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Very good article, I recommend you read it all. It's 36 pages. The text below is only the Introduction.
By Sarah E. Agudo
Sex offenders are among the most hated members of our society. They commit heinous crimes, often against our most vulnerable citizens, and there is a commonly held perception that they are frequent recidivists who are resistant to rehabilitation. Justified or not, society has developed a heightened intolerance for sex criminals.
In recent years, laws protecting society from these offenders have grown increasingly broad; the restrictions have become more severe and applicable to more people. Residency laws, which dictate where sex offenders can live upon release from prison or while on parole, exemplify this trend. Twenty-two states in the United States currently have some form of residency law that restricts where sex offenders can live. For example, many states prohibit sex offenders from living within 1000–2500 feet of schools, bus stops, or daycare centers.
Today, public outrage and political risk-aversion have driven these laws to the outer boundaries of constitutionality. Some states, such as Georgia, may have already crossed that line. With no decisions from the United States Supreme Court and only two from federal courts of appeals regarding the constitutionality of these statutes, district courts are being flooded with cases that present questions of first impression. These courts must decide how far the Constitution permits the states to go to separate potential reoffenders from their potential victims. Some of the most recent laws are the harshest, and class action lawsuits brought in the name of sex offenders are springing up throughout the country. It is likely that these recent expansions of sex offender legislation and the ensuing litigation over their constitutionality will prompt a Supreme Court decision establishing the limit on states’ control over their released offenders.
Research on the effectiveness of residency laws is scarce. However, a few studies suggest that residency restrictions have no impact on sex offense recidivism. A study conducted by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission found that parolee employment was correlated with lower recidivism rates, which suggests that residency laws that indirectly diminish employment opportunities will increase offense rates among paroled sex offenders. Protecting the public from sex offenders is unquestionably important, but states should not sacrifice civil liberties in favor of unproven methods of control.
Reasonable and constitutionally acceptable residency laws may well exist. The aim of this Comment is not to call for the abolition of all residency laws, but rather to promote a cogent dialog regarding the upper bounds of their effectiveness and constitutionality in order to provide a framework for future legislation. Although, in many areas of law, democratic processes can adequately safeguard those bounds, the public outrage against sex offenders threatens to chill the usual political protections and justifies careful judicial oversight.
Part I examines existing and potential constitutional challenges to various state residency laws. Using four different claims as examples, this Part examines recent decisions from lower federal courts and analyzes their merits. The four constitutional bases for claims are the Due Process Clause, the Ex Post Facto Clause, the right against self-incrimination, and the individual right to travel.
Part II discusses the policy concerns and considerations of creating or expanding sex offender residency laws. To illustrate the ineffectiveness of broad laws, this Part includes a projection of costs incurred by their enactment and enforcement; analogies that illustrate their scope and implications; and alternative approaches to dealing with the problem of repeat sex offenders. This Part shows that, in addition to being unconstitutional, broad residency laws are also imprudent policy decisions because they fail to further the goal of preventing sex crimes.
Part III examines the political causes and ramifications of the residency laws and explains the need for a Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutional limit of residency laws. It also argues that government entities involved in sex crime prevention actually will favor narrow laws that allow for more focused, effective, and fair enforcement of the residency restrictions.
Lastly, this Part examines the role that the Constitution should play in controlling politically driven legislation and protecting society from its own passions.
The Comment concludes that non-tailored residency laws are unconstitutional.
These same laws are also unwise and ineffective in terms of their stated goals, rendering them poor policy decisions. Given their ineffectiveness and the threat they pose to fundamental rights, this Part argues that it is important that courts assess the laws rigorously and without bias, particularly because the political outlash against sex offenders is immense, irrational, and hard for legislators to reverse. Until courts correctly deem these non-tailored residency laws unconstitutional, both the rights of sex offenders and the safety of their potential victims will be at risk due to the crippling political outrage surrounding the issue.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
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SUMTER COUNTY - We got an e-mail from a Sumter County mother upset that her children had to walk past the homes of three convicted sex offenders to get to their school bus stop.
After our story aired, a pending House bill expanded to require schools to notify parents if sex offenders live near their children's bus stops. The bill is also aimed at keeping sex offenders away from other places where kids gather - like schools and playgrounds. Now, a convicted sex offender is talking about why he says the bill is not fair.
"I am a registered sex offender. I did commit a crime over 10 years ago."
Back then, he was in his early 20's. And John, whose identity we've agreed to conceal, admits he did something pretty stupid. "I allowed a minor into my house and watched an adult video."
Showing an adult video to a minor landed John in prison for two years. When he got out, John got married. Now, he has a five-year-old daughter. "She's going to have to pay for a mistake her father did."
She'll pay, he fears, if a bill making its way through the State House passes. If it does, South Carolina sex offenders won't be able to live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds.
Parents would also be notified of sex-offenders living near bus-stops.
"These laws are not thinking of everyone that's going to have to pay for it."
"I'm not the only one that's going to suffer. My daughter is going to be suffering from these laws. She's not going to be able to go to parks. She's going to have a harder time getting to school."
The bill is expected to make its way onto the House floor soon. To this point, there's been some disagreement though about just how far away to keep sex offenders and how realistic it is to keep track of their movements.
"I don't think a lot of people realize how much it's going to cost to monitor each one of these sex offenders."
