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In Lafayette, a well-known attorney is accused of rape tonight.
Scott Hawkins was booked into jail this afternoon, after turning himself in to police.
A grand jury handed down an indictment yesterday. Hawkins is accused of raping a former employee.
A representative for the state bar says, for now, Hawkins' license remains in good standing.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
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SPRINGFIELD — Charles Gibson may well be the first sex offender in Clark County to challenge the state's new laws after he filed for a temporary restraining order earlier this week.
In a complaint filed in Clark County Common Pleas Court Monday, Gibson, of New Carlisle, requested that the court step in and prevent any action in his case, arguing that a recently passed state law that would alter his classification as a sex offender is unconstitutional.
The case centers on a federal law called the Adam Walsh Act that requires states to increase registration requirements for sex offenders before 2009. States that do not comply could lose federal funding. The law will affect thousands of sex offenders in Ohio, many of whom will have to register with their local sheriff's office for at least five more years than was previously required.
The problem, said Jay Lopez, an attorney representing Gibson in the case, is that the law applies retroactively, and in many cases, including Gibson's, will mean tougher requirements for sex offenders who have already been sentenced.
"We're just trying to maintain what the courts have previously decided," he said.
He said similar complaints have also been filed in Miami, Darke, Shelby and Montgomery counties. The Clark County Prosecutor's and sheriff's offices, as well as the Ohio Attorney General's Office, are all named in the complaint.
Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said Gibson's complaint was the first he has heard of in the county after the new law took effect this month
The prosecutor's office will work with the state before responding, said Clark County Prosecutor Stephen Schumaker.
"This was something that was expected and we'll coordinate with the Ohio Attorney General's Office," he said.
Similar complaints have been filed statewide, and Ohio officials have been expecting the challenges, said Jennifer Brindisi, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Ohio was one of the first states to pass the laws. She noted the courts will likely have the final say, but the attorney general's office will defend the law, which she said will protect families and make a statement that Ohio will not be a "safe haven" for sex offenders.
"I don't think it was a surprise to anybody that there would be challenges," she said. "It's a good policy and we're going to stick to that."
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You bet, it's called the right to remain silent. It's called, shut up, don't say anything, period. What are they going to do if you don't give it to them, waterboard you? I wouldn't doubt it, not in todays society.
A laptop owner's Fifth Amendment rights are at stake in a complicated legal case
Can the government force you to reveal a password to unlock encrypted files on your computer that are known to contain child pornography? Or would doing so constitute a violate your Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination?
That's the issue in front of a federal district court in Vermont in what is believed to be the first case to test the issue in the U.S.
The case involves a Canadian citizen, Sebastien Boucher, who is now a legal permanent resident living in Derry, N.H. Boucher was arrested in December 2006 at the Canadian border in Derby Line, Vt. on charges of transporting child pornography on his computer.
According to a description of the arrest in court documents, Boucher was pulled over for a secondary inspection by a Custom and Border Protection officer while attempting to cross into the U.S from Canada. During the secondary inspection, the officer noticed a laptop computer in Boucher's car and proceeded to inspect it for child pornography images.
Of the 34,000 or so image files on Boucher's computer, several appeared to have names suggesting explicit child pornography, including one titled, "Two-year old being raped during diaper change." On being asked by the officer whether the computer contained child pornography images Boucher claimed that he did not know for sure because he had not checked the temporary Internet files folder on his computer.
A special agent who had experience and training in identifying child pornography was then called in to inspect Boucher's computer. That inspection revealed several images of adult and animated child pornography. But when the special agent tried to click on the file with the name suggesting child pornography, he found he was unable to open it. When asked about the file, Boucher stated that he visited various newsgroups from which he downloaded pornographic images. He conceded that some of the files might unknowingly be child porn but added that he deleted those files when he saw them.
Boucher was then asked to show the agent the files that he downloaded from such news groups. Boucher was allowed access to the laptop and he navigated to a section of it called drive Z. An inspection of the files in drive Z revealed several containing graphic child pornography including many involving preteens. The computer was then seized and Boucher himself was arrested.
About two weeks after the arrest, an officer at the Vermont Department of Corrections took custody of Boucher's laptop and created a mirror image of its contents. However when he attempted to access the contents in drive Z, he found that he was unable to do so because it had been encrypted using software from Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).
According to court documents, the files are nearly impossible to open without knowing the password or without any "back doors" to the files. The only way to get access to the files without the password is to use an automated password guessing system but it's a process that could take years, according to the government.
A grand jury subpoenaed Boucher to provide the password for accessing the files. Boucher refused on the grounds that it violated his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier, who heard the case this past November, granted Boucher's motion to quash the grand jury subpoena.
In explaining his decision, Niedermeier said that compelling Boucher to enter the password forces him to produce evidence that could be used to incriminate him. "By entering the password, Boucher would be disclosing the fact that he knows the password and has control over the files on drive Z," he said. "If Boucher does know the password, he would be faced with the forbidden trilemma; incriminate himself, lie under oath, or find himself in contempt of court," Niedermeir wrote.
Earlier this month, the government appealed Niedermeier's decision to the U.S. District Court in Vermont, which now needs to make a decision on the issue.
As a test case, the Boucher affair is a messy one, said Michael Froomkin, professor of law at the University of Miami's School of Law in Florida. Giving up the password to an encrypted file automatically ties that individual to the file and its contents, Froomkin said. In this case, it would be akin to Boucher admitting that he knew what the contents of the file were and how to access it, both of which could be considered self-incriminating.
However Boucher may have waived his privilege against self-incrimination when he earlier provided access to the drive containing the alleged child porn at the time of his arrest, Froomkin said. "You can waive your right if you show the stuff to people and therefore have already admitted to the critical issue of being tied to the data." In that case "it might not be any more incriminating to do that again. It puts the case in a completely different position."
The Boucher case comes at a time when courts are increasingly willing to ask individuals to produce data that in the past might have been considered self-incriminatory, Froomkin said. "One hundred years ago, the Supreme Court had a view of the forced production of private papers which said 'of course we don't do that'," Froomkin said. That has changed over the past 30 years, he said.
In this case, Boucher could well be asked to use his password to unlock the files containing the pornographic data and be offered immunity for that act, he said. In other words, the courts could treat the documents as never having been encrypted in the first place. So the act of decrypting it by itself would not necessarily be self-incriminating, Froomkin said.
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A little step in the right direction. Basically almost back to how it was, which is a good thing. And that is offline and used by police only. Nobody has ANY right to someones personal information, that is why it's called personal.
Sign on the line if you want the address.
This is the Gilroy Police Department's new policy when it comes to making public the residential address of people who are arrested. But not everyone can sign on the line.
Last week GPD stopped releasing the addresses of arrestees to the public, pointing to a part of the California Public Records Act that was amended in 1996 by the state legislature to make it so public agencies do not have to. Another part of the CPRA, though, states that public agencies must release the address to "an individual who is willing to declare under penalty of perjury and file a waiver that the (address) obtained is being used for scholarly, journalistic, political or governmental purposes," according to a letter written by GPD Records Supervisor David Boles.
This means The Dispatch must sign a waiver every morning to get the address of an arrestee along with that person's name, date of birth, the charge against the arrestee and where and when the alleged crime took place. If an eligible party refuses to sign the waiver, then it will not receive the arrestee's address.
In the past, the arrest log at the police department contained all this information plus a brief description of the arrestee's belongings at the time of arrest. Last week, however, GPD records employees were instructed to take a black permanent marker to all information about arrestees except their names, birthdays, the charges against them and the location and time of the alleged crime.
