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Yep, everyone is scared of their own shadow now, thanks to Bush and his terror propaganda.
As we wade through the post-Christmas doldrums, fear stalks the new year.
Did you see Thursday's story on the corn starch that closed State Farm? A worker at the insurance complex near Exit 12 found white powder in a dish. The authorities were called, of course, and showed up in haz-mat regalia. (I love how they accent the drab gray and green suits with day-glo gloves and booties.)
After breaking out gas masks and other protective gear that cost enough to feed Washington County for a week, they shot their laserlike substance-testing light at the powder and discovered someone had left pancake batter out.
Have you ever had this experience: You walk into your kitchen and find an unknown white powder smeared everywhere -- counter, butcher block, stovetop, floor, dog bowl, doorknob?
I have, and why I am alive today I do not know.
And at work, I have discovered in the dregs at the bottom of my coffee cup substances that would make a Homeland Security official jerk the alert level up to crimson. And yet I survived.
Ever since 9/11 and that weird anthrax thing, fear has been our fallback position. And the fear transcends even terrorism, that most unlikely of dangers, and has extended, for example, to a desire to lock up every sex offender until he withers and dies.
Our fear has a humorous side, such as when we lock down whole schools because a kid has scribbled something that might be "bom" (or is it "bum"?) in pencil on the bathroom wall. What a punishment, to disrupt their school day! (Want to stop bomb threats? Try this -- every time a kid writes something threatening on the wall, or makes a crank phone call, extend the school day to 5 p.m.)
And it is amusing when we wring our hands and call out the haz-mat aliens over "white powder." The calls do give local firefighters a chance to use the expensive toys they bought with Homeland Security cash, and they disrupt the work day as well, which might be the point.
But the trend turns bitter when we arrest teenagers who have sex with other teenagers and publicly brand them as sex offenders and yoke them for decades to onerous reporting requirements.
And it gets sickening when we set up two innocent men who happen to be Arab immigrants in a bogus money-laundering sting and tear them from their families and send them to prison, as the FBI did earlier this year with two men from Albany -- Mohammed Hossain, a pizzeria owner, and Yassin Aref, an imam. Snared in the aftermath of Sept. 11 by the hunger for scapegoats, they are now spending years in prison for doing nothing wrong.
Their case reminds us, although our neurotic response to the unknown can be funny sometimes, often our reactions are more frightening than whatever prompted them.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
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COCOA -- A yard sale featuring children's toys at a home where a convicted sex predator and his brother, who has also served time for harming a child, live has prompted outrage in the community.
For the last several months, the merchandise has been set outside a home on Green Hill Street in Cocoa where Donald Muncey lives.
Muncey was convicted nearly four years ago of molesting a girl under the age of 12, Local 6's Kimberly Houk reported.
Muncey and his brother, Steven, who also served time for a lewd and lascivious act on a girl under the age of 16, are both living with their mother in the house.
Some neighbors said they are concerned that the sale of the items in their yard is just a lure for more potential victims, Local 6 reported.
"It is scary to even see their kids up there with them to buy stuff," neighbor Jim Youngman said.
"It is not a real comforting thing knowing a kid is within so many feet of a predator like that," a resident told Houk.
Local 6 reported that Muncey is forbidden to be near children. However, neighbors said Muncey had been selling the toys in his front yard in recent weeks.
The mother of the men said a Brevard County probation officer who stopped by Friday said she is allowed to sell toys in her front yard as long as her sons stay inside.
A deputy has been driving by the home to make sure the Muncey brothers do not venture outside.
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More proof the public CANNOT handle the public registry and why it needs to be taken offline, like it was before all this fear and hysteria.
BELLINGHAM – Her father's phone number is still programmed into Eve Vasquez's cell phone. She can't bring herself to erase it. It's as if the number and the word "Dad," preserved in the phone's memory, hold out the possibility that he's still alive, as if she can dial and they can again sit by the ocean, eating ice cream to take the edge off sad and bitter memories.
Once, in a dream, she called the number. Her father answered. He told her it was a special favor from heaven: He could talk to her one last time.
It was, she says, her best dream.
A year ago, on Aug. 26, 2005, Michael Anthony Mullen, claiming to be an FBI agent, turned up at the Bellingham home shared by three convicted sex offenders. He warned the men – all of whom had served their sentences – that someone with a "hit list" was killing Level 3 sex offenders.
