Saturday, January 19, 2008

ND - Sex Offender Laws

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This was just last year, and proves, before the hysteria, the laws were working. Now it's a mess.

10/30/2007

Sex Offenders have always been a part of our community but until recently they have not been a part of our daily awareness. North Dakota’s laws require offenders to register with local law enforcement and to keep law enforcement informed of any changes in address, employment or other registration information. These laws work; our state’s compliance rate is over 97%.

Laws Relating to Offenders
There are no state laws prohibiting where a sex offender may live or work. An offender may live in an apartment building, near a school, park, or daycare unless a condition of that individual’s probation prohibits it. The terms of an offender’s probation are set by the court on a case-by-case basis.

There are laws restricting when and whether an offender may be on or in school property. Offenders are prohibited from being on or near school property except for purposes of voting, attending an open meeting, and as allowed by school board policy (for example, to attend parent-teacher conferences or school functions). Contact your child’s school for more information.

Community Notification
Police and Sheriff's departments around the state do community notifications through the news media, public meetings, or personal notification when high risk offenders and lifetime registrants move into a neighborhood. A local law enforcement agency considers many factors before deciding when and how to notify the community. Ask your police department or sheriff's office what the specific policies and procedures are for public notification in your community.

Why Not Every Offender?
If the community was notified about every offender, it would dilute the usefulness of the information about the few offenders who pose a very serious risk to the public. Public notification about low-risk offenders may have the unintended effect of making them more risky. An employed sex offender living in a known location and who is participating in an offender treatment program is preferable to one who is unemployed, transient, and with no incentive to complete treatment.

What About My Children?
If you are concerned about a high risk sex offender living in your neighborhood, you should be able to alert your children without scaring them with graphic details. You may wish to review the offender’s page on the sex offender website. You can point out to your children where the offender lives, describe what he or she looks like and instruct your children to stay away and to tell you about anything suspicious. Work with your neighbors to watch out for each other's children. Report any suspicious activity to the police.

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NY - Legislators take wait-andsee approach on sexoffender law

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A little old, but still valid.

08/29/2007

A sex-offender law proposed by Oswego County Legislator Paul Natoli won't be going very far very soon. The legislature's Strategic Planning and Government Committee decided Monday to delay action on the proposal rather than moving forward and face costly litigation.

"Since our last meeting, the Town of Cicero has been sued for a similar law," County Administrator Phil Church told the committee members. He added that County Attorney Richard Mitchell recommended waiting until that case has been decided.

"I agree with it," Church said of Mitchell's opinion. He added that Cicero's legislation is being challenged on the issue of "double jeopardy" and the constitutionality of the law that would prohibit the movement of convicted sex offenders for the remainder of their lives.

Committee Chairman James Bryant explained that the town is being sued by a man who was convicted of a sex crime many years ago and now, because of the town's new law, must move from a home he has owned for 17 years. The man, who reportedly has been married and has not had any additional infractions, brought the lawsuit against the town.

Natoli proposed the legislation that would establish residency and proximity restrictions for sex offenders who have committed criminal sexual offenses against minors.

His proposal would make it unlawful for a sex offender to establish residence or domicile within a radius of 500 feet of any land utilized as a camp, day-care center, park, playground, or school. The law would also prohibit a sex offender from entering a county park or playground.

The law, as proposed by Natoli, was not supported by those working with convicted sex offenders. Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd cautioned at a June meeting that severely restricting where a sex offender can reside would drive them "underground" because they would likely avoid registering if they have no where to live and no where to go.

Mitchell prepared a new draft law, but legislators said the issue is becoming costly and could be more costly if a law were passed and the county faced a challenge.

Other municipalities with similar laws are facing court challenges, as well.

The issue of constitutional rights has been discussed at the committee level at previous meetings. There have been questions as to whether a local law can supersede a court-mandated probation.

Also at issue is how long a person must be penalized for a crime once a sentence and probation have been satisfied and who can enforce the law once it takes effect.

Legislator John Proud referred to Natoli's proposed law as a "fastidious quagmire." When jokingly asked if he could spell it, Legislator Greg Osetek responded, "It's a mess."

Until the Cicero case has been decided, committee members agreed that the matter would remain hold for Oswego County. Although not officially tabled, no one on the committee objected to Church's recommendation.