In particular, police blacked out the arrestees' address, city of residence, phone number, employer, emergency contact and identifying marks - such as scars and tattoos. This caused more work for GPD employees, Boles said, so now records personnel will take the raw arrest log that they use to black out and instead type up a portion of the public information - which they already do for their own records - for the newspaper and other public parties.
The latest move is a nod to complaints by residents that they have a right to know if criminals are living in their neighborhood. It also parallels similar moves by other public agencies throughout Santa Clara County and others nearby. The SCC Sheriff's Department the police departments of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Hollister and Santa Cruz, for example, all provide the same redacted information to the public, but only some agencies require the waiver, according to Boles.
- What gives you that right? The Constitution doesn't, and just because you want it doesn't give you the right.
The new change means residents will still be able to find out whether they live near an arrested party as long as the newspaper remembers to sign the waiver every morning. If the red tape falters, though, residents will only be able to find out whether they live near an arrested party if that person is a registered drug or sex offender.
Nearby law enforcement agencies do not require signatures, but differ in their policies. The South County office of the Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff provides the block of the arrestee's address, as well as the other required information about the arrest and a short summary of the incident. Farther south, the San Benito County Sheriff's offers viewers a date, time, location, case number and description of an alleged crime, but it does not provide the arrestee's name or any further information.
Boles indicated that Gilroy was simply finding its niche because every agency's leader makes its own decision. Police Chief Gregg Guissiana signed off on GPD's current policy, Boles said.
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Twenty-two states have laws that restrict where convicted sex offenders may live and, in some cases, how they interact with the community after they are released from prison. Jeffrey Kaye reports on the laws and the constitutional questions they've raised.
JIM LEHRER: Next, restricting where sex offenders can live. NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Kaye of KCET-Los Angeles reports on California's laws.
JEFFREY KAYE, NewsHour Correspondent: On a recent Friday afternoon, California parole agents arrived at the Long Beach apartment of a former prison inmate who had done time for attempting to molest children.
POLICE OFFICER: Your stuff is over here?
SEX OFFENDER PAROLEE: Yes.
JEFFREY KAYE: The agents came to make sure the parolee, who asked not to be identified, was moving out of his apartment. If he didn't, he'd be arrested.
POLICE OFFICER: You know Monday's our deadline. I mean, you have to move by Monday.
JEFFREY KAYE: The agents were enforcing a new California law that restricts where paroled sex offenders may live.
Approved as a 2006 ballot proposition by 70 percent of voters, the statute also requires released sex offenders to wear tracking devices for life.
And it allows prosecutors, such as San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, to obtain tougher penalties and much longer prison sentences for sex offenders.
BONNIE DUMANIS, San Diego County District Attorney: I've seen the devastation that happens with children who are the victims of molest.
JEFFREY KAYE: Dumanis campaigned for the California law, arguing it was needed to protect the state's children.
BONNIE DUMANIS: There were loopholes in the law. California was one of the weakest in terms of the law. There were many other states that were ahead of us. And we felt it was important to protect the kids in our community from being victimized over and over again.
Problems of compliance
JEFFREY KAYE: The California statute and similar ones elsewhere are commonly known as Jessica's Law, named for Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in 2005 by a registered sex offender who had been paroled in 1980.
Around the country, 22 states have residency restrictions for sex offenders, as do hundreds of municipalities and counties, provisions that are turning out to be controversial and often difficult to enforce.
In California, sex offenders are now prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools. Parole agents Price and Gibson -- they asked us not to use their first names -- use hand-held satellite tracking devices to measure distances.
POLICE OFFICER: ... 220 yards.
JEFFREY KAYE: The agents determined the parolee had to move. He was living too close to a Long Beach park.
It's Friday. You have to be out by Monday. You can't live here anymore. What are you going to do?
SEX OFFENDER PAROLEE: I don't know. I'm going to have to prevail upon my parole agent for assistance.
JEFFREY KAYE: What can you do for him?
P. PRICE, PAROLE AGENT: Some places that are motels that I know are in compliance, if they're not filled up, I can try to give him cash assistance to put him in one of those places.
If they're filled up, my hands are tied. In the past, I've told him areas that are in compliance, as far as apartment stuff, and he's been looking in those areas, but so far he hasn't got any place yet.
JEFFREY KAYE: This man isn't alone. A survey in July showed some 2,100 California parolees were violating the new residency rules.
That's largely because of sheer geography. In cities and suburbs, it's almost impossible to find available homes that are not near parks or schools.
This map of the Long Beach region shows the difficulty. The red areas are where sex offenders released from prison since the adoption of Jessica's Law may not live. What's left are largely non-residential or industrial neighborhoods with few, if any, housing options.
In the parking lot of the state parole office in Long Beach, a sex offender approached us to complain he couldn't find a place to move.
SEX OFFENDER PAROLEE: You know, the supervisor told me that I would get arrested if I'm close to a school. I don't know what to do anymore; I don't know what to do anymore.
JEFFREY KAYE: This man, a rapist who was convicted of drugging his victim, thought he might soon be homeless.
That's what's happened to other sex offenders, such as serial rapist Ross Wollschlager. Unable to find a place to live, the parolee now spends his nights camping in a riverbed north of Los Angeles.
The state keeps tabs on him through his satellite tracking device and pays a private security guard to watch him at night.
ROSS WOLLSCHLAGER, Convicted Rapist: I ended up being homeless, and came out here to the river bottom, and just looked for a place where I could camp a tent.
I don't know what other options I have at the time. And I'm trying to do everything I can to at least find a safe place so I can stay and so the community won't be so alarmed about my presence here.
Tracking offenders' whereabouts
JEFFREY KAYE: It's no surprise that sex offenders are critical of Jessica's Law, but so, too, are many police officials and victims' rights advocates.
SUZANNE BROWN-MCBRIDE, California Sex Offender Management Board: I can tell you that it hasn't resolved the sex offender problem in California.
JEFFREY KAYE: Suzanne Brown-McBride is executive director of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, as well as the chairperson of the state board that shapes sex offender policies in California. She fears residency restrictions are backfiring and driving sex offenders off the radar screen.
SUZANNE BROWN-MCBRIDE: So you go from a place where you have an offender where you know where they live, you know where they're sleeping, you can check up on them and monitor them, to they're transient and you have only really a guess of where they're at, that they may be down at some different part of the city, they may be down in an alley somewhere.
So you go from a known quantity to, quite honestly, a fairly unknown one.
JEFFREY KAYE: That was the experience in Iowa, according to Elizabeth Barnhill, executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She says that, after Iowa passed its version of Jessica's Law in 2005, many sex offenders disappeared from the system.
ELIZABETH BARNHILL, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault: We found they were living in very unstable situations. So at one point when I reviewed our sex offender registry, I found things like, "I am living in an old truck parked at the abandoned K-Mart." "I'm living in a truck down by the river." "I'm living in the QuikTrip when everybody leaves for the night."
So we know that those are very unstable conditions. And we know that there is a relationship between unstable living conditions and re-offending.
JEFFREY KAYE: Defenders of Jessica's Law, such as District Attorney Dumanis, say authorities will know the exact whereabouts of sex offenders because of the satellite tracking devices they're required to wear.
BONNIE DUMANIS: I call that the LoJack for sex offenders. If people become transient, we're still going to be looking for them. We will be watching them to make sure that they don't prey on children again.
