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For those unfamiliar with this case, the victim here was a registered sex offender, see this article. You can also check the videos at the end.
DETROIT (CNN/In Session) -- A jury rejected an 18-year-old's claim that he acted in self-defense, finding him guilty of murder in the gory stabbing, beheading and torching of a Michigan man.
The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before finding Jean Pierre Orlewicz guilty of first-degree murder, felony murder and mutilation.
Jurors did not look at anyone as they filed into the courtroom. The defendant's family remained stoic, but the father of victim Daniel Sorenson broke into sobs.
During the trial, some of the most gruesome details of Sorenson's slaying came from the youthful-looking defendant's own lips.
Prosecutors called Sorenson's slaying a "thrill killing." They alleged that Orlewicz was excited by the prospect of killing someone and getting away with it.
Orlewicz, of Canton, Michigan, took the stand and admitted that he killed Sorenson, 26, but insisted that it was in self-defense. He admitted stabbing Sorenson 13 times after an extortion plan went awry and Sorenson threatened his life.
"There was not a murder," Orlewicz testified.
On November 7, Orlewicz said, he, Alexander Letkemann and Sorenson arrived at his grandfather's house in Canton, Michigan, with the intent of robbing Adam Duwe, who had just inherited $40,000. But Orlewicz said he felt "icky" about the plan and was going to pretend Duwe couldn't make it. That's when Sorenson's temper flared, Orlewicz testified.
Orlewicz said Sorenson took out a gun and threatened to kill him.
"You think this is a game?" Orlewicz recalled Sorenson screaming. "I'm going to drop you to your knees and blow your frigging brains out."
Orlewicz said Sorenson began waiving the gun around, so he grabbed a knife from a tool bench and stabbed him from behind.
As the two fought, Orlewicz said, the gun dropped from Sorenson's hand. Sorenson scrambled to find the gun, Orlewicz said, and the two continued to struggle. "I kept trying to stab him and get leverage in the fight," Orlewicz said. "I was stabbing him in the back."
During his testimony Orlewicz also admitted that after Sorenson died, he used a hacksaw to decapitate him. Orlewicz said he threw Sorenson's torso into a field and set it on fire. The defendant said he took a blowtorch to Sorenson's hands to cover up fingerprints.
Orlewicz told the jury he feared that Sorenson was tied to the Mafia and that his family would come after him.
He said his actions after the death were all out of panic.
Orlewicz corroborated Letkemann's testimony that Letkemann stood by and did nothing as Orlewicz stabbed Sorenson.
Letkemann, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder April 1. He will face 20 to 30 years in prison in exchange for his testimony against Orlewicz.
Orlewicz denied Letkemann's assertions that after the killing, he played with Sorenson's head like a puppet.
"That's someone else's imagination," he said.
Prosecutors paraded several witnesses in front of the jury who claimed Orlewicz had said that he wanted to kill someone and that he owned a gun. Orlewicz denied the claims, including one man's testimony that he watched Orlewicz take out the gun, put one bullet in the chamber and play Russian roulette.
Alex Mullins, 17, told police he was supposed to be the lookout on November 6 when Orlewicz planned to kill Sorenson. When the plan was postponed until the next day, Mullins decided he didn't want to be involved, he testified.
Orlewicz had spoken for weeks about wanting to kill Sorenson, Mullins added. "He wanted to stab Dan," Mullins said. "He wanted to bag him up in a tarp, hang him upside down from a tree, burning. He said he wanted to cut his head off."
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran told jurors in his closing arguments that Orlewicz's self-defense theory was bogus and that Orlewicz's testimony about an extortion plan was a cover-up for a gruesome calculated murder.
"There was no plan to extort money," Moran said. "That was the ruse to get the victim there."
Defense Attorney Joseph Niskar asked the jury in his closing arguments to consider the "fear factor" that came into play when Sorenson, who was twice Orlewicz's size, threatened his client with a gun. Niskar argued that if Orlewicz had plotted the murder, he wouldn't have brought a "knife to a gunfight" but instead a stronger weapon to combat the gun he knew Sorenson had.
Moran told the jury that the only possible way for them to find Orlewicz not guilty was to be believe his testimony rather than every single other person who took the stand.
For someone who feared for his life, Orlewicz was fairly calm about the gruesome actions he took against Sorenson, Moran said.
"Where was his emotion when he testified?" Moran asked. "Where was his emotion when he testified that he had to kill Mr. Sorensen? When he had to cut off his head? He testified like he was ordering a pizza. A typical day. That's him. That's cold."
He recounted the gory details of how Orlewicz admitted to decapitating Sorenson and covering up the crime, saying: "We'll never forget it."
"Thanks, Mr. Orlewicz," Moran said.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
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Same as Ohio, and you can bet their will be tons of law suits in the coming days.
A change in how Nevada classifies convicted sex offenders will impact White Pine County. But how much won't be known until later this month.
When Assembly Bill 579 takes effect July 1, many lower tier offenders will have their classifications increased to Tier 3. Under Nevada's three-tier system, Tier 1 is the least likely to reoffend with Tier 3 being the most likely to commit sex crimes again.
Current Nevada law classifies sex offenders by the nature of the crime, age of victims and the number of convictions. Tier 3 includes offenders who have committed violent sexual assaults and crimes against children of a sexual nature, including abductions.
“Our biggest thing is the reclassification the state is doing,” said White Pine Sheriff's Capt. Scott Henriod. “We're waiting on the state.”
There is little doubt that the assigned tier levels of the 40-to-50 registered sex offenders living in White Pine County might change. They represent all tiers.
How many Tier 1 and 2 offenders might be elevated to Tier 3 is not yet known. The decisions are made at the state level and the role of local law enforcement is limited to enforcement, registration of the offenders and notification of the public.
While the number of registered Tier 3 offenders is currently 127 in Clark County (with nearly a 2 million population) that number is estimated to increase as high as 2,000 under the new system, nearly a 1,600 percent increase.
While there are less than 50 registered offenders in White Pine, the population here is estimated at 9,590. Per capita, the number of offenders in White Pine County is substantially higher than for Clark County.
“We just have it on a smaller scale,” Henriod said. There are about 4,200 registered sex offenders in Clark County.
There are several Tier 1 and 2 offenders who could be elevated to Tier 3. If so, the sheriff's department will have work to do. When new fliers with the photographs of the sex offenders and their tier levels arrive from Carson City, the sheriff's department will notify the schools, movie theater and any other places where children and young teenagers might congregate.
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This is what you get when you have inexperience programmers. Who is going to repair all these peoples identities if something happened to them?
Data had been left vulnerable for three years
It's rare that someone looking to steal personal data from a Web site need only submit their own SQL query to pull the data of his choice from the underlying database.
But for the past three years -- until this week -- that's just what anyone with a basic knowledge of SQL could do while visiting the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Web site.
That's according to security blogger Alex Papadimoulis, who earlier this week wrote about how he had exploited a fundamental programming error on the site to download more than 10,500 records with Social Security numbers. The records involved people listed in the Oklahoma's Sexual and Violent Offender Registry.
Also exposed were records containing Social Security numbers and personal data on other types of offenders, as well as employees working at the department.
In an interview, Papadimoulis said the coding error, which now appears to have been fixed, affected the search pages of the Sexual and Violent Offender Registry and the General Offender registry. "The main problem was that the URL contained the computer code required to display data on the page, which is a big vulnerability," he said. "Anybody could change the code and have the page display whatever he would like it to display."
Papadimoulis posted screenshots of the records he had captured to prove his point.
Papadimoulis said it took less than a minute for him to figure out how to modify the code to download records containing data from the site. Instead of validating the request or even considering the user input, the site was designed to blindly execute whatever code a user might tell it to execute, he said. "This is the most extreme case of not validating user input. It really is the most basic of errors," he said.
According to Papadimoulis, the flaw allowed anyone to craft queries to access data in the offender databases as well as from other data stores they might be linked to. It could have even allowed for records to be modified, deleted or added. "I didn't try that," he said. "What I did was I told them this was really, really bad."
The first attempt at fixing the issue was not very successful, Papadimoulis noted in his blog. "Their brilliant developers plugged this pothole with a pebble by doing nothing more than a case-sensitive search/replace of 'social_security_number' with 'doc_number,'" Papadimoulis said.
When Papadimoulis again demonstrated how that fix did little to alleviate the problem, Oklahoma Department of Corrections officials finally pulled the site down for maintenance and corrected the issue.
Jerry Massie, public information officer for the agency, today confirmed the flaw and said it has been fixed. "[Papadimoulis] notified us on Thursday evening that he had been able to manipulate the database," Massie said. "There was a weakness in the application." He did not elaborate further.
Massie noted that the records in the sex offender database were all public records anyway, and that the only protected information involved the Social Security numbers.
"We shut the site down on Friday and put in a fix that we thought would work," Massie said.
Papadimoulis noted that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has put out a request for proposals (download PDF) for consulting services interested in helping the agency acquire a new offender management system. He added that it is not clear whether that move is related to the recently disclosed breach. Massie was unable to clarify that as well.
The request for proposals is dated April 4, one day after Papadimoulis pointed out the problem to the department.
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DERRY - Three months after a convicted kidnapper and child murderer sparked an uproar by moving to Derry, New Hampshire, the town has rejected a plan to restrict where sex offenders can live.
Douglas Simmons moved to Derry in January after serving more than 20 years in prison for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a 6-year-old Connecticut girl. He soon left when there was a public outcry over the fact that he was living near a school.
The incident prompted town councilor Kevin Coyle to propose an ordinance barring sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or day care centers, but his fellow councilors rejected it Tuesday night. Opponents said education would be a better defense against sexual predators.
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This cop was a sex offender registration person as well, so it seems like he would've known better... Guess not!!! Maybe he can join SOSEN, ROAR4FREEDOM, SOClear, etc?
Police: 7-Year-Veteran Attempted To Meet 13-Year-Old At Gas Station
HAWTHORNE -- A fired sheriff's deputy has avoided a possible four- year prison term, and pleaded no contest to using the Internet to arrange for sex with a person he believed was a child, the Daily Breeze reported Saturday.
- Of course he avoided a prison term, he's a cop... The average citizen would be in prison.
Joseph Mican Abadla Carlos, 41, must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors will drop a charge of attempted lewd act upon a child under the age of 14.
Carlos was a Carson station deputy sheriff when he was caught in a sting aimed at alleged online predators last year. Deputy District Attorney Christina Buckley told the Daily Breeze that Carlos went to a Hawthorne gas station to meet a girl he believed was 13, but who was actually a detective posing as a very-young girl.
He was arrested March 31, and charged late last year, the Daily Breeze reported.
He pleaded no contest to a count of using the Internet to meet a minor for lewd purposes and is expected to be sentenced to 90 days in a city jail when he returns May 5 to Los Angeles Superior Court. Carlos is not expected to be jailed for additional time, having already served 30 days in jail.
Carlos, a seven-year veteran, was fired after his arrest, which was part of a sting operation conducted by the South Bay Internet Enforcement Task Force.
Defense attorney Vicki I. Podberesky said her client had been destroyed by the conviction. "He's lost his job. His wife left him. He's losing his house," she said.
- Welcome to the club, and good luck with finding ANY other job...
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So I wonder if some company in India will be handling this?
TRENTON - New Jersey is looking for a private company to house 373 "sexually violent predators."
The state Corrections Department is trying to reduce overcrowding at two facilities that already hold convicted sex offenders in Woodbridge and Kearny.
Corrections Commissioner George Hayman says the state is running out of space, but realizes no community wants them. The department did not specify where it would like a private detention center to be located.
Hayman also says it might not happen at all if the state can't find a qualified company to take the detainees.
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By Karen Dandurant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PORTSMOUTH — A bill that passed the New Hampshire House in March and is being heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee is intended to tighten up the laws requiring sex offenders to register and increasing the protection for the state's most vulnerable residents — children.
HB1640, if passed, brings New Hampshire more in compliance with the Federal Adam Walsh Act. That law, based on the murder of Adam Walsh, creates tiers of reporting and requires enhanced registration requirements for any murder committed against a child where there is also a sexual assault involved.
"One of the most important aspects of the bill is having New Hampshire come into compliance with the Adam Walsh Law," said Rep. Stephen Shurtleff (Email), D-R, Merrimack County, one of the bill's sponsors. "No one likes mandates but in this circumstance the mandate is important and worthwhile. After 2009, all 50 states will have similar laws meaning offenders will not be able to look to move to states with less stringent laws."
- I think they bring it into compliance because they get grant money. They know these laws will not protect children, but it's all about the money, and looking good to the sheeple!
Shurtleff used the example of Massachusetts requiring a peeping Tom to register as a sex offender, while New Hampshire does not
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence worked closely with the Legislature on the bill's components. Spokeswoman Amanda Grady said the coalition is looking to a long-term assessment system to monitor offenders.
"Putting in a tier system is a step in the right direction," said Grady. "Sex offender registry laws are inconsistent from state to state, and people are finding out instances where they'd be better to move to New Hampshire, like as offenders against adults. This bill has already been amended to say adult offenders against adults need register only after the second offense. Why would we let them do it again?"
Grady said a group of Derry mothers plan to testify in favor of HB1640 because a new neighbor was convicted of killing a 6-year-old girl he had also sexually assaulted.
Grady said because the killer, Douglas Simmons, wasn't convicted of sex assault, "he almost didn't have to register at all." He pleaded guilty to murder in 1981, but did not plead guilty to kidnapping until 2003, finally requiring him to register, Grady said.
HB1640 adds new offenses that require registration. They include capital and first degree murder if a sexual assault is an element of the offense. It also requires registration of offenders convicted of "peeping tom" offenses.
The bill creates a three tier registration system for different levels of offenders. Tier three, the most egregious would require offenders to register every three months and require very detailed information including a DNA sample.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 offenders will be required to register twice a year. After 15 years of good behavior they can petition the court to have their name removed from the list.
Rep. Gene Charron (Email), another sponsor of the bill said a lot of time and effort was put into the details of the bill.
"We were able to close some loopholes," said Charron. "Some offenses committed here in New Hampshire were not listed. We used the Adam Walsh Act as a guideline. In some cases our laws were stronger and we retained them and in others we didn't feel some steps were appropriate at this time. The bottom line is to protect kids. We're also looking to tighten up these laws because there are some sick people out there."
- You are right, and that would include murderers, drug dealers, DUI offenders and many others. Also sick corrupt officials who pass draconian unconstitutional laws, instead of upholding the constitution which they took an oath, and apparently lied about, to get into office.
PDF Entitled "Marshall's Law"
Two years ago today, when a young Canadian man named Stephen Marshall stalked and killed two Maine sex offenders in a horrific, random spree, Shirley Turner lost more than just her son.
"I lost everything," the Patten woman said in an interview this week. "My freedom, my safety — I couldn’t even go into a grocery store alone because of how people were looking at me, like I was the criminal."
Even 24 months after his death, many people still see Turner’s son, William Elliott, the same way Marshall did: as little more than a convicted sex offender.
And Turner experiences it herself.
"I might as well have a tattoo on my forehead that says ‘sex offender,’" she said. "And what did I do but love my son?"
Elliott, who was 24 years old and lived in Corinth, was the second of two murders Marshall committed on the early morning of April 16, 2006. The disturbed 20-year-old from Nova Scotia also shot and killed Joseph Gray, 57, of Milo, who shared nothing in common with Elliott other than his status as a registered sex offender.
The case made headlines across the state and drew national attention as well, mainly because Marshall used Maine’s online sex offender registry to find his targets. The killer later committed suicide aboard a bus bound for Boston, taking his motive and a host of unanswered questions with him.
Turner, who has spent the last several months writing and researching a book about what happened to her son, said not a day goes by that she doesn’t lament his death. The second anniversary is just another day.
"I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to shake it," she said. "It’s with me every morning I wake up."
The whole truth about sexual crimes seldom reaches the public, and Elliott is a perfect example.
All Marshall knew about Elliott was what he discovered on the Maine Sex Offender Registry: his name, age, address and crime — sexual abuse of a minor.
What Marshall didn’t know was that Elliott was convicted of having consensual sex when he was 19 with his then 15-year-old girlfriend. It was a misdemeanor offense.
In June 2002, Elliott was sentenced to serve four months at Penobscot County Jail, but the short incarceration period was nothing compared to what he faced when he was released, according to his mother.
"My son feared for his life," Turner said, an eerie premonition of his eventual fate. "There are times when I wish I was there when he was shot, so I could have jumped in front of the bullets. He had his whole life ahead of him."
A police investigation discovered that Marshall visited the home of four other sex offenders between 3 a.m. April 16, 2006, when he shot and killed Gray, and 8 a.m., when he killed Elliott. Marshall’s computer records also indicated that he viewed 34 sex offender profiles.
To this day, Turner doesn’t know why her son stood out.
"It really hurt me that my son was on the registry in the same category as any other offender. He didn’t belong there," Turner said. "It killed my son."
As Maine found out shortly after Marshall’s killings, all sex offenders looked the same in the eyes of the online registry.
That could soon change, however. Turner has traveled to Augusta to testify on the need for changes to the registry, which has been a legislative priority ever since Marshall’s killing spree. Many pieces of legislation have been submitted that deal with changes or updates to the sex offender registry.
Just last week, the Maine Senate approved a proposed bill that would allow those who offended from 1982 to 1992 and have not reoffended or have a prior history of offenses to be removed from the registry. It also changes the definition of lifetime registrant so it applies from 2005 on.
Also, earlier this week, Maine’s Democratic 1st District U.S. Rep. Tom Allen announced a federal grant of $63,000, which will be used by the State Bureau of Identification to develop a "mirror" registry for law enforcement agencies.
Turner is pleased that the wheels of change are moving forward, even if it has been painfully slow. Most everyone agrees that the registry is not for people like William Elliott, but that doesn’t bring him back.
"I really think the system could be better, but at least they’re making strides," she said.
Turner also said she sometimes talks to Joseph Gray’s widow, Janice Gray, a woman she never knew before two years ago but someone with whom she shares an unbreakable connection now.
"I told her recently, if you ever hear from Stephen Marshall’s family, tell them I’m sorry for their loss," Turner said. "Janice couldn’t understand that. She said, ‘You’re a bigger person than I am.’"
But, as Turner pointed out, "they lost someone too."
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The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department held a meeting with several other law enforcement agencies in reference to sex offender registration requirements.
The attending agencies were brought up to date on how changes in sex offender registration has changed and how their agencies would be affected.
“We decided to host this conference so everyone could get on the same page, when it comes to offenders registering,” said Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft.
The Louisiana Legislature passed stricter registration requirements that took effort on Jan. 1, 2008.
Agencies that attended the seminar were Vernon Parish, DeSoto Parish, Rapides Parish, Natchitoches, Beauregard, Winn, Red River, Grant, Sabine, as well as representatives from Natchitoches Probation and Parole District and Leesville Probation and Parole District.
“The new requirements were so different than the previous process that there was a lot of confusion among all agencies involved,” said Craft.
Craft and Chief Deputy Calvin Turner invited Clay Rives and Emma Devillier of the United States Attorney General's Office and authors of the bill to host the seminar.
Rives and Devillier gave a presentation explaining the new procedures and answered questions from the different agencies attending the seminar.
House Bill 970 Sex Offender Legislation of 2007 became effective Jan. 1, 2008 and can be viewed in its entirety at www.legis.state.la.us.
In the past adult sex offenders, child predators and juveniles convicted in adult court of aggravated and forcible rape had to register.
Now those having to register are adult sex offenders; child predators; juveniles convicted in adult court of aggravated rape, forcible rape, or second degree kidnapping; and juveniles 14 and older adjudicated for aggravated rape, forcible rape, second degree sexual battery, aggravated kidnapping of a child under 13, second degree kidnapping of children under 13, aggravated incest in some cases and aggravated crime against nature.
In the past offenders only had to be registered for 10 years, no matter what offense. Now the law has established three tiers for registration.
Offenders convicted for first tier crimes, which include false imprisonment of a child under 18 with a weapon, incest, indecent behavior with a juvenile and crime against nature, must publish in the newspaper where they live, every time they move or every five years and they must stay registered for 15 years.
Second tier offenders convicted of such crimes as oral sexual battery, human trafficking, and computer-aided solicitation to name a few, must publish in the newspaper where they live, every time they move or every five years. They must also stay registered for 25 years and must renew registration biannually.
Third tier offenders include those who commit aggravated offenses. Third tier offenders must register for their lifetime and must renew registration quarterly in person. Tier three crimes include aggravated rape, forcible rape and aggravated kidnapping of a child.
By the end of the seminar all agencies had a better knowledge of the changes in the law and how local enforcement agencies will be more involved in ensuring the safety and welfare of their residents, according to Craft.
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BATON ROUGE — The most serious sex crimes should be punishable by castration, with drugs or surgery, the Louisiana Senate voted on Tuesday.
The bill by Sen. Nick Gautreaux (Email), D-Meaux, would give judges the option of imposing chemical castration on those convicted of sex crimes including aggravated rape, simple rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile. Chemical castration would be mandatory on second offenses, and the offender would have the option of choosing physical castration instead.
Senators voted 32-3 to send the measure to the House.
Chemical castration would involve treatment with the drug medroxyprogesterone acetate, with the aim of diminishing the offender's sexual impulses. Gautreaux amended the bill to add a provision that would bar such an offender from taking another substance — such as estrogen — that could counteract the effects of the castration drug.
The drug treatment would be mandatory on a second offense, though a medical expert would have to determine that the treatment would be effective.
Once ordered to undergo the treatment, the offender would have the option of physical castration — which Gautreaux said some offenders might prefer to avoid any drug side effects or in hopes of permanently curbing impulses that led to his offense.
Voting against the measure were Sen. Cheryl Gray (Email), D-New Orleans, Robert Kostelka (Email), R-West Monroe, and Derrick Shepherd (Email), D-Marrero.
Also awaiting House debate is another Gautreaux bill that would prohibit sex offenders from wearing masks or costumes on most major holidays, and prohibit them from giving candy or other gifts to people younger than 18. The bill (Senate Bill 143) by Sen. Nick Gautreaux, D-Meaux, now goes to the House for debate. Violators could be jailed for a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years.
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Not sex offender related, but interesting.
A Florida woman has been awarded $11.3 million in a defamation lawsuit against a Louisiana woman who posted messages on the Internet accusing her of being a "crook," a "con artist" and a "fraud."
Legal analysts say the Sept. 19 award by a jury in Broward County, Fla. — first reported Friday by the Daily Business Review — represents the largest such judgment over postings on an Internet blog or message board. Lyrissa Lidsky, a University of Florida law professor who specializes in free-speech issues, calls the award "astonishing."
BEWARE OF BLOGS: Courts are asked to crack down on bloggers, websites
Lidsky says the case could represent a coming trend in court fights over online messages because the woman who won the damage award, Sue Scheff of Weston, Fla., pursued the case even though she knew the defendant, Carey Bock of Mandeville, La., has no hope of paying such an award. Bock, who had to leave her home for several months because of Hurricane Katrina, couldn't afford an attorney and didn't show up for the trial.
"What's interesting about this case is that (Scheff) was so vested in being vindicated, she was willing to pay court costs," Lidsky says. "They knew before trial that the defendant couldn't pay, so what's the point in going to the jury?"
Scheff says she wanted to make a point to those who unfairly criticize others on the Internet. "I'm sure (Bock) doesn't have $1 million, let alone $11 million, but the message is strong and clear," Scheff says. "People are using the Internet to destroy people they don't like, and you can't do that."
The dispute between the two women arose after Bock asked Scheff for help in withdrawing Bock's twin sons from a boarding school in Costa Rica. Bock had disagreed with her ex-husband over how to deal with the boys' behavior problems. Against Bock's wishes, he had sent the boys to the boarding school.
Scheff, who operates a referral service called Parents Universal Resource Experts, says she referred Bock to a consultant who helped Bock retrieve her sons. Afterward, Bock became critical of Scheff and posted negative messages about her on the Internet site Fornits.com, where parents with children in boarding schools for troubled teens confer with one another.
In 2003, Scheff sued Bock for defamation. Bock hired a lawyer, but he left the case when she no longer could afford to pay him.
When Katrina hit in August 2005, Bock's house was flooded and she moved temporarily to Texas before returning to Louisiana last June. Court papers that Scheff and her attorney David H. Pollack mailed to Bock were returned to Pollack's office in Miami.
After Bock didn't offer a defense, a Broward Circuit Court judge found in favor of Scheff. A jury then heard Scheff's arguments about damages. Pollack did not seek a specific amount for the harm he says Scheff's business suffered.
"Even with no opposing counsel and no defendant there, $11 million is a huge amount," says Pollack, adding that Scheff is considering whether to try to collect any money from Bock. "The jury determined this was a significant enough issue. It's not just somebody's feelings are hurt; it's somebody's reputation is ruined."
Bock says that when she moved back to her repaired house over the summer, she knew the trial was approaching but did not know the date. She says she doesn't have the money to pay the judgment or hire a lawyer to appeal it. She adds that if the goal of Scheff's lawsuit was to stifle what Bock says online, it worked.
"I don't feel like I can express my opinions," Bock says. "Only one side of the story was told in court. Nobody heard my side."
Read The Full Text Here
By Thomas Paine
PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.
In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wise and the worthy need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments are injudicious or unfriendly, will cease of themselves, unless too much pains is bestowed upon their conversion.
The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling; of which class, regardless of party censure, is
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Video available at the site. Warning, it is hard to listen to, IMO. If they know where all these "624,000" computers are, why are they not knocking on the doors and taking the people to jail?
It seems to me like this is scare tactics, but I am only guessing. If they were really needing money, why would they not provide a DONATION link or place to call to donate money? Plus, like the one commenter says, most of the money is in IRAQ!!!
More than 624,000 computers in the USA have traded child pornography, much of it showing the sexual abuse of very young children, in the past 2½ years, a leading police authority planned to tell Congress at a hearing Wednesday.
Yet federal authorities with limited resources pursue fewer than 1% of the leads, according to a USA TODAY analysis of government data.
Flint Waters, chief of the Wyoming Internet Crimes Against Children task force, has been tracking child porn to specific computers, by serial number, since October 2005. He says that last year, he identified nearly half the computers, 267,120, on just one online network.
U.S. attorneys prosecuted 1,705 cases last year and won 1,409 convictions, according to court records obtained by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The Justice Department says the numbers are higher — 2,118 prosecutions and 1,715 convictions — but it includes other online crimes against children. The cases result from all kinds of tips, not just those from Waters.
As child pornography becomes increasingly pervasive, spreading from the Internet to cellphones and iPods, police have new tools, such as the software Waters developed, to identify traffickers. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today will probe whether law enforcement, given those tools, is doing enough.
The Justice Department, particularly under former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, has called enforcement a top priority. Prosecutions more than doubled in the past five years, the department says, and the number of federal-state Internet Crimes Against Children task forces increased from 46 to 59 last year. In 2006, the department launched a program, Project Safe Childhood, to coordinate federal efforts.
"We're trying to use every available resource," says Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. He says there is "unparalleled" federal-state cooperation. "We're supremely more effective than we were."
A boom in funding, though, hasn't followed. "Everyone says great things, but … it hasn't happened," says Arnold Bell, chief of the FBI's Innocent Images Unit, a program to fight child pornography. He says his program's funds have barely budged. It got $33.1 million in 2006, $34.8 million in 2007.
The number of child porn cases hasn't changed much. Innocent Images opened 2,440 cases last year, compared with 2,430 in 2003 and 2,370 in '02.
"This problem is growing by leaps and bounds," says Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. He says the Justice Department hasn't committed enough resources to fight it and that department leadership on the issue is "non-existent." He is sponsoring a bill, passed by the House of Representatives in November, to spend $1.05 billion over eight years on fighting child porn. That would more than triple funding for the task forces, he says.
"You could easily apply another 1,000 agents" to fight online child exploitation, says Shawn Bray of the Cyber Crimes Center at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which investigates child sex tourism, trafficking and porn.
"We're not even scratching the surface," says Waters, who has helped train 1,800 investigators to use his software. "We have to tell folks we're hurting."
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Suit challenges law requiring sex offenders to allow computer searches
TERRE HAUTE — A bill passed by legislators and signed by the governor may still die if courts decide it’s unconstitutional, which is exactly what many are hoping.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a suit to block a new law set to take effect July 1 on behalf of John Doe, Steve Morris and those similarly situated. It was filed last Tuesday against all of Indiana’s 92 county prosecutors, 91 county sheriffs and the mayor of Indianapolis.
It challenges an amendment to Indiana Code 11-8-8-8 requiring anyone who registers on Indiana’s sex and violent offender registry to sign a consent authorizing the search at any time of the person’s personal computer or device with Internet capability. It also requires a person to install, at his or her expense, hardware or software on the person’s computer to monitor Internet usage.
“The amendment represents a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment and is unconstitutional,” the complaint states. “Injunctive and declaratory relief is requested.”
The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Some of the people required to register have served their time, if they were given any, and are not under any court supervision with probation or parole. Some of the offenders’ crimes didn’t even involve a computer, according to Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.
Doe is a name being used for an offender from Marion County who is currently listed on the registry and is required to register for life. He has been released from prison since 1999, according to the claim.
He operates his business from home with his personal computer, which contains client and banking information as well as communications with attorneys.
Morris, a resident from Scott County, is also listed on the registry and is required to register for life. He shares his computer with his wife, which they use for banking and storing other financial information, the claim states.
Under these circumstances, some of the information searched from both of these computers wouldn’t even belong to the offenders.
“ … The law is so broad,” Falk said. “For one thing, it doesn’t even say who has the right to come in, it just says that they have to sign a consent to have their computer searched and it doesn’t say what the searchers are to do with the information.”
Another concern that hasn’t been addressed is whether or not the information seized in the search would be subject to an open door request. Falk said he didn’t know.
“I think it’s a problematic law,” he said, “but the bottom line is it really does waive the Fourth Amendment rights of a lot of people whose rights should not be waived.”
Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel thinks there could be ways to make sure law enforcement only get what they’re looking for just as if they were searching a person’s house, he said.
“I think there are ways to ensure that government, that law enforcement doesn’t get into certain areas of the registor’s information,” he said, “but on the other hand, you have to balance that with what’s needed to protect society.”
When searching a person’s house, officers have to obtain a warrant that specifically states what they are looking for and where, Marvel said.
“I just think there are ways that just the proper information is garnered and not the private information belonging to other people in the household,” he said.
Rep. Clyde Kersey (Email), D-Terre Haute, voted in favor of the bill because like his colleagues, many of his constituents are concerned about sex offender issues.
“I think we need to do as much as we can to keep sex offenders off the street,” he said. “Maybe this bill goes too far, I don’t know, but the courts will determine whether or not it’s a violation of individual rights.”
- If they'd do homework before passing unconstitutional laws, they would save millions of dollars in legal defense. Yet they'd rather waste tax payer dollars and let the court decide, when that should be their job before the law is even proposed, IMO.
Kersey said the concern of waiving individual rights was brought up at one point while the bill was moving through the system, but it still passed by a large majority.
The case is set for hearing May 30.
The following material has been prepared and provided by Allen Cowling and Cowling Investigations, Inc., for educational