Showing posts with label DNA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DNA. Show all posts

Saturday, March 8, 2014

MI - Officer (Deon Nunlee) on 911 call charged with sexual assault

Deon Nunlee
Deon Nunlee
Original Article


By Gina Damron

DETROIT - The woman sought help from police after reportedly being assaulted by her boyfriend.

But while police responded to the domestic violence call, one of the officers took the 31-year-old woman into an upstairs bedroom and sexually assaulted her, authorities said.

Detroit police Officer Deon Nunlee has been charged in the Oct. 30 alleged assault. Police said DNA connected Nunlee, who has been on the force since 2008, to the assault.

"I'm troubled," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a news conference Friday. "Certainly, this is the type of criminal misconduct that should never happen by any member of this department or any department for that matter."

Nunlee, 40, has been charged with three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count each of assault with intent to penetrate and misconduct in office, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

Prosecutors said Nunlee and his partner were dispatched early on Oct. 30 to a domestic violence run where the woman said she had been assaulted by her boyfriend.

According to the prosecutor's office, Nunlee took the woman upstairs and his partner stayed with the boyfriend downstairs.

"It is alleged that when Nunlee was in an upstairs bedroom with the woman he sexually assaulted her," according to the prosecutor's office. "When officer left the house the woman reported the crime to two friends and the next day reported it to the police."

According to the prosecutor's office, Nunlee was arraigned Friday in a Detroit courtroom.

Craig called the incident is an "embarrassment." He said the incident is not a reflection of the department.

"The majority of police officers go to work each and every day ... and do their jobs with integrity," he said.

Commander Johnny Thomas of the department's professional standards bureau said Nunlee was placed on administrative duties after the woman reported the assault. On. Feb. 10, after results from the rape kit came back, Nunlee was suspended without pay.

He said Nunlee has been with the department since 2008 and previously had minor misconducts.

Nunlee is the third Detroit officer in recent days to face charges:
  • On Wednesday Officer Johnny Ray Bridges, 47, was charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, domestic violence and reckless discharge of a firearm in connection with the assault of a 31-year-old woman Monday. He has been suspended without pay, Craig said.
  • Officer Dana Bond, 41, is facing misdemeanor charges of high blood alcohol content, failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident and failure to stop at the scene of an accident with property damage. She is accused of driving while intoxicated and getting into an accident on Sunday. Bond was already suspended without pay at the time of the accident because she is facing retail fraud charges, accused of stealing wine from stores in Detroit.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

PA - Third Pennsylvania Judge Rules Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Unconstitutional

Original Article


By Tara Murtha

Under current Pennsylvania law, juvenile sex offenders have to comply with lifetime registration requirements. But this month, a third Pennsylvania judge ruled that law unconstitutional, setting the stage for the issue to be addressed by the state supreme court.

Judges from York, Monroe, and Lancaster counties have now all written opinions stating that the law fails to take juveniles’ greater capacity for reform into account. As Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Judge David R. Workman wrote in his opinion earlier this month:

Statistics demonstrate that juvenile sex offenders have lower recidivism rates than adult sex offenders. This is due, in part, to the fact that juveniles sexually offend for different reasons than adults. For instance, juveniles lack maturity and impulse control, behaviors which lead to the original offense, but which will not exist once the juvenile reaches adulthood. … During adolescence a juvenile’s brain is amenable to substantial change and develops considerably in areas associated with reasoning and emotion … As a result recidivism rates for juveniles are low and strikingly less than that for adults.

The registration rules for juveniles are the same as they are for adults: For initial registration, they must submit photographs, DNA samples, and fingerprints, along with information verifying all physical details such as hair style, hair color, tattoos, and piercings, as well as descriptions of what car they drive, any family cars they may occasionally drive, the names of schools attended broken down by classroom location, employer’s addresses, and Internet monikers. Following initial registration, they must appear in-person at a pre-approved registration site every 90 days to re-confirm this information and be photographed again. If anything changes, such a new hairstyle, job, or car, they must report the change in-person within three days.

And like adult offenders, juveniles who fall out of compliance are subject to mandatory incarceration for three to five years, with no opportunity to provide a defense.

Aside from the fact that the onerous and expensive system has not been proven effective at making children safer and has been mandated by the federal government, it is very possibly unconstitutional, as the three county-level judges in the state have ruled.

The York County judge cited the work of Dr. Michael Caldwell of the University of Wisconsin, co-author of “An Examination of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as Applied to Juveniles: Evaluating the Ability to Predict Sexual Recidivism” and an expert in juvenile justice issues, as evidence of the disparity in recidivism rates.

From the York County opinion:

In what Dr. Caldwell describes as “the most extensive” research study to date, a meta-study of over sixty-three studies and over 11,200 children “found an average sexual recidivism rate of 7.09% over an average 5-year follow-up.” These rates are compared with a 13% recidivism rate for adults who commit sexual offenses.

Authors of a Human Rights Watch report point out that the concept of sex offender registration relies on the notion that children must be most protected from strangers. They note that 93 percent of sexually abused children are assaulted by family members, close friends, or acquaintances, according to the justice department.

Juvenile assailants are sometimes acting out a cycle of abuse.

Many of the kids that we represent were sexually abused themselves and were acting out based on what was done to them,” says Riya Saha Shah, attorney at Philadelphia’s Juvenile Justice Center, the organization representing youth on the registry. “Or it was inappropriate sexual contact between siblings. Some of these kids [are] intellectually disabled. It’s not like that stranger rape or adult-predator child molester situation that you may think of when you think of adults on the sex offender registry.”

For particularly heinous crimes, a juvenile age 14 and older who commits crimes that would be felonies if an adult, or use a weapon in the course of a rape, can be tried in court as an adult in Pennsylvania.

The law requiring registration, known as the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (SORNA), has only been in effect since 2012. Like states across the country, Pennsylvania passed SORNA in order to comply with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2006. States must comply with the act or risk losing federal funding for “essential criminal justice services,” including pre-trial diversion projects for non-violent offenders.

More than 100 Pennsylvania juveniles have been put onto the registry since the law went into effect, according to Shah. Most of them committed acts prior to the law’s implementation, but were forced onto the registry after the law was passed.

The stated goal of SORNA is that “registered sex offenders will perceive that the authorities’ knowledge of their identities, locations, and past offenses reduces the chances that they can avoid detection and apprehension if they reoffend, and this perception may help to discourage them from engaging in further criminal conduct.”

The Human Rights Watch report argues that the real psychological effect on young registrants was profound isolation.

From the report:

They are stigmatized, isolated, often depressed. Many consider suicide, and some succeed. They and their families have experienced harassment and physical violence. They are sometimes shot at, beaten, even murdered; many are repeatedly threatened with violence. Some young people have to post signs stating “sex offender lives here” in the windows of their homes; others have to carry drivers’ licenses with “sex offender” printed on them in bright orange capital letters. Youth sex offenders on the registry are sometimes denied access to education because residency restriction laws prevent them from being in or near a school.