P. PRICE: We strap it to the left ankle of the parolee.
JEFFREY KAYE: For parole agent Price and his colleagues, the monitoring devices -- known by their commercial name, BlueTags -- have become essential tools.
P. PRICE: It tells me the last time he got positioned from a GPS. It tells me the latitude, longitude.
JEFFREY KAYE: But Price acknowledges that GPS, global positioning satellite technology, has its limits. While Price would not elaborate, Brown-McBride did.
SUZANNE BROWN-MCBRIDE: Well, people expect GPS to have almost a Star Trek-like technology, that we sort of know in very real time where people are moment to moment.
What I think the public doesn't understand is that false alarms are common, dropping off of the map is fairly common, that we're still trying to get the training for the folks who are doing this kind of supervision, that we still have shortages in personnel.
JEFFREY KAYE: Brown-McBride and other critics like measures of Jessica's Law also argue that they reinforce public misperceptions, namely, that most sex offenders are strangers who prowl public places and strike victims from out of the blue.
SUZANNE BROWN-MCBRIDE: About 90 percent of them have some sort of acquaintance with their offender, whether it be sort of a family friend, all the way to it's a member of their own household. And so, when we ignore that, what we've done then is made massive commitments to policy options that address the narrowest set of circumstances.
JEFFREY KAYE: Defenders of the law say it's too soon to draw conclusions.
- No it's not. The evidence is clear, if you'd open your eyes and look at what you've created!
BONNIE DUMANIS: Let's see what happens so that we can see whether or not this is a problem. But I'm not ready to say the sky's falling right now. We'll take a look at it.
- When will you say the sky is falling? When sex offenders start vanishing in more rapid numbers, like they are now, or start being killed, or, God forbid, commit another crime so they can go back to jail/prison and at least have something of a life? Or is that what you want?
You know, it's progress, not perfection. The real intent of Jessica's Law is to put people that violate children and others in prison.
- Progress? Where is the progress? The real predators who do harm children over and over should be in prison, not on the streets, but those who did one sex crime should be left alone!
JEFFREY KAYE: And keep them there?
BONNIE DUMANIS: And keep them there.
- You evil bitch! Not all sex offenders harm children. True predators and pedophiles should be in prison, but even then, they have to be let out some time, even murderers get a chance at life.
POLICE OFFICER: Can you show me your stuff, show me your area?
- Oh, that sounds like what a lot of cops have been saying lately!!!
JEFFREY KAYE: As for the sex offender we met in his Long Beach apartment, he couldn't find a new residence in time to comply with Jessica's Law. He's now back in prison for at least three months.
- Thus the real intention! I told you, this lady above just mentioned what it was, so therefore it's unconstitutional, period, end of story!
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This is just eerie to me. Notice their logo? Now click this link and see what the Nazi's used. Notice the pink triangle? They are using a symbol the Nazi's used. This is like me owning a company to help Jews and I use the Swastica as my company logo. Insane!!!!!!!!!!!!
I understand they use this to symbolize what COULD happen to gays, lesbians, etc, but most of the world does not even remember the symbols used by the Nazi's. So here they are, click the image to view a larger view, or click the "this link" above. We do not want to repeat history, or do we? I know I don't!
The Triangle Foundation has always been known for working for the safety of the LGBT community - but what about those who are in prison? Although the rights of prisoners are often overlooked, the Michigan Department of Corrections has been working with the Triangle Foundation for years on improving safety and ensuring fair treatment for LGBT prisoners, resulting in three policy changes that went into place last July.
- LGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.
The three changes include rewording the name for sexual predators whose offense was against someone of the same sex, elimination of sexual orientation from prisoner files and policy changes that work against prisoner-on-prisoner and staff-on-prisoner sexual abuse and rape.
The MDOC received a $1 million grant under the Prison Rape Elimination Act in order to train their staff and quell sexual abuse within the prisons. "We were approached by the Department of Corrections to assist in complying with the PREA grant," explained Sean Kosofsky, the director of policy at the Triangle Foundation. "There were openly gay people (at MDOC) who requested our support."
Within the MDOC, the issue came up in 2002 when a letter was sent to them about their practice of identifying prisoners' sexuality. "The letter was the start of a shift in our policy of identifying prisoners based on their sexual orientation," explained Russ Marlin, a spokesman for the MDOC. "They made the decision that there's no need to do that."
- I agree, it's discrimination. What is next, calling people "white, american, christian straight males", etc, instead of a human being or American?
The first change came about after the Triangle Foundation did a search of policy records at the MDOC that revealed a startling truth about homosexuals in the prison system. If a sex offender committed their crime with someone of the same sex, they were put in the system as a "homosexual predator." Originally, this was done to differentiate between straight and gay prisoners in order to prevent homosexual sex offenders from committing repeat crimes while in prison in a male-on-male or female-on-female facility. The term, however, set off alarms in the LGBT community. "That term just sounded so horrible," said Kosofsky. "It was culturally offensive."
As of July, use of the term in records has been completely eradicated.
The next change was a more significant one regarding the recording of sexual orientation in prisoner files. Though new detainees were not forced to divulge their sexuality, if it came out during the filing of their basic information report, it would be included in the report. Some believe this may have caused not only harassment while in prison, but also the prolongment of a sentence before parole would be granted. In general, it opened the door for sexual orientation-based discrimination within the corrections system.
In 2003, however, the Triangle Foundation teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union to ask the MDOC to drop that question on the reports. Recently, they've gone one step further by upgrading to a new software system that doesn't even have the question on it.
The last development is a policy change that greatly improves the safety of both LGBT and other prisoners regarding sexual abuse and rape. "Most departments of correction will say that they have a system in place to stop sexual abuse between prisoners and between staff and prisoners," Kosofsky said.
- As long as you have prisoners sharing cells, this will never end. The only way to end it is by separate cells, and that is not even full proof.
The truth, however, is that this is not always the case, Kosofsky said, explaining that actual rapes and sexual abuse that occur within prisons can differ greatly from those that are reported. Often, the sexual acts are seen as consensual. "Even though it looks consensual, it's not," Kosofsky said.
- There should be NO SEX in prison, IMO. Regardless of whether it's consensual or not.
Now, the policy that was put into place in July will allow the MDOC to better educate its staff and train them for proper conduct with prisoners. "I feel pretty certain that this policy was mindful of (LGBT) people when they were designing it," said Kosofsky.
These three changes mark an important turn by the MDOC toward the recognition of LGBT-specific issues within prisons. "All of these seem tiny," Kosofsky said, "but when you add them up, there's progress being made."
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So why is the wife's mug shot not shown?
Shane Lisenbee accused of having sex with young children; wife, Stephanie, accused of having sex with young boy.
VIRGINIA — Shane A. Lisenbee, the Beardstown police officer arrested last weekend on allegations of domestic battery, was charged in Cass County Circuit Court Wednesday with four counts alleging predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
His wife, Stephanie, was also arrested Wednesday at the Cass County Courthouse on a warrant alleging two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
The couple appeared in court for a juvenile court matter, but prior to that hearing, each was brought separately before Circuit Judge Bob Hardwick Jr., who read the criminal charges to them.
The charges allege that Mr. Lisenbee, 32, committed sexual acts, including sexual intercourse, with a girl and committed a sexual act with a boy, both of whom were younger than age 13. Mrs. Lisenbee is accused of having sexual intercourse with the boy.
The charges also accuse the couple of aiding each other in the alleged crimes. The offenses are alleged to have occurred between Nov. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31 of last year and involve two children who are known to the couple.