MA - Judge Says Ex-Con Can Keep Lottery Winnings

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And yet in other states, they are trying to deny sex offenders from winning the lottery. If this applies to robbers, then it should apply to everyone else. Whether you are a criminal or not, if you paid for a ticket and win, you should be allowed to keep it, period. More lottery BS here.

01/18/2008

BARNSTABLE -- More good luck has come to a convicted bank robber who won $1 million Massachusetts lottery prize.

A judge said Timothy Elliott can keep his winnings even though he violated probation when he bought the scratch-off ticket.

Elliott was put on five years probation after pleading guilty in 2006 to robbing a Cape Cod bank. Part of that probation included no gambling or buying lottery tickets.

His lawyer called the violation minor.

Elliott has already gotten his first of 20 yearly $50,000 checks.

He will now have to pay a $65 monthly probation supervisory fee, which had been waived because he was indigent.


Your PC's Been Arrested—Now What?

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01/01/2008

If anyone misuses your network, guess who's liable?

It's a typical Monday morning, except after you saunter into the office sipping Starbucks, the door flies open behind you and a flurry of federal badges rush into reception with warrant paperwork. Turns out Elliott in sales has been downloading child pornography. Or maybe Grant in accounting has been skimming a few dollars off every customer bank transfer. Or perhaps Elaine in receivables has been running a long-standing overbilling scheme.

If this moment is the first time you've considered how to respond to a cyber law-enforcement incident, you're certainly not in the best position. But don't panic—even a surprised business manager can save the day. Follow these five steps to shield your business from a potential legal disaster.

1. ENFORCE YOUR COMPANY'S EXISTING FAIR USE, DATA RETENTION, AND PRIVACY POLICIES TO THE LETTER. Documents like these aren't just lawyer fodder. They're designed to discourage your employees from committing cybercrime in the first place. Every employee must be briefed on these policies and should have easy access to them. Deviating from your policies for any reason sends the wrong message. Stick to your guns.

2. TALK TO A LAWYER—FIRST. Peter Brill of the Brill Legal Group, a New York–based criminal defense firm with eight years of cybercrime experience, says that most corporate law firms today employ at least one attorney familiar with cybercrime. Find out who that lawyer is at the firm you deal with and make him or her your first call after encountering any kind of trouble. It's a good idea to talk to this attorney before disaster strikes, too, about screening employees (so the company can't be held negligent) and what the best steps would be in an emergency.

3. DON'T DESTROY THE EVIDENCE. If you're the one who happens on Elaine's overbilling scheme, there are two things Brill maintains are paramount: First, don't destroy anything. Odds are she's already under investigation somewhere, and if your fingerprints are discovered on a smashed hard disk or a file-deletion audit trail, you're going to jail right along with her, even if you were just trying to protect your livelihood. Second, remember that your first "crime scene" conversation shouldn't be with the cops or with Elaine. It's with your lawyer and only your lawyer.

4. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY. For the business owner or manager, being honest with whatever law-enforcement agency winds up handling the case is definitely the best approach. "The FBI, for example, doesn't like shutting down businesses," says Brian Chee, lab director at the Advanced Network Computing Laboratory at the University of Hawaii and also an acting university information-systems security officer. Grabbing an immediate backup snapshot of your servers, say, and then spiriting it off-site in case the FBI decides to walk out with hard disks or servers can land you in a lot of trouble. "Talk to them," says Chee, "and generally they'll work with you to take what they need while making sure your business can stay up and running."

5. PUT YOUR DISASTER-RECOVERY PLAN INTO ACTION. Yeah, the Feds kicking down your door qualifies as a disaster. While some cybercrime incidents involve simply taking one workstation away and putting one miscreant employee into handcuffs, others can make a much greater dent in your company's productivity. If the Feds walk out with several workstations and servers, for example, or declare the entire office a crime scene for x number of days, it can all but cripple an unprepared business. If this happens, fall back on your disaster-recovery plan—your business has one, right? Make sure guilt-free employees have a place to work, even if you need to organize a telecommuting phase. Acquire replacement servers and populate them with the most recent off-site backup. All standard disaster-recovery stuff. "The key is not to panic," says Chee. Sure, it's not a "standard" disaster, but keeping your response orderly is the best way to assuage employee fear, maintain customer calm, and keep the business running.


OH - Adam Walsh law under attack

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01/19/2008

Judge Robert Lindeman is expected to issue a written order concerning an appeals hearing held Friday in Miami County Common Pleas Court dealing with the legality of the state's registered sex offender residency rule.