Shah told RH Reality Check that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is scheduled to address the state’s appeal of the York County ruling, the first of the three, in late March, though it could be postponed if the state also appeals the Lancaster and Monroe County rulings and the cases are consolidated.

Meanwhile, Shah is hearing anecdotal reports that district attorneys and judges reluctant to place kids on lifetime registry are avoiding doing so by offering pleas to non-SORNA offenses or downgrading charges—for example, charging a juvenile for indecent assault, as opposed to aggravated sexual assault.

That still provides them with the necessary treatment and supervision, but it removes that huge imposition and punishment of the registry,” said Shah.

If the state supreme court rules SORNA unconstitutional, then Pennsylvania will no longer be subject to financial penalties for non-compliance. The other states with SORNA legislation are Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.

Many states haven’t passed a SORNA law because the cost of implementation is higher than the penalty for non-compliance.

See Also:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

IA - Police pleased by expansion of DNA requirement

Original Article

If DNA is so good and helping solve crime and freeing innocent people, then how come they do not take DNA from birth and also force everybody else to submit a sample even if they've not committed a crime?



SIOUX CITY - As forensic investigation techniques get more advanced, police investigators are finding them ever more useful in solving crimes. A new law set to take effect in Iowa later this year could help law enforcement officers even more.

Beginning July 1, offenders convicted of most aggravated misdemeanors in Iowa's courts will be required to submit a DNA sample. Current law requires felony convicts as well as sexually violent predators and sex offenders to submit DNA samples.

When he signed the bill into law in May, Gov. Terry Branstad said it will help police solve crimes and possibly exonerate suspects who have been falsely accused.

The Sioux City Journal reports, he'll get no arguments from law enforcement.

"It's going to definitely aid in getting people involved in crimes off the street. I think it's going to be a big help for us solving crimes," said Sgt. Pat Breyfogle, an investigator in the Sioux City Police Department's crimes against persons unit.

Juveniles will be exempt from the new requirement. Aggravated misdemeanors related to gambling, hazardous waste, agriculture productions and many traffic offenses also will be exempt from the DNA submission.

Breyfogle said common aggravated misdemeanors are assaults and burglaries. Burglaries can be hard to solve, but it's not uncommon to find DNA evidence at the scene: a cigarette butt or blood on broken glass.

Zac Chwirka, Sioux City Police identification and property supervisor, said the law will expand the statewide DNA database and improve chances that DNA collected at a crime scene will match someone already on file. Other state labs can tap into Iowa's database, which is helpful when dealing with Sioux City crime suspects who live in Nebraska or South Dakota.

"This is just a very crucial tool for law enforcement to try to identify suspects," Chwirka said.

That DNA database can help solve crimes from long ago, Chwirka said. He remembers a Sioux City robbery and rape case from around 2000 in which police obtained DNA evidence of the perpetrator, but had no matches. The suspect was later sentenced for an unrelated felony, and when he gave a DNA sample in prison, the database matched him to the rape case.

"This is a huge tool for us to solve current and past crimes," Chwirka said.

The new law goes too far, some say. Rita Bettis, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said the law expands DNA collections from cases that have a rational relationship to DNA — sex-related crime and other felonies — to lower-level, nonviolent offenses.

"The rationale that it will solve more cases is absurd when applied to these types of cases," Bettis said. "Under that rationale, the state could collect DNA from everyone at birth and store it long after their deaths. The government's interest in solving crimes must be balanced with the people's fundamental freedoms."

"We think it's invasive and unnecessary."

Breyfogle dismissed concerns about expanding the DNA database to include those convicted of less-serious offenses.

"It's really no different than having your fingerprints on file," he said.

Collecting those additional samples shouldn't be a problem, said Steve Scholl, director of corrections in Iowa's 3rd Judicial District. Most offenders convicted of aggravated misdemeanors likely will be placed on probation rather than sentenced to prison, so probation officers will collect their samples.

Scholl said it will take a little extra time for a probation officer to swab an offender, then seal and send the sample to the crime lab, but it won't lead to any extra expenses in his budget.

Woodbury County Attorney Patrick Jennings said he hoped the new law could act as a deterrent as well as help gain convictions. DNA evidence can be extremely helpful to convince juries, but it's also not necessary if the case's other facts are strong.

"Depending on the facts of the particular case, the lack of forensic evidence doesn't necessarily mean the prosecutor's case is doomed," Jennings said.

For police, DNA is considered one piece of solid evidence that can make a case.

"DNA assists in a lot of cases. Frankly, there's probably a lot of cases that are brought to trial or charged because of DNA evidence," Breyfogle said.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MD - How Kirk Bloodsworth, wrongfully convicted for a crime he didn't commit, escaped death row

Death chamber
Original Article


Kirk Bloodsworth spent two years on death row and lost a decade of his life after being wrongfully convicted and jailed for a crime he didn't commit.

The former US marine had, in just eight months, gone from an average citizen with a job and new wife to being found guilty of the brutal rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl and sentenced to death.

Despite having an alibi and not matching the police sketch issued at the time, prosecutors were determined to prove he was the man who had taken the life of an innocent girl.

Dawn Hamilton was found naked from the waist down in woodland near her Maryland home in 1984 in a crime which shocked America. She had been raped, beaten and killed.

"Witnesses described someone tall, with curly hair, a bushy moustache and tanned skin," Mr Bloodsworth said.

"I had hair as red as an apple and couldn't tan."

He remembers the shock he felt when he was arrested and how he turned around to look for someone else when police said "that's him" as he was put in handcuffs.

He also remembers the anger and disbelief he found after he was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to death in Baltimore County, Maryland, the following year.

It would take almost 10 years and DNA evidence to secure his innocence and freedom.

But it wasn't until 2003 that the taunts of being a child killer finally stopped and the real offender was charged with the crime.

Speaking exclusively to from his Maryland home, Mr Bloodsworth said he can still hear the prison doors shut if he thinks hard enough and gets chills whenever he hears metal keys jiggle.

He said he tries to put it into words what he felt when he was told he was going to die, and just can't describe it.

"I guess it's like a doctor telling you you're going to die from cancer and nine years later saying 'sorry we've made a bad mistake'," he said.

The real green mile

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TN - Innocent man has record wiped clean after 31 years in prison

Wrongly accused
Original Article


By Dennis Ferrier

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - An innocent man imprisoned for 31 years, who has been trying to get his record cleared since he was released four years ago, finally got his day in court Monday and is now a man without a criminal record.

_____ had been falsely accused of rape and burglary in 1977 in Memphis.

DNA evidence showed he was never on the scene and had nothing to do with the crime, and 31 years into the sentence, the district attorney and judge released him from custody.

But getting his record wiped clean had been a much more difficult struggle.

The Memphis district attorney had _____'s record expunged on Monday.

_____ and his wife, _____, have been waiting for this day for years. It was such big news that people from Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon left work just to come and congratulate him.