All of the charges are Class X felonies, and each is punishable by six to 30 years imprisonment. There is no right of probation, meaning a sole conviction would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of six years in prison. Because there are two victims, the husband and wife could face mandatory life in prison if convicted of sexually assaulting both children.
A misdemeanor domestic battery charge also was filed against Mr. Lisenbee that accuses him of hitting and kicking his wife on Friday.
Mrs. Lisenbee was taken to the Schuyler County Jail and held on a bond of $300,000. As previously reported, Mr. Lisenbee is housed in the Pike County Jail on a bond of $500,000. Each must post 10 percent cash to be released.
They were appointed separate public defenders: Cass County Public Defender Robert Welch for Mr. Lisenbee, and Springfield attorney John Alvarez for Mrs. Lisenbee. Mr. Welch was in the courtroom Wednesday; Mr. Alvarez was not.
In a separate juvenile hearing after the criminal court proceeding, the Lisenbees’ three children were formally placed with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
The couple’s children were removed from the home Friday evening, pending today’s hearing, after the allegations of domestic battery were made against Mr. Lisenbee. Judge Hardwick determined Wednesday that the couple’s children be placed in the shelter care of DCFS until a trial is held in juvenile court on the neglect allegations.
During the juvenile hearing, Illinois State Police Special Agent John Kaylor, of the Springfield office, said that he interviewed Mrs. Lisenbee Friday after her husband was accused of domestic battery.
In the interview at the Cass County Courthouse, she told the investigator of her husband’s alleged sexual assaults with the girl, the investigator testified. In her written petition for an order of protection, Mrs. Lisenbee also stated that her husband forced the young boy to have sex with her.
Agent Kaylor also testified that, in interviews with the victims Monday, their account of events was consistent with Mrs. Lisenbee’s. The investigator said the victims did not witness each other’s sexual assaults.
Mrs. Lisenbee is to make a first appearance with her attorney present today on both the criminal charges and juvenile court matter.
Mr. Lisenbee opted not to have a first appearance, and a Jan. 31 preliminary hearing was set for him on the felony charges. A status hearing also will be held that day in the juvenile court matter.
In light of the criminal charges being filed against Mr. Lisenbee, a six-year veteran of the Beardstown Police Department, the city is weighing its options about his continued employment.
“It’s possible that the city will have to take formal action to remove Officer Lisenbee,” City Attorney George McClure said. “Obviously, it appears that Officer Lisenbee will not be coming back to the force, but we don’t want to prejudice the ongoing court proceeding by initiating, perhaps, proceedings of our own.”
To remove Mr. Lisenbee from the police force, Police Chief Tom Schlueter would have to file formal administrative charges requesting the Beardstown Board of Fire and Police Commissioners take disciplinary action against the officer, Mr. McClure said. The disciplinary action could include a suspension of up to 30 days or termination of his job.
Chief Schlueter and Mayor Bob Walters have the power to suspended a city police officer for up to five days, but neither has done so with Officer Lisenbee, Mr. McClure said.
Mayor Walters went ahead with plans to hold an informational meeting Wednesday night with the City Council’s Police, Fire and Ambulance Committee, which does not have disciplinary powers.
The committee met in closed session to discuss Officer Lisenbee’s situation and the police department’s shortage of officers, and no action was taken in open session. Prior to Officer Lisenbee’s arrest, the department had been short one officer for about seven to eight months, according to the mayor.
Mayor Walters said that, based on the committee’s recommendation, he will request the City Council approve at its next meeting the hiring of Mark Spears as a temporary, part-time officer.
Then the Beardstown Board of Fire and Police Commissioners will be asked to hire two full-time officers from a list of eligible candidates, Mayor Walters said.
Because Mr. Lisenbee is being held in jail and unable to come to work, he is not being paid, Mayor Walters said.
“We will take action, if needed, if he were to bond out tomorrow,” Mayor Walters said. “Because he has an order of protection against him, he is not permitted to carry a firearm, which is a requirement as a police officer. So he can’t perform his job duties.”
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PALMER –—A 13-year-old Sutton girl is being held in the Mat-Su Youth Facility after two boys said she sexually assaulted them on a school bus.
The boys, also 13, of Sutton, said the girl touched them over their clothing, Palmer Police Det. Kelly Turney said. Police went to Palmer Junior Middle School Jan. 9 to investigate and ended up arresting the girl.
Turney said little information could be released about the incident since all the involved parties are juveniles and that a press release discussing the case was necessarily brief and vague.
“All people see is what we can release, but I can tell you it’s not that simple,” Turney said.
He said officers weighed the facts of the case and decided that two charges of second-degree harassment and one each of second-degree sexual assault and attempted second-degree sexual assault were appropriate.
“You balance the public safety, the safety of the victims and then you take a look at those and you balance those with what’s going to be the best decision to be made to reach those goals,” Turney said.
Officer discretion allows for a range of options, he said, from issuing a verbal warning and releasing the suspect to his or her parents on one end to putting the suspect in jail on the other.
Turney said that while he could not discuss the specifics of the evidence collected, in this case the facts justified incarcerating the girl.
“In general, if you have an instance where a behavior is occurring and another person, whether it be an adult or a juvenile, and that behavior is asked to cease and that behavior continues ... you have to follow through on that,” Turney said.
The detective has heard a little of what the community has been saying publicly about the arrest and some folks seem upset officers arrested a 13-year-old girl. But police, he said, are gender-blind.
“Reverse the genders and if a boy, generally speaking, if a boy touches a girl inappropriately on the school bus and the school district and the police don’t take action, can you imagine the outcry there would be?” Turney said.
Turney said Wednesday that no bail amount has been set for the girl.
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I've never understood why a nudist camp is allowed to let children in when there is nude people running around. This is insane. If you have a nudist camp, then NO KIDS ALLOWED!!
SAO PAULO — A U.S. couple was indicted Thursday on charges of sexually abusing children at a Brazilian nudist colony, a court official said.
Frederic Calvin Louderback, 63, of San Diego, and his companion Barbara Anner, 72, could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of sexually abusing children, corrupting minors and conspiracy, court official Renata Savian said.
Attorneys for Louderback and Anner did not immediately return calls seeking reaction, though they earlier denied the charges, which involve children aged 6 to 14.
Also indicted were Andre Ricardo Herdy and Cleci Jaeger — a Brazilian couple suspected of helping the Americans — and three boys' parents who were allegedly paid to let their children be abused.
Police also say that hundreds of photos of young boys engaged in homosexual acts were found in the homes of both couples.
The two couples lived in the Colina do Sol nudist colony in Rio Grande do Sul state until their Dec. 11 arrest.
Prosecutors say Anner lured the boys, all of whom lived in poor neighborhoods near the colony, with promises of gifts, food and trips.
One of their attorneys, Vitor Peruchin, said the two believed they were set up by wealthy members of the colony who didn't like their work for the poor — giving free English lessons to children, promoting sports activities and donating food, clothes and toys.
Police say Anner is originally from Georgia, although she authored an article on a Web site promoting Colina do Sol that said she had lived in Southern California.
View the article here | View HB-908
DO THIS NOW!!! DO NOT WAIT!!!
Please take a moment to contact your Representative and ask them to vote NO on HB 908, legislation that modifies Georgia’s sex offender residency restrictions. This bill may be voted on quickly, so please take action immediately!
Below are some tools that will help you craft your letter.
Thanks in advance for taking action on HB 908!