Instead, John says money and time should be spent on rehabilitating sex-offenders. "Really don't want people thinking I'm saying sex offenders are the victims. They are not."
Even non-violent offenders like himself, he says, should pay to a point, but not by being told where they can or can't live. "I don't see myself as any more of a danger to say, that boy, than the drug dealer, the crack addict or the person up the road that murdered somebody."
"I'd be a lot more worried about that person than someone who showed an adult tape to a minor."
That single mistake has already cost John before. His only hope now is that it doesn't cost his daughter.
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PALM RIVER - In the past, Elisha Grubbs periodically would check the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site to see whether any sex offenders had moved into her neighborhood.
Now there's really no reason for her to check. Grubbs can just look out the window of her home in J&L Mobile Home Park in Palm River, where she and her children live. From that vantage point, she can watch convicted sex offenders casually stroll by or gather for a quick smoke just a stone's throw from her front door, which Grubbs now has reinforced with a heavy-duty deadbolt.
Grubbs said she is frightened for the safety of her 13-year-old daughter, Irene, and enraged that a nonprofit organization is being permitted to house convicted sex offenders at a mobile home park at 5015 24th Ave. S., across the street from her neighborhood.
- They have to live somewhere.
She and other equally angry residents gathered last week at First Baptist Church of Palm River to learn more about Florida Justice Transitions' plans and vowed to voice their concerns to Hillsborough County commissioners Thursday.
- Gathering at a church... I wonder if they claim they are Christians? I don't think so, they sound like hypocrites to me. They do not practice what they claim to be.
"How dare they do this without asking our permission," Grubbs said. "It's just greed. It's all about money. It has nothing to do with trying to help these offenders."
- I think providing a safe place for someone to stay is not about money but trying to help these offenders. Your thinking is backwards because of the media hysteria which has you afraid of your own shadow.
Tony Spino has two daughters, ages 4 and 2, and lives about a mile from the mobile home park. The day after the civic association meeting, he launched a petition drive to close the sex offender program.
"I can only imagine what these guys are talking about when they get together at night," Spino said. "When you put 20 builders together, they're going to build something. I don't even want to think about what happens when you put 20 sex offenders together."
- Oh give me a F'ing break... Maybe they are thinking about how to get a job and live a decent life? Stop trying to predict the future and stop assuming you know what they are talking about. This is just stupid!!!
Palm River Civic Association board member Dottie Tilden said the community wasn't aware the nonprofit group was establishing a transitional living program for sex offenders until victims' rights advocate Judy Cornett gave the group a heads-up.
Cornett, of Lutz, is executive director of Safety Zone Advocacy, an organization she formed after her son was sexually molested in 1992. The Tampa-based group disseminates information to help prevent sex crimes. Cornett contacted the civic association after offenders began moving into the mobile home park in January.
- I'd like to see some of this "information" they disseminate. From their web site (linked above), they are spreading lies!!! Anybody can post BS like they are doing, but where are the links to the studies to back up what they are saying??? Some of the info appears to be correct and some just appears to be flat out fear-mongering and lies. Here is their PDF news letter.
Now, residents of the largely low-income, tightly knit community on the eastern outskirts of Tampa are intent on doing whatever it takes to protect themselves and their children.
But Nancy Morais of St. Petersburg, founder of faith-based Florida Justice Transitions, is equally vehement about protecting the offenders' civil rights.
Her son, Marc Morais, 38, who lives in Riverview, was convicted of attempted sexual battery of a child younger than 12 in 1996, FDLE records show. He was jailed in the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, where sex offenders are committed for treatment until they no longer are deemed a risk.
According to legislative records, Nancy Morais toured the center with state legislators in 2005 and protested that offenders there were treated inhumanely and did not receive the counseling they needed.
Morias did not return calls from The Tampa Tribune requesting comment, but on her Web site, she says problems only worsen upon sex offenders' release from the Florida Civil Commitment Center. County ordinances and courts can limit how close a sex offender may live to a school, church, playground, bus stop or child-care facility, and the distance specified in those ordinances can vary from county to county, so finding a place to live is difficult and complicated, Morais said.
In addition, there are no state-funded treatment programs for sex offenders, she notes. To help sex offenders and others released from prison transition back into society, Morais opened the Palace Mobile Home Park at 2500 54th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg.
Jim Broderick, a transitions director for Florida Justice Transitions, said 90 of the 200 residents of Palace Mobile Home Park are convicted sex offenders. Some have been released from the commitment center in Arcadia, others from traditional prisons, he said. In most cases, living at the transitional center for two years is a condition of probation.
Three or four residents share each mobile home and pay $400 a month to cover utilities and operating expenses. But Broderick said the nonprofit group is not getting rich.
"We're doing this to help these people, both men and women," he said. "We get zero funding from the state or federal government. In fact, we're losing money. They come here with nothing but the clothes on their backs. We buy stuff out of our own pockets for them."
Morais and other proponents of what's known as "clustering" sex offenders say doing so makes it easier for parole officers to monitor the offenders. She said probation officers and members of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Sexual Predator and Offender Tracking Unit visit Palace Park every day, and a sheriff's substation has been established there for the convenience of deputies and corrections officers.
"And our rules go beyond what the probation department requires," Broderick said. "We have never had a re-offender."
Supporters of sex offender clustering say that in addition to getting counseling and help with drug and alcohol addictions, residents of such programs also monitor one another and have turned in fellow offenders for violating the terms of their probation.