"It was done in 15 seconds. Thirty-five years of wrongfully labeling this man was undone in 15 seconds. There really is a sermon there. It was very emotional. It's like a family member's been freed," said the Rev. John Hunn of Immanuel Baptist Church.

_____ attends Bible study five days a week and can now go on a mission trip with Immanuel Baptist Church that before he could only dream about.

Plus, he can now vote again.

"He has had a hard life," _____ said. "He just went through everything and then he couldn't get a job. My children think there is nothing like him. They call him 'Pops.' I never thought I'd meet anybody like him. He is just different. I like to think God saved him just for me."

_____ first walked into Immanuel Baptist Church on a Wednesday night, and things really changed after that. Hunn got him a job at Lifeway Christian Resources, everyone learned his story and witnessed his grace and, now, they see his triumph.

"You got to walk and put God in your heart. You put love in your heart, God can turn bad into good," _____ said.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IL - $6.3M settlement for man in prison 25 years for rape he didn’t commit

Wrongly accused of rape
Original Article



A man who spent 25 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit is the latest wrongfully convicted ex-prisoner to collect a multimillion settlement from the City of Chicago.

The City Council Finance Committee authorized $6,375,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Larry Gillard, alleging the police crime lab distorted evidence in his case.

Gillard, now in his 50s, was convicted of a May 1981 rape after he was identified by the victim in a photo lineup and after a crime lab analyst testified that he was among only 4.4 percent of the African-American population that could have provided the semen recovered.

A jury took less than an hour to convict him, and he was sentenced to 24 years.

A later audit of the city crime lab found it did not comply with standards, and it was shut down and its work was turned over to the State Police.

After Gillard spent decades in prison, the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago Law School took up the case. State Police DNA tests in 2009 definitively excluded Gillard and he was granted a certificate of innocence.

We basically had proof that the crime lab misrepresented the results in Larry’s case,” said his attorney Jon Loevy, of Loevy & Loevy. “If they had reported them accurately, he never would have been convicted. We also developed evidence that this was going on routinely.”

Loevy was protective of his client and gave few details of his current life. “He’s a very gullible guy. People take advantage of him easily,” Loevy said.

He’s trying to make a life. When you’re wrongfully convicted, obviously it interferes with your ability to build a career and make relationships with people. It really breaks your life, but he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances.”

Gillard knew that his settlement was in the pipeline, according to Loevy.

Nothing is going to give him back the years that he lost, he’s doing his best to live his life. But he is appreciative that the city has at least made this effort to right the injustice,” Loevy said.

In another recently settled wrongful conviction case, the City Council in September approved a $12.3 million settlement to be divided between Ronald Kitchen and a co-defendant, Marvin Reeves. They were convicted of murder after Kitchen confessed under torture by detectives under the watch of Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

PA - DNA registry would help solve crimes, police, prosecutors say

DNA databaseOriginal Article


By Melissa Daniels

DNA from criminal suspects arrested in Pennsylvania could be put into a state computer database if law enforcement interests trump privacy concerns during the upcoming legislative discussion.

The state House of Representatives is considering Senate Bill 150, which would require police to collect a DNA sample from suspects arrested for any felony and for misdemeanors requiring registration as a sex offender. The legislation has touched off a debate that pits individual privacy concerns against a desire among law enforcement officials to track potential offenders.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said his proposal would put Pennsylvania on par with more than two dozen states that have expanded their forensic DNA databases in hope of solving more crimes.

It's not a question of if, it's a question of when,” he said.

Pennsylvania collects DNA from individuals convicted of felonies.

Andy Hoover, legislative director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said Pennsylvania's proposed expansion might not withstand legal scrutiny.

It's questionable whether or not something this broad would be constitutional,” he said.

Patrick Livingston, a Pittsburgh-area criminal defense attorney with about 30 years of experience, said DNA collected upon arrest could be “jumping the gun.” No burden of proof would be required before the DNA was taken, and it could be used in court as evidence in a way that otherwise may require a warrant, he said.

It raises, in my mind, a lot of administrative headaches in the garden variety case that gets reduced or dismissed,” he said.

The Supreme Court upheld a Maryland law in June allowing pre-conviction DNA collection with a 5-4 decision.

Hoover said the Pennsylvania proposal would collect DNA for more crimes than Maryland's statute.

The Pennsylvania Senate passed the bill, 38-9, two weeks after the high court's decision. The House Judiciary Committee conducted hearings and advanced the bill to the full House.

It can really have an opportunity to prevent some really horrific, violent crimes throughout this Commonwealth, and those tools are there, and they've been deemed to be constitutional,” Bruce Beemer, a chief deputy from the attorney general's office, told the committee.

Law enforcement agencies and victim rights groups support the bill, including the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Pileggi said he wants to see the legislation on Gov. Tom Corbett's desk before the end of the fiscal year in June. But Stephen Miskin, spokesman for House Republicans, said there's no plan to put the bill up for a vote because many members oppose it on privacy concerns.

Similar legislation failed to pass the House in 2012.

Rep. Tim Krieger, R-Greensburg, was one of two votes in committee against the bill. He said he'd prefer to see the state expand DNA collection to people convicted of theft.

I'm open to look into something like that, as long as we can address both the cost issue and constitutional privacy, freedom, liberty issues,” he said.

DNA samples are processed at the Pennsylvania State Police lab in Greensburg, which also processes criminal evidence from across the state.

Beth Ann Marne, director of the forensic DNA division, said the lab in 2013 linked more than 500 DNA samples to convicted offenders and processes about 25,000 samples a year. Upon-arrest collection would add 60,000 samples a year, requiring staff and space.

Officials at the state House hearing said state police would need $6.9 million a year to hire about 30 staffers, and $29 million to build a new facility.

Pileggi said even if the state did not expand collection, it needs to upgrade its system. As a result of widespread use of DNA, the lab's staff has doubled to 50 in the past three years.

As technology changes, there needs to be an increase of resources,” he said.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

TN - Falsely convicted man seeks to clear his name

Wrongly accused of rape
Original Article


By Dennis Ferrier

LEBANON (WSMV) - A Tennessee man is fighting to clear his name after DNA evidence proved he had no part in a terrible crime.

_____ spent 31 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit.

He was released in 2009, but said a decision by the state is stopping him from getting a steady job, the right to vote and a passport to allow him to travel to do mission work.

_____'s lack of bitterness has created a legion of champions.

Despite his unfair and inaccurate felony record, he remains at peace while friends fight for his exoneration.

_____ was falsely accused of rape and burglary in 1977 in Memphis, 31 years into the sentence, the Innocence Project freed him on DNA evidence.

He wasn't there and had nothing to do with the crime. The district attorney and judge released him from custody.

No one says _____ is a convicted felon, except when a potential employer runs his background check.

The background check means he can't get a passport, he can't vote and he gets ugly looks from potential employers.

"My job now is the Lord's work and try to make everyone realize who Jesus is," said _____. "I've got peace, I mean real peace."