All the best,
Sara, Sarah, Lisa, James, Gerry and Mica
Sara J. Totonchi
Public Policy Director
Law Offices of the Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
HOW TO FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
To find out whom your State Representative is, visit http://www.vote-smart.org/ and plug in your zip code. All House members contact info, address, fax numbers and email addresses can be reached from
I also have these in a spreadsheet, which you can copy and paste from easier here:
This letter is provided to give you an idea of what a letter, fax or email to your House Representative can look like. Feel free to copy it and fill in your information, modify it, or write your own letter entirely.
Dear Representative _____________,
I write to you today as your constituent from ________ (your town). I urge you to vote no on HB 908,
The goal of legislation related to sexual offenders should be the promotion of public safety and the concurrent reduction in childhood sexual abuse. There is no evidence that the residency restrictions contained within HB 908 protect women and children. Moreover, significant experience with offenders over the past 50 years suggests that these laws are likely to decrease public safety by destabilizing offenders and hindering the utility of the registration and notification statutes.
Additionally, there is a significant risk that HB 908 will be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional, just as Georgia’s last sex offender residency law was held unconstitutional. We owe it to the law enforcement community not to mention taxpayers to pass a law that itself passes constitutional muster.
Thank you in advance for voting against HB 908.
City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number (optional)
View the article here
Since last summer, Robert Rawles estimates that he has spent about $3,000 renting a Lafayette motel room where he must sleep at night.
But Rawles, a convicted child molester, said that hardship pales in comparison to having to leave his 91-year-old mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, home alone.
"I'm already concerned when I leave for work. All night ... it's very easy for someone to break in here," he said. "Is it protecting children by me living in a motel at night? No."
Rawles is one of three convicted sex offenders against children in Tippecanoe County who are challenging a state law that took effect July 1, 2006, prohibiting them from living within 1,000 feet of a school, youth program center or public park.
One of their attorneys is hopeful that a recent Indiana Court of Appeals ruling -- which determined that a legal change to sex offender requirements violated one man's constitutional protection against retroactive laws -- will benefit his client.
In the appeals court case, legislation was amended to require Todd L. Jensen to register as a sexually violent predator two years after he was released from probation. But at the time of his sentence, the law required consultation with two experts to determine if someone was a predator who might be a repeat offender.
"It's not the same portion of the statute ... but I find this particularly interesting because they make note of the fact that legislators made a lot of changes to this statute in 2006," said Lafayette attorney Earl McCoy, who is representing one of the convicted sex offenders forced to move under the new law.
His associate, Chad Montgomery, is handling the third lawsuit filed in Tippecanoe County. Rawles' case was filed by attorney Kenneth Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.
"We believe the changes in statute affected our clients' rights to ex post facto laws," McCoy said.
Ex post facto law refers to the increase of a penalty or punishment after an offense is committed.
But Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington, who is named a defendant in the three lawsuits, said he does not agree. The appeals court ruling specifies that Jensen's retroactive lifetime registration requirement violated the Constitution "as applied to him," Harrington pointed out.
"I believe that the 1,000-feet rule is very safe as far as ex post facto," he said. "No court so far has disagreed with this. As prosecutor, I will be following the law."
Harrington said he also was told the Indiana attorney general's office plans to petition that the Jensen case be heard by the state Supreme Court.
Even Rawles, who is required to register for life as a sex offender, does not think the decision will affect his case. But he believes the law was a poor move by legislators.
"I feel like I've paid for my crime," said Rawles, who gets Depo-Provera contraceptive injections to lower his sex drive. "If I didn't work, I could stay here all day, I just can't sleep here. The law makes absolutely no sense.
"I'm a recovering sex addict. I've not been cured, but I feel I've got the addiction under control."
Tippecanoe Circuit Court Judge Don Daniel, who is presiding over one of the sex offender lawsuits, and Tippecanoe Superior Court 2 Judge Thomas Busch, who is hearing another case, said they have not yet read the Jensen ruling.
But both judges say the way the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court rule often has strong bearing on their decisions.
"I'm always glad to have their guidance," Daniel said. "This is a new area of the law for all of us."
Lafayette resident Patricia Keaton, who lives on the city's south end, said she hopes the appeals court decision does not have an effect on local cases. She believes the legislation is meant to protect children, not the offenders.
"I'm a mother myself, and I can't imagine how the parents of children who have been molested feel," Keaton said. "But I feel, for those victims, that the law is just."
View the article here
A law making it possible to hold 'sexually dangerous' criminals past release dates is ruled unconstitutional
RALEIGH - The federal government cannot keep sexual predators locked up beyond their scheduled release dates, according to a ruling by a federal judge.
The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt declared unconstitutional part of a law approved in July 2006 with much fanfare.
The 59-page ruling, issued last week at the Raleigh federal courthouse, stopped the government's attempt to keep five "sexually dangerous" men away from the public through a process known as civil commitment, which allows a person to be held past his incarceration with the intention of rehabilitation.
"The court concludes that civil commitment of sexually dangerous persons ... is not a necessary and proper extension of Congress' power," Britt wrote.
Supporters say civil commitment is a way to ensure that extremely dangerous sexual predators won't be able to attack again. Critics, however, question the government's right to keep a person imprisoned indefinitely on the suspicion that he might commit a crime.
Most violent sex offenses are handled at the state level and 20 states run programs in which sexual predators are held indefinitely or until they're no longer considered dangerous. The federal government's attempt at civil commitment has been going on only a year. No federal inmates have actually been committed, but at least 57 face the possibility.
Britt's ruling affected only the five men, who are housed at the federal corrections complex in Butner, 35 miles north of Raleigh and the planned home of the civil commitment program. It might have larger implications for other federal inmates, said S. Elizabeth Gibson, a law professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
"It would be a precedent that other courts might look to," she said.
The judge's order addresses provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which was named in honor of the murdered son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh. At the time the law passed, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch called it "the most comprehensive child crimes and protection bill in our nation's history."
"When a child's life or innocence is taken it is a terrible loss -- it's an act of unforgivable cruelty," President Bush said when signing the bill.
In his lengthy order, Britt focused on the civil commitment program outlined in the law. The act allows the Federal Bureau of Prisons to declare a person "sexually dangerous" and then allows the government to ask a federal judge to order the person committed.
Britt ruled that Congress did not have the constitutional powers to order inmates held for violent crimes that, if committed, would fall under the jurisdiction of state courts.
The public defender's office, which represented all five men against the government's attempts to hold them beyond their prison terms, declined to comment on Britt's ruling.
The prisoners -- Graydon Comstock, Shane Catron, Thomas Matherly, Marvin Vigil and Markis Revland -- were still being held Wednesday at the federal prison complex in Butner while the U.S. Attorney's Office decides whether to appeal Britt's ruling.
Since 2006, the federal Bureau of Prisons has certified 57 people as sexually dangerous, said Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman. All are in the midst of legal proceedings and none has had a judge rule against him, she said. The federal prison system plans to house the sex offenders at its facility in Butner if a judge does commit them, she said.
Britt's ruling is not expected to have any effect on the states that house an estimated 2,700 people who have been civilly committed after their prison sentences on sex crimes ended. North Carolina is not among those states.
Bruce Winick, a University of Miami law professor who has written extensively on the subject, is critical of civil commitment proceedings. Instead of telling sexual offenders that they've done something wrong, it gives the impression that the person is suffering from a mental deficiency or illness, Winick said. That reinforces the offenders' beliefs that he had no choice but to commit the crime.
"It sort of assumes that these people are mentally ill," he said. "They are, in my view, just bad people."
View the article here
We need more people like this in this world. All we have is evil, corrupt, greedy, egotistical and hypocritical people, to name a few.