Cornett thinks that's the exception, not the rule.
Six sexual predators and three sex offenders live in 12 mobile homes and one permanent, single-family home at the Palm River mobile home park. Morais has announced plans to house at least 24 sex offenders there. In addition, 11 sexual predators and offenders live less than a mile from the mobile home park.
Sexual predators have been convicted of one first-degree felony sex crime or two second-degree felony sex crimes. The second-degree crimes must have been committed after 1997, when Florida statutes changed. Sex offenders have been convicted of less serious or fewer sex crimes.
While knocking on doors to alert families in Palm River about the transitional center, Cornett was stunned to see a school bus drop off children at 25th Avenue and 50th Street, she said.
"The kids walked right past that trailer park. That's scary," she said.
Detective Joseph Venero of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Sexual Predator Unit said Sheriff David Gee doesn't like the idea of sex offenders congregating in his county, especially since most at the mobile home park come from other counties. Only one is from Hillsborough.
Among the residents is Mitchell Westerheide, 34, who was released from state custody Jan. 7. The Volusia County man spent eight years at the Florida Civil Commitment Center after pleading guilty in 1994 to lewd and lascivious assault and other felonies involving the use of whips, knives and fishhooks and carving his initials into the chest of his 15-year-old girlfriend, according to court records.
"We're watching this closely, and we've voiced our concerns with the state attorney's office," Venero said. He thinks Hillsborough has a disproportionately high number of sex offenders because the county has less restrictive laws than other Florida counties. "We've got 1.3 sex offenders per square mile in this county. They're everywhere."
Cornett is working with state Rep. Rich Glorioso (Contact), R-Plant City, to develop state legislation or a stricter county ordinance that would prohibit sex offender clustering and further restrict where they can live.
- So he wants to make it harder for the sheriff's to keep track of these people. Clustering is a good thing, it makes it easier for police and everybody knows where they are instead of them spread out every where, and possibly homeless, then you will not know where they are.
Hillsborough County code enforcement office supervisor Bill Langford said Morais' operation may be illegal for reasons that have nothing to do with sex offenders.
- How is setting up a mobile home park to let people stay there illegal? Other people can stay there, so why not sex offenders? Why don't you elaborate on why you think it's illegal? I'm sure you will find something to use to kick them out...
At the civic association's request, he did some research and discovered the property is zoned for industrial use, meaning residential uses are prohibited.
"Even if the trailer park has been there for years, it doesn't mean it's legal. It's an improper use," Langford said. "Plus, I saw some electrical and tie-down issues that I'm concerned about. The owner will have to come into compliance."
- Ok, you are just trying to find some reason to evict everyone and uproot them. You people are just evil, IMO. Anything to "look good" to the sheeple though, right??
If property owner John Buntin does not address the code issues, Langford said, the matter will go to a hearing before county code enforcement officials in April and the county will begin charging fines.
"Then we could assess a lien on the property," Langford said.
Broderick said that's "nonsense."
"It's just not true. That trailer park has been there since the '60s or '70s, a very long time," he said. "If it was illegal, something would have been done about it before now."
- I agree, and they are just trying to find excuses, like always... If it has been there for over 40 years, then why has it been allowed, until now?
Reporter D'Ann Lawrence White can be reached at (813) 657-4524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Members of the Oregon State Police Bend Area Command are conducting a compliance sweep of local sex offenders in the Deschutes County area, where a total of 581 registered sex offenders reportedly reside, officials said Wednesday.
Of those 581 offenders, 45 so far have been determined to be out of compliance with mandatory state registration requirements.
The compliance sweep kicked off on Friday February 29th and is expected to continue through the middle of March.
Of the 45 offenders listed as out of compliance to date, 16 were found to have active arrest warrants already issued by the courts, seven were found to be in custody, and a total of 22 offenders are currently being investigated for charges relating to failing to register.
As a result of ongoing investigations, relating to the 45 offenders listed to be out of compliance with statutory registration requirements, more than 90 counts of the criminal charge of fail to register as a sex offender (ORS 181.595, 181.596, 181.597) have been identified, said OSP Sgt. Don Wagner.
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ALBANY (AP) -- A former New York City police officer will spend 10 years in prison for possessing child pornography.
Kevin Green of Albany pleaded guilty in November to one count of possession of child pornography and was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn.
Authorities say they recovered computer disks from 49-year-old Green's home with about 190 movies depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. They say many of the images depicted prepubescent children.
Green had previously been convicted on a federal child pornography charge in 2003.
He served on the New York Police Department from 1984 through 2002.
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A British teacher is facing up to six months in jail after being convicted of defamation for comments she made in exposing pedophiles at a children's charity in Ethiopia 10 years ago.
Jill Campbell and her husband Gary Campbell compiled evidence in 1999 that helped convict the director of an Ethiopian orphanage run by the Swiss charity Terre Des Hommes-Lausanne. The charity acknowledged the abuse took place, but brought a successful defamation case against the Campbells for their claims that the charity's senior staff covered up the scandal.
Jill Campbell will be sentenced Friday.
"We asked them to stop defaming us and they said no," said Colin Tucker, child protection manager for Terre Des Hommes in Switzerland. "Then the court asked them to stop defaming us and she said no again."