That hit man, as it turned out, was Mullen himself. He'd found their names and address on a sex offender registry run by police. That night, after one roommate left for his night job, Mullen fatally shot each of the remaining two in the head. Vasquez's father, Victor, was one of those two men.
At the urging of family members, Mullen turned himself in to police a week and a half later. He was convicted and sentenced to 44 years in prison. The killings, he said, were an attempt to show child molesters that they wouldn't be tolerated.
"I want them to know that there are some of us in this World that will cross any boundry (sic) & law to stop them," he wrote in a recent letter to a Spokesman-Review reporter. "This includes murder."
To Eve Vasquez, 28, those pistol shots took away more than the life of her 68-year-old father. They cut short her long-hoped-for reconciliation with him, after he'd served more than a decade in prison for sexually abusing her as a young girl. After years of anger, then silence, then cautious contacts – wary and angry on her part, apologetic on his – the two were on their way to making peace out of a brutal, scarring history.
Then along came a 6-foot-5 stranger with an address, simmering fury over his own childhood molestation, and a stolen 9 mm pistol.
"Everything that I had done to try to make myself better and get the courage to confront Dad and make it better, all that was taken from me," said Vasquez. "After years of waiting for a dad and not having any sort of stability in my life, I finally had a dad.
"And it just kind of disappeared in an instant."
Eve Vasquez grew up in the Whatcom Valley, the oldest girl of seven children of "raging hippie" parents renting a rural home near Mount Baker. Her early memories include the smell of baking bread, berry picking, gardening with her mother, and of the family's cats, turtles, dogs, frogs and a tame raccoon.
"I just kind of remember a time when it wasn't too bad," Vasquez recalled.
Victor Vasquez was a logger. One day, his daughter says, he was caught by a moving log, badly injuring his back. He got disability pay, but it didn't go far.
"We got poor. Really, really poor," she said. Her mother, she said, became emotional and angry, frequently taking the youngest children and leaving. Vasquez remembers being hungry and hearing her parents fighting. A child with dirty clothes and bedraggled hair, she'd gawk at other children in stores.
Her mother's absences increased. Her father, drunk and enraged, would beat the children. He clubbed one of her brothers, striking Vasquez when she tried to intervene.
"I looked in his eyes," she said, "and there was nothing there."
Then, about age 8, she began being sexually abused by her father.
"It was almost as if my parents had lost everything, lost the ability to take care of themselves and their kids," she recalled. "It was as if they'd forgotten right from wrong."
Vasquez tried to escape, riding her bike for miles and finally working up the courage to tell neighbors what was happening. They returned her home, warning her not to lie again.
At the insistence of local officials, the children started going to school. Worried teachers pressed them to eat.
Somehow, distant family members got word of the abuse. They invited the family to visit Arizona. Vasquez's parents piled the seven kids into an old van, sleeping in the vehicle along the way. When they arrived, they got Christmas presents. They went to church. They ate three meals a day.
"It was like this life that I didn't know existed," Vasquez said.
Then, when Vasquez's parents left briefly, her relatives locked up the home and packed off the kids. She never lived with her parents again.
The children were shuttled among aunts in California, Arizona and Utah. In the end, she and her older brother Abe were put in separate foster homes in Bellingham. At age 12, she testified against her father, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for sexual abuse. Shortly afterward, overcome by guilt, she tried to kill herself with pills.
By 14, Vasquez was living in a juvenile group home in Spokane, attending North Central High School and later University High School. She learned to drive and was taken in by Dru Powers, a foster mother in Spokane. Vasquez was heartbroken when her brother – 18, broke, depressed and terrified of becoming like his father – shot himself to death in Bellingham.
"At that point, everybody had abandoned us," she said. "Everybody."
But Powers hadn't. She cared for Vasquez, letting her dye her hair blond and be a rebellious teen. Vasquez stayed there until 17, when she was stunned to get a phone call from her mother. Guilty at having grown so close to Powers, Vasquez ran away. She lived on the streets of Spokane, asking for spare change, raiding trash bins for old bagels, stealing shoes from Value Village. She finally got a job cleaning houses, then at Starbucks, and got her mother to move to an apartment in Spokane.
By 19, Vasquez was married and pregnant. As the marriage soured, she had a second child. She says her husband was abusive and cheated on her. She became depressed, overweight, overwhelmed. At her husband's insistence, she says, she agreed to let his parents adopt their two children.