Through their extensive community work, Pepperdine’s Ken and Libby Perrin have come across thousands of faces in past years. One such face was a young man who told the couple he was robbed on his way home from Iraq to attend the funeral of his brother. The Perrins helped the man obtain a hotel and food for three days before finding out he was a wanted sex offender.
“The fact that he is lying doesn’t mean he is any less hungry,” Libby said. “He still has needs.”
This type of mindset has guided the Perrins, who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, in their journey of giving back to the community. Together they lead the University Church of Christ in the area of benevolence, by scheduling people to help make sandwiches for the Labor Exchange, serving food to the homeless and giving money out of their own pocket to those in need.
“Ken and Libby Perrin are two of my real heroes,” said Ken Durham, the preaching minister for the University Church of Christ. “They are what I hope to be like when I grow up and, if that never happens, at least they are what I would hope to be like when I retire.”
- Good statement, but if you are a preaching minister, doesn't that mean you ARE grown up?
Ken Perrin, 73, retired in 1986 as a math professor and chair of Pepperdine’s Natural Science Division. Libby, 71, retired in December as the university field supervisor in teacher education, but is still helping teacher candidate assessment. However, they have been as involved, and as much of a blessing to the campus as they were before they retired, according to Durham.
Since 2002, Libby and Ken Perrin have been working with Standing on Stone Ministries (S.O.S.), which was started by Pepperdine alumna Hollie Packman and her husband Daniel. S.O.S. serves the poor and needy in Malibu. With S.O.S., they feed the homeless on an average of once a month, provide food when S.O.S. opens the emergency shelter on rainy days and offer whatever help they are able to provide.
“We work with S.O.S. because we have people who show up on campus who need clothing, money or a bus ticket,” Libby said. “We take care of those people who show up on campus.”
Libby and Ken Perrin also work with the Labor Exchange, through which they work with others to ensure 30 sack lunches and 80 sandwiches are brought to the labor exchange workers every Saturday.
They also volunteer at the Artifac Tree, which is a second-hand store for the depository of unwanted merchandise that supplies items free of charge to the needy in Malibu. They also send volunteers and help collect food for the Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank.
“It is much easier when you retire to get involved like this,” Ken Perrin said. “The reason we got involved is that we just kind of had concern for the poor; not just for the poor, but the underprivileged — those who have less than we do.”
Ken Perrin said his parents were two important influences in his desire to become so active in the community. During the depression, his mother, with as little as they had, would share with whomever came to the door for help.
Ken Perrin and Libby also said they could not do any of it without the help from their church and the agencies. They often wonder though, if what they do is really helping those in need.
“Sometimes I wonder if this is at all significant,” Libby said. “Do these people really need us to feed them or are we just enablers, accommodating their dependencies? We probably are, but Christ said feed the hungry. He didn’t say to quiz them beforehand and find out what their addictions are or how strong their motivation is to get a job.”
Ken Perrin said he continues to help the needy because its important for them to know we care.
“It seems to me like we probably do more good just the fact that we are concerned about them,” Ken Perrin said. “It probably means something that people are concerned about you, and you are not alone and they want to help you.”
Most who know the couple call Libby the social butterfly, who is always around to help.
Ken Perrin is known as the comic, as he often tells others, “I am the most handsome guy I know,” according to Melanie Emelio, the associate professor in the music department and a long time friend of the couple.
“Ken has a very dry sense of humor; he is very funny,” said Hung Le, the University Registrar. “And Libby is an amazing women who you can always go talk to. Ken will make light of the things they do to reflect the attention away from him, yet they are two pillars of the community.”
The Perrin family has long been connected with Pepperdine, Ken and Libby’s son, Robin, teaches sociology, their daughter-in-law Cindy is the chair of Social Science and professor of psychology, and their nephew, Timothy, is the vice dean and a professor at the School of Law.
“We have been associated with Pepperdine for a long time and we look back to the years where we knew everyone,” Libby said.
View the article here
She knew almost immediately that something was amiss with Kentucky State Police Trooper Jason O'Bannon. He called her frequently, even trying to track her down at her parents' home. The first time she agreed to work as an undercover informant -- making drug buys for him -- he asked her to pull up her bra so he could fondle her breast. And then he exposed himself to her, she said.
The woman told U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman Thursday in federal court in Lexington that although O'Bannon had pleaded guilty only to a charge related to forcing her to kiss him, his conduct went far beyond that. He was a police officer who preyed on her, she said. Federal prosecutors said the woman's identity should remain confidential because of her work as an informant.
Coffman sentenced O'Bannon on Thursday to 10 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay a $3,000 fine and restitution to the victim. Coffman also asked that O'Bannon receive a sex-offender risk assessment and mental health counseling. O'Bannon will be on probation for two years. He is to report to prison by March 3.
- So what about being on the sex offender registry? He sounds like a stalker/predator to me!
Before being sentenced, O'Bannon told Coffman that the past 18 months have been some of the darkest moments of his life, and that he had apologized to the victim and his own family.
Coffman told O'Bannon that she thought his apology was sincere but that she had to impose a sentence that was appropriate.
"Mr. O'Bannon, you were a law enforcement officer; you were to uphold the law," Coffman said.
O'Bannon, who had been a state trooper since 1996, resigned shortly after agreeing to plead guilty in August to two counts -- tampering with a witness and deprivation of rights under the color of law. According to court documents, O'Bannon, 33, persuaded a fellow police officer to lie to investigators about his involvement with the woman. O'Bannon originally told federal investigators that the woman had come to his home and had offered sexual favors in return for a reduced sentence.
In fact, he had asked the woman, who was charged with a drug crime and then agreed to become an undercover informant, to come to his home to discuss her work. He then forced her to kiss him, court documents say. O'Bannon later changed his story, and so did the police officer who lied on O'Bannon's behalf. The name of that police officer was not disclosed in court documents.
Court documents and testimony indicated that the woman who testified Thursday was not the only woman who had had problems with O'Bannon.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Dicken told Coffman that there were other sexual allegations against O'Bannon, but those allegations took place too long ago -- and exceeded the statute of limitations -- or the allegations could not be proved.
Court documents show that the state police and the FBI began investigating O'Bannon in the summer and fall of 2006 after they learned of allegations "by females who claimed that (O'Bannon) used his authority as a police officer to coerce them, or attempt to coerce them, into performing sexual acts with O'Bannon in exchange for O'Bannon reducing or dismissing drug charges against them," according to a plea agreement entered in August.
O'Bannon worked out of Clay County, but Dicken declined to say after Thursday's hearing whether O'Bannon was involved in an investigation of public corruption in Manchester that eventually netted former Manchester Mayor Daugh White as well as several other city leaders.
O'Bannon, through his attorney, declined to comment after Thursday's hearing.
View the article here
This doesn't appear to be a LAW yet, but they are considering it
* * * PLEASE SEND YOUR RESPONSE ASAP * * *
As many of you know, the 2008 Legislative Session commenced on Monday. We write to provide you with an update on HB 908, the new sex offender bill that has been introduced by Representative David Ralston (Email). Here is a brief summary of HB 908, the full text of which is available on the website of the General Assembly:
- This whole bill is basically saying if you are rich and can afford a home, you don't have to move, which is total BS! Most sex offender have lost almost everything, so they are renting places to stay, and they are still having to face the same issues, so how is this any better? Except for those who own a home?
- In response to the Mann decision, HB 908 reinstates all of the residency restrictions that have been in place since July 2006, with certain exceptions, as set forth below.
