street address, city, county or zip code.

More than half of the county's violent offenders with active profiles live in Gary, data shows. The registry only displays the addresses of felons with active profiles.

Hammond and East Chicago are each home to a little more than 10 percent of the county's violent offenders, data shows. The rest are spread throughout the county.

Lowell resident Kay Wolotka said the violent offenders portion of the registry is unnecessary. Her husband, Jerald, is listed because of a 1998 voluntary manslaughter conviction.

"After a certain amount of time, if they prove themselves out, I think it's over," Wolotka said. "The past is the past. He did his time."
- Same should happen for sex offenders as well. If it's good for everyone else, it's good for sex offenders as well, otherwise, it's discrimination and all other criminals should be on a shaming list for life as well.



Don't Talk to the Police





Your Brain Lies to You

View the article here

As Hitler once said:

"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed."

And:

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

06/27/2008

FALSE beliefs are everywhere. Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, one poll has found. Thus it seems slightly less egregious that, according to another poll, 10 percent of us think that Senator Barack Obama, a Christian, is instead a Muslim. The Obama campaign has created a Web site to dispel misinformation. But this effort may be more difficult than it seems, thanks to the quirky way in which our brains store memories — and mislead us along the way.

The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man’s curled pinkie finger. But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned. For example, you know that the capital of California is Sacramento, but you probably don’t remember how you learned it.

This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.

With time, this misremembering only gets worse. A false statement from a noncredible source that is at first not believed can gain credibility during the months it takes to reprocess memories from short-term hippocampal storage to longer-term cortical storage. As the source is forgotten, the message and its implications gain strength. This could explain why, during the 2004 presidential campaign, it took some weeks for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Senator John Kerry to have an effect on his standing in the polls.

Even if they do not understand the neuroscience behind source amnesia, campaign strategists can exploit it to spread misinformation. They know that if their message is initially memorable, its impression will persist long after it is debunked. In repeating a falsehood, someone may back it up with an opening line like “I think I read somewhere” or even with a reference to a specific source.

In one study, a group of Stanford students was exposed repeatedly to an unsubstantiated claim taken from a Web site that Coca-Cola is an effective paint thinner. Students who read the statement five times were nearly one-third more likely than those who read it only twice to attribute it to Consumer Reports (rather than The National Enquirer, their other choice), giving it a gloss of credibility.

Adding to this innate tendency to mold information we recall is the way our brains fit facts into established mental frameworks. We tend to remember news that accords with our worldview, and discount statements that contradict it.

In another Stanford study, 48 students, half of whom said they favored capital punishment and half of whom said they opposed it, were presented with two pieces of evidence, one supporting and one contradicting the claim that capital punishment deters crime. Both groups were more convinced by the evidence that supported their initial position.

Psychologists have suggested that legends propagate by striking an emotional chord. In the same way, ideas can spread by emotional selection, rather than by their factual merits, encouraging the persistence of falsehoods about Coke — or about a presidential candidate.

Journalists and campaign workers may think they are acting to counter misinformation by pointing out that it is not true. But by repeating a false rumor, they may inadvertently make it stronger. In its concerted effort to “stop the smears,” the Obama campaign may want to keep this in mind. Rather than emphasize that Mr. Obama is not a Muslim, for instance, it may be more effective to stress that he embraced Christianity as a young man.

Consumers of news, for their part, are prone to selectively accept and remember statements that reinforce beliefs they already hold. In a replication of the study of students’ impressions of evidence about the death penalty, researchers found that even when subjects were given a specific instruction to be objective, they were still inclined to reject evidence that disagreed with their beliefs.

In the same study, however, when subjects were asked to imagine their reaction if the evidence had pointed to the opposite conclusion, they were more open-minded to information that contradicted their beliefs. Apparently, it pays for consumers of controversial news to take a moment and consider that the opposite interpretation may be true.