It's hard to get a job when you are a convicted felon who went into jail at age 22 and came out at 53.

But that peace, the loving heart of _____, cut through.

Lifeway Christian Resources hired him and put him on the cover of its employee magazine. So did a local hospital and a church.

_____ said he would like to vote. Even more he would like to go on a mission trip with Immanuel Baptist Church.

While all this is worth fighting for, _____ isn't fighting.

"God is going to put the right people in my life to help me through," said _____.

Pastor John Hunn of Immanuel Baptist is one of those right people to help _____.

He wants the governor to exonerate _____ as soon as possible because it's the right thing to do.

"He is not guilty. The state of Tennessee admitted that," said Hunn. "They need to finish that up and make it right and do right by a citizen of the state of Tennessee."

Channel 4 News asked the governor's office Friday why _____ had not been exonerated and why it had taken so much time. They advised us to call the state Probation and Parole Board.

Probation and Parole said it did not have a definitive answer.

The Department of Correction said he needs to go to the original court for an expungement order.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

If we really wanted to "protect" children and adults from crime, wouldn't it be feasible to register everyone in a database from birth?

If we really wanted to "protect" children and adults from crime, wouldn't it be feasible to register everyone in a database from birth?

Take their DNA, finger prints, and anything else that may be needed, log them into a "Big Brother" database, then stamp them on the forehead or right hand with a bar code.

Wouldn't that be nice? We could "prevent" crime and "protect" everybody?

Hell we could even embed them with a GPS device so we can track their every move and if they go missing, find them quickly.


We should also have everybody take a sexual exam every couple years to make sure they are not becoming sexual deviants!

NOTE: We are kidding, but it's coming to this really quickly!

Monday, September 16, 2013

TN - Attorney Greg Isaacs explains the state sex offender registry

Attorney General Greg Isaacs on Ask Isaacs
Attorney General Greg Isaacs
Original Article


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Attorney and 6 News legal analyst Greg Isaacs explained the state sex offender registry during this week's "Ask Isaacs" segment, and how members of the public can use it.

Those who are convicted of a sex crime are required to submit a DNA sample, fingerprints, a photograph, and to register in the county in which they reside.

"There are certain provisions which are designed to protect young children," explained Isaacs. "[Registered offenders] cannot be within a thousand feet of a daycare, a public park, a school, or a place where they have athletic events."
- And the irony of it is that if a person wanted to harm a child or adult, they could and nothing about these laws would "protect" them.  The laws are only for those who have been caught, but a vast majority of all sexual crimes are by those not caught yet, and those who have, don't often re-offend, so it's pretty much a useless law that is a false sense of security.

Those who break those rules violate their probation and commit another crime.
- Not exactly true!  Not everyone forced to register, against their will, is on probation or parole.

Isaacs also says members of the public can use the sex offender registry website or mobile app to be aware of sex offenders in your neighborhood.
- Being aware of ex-sex offenders doesn't prevent someone from committing another related or unrelated crime, if they wanted to, but the fact is, most ex-offenders do not re-offend, as we mentioned above.

"If you go on the TBI website and you punch in your zip code, they will give you the name and address, along with a picture, of every registered sex offender in your postal zone," said Isaacs.

There are ways to get off the sex offender register, according to Isaacs.

"If 10 years has passed since your conviction, and you're a non-violent offender, you can petition to be removed. Also, there's a change in the law. If you committed statutory rape before 2006, you can petition to be removed also."

Otherwise, convicted sex offenders are on the registry for life.
- This is an example of lifetime punishment when, in most cases, the punishment doesn't fit the crime which at one time was unconstitutional.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

VT - Legislative Response to Brooke Bennett’s Slaying Is Both Encouraging, Flawed

News paper and coffee
Original Article


By Mark Davis

Randolph - With his guilty plea last month, Randolph sex offender _____ is about to spend the rest of his life in prison for the 2008 rape and murder of his 12-year-old niece. The package of reforms to Vermont’s sex crime laws passed by lawmakers in the wake of Brooke Bennett’s death, however, will likely remain on the books long after _____ fades from the headlines.

The 76-page law, which passed in 2009 with bipartisan support, overhauled nearly every aspect of how Vermont investigates, punishes and monitors sex offenders and cares for their victims.

Five years after Brooke’s death, experts from a variety of fields recently told the Valley News that the law, known as Act 1 (PDF), is flawed in parts and still must be fully implemented, but has made real progress in reducing danger and preventing future crimes. While some of Act 1’s headline initiatives have stumbled, experts generally agree that the law’s greatest success has been building awareness of the dangers of sex crimes and the need to support victims.

I would say that the community’s response and the legislative and administrative response to her murder was heartening in a lot of ways,” said Sarah Kenney, associate director of public policy for the Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence. “Folks really acknowledged the reality of sexual violence in our communities, which is not generally the stranger in the bushes we think we need to protect ourselves from; it’s a family member, a party known to the victim. The response of the Legislature and our community to Brooke’s murder really acknowledged that reality, and I think it has been making a difference. There’s nothing that’s going to replace her, but it’s heartening to see some good has come.

The law included more than 30 changes that mandated training for educators and probation officers, required collaboration between government agencies, increased mandatory sentences for some crimes, and provided investigators new tools to make it easier to prosecute and monitor offenders.

Ironically, experts said, many of the attention-grabbing initiatives from Act 1 — most of which focus on the criminal justice system — have struggled to be effective. Meanwhile, overlooked pieces of the law — increased training for teachers and state workers to better understand the needs of victims of sex crimes, and mandates for agencies that deal with offenders to better communicate among agencies — may have made a bigger impact.

I’m not sure the criminal justice system is always hugely effective in deterring crime,” said Robert Sand, a former Windsor County state’s attorney. “The best deterrence occurs in strong communities with well-educated people that look out for each other. So, the idea that we are going to pass laws that eradicate this type of crime is unrealistic. Is someone who is going to offend against a child, who faces decades in jail, going to control their behavior because under a new law they are going to face even more decades in jail? The system is better geared to apprehending those people and locking them up. I don’t see how that helps stop the next person from coming down. That is more complicated than the criminal justice system can handle.

Special Investigation Units

Of the initiatives that garnered the most attention, the one that experts say holds the most promise in making Vermont safer is the bolstering of “special investigation units,” teams of investigators, victim’s advocates and prosecutors in each county that would focus specifically on investigating sex crimes.

The SIUs had been authorized by an earlier law, but in Act 1, they were given a significant funding boost and mandated to take the lead in prosecuting sex cases and be available to all Vermonters.

The teams are now working in every corner of the state, and have been credited for bringing more professionalism to investigations of sex crimes.

I think we’re getting much better investigations,” said state Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a driving force behind the reforms. “The SIUs made a huge difference.

For example, the Orange County SIU spearheaded a high-profile case in November 2012, when its investigators brought sex charges against former Oxbow Union High School gym teacher _____. The unit brought charges within four weeks of receiving the complaint, even though the alleged crime occurred years earlier and the victim had long since left the Upper Valley. _____ has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

But the launch of the SIUs hasn’t been without problems.