- HB 908 makes two changes to the residency provisions for people on the registry who own homes:
- If a person on the registry owns his residence and a church/child care center/school/neighborhood center/etc. locates itself within 1,000 feet of the property, the owner will not have to move, so long as he provides proof that he owned the property before the church/child care center/etc. located itself near his residence.
- If a person on the registry purchased a residence before July 1, 2006, he does not have to move due to the residency restrictions, even if a church, day care center, school, neighborhood center, etc. was there before he purchased his home.
- HB 908 makes two changes to the employment provision:
- If a person establishes employment and a church, school, or child care center locates itself within 1,000 feet of the employment, the person will not lose his job.
- A person who established employment at a location within 1,000 feet of a church/school/childcare center before July 1, 2006 will not lose his job.
- HB 908 prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of “public libraries.” (So does this apply to home owners? Or will they still have to lose their home and move if a library pops up?)
- HB 908 prohibits people on the registry from volunteering at a church, school, or child care center or volunteering at any business located within 1,000 feet of a church, school or child care facility.
HB 908 was presented during a hearing before the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee yesterday. Members of the Committee heard testimony from SCHR staff, former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan, sex offender treatment providers, victims’ advocates, and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, all of whom called for changes to the bill.
- And the committee still passed it? I find it hard to believe that this many people find these laws ok even while they are violating so much of the Constitution! What a bunch of hard headed idiots.
HB 908 passed in the Committee with a vote of 9-4. The bill now goes onto the full House of Representatives where it will need to get a favorable vote before it can move onto the Senate. Below is an article from today’s Fulton County Daily Report, as well as an editorial from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the new legislation.
Please know that we will continue to press for needed changes to the sex offender law. Some of you have asked what you can do to help with this effort. We will be sending out an action alert on contacting your legislators later on today. Please watch for that and take action accordingly. We will do our best to keep you updated on any additional information we receive.
Request for Information Regarding Renters
Additionally, we are once again asking for your assistance in providing information for the Whitaker v. Purdue lawsuit: If you rent your home OR APARTMENT, YOUR NAME IS ON THE LEASE, and there is a provision in your lease that states that you cannot sublease your home, please respond to this email as soon as possible with the following information:
- Phone Number where we can call you
- Date of Conviction
- County of conviction
- County of registration
- Beginning date of lease
- Ending date of lease
- Term of lease (1 year? 5 years?)
- Please indicate whether you have had to move your residence since July 1, 2006 due to the 1,000-foot sex offender restrictions ____yes ____no
Thanks in advance for your help.
All the best,
Sara, Sarah, Lisa, James, Gerry and Mica
Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar St.
Atlanta, GA 30303
House panel approves new restrictions for sex offenders
Bill opponents say if measure forcing offenders to move from their homes passes, it would be found unconstitutional in court
By Andy Peters, Staff Reporter
A legislative committee gave initial approval Wednesday to a restoration of provisions to state law that restrict where convicted sex offenders can live and work.
However, two lawyers warned the committee that the bill, if it becomes law, would likely be overturned as unconstitutional by a federal judge.
The House Judiciary (Non-Civil) Committee voted 9-4 to approve House Bill 908, sending the legislation to the full House. The bill would make it illegal for anyone on the state's sex offender registry to take a job or move his residence to within 1,000 feet of a school, church, day care center or other area where youths congregate, such as bus stops, said Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, the bill's sponsor and chairman of the legislative committee.
- No Mr. Ralston, the bus stops have a temporary restraining order (see all these news articles from SCHR), and is not enforceable because the bus stops move all the time, and also, for the above, if a person owns a home before this law came to be, then they would not be made to move. You need to reread the bill my friend. I hope the SCHR catches this, looks like you are trying to reintroduce.
The bill's approval comes about a month after the Supreme Court of Georgia overturned part of the sex offender law dealing with where sex offenders live. The new legislation would create an exemption for convicted sex offenders who already owned property or worked in a specific location before a school, day care center or similar facility moved to within the thousand-foot threshold.
- It's for home owners only. Renters will still probably have to move, if told to do so by the Sheriff department. I rent at a lodge and a new church just recently opened up, and they said I had to move, but then this came out and they put that on hold. Does that mean I am going to have to forever be moving now because I am not rich and own a home?
The legislation attempts to codify a recent clarification the Supreme Court made to an earlier ruling on the constitutionality of residential restrictions for sex offenders.
But a former prosecutor and a public interest attorney told the committee that the measure, if signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue (Contact), would likely run afoul of the courts. “I'm concerned a federal judge is going to say, 'Where is the practical, rational basis of this legislation?'” said former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan.
Morgan noted that, as a district attorney who made a specialty of prosecuting child abuse cases, he never prosecuted anyone because they lived close to a church or a school, but he did prosecute many defendants who worked in a church or a school.
Southern Center for Human Rights attorney Gerald R. Weber Jr. said that he would bring the legislation, if it becomes law, to the attention of U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper. Weber is representing about 14,500 plaintiffs in a case before Cooper that challenges the state's residency restrictions. Weber is concerned that state law equally applies the takings clause to both renters and property owners, which would form a basis for overturning the law. That case is Whitaker v. Perdue, No. 4:06-cv-00140 (N.D. Ga., filed June 20, 2006).
- Amen! I've had to move 7 times now, and the eighth time may be soon.
But members of the legislative committee dismissed Morgan and Weber's concerns and voted to approve the bill. “I appreciate you bringing this forward now, and not waiting on the federal courts,” Rep. Timothy Bearden, R-Villa Rica, told Ralston.
- You people are very hard headed. Wasting tons of money at tax payers expense. Insane! You do not even consider what the EXPERTS say. If this is how law is passed, this state and country are forever doomed!
Another member of the committee, Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock, then voiced her support of Bearden by saying, “Amen.”
On Nov. 21 the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an earlier version of this legislation, in response to a challenge by Anthony Mann, who argued that his probation officer ordered him to move out of his Clayton County home after a child care facility moved nearby or face arrest.
Mann's attorney argued that the restriction amounted to the government taking his property without adequate compensation, in violation of the state and federal constitutions. The court agreed.
On Dec. 13, the court clarified its ruling by modifying this sentence: “We therefore find that O.C.G.A. § 42-1-15 (a) is unconstitutional to the extent that it permits the regulatory taking of appellant's property without just and adequate compensation.” In the earlier version, the court had said that the provision was unconstitutional entirely. Some law-enforcement officers had expressed concern to Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker that this sentence nullified the entire law.
The case is Mann v. Ga. Department of Corrections, No. S07A1043.
Ralston noted that Mann had challenged the state's law on sex offender restrictions twice—once when he did not own his residence, the second time when he was a property owner. Ralston said he didn't extend his exemption to renters because the court's ruling focused on the takings clause.
- But what about the rights of renters who are being forced to move over and over and over again due to someone deciding to open a day care to push the offenders out of their neighborhood? This just isn't fair!
“It was our decision that the court was much more concerned with the takings clause as it affects property owners,” Ralston said. “Renters are less clearly defined by law,” he said. “Owning property, there has to be evidence in writing. A rental agreement can be verbal.”
But Weber said that state case law is clear that renters are covered by the “takings clause,” as well as property owners. “We believe the fix isn't big enough and this will be struck down,” Weber said. “We need to give the courts time to wrestle this out.”
If someone who already lives next to a child care center, or another place where youths congregate, and is later convicted of a sexual offense, the person would not then be required to move, according to the Southern Center attorney Weber.
