Monday, March 24, 2008
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Check out the video at the end. :) The second one describes who PeeJ and the other vigilante geek squad is about, if you listen to it all.
DETROIT (AP) -- Kwame Kilpatrick, a one-time rising star in American urban politics who embraced his "Hip-Hop Mayor" image as Detroit's youngest elected leader, was charged Monday with perjury and other counts after sexually explicit text messages surfaced that appear to contradict his sworn denials of an affair with a top aide.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also charged the charismatic and popular yet polarizing 37-year-old mayor with obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.
Former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, 37, who also denied under oath that she and Kilpatrick shared a romantic relationship in 2002 and 2003, was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.
In all, Worthy authorized a 12-count criminal information.
"This case was about as far from being a private matter as one can get. Honesty and integrity in the justice system is everything. That is what this case is about," Worthy said at a news conference.
"Just when did honesty and integrity, truth and honor become traits to be mocked, downplayed, ignored, laughed at or excuses made for them? When did telling the truth become a supporting player to everything else?"
The charges could signal the end of Kilpatrick's six-year career as mayor of one of America's largest cities.
Perjury is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But for Kilpatrick, a conviction also would mean his immediate expulsion from office. The Detroit City Charter calls for any elected official convicted of a felony while in office to be removed.
The mayor's office sent out a statement announcing a noon news conference, saying "Mayor Kilpatrick will discuss his outlook on the current legal matter and his continued focus on governing the City of Detroit."
Kilpatrick has said he would not resign and last week said he expects to be vindicated when all aspects of the scandal are made public.
Worthy said she expected the mayor and Beatty to turn themselves in no later than 7 a.m. Tuesday.
In all, Kilpatrick faces the following charges: conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office, perjury in a court proceeding and two counts of perjury other than in a court proceeding.
Beatty is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury in a court proceeding and two counts of perjury other than in a court proceeding.
Worthy said she has spoken to a lawyer for Beatty but was not able to contact Kilpatrick's mayor, leaving several messages.
She also said the investigation was ongoing and other people could be charged. She said she has had conversations with the U.S. attorney, but would not elaborate.
Worthy said she and her staff have pored over more than 40,000 pages of documents since January, when the Detroit Free Press published excerpts of sexually explicit text messages sent to Beatty's city-issued pager in 2002 and 2003.
The messages contradict statements Kilpatrick and Beatty gave under oath during a whistle-blowers' trial last summer when each denied an intimate relationship.
"Witnesses must give truthful testimony, and we have to demand that they do," Worthy said. "That is why they take an oath. There are variations on courtroom oaths, but basically an oath says, `I do solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony that we are about to give in this case will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.'
"The oath does not say, `I do solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony I'm about to give in this matter will be some of the truth, some of the time, when it suits me, and anything but the whole truth.'"
Worthy began her investigation the day after the Free Press published excerpts of the embarrassing text messages in late January. The messages called into question testimony Kilpatrick and Beatty gave in a lawsuit filed by two police officers who alleged they were fired for investigating claims that the mayor used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.
In court, Kilpatrick and Beatty denied having an intimate relationship, but the text messages reveal that they carried on a flirty, sometimes sexually explicit dialogue about where to meet and how to conceal their trysts.
The lawsuit ended with the jury awarding $6.5 million to the two officers in September. A defiant Kilpatrick vowed to appeal the verdict, but a month later said settling the suit was in the best interests of Detroit. The city agreed to pay out $8.4 million to the two officers and a third former officer who filed a separate lawsuit.
Documents released last month showed Kilpatrick agreed to the settlement in an effort to keep the text messages from becoming public.
During the trial last summer, Mike Stefani, a lawyer for the officers, asked Beatty if she and Kilpatrick were "either romantically or intimately involved" during the period covered by the case.
"No," she replied, rolling her eyes.
The mayor, while on the witness stand, later went on the offensive about the allegations, defending his reputation and that of Beatty.
"I think it was pretty demoralizing to her -- you have to know her -- but it's demoralizing to me as well," he testified. "My mother is a congresswoman. There have always been strong women around me. My aunt is a state legislator. I think it's absurd to assert that every woman that works with a man is a whore."
Yet the text messages published by the Free Press revealed a romantic discourse.
"I'm madly in love with you," Kilpatrick wrote on Oct. 3, 2002.
"I hope you feel that way for a long time," Beatty replied. "In case you haven't noticed, I am madly in love with you, too!"
On Oct. 16, 2002, Kilpatrick wrote Beatty: "I've been dreaming all day about having you all to myself for 3 days. Relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping and making love."
Kilpatrick is married with three children. Beatty was married at the time and has two children.
Kilpatrick went into a nearly weeklong seclusion after the Free Press' report. But on Jan. 30, with his wife, Carlita, at his side, the mayor emerged to apologize to Detroiters on live television for mistakes he had made, avoiding direct mention of the text messages. However, it was a confident Kilpatrick who told city residents he would see them "at work tomorrow."
For Beatty, who attended Detroit's Cass Technical High School with Kilpatrick and managed his campaigns for Michigan's state House and the mayor's office, the scandal forced her to resign.
Over the next six weeks, city lawyers and Kilpatrick's attorneys waged a futile legal battle to keep documents related to the lawsuit settlement and text messages from public eyes.
Calls for his resignation surfaced in late January from some city union leaders. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox repeated that call, and the Detroit City Council echoed it last week with a nonbinding resolution asking Kilpatrick to step down. The council approved the $8.4 million payout but didn't know about the revealing text messages or the secret deal to keep them quiet and now is conducting its own investigation into the mayor's handling of the case.
The Detroit Free Press hasn't explained how it obtained the 14,000 text messages, which were sent or received in 2002-03 from Beatty's city-issued pager. The newspaper said it cross-referenced the messages with the mayor's private calendar and credit card records to verify events in some of the notes.
Controversy has surrounded Kilpatrick since his 2001 election as mayor.
Embraced by many Detroit residents for his boldness and confidence, Kilpatrick, then 31, embodied the new black politician and wore a diamond stud earring that helped foster his unofficial title as "Hip-Hop Mayor."
His first four years were marred by use of his city-issued credit card for expensive travel, the city's lease of a luxury Lincoln Navigator for his wife and unsubstantiated allegations of a wild party involving his security team and strippers at the mayor's mansion.
At the start of his second term, Kilpatrick vowed to not make the same mistakes and announced a residential redevelopment along Detroit's dormant riverfront, hosted a successful Super Bowl that shone a light on the city's renewal efforts and initiated other improvements.
He had been expected to seek a third term in 2009.
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States are scrambling to comply with a new federal law that puts sex offender information in the public eye. Arizona and California, however, are keeping in step.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act will make it so everyone in the United States can view sex offenders living in their area by simply logging online. According to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, Arizona actually exceeds those requirements.
"Sex offenders must now list their online identifiers and essentially identify their existence on the internet," says Criminal Investigator J. Gabriel Bier. He says Arizona passed a new law this year requiring sex offenders to report their email addresses and chat room screen names. The department also has a county sex offender registry in addition to the statewide website maintained by the Department of Public Safety.