For starters, five years after former Gov. Jim Douglas (Wikipedia) signed Act 1, not every county has its own SIU. Grand Isle and Essex counties partner with SIUs from nearby counties.

The teams, moreover, have grown at different rates.

For example, while most teams have at least one full-time investigator, the Windsor County SIU does not have one devoted full-time investigator (Orange County has two), but rather relies on officers from several municipal departments. Addison County launched a team only last year.

The teams have also been hamstrung by heavy turnover, stalling progress of some units, according to reports filed by the Vermont state auditor in recent years. Another report, by the Vermont Center for Justice Research, cited “organizational struggles that were well documented,” in the SIUs.

Marc Metayer, SIU grants program manager, cited two factors for the constant churn: The emotional strain that working on the cases exacts on some investigators, and a culture in law enforcement that sees personnel frequently moved through units and given promotions to other duties. Moreover, some directors of SIUs have also left, forcing teams to seek fresh leadership.

In the police world there is a regular rotation that is expected,” Metayer said. “As folks move up their career ladder, they move on. And there is a personal toll that these crimes can have. Oftentimes, after a few years, folks are cycled out as a matter of course. That gets us in a loop of training people, getting them experienced, then having to do it all over again.

But, while advocates say the quality of investigations have improved, there is no evidence to suggest that convictions have increased. A January 2013 report from the Vermont Center for Justice Research said there is no evidence to suggest that the SIUs have been able to increase convictions or sentences for sex crimes. Conviction rates for child sex crimes actually dropped slightly after the creation of the SIUs, according to the report.

Max Schlueter, executive director of the Justice Research center, cautioned that the study is far from conclusive, and that it is unfair to judge the success of the SIUs only a few years after they were created, when statisticians had only several dozen cases to measure.
- And it's unfair to make and pass laws based on emotions and not facts!

I wouldn’t broad-brush it too far,” Schlueter said. “When people talk about these units as being helpful, they really provide a lot of support and services to victims that probably wouldn’t have (before). But if you’re looking if they are successful at increasing convictions or (getting) longer jail sentences, I don’t think the data is there, at least yet.

Metayer said it is too early to pass judgment on the success of the SIUs.

The short-term assessment is always going to be difficult,” Metayer said. “We’re trying to break a cycle that has been going on for generations. In order to see success, you’ll see it generations down the road. Often, offenders we are dealing with were victimized when they were younger. We have this cycle. If in 15 years, they don’t develop into offenders, then you have (succeeded). We look at is as a long-range piece.
- The facts are that most who are abused do not turn into offenders and that those who do offend don't often re-offend, based on the facts.  The SIU has nothing to do with that!

Another key initiative from Act 1 has never been launched.

The law allowed for the collection of DNA samples of people arrested on felony charges, which encompassed nearly every alleged sex crime. Prior to the law, authorities were allowed to collect DNA only from people convicted of felonies.

Advocates said the change would result in more prosecutions, by tying more evidence to potential suspects, and give investigators one more tool in keeping children safe from sex predators. But it was never implemented.

The DNA collection provision was immediately challenged by defendants across the state, who claimed it represented an unconstitutional search. The provision was set aside pending the appeal, which was argued at the Vermont Supreme Court earlier this year. Justices are expected to announce any day whether they will allow the DNA collections to proceed.

Role of Probation Officers

In the weeks after Brooke’s murder, attention focused intensely on the Department of Corrections and a probation officer’s decision to recommend that _____, a registered sex offender, be released from probation in 2004. Authorities say he committed five sex crimes prior to Brooke’s death.

When I make comments about successes in sex offender treatment, I have three names, of which _____ is one,” probation officer Richard Kearney told an Orange Superior Court judge in 2004. The department also was criticized for failing to notify a judge that _____, who was working in West Lebanon , had run afoul of sex offender registration rules in New Hampshire.
- Anybody who is intent on committing a crime, will, regardless of the number of laws and "precautions" on the books.

In response, Act 1 implemented a series of measures to aid probation officers, and to restrict their ability to advocate freeing probationers from supervision.

The measures required increased training for probation officers who supervise sex offenders and the creation of designated sex offender monitors in every probation and parole office. Each monitor’s caseload was limited to 45 offenders.

Five years later, those benchmarks have been met and have helped probation officers keep a closer eye on offenders, according to Kris Goldstein, chief of the Department of Corrections treatment program for sex offenders.

We are finding that the caseload numbers are pretty right on,” Goldstein said. “I’m not hearing any rumblings that caseloads are too high. …We have refocused our energies.

The department also has instituted a series of internal reforms mandated by Act One, Goldstein said.

For example, probation officers meet with sex offenders in prison several months before their release date, to begin planning for where the offender will live and arranging for supervision. And probation officers are working with local police and the SIUs to conduct so-called “registry sweeps” — unannounced visits with sex offenders to ensure they are complying with terms of their probation.

Separately, Goldstein said, the Parole Board is requiring that any sex offenders it releases — numbers were not available, though experts say it is only a handful a year — agree to take lie detector tests administered by probation officers, who can ask if they have violated any rules and send them back to prison if they fail the tests.
- Polygraphs are junk science!

Probation officers are also asking more of the people they supervise.

For example, the new law requires sex offenders to report in writing if they intend to live with anyone under 18. Previously, it was left to probation officers to monitor such living arrangements and step in if they were deemed unsafe.
- This is the job of the probation / parole officers, not the ex-felon.

As part of an Act 1 initiative to enhance collaboration between law enforcement and the Vermont Department for Children and Families, the paperwork is reviewed by Department for Children and Families to help ensure that vulnerable children are not at risk. If either the Department of Corrections or Department for Children and Families has concerns, the living arrangement can be vetoed.

We have an improved relationship between DOC and DCF,” Goldstein said. “It’s like any other business — you establish relationships and work in collaboration with a common goal.

Probation officers have also been restricted in their ability to deem offenders safe. Before Act 1, probation officers could recommend to a judge that a well-behaved sex offender could be released from supervision. The judge usually signed off without an additional hearing, Goldstein said.

Act 1 prohibits probation officers from coming forward with such recommendations. Now, only a defense attorney can request that a sex offender on probation be discharged from supervision, which in turn triggers a full court hearing.

We have more eyes on every individual,” Goldstein said.

New Crime, New Punishment

Two seemingly straightforward initiatives in Act 1 were designed to send sex offenders who targeted children to prison for longer terms, and to make it easier for their victims to participate in the criminal justice system.
- Longer sentences doesn't fix the problem.  Education, compassion and treating ex-offenders like human beings is what will help, but that is our non-professional opinion.

The law created a new criminal offense, aggravated sex assault against a child, which carries a mandatory 25-year minimum prison term, and barred judges from granting deferred sentences for that offense. (Previous offenses against children were charged under a variety of criminal statutes that carried lesser sentences.) Meanwhile, the law prohibited lawyers from conducting pre-trial evidence-gathering interviews, known as depositions, with juvenile victims.