The Attorney General's office has had discussions with Ralston about his proposed legislation, said spokesman Russ Willard, declining to provide specifics of those talks.
Learn from Genarlow
House Bill 908 fails to distinguish between dangerous offenders and those who pose little risk
From behind the barbed wire and metal bars of the Burruss Correctional Training Center, Genarlow Wilson dreamed about going to college "anywhere that would accept me."
Today, the 21-year-old begins classes at Morehouse College. When the Georgia Supreme Court overturned Wilson's 10-year prison sentence in October, the justices gave the Douglasville man back his life and his future.
The start of Wilson's college career this week coincides with the beginning of the 2008 state Legislature. When legislators debate new laws that impact teens, they ought to keep Wilson's experience uppermost in their minds.
Wilson's drastic 10-year sentence — for engaging in oral sex with a willing 15-year-old when he was 17 — was a direct outcome of shoddy lawmaking. Inexplicably, the 1995 Child Protection Act enacted by the Legislature treated oral sex between a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old as aggravated child molestation, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years without the possibility of parole. Had Wilson had intercourse with the girl rather than oral sex, he would have been guilty of a misdemeanor, which provides for a maximum punishment of 12 months.
- Yet if he would've had sex with the girl, he would've got less of a sentence. Now that doesn't make ANY sense at all.
"My wish is that the Legislature eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing for teens," says B.J. Bernstein, Wilson's attorney. "Removing a judge's and prosecutor's ability to look at an individual fact pattern and the unique circumstances of a young person's life is contrary to common sense or fairness."
In 2006, the General Assembly corrected the error of the 1995 law by reducing consensual sex acts between teens to a misdemeanor with maximum jail time of 12 months. But lawmakers did not make the change retroactive. If the Georgia Supreme Court had not declared his 10-year sentence "cruel and unusual punishment" under state and federal constitutions, Wilson would be sitting in prison today rather than in a college classroom.
"When the Legislature reduces the penalty for a crime, it should be made retroactive for all persons currently serving a sentence for that crime. Had they done so in this case, the world would never have heard of Genarlow Wilson," said former DeKalb District Attorney J. Tom Morgan.
Today, a House committee is meeting to discuss a bill that re-instates the limits on where sex offenders can live and work in Georgia in the wake of a Georgia Supreme Court ruling in November that threw out many of the existing limits. It was to avoid living within those rigid limits — among the most extreme in the country — that Wilson fought so hard to have his conviction overturned.
The previous restrictions on where sex offenders could live in Georgia made no distinction between dangerous offenders and those who pose little or no risk. Unfortunately, House Bill 908 also fails to acknowledge those differences. The bill applies the same restrictions to all offenders, even to 18-year-olds who had sex with willing younger teen partners.
- And it still doesn't. If you have the label, regardless of the crime or when it happened, you are still looked at as if you killed someone. We need to have these laws for TRUE PREDATORS and not ALL offenders.
Before re-enacting the same bad policy when it meets today, the House Judiciary Non-civil Committee ought to think about how one young man's life was almost ruined by careless and thoughtless lawmaking.
View the article here
This is BS! Why release a news article the day of the meeting? This is so nobody has a chance to oppose the laws, that's why! This should be illegal! Sneak it through!!!! The article was published at 2pm, so how is 2 hours enough to get prepared for something like this? If any sex offenders read this, go to this meeting and voice your concerns about these draconian laws!!
MANITOWOC — A meeting will be held at 4 p.m. today to gauge public opinion about restricting where registered sex offenders can live in the city.
The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at Manitowoc City Hall, 900 Quay St. The public is encouraged to attend.
Alderman Paul Tittl (Email) and Alderman Christopher Able (Email) are considering introducing a proposed ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live.
In December, Tittl and Able said they would seriously consider an ordinance barring registered sex offenders from living near schools, daycares, parks and other areas of the city.
The meeting will be held to seek input from residents regarding the potential proposal. Representatives from the state Department of Correction will attend, Tittl said.
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So what good are they? The data is only as good as the person entering the data. Are sex offenders being arrested due to errors not caused by them? Hmm, I wonder! More errors here.
Errors found in 25 percent of N.Y. sex offender registry records
As many as one-quarter of the records in the New York state sex offender registry contained incorrect information on the registered offenders, according to a report released this week.
In Virginia, the State Police verify all information provided by sex offenders, said Lt. W.J. Reed, assistant division commander of the State Police’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which oversees the state’s sex offender registry.
Reed said when someone registers, “we personally verify the information with the offender” within 30 days. The Virginia State Police has a sex offenders investigative unit of 40 troopers.
The same holds true when offenders update or change their information, he said. Troopers also confirm registry information twice a year. For violent offenders, the state police sends mail to their listed address every 90 days as another way to keep track of them.
If an offender fails to notify the state police of a change in address, a criminal investigation begins, Reed said. That can result in new charges and jail time.
In New York’s findings, one-fourth of the records studied were shown to have mismatched driver’s license information or license details for the wrong people were given out as those of offenders.
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I would get a gun, and when a dog tried to attack me, it would be shot on the spot. If the owners cannot restrain them, then that is their fault.
Casper letter carrier Jill Mobley lives in fear when she works.
During her four years as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, she has been bitten by stray dogs four times.
In a letter read before the Casper City Council, she outlined her attacks and offered a plea for stricter dog control.
Mobley isn't the only postal worker plagued by the fear of loose, vicious or overprotective dogs.
After David McKenzie passed around photos of maimed letter carriers, he said more than 3,000 postal workers in the country are bit each year, many of whom have to go to the emergency room for stiches and shots.
"It not only scars you physically, but emotionally," McKenzie said, dressed in his blue postal service uniform.
More than half a dozen letter carriers spoke to the city council, asking for solutions to the loose-dog problem in Casper.
An 18-year letter carrier, Len Epperson, was attacked on Oct. 30 by a 100-pound pit bull that broke through a screen door. Epperson recieved 26 stitches to his face alone.
McKenzie suggested requiring owners of vicious dogs to purchase insurance, pay a bond to have a dog returned to them after an attack or increase fines for owners with dogs running loose.
He also asked if vicious dogs -- that label can only be given by a judge -- could be listed on a Web site, similar to the sex offender registry.
- So my question is, how is putting a dog on a registry going to help? Are you going to check the registry each time you have to go to someones home? What about the dogs who have not attacked someone yet? Or are you just going to deny going to the persons house?
Stan Mundy was the only postal worker who advocated for outlawing pit bulls, a breed that McKenzie said is responsible for 61 percent of life-threatening attacks. In October, two pit bulls attacked letter carriers in Casper, sending both to the hospital for stitches.
Many of the other letter carriers blamed the animal owners more than the animals themselves.
"Ninety-nine percent of problems are owner problems," McKenzie said. "How do we encourage responsible dog owners?"
Casper Police Chief Tom Pagel said requiring insurance for vicious dog owners sounds good in theory, but enforcement could prove to be difficult.
In 2007, Pagel said 1,700 tickets were issued to motorists for driving without insurance. Forty percent of the people cited chose to pay the $410 fine rather than purchase insurance. Many drivers also purchase insurance and cancel the plan soon after providing the city with proof of their policy, he said.
In 2007, Metro Animal Control Manager Rick Sulzen said there were 57 dog-related calls from the post office, and as a result of those calls, 23 citations were issued to offending dog owners. Sulzen said his officers investigate loose-dog calls, but Metro has six officers to cover all of Natrona County.
The postal workers concerns and suggestions will be addressed in an upcoming city council work session.