The Campbells, who have lived in Ethiopia for more than a decade, have drawn wide support in Ethiopia. A group formed to support them, Stop Institutional Pedophilia in Ethiopia, said the charity is "forcing Gary and Jill to apologize for blowing the whistle and stopping the chain of homosexual abusers victimizing orphans."
Gary Campbell issued a public apology for the comments last month, then said he did so only because nobody would be able to care for the couple's children if they both went to jail.
The abuse scandal prompted the charity to apologize and leave Ethiopia. In 2003, an Ethiopian court sentenced orphanage director David Christie to nine years of hard labor for abusing several young boys.
The Campbell's report included testimony from several young boys at the orphanage, including one who said he had been at the orphanage run by TdH in the northeastern town of Jari.
"I thought I was lucky to have been chosen to sleep with this man, I was a vulnerable young boy with no knowledge of the world that existed outside Jari," the boy, who went by the initial G., says in the report. "I trusted white men who had, on the surface, appeared to make Jari a good place to live in."
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SANTA ANA — A 52-year-old man jumped to his death from a Southern California courthouse balcony hours after being convicted of child molestation, authorities said.
Carlos Edward Tello was facing more than 20 years in prison when he jumped from a ninth-floor balcony of the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana Tuesday afternoon. A suicide note was tucked into his clothing, authorities said.
A jury in a Fullerton courtroom earlier Tuesday convicted Tello of repeatedly molesting a young girl between 1989 and 1994.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown tried to have Tello's bail revoked and have him taken into custody immediately after the verdicts were announced. She said he was carrying a suicide note when he was arrested in 2006 in the case and that he might be in danger.
Superior Court Judge Greggory Prickett declined to revoke Tello's bail, instead ordering him to return to the Fullerton courtroom by 4:30 p.m.
Just after 4 p.m. at the Santa Ana courthouse, an alarm sounded that someone had entered a restricted area, said Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
A bailiff found Tello standing on the balcony and tried to wrestle him away from the edge, said police Cpl. Jose Gonzalez.
"He said, 'Nobody's stopping me,"' Amormino said, "and he jumped."
Tello died at the scene.
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So I guess the Jessica Marie Lunsford organization is not sufficient enough? View the PDF.
|Detail by Entity Name|
|Florida Non Profit Corporation|
|SUPPORT JESSIE'S LAW, INC.|
|7266 S SONATA AVE|
HOMOSASSA FL 34446
|7266 S SONATA AVE|
HOMOSASSA FL 34446
|Registered Agent Name & Address|
|FISHER, TOUSEY, LEAS & BALL, P.A.|
818 NORTH A1A
PONTE VEDRA BCH FL 32082 US
|Name & Address|
7266 S SONATA AVE
HOMOSASSA FL 34446
7266 S SONATA AVE
HOMOSASSA FL 34446
|No Annual Reports Filed|
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That ACT name is funny as hell... Well, Mark did want them to change laws, so now they are adding one where they cannot be sued.. I hope they reopen the child porn issue as well, since Mark thinks they did not do a good job, maybe they should do a better job on checking the child porn he had on his machine?
TAMPA - He is calling it the "Mark Lunsford Show Respect and Gratitude to Law Enforcement Act."
Republican State Sen. Michael Bennett (Email) of Bradenton is pushing for a bill that would keep law enforcement agencies from being sued. Bennett filed his bill after Mark Lunsford filing a notice that he intends to sue the Citrus County Sheriff's Office over the handling of the investigation into the disappearance and death of his 9-year-old daughter, Jessica Marie "Jessie" Lunsford.
Last year, John Evander Couey was convicted and sentenced to death for raping and killing Jessie in February 2005, but Lunsford contends that the Citrus County Sheriff's Office should have found Jessie before she was buried alive.
- Mark, they are only human, and ALL humans, even yourself, make mistakes...
Sheriff Jeff Dawsy calls that accusation baseless and said that he is convinced Jessie was dead before his office began investigating.
- Based on what proof? Couey said he had her for several days, then panicked. So what are you basing this on Sheriff?
In his bill, filed last week, Bennett states that because law enforcement agencies must make "difficult and complex" decisions in the course of an investigation, they should not be sued.
"Was this investigation the best I've ever seen? Certainly not," Bennett said. "But law enforcement ripped their hearts out for this guy. At the funeral, some of the deputies literally wept. The country poured their heart out for this guy. Now that it appears he has run out of money, he wants to sue someone? The case could be made that when his daughter was abducted, where was he?"
- Exactly!!!!!! They did all they could, and this is how Mark shows gratitude...
Bennett said Lunsford "is really showing ingratitude."
He said he does not expect the bill to pass. "I just wanted to make a point."
Lunsford, pointing out that he has not filed a lawsuit, said he found it odd that Bennett would file his bill now.
- You would find it odd. I find it funny as hell. Wake up, listen to what they are trying to tell you, let your daughter rest in peace. Everybody knows you loved her, but there is nothing that anybody can do to bring her back.
He maintains that any potential suit is not about money, only about changing the sheriff's policies and procedures for handling missing children cases.
- So Mark, what would you have them do? I don't see you providing any help on how to fix this?
Lunsford's attorney, Mark Gelman, is furious.
"It is easy for people to throw stones, but Bennett's child was not in that trailer for four days," Gelman said. "Bennett's position on this whole situation would be different if his child were in the trailer for several days when police were on notice that there was something wrong there and didn't go in."