"[As a border town] we face another challenge with is sex offenders who either choose to reside in Mexico and avoid the registration requirements or who claim to reside in Mexico." Failing to register could result in prison time.
Arizona also issues driver's licenses to sex offenders, but those licenses expire annually.
"What that does is that forces them to update their photograph. That forces them to repeatedly update their address," says Bier.
Arizona is not alone in it's innovation. California, too, has a state website listing sex offenders. Red check marks show offenders who have violated registration requirements.
Other states are having trouble keeping up with Adam Walsh Act due to lack of funds and staff.
"I don't believe that Arizona is different from any other state in the fact that mandated enforcement creates additional work load."
States failing to pull it together may be denied grant money used to fight crime. Some lawmakers are now looking to revise the Adam Walsh Act to make it cheaper to impliment. States may even decide it costs less to not comply and deal with the consequences.
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JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt (Contact) is seeking access to the FBI’s criminal history record information under the authority of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 to provide greater protection for Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens, especially children. The governor sent a letter to David Cuthbertson, Section Chief of the Programs Development Section, Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI, seeking access to this database.
“By granting access to FBI criminal history record information under the Adam Walsh Law, the Missouri Department of Social Services will have access to state and national criminal history information when investigating or responding to reports of child abuse, neglect or exploitation,” Gov. Blunt wrote. “This would ensure my administration possesses as much information as possible to further protect children who are entrusted to our care.”
“In addition, we are requesting approval to process fingerprint-based civil background checks under the same authority,” Gov. Blunt continued. “By granting this request, state educational agencies as well as private elementary and secondary schools, will have added resources to make sound employment decisions. This would allow for greater protection of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.”
Sections 151 and 153 of the Adam Walsh Act provide access to FBI criminal history record information for governmental social service agencies with child protection responsibilities, child welfare agencies, and public and private elementary and secondary schools as well as state and local educational agencies.
Under Section 151, states are authorized to provide governmental social service agencies access to the National Crime Information Center and the Interstate Identification Index. Section 153, also called the Schools Safely Acquiring Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Act, provides that the Attorney General shall, upon the request of a state’s chief executive officer, conduct fingerprint-based checks of national crime information databases pursuant to requests submitted by child welfare agencies, by private or public elementary or secondary schools, or local or state educational agencies.
In 2007, Gov. Blunt signed legislation allowing for the dissemination of criminal history record information under the Adam Walsh Act to further protect Missouri children.
The safety of Missouri’s children is one of Gov. Blunt’s highest priorities. Gov. Blunt has been a national leader in protecting children from sexual predators. He enacted Missouri’s version of Jessica’s Law, an action that mandates a life sentence with at least 30 years served for predators who commit egregious crimes against young children. Additionally, Blunt made Missouri one of the first states in the nation to mandate lifetime GPS monitoring for sex offenders. Gov. Blunt supports new provisions to make forcible rape and forcible sodomy against a child younger than 12 a crime for which the death penalty may be sought.
Gov. Blunt also has promoted the INOBTR (I Know Better) Campaign to provide information about online predators and supports requiring registered sex offenders to provide e-mail addresses and other online identifiers to authorities. The governor instituted the Missouri Alert Network to enhance school safety and supported funding for cyber crime grants to assist law enforcement in investigating dangerous Internet crimes, especially sex crimes exploiting children.
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This just shows their determination to further punish and torture sex offenders. They cannot even wait until the court decides on whether the law is constitutional or not. Hell Bush loves to torture people, so let's everyone jump on the bandwagon!
"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln
As the state Supreme Court considers the validity of California's sex-offender statute, known as Jessica's Law, San Diego and other cities are passing tougher versions of it.
Jessica's Law says registered sex offenders can't live within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. This month, the San Diego City Council and Mayor Jerry Sanders approved an ordinance that adopts the residency restriction and adds another limitation.
Under the city ordinance, registered sex offenders can't be within 300 feet of an amusement center, arcade, day care facility, library, playground, park or school.
The residency restriction applies to sex offenders convicted of crimes after the ordinance was signed, but the 300-foot rule covers all registered sex offenders.
Similar measures have been approved in National City, La Mesa and Santee.
Jessica's Law was designed to punish sex offenders and reduce repeat offenses, but new evidence suggests that the residency restrictions are pushing more sex offenders onto the streets without reducing recidivism.
The Supreme Court is considering whether Jessica's Law violates parolees' constitutional rights. The measure was approved overwhelmingly by California voters as Proposition 83 in 2006.
The law allows cities to enact ordinances that further restrict registered sex offenders.
San Diego County's probation director, Mack Jenkins, said he's waiting on the Supreme Court's decision before forcing people from their homes. County attorneys advised Jenkins to wait.
Although parole officials have forced parolees to move because of Jessica's Law, probation officials throughout California decided to wait on the court.
“We've advised the probationers that they would be subject to Jessica's Law, but we haven't forced them to move, and we would do the same with the city's ordinance,” Jenkins said.
But he said the county could revoke probation for any sex offender caught loitering near parks and other places in cities that no longer allow that.
City officials were taken aback by the county's stance.
“If the council passes the law, and the mayor signs it, the law should be enforced,” Councilman Tony Young said. “We need to be firm with individuals who hurt our children.”
- And you need to uphold the Constitution which you took an oath of office to do, and respect all peoples human and civil rights. Not just those you feel are worthy!
City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who hosted a community forum Wednesday to discuss the new Child Protection Act, said it would help keep sex offenders from preying on children.
- I cannot believe people actually believe this BS! If a sexual predator is intent on harming someone else, no law or buffer zone will prevent that. If you'd read the news you would see that is the case.
Police Chief William Lansdowne, who pointed out that his department already aggressively tracks sex offenders, said he has always had reservations about enforcing a law the state Supreme Court could overturn.
Lansdowne initially decided to wait for the court's ruling before enforcing the new ordinance. He thought his legal adviser, Deputy City Attorney Mary Nuesca, also favored taking a wait-and-see approach. But after talking to her and the Mayor's Office, he said his officers would enforce the measure.
“We'll modify it if the Supreme Court makes a decision that changes the law,” Lansdowne said.
Versions of Jessica's Law – named after a young Florida girl who was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender in 2005 – have been approved in 42 states.
- Why does everyone insists on pounding this down peoples throats? I think everyone in the whole world knows who Jessica's law is about. If they don't, then they've been living in a plastic bubble for a long time.
Since enforcement in California began, 607 sex offenders have declared themselves homeless – a fourfold increase, according to the state. In San Diego, the number of registered transient sex offenders increased 40 percent, police said.
The 1,886 registered sex offenders in the city are among the 3,931 in the county, including violent child molesters, people convicted as juveniles and individuals busted for indecent exposure. All are required to update their addresses with local law enforcement for the rest of their lives.
Homeless sex offenders have to register once a month; all others have to register once a year or whenever they move. Names, addresses and pictures of most registrants are posted on a national database: meganslaw.ca.gov.
- If the city made me homeless because of these draconian nazistic laws, you would not see me registering at all. I would disappear. When I have nothing else to lose, why should I make your lives easier and my life more of a hell? Sorry, but it won't happen...