A handful of attorneys - mostly law students from Northern Kentucky University - from the Ohio Justice & Policy Center in Cincinnati who are representing Piqua resident Edward Burge, 34, argued that the state law, enacted in 2003, prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, preschool and daycare facility imposes punishment retroactively and is unconstitutional.

Dr. Luis Rosell, an Iowa expert in the field of sexual offenders and abuse, testified a majority of sex crimes are committed by individuals who already know the victim, claiming the residency law does nothing to prevent sex-related crimes from occurring.

"Children are everywhere," Rosell testified. "...If you want to offend, it's not that difficult. It has nothing to do with where someone lives."

The case was once again before Lindeman after an appeals court in August reviewed the initial case in which the judge ordered Burge to move from his residence at 132 E. Main St., Apt. A, Piqua, because it was 954 feet away, "as the crow flies," from Roosevelt Fieldhouse and Wertz Stadium, 401 E. Ash St., regardless of geography and topography. The Great Miami River separates the residence and the school facility.

However, if the most navigable path (streets) was used by Burge from that residence to get to the fieldhouse, it would be in excess of 2,500 feet.

In that ruling, Lindeman found: "The phrase 'within 1,000 feet' is construed to simply be the delineation of distance between two points, which, at its shortest, is a straight line. Thus, it does not require the court to consider if the straight line is navigable or consider houses, shrubs or other obstacles which may impact traveling in a straight line between the two points."

Burge has since moved from that residence.

Burge's residency has been challenged four times in the last three years, with Miami County Prosecutor Gary Nasal seeking to remove him from two homes in Troy and two in Piqua for being in violation of the law.

Friday's hearing was held concerning Burge's former East Main Street residence. He has since moved to another residence in Piqua that also is in violation of the state law.

Burge, a registered sexually-oriented offender, was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in 2000 and the residency law was applied to him retroactively.

Amelia Orr, a clinical counselor who deals with sexual offenders in Butler County, also took the stand at Friday's hearing. She contended the residency law is not only ineffective, but also provides a false sense of security and is counterproductive. She said in some cases, abuse is not reported out of fear of the law.

At times during her testimony, Orr verbally sparred with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Dicks. At one point she told Dicks how to ask a question, prompting Lindeman to have forceful words with the witness, informing her it was not within her right to tell the prosecutor how to ask a question.

The most heated exchange between the witness and the prosecutor came at the conclusion of Orr's testimony, when she told Dicks a convicted sexual offender is less likely to commit a second sex offense than someone who had never committed one at all.

Additional testimony throughout the day focused on defense witness Dr. Robert Lilly, a Northern Kentucky University professor and expert in criminology.

Other testimony centered on the county's enforcement of the law and specifics on how measurements were taken in Burge's case and his home's proximity to the facility used by the Piqua City School District, which brought to the stand John Carroll of the county sheriff's office, Deb Stump of the county's tax map department and Tim Reed of the Piqua school district.

Since his case began, Burge has appeared on "The Today Show" and "The Montel Williams Show," pleading his case to the watching American public.

Burge, wearing a sweater with a collared shirt underneath and khaki pants, was present in the courtroom, but did not testify.

After the hearing, Lindeman told the prosecution and the defense to file post-hearing briefs concerning their cases in a timely manner, saying afterward he would file a written decision.

Burge's case is one of two high-profile cases concerning sexual offenders in Miami County.

Troy defense attorney Jose Lopez filed a series of lawsuits last month that challenges the constitutionality of Ohio's new sex offender law, the Adam Walsh Act, which was enacted by Ohio lawmakers last summer.


IN - Carter wants to keep sex offenders out of chat rooms

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01/18/2008

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter recently announced that he will be working with the Indiana General Assembly to pass a law that would ban convicted sex offenders from using online social networking sites, chat rooms or instant messaging programs that allow minors to participate.

“The Internet is a powerful communication tool that is being exploited by convicted sex offenders who have found cyberspace a convenient avenue for hiding their identity from young people,” Carter said. “Indiana must be proactive in establishing laws that address this type of deceitful behavior by convicted felons.”
- No, it's not all convicted sex offenders, it's child predators. Big difference. Not all sex offenders are doing what you mention. You are just spreading lies for political gain or some other hidden agenda. And not all sex offenders are "convicted felons!" Stop the damn lies!