Gelman said, "Bennett is welcome to call me and actually be educated to the merits of the potential lawsuit. If he knew the facts, he would have a different point of view."
- Yeah, and if all these politicians and the public KNEW THE FACTS about sexual abuse and these draconian laws, their point of view would be different as well, but the media and politicians spew lies to further their careers and fatten then wallets and boost their ego so they look good to the sheeple.
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OLYMPIA — Bills aimed at preventing sex crimes would require the state to collect and keep DNA samples from people convicted of the lowest-level misdemeanor-assault charge.
- Ok, so you have everybodies DNA in this world, how is that going to PREVENT another crime? It won't. I think you mean to help aid in the apprehension of the suspect.
The proposals would increase the number of offenders required to provide DNA for a State Patrol database that law enforcement uses to screen for possible suspects.
Currently, anyone convicted of a felony or of misdemeanor stalking, harassment or communicating with a minor for immoral purposes must provide DNA.
House Bill 2713 and Senate Bill 6488 would add all registered sex offenders to that list of DNA providers. But samples also would be collected from people convicted of certain other misdemeanors — including fourth-degree assault.
DNA would be taken only if the assault was sexually motivated.
If a DNA sample is already on file from an offender, another sample would not be required.
"What appeals to me about this bill is that it's not just one more sex-offender bill," said Rep. Larry Seaquist (Contact), the prime sponsor of the House bill. "With this DNA technology, it's moving us closer to actually doing some prevention, quick response, and not just looking at what you do after the crime."
- So I guess this man thinks the more sex offender bills passed, the better? That is what I get from his comment.
Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, said the new crimes being added to the list all have a connection to more serious offenses and stressed that the bill applies only to people convicted of crimes, not people who are merely arrested.
In addition to fourth-degree assault, the misdemeanors covered by the bill include custodial sexual misconduct, failure to register as a sex offender, patronizing a prostitute, second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor and violation of certain protection orders.
The bills were recommended by a sex-offender task force appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire (Contact) last summer in response to the case of Terapon Adhahn, a convicted sex offender awaiting trial in the kidnapping, rape and murder of 12-year-old Zina Linnik of Tacoma in July.
- More knee-jerk laws. Why do we know pass more knee-jerk laws when a murderer murders, or a drug dealer deals, or a DUI offender kills a family or child? Why just for sex offenders? Yes, any child being harmed is bad, very bad, but everybody has rights, and nothing about these laws is going to PREVENT future crimes.
Adhahn had been convicted of a sex offense only a few months before a 1990 law went into effect that requires the collection of DNA from anyone convicted of a felony sex crime.
- Ok, so if you would've had his DNA, how would that have prevented what happened? It would not have!
A DNA sample taken from an 11-year-old Pierce County girl who had been abducted and raped in 2000 was matched to Adhahn after his arrested in the Linnik case, prosecutors have said.
He's now charged with that crime, too.
If police had Adhahn's DNA on file in 2000, "it's entirely possible that we could have prevented Zina Linnik's tragedy from ever happening," said Dan Kimball, Thurston County sheriff and member of the governor's task force on sex offenders.
The state Supreme Court last year ruled that taking DNA samples from convicted felons for the purposes of identification is no different from fingerprinting them, and therefore is constitutional.
- I agree with this, and I think DNA should be taken, this would prevent (hopefully) people being thrown in prison who are innocent... But when you have greedy DA's, judges, lawyers, etc, anything is possible in this day and age.
But opponents say the practice should not extend to people convicted of misdemeanors.
"It's an invasion of privacy," said Jennifer Shaw, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union. "Your DNA is the most private thing about you, and once you put it into a database, you can never get it back."
Mark Prothero, of law firm Hanis Irvine Prothero and a member of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said he's particularly concerned with including fourth-degree assault on the list of DNA-eligible crimes.
"Assault four is a very common crime," Prothero said. "It's not an indication that someone is going to be a violent felon, much less a sex offender."
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Police Department already monitoring other city's plan for restrictions before Councilman Joe Carchio suggested it.
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Council members dropped from consideration a plan that would have directed staff to keep tabs on another city's efforts to further restrict registered sex offenders because the city's police department is already doing just that.
Police Chief Kenneth Small told council members Monday night that he was monitoring the progress of Long Beach officials, who are in the midst of creating an ordinance that would restrict where registered sex offenders can live.
"We were in the process of … monitoring the situation before we spoke to council member Carchio about it," Small said.
Small said 166 registered sex offenders live in Huntington Beach.
Councilman Joe Carchio, who introduced the item, said he hoped Huntington Beach would mimic the ordinance if it proves successful in Long Beach.
"It breaks my heart to see news reports like those of Samantha Runnion … to think that we could've done something to prevent it," Carchio said.
The creation of stricter constraints in Long Beach and possibly Huntington Beach mirrors a statewide trend of municipalities tightening local rules regarding sex offenders, said Jeff Stein, spokesman for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. The organization is opposed to further limiting the rights of registered sex offenders.
The proposed Long Beach ordinance would prevent sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of licensed child-care facilities. High-risk offenders would have to stay up to 2,500 feet away from such facilities. The ordinance also could limit the number of sex offenders who can live in a multifamily residence.
Long Beach residents sparked the legislation after they complained about 13 registered sex offenders living in a 12-unit apartment complex.
People convicted of sex crimes, ranging from indecent exposure to rape by force, have registered as sex offenders.