Beth Sullivan would like to open her home to a 59-year-old registered sex offender she befriended six years ago, but he can't move in because she lives near a San Diego park. He was convicted of raping a woman 33 years ago. He served time in prison last year for an unrelated offense, so he is on parole. He sleeps on the porch of his parole office.
“I'm not partial to sex offenders,” said Sullivan, 39. “But do we really want sex offenders sleeping on porches and behind bushes?”
- Well, then they'd fit the bogus stereotype, then the politicians can say, see, they are behind bushes, etc... This world has just become cruel and evil, and since nobody gives a rats a$$ about human life, then I guess it's only going to get worse, until the gestapo come knocking on your door and they start hauling everyone off to the camps Haliburton has created with tax payer dollars.. So where are all the TRUE followers of Jesus Christ? I don't see them, all I see is a bunch of self-centered egotistical hypocrites!
Sullivan's friend asked to remain anonymous.
“They're not making it easy for me to have a home,” he said. “My 1975 conviction had nothing to do with children, but there's very few places in the city where I can live and be in compliance.”
- Why don't we just go back 200 years, and start arresting all our mothers and fathers for them getting married and having sex when they were young? This is just insane! Nobody is seeing the entire picture, they just hear sex offenders and that is all they hear..
The residency restrictions carry a risk, said Jenkins, the county probation chief.
“We don't want them to go underground, to become transient, which is the risk, because it's harder to monitor them, harder to hold them accountable and harder to rehabilitate them,” Jenkins said.
- Yep, and when you have nothing to lose, they will just vanish, and then you are all in danger, possibly!
A report issued last month by the state's Sex Offender Management Board said many offenders have been forced to live away from relatives who could help stabilize their lives.
- Because people just don't have a soul anymore! We've all been desensitized to sex, drugs, death and everything else, thanks to the media and politicians. If you can listen to people being beheaded over in the middle east, and that not cause you some serious emotions, then you are dead!!
The board, created by the Legislature, pointed out in its report that the public strongly supports the residency restrictions, but there is no evidence that the limits reduce recidivism.
- So basically they know it doesn't work, but they are ok with spending millions of tax payer dollars on something that isn't going to work, and just push people into homelessness, death, etc. What the hell is going on here?
The report also said no one at the state level is tracking variations that cities are making to Jessica's Law.
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Texas: Look beyond get-tough tactic for youths
When a teenager waves a gun in your face and steals your wallet, it's hard to think empathetically about a time when he was just a little boy with dreams of being an astronaut or firefighter. For you, he's a criminal who belongs behind bars.
Prison might be the best option for some, but experts on the root causes of youth crime say there are smarter ways to turn wayward kids' lives around. At a recent Children's Defense Fund conference in Houston, specialists from around the country criticized the Texas education and juvenile justice systems for putting too much emphasis on get-tough tactics and too little on prevention.
Their startling examination of the "cradle-to-prison pipeline" suggests Texas actually predestines some children for a life of crime. Their findings help explain why youth crime in North Texas isn't abating despite police crackdowns and high incarceration rates.
Experts say the kids most likely to enter this pipeline are children who are neglected at home and misdirected at school. They tend to be high school dropouts and youths who had not learned reading skills by the fourth grade. They hit the streets angry, lost and vulnerable to bad influences.
Once a boy enters the prison system, there's an 80 percent chance he'll be back, either as a child or as an adult. The Texas Youth Commission reports a shocking 50 percent recidivism rate. Experts say TYC emphasizes drill sergeant tactics to instill fear and short-term discipline but fails with long-term rehabilitation.
The current system "simply is not working," says Pili Robinson, a senior consultant with Missouri's youth corrections division. Missouri once had a system like ours, but drastic reforms have brought recidivism rates down to a mere 8 percent.
Whereas Texas has expanded the number of youth prison beds, Missouri has closed its youth prisons altogether in favor of smaller home-style facilities housing about 40 inmates each. The personal attention each youth receives, with his family playing an integral role in his rehabilitation, helps explain why Missouri is succeeding where Texas and other states are failing, Mr. Robinson says.
His recommendations parallel those offered in October by Tracy Paul, a University of Texas at Dallas professor, during a Williams Institute panel discussion on youth crime in southern Dallas. He questioned how the state could justify a $50,000 annual expense to house one child in TYC as cost-effective. It costs more than twice as much to incarcerate a child than it does to educate him, according to Children's Defense Fund statistics.
An increased investment in our schools, especially at the elementary level, can pay huge dividends further down the road because it's in those formative years when things start to go wrong, experts say. An upfront investment in prevention can ultimately reap huge savings – and salvage lives – down the line.
Instead, Texas favors a disciplinary-referral program that targets children – even in pre-kindergarten – to be removed from classrooms for misbehaving. A 2005 Texas A&M study found that the single most important predictor of future involvement with juvenile justice is a history of disciplinary referrals in school.
The Texas system puts certain kids – particularly blacks and Hispanics – on a fast track for disciplinary referrals. Since 2003, Texas school districts have isolated thousands of students in disciplinary referral, including 500 pre-K and kindergarteners, and 2,100 first-graders. Are we setting these kids up for shame, inferior education, failure and a possible life of crime?
It doesn't have to be this way. A get-tough approach might once have made sense for legislators in Austin. But if we've inadvertently constructed a pipeline to youth prison, it's time to look for a better way.
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(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – The Indiana General Assembly has passed laws this year that give more protections to consumers, including a that puts Indiana at the forefront of requirements and penalties for convicted child sex offenders that would use the Internet for illicit purposes.
"This is one more tool Indiana will have in protecting children from convicted sex predators," Carter said. "The growing use of Internet social networking sites as a mode of communication by the younger generation has also led to the increasing use of this medium to commit crimes against children. Indiana is ahead of the game in providing penalties and consequences when certain Internet sites are used to lure victims."
Senate Enrolled Act 258 prohibits a registered sex offender convicted of certain crimes involving children from knowingly using social networking web sites, instant messaging programs or chat room programs that the offender knows include children. It also requires them to submit their email addresses and usernames to the Registry and to notify the Registry if they obtain new or revised addresses or usernames within 72 hours of the change. Failure to provide updated information will be a Class D felony. Indiana is just one of a handful of states that require the email and username for the Registry. These provisions were authored by State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh (Email) (D-Crown Point) and were originally contained in HB 1134 before being added to SB 258 in conference committee. SB 258 also addressed other issues relating to criminal offenders and Internet usage, and it was authored by State Senator John Waterman (Contact) (R-Shelburn) and sponsored by State Representative Vernon Smith (Email) (D-Gary). The law will take effect July 1, 2008.
House Enrolled Act 1026 strengthens Indiana’s Cemetery Trust laws allowing the attorney general the ability to recover restitution for consumers and misappropriated trust funds. The new law also enhances penalties against those convicted of funeral trust fraud. Enhancements to the cemetery trust funds were sought by the attorney general following two cases of alleged fraud in Indiana – Madison-based Grandview Cemetery and Indianapolis and Indianapolis-based Memory Gardens. The complaints and investigation into each of these entities revealed weaknesses in the state’s statute. This bill was authored by State Representative David Cheatham (Email) (D-Mount Vernon), State Representative Eric Koch (Email) (R-Bedford), and State Representative Phil Hoy (Email) (D-Evansville). The law has been signed by the Governor and it will take effect July 1.