A survey conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that one in seven youths between the ages of 10 and 17 has received unwanted sexual solicitations online that attempted to contact the youth in person, over the telephone or via mail. The survey also indicated that one in three children has experienced unwanted exposure to sexual material on the Internet.
- So, was it by an adult or another child? Why do you not show that? I am willing to bet it's other kids contacting kids. But, I know there is adults who do this, but I bet the vast majority are other kids.

“The growth of the Internet and the ability to hide an identity is a challenge to parents and law enforcement alike,” Carter said. “A state law specifically addressing the online solicitation and contact of children through social networking sites and other Internet communication tools by convicted sex offenders is a step in the right direction to protect our youth.”
- SO TEACH KIDS HOW TO IGNORE THEM AND SAY NO! Remember the old Drug campaigns? Why aren't you doing a campaign similar to this, but about online dangers? The Internet is dangerous to EVERYONE, not just kids.

Carter will work with legislators in proposing a law during the 2008 Indiana General Assembly session that would make it a Class D felony (punishable by 6 months up to 3 years in prison) for a convicted sex offender registered on the state’s sex offender registry to use a social networking Web site or instant messaging or chat room program frequented by minors. The penalty would be increased to a Class C felony (punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison) if the offender uses the program to contact a child or has a prior conviction under the law.
- Why don't you include the note that this is for any sex offender who contacts a child? Just because a sex offender uses one of these sites or programs doesn't mean they are trolling for kids. Stop the fear-mongering! And have you ever used an IM client? Apparently not. What about all the hackers who use chat rooms and peer-2-peer networks to spread porn, viruses, illegal software and software illegally? That is rampant as well.

Carter indicated that at least two bills will be introduced this session that incorporate his proposals to halt convicted sex offender use of the Internet on places frequented by minors.
- Again, why not let them use the software and sites, but have the sites log what people do? They can do this rather easy. I know, I am a programmer. Then, if they contact a child and talk sexually to them, arrest them. Again, just because a sex offender may be using one of these, doesn't mean they are out looking for kids to molest. This is like saying all sex offenders hide behind bushes waiting to pounce on a kid, it's lies and fear-mongering.

Four states have passed laws regulating a convicted sex offender’s use of and activities on social networking sites.
- And a true predator who wants to harm another child will just create a new identity and commit his/her crime. It's feel good laws that will not do anything.


KS - Parents, ex-cop are jailed after girl, 11, reports sexual abuse

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Notice it says parents, not a stranger, but the parents. Stranger danger is RARE and hyped for political gain.

01/19/2008

A former part-time police officer and the parents of an 11-year-old Wichita girl are in jail and facing criminal charges after the girl reported that she had been sexually abused, police said Friday.

The former police officer in Conway Springs was an acquaintance of the mother, said Lt. T.K. Bridges of the Exploited and Missing Child Unit.

"This has been going on for a substantial time period," Bridges said of the alleged abuse.

A police document indicates the abuse began in late October 2006. The girl reported it to a school district employee Wednesday. The employee followed policy and notified the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, which contacted police, Bridges said.

Detectives and supervisors worked "through the night" into Thursday, he said.

The child's 33-year-old father was arrested Thursday at his house in Florence, said Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker.

He was booked into jail on suspicion of rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and child endangerment, Becker said.

The girl has two half-sisters, ages nine and 15, who live with their father, Becker said. They were both interviewed, and the 9-year-old reported being abused over about the same period as her half-sister, Becker said.

The 11-year-old's mother and the acquaintance were arrested in Wichita, Bridges said. The girl reported being abused in both Wichita, where she lived with her mother, and Florence.

"We have several crime scenes we have to deal with in a large geographic area," Bridges said.

The mother was booked on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment, while the acquaintance was booked on suspicion of rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated sodomy.

The 11-year-old was placed in police protective custody and her half-sisters are now "safe and secure" in another location, Bridges said.

The Eagle does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes and for that reason is not naming the parents or acquaintance.

The acquaintance was fired from his part-time police job, Conway Springs Police Chief Ken Winter said Friday.
- So much for innocent until proven guilty! He probably did it, but you are suppose to be innocent until proven guilty. So he should be able to keep his job until proven he's guilty.

The man had worked as needed, filling in for full-time officers since August, Winter said.

"I was pretty disappointed" to learn of the arrest and the allegations, Winter said.

Police plan to present evidence to the Sedgwick County district attorney's office on Tuesday to determine if charges will be brought, Bridges said.


OH - Sex offenders' lawyers say law requiring moves is unconstitutional

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01/19/2008

Edward Burge has faced legal action five times since his conviction in 2000.