The mandatory 25-year sentence has given prosecutors important leverage in negotiating plea agreements, Windsor County State’s Attorney Michael Kainen said. Prosecutors can charge defendants with the new criminal offense, and, if they are concerned about the strength of their case, negotiate for a lesser charge that still carries significant prison time, said Kainen.
- Plea agreements are also an injustice!  It's an easy way out for the injustice system.  Instead of proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt, based on real evidence, they try to get someone to take a plea after threatening them with many years in prison, and almost anybody would accept that, but you shouldn't, in our opinion, you should take it to a jury trial.

We (do) charge that often,” said Kainen, who has also served as a prosecutor in Orange County and as a House lawmaker. “It can drive plea agreements. Particularly if you have a young victim that isn’t (comfortable testifying). If you have the hammer of 25 to life, you might get a plea agreement. I have threatened that (new charge). In terms of leverage, it’s helpful.
- Exactly, they threaten the person by throwing out large numbers for prison time in order to get them to accept a plea deal and everyone can move on to the next victim of the injustice system.

_____ was charged in federal, not state court, and agreed to a plea deal that will see him serve life in prison without parole, instead of going on trial and possibly facing the death penalty. He will be formally sentenced in the coming months.

Victim’s advocates cheered the prohibition on deposing young victims, saying the repeated interviews, forcing them to relive the experience with a group of strangers, can be traumatic.

The deposition process can be incredibly re-traumatizing for victims,” said Kenney, of the Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence. “It’s the defense attorneys basically grilling the victim, and kids ought not be subjected to that.

But defense attorneys say the combination of longer mandatory minimum prison sentences and the ban on depositions of young victims may be having an unintended consequence — more sex offenders being acquitted at trial.

The argument goes like this: With the tougher penalties, defendants have less incentive to enter into plea agreements. And, without the benefit of depositions, neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys understand how well the key witness will hold up during a trial.
- More proof they want you to accept a plea deal.  Many times, from what we've read, when they cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, they try to get a plea deal.  If we were ever charged with a sex crime, we would not accept any plea deal, even if we were guilty, but that is just us!

While the limitations on depositions might alleviate stress for the complaining witness pretrial … it is likely that the limitations contribute negatively to the state’s ability to evaluate and prepare a case, and gain a conviction for those cases that go to trial,” the Vermont Defender General’s Office wrote in a 2011 report to the Legislature.

Defender General Matt Valerio said those concerns have were well-founded. “The unfortunate byproduct is that prosecutors don’t know their cases as well … and there is no incentive for a defendant to settle,” Valerio said. “That really is the result of changes to the law. A lot of times, depositions resolved the case.

The concern is difficult to verify. The Vermont Criminal Information Center has published crime statistics only through the year 2010, and the Justice Research center is studying the matter.

The Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys, in a 2011 report, said it continued to support the prohibition on depositions.

But at least one prosecutor agrees with Valerio.

I thought the ban was misguided,” Kainen said. “If the (victim) can’t get through the deposition, you ought to know that. You’re going into trials blind (and) you’re not settling the case.

Focus on Prevention

But if experts disagree about the effectiveness of stiffer sentences and the ban on depositions, they credit the law as a success in an area that is difficult to measure — bringing more attention to the danger of sexual crimes and the need to make sure children are protected.

The law had a list of provisions, requiring increased background checks for school staffers and day care providers and forcing agencies, including the Department of Corrections and the Department for Children and Families to form committees to discuss their efforts at monitoring offenders and protecting children.

Those “non-flashy” initiatives, Kainen said, have led to increased talk among officials about how to cope with the danger of sex crimes.

Sears agreed. “I see collaboration all the time,” he said. “I think it’s changed dramatically since the _____ case. I think it’s made a difference, definitely.

Representatives for the Department for Children and Families did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Today, with five years of experience with the new law but little data available, no one familiar with Act 1 was willing to deem it an unqualified success. But experts on all sides believe it undeniable that Brooke Bennett’s murder, and the legislative response, has sparked a sustained effort to prevent sex crimes.

Everyone wanted to talk about mandatory minimums and the criminal justice response, which is valuable, but it’s not going to end sexual violence,” Kenney said. “We have to focus on prevention. I have been really impressed with the way the work had been embraced by the state.

See Also:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MO - Jeffrey Dean Moreland, former Mo. police officer, found guilty of woman's murder

Jeffrey Dean Moreland
Jeffrey Dean Moreland
Original Article


By Iris Carreras

HARRISONVILLE - A former western Missouri police officer has been convicted of killing a woman who was sexually assaulted, shot in the head and left in a bathtub at her home.

CBS affiliate KCTV reports Jeffrey Dean Moreland, 54, was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action by a Cass County District jury Thursday and was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years.

Moreland was accused of killing 30-year-old Cara Jo Roberts in November 2008 at the Harrisonville home she shared with her husband and their 2-year-old son.

The Kansas City Star reports assistant county prosecutor Jamie Hunt told jurors the killing amounted to an execution.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence tied Moreland to Roberts' death as well as separate Harrisonville rape and the killing of a 75-year-old Kansas City woman. Moreland also faces charges in the other two cases.

Moreland reportedly worked as a cop in Grandview from 1984 until he retired in 2005

Friday, September 6, 2013

MO - Falsely accused Missouri man freed after 30 years in prison

Wrongly Accused
Original Article


By Lisa Benson

KSHB - A Missouri man who spent three decades in prison for rape he didn’t commit is now a free man. 49 year old [name withheld] convicted in 1984 of rape, sodomy and robbery. He was identified by the rape victim as one of the men involved in the crime. But after the Midwest Innocence Project got involved, [name withheld]’s DNA was tested and showed that he was not the perpetrator.

Mistaken eyewitness identification is one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the US,” said Laura O’Sullivan, Legal Director of the Midwest Innocence Project. Now, two other men have been linked to the attack, this time by DNA evidence.

Today I am also announcing charges against [name withheld]. Mr. [name withheld] is being charged today. For that same home invasion, gang rape, which occurred on December 16th, 1983,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

[name withheld] is in custody in Iowa. The prosecutor has not released the name of the second suspect, but she’s confident that her office has the evidence it needs to finally bring the right people to justice.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Study Finds That State Crime Labs Are Paid Per Conviction

Crime lab testing
Original Article

Doesn't surprise us one bit. It's not a "justice" system, it's an INjustice system!


By Radley Balko

I've previously written about the cognitive bias problem in state crime labs. This is the bias that can creep into the work of crime lab analysts when they report to, say, a state police agency, or the state attorney general. If they're considered part of the state's "team" -- if performance reviews and job assessments are done by police or prosecutors -- even the most honest and conscientious of analysts are at risk of cognitive bias. Hence, the countless and continuing crime lab scandals we've seen over the last couple decades. And this of course doesn't even touch on the more blatant examples of outright corruption.