"I can't even describe losing my children because I couldn't open my mouth to these people who were judging me," she said. "That was the most horrible feeling."
Three months later, the couple broke up.
"I never really saw my ex-husband or kids again," she said. She was 22.
She started life over: a new apartment, a job at a bowling alley. She spent a summer as kitchen help and a housekeeper at a Yellowstone lodge.
Her father was nearby, it turned out, serving his final years at the prison at Airway Heights. She never visited him. When he was released, he moved to the Bellingham home, owned by one of his sex-offender roommates. Vasquez, as a victim, was notified of his release.
She decided to confront him.
His daughter found Victor Vasquez the same way his killer did: by searching the Internet for sex offenders in Bellingham. There he was – his picture, address and crimes.
She got in her Hyundai and drove west.
The next morning, fearful and mentally reviewing a self-defense class, she stood on his doorstep.
"He just kind of looked at me with tears in his eyes," she said.
She asked if he knew who she was.
"Of course I do," she recalled him saying. "How could I forget you? You're my daughter."
They ended up spending the day together, careful to stay out in public at her insistence. But within hours, she said, she was convinced her father was not the same person who'd beaten his children and sexually abused her.
"I found this human being who was suffering greatly with guilt and pain," she said. "He knew that everyone hated him."
They ended up at a beach, the same spot where she'd later hold his memorial service. She told her father her memories. He cried and repeatedly apologized.
After years of feeling that the abuse and family breakup were her fault, she said, "I just kind of started to feel human."
That was the first of about half a dozen trips from Spokane to Bellingham that Vasquez took to talk to her father. They'd talk on the phone weekly.
"He never made excuses," she said. "He never said it was because of the drinking or the drugs or because he was in the war.
"He felt he'd lost control of his life and his mind. All these kids, a wife who hated him, poverty. He just said 'I lost control. Of everything.' "
The last time she saw him was Aug. 23, 2005. It was the same as other visits: the same beach, the same ice cream.
On Aug. 27, she called. His answering machine didn't pick up. Worried, she called back that night. No answer.
In Bellingham, the third roommate had returned from work at his 3 a.m. lunch break. Walking in the open door, he saw 49-year-old Hank Eisses lying in a pool of blood. The roommate fled and called police. Police found Victor Vasquez's body nearby. In Spokane that night, Eve Vasquez's phone rang. It was her Bellingham foster mother. She asked Vasquez if she were sitting down.
Yes, she said.
"I just saw your dad's house on the news," the woman said. "There was a shooting."
Vasquez fell to the floor.
As police chased leads – a partial fingerprint on a can of Coors Light that Mullen had drunk, a letter he'd written to a local newspaper promising more sex offender deaths – Eve Vasquez put her father to rest.
"I think I was actually the main suspect for a while," she said, "like I'd found someone to kill him."
She wrote to the local paper, defending her father's memory. She planned his memorial service, attended by friends, family members and detectives on the case. A victims' aid group paid for the ceremony and cremation.
She put some of his ashes in the bay, near where they'd talked. The rest sit in an urn on her shelf, awaiting a vacation when she hopes to sprinkle his ashes at Yellowstone and other spots she loves.
Shortly after the killing, Vasquez moved to Bellingham. She volunteers at a home for indigent people with AIDS and plans to attend community college this fall. She wants a nursing degree.
Vasquez testified at Mullen's sentencing, trying to convey what he'd taken from her. She joined a 10-week grieving group, which still, months later, gets together for coffee. She still goes to weekly counseling and says she feels good. She laughs easily, although Powers, her Spokane foster mother, says she wrestles periodically with deep depression.
"For the majority of the hours of the day, she stuffs down what happened. I don't know how you could face it 24-7," Powers said. "She has a good attitude on life and wants to give everyone a chance. I think that helps her."
There's been one unexpected benefit to the publicity surrounding the slaying: Four of Vasquez's siblings, raised by an aunt in California, found her. She hasn't seen them in 15 years.
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And just like the many law suits in Ohio, I'm sure LA will be having the same issues.
Sex offenders face tougher registration requirements beginning in January.
Like other states, Louisiana has changed its laws to comply with the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, which creates standard registration and notification requirements for sex offenders.
The federal law closes gaps and loopholes, said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator. "Now every state will have the same registration requirement."
The new laws group sex offenders into three tiers, based on their offenses.