TROY — Lawyers for a Piqua registered sex offender, who has faced legal action five times for living within 1,000 feet of a school, argued Friday that the law is ineffective and imposes punishment retroactively, violating the U.S. Constitution.

Experts in sexual abuse prevention and criminology testified in Miami County Common Pleas Court as lawyers for Edward Burge challenged the state law prohibiting registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.

A ruling by Judge Robert Lindeman won't come for at least two months because Burge's lawyers will file written arguments to supplement the testimony.

Burge, 34, was convicted in 2000 of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and labeled a sexually oriented offender. The residency restriction law was passed by the legislature after his conviction and imposed by prosecutors beginning in 2005.

The first time prosecutors filed against Burge, he was ordered to move from a Piqua apartment where he lived with his family.

The case heard Friday was the third filed, because prosecutors said he is too close to a Piqua schools field house.

Lindeman last year ruled for prosecutors, but the case was sent back by the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals for a hearing on Burge's lawyers' claim the law violates the Constitution by adding punishment on top of a sentence.

James R. Lilly, a Northern Kentucky University sociology and criminology professor, said the law, which supporters argue is a civil action to protect children, imposes additional punishment. With the residency requirement, "the individual is being asked continually to repay, repay and repay for the offense," Lilly said.


CO - MTV star gets probation for drugs

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The rich and famous catch all the breaks. He was convicted, but did not serve any jail/prison time, but got 10 years of probation and the sex offender registry. Now he violates probation, already, and gets another slap on the wrist, two years added to probation. If I did the same as he did, I'd be in prison for a very long time. You see, it pays to be famous, even if you are ugly as h*ll. Even if the average citizen was not a sex offender, but was caught with cocaine only, they'd be in prison or jail for a while.

01/18/2008

MTV star Vincent Margera pleaded guilty today to violating bond conditions by possessing cocaine and was sentenced to two years’ probation.

Margera was sentenced last month to 10 years to life intensive supervision as a sex offender for fondling girls during a promotional appearance at the Colorado Mills mall in August 2006.

The two-year sentence will run concurrent to the sex offender probation and paves the way for Margera’s probation supervision to be transferred to Pennsylvania, where he lives.

Jefferson County District Judge M.J. Melendez warned Margera to strictly follow the conditions of his probation or he will be sent back to Colorado and wind up in prison.

Under the terms of the probation in the sex case, Margera is banned from portraying his character Don Vito in any kind of public appearance for a decade.

Melendez said Margera’s character on the “Viva La Bam” reality series was the reason he got into trouble and that his cocaine use also was behind the events at the mall that resulted in him being convicted as a sex offender.

Defense attorney Pamela Mackey said Margera entered treatment for drug addiction in December 2006 and has not relapsed since completing the program.

“He’s doing well,” she said.

He had been charged with 12 counts of violating bond conditions for using cocaine. Those charges, which carry a mandatory prison sentence, were dismissed as part of his guilty plea.
- Then I guess it's not mandatory...

Melendez said she did not believe additional punishment or more probation conditions were necessary in the case.

“Two felonies is plenty enough,” she said.


GA - State Rep. Jay Neal’s Capitol report

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01/18/2008

The first week of the 2008 legislative session wrapped up this week. Committees went back to work immediately holding hearings on key pieces of legislation and the Governor joined us one day to deliver his annual State of the State address.

One of the key issues the General Assembly will address this year is water and planning for our state’s future water needs. Georgia’s water council has worked diligently for many years preparing a statewide water management plan that must now be approved by the legislature. House Resolution 1022 would ratify the plan as prepared by the Water Council and was passed by the House Natural Resources Committee. The House adopted the resolution by a vote of 131 to 37.

In the Governor’s State of the State address, he outlined his key priorities and budget recommendations for the legislative session. Governor Perdue continues to focus on education, transportation, economic development and public safety. The Governor is proposing funding for new school construction and expansion of Georgia’s pre-K programs to include a greater number of our children. As a school bus driver for 13 years in Walker County, I strongly support the Governor’s proposal for $25 million to purchase 557 new school buses. Replacing these old gas guzzlers for newer, more fuel efficient models is not only sound fiscal policy but also ensures a safer ride to school for our children. The Governor also announced his desire to create and fund a State Transportation Infrastructure Bank to be a revolving loan fund helping rural communities build roads, bridges, transit, rail and airports. Governor Perdue spoke at length about Georgia’s growing international presence, and the industry and jobs we are gaining as a result. As Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety, I look forward to supporting the Governor’s proposal to fund 3 new trooper schools that will graduate an additional 205 state troopers by 2010. I look forward to working with the Governor on these and other proposals as the legislative session moves forward.