In a new paper for the journal Criminal Justice Ethics, Roger Koppl and Meghan Sacks look at how the criminal justice system actually incentivizes wrongful convictions. In their section on state crime labs, they discover some astonishing new information about how many of these labs are funded.

Funding crime labs through court-assessed fees creates another channel for bias to enter crime lab analyses. In jurisdictions with this practice the crime lab receives a sum of money for each conviction of a given type. Ray Wickenheiser says, ‘‘Collection of court costs is the only stable source of funding for the Acadiana Crime Lab. $10 is received for each guilty plea or verdict from each speeding ticket, and $50 from each DWI (Driving While Impaired) and drug offense.’’

In Broward County, Florida, ‘‘Monies deposited in the Trust Fund are principally court costs assessed upon conviction of driving or boating under the influence ($50) or selling, manufacturing, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance ($100).’’

Several state statutory schemes require defendants to pay crime laboratory fees upon conviction. North Carolina General Statutes require, ‘‘[f]or the services of’’ the state or local crime lab, that judges in criminal cases assess a $600 fee to be charged ‘‘upon conviction’’ and remitted to the law enforcement agency containing the lab whenever that lab ‘‘performed DNA analysis of the crime, tests of bodily fluids of the defendant for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances, or analysis of any controlled substance possessed by the defendant or the defendant’s agent.’’

Illinois crime labs receive fees upon convictions for sex offenses, controlled substance offenses, and those involving driving under the influence. Mississippi crime labs require crime laboratory fees for various conviction types, including arson, aiding suicide, and driving while intoxicated.

Similar provisions exist in Alabama, New Mexico, Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia, and, until recently, Michigan. Other states have broadened the scope even further. Washington statutes require a $100 crime lab fee for any conviction that involves lab analysis. Kansas statutes require offenders ‘‘to pay a separate court cost of $400 for every individual offense if forensic science or laboratory services or forensic computer examination services are provided in connection with the investigation.’’
In addition to those already listed, the following states also require crime lab fees in connection with various conviction types: Arizona, California, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Think about how these fee structures play out in the day-to-day work in these labs. Every analyst knows that a test result implicating a suspect will result in a fee paid to the lab. Every result that clears a suspect means no fee. They're literally being paid to provide the analysis to win convictions. Their findings are then presented to juries as the careful, meticulous work of an objective scientist.

No wonder there have been so many scandals. I'm sure we'll continue to see more.

(Disclosure: In 2008, Koppl and I co-wrote an article for Slate on how to fix some of these problems.)

See Also:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

KS - Former Sedgwick County Jail deputy (David Kendall) to stand trial in inmate sex abuse case

David Kendall
David Kendall
Original Article


By Hurst Laviana

Former Sedgwick County detention Deputy David Kendall was bound over for trial Wednesday on charges that he raped two jail inmates last year and sexually propositioned four others.

At the close of a three-day hearing in which all six inmates testified, District Judge Joseph Bribiesca ruled that there was probable cause to believe that Kendall, 23, committed crimes ranging from aggravated sodomy to misdemeanor sexual battery.

Although the ruling means prosecutors can move forward with their case against Kendall, the hearing also produced evidence to suggest that the incident that led to the charges may have been staged by a 34-year-old former Crips gang member.

The former gang member testified Monday that Kendall entered his cell on the night of June 3, 2012, cuffed his hands behind his back, pressed what he said was a Taser against his back and raped him. After Kendall left the cell, the former gang member testified, he began kicking and screaming to let the other guards know that he had been raped. DNA evidence later showed that Kendall did have sex with the inmate that morning.

Wednesday’s testimony included statements from two inmates who said the rape victim concocted the story. One said the victim had consensual sex with Kendall that morning and then grabbed the deputy’s handcuffs and put them on.

That guard did not rape him; I know that for a fact,” inmate Chad Benoit told a sheriff’s detective shortly after the incident. “Basically it was a fabricated story.”

He said he set him up,” inmate Gregory Nicks testified, recalling a conversation he overheard the rape victim having. “He said he came into his room and they agreed to have consensual sex. … He proceeded to let Mr. Kendall have sex with him, and when he was finished, he reached down, he took his cuffs and cuffed himself up and started screaming rape.”

Defense lawyers argued throughout the hearing that after the first staged incident, the other five victims came forward with their own stories of sexual abuse in the hopes of receiving a share of millions of dollars in compensation that might be at stake. The inmates collectively have filed claims against Sedgwick County seeking more than $20 million.

Three inmates were called to the stand as defense witnesses on Wednesday, but two of them refused to cooperate.

I know too many people in the jail,” said Benoit, 38, after taking the stand. “Being in this courtroom now, I’m in extreme risk.”

After Bribiesca tried to explain to him that he had a legal obligation to testify, Benoit said he had lost his memory.

I used a lot of drugs, so I don’t remember anything,” he told Bribiesca. “I don’t know anything.”

Bribiesca then allowed defense lawyer Charlie O’Hara to introduce a statement that Benoit gave to a detective shortly after the incident. In that statement, Benoit told the detective that he had known the victim for years.

Benoit told the detective that the victim hoped to cash in on the incident through a civil lawsuit

It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out,” he told the detective.

Prosecutors C.J. Rieg pointed out that Benoit told the detective at the end of the interview, “I think the whole thing was a setup deal. That’s my opinion. I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Nicks, 33, was a more cooperative witness, but he was only able to tell about a conversation he overheard as the victim was describing the rape to another inmate.

The last inmate called to the stand, Tyrone Hudson, also tried to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

I don’t have nothing to testify on behalf of Mr. Kendall,” he told Bribiesca after taking the stand. “I plead the Fifth. I don’t want to incriminate myself.”

After meeting privately with Hudson in his office, Bribiesca ruled that Hudson did have a right to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Bribiesca also ruled that any statements that Hudson may have given to investigators were unreliable and inadmissible. He did not say why.

The state’s final witness in the hearing was detention Lt. Lasanda Linzy, who provided some details about the events of June 3, 2012.

She said jail records show Kendall went into the inmate’s cell about 3:45 a.m. on June 3 after seeing the inmate sitting on his bunk with a blanket around his neck. Thinking that the inmate was suicidal, Kendall went into the cell and was immediately attacked, Kendall said in a report he filed about the incident.

Kendall said in that report that he pushed the inmate’s hands away and managed to get a handcuff on one wrist. He said he then pushed the inmate onto his bunk and secured the second handcuff before leaving the cell and locking the door behind him. Kendall said the inmate got up and kicked the door while shouting obscenities and threatening to “nail” him.

Other deputies who responded found the inmate naked and handcuffed in his cell saying he had been raped by Kendall, Linzy said.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

CANADA - Ex-police officer (Stephen Laurence Huggett) faces new child-sex charges

Stephen Laurence Huggett
Stephen Laurence Huggett
Original Article



A retired Calgary police officer convicted of child porn charges is facing new sex allegations involving a seven-year-old girl.