Carchio ended up pulling the item from the agenda at the last minute after council members Debbie Cook and Keith Bohr criticized him for introducing something that staff was already working on.
"It's not for us to micromanage," Bohr said. "We don't want to set up a precedence … to bring something up that's already being done."
Before the meeting, Mayor Debbie Cook had questioned why the council formally needed to take up the issue.
"I don't think it's a wise use of our time to put forth things that are not moving us somewhere," Cook said. "He can just say 'Hey, chief let's keep an eye on this.' We don't need to take up staff time or a council meeting time to do that. If he wants City Council to pay attention to it, he should write a memo."
Councilwoman Jill Hardy criticized the further restrictions on offenders, saying that it becomes counterproductive because it pushes some offenders to become homeless and untraceable.
"It really doesn't solve the problem," Hardy said.
Some cities could craft legislation that would keep sex offenders from living in that city, Stein said.
"We're in an environment where politicians thrive on appearing tough on crime regardless on whether it's smart on crime," Stein said.
Contact the writer: 714-445-6688 or email@example.com.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (Email) is looking for a new home for her proposal to regulate sex offenders' use of the Internet.
VanDenburgh originally wrote House Bill 1134 to police convicted sex offenders' use of social networking sites like MySpace which children frequent.
But while winding its way through various legislative committees, the bill became an omnibus sex offender measure as an amendment was added allowing sex offenders to live no closer than 500 feet away from schools or child care centers.
VanDenburgh pledged to fight against the amendment, because she believed it weakened the current law, which sets a 1,000-foot minimum.
But instead, VanDenburgh saw the bill die.
The Senate sponsor, Sen. Brent Steels, R-Bedford, declined to call the bill when it was scheduled for second reading.
"(Steele) told me he thought it had gotten too heavy, with all the other language added," VanDenburgh said.
So now VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, is trying to find another bill which she can add her original language before the legislative session's scheduled conclusion, March 14.
Contact John Byrne at 317/631-7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lawyers for Cherry Hill will appear before a state appellate court today to defend a township ordinance that prohibits convicted sex offenders from living anywhere near places where children tend to gather.
A Superior Court judge in Camden County struck down the ordinance one year ago and Cherry Hill decided to appeal the ruling on the basis that the ordinance protects some of the township's most vulnerable residents -- children -- from potential sexual assault.
Immediately after Cherry Hill's hearing, attorneys for Galloway Township in Atlantic County will present a similar defense of its own sex offender ordinance, which a Superior Court judge rejected in February 2007.
Both municipalities want the appellate court to overturn the lower court decisions so they can get back to enforcing their ordinances, which have been suspended throughout the appeal process.
The three-judge panel won't issue a ruling on the Cherry Hill and Galloway ordinances today. But when the court does make its decision, officials say it will have a statewide effect since it's estimated that more than 100 municipalities across New Jersey have sex offender ordinances on the books.
"It will at least govern the language of the ordinances," said defense attorney Scott Schweiger, who is representing the two male sex offenders fighting the Cherry Hill ordinance.
Local governing bodies began adopting sex offender measures in 2005 as a way to both protect their communities and scare away would-be sexual predators. In the case of Cherry Hill and Galloway, sex offenders are banned from residing within 2,500 feet -- think seven football fields lined up end-to-end -- of any school, park, playground, or day-care center. If offenders don't move within 60 days of being notified, they are subject to hefty fines, imprisonment and community service.
Under the ordinances, sex offenders are banned from living in nearly two-thirds of Galloway and most of Cherry Hill, with the exception of a high-income neighborhood of $400,000-plus houses and an undeveloped area.
Superior Court Judges John McNeill in Camden County and Valerie Armstrong in Atlantic County rejected the ordinances. Their main point was that Megan's Law, a state law requiring sex offenders to inform local police where they live, trumps the local ordinances. The judges said the ordinances violated the constitutional rights of convicted sex offenders and punished them again for their crimes. The measures were also overly broad because they didn't attempt to assess a particular offender's actual risk to the community, the judges stated.
Vincent McCarthy, a lawyer representing Galloway, considers the judges' reasoning faulty.
"The town has a compelling interest in creating these setback zones because these people are felons who have been convicted of sexual attacks, some of them against young children," said McCarthy, a senior attorney at the Washington D.C.-based American Center for Law & Justice, a conservative nonprofit law firm specializing in constitutional law issues.
It's one of the few situations where local government has a reasonable and rational basis for burdening some people's constitutional rights, McCarthy said.
In its legal brief, Cherry Hill argues New Jersey municipalities have broad entitlement to adopt ordinances for the safety and protection of their residents. The township says sex offenders, particularly those who target children, have a high recidivism rate and can go years before striking again. The ordinance, therefore, is regulatory in nature and not intended to punish offenders again for their crimes, the township asserts.
"The mayor's primary job is ensuring public safety," said Dan Keashen, Mayor Bernie Platt's spokesman. "Bernie and town council believe this ordinance is an additional layer of protection . . . Keeping convicted sex offenders from living near public places where Cherry Hill families convene is an important part of this local legislation and the township will continue to support that concept."
These ordinances actually impede the rehabilitative objectives of Megan's Law, according to the legal brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Richard Stockton College student battling the Galloway measure. The ordinance would banish the student, who was convicted of criminal sexual contact as a juvenile, from living on campus and prevent him from fully taking advantage of what the college has to offer.