Additionally, Senate Enrolled Act 281 has already been signed into law by the Governor. It protects citizens from elected officials convicted of a felony. The statute requires elected officials to be removed from office upon their conviction of a felony rather than at sentencing. This bill was authored by State Senator Frank Mrvan (Contact) (D-Hammond). The law is effective July 1, 2008.
"Rather than relying on an individual to make the right choice and step down when they’ve been convicted of a felony, state law will now dictate it for the benefit of the public," Carter said. "I'm appreciative of the General Assembly for addressing this issue quickly this year to halt any future instances of these kinds of shenanigans some elected officials have pulled in the past."
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Ok, so now every single one of them will lose their jobs! Watch and see!
This year, visitors to the Texas Department of Public Safety's Web site can find out where the state's registered sex offenders are working and can sign up for a notification system for their home ZIP code.
The changes, which resulted from a $1.2 million software upgrade, will be welcomed by some North Texans.
In Mansfield, members of one neighborhood group that recently organized around concerns about where sex offenders live say they're glad to get any information they can. Sex offender employment information will help residents keep tabs on those they consider dangerous, said Steve Kyle, a Mansfield father of two who helped organize a recent meeting about a registered sex offender in his neighborhood.
"The guy comes and goes at very odd hours," Kyle said. "In our community, we'd at least be able to know if he's working, and if we knew where he was working, it might give you some indication of when he would be coming and going."
About 47,000 registered sex offenders live in Texas. Their names, birth dates, addresses, physical descriptions including shoe size and limited information about the conviction for which they are required to register is available on the DPS Web site, said Tela Mange, an agency spokeswoman.
The upgrade came about in part because of federal regulations related to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Mange said. That act requires states to comply with a number of disclosure rules by 2010 or risk losing some federal funds. The new features also reflect Attorney General Greg Abbott's (Contact) opinions about what information should be available to the public.
Twice in February 2007, Abbott issued opinions that law enforcement agencies should release sex offenders' employment information.
Besides work information and e-mail notifications, the new system will also allow people to search for a full listing of sex offenders in their ZIP code. The software doesn't now allow generation of a ZIP code list of more than 100 names, Mange said.
Restrictions in place
Registered sex offenders can be restricted in where they live and work as long as they are on parole or probation.
But those restrictions don't continue after an offender successfully completes supervision.
As a result, many Tarrant County communities, including Arlington, Southlake, Watauga and Richland Hills, have adopted ordinances in the past few years to limit where sex offenders can live, typically more than 1,000 feet from schools or other places where children gather.
In Mansfield, the subject of sex offender residency restrictions has been discussed among city leaders for several months and played a large role in the resignation of the mayor this year. Now, in part because of concerns from Kyle's community, the issue is once again on the City Council's agenda.
Mansfield's Web site has its own listing of sex offenders with a link to the state database. Residents can also sign up for computerized RSS alerts that notify them of any new or changed registration in the city.
Kyle said he didn't know about the city's notification system until after a man convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl moved into his Walnut Creek Valley neighborhood.
Now, he said, parents in the neighborhood are cautioning their children more than ever and keeping an eye on their new neighbor. Giving the public more information about offenders would make that easier, he said.
Shari Julian, who teaches in Texas Wesleyan University's criminal justice and sociology department, said she worries that the workplace information could result in "collateral damage" by creating dangerous situations for businesses that have chosen to give a registered sex offender a second chance.
Julian said she's not justifying sex offenders' crimes. But, she said, the state needs to do a better job of separating classes of offenders if authorities are going to continue making more information available about their lives and adding more restrictions.
"We have to figure out who got on there because somebody's dad was ticked off because their 16-year-old daughter was seeing a guy who just turned 20 and they ended up getting married and having kids," Julian said.
Sgt. Cheryl Johnson, who oversees the Fort Worth Police Department's sex crimes, registration, apprehension and monitoring unit, said the addition of work addresses to the registry will be helpful to the public. But she cautions that people need to remember that not every sexual predator can be found by looking on the registry Web site.
"I'm just as concerned about the sex offenders we don't know about as I am the ones that are registered with us," Johnson said.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
PROPOSED MANSFIELD ORDINANCE
The Mansfield City Council is scheduled tonight to consider regulations that would apply to registered sex offenders who were convicted of crimes against children younger than 16. Offenders who have completed their probation or parole are not now limited in where they can live. The first of three required votes and the first of two public hearings are set for the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 1200 E. Broad St.
The proposal would:
Prohibit offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, playground, youth center, public swimming pool or video arcade.
Forbid renting a house or trailer to an offender not allowed to live within a 1,000-foot safety zone.
Require police to mail alerts to neighborhoods when an offender moves nearby. Police would also notify the school district.
Fine an offender up to $500 for each day of a violation.
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Some legislators say system is working
LAWRENCE — Some legislators say the state program that indefinitely holds sexual offenders doesn't seem to be effective, while others say the treatment is working.
Lawmakers last week rejected an effort to require an audit of the program at Larned State Hospital, with opponents saying the move would threaten public safety and the jobs of the program's employees.
"The program works," said House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney (Email), D-Greensburg. "It protects the public, and it provides economic development for Larned."
But Rep. Bob Bethell (Email), R-Alden, who chairs a budget subcommittee that oversees the program, said since the program started in 1994, only two people have finished the various phases of treatment and been released.
Under Kansas law, sex offenders who have finished their prison sentences can be kept in the program at Larned State Hospital if they are determined to be a continuing threat to the community.
But costs of the program have increased. The proposed budget for the sexual predator treatment program for the present fiscal year is $13.4 million to treat 171 patients, five times more than the program cost in 2003.
Lawmakers recently approved $1.3 million in supplemental funding for staffing and operations at both the program at Larned State Hospital and transitional housing for patients at Osawatomie.
Mark Brull, who has been committed to the sexual predator program since 1999, said it is a waste of taxpayer's money and fails to help patients move toward re-entering the community. Brull said he would rather serve time in prison, which costs about one-third less than the treatment program.
"All we do is sit here all day and talk about deviancy," he said.
Don Jordan, secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, defended the program, saying the state agency "has implemented a rigorous treatment and evaluation system to assure each person committed in this program remain in treatment until a court determines he is able to safely return home without posing a risk to his family, neighbors or community at large."
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To my fellow Georgians,
From tougher sex offender laws to lower taxes, the Georgia House of Representatives was busy this past session working to make Georgia a better – safer – place to live, work and raise a family. Working together, legislators brought their communities’ concerns to the table and everyone went home with a positive message for their constituents.
When the legislature convened in January, House members went straight to work. Committee meetings resumed and for the fi rst time ever were broadcast over the internet bringing more openness to our work at the Capitol. Our members displayed a high level of professionalism and I personally found the internet broadcast useful when I could not attend a meeting of interest.