The molestation incidents are alleged to have happened in the early 1990s after the man met the girl’s mother, police say.

Police began investigating in 2001, but didn’t have enough evidence to lay charges at the time, officials say.

But when allegations of sexual assault against the man’s ex-girlfriend surfaced in January, police say evidence corroborated the 1990s case.

Stephen Laurence Huggett, 59, of Calgary, is charged with invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference with a child under 14 years.

The allegations involve inappropriate sexual behaviour and touching.

He was arrested without incident Tuesday and released on bail Wednesday.

Huggett, who retired in 2007 after 25 years with the Calgary Police Service, was sentenced in August 2009 to nine months in jail after being convicted of possessing child pornography.

Police say they have hundreds of exhibits investigators are looking through, including recordings, computers and other electronic devices.

We reopened the case and recontacted the victim,” said Insp. Cliff O’Brien of the CPS major crimes unit.

We’re not done. If there’s evidence of other offences then we’ll lay more charges.” During the 1990s, Huggett was a general patrol officer.

The charges against him are serious, police say.

It doesn’t matter if you are a police officer, a retired police officer or what your occupation is. If you’ve committed these crimes then we’re going to continue to investigate,” said O’Brien. “I hope that’s a message to people that we’ll keep working on these files. We will find you and we’ll lay charges.”

The victim from the 1990s case is getting help from victims’ assistance and HomeFront, police say.

She’s getting support that way. I can’t imagine what that would be like for her,” said O’Brien.

During his earlier trial, Huggett admitted possessing 64 movies and 20 images of child pornography, which he had begun downloading and viewing while he was still an active police officer.

At the time, Huggett claimed he downloaded the images as part of his own effort to investigate child pornography.

A judge called the material “grotesque.” The images were extremely graphic with children as young as one year old, with most girls between six and 16 years.

In that case, Huggett was placed on probation for two years after his release, ordered to provide a DNA sample for the national sex-offender database, not use the Internet for anything but work or to communicate with family members, and be registered as a sex offender for 10 years.

Huggett is also facing a trial stemming from January charges of sexually assaulting a former girlfriend.

The complainant, who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Huggett that ended two years ago, told investigators Huggett forced her on six occasions to have sex against her will and put a pistol in her mouth.

He is facing a jury trial for those charges.

Huggett’s next court appearance is Aug. 29.

UK - Anger of 19-year-old from Cornwall who was wrongly accused of rape in Manchester after DNA blunder

Original Article

Diigo Post Excerpt:
A teenager who spent months behind bars wrongly accused of rape after a DNA blunder has spoken of his ‘relief, anger and disgust’ after the charge was dropped.

[name withheld], 19, was due to stand trial next month in connection with a sex attack on a woman at Plant Hill Park in Blackley.

The M.E.N. revealed yesterday how his DNA – taken in connection with a separate matter – had contaminated a sample from the victim while being processed at a laboratory run by LGC Forensics.

Mr [name withheld], from Truro in Cornwall, is now considering taking legal action – and his lawyers are calling for a public inquiry into the blunder, which could lead to other rape and murder cases being reopened.

Mr [name withheld] was arrested at his home about three weeks after the October 2 rape and brought to Manchester after the results of the compromised DNA test were sent to cops.

During interview he insisted that he had never even been to Manchester. But LGC, a company used by Greater Manchester Police to carry out scientific testing in thousands of cases a year, insisted there was a definite match.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

CO - Man wrongly convicted of rape, murder expected to get $1.2 million settlement from Colorado

Original Article


GRAND JUNCTION - A Mesa County man who inspired a new law compensating the wrongly convicted is nearing a monetary settlement with the state.

The Daily Sentinel reports that Colorado seeks to pay [name withheld] about $1.2 million. The 52-year-old was convicted of a 1994 rape and murder but was cleared by DNA evidence 17 years later. After his release, [name withheld] was living in poverty.

[name withheld]'s case inspired a new law granting exonerated former prisoners or their survivors up to $70,000 for every year wrongly spent behind bars for a felony conviction. Former convicts have to be provably innocent, not cleared on legal technicalities or appeals.

A hearing on [name withheld]'s petition is scheduled later this month.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TURKEY - Proposal for harsher laws on sex crimes ready

Original Article

Since many in Turkey are Muslims and Islam says it's okay to have sex with children, will these Muslims be arrested, put in prison, and on a sex offender registry for life?


A commission of Cabinet members has just completed a new proposal to toughen punishments for sex crimes, news reports said on Wednesday.

According to reports, if the proposal is adopted, the age of consent will be raised from 15 to 18 in statutory rape trials; the minimum sentence for the crime of sexually abusing a minor will be set at 15 years; DNA samples will be collected from registered sex offenders and pedophiles and placed in a bank to easily identify perpetrators in repeat offenses; prosecutors will be able to bring sex crime charges against suspects without an official complaint from the victim; and even if a victim withdraws his or her complaint, the trial will continue. Under current legislation, these cases are dropped when victims withdraw their complaints.

The commission that drafted the proposal is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ. Other members include Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.

Sources say Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally requested harsher punishments for sex offenders. The proposal is likely to be taken up as priority legislation when Parliament opens in October this year. Most of the drafting was done by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, reports say.

Several recent cases in the cities of Siirt and Bingöl involving the rape of minors repeatedly by many individuals -- including local officials and members of security forces, in some cases -- have caused outrage in Turkey. Courts have had to let some suspects in the cases go due to legal restrictions. Women's and children's rights groups have long been calling for tougher legislation on sex crimes. However, as the content of the draft has not yet been made public, the opinion of civil society is not yet clear.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

IA - Former Muscatine police officer (Thomas Andrew Tovar) charged with sexual assault

Thomas Andrew Tovar
Thomas Andrew Tovar
Original Article


By Jens Manuel Krogstad

A former Muscatine police officer has been arrested and charged with sexual assault, state officials said Friday.

Thomas Andrew Tovar, 46, is accused of assaulting a woman in her room at the Clarion Hotel on Feb. 13, 2013, after a car she was riding in was pulled over in an OWI traffic stop.

Sperm found on hotel bedding and the woman’s clothing matched DNA collected from Tovar, according to a court document released Friday by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

The car’s driver, David Faust, was arrested after being pulled over. Tovar drove the woman to the hotel, police said, though the woman said she doesn’t remember how she reached her room after the traffic stop. The woman said she remembers a man with uniform-like clothes consoled her while he laid himself “over the top of her,” police said. A friend, police said, later found her in the bed naked and curled in a fetal position.

Faust, the car’s driver, filed a complaint with the Muscatine police the same day of the alleged assault. A police lieutenant interviewed Faust and the woman at the hotel while Tovar waited outside. The woman identified Tovar as “the man who was on top of her in the hotel room earlier that morning,” according to the court document.

Police then searched the room and gathered the bedding and clothing worn by the woman as evidence.

Tovar is being held in the Louisa County jail.