Tier One includes incest, crimes against nature, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, sexual battery of the infirm, video voyeurism, sexual battery, intentional exposure to AIDS, felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and indecent behavior with a juvenile. People convicted of those offenses must register as a sex offender for 15 years, up from the previous registration period of 10 years.
Tier Two includes sexual offenses against minors. People convicted of Tier Two offenses must register as sex offenders for 25 years, up from the previous registration period of 10 years. They also must verify their location in person, with proof of residency, every six months.
Tier Three includes all aggravated offenses. People convicted of Tier Three offenses must register as a sex offender for their entire lives. They previously were required to register for 10 years. They also must verify their residency in person with authorities every three months.
Teens age 14 or older who are convicted of an adult offense must register as sex offenders under the Tier Three requirements. The registration period for juveniles can be reduced to 25 years if they maintain a clean criminal record.
All sex offenders are required to register with the sheriff of the parish where they live, work or attend school. Beginning Jan. 1, they have three days from the time they are released from jail or move to a new parish to register.
Prator said all offenders registered with his office have received written notice of the changes. However, anyone with questions may contact the law enforcement agency where they register or their probation officer.
People in Caddo may call Lt. Greg Winget at (318) 677-5254.
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PITTSTON – This city is the latest community in the Wyoming Valley to try to regulate where sex offenders live.
Pittston City Council took a step toward doing that on Thursday night when it approved the first reading of a sex offender residency ordinance.
“We just want the sex offenders to know they are being watched under a microscope and will not have the opportunity to hurt another child again,” Councilman Joe McLean said.
- You are assuming all sex offenders have hurt a child, which is a LIE!!! Stupid statements like this mislead the public and make them also think all sex offenders have harmed children.
Sex offenders must register with the state police for at least 10 years as required by state’s Megan’s Law, but Pittston leaders wanted to put further restrictions on convicted offenders.
- Thus punishing them after the fact, violating the Constitutions ex post facto laws.
The law would not be official until 10 days after it is approved. That approval is expected at the Jan. 16, council meeting.
A public hearing will be held that evening so residents can voice their opinions on the ordinance. The proposed ordinance would prohibit offenders who move into the city from living in a permanent or temporary residence within 1,500 feet of any school, child care facility, common open space, community center, public park or recreational facility.
- Why a hearing on that day? Why not a week or so in advance? It's because you don't want to give people time to complain, that is why.
Common open space is defined as an area of land or water restricted from future development to protect the natural resources and provide recreational opportunities for city residents. Public parks and recreational areas include any facilities owned by the city, Luzerne County or Pittston Area School District.
If an offender moves into a home violating the ordinance, he or she will be given 45-days to move to a new location after being notified in writing.
Anyone violating the ordinance could be sentenced up to 90 days in jail and fined up to $1,000 for each violation. The offender also would be responsible for paying the costs of prosecution and attorney fees.
This ordinance will only apply to new offenders moving into Pittston; it can not and will not be retroactive, Pittston solicitor Sam Falcone of Pittston said.
- But adding more restrictions to sex offenders who have been convicted prior to this ordinance is ok???
So any sex offender currently living within those perimeters or housed within any facility maintained by Luzerne County or the state would not be required to live more than 1,500 feet from the designated areas.
Mayor Joe Keating, who supported the ordinance, knows not everyone is perfect, but he said city residents must be protected.
- Why can't they protect themselves? Why does everyone think it's the governments job to protect them? It's not, and the government needs to stay out of peoples lives.
“Sometimes, yes, people do make mistakes, but in the case of a sex offender, you can’t take that chance,” he said.
- Sounds like Minority Report to me. You are assuming all offenders will commit another sex crime, which is a total lie. Some will, yes, but you cannot make wide laws that catch everyone in the same nets. This is wrong. Why do we not do this with other criminals who are just as much, if not more of a threat, like murderers, gang members, drug dealers, DUI offenders, etc?
There might be minor changes made to the ordinance during a January council meeting to include additional areas as off limits to sexual predators, Falcone said.
Keating wants school bus stops added to the list because some children wait for the school bus in front of homes, but children wouldn’t know if a sex offender might be living in a home adjacent to a pickup point.
- That was shot down in many states, because bus stops move all the time...
“You don’t know who lives in what homes,” he said.
Outgoing Wilkes-Barre councilman Jim McCarthy commends Pittston’s effort to protect its children.