With members back in their districts now, the 2006 campaign season is in full swing. I am sure that Georgians will be hearing more about the good work we completed during the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions.
It has been an honor to serve as Speaker for this distinguished body and I look forward to continuing our work moving Georgia forward.
Glenn Richardson (Email)
Speaker, Georgia House of Representatives
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For archival purposes.
On February 24, 2005, the Lunsford’s family faced their worst nightmare as the youngest member of their family went missing. She had last been seen when friends dropped her off at home after a Wednesday evening at church. After three physically and emotionally exhausting weeks, the Lunsford’s family began to learn of what happened to young Jessica. John E. Couey, a repeat sex offender, abducted her while she was sleeping soundly in her home. Couey kidnapped, raped, and eventually buried Jessica alive approximately 150 yards from her home. With these findings, the Lunsford’s family’s worst fears had been realized.
- While Mark went over to his girl's house and the door was left unlocked!
Jessica’s story shocked the nation and the public quickly called upon national and state legislators to address the issue of sex offenders. The members of the Georgia House of Representatives were of no exception and they have led the way in creating one of the countries toughest and most comprehensive laws on sexual offenses. Majority Leader Jerry Keen (Email) (R) of the 179th proposed House Bill 1059 on January 23, 2006 and said legislation rewrites as well as creates several new provisions so as to reign in sex offenders. First, said legislation creates new mandatory minimums for serious violent sex crimes. If an individual is convicted of such crimes, under this legislation, they will face a minimum of twenty-five (25) years in jail and lifetime probation. Secondly, House Bill 1059 eliminates first offender status for those convicted of sex crimes as it is believed that these crimes are too heinous in nature to ever be given such lenient treatment. Third, this legislation reorganizes the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB) so as to require that all members be appointed by the Governor and all sexual offenders re-register with SORRB every year. Those designated as sexual predators will have to reregister every six months. Fourth, this bill requires that sex offenders not reside, work, or loiter within 1000 feet of those places designated as having a high number of children present. And the final major provision of this legislation requires that those designated as sexual predators be on probation for the rest of their lives and wear a satellite monitoring device so that authorities will always be aware of where these individuals are located.
- So they are turning it into a business! If they are on probation for life, and must pay $250.00 a year to register, which is extortion, then this is a ton of money the government is making off the backs of sex offenders. As of right now (03-24-2008) there is 15,288 sex offenders on the registry (based on the SOR.CSV) So, lets assume all offenders have to pay the $250.00 per year, that would be $3,822,000 per year, and if we say they will all live an average of 70 years, that would be $267,540,000. Now that is a huge chunk of change!
After lengthy debate and revisions within the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, the Georgia House of Representatives, with overwhelming bipartisan support, passed House Bill 1059 on February 2, 2006.
After learning of his daughter’s death, Mark Lunsford advised all parents to “make sure you get that hug and kiss every day.” While House Bill 1059 is going to change as it continues through the legislative process, the foundation laid by the House of Representatives will help keep Georgia’s children safe as well as ensure that parents will forever be able “hug and kiss” their child every single day.
- No it won't keep Georgia's children safe as well as ensure that parents will forever be able to "hug and kiss" their child every single day, that is a "false sense" of security and is dangerous!
View the article here
For those in Georgia, this is an old article, so you need to read the latest laws from the Georgia section. I am just putting this here for archive purposes.
Bill has Strong Bi-Partisan Support in the House
ATLANTA - House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (Email) (R-St. Simons) today introduced legislation to strengthen Georgia’s sex offender and sexual predator laws. When introduced, the bill had already been signed by a bipartisan group of 75 House members.
“Last summer, we came to the citizens of Georgia with a promise to protect the children of this state by strengthening our laws relating to sex offenders and sexual predators,” Keen said. “Working with corrections personnel, district attorneys, law enforcement officers, and my colleagues in the House, we have crafted a piece of legislation that will make Georgia’s laws regarding these heinous crimes some the most restrictive in the country. Every sex offender in Georgia will now serve time in jail and every sex offender in Georgia will be monitored after their release. There will be some cost associated with these measures but those are certainly worth protecting even one child from these criminals.”
- You came to the citizens? What citizens? I don't recall hearing about this law, neither does any of the neighbors. So you made a law and passed it without any citizen input! Not all sex crimes are heinous either, you just added that for the fear-effect, right?
Key provisions in the sex offender bill include:
- Increased Penalties for Sex Offenses
- The worst sex offenses – aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and aggravated sexual battery – will be punished with minimum mandatory sentences of 25-50 years in prison followed by lifetime probation.
- A new Code Section will sentence all other sex offenders to the mandatory minimum period of incarceration followed by at least one year of probation.
- No longer will sex offenders be subject to the first offender treatment – everyone convicted of a sex crime will serve time in prison, and everyone convicted of a sex crime will be monitored after his or her release.
- Reorganizes and Strengthens the Sexual Offender Registry
- All registration information will be sent to the county sheriff before a sexual offender is released from prison or put on probation.
- The new law draws clear lines of responsibility for all involved divisions as to obtaining, disseminating and updating sex offender information.
- Public notification of the location of sex offenders is enhanced.
- Monitors the Worst Offenders for Life
- GPS monitoring – consisting of a 95 decibel alarm and two-way voice communication between monitor and offender – will be required for any offender declared a sexually dangerous predator by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board.
- Sexually dangerous predators will wear the monitor for the rest of their natural lives.
- All other sexual offenders will be given a level of risk assessment to aid law enforcement in monitoring offenders in the community.
- Strengthens the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board
- Reorganizes the Review Board
- Members will now receive a gubernatorial appointment
- Enhances the responsibility of the Review Board
- The Board has been in existence for nine years – per a federal requirement – and has seen only 57 cases.
- GPS monitoring of Sexually Dangerous Predators will be determined by the Review Board’s assessment
- The Review Board will review every convicted sexual offender to determine a level of risk assessment – Level I, Level II or Sexually Dangerous Predator
- Reorganizes the Review Board
The legislation, introduced by Majority Leader Keen, has been signed by the following legislators: Speaker Pro-Temp Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta), Majority Whip Barry Fleming (R-Augusta), Melvin Everson (R-Snellville), Allen Freeman (R-Macon), ‘Able’ Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta), Ron Forster (R-Ringgold), Buddy Carter (R- Pooler), Richard Royal (D-Camilla), Johnny Floyd (D-Cordele), Roger Williams (R-Dalton), Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta), Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain), Doug Holt (R-Social Circle), Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta), Tom Graves (R-Ranger), Amos Amerson (R-Dahlonega), Len Walker (R-Loganville), John Heard (R-Lawrenceville), Jeff Lewis (R-White), Chuck Scheid (R- Woodstock), Hinson Mosley (R-Jesup), Mike Keown (R-Coolidge), Terry England (R-Auburn), Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson), Burke Day (R-Tybee Island), Willie Talton (R- Warner Robins), Terry Barnard (R-Glennville), Jay Neal (R-LaFayette), Judy Manning (R-Marietta), David Knight (R-Griffin), Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula), Steve Davis (R-McDonough), Gene Maddox (R-Cairo), Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville), Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), Mike Coan (R-Lawrenceville), Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), Calvin Hill (R-Woodstock), Jack Murphy (R-Cumming), Bob Smith (R-Watkinsville), Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta), James Mills (R-Gainesville), Austin Scott (R-Tifton), Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls), Ben Harbin (R-Evans), Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock), Jon Burns (R-Newington), Jeff Brown (R-LaGrange), John Meadows (R-Calhoun), Tom Rice (R-Norcross), Richard Smith (R-Columbus), Jeff May (R-Monroe) Paul Jennings (R-Atlanta), Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica), Martin Scott (R-Rossville), Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Lynn Smith (R-Newnan), Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), David Graves (R-Macon), Jeanette Jamieson (D-Toccoa), Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas), Penny Houston (R-Nashville), Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), Butch Parrish (D-Swainsboro), Roger Lane (R-Darien), Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla), Tom Knox (R-Cumming) and Stacey Reece (R-Gainesville).