"The question I get all the time is: "How would you feel if these guys moved next to you?' " said Schweiger, who got the case when he was a Cherry Hill public defender.
But the fact is these ordinances don't stop sex offenders from visiting parks, malls, playgrounds, movie theaters and other places where children and teens go, he said.
Reach Lisa Grzyboski at (856) 486-2931 or email@example.com.
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The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday called for tougher local restrictions on where the state can place released sex offenders.
The supervisors directed the County Counsel's Office to review Jessica's Law, or Proposition 83, to determine options local government have to restrict the housing of sex offenders in neighborhoods.
"Right now, the state has the authority to place them basically anywhere and, as a result of a great outcry in the Altadena community ... we were able to mobilize the community, and the state has now removed the sexual predators from that neighborhood," Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said.
- Did they remove sexual predators only or ALL sex offenders? I am willing to bet it was ALL sex offenders. When will people learn sexual predator and sexual offender are not the same thing?
"But we want to ensure there is no neighborhood in this county or state where sexual predators are allowed to roam and create a danger and threat to young people."
- And where might that be?
The vote follows a community effort late last month that led state officials to remove six sex offenders placed in an Altadena neighborhood.
- So this answers my above question, and like I said, it was sex offenders and not predators like the reporter states. So this reporter apparently thinks sex predator and sex offender are one and the same, which they are not.
Earlier in the month, a judge denied a request by a twice-convicted child molester from Santa Barbara to move to the county, possibly the Antelope Valley.
Those actions followed revelations late last year that about 660 convicted sex offenders were wandering free in California, not wearing the monitoring devices that Jessica's Law requires.
State corrections officials say they removed the satellite tracking devices from the sex offenders who had completed their parole, regardless of the lifetime monitoring requirement.
They argued that the law was too vague and wasn't clear on which authorities - state or local - would be responsible for monitoring them.
"The issue of finding sex offenders housing is one that is complex," California Department of Corrections spokesman Seth Unger said. "And at the state level, the Sex Offender Management Board is actively looking at this issue and making recommendations."
Jessica's Law, co-authored by Lancaster Republican husband-and-wife state legislators Sen. George Runner (Contact) and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (Contact) and passed by voters in 2006, cracks down on sex offenders and sets distances they must live away from schools and parks.
The law includes a provision that authorizes local governments to include additional restricted sites they deem appropriate.
Last month, the city of Long Beach directed its city attorney to draft an ordinance restricting residency requirements of sex offenders in relation to licensed child-care facilities.
The city is also researching the possibility of limiting the number of sex offenders living in the same apartment complex.
The County Counsel's Office is expected to draft a legal analysis for the supervisors, exploring specific restrictions on where sex offenders can live, how they are monitored and an overview of group homes and licensing requirements.
The office will then make recommendations that may include a proposed ordinance similar to the one in Long Beach, along with other steps the county can take.
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And a little more common sense, finally!
Village of Pewaukee - As a small community that attracts visitors from miles away to its public beach, Pewaukee village officials on Tuesday adopted an ordinance aimed at limiting where registered sex offenders may hang around, instead of where they live.
The new ordinance makes it unlawful for sex offenders to loiter within 500 feet of schools, parks, the library or beach.
It makes exceptions for valid reasons to be at such places, such as voting, attending worship or participating as a parent in school functions. Police also must document cause for alarm before arresting someone spotted in a restricted area. Examples would be if the person refuses to provide identification or flees.
Several area communities have enacted ordinances restricting sex offenders from living within 1,500 or 2,000 feet of schools or other areas where children congregate. But a similar ordinance in Pewaukee would effectively ban offenders from living in the village, a situation that Village Attorney Mark Blum warned could be challenged in court.
Last fall village police had objected to a proposed residency restriction for sex offenders, fearing it could "drive offenders underground" and discourage compliance with registering their current addresses.
Police Capt. Tim Otto said Tuesday the loitering ordinance "gives us a closer rein on controlling behavior, regardless of where someone lives."
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I'm all for it!!!!! Just check out my Corruption list and this HUGE list of perverted cops.
DENVER -- If a police officer breaks the law, he or she has sworn to uphold while on duty, not only have they broken the law, tarnished the reputation of the good officers out there, they have wasted the public's time and money according to the National Association of Independent Copwatch organization.
The group is advocating a law that would bar bad cops from ever working in law enforcement anywhere in the United States.
"When we got tired and fed up with drinking and drunk drivers we got MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). When we got tire of the use of guns while a crime was being committed we came up with the 10-20-to life law. When we wanted to know if a sex offender was in our neighborhood we came up with the registered sexual offender law," said Leo Refuerzo.
"It's the same when we got tired of the same criminals committing crime after crime after crime, we came up with the habitual offender law. Now that we are fed up with rouge, corrupt and crooked police officers, let's get tough on bad law enforcement and pass the double the sentence law which will bar any officer from being in police work anywhere."
Copwatch says those officers or agents have proven to be corrupt in their duties concerning dignity, our livelihood and our public safety.
The group will begin gathering the needed 4,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot in November. They are asking citizens to contact local, state and federal lawmakers to get behind the measure.
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Finally people are thinking for once.
PANAMA CITY - Bay County commissioners expressed a willingness Tuesday not to lump sexual offenders and predators together in a proposed ordinance that would further restrict residency for those people.