- So why aren't we passing laws to affect all other criminals? If it will protect the children, isn't it worth it??? If sex offenders are being singled out, then it's discrimination, so why aren't all criminals made to follow similar punishment?
He presented a sex offenders residency ordinance 16 times to his colleagues since October 2006, but it was defeated every time.
Now, McCarthy says, offenders are moving from other county communities and into Wilkes-Barre after being pushed out by the new ordinances.
“Wyoming passed it and two of their sex offenders moved into Wilkes-Barre,” he said adding last year Wilkes-Barre had 39 sex offenders and now there are 56 residing in the city limits.
“The feds have gone as far as they can to blanket the country. Now it’s up to the communities. I believe this law is mandatory for every community. Our children are our most vulnerable in society. We have to protect them.”
- And "BLANKET" laws are wrong....
Earlier this month Police Chief Jeffrey Tayoun told city leaders the police department wanted an ordinance they could enforce to help protect citizens.
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Ohio’s 25,000 sex offenders got a big surprise earlier this month when the state told them that starting Jan. 1 they will have to register longer than they previously thought, and in many cases they’ll have to register more often.
Nearly one third will go from registering addresses with the sheriff’s office in the county where they live annually for 10 years to having to register every 90 days for life.
Most others will have five years tacked onto their 10-year reporting requirement, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The tougher requirements – although controversial – are designed to keep better tabs on sex offenders, a group that moves often and frequently crosses state lines.
- No, it's about further punishment, making people register and pay for registering for life, so the state makes TONS of money exploiting money from sex offenders. How does increasing sentences and fines make it easier to keep tabs on them? It doesn't, it's about cruel and unusual punishment, and violating the Constitution to see what people are willing to accept. Then, their rights will be wiped out, one day.
The closer scrutiny comes at a price, because registrations will nearly double, creating more work for sheriff’s offices, which are charged with making sure the addresses are correct and tracking down those who don’t register.
In passing the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, state lawmakers say they are making communities safer. But critics say it’s a false sense of security because most offenders are people the victim already knows.
- You are not, you are doing this to get more grant money and to punish offenders more, and to test the waters to see what people are willing to accept, before removing their rights.
State Sen. Steve Austria (Email), R-Beavercreek, who introduced the law, said tracking sex offenders keeps everyone safer.
- How? I'd love to hear how you think this will protect anybody? It's easy to say that, but where are your FACTS to back it up?
“This law sends a very strong message that our state has zero tolerance for sex offenders,” said the father of three. “If you commit these violent crimes, we will take you off the streets for a very long time, and if you get out we will continue to monitor your whereabouts.”
- Not all sex offender related crimes are violent crimes, like you are misleading everyone to believe, to look tough to the sheeple. You forgot to add "punish you" into your statement, which I believe you really mean. What about upholding the Constitution like you TOOK AN OATH TO UPHOLD? Did you lie??? Apparently so...
But David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center who works to reform the criminal justice system, said the law is unconstitutional.
Amelia Orr, executive director of Community Counseling & Crisis Center in Butler County, which handles that county’s rape crisis program, called the registry a scare tactic that gives people a “superficial sense of security.”
The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act – named for Adam Walsh, 6, who was kidnapped from a Florida department store and killed in 1981 – was signed into law by President Bush in July 2006. It calls for national conformity on varying sex offender laws across the country.
- And it was NEVER proven Adam was killed by a sex offender. He was killed by a serial killer!
States are now being called on to implement the new guidelines. Ohio is one of six states to pass the legislation.
- Or face penalties of not receiving grant money. So money is the root of all these EVIL laws.
Kentucky is still reviewing its options, said Kentucky State Police Lt. Phil Crumpton. “It’s quite an extensive project, we’re working our way to compliance,” he said.
In the past, judges decided how long and how often a convicted sex offender had to register on the likelihood that person would re-offend. Judges could choose one of seven designations, which required a minimum 10 years of registration and went as high as a lifetime registration.
- So you are trying to predict the future... How can you punish someone now for something they "MAY" do in the future? You cannot punish them until the crime is committed.
Lists of offenders could be found online – searchable by county or ZIP code. In the worst cases, communities would be notified.
Now, designations will be based on what charge a person faced.
Minor sex offenders can face once-a-year registration for 15 years, but people convicted on the most serious charges like rape and sexual battery must register every 90 days for life.