View the article here
Old I know, but wanted to point something out. This was in 2005 in which he states 9,800 sexual offenders were in the state of Georgia. Well, in June or July of 2006 when I downloaded the registry files, there was about 14,000 offenders. So something doesn't jive here.
Georgia Sheriffs Join Call to Strengthen Laws Protecting Children
- You can see the deception here? The above mentioned protecting children... But these laws affect ALL SEX OFFENDERS and not all sex offenders had anything to do with children. So the title they put is misleading.
ATLANTA — Majority Leader Jerry Keen (Email) (R-St. Simons) today reiterated the call made by Republicans earlier this summer for tougher laws regarding sex offenders and sexual predators.
“Sex offenders and sexual predators continue to threaten Georgia’s families and Georgia’s children,” Keen said. “The dangers lurk in internet chat room, school class rooms, neighborhood parks and even in our own homes. Earlier this summer, I was joined by Speaker Richardson and House Republicans in a call for tougher laws and longer sentences for those sexual offenders who prey on our children. I am continuing to meet with our state’s law enforcement and district attorneys, and when the legislature returns in 2006 we will move quickly to crack down on anyone who preys on innocent children.”
- Increase the fear-factor!!! The laws were working before you screwed them totally up! And again here he mentioned "tougher laws and sentences for sexual offenders who prey on children" when these laws affect ALL SEX OFFENDERS not just those who harmed children. Every article about sex offenders is misleading and deceptive, IMO.
House Republicans have committed to examine Georgia’s laws regarding sex offenders and sexual predators, and to explore ways to strengthen current laws. Areas already being discussed for legislative action include:
- Why can't they just say "sex offenders" and leave it at that? That covers everyone! Why boost the fear factor and add "sexual predators" to the mix? Typical politician fear-mongering!
- Georgia law currently only classifies a convicted individual as a “sexual predator” if that individual has been convicted of an aggravated sexual assault such as rape. Those individuals who prey on children over the internet are not classified as a “sexual predator” nor are those convicted of child molestation.
- Extend to time a sex offender must remain on the state registration from 10 to 20 years.
- Increase penalties for those convicted individuals who violate the conditions of their registration.
- Real time monitoring of sexual predators.
- Make it a crime to harbor a sex offender.
- Restrict employment of a registered sex offender and sexual predators to within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, school or area where minors congregate.
- During the 2005 legislative session, the General Assembly did adopt House Bill 188 requiring a sex offenders’ photograph to be published in the local newspaper once they are released from prison but this law could be expanded to publish sex offenders’ photographs in the local news paper once a year.
House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Chairman David Ralston (Email) (R-Blue Ridge) has already indicated that his committee will meet this fall to begin work on Keen’s legislation so that action can be taken on the bills early during the next legislative session.
There are currently 9,800 individuals on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Sex Offender Registry. There are currently 261 sex offenders on parole and 5,000 on probation in Georgia.
View the article here
Being a sex offender is already humiliating enough, is this really necessary? I personally would tell the judge to stick the sign up his butt!
Under judge's ruling, man must post signs on property stating he is a sex offender.
HUDSON - A cruise up Main Street in this town of 150 people reveals a typical hamlet on the Kansas high plains - café, post office and grain elevators on the edge of town.
But a closer look at the white house on the corner of Royal and Main reveals something out of place for here - or in any other Kansas town. Hand-painted wooden signs posted on all four sides of the house, and a large decal with bold yellow lettering on the car parked behind it, proclaim the presence of a sex offender.
Leroy Schad, 72, was convicted in March 2007 of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. He was originally charged with four counts of taking indecent liberties with a 9-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy on March 24 and 25, 2005. As part of a plea agreement, the charges were dismissed and he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of solicitation.
The sentencing judge, 20th Judicial District Judge Ron Svaty, required Schad post the signs - reading "A SEX OFFENDER LIVES HERE" on the house and "SEX OFFENDER In This Car" on his vehicle - during his five years of probation and house arrest. The signs went up a few months ago.
The condition is unique. Ron Keefover, spokesman for the Kansas Supreme Court, said he couldn't recall any other cases involving sex offenders with similar conditions of probation.
Since Schad had no prior convictions, Kansas sentencing guidelines allowed the judge to sentence him from probation to 34 months in prison. Schad's underlying sentence, if he violates probation, is 31/2 years.
But judges can be imaginative when establishing probation conditions, said Helen Pedigo, executive director of the Kansas Sentencing Commission.
"I'm sure there is nothing specifically that says a court may sentence in this manner, but I think that the court has latitude in terms of the conditions it sets," Pedigo said. "I think the court has the ability to kind of be creative in what they consider restitution to the community."
Svaty declined to comment on his ruling because of Kansas rules of judicial conduct, and Stafford County Attorney Joe Shepack was out of state all week and could not be reached for comment.
The attorney who represented Schad, Joel Jackson of Great Bend, said that the idea for the signs was Svaty's but declined to comment further on the case.
In town, neighbors are aware of the signs but say that Schad, a resident of Hudson since 1971, doesn't worry them.
"He's no problem," said Pete Witt, who lives near Schad. Witt's father lives down the block from him, as well. "I don't think anyone has any qualms about it. We have a lot more troubles with drugs in this town than we ever did with Leroy Schad."
Another neighbor declined to comment because he didn't "want to judge anybody."
George Shelton, a Great Bend realtor who has several listings in Hudson, said he hasn't lost any sales because of the sign.
"Business is about the same," Shelton said. "It's never been booming, necessarily, but it hasn't hit a low ebb either."
As a punitive measure, the conditions have been successful.
"It's been pure hell," Schad said.
The loneliness and isolation imposed by the house arrest are the toughest to deal with, but the signs on his car have sparked threatening gestures from other drivers that sometimes concern him.
Schad admits he molested the boy, but denies the additional allegations that were dismissed. He says he accepted the plea deal in order to spare the children in the case the ordeal of testifying, as well as to "get this over with."
Since he accepted a plea, he can't appeal the conviction, but he can appeal the sentence. The case is currently pending at the Kansas Court of Appeals.
"I know that was wrong. I know that I deserve something for that, but I don't think I deserve what I got," Schad said.
View the article here
Louis William Conradt Jr. was many things. He was a successful assistant district attorney in Texas. He was a brother and friend. He also solicited children for sex. Some would call him a monster. Others would say he needed help. Regardless, he is dead. In November 2006, the press and the police raided his house to seek justice and, more importantly, to humiliate the man.
According to the officers' accounts, Conradt said, "I'm not going to hurt anyone," then put a gun to his head and hurt himself. Rather than face the villagers with torches, he chose to die a monster created by the science of tabloid journalism.
The raid was set up by Dateline NBC and a group called Perverted Justice to air as an episode in the controversial series "To Catch a Predator."
Now, Conradt's sister has filed a $100 million lawsuit against NBC, and, earlier this month, a New York judge ruled that the suit would go forward.
Even after the suicide, Dateline NBC aired a segment telling the tale.
At the end of the episode, Conradt's sister called the incident the "reckless actions of a self-appointed group acting as judge, jury and executioner."
She is right. While there may be no defending a man who would wilfully have sex with an innocent, Dateline NBC did not air these shows to make the world a better place. They did it simply for the almighty ratings.
They have gotten their hands dirty for the sole purpose of selling more ads for Ivory soap. It is a shame there are people like Conradt in the world who engage in these activities, but it is a greater shame that the general public is so mesmerized by their capture. Yes, he was a man who needed to be brought to justice, but he was also a citizen with the same rights as any of us. He deserved privacy. He deserved to be treated as innocent until he was proven guilty.
He is dead because of our voyeurism.
"To Catch a Predator" is one of a long line of shows meant purely to humiliate and throw stones. The most popular is "American Idol," the FOX talent competition which bases the first half of the season on filming a young person's dream and then pummeling it with personal jabs in a British accent.
FOX has now created a solid gold line-up of humiliation with the addition of the game show "Moment of Truth." Cash is awarded for truthful answers to personal questions that could change your life and the lives of those you care most about.
The basic premise is this: "Is $100,000 enough to ruin every worthwhile relationship you have? Are you willing to tie your loved ones to a railroad track for personal gain?"
It seems in American pop culture, money cannot only buy happiness, it's also worth destroying it.
Still, as disgusting as "Moment of Truth" is, it is protected by the First Amendment. It's a shame revealing all the secrets of those who have made the unfortunate choice to care about you is what our founding fathers decided was worth protecting.
"To Catch a Predator," on the other hand, is crossing a fine line. The press should report, and the police should convict. We are swimming in dangerous waters when each has an oar in his or her hand. Journalism is about seeking truth, not creating it. A journalist should treat their subjects as human beings, not faceless ratings. The public should be treated with compassion, not be destroyed for profit.
Conradt is dead because of grotesque reporting. Let's hope that the exploitation dies with him.
View the article here
WASHINGTON - The Office of Justice Programs states that an apparent preliminary decision to seek the re-channeling of appropriations for a national tribal sex offender and criminal orders of protection registry is no decision at all, contradicting the account of a key meeting by National Congress of American Indians recording secretary Juana Majel and clouding the purpose of a cautionary assertion by Leslie Hagen of the Department of Justice Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking office.
A March 3 session of the NCAI National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women addressed a $940,000 congressional appropriation intended for the establishment of a national tribal registry of sex offenders and criminal orders of protection under the auspice of the Violence Against Women Act. Over the objection of every participant who addressed the issue, SMART had ''requested'' (in Majel's word) that the appropriation be re-channeled from the DoJ Office on Violence Against Women to SMART for a national sex offender registry that would include a registry of sex offenders in tribal jurisdictions, but not a criminal orders-of-protection registry. The shortcoming is irremediable in the eyes of many Native women.
The Violence Against Women Act explicitly states that the U.S. Attorney General ''shall contract with any interested Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal nonprofit organization to develop and maintain ... a national tribal sex offender registry; and ... a tribal protection order registry containing civil and criminal orders of protection issued by Indian tribes and participating jurisdictions.''
NCAI associate counsel Virginia Davis explained that since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, Congress had enacted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, authorizing creation of the national sex offender registry. Davis said that if they found significant conflict between the purposes of the two laws (VAWA and AWA for short), DoJ solicitors could make an argument for re-routing the appropriation to the purposes of the more recently enacted law - in this case, by six months, AWA, not VAWA. Davis added emphatically that no such conflict exists, and that DoJ has no reason whatsoever to find one.
More than a half-dozen participants at the meeting expressed objections based on concerns that the distinct tribal registry afforded by the $940,000 appropriation to the DoJ Office on Violence Against Women, in support of the VAWA tribal registry, will be lost if the funding goes instead to include tribes in the national AWA registry.
Task force co-chair Majel described a previous presentation by SMART. ''Well Leslie ... at this meeting in Phoenix, she put it on the table that SMART had made that request to have that money. ... And she lined it all out, you know, and when she was all done, she then asked our opinion. And I simply told her - I said no. There is no way that I will support the Indian budget of VAWA [going] to Adam Walsh. I said you're [AWA] an unfunded mandate. And you're now asking the burden [of funding AWA] to be put on tribes who - if any of you [at the March 3 meeting] are aware of the appropriation period when we got that $940,000, it was a tough haul.''
Hagen, participating on the meeting's second panel, arrived after Majel's remarks and emphasized the advanced nature of SMART's proceedings with regard to the VAWA appropriation. ''I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that this is a planning exercise,'' she cautioned.
After full discussion around the room, Majel returned to the Phoenix meeting. ''I just got shocked inside that you actually had a budget for that $940,000,'' she said to Hagen. ''I got a [budget] breakdown and I'm like, 'This is unreal.'''
Hagen emphasized the preliminary nature of SMART's proceedings with regard to the VAWA appropriation, cautioning twice that the re-channeling ''is not a done deal'' in that contracts have not been signed.
Karen Artichoker, Majel's co-chair on the NCAI task force and management team director of Cangleska Inc.'s Sacred Circle National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women, said at the March 3 meeting that she wasn't sure the re-channeling of funds represented a final decision by DoJ; she said afterward that SMART won't go forward with it. She said the language of the law in VAWA won't allow it.
The DoJ, in an e-mail provided on condition of attribution to the Office of Justice Programs (a branch of DoJ), stated, ''No decision has been made on the expenditure of the $940,000 appropriated to the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, in FY 2008 as authorized by Sec. 905 (b)'' of VAWA.
- They all say the laws are "the strongest in the nation!"
- Item #03 says people who abuse children. Well, not all sex offender abuse children now do they?
- And when people go to court to challenge these laws, they say "these laws are not punishment but restrictive!" So why does every law and presentation say "PUNISHMENT?"
- Again with the "Greater Punishment!" But I thought they were restrictive and not punishment?
- So what about those who were not charged with one of these crimes mentioned? They also are on the registry for life! In Georgia, ALL SEX OFFENDERS regardless of their crime are on the registry for life and must petition the court to get off the registry, which not one person has gotten off the registry yet, that I am aware of. So this is more disinformation!
- And here, is shows again that all sex offenders will be on the registry for life, even if their crime was a "Romeo & Juliet" crime, or for urinating in public.
- This law does NOT take into account "Romeo & Juliet" cases. Remember Genarlow Wilson? He was put into prison for 10 years because of this law. And other people in this same scenario are being caught in the net. This is more lies and disinformation.
- So you say Georgia has a Sexual Offender Review Board, but when are they going to get around to reviewing people? It has been 2 years since this law was passed, and I do not know of one person who has been reviewed yet! So it's still being sorely underused! And it mentioned reviewing those coming out of prison, but what about those who are already out and off parole/probation?
- Like I said above, when is this "review board" going to start on reviewing people and putting them into these categories? Not one has been done, and it's two years later!
- If these laws are easier to understand, then how come when a sheriff is asked about it, they have no idea what the law is all about? They just know people must register and not be within 1000 feet of certain places. Also many offenders are finding it hard to understand, lawyers as well. So I do not think it's easier for everyone to understand...
- This $250.00 registration fee is plain extortion! Also, you do not mention if this is for ALL offenders or just those coming out of prison after the law was passed. From sheriff's I've talked to, this is only for those coming out of prison. But, I think it's still extortion! A fee is something you pay for something you wanted, not something you are being punished for!
- The school bus stops still has a temporary restraining order on it, and they are not enforcing this portion of the law.
- More with the "punishment!"
- And I do not think it does fulfill the requirement to keep children safe. The buffer could be 50 or 100 miles and if a sex offender wanted to commit another crime, this would not keep anybody safe. It's just a placebo to make people "feel safe" when in fact it does nothing except PUNISH offenders.
View the article here
The Summer 2007 issue of the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Libertires Law Review, which arrived in my mail today, includes an extraordinary series of articles concerning the national trend towards state legislation placing restrictions on convicted sex offenders, with a particular focus on residency restrictions. The lead article, by Chiraag Bains, titled "Next-Generation Sex Offender Statutes: Constitutional Challenges to Residency, Work, and Loitering Restrictions," provides detail descriptions of the statutes and the emerging case law under which they have, by and large, survived constitutional challenges. The second article, "My Life Before and After HB 1059," is by Lori Sue Collins, a convicted sex offender from Georgia. Ms. Collin's crime as a then-39 year old woman was to have sex with a 15 year old boy. She served prison time for this and was released on probation. The article recounts the harrowing experience she had trying to secure a residence compliant with Georgia HB 1059 in the short period between its enactment and effective date. Sarah Geraghy, a plaintiff's attorney in a class action suit challenging HB 1059, follows up with "Challenging the Banishment of Registered Sex Offenders from the State of Georgia: A Practitioner's Perspective," in which the litigation is described. Finally, Richard Tewksbury contributed "Exile at Home: The Unintended Collateral Consequences of Sex Offender Residency Restrictions."
The saga of the Georgia law is particularly interesting. Georgia legislators decided, in effect, to enact residency restrictions applicable to ALL registered sex offenders, regardless of the severity of their underlying offense or the likelihood of recidivism that were intended to make it impossible for any registered sex offender in Georgia to live in any residential community in the state and even in most rural areas -- in effect, argue the plaintiffs in the class action suit, to "banish" sex offenders from living in Georgia. Paradoxically, registered sex offenders in Georgia are also subject to criminal penalties if they are found to be homeless -- they are required to have a real residential location on file as part of the registration -- and they are forbidden from leaving the jurisdiction without permission, which is sharply restricted. The penalty for being found to be out of compliance with residency restrictions is imprisonment for not less than 10 years and not more than 30 years. The most draconian restriction is that a registered sex offender may not reside or work in a workplace that is fewer than 1,000 feet from a church or a school bus stop where children are picked up for transportation to a public or private school. Depending how one defines a "school bus stop" for this purpose, this restriction basically eliminates all residential areas in the state, according to the plaintiffs.
Lori Sue Collins's article illustrates the practical problem. Several weeks before HB 1059 was to go into effect on July 1, 2006, sheriffs all over the state started serving notice on thousands of registered sex offenders that they would have to move because their residences were within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop or a church. According to the sheriffs, any place that a school bus regular stopped to pick up students was a "school bus stop," and it appears that in Georgia it was customary for buses to stop frequently throughout residential areas where students were living. Collins, a probationer with limited income for housing, discovered that literally the only place she could find that she could afford without violating the school bus or church proximity rules was a remote rural structure owned by a religiously-affiliated shelter, which had been up for sale but which they agreed to keep off the market after she explained her plight. The complication - according to some interpretations of the law, because prayer meetings were occasionally held on the premises, it might be considered a church. Although HB 1059 does not prohibit registered sex offenders from attending religious services at churches, they are not allowed to "loiter" near a church or live within 1,000 feet of one. Under either of those prohibitions, Collins may be forbidden to live in a building that is occasionally used for church services but is not a church.
The lawsuit had some initial success. For one thing, the state responded with a literal reading of the statutory language on bus stops, under which only a stop formally designated by a school district counts for purposes of the law, and it appears that Georgia school districts are, on the whole, rather casual about the location of bus stops. At the time the law was about to go into effect, there were NO such designated bus stops anywhere in the state, although at least one stupid school district responded by officially designating its bus stops. Ultimately, as part of temporary relief worked out while the case is pending, the defendant class of all the sheriffs in the state agreed not to enforce the bus stop requirements pending a ruling on the merits.
The plaintiffs asserted a long list of constitutional theories to challenge the law, but it is an uphill battle because federal courts have consistently upheld sex offender registration laws, so there is a growing body of adverse precedent. The plaintiffs' hopes are pinned on the extremism of the Georgia law, which goes further than any other. The Southern Center for Human Rights, which is litigating on behalf of the plaintiff class, has established a website with links to key documents in the case. The one I took time to read after looking at the Harvard CRCL articles, was the decision by District Judge Cooper granting in part and denying in part the state's motion to dismiss the amended complaint. Cooper's decision was issued this past March. It is hard to consider the state's arguments on standing with a straight face after reading Collins's article and the other accounts of the immediate impact of the Georgia law on the thousands of registered sex offenders in the state, or to square the state's argument that the statute is not intended to "banish" sex offenders with quotations from the chief legislative sponsor, who reveals striking ignorance of the detailed impact of his own handiwork. (Sort of like President Bush, who argues that the Congress should not expand the program to provide health insurance coverage to children because anybody with a medical problem can go to the emergency room. Sounds about as out of touch as his Dad was when he wandered into a supermarket for a photo-op and exclaimed with wonder about price scanners - Daddy Bush had probably not shopped for groceries like an ordinary middle-class person in decades, and President Shrub has probably never had to seek medical care without having insurance in his life.... )
Anyway, I can't imagine a more striking example of legislative pandering to public fears producing grossly stupid legislation than the saga of HB 1059.... a saga compounded by the recent refusal by the Republican majority in control of the Georgia legislature to revisit the statute for purposes of curing the most dysfunctional aspects of it. Judge Cooper's ruling suggests that the plaintiffs have a strong shot at getting its enforcement permanently enjoined on ground of ex post facto law, bill of attainder, and perhaps substantive due process and equal protection as well. That doesn't give any pause to the Republican Party of Georgia, however.... After all, those registered sex offenders who committed felonies probably can't vote in Georgia, anyway...