County Commissioner Mike Thomas made comments last month to that effect, but on Tuesday, his colleagues unanimously agreed to pursue a predator-related-only ordinance. It will be voted on at a future meeting.
A “predator” is considered the harsher of the two distinctions. Bay County is home to 302 sexual offenders and 17 sexual predators.
Under Florida law, not all “sex offenders” are “sexual predators.” A court must make a specific finding that an offender is a predator before that offender can be officially designated as a sexual predator and be subject to Florida’s sexual predator registration and notification requirements. All sexual offenders and sexual predators must register with the state.
A sexual predator is a person who was convicted of a serious sexual crime against a minor (under 18 years of age) or an adult, and who was declared to be a “sexual predator” by the court and has previously been convicted of certain felony sex offenses within 10 years.
The ordinance that went before the board Tuesday has been approved in every municipality in Bay County. It would prohibit sexual offenders and predators from establishing a permanent residence within 2,500 feet of a school, day care, park, playground or other place where children regularly congregate. State law requires a 1,000-foot separation for residency.
- So then this law is for ALL sex offenders, regardless of their distinction... Unless I'm reading something wrong here.
Weighing on commissioners’ minds was input from several residents who pleaded emotionally for the board not to adopt the new rules, or at least not the ordinance as presented.
Ronald Pake, a psychologist, said working with sexual offenders and predators to rehabilitate behavior is more effective than limiting where they can live. Residency restrictions can be counterproductive, he said.
Ken Siders requested the commission look at the circumstances when people are arrested for sex-related offenses, even though “the law doesn’t care about the circumstances.”
Both he and Bay County resident Margaret Azevedo recounted stories in which their sons were incarcerated for sexual contact with a girl not significantly different in age and who was not innocent in the matter.
Azevedo said that in her son’s case and in others she has observed, a girl lies about her age, even has a fake ID, and files a complaint about sexual abuse to retaliate after a breakup.
“The guys are the only ones being punished,” she said.
Commissioner Bill Dozier was interested in learning more about an ordinance some communities have enacted around the country that restricts sex offenders from going into a “child protection” or “child safety” zone, including the public places mentioned in Bay County’s proposal, but doesn’t necessarily dictate residency.
Pake suggested that idea, and after Dozier asked County Attorney Terrell Arline about it, Arline said he would research it further.
Also Tuesday, Dozier introduced a motion to reduce all impact fees by 50 percent to “give builders a shot in the arm” during a struggling housing market and economy.
Commissioners welcomed the idea but did not immediately agree on whether to leave the reduction in place for six months, one year or until the housing market shows it has improved sufficiently — looking at the average housing figures for the county between 2000 and 2008.
County staff will prepare an ordinance for the next commission meeting and board members will further discuss it then.
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Youth who are gay or are questioning their sexual identity are significantly more likely than others to be victims of Internet-initiated sex crimes. However, the vast majority of those encounters are illegal because of the age of the participant, not because of coercion or violence.
That finding was part of a very large comprehensive study, “Online ‘Predators' and Their Victims (PDF),” published February 18 in the American Psychologist. It was based upon three surveys; two were telephone interviews of 3,000 Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 taken in 2000 and 2005; the third were 612 interviews with law enforcement officials.
Overall, it concluded that hysterical media coverage of isolated events and television programs such “To Catch a Predator” have left a distorted picture of both the scope and nature of this activity. It noted that from 1990 to 2005, reported cases of child sex abuse declined by half and the rates of runaways and pregnancy among teens also declined.
“The reality about Internet-related sex crimes—those in which sex offenders meet juvenile victims online—is different, more complex, and serious but less archetypically frightening than the publicity about these crimes suggests.”
Of the prosecuted cases, 99 percent involved youth 13 to 17, a time of growing independence and exploration, including sexual exploration. The median age for first intercourse is 17.
Romance and sex generally are key in those encounters, with sex discussed ahead of time online and anticipated by both parties. “Many victims profess love or close feelings for offenders” and 73 percent of the youth had more than one physical encounter with the same person.
The study concluded “Although a new medium for communication is involved, the nonforcible sex crimes that predominate as offenses against youths only are not particularly new or uncommon.”
Youth with a history of sexual abuse, sexual orientation concerns, and patterns of risk-taking are particularly likely to find sexual encounters online with older partners. About a third of those solicitations came in chatrooms.
Males were the victim in a quarter of all criminal cases. The fact that most met their sexual partner at online sites such as a gay chatroom strongly suggests that being gay or questioning one's sexual orientation is a risk factor.
Study co-author David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, said the survey did not ask the youth to self-identify their sexual orientation. He added, male victims off-line “tend to be younger, particularly 8 to 12 years old.”
He made the point, “You don't have to worry about gay sex offenders online; kids are made vulnerable by the fact that they are not able to get good information and support around sexual orientation issues from their family and schools, so they are out there online.”
Social stigma, concerns about confidentiality, inability to talk with and often alienation from parents often lead some gay youth to the Internet, and the potential for exploitation by some adults.
First amendment rights advocate Bill Dobbs said, “There is a great deal of hysteria around youth sexuality, and the Internet just inflames the issue.” He stressed the need to differentiate between prepubescent kids and teens “who may not be adults but are not children.”
“It is an age-old story, teens on a journey of life and getting around their parents.” He stressed the need for society in general to become more educated and accepting of a spectrum of sexual orientations.