In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Supreme Court wrote that “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” Holmes erroneously assumed that ideas are more likely to spread if they are honest. Our brains do not naturally obey this admirable dictum, but by better understanding the mechanisms of memory perhaps we can move closer to Holmes’s ideal.

Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”



Celeb Sex Tape Scandals

Click the image to visit the site




LA - Local Officer Charged With Molestation, Aggravated Rape

View the article here

06/27/2008

Police Officer Worked In St. Helena Parish

ST. HELENA -- A local police officer was arrested on Thursday and charged with molesting a juvenile and aggravated rape.

St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Jessie Hughes was arrested as a result of a complaint of an alleged rape of a juvenile, the Louisiana State Police Department said.

Hughes was initially placed on administrative leave without pay while police investigated the claim. After the investigation, he was placed under arrest and taken to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.

Following his arrest, he was fired from the St. Helena Sheriff's Department.
- Is this all? Mighty short article. Here is another, and another with a video.



MD - Ex-officer granted probation over exposure

View the article here

Of course he was given probation, he's part of the "Good Ole' Boys" club, and rules do not apply to them. If the average citizen had done what he did, they would be in prison for a while.

06/26/2008

A former correctional officer who earlier pleaded guilty to indecent exposure was granted probation before judgment Wednesday in Frederick County District Court.

Probation before judgment is not a conviction.

Mark A. Baziuk, 31, formerly of Frederick, has complied with counseling and treatment since entering his guilty plea March 25, defense attorney Alan L. Winik said.

On Feb. 7, after his arrest in January at the Target store on Urbana Pike, Baziuk resigned from his job with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, Cpl. Jennifer Bailey said.

A Target employee called police the afternoon of Jan. 26 after seeing Baziuk exposing himself in his truck as customers walked by in the store's parking lot.

Assistant State's Attorney Kirsten N. Brown told Judge Janice Rodnick Ambrose that probation before judgment was an appropriate finding in Baziuk's case.

Baziuk, who has obtained counseling since his guilty plea, had no prior criminal record, Brown said.

He lost his job as a result of his arrest.

Baziuk, who did not speak during Wednesday's sentencing hearing, has moved out of state.

Ambrose placed Baziuk on two years of unsupervised probation and ordered him to pay $200 of a $1,000 fine, plus court costs.

She told him to continue with treatment and to have his therapist's office forward documents related to his counseling to the court.
- So why is he not on the sex offender registry for life?

She also ordered him to stay away from the Target store on Urbana Pike.



PA - Former officer waives hearing

View the article here

06/29/2008

It's been a tough few days for former Horsham police Officer Thomas Crow.

After being sentenced to probation Monday for having sex with a prostitute in his patrol car while on duty, the Hatboro man now faces a new trial on felony charges of insurance fraud and theft by deception.

Crow, 36, waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday on the charges in district court in Hatboro, sending the case against him to Montgomery County Court.

While he was a police officer, Crow fraudulently reported to Horsham police, his former department, that his Toshiba laptop and two cameras were stolen from his vehicle in 2002 while it was parked at a township shopping center, a criminal complaint said.

The laptop and the cameras, a Nikon and Panasonic video recorder, were Crow's personal property, not the police department's equipment, said Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Todd Stephens.

After filing a claim with State Farm Insurance, Crow received a $2,008 check for the items, police said.

A tip from Crow's estranged wife led Horsham police and Montgomery County detectives to begin investigating Crow.

While going through a divorce, the woman was cleaning out the home she shared with Crow and found the laptop, records said. She turned it over to authorities, and told them she'd seen Crow use the cameras after they had been reported stolen.

Stephens, who also prosecuted Crow in the prostitution case, said sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of nine to 18 months in prison if Crow is convicted.