Two other bills of significance that were debated and passed in committee this week would strengthen Georgia’s dog fighting laws and our sexual predator laws. House Bill 301 proposes additional criminal liability for anyone convicted of knowingly owning, possessing, training, transporting or selling a dog to fight; betting on a dog fight; being present as a spectator at a dog fight; and aiding or abetting such an action. House Bill 908 addresses specific areas of Georgia’s current sexual predator law struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court and expands the definition of “areas where minors congregate” to include public libraries. This new legislation also expands current law to prohibit convicted sex offenders from volunteering within 1000 feet of a school, church, child care facility, or area where minors congregate. I look forward to supporting both of these measures when they come before the full House for a vote.

The House will be in recess the week of January 21st as we meet with our colleagues in the Georgia State Senate and hear testimony from state agencies on the Fiscal Year 2008 Amended State Budget and the Fiscal Year 2009 State Budget.

I will continue to keep you up to date on our actions as the legislative session progresses. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at my Capitol office at (404) 656-0152.

State Rep. Jay Neal, a Republican from Chickamauga, represents House District 1, which includes part of Walker County and part of Catoosa County. He can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 645, LaFayette GA 30728; by phone at (706) 638-6518 or (423) 298-6217; by fax at (706) 866-2237; by email at jay.neal@house.ga.gov.


OH - Sex offenders get hearings 15 on registry contesting new status under Adam Walsh Act

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01/18/2008

Fifteen registered sex offenders who have filed suit contesting their new status under the Adam Walsh Act will get their day in court next month.

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said Portage County Common Pleas Judges John Enlow and Laurie Pittman have each set aside a February date to listen to the 15 petitions filed as of Thursday. Enlow will hear cases in his courtroom on Feb. 22, Vigluicci said, while Pittman has scheduled Feb. 27 for hearings on those cases.

In the meantime, each of the 15 offenders who filed suit contesting their new status has been granted a stay from the new registration rules that went into effect Jan. 1 with the Adam Walsh Act.

The act upped the penalties for failure to register as a sex offender as well as re-classifying nearly every offender convicted in the past 10 years.

Under previous law, offenders were placed into one of three categories at the sitting judge's discretion, based on the judge's feeling of whether the defendant was likely to re-offend: sexually oriented offender, the lowest classification; habitual sex offender; or sexual predator, the most serious of the three categories.

Now, offenders are still placed in one of three categories. But the placement of an offender in the Tier I (lowest), Tier II or Tier III (the most serious) category is determined based upon the crime they were convicted of. No evidence is weighed on whether the defendant is likely to re-offend. That means some offenders who previously may have only been required to register as a sex offender for 10 years are now facing lifetime registration.

The reclassification and notification was conducted by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Vigluicci said, and notified offenders of their change in status around November. The offenders then had 60 days from the receipt of that notification to file a petition to contest it.

Most of the petitions filed in Portage County contesting the reclassification argue that applying the law "specifically the retroactively " violates the offenders' constitutional rights, is equal to "double jeopardy,' or that their case was incorrectly converted thus placing them in an incorrect tier.

"Our position is that the Adam Walsh Act is valid, that it is constitutional, and that it is enforceable," Vigluicci said Thursday. "However, we are reviewing each case to make sure that the attorney general's conversion was correct."

Vigluicci acknowledged that since the attorney general's office sent out thousands of reclassification letters, it is possible errors might have been made.

"You also have to look at where the person was convicted. If someone was convicted of something out of state and is now living in Ohio, the attorney general had to look at their conviction and try to match it with the Ohio statutes," he said. "That's not always easy to do because different states have different laws for sex offenders, different levels of offenses and different reporting requirements, so they had to do their best to match the offending state's law with present Ohio law."

Vigluicci said his office is reviewing each of the petitioned cases separately to ensure the conversions are correct.

"If we do find an error has been made in the conversion, we will concede that," he said.


PA - Residency limits for sex offenders explored

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01/16/2008

Jenkintown Borough Council is taking a look at an ordinance that would levy residency restrictions on sex offenders.