- And they are not telling you these offenders must pay for registering as well, so they are extorting money from them, forcing them into homelessness, and then back to prison, where they make more money on them. Prison is a business, which pays very well...
Unlike most laws that apply going forward, the changes affect offenders dating back to 1997 when the state registry was created.
- Thus violating the Constitution's issues on creating ex post facto laws.
The law allows sexual offenders to file a court challenge to their new designation.
About 18,000 of the state’s 27,000 offenders live in Ohio’s 88 counties, the rest are serving prison terms. With 1,959 on the sex offender registry, Hamilton County has the second highest number of offenders behind Cuyahoga County.
“The goal is to create uniformity among the states and close loopholes when offenders move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” said Assistant Ohio Attorney General Erin Rosen.
For instance, in the past, people convicted in other states of child pornography flocked to Ohio, where that crime didn’t require registration. The revamped law makes it a registration-required offense, Rosen said.
Holli Burd, 34, a North College Hill mother, thought her 10-year registration requirement would be up before her 14-month-old daughter starts school.
But, the new law means Burd, convicted in Warren County of sexual battery in 2002 for having sex with a 14-year-old boy, will have to register for life.
Burd said she cried when she heard about the extended registration. “It’s like they’re coming back and punishing me all over again, but worse,” she said.
- No, that is exactly what they are doing, violating the Constitution in the process.
Burd said she would have pleaded not guilty if such a restriction was attached. “I understand there are people out there that must be monitored on a daily basis, but I am not one of them,” she said.
In her case, she said the sex was consensual and she thought the victim was older. She sees it as part of her old life. She has since married and had a child.
Burd is pinning her hopes on a challenge the Ohio Justice & Policy Center is helping her file.
Once convicted rapist Sidney Souffrance is released from prison he’ll be in the same predicament.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge David Davis sentenced Souffrance to seven years in prison on a rape charge for raping a high school student at his home. When the victim failed to show up at sentencing, Davis designated him a sexually oriented offender.
Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Megan Shanahan, who prosecuted the case and still remembers how the victim shook in fear as she testified, applauded the changes. “These people need to be kept on short leashes,” she said. “The fact that we’ll know where Suffrance is for the rest of his life is fantastic.”
Not everyone thinks the changes are a good idea.
The Ohio Justice & Policy Center, a Cincinnati-based non-profit agency, filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court in October challenging the retroactive portion of the law.
- You cannot change someones sentence anytime you like, after the fact, this is why so many law suits are being filed. When the person was convicted, they signed a CONTRACT which stated their sentence, and now, they are TEARING UP that contract and redoing it, without the offenders consent, which is illegal, or is for any other COMPANY!! And yes, the injustice system is a business...
The court determined last week that the lawsuit had to be first filed on a county level. Center officials are looking for the right venue, but will re-file soon, Singleton said.
“There’s probably no more unconstitutional law in the history of the state that what the legislature has done with the Adam Walsh Act,” Singleton said.
“We think tying registration duties to offenses (makes) registration part of the punishment and you can’t punish retroactively,” Singleton said. “It’s unconstitutional on a number of grounds.”
Sheriff’s offices are grappling with how to handle the swelling tide of sex-offender registrations.
Margarita Mergy, assistant coordinator of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office sex offender program, said her office will see all of Hamilton County’s 1,959 sex offenders between Jan. 1 and June 1.
She expects about 800 will have to register longer and more often. In the past, about 350 registered every 90 days, all involve an in-person check by a deputy.
“It will be a lot more work,” she said.
Currently about 3,000 in-person address checks are done each year, a number that will likely double, she said. “That’s somebody’s pay, gas, wear and tear on vehicles along with officer safety issues,” she said.
She wondered where the money to pay for the work will come from. “That question has not been answered yet,” she said.
- So why pass a law when this has not been determined? Insane! I'm sure they will figure out a way to further punish sex offenders and make them pay for it, those who are not homeless anyway.
Clermont County Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg estimated the new law will take the equivalent of one deputy away from their duties.
“In essence we got an unfunded mandate,” Rodenberg said.
View the article here
One state legislator is trying to debunk the theory that Michigan's sex offender registry is a comprehensive list of dangerous predators.
Offenders convicted before 1995 aren't required to register.
State Rep. David Law, R-Commerce Township, wants to change that.