In sentencing Crow to probation on the prostitution case Monday, Montgomery County President Judge Richard J. Hodgson considered the former policeman's commendable record as an officer and his efforts to improve his life since his arrest. These include counseling, obtaining employment, keeping up to date on child support and maintaining his relationship with his two young daughters.
- Who cares about his commendable record, he broke the law. You don't consider the commendable record of others charged with the same. So why him? Because he's a cop?

In Wednesday's case, lesser charges of receiving stolen property were dismissed because it has been too long to prosecute Crow on those misdemeanor charges.

Christopher Ruvo can be reached at 215-345-3147 or cruvo@phillyburbs.com.



CT - Registry doesn't tell whole story of sex offenders

View the article here

06/29/2008

On one end of the sex offender spectrum, there are the "Romeo and Juliet" cases.

An 18-year-old boy has consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend. Her parents force prosecution and he winds up with a statutory rape conviction and a spot on the state's Sex Offender Registry.

At the other end are the kinds of sex offenders that really keep parents up at night. Pedophiles and rapists. Convicted offenders who are way more dangerous than "Romeo" and way more likely to offend again.
- Well, there is not just two ends. Everything is not black and white. There is an in between as well. From what you are saying, it sounds like we either have young teens who made a mistake or hardcore predators and pedophiles, which is why the problem still persists, you reporters continue to say stuff which doesn't go into all the details, and thus propagates the hysteria.

Yet they all end up on the same registry and subject to the same rules and regulations imposed at the state and local levels.

But not for long.

Local lawmakers are working to overhaul the state's Sex Offender Registry and institute a three-tiered system to differentiate between the most and the least dangerous sex offenders. The overhaul addresses requirements imposed by the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. States that don't comply by July 2009 risk losing 10 percent of their criminal justice grant funding.
- And that is exactly what it is about, money. This new tier system would be good, if it was done on a case by case basis, but they are basing it on the crime committed, so many of the people who have been a low level sex offender and have not committed another crime in MANY years, will now be a tier 3, most dangerous, simply because of the crime committed. THAT IS INSANE!!!

State Rep. Michael Lawlor (Email), D-East Haven, has worked on legislation to amend the state registry laws in the past and wants to make more changes in the next legislative session starting in January.
- Why do they have to wait so darn long to fix laws that are broken? Fix the laws now, so they are constitutional and work. You are playing with peoples lives, which you seem to not care at all about.

Lawlor said Connecticut's registry is behind the curve when compared to registries in other states such as Minnesota, where residents can read not only about the kind of offense, but also the type of victim the offender prefers.
- I do not know of one single registry that shows "who they prefer!" Show me one!

One summary for a Minneapolis offender reads: "Offender has a history of sexual contact with juvenile females (age 12-13). The contact included penetration. Offender gained access to victims by 'befriending' runaways and offering them shelter."
- Why don't you just post the whole criminal record, instead of putting what you'd like it to say?

Connecticut's registry, on the other hand, lists only the charges each offender is convicted of and nothing about the victims.

Minnesota's more user-friendly list also gives the name and phone number of the offender's supervising officer, something Lawlor views as a significant tool for the public.

And the severity of the offense is key to assessing future risk, he said. The type of sex crime says a lot about the threat an offender poses to children in the community.
- No it doesn't, I think their entire history shows a better picture, not simply "a crime!"

"You've got the guys in the parking lot masturbating and then you've got guys who actually assaulted like 10 different kids," he said. "Some crimes are more serious than others."

In 2006, Lawlor helped pass legislation that established a Risk Assessment Board charged with the task of creating a scale to show a sex offender's likelihood of re-offending. The law also requires courts to provide the state with a written summary for registrants, including details about the crime and the age and sex of the victim, much like Minnesota's registry.
- And how does this "risk assessment board" determine this? Simply based on their last crime, or their history?

Lt. Sam Izzarelli, commanding officer for the Connecticut state police Sex Offender Registry, said the purpose of registries is to educate the public and arm people with information that can be used to further protect themselves and their children from harm.