Council member Christopher Durkin said at a Jan. 9 public safety committee meeting that he was interested in pursuing such an ordinance. Durkin said while canvassing during the borough council election, residents and school district officials expressed concern about not having an ordinance that would limit where sex offenders could live in relation to the school.

"People said, 'You've got to be kidding,'" Durkin said. "'We don't have a law against that?'"

Durkin said though there have been no incidents regarding sex offenders in the borough, council needs to be proactive by considering such an ordinance.

A legal assistant with the Pennsylvania State Police said there are no restrictions on where a sex offender can live - unless he or she has such restrictions written into his or her terms of parole. She said registered sex offenders must register with the State Police yearly and sexually violent predators, those who have a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses, according to the State Police Web site, must register every 90 days.

The details of a proposed residency restriction have not been decided. Durkin said he reviewed such an ordinance from Aston Township, Delaware County, which he called "very well-written."

According to the Aston Township Web site, the ordinance passed April 19, 2006, and went into effect May 1 of that year. The ordinance reads: "It shall be unlawful for any sex offender to establish a permanent or temporary residence within 1,000 feet of any school, child-care facility, common open space, community center, public park or recreational facility." It also said a sex offender would have 45 days to move to a portion of the township that doesn't fall under the restriction and penalties include 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, plus cost of prosecution.

Collegeville, a similarly small borough that is 1.6 square miles, passed a similar ordinance in 2005. The tougher ordinance, prohibits a sex offender from living within 2,500 feet of a school, park or child-care center.

Collegeville Borough Manager Geoff Thompson said council members fashioned their ordinance to be similar to that of Bensalem Township.

"More or less, members of borough council heard about [residence restrictions] from other municipalities, then it migrated here," Thompson said.

Though there are only two neighborhoods in Collegeville in which a sex offender may live according to Thompson, he said council would modify the ordinance if necessary.

"There was a little bit of concern when it passed," Thompson said, "but we figured we'd adopt it and if there is a problem, it can be changed."

Because of Jenkintown's small size, Durkin said a distance of 500 feet from the school would be more feasible. Also, he suggested that it would only place restrictions on those living near the borough's two public schools. Durkin said there would be exceptions for sex offenders who already live in the borough.

Still in its preliminary stages, Durkin said he has a draft and is working with council member Emmett Madden to get the proposed ordinance approved.

Madden called the proposed ordinance "very complicated and interesting."

Council member Allyson Dobbs said there will be many ramifications associated with the proposed ordinance and that it probably won't be passed in a month, mentioning how long it took for a noise ordinance to be approved.

"It can be a controversial issue," Durkin said. "It doesn't mean we have to shy away from it."


WV - Sex Assault Victim Sues Former Sheriff's Deputy

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01/18/2008

The Monongalia County Commission, Board of Education and Sheriff were also named in the lawsuit.

MORGANTOWN -- A former Monongalia County sheriff's deputy, convicted of sexual assault, may be back in court again, this time facing a civil trial.

The victim in his criminal case has filed a suit against Robert Fields, the Monongalia County Commission, Board of Education and Sheriff Joseph Bartolo.

The lawsuit says they had "reasonable cause to suspect that she was being abused by Fields."

Fields sexually abused a 16 year old student when he worked as a prevention resource officer at Morgantown High School in 2005.

The victim, who is now 19, is suing for reimbursement of medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, embarrassment and shame.

Fields is currently in the North Central Regional Jail, awaiting a sentence.

Last month he asked for a new trial, claiming that the prosecution failed to disclose some important information during his trial.

A judge has not yet decided whether or not to grant him a new trial.


Banishment By a Thousand Laws: Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders



View the article here

This is the final version. See the authors blog here.

COREY RAYBURN YUNG
John Marshall Law School - Chicago
Washington University Law Review, Vol. 85, p. 101, 2007

Abstract:
Across America, states, localities, and private communities are debating and implementing laws to limit the places of residence of convicted sex offenders. Twenty states and hundreds, if not thousands, of local communities have adopted statutes which severely limit the places where a sex offender may legally live. In this article, I trace these new laws to historical practices of banishment in Western societies. I argue that the establishment of exclusion zones by states and localities is a form of banishment that I have termed "internal exile." Establishing the connection to banishment punishments helps to explain the unique legal, policy, and ethical problems these laws create for America. Ultimately, residency restrictions could fundamentally alter basic principles of the American criminal justice system. While those supporting these laws have the interests of children at heart, the policies they are promoting will be worse for children and society.