He said sex crimes against minors left an imprint on him during his time working at the Oakland County prosecutor's office.
Law's bill would require some individuals convicted on or before Oct. 1, 1995 to register. It would cover offenders who were 17 or older when they sexually assaulted a child under 13.
- So they are back dating it, again violating ex post facto laws, and I'm sure they will see court cases from this as well.
"This bill is not about further punishing sex offenders - this is a matter of public safety," Law said. "The recidivism statistics of the most heinous sex offenders pose a significant threat to public safety and our children."
- Yeah right, it's all about punishment and you know it. You just are counting on the sheeple to believe you and follow along like good little sheep.
According to the Michigan State Police, the intent of the registry is "to better assist the public in preventing and protecting against the commission of future criminal sexual acts by convicted sex offenders."
Offenders are required to register if they reside, work or live in the state and have been convicted of specific sex crimes. The registry is a public record and includes the individual's name, photo, crime, physical description, last known address and aliases.
Elizabeth Arnovits, executive director of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, said sex offender reporting laws may make people feel more secure, but accomplish little and make people less vigilant because they're lulled into a false sense of security.
Arnovits predicts the bill will pass.
- Oh, I'm sure it will. Everyone who TOOK AN OATH to uphold the Constitution are NOT DOING THAT.
Patricia Caruso, director of the Department of Corrections, said the recidivism rates for sex offenders are extremely low, but because sexual assault is such an emotional issue, the facts often are ignored.
- You can see the LOW recidivism for yourself, here.
According to Caruso, laws that require offenders to stay a minimum distance from playgrounds and other areas with children are "meaningless and ineffective" because less than 1 percent of sex crimes against minors are committed by strangers."
View the article here
What have I been saying for over a year now??? You will be tagged next!
A federal program promotes driving license technology that allows the tracking of motorists even when they are not driving.
Electronic monitoring of motorists will soon expand dramatically as states including Arizona, Michigan, Vermont and Washington begin to use radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in drivers' licenses. These electronic chips broadcast the identity of any card holder to any chip-reading sensor within a minimum of thirty feet. The US Department of Homeland Security is promoting the tracking projects as part of its Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
"Multiple cards can be read at a distance and simultaneously with vicinity RFID technology, allowing an entire car full of people to be processed at once," a DHS fact sheet on the Passport Card technology explained.
So-called enhanced drivers' licenses are designed to meet the DHS travel document requirements. Enhanced card holders will be allowed to travel across the border without a passport when new regulations take effect in January 2009. The enhanced licenses electronically store the motorist's name, date of birth, height, weight and identity number on the card. RFID readers use the identity number to access additional private information from a department of motor vehicles database.
Although the licenses will initially be offered on a voluntary basis, the National Motorists Association suggests that it will not take long for the program to become mandatory.
"The federal government just incentivizes their proposal so that each state, and by extension its citizens, feel like they have no choice but to go along with their program," the NMA stated today.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) warns that the move is another step toward a national identity card.
"DHS, Arizona, Vermont and Washington are creating these new ID cards in order to change the state driver's license in to a federal border security identification document," the EPIC website explained. "The license is pulled away from its original intent -- to ensure driving competence -- and used as a multi-use federal identification document that could easily be transformed into a national identity card."
Not every state is sold on the idea. The California State Senate voted in April to ban RFID drivers' licenses. The bill passed an Assembly committee by a 9-5 vote in July.
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MIDDLETOWN - A New York City police officer has been charged with raping a teen student at his martial arts school and led her to believe it was part of the program, police said Friday.
Middletown police said Trent Young, 39, began having sex with the 15-year-old girl in 2005. The girl told police she'd been a student at Iron Tiger Martial Arts in West Milford, N.J. for a year when Young asked her to sign an oath of obedience.
She told police that Young made her take off her clothes as part of the oath, and then sexually abused her. She said he then told her to get dressed and that the encounter was part of a test.
Young then began a sexual relationship with the girl, leading her to believe it was part of the karate school's program, police said.
Investigators said Young told a second 15-year-old to take off her clothes as part of her obedience oath, but she refused.
There was no answer at Iron Tiger Martial Arts Friday, no phone number was available for Young and police were not sure who is representing him in court. The New York City Police Department declined comment Friday.
Young, who also teaches karate at his home, was arrested Thursday on his way to work and charged with felony counts of second- and third-degree rape, police said. He was free on bail Friday.