But he warned that the risk assessment can be costly and time-consuming to implement. He said states like Massachusetts and New York have substantial budgets than can fund risk assessment for registries, while Connecticut does not, giving rise to concerns that backlogs in risk assessment could keep dangerous predators off the registry while their threat level is being assessed.
- In other words, we need "mo money, mo money, mo money!"

Lawlor said this year's budgetary woes have stalled plans to revamp the registry laws and implement the three-tiered system online. But he is hopeful that the state can get back on track with overhauling the registry in time for next year's deadline.
- I think the insane war has killed almost everything. So put the blame where is goes.

Another major change he'd like to see in the registry is the inclusion of people who were charged with a sexual offense but pleaded to a lesser charge or non-sex-related charge through a plea agreement in court.
- What? Why? If they were not charged with a sex crime (i.e. non-sex-related charge) then why should they be forced into these draconian issues? That is why they took a plea bargain.

He gave the example of a person charged with burglary and rape, but who gets the rape charge dropped as part of a plea bargain.
- Ok, so he got it dropped and if it was dropped, he should not be on the registry. Why don't you fix the INJUSTICE system???

"We want the ability to put someone on there if in fact they really are a sex offender," he said.
- Well, if they were not convicted of the crime, then you cannot just slap some label on them to make yourself feel better. You should've convicted them for a sex crime.

New Haven civil rights attorney John R. Williams had a one-word reaction when he learned of plans to include charges to which a defendant did not plead guilty: "Appalling."

"That is blatantly unconstitutional to say nothing about being immoral and vicious," he said. "If you've been found not guilty of a crime, you are not guilty and yet they are punishing you for it anyway."

Williams and other civil rights groups have suggested that a culture of fear is driving politicians to pass stringent anti-sex offender legislation that tends to violate the U.S. Constitution and does little to protect children.
- AMEN!!!!!!!

"It's the new McCarthyism," Williams said.

Most recently, in West Haven, the City Council attempted to pass an ordinance that would have banned registered sex offenders from going to places where children play, such as public beaches and local parks. Scores of residents came out in favor of the legislation, arguing that no restriction is too harsh to protect children in the community.
- "No restriction is too harsh!" I bet if you were living with these restrictions you'd feel otherwise. America has lost it's heart... I truly believe that...

But opponents criticized the ordinance, warning the ban violates a person's right to free movement and may isolate sex offenders, which can put them in a position to offend again.

The city ultimately delayed passage of the ordinance because of legal concerns and plans to take up the matter again after the state updates changes to its sex offender laws.

"I think it's prudent to wait to see what the state legislature does and then we can revisit our local legislation," said Police Chief Ronald M. Quagliani, who helped write West Haven's ordinance.

At least two other Connecticut towns, Danbury and Bristol, already have a "child safety zone" ordinance in place. Danbury has netted one violator of the new ordinance.

While Williams opposes ordinances that prohibit registered sex offenders from visiting public places, he supports the differentiation of offenses on the registry.

"I like the idea of having a multi-tiered system where you recognize that some people, even though they have a sex conviction, it is of a nature that they shouldn't be on there," he said.
- If it's of a nature they shouldn't be on there, then why are they on there?

Abbe Smith can be reached at asmith@nhregister.com or 789-5615.



NY - Ex-Cop Gets Probation For Sex Abuse Of 8-Year-Old

View the article here

More DOUBLE-STANDARD BULLS--T! Why do police get slapped on the wrist? It was an 8 year old kid! Oh, I almost forgot, cops to not have to obey the laws, they are above them. Were is the outrage over this?

06/28/2008

SCHENECTADY - A former Essex County police officer who admitted to having sexual relations with an 8-year-old girl has avoided any time in state prison.

Peter C. Kunath, 62, of Queensbury, pleaded guilty to first degree sexual abuse of a child in Schenectady County Court before Judge Karen Drago after admitting he had sexual contact with the child last summer at two locations in Glenville.

Drago sentenced Kunath to 40 days time served and 10 years of probation. He must also register as a sex offender. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Kunath must stay away from the girl until 2018, or when she becomes 18, or face four years in prison.

Kunath, who was arrested in March, had been an officer with the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake village police departments from the 1970s into the 80s when he left to became an EnCon officer and later an investigator with DEC from which he retired.
- So what? What does this have to do with the fact that he sexually assaulted a child and gets a slap on the wrist? If John Q. Public did this, they'd be in prison for a very long time.



VA - New Virginia laws to take effect Tuesday

View the article here

06/28/2008

RICHMOND - Several new laws that take effect Tuesday in Virginia resulted from the criminal dog fighting conviction of NFL quarterback Michael Vick and the mass shootings at Virginia Tech.

Legislators passed bills aimed at repairing gaps in the state's mental health system they say could have prevented a deranged student from killing 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech's campus on April 16, 2007. The new laws reform how the state identifies, monitors and treats the mentally ill and allow for better sharing of mental health records.

Universities also will be required to develop emergency management plans and establish threat-assessment teams to attempt to head off similar attacks.

Vick's 23-month federal prison term for dogfighting conspiracy in Surry County spurred significant changes in Virginia's animal cruelty laws.

Beginning Tuesday, attending an organized animal fight will be a felony. Officers will be allowed to perform searches in animal cruelty cases after sunset without obtaining a new warrant, and it will be a felony to use any substance or equipment to enhance an animal's ability to fight.

Cockfighting also will be outlawed and the crime was upgraded to a felony.

"On June 30, Virginia will have the second-weakest cockfighting law in the nation. On July 1, it will have the fourth strongest in the nation," said John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for the Humane Society of the United States. "That's a really significant upgrade."

The most visible changes may be new laws for drivers.

Driver's licenses issued after Tuesday will be valid for eight years instead of five. The $4 per year cost will remain the same. Those who fail a driver's license test three times will have to attend a training school before they can try again.

In an effort to decrease traffic at Department of Motor Vehicles customer services centers, drivers who renew their vehicle registration online will get a $1 discount, while those who visit a center will be charged $5 extra.

Teens who drink and drive will face harsher penalties. Those with a blood-alcohol concentration of .02--much less than the .08 at which any driver is considered intoxicated--face up to a year without a license and either a $500 fine or 50 hours of community service.

Also, any drivers that ignores a police officer's order to pull over and the officer is killed in an ensuing pursuit would face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

School bus drivers will be prohibited from using cell phones or other wireless communication devices while driving. They still can use two-way radios.

It also could become a little more difficult to spot those who can give you a ticket. Sheriffs got the go-ahead to paint their departments' vehicles colors other than brown or white. They still must have a gold, reflective star on each front door and other insignia.

Legislators also did away with some obscure laws, including one that prohibited restaurants from serving drinks that mix wine or beer with liquor. Beginning Tuesday, restaurants can serve sangria, which usually includes red wine, fruits, brandy and triple sec, without fear of prosecution.

Another law, referred to by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (Contact) as "archaic," protected men who sexually attack girls 14 to 16 from criminal charges as long as they offer to marry the victim.

Legislators closed the "marriage offer" loophole, and they also voided laws that required sexual assault victims to take a lie detector test and to agree to prosecute the attacker before the state pays for a forensic medical examination, which can cost up to $800.
- What? So much for proving someones innocence. This could have helped do just that. Now more people will wind up behind bars because of someones false accusations! Sexual assault "victims" should take a rape kit and lie detector, IMO.

Legislators also made it a crime for adults to French kiss a child younger than 13. Adults who tongue-kiss a would face up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and be required to register as a sex offender.
- I cannot even believe they have to pass a law like this, this is kind of obvious, IMO.

After years of debate, lawmakers passed reforms for the payday lending industry, but the changes don't take effect until January to allow time for the creation of a database to track the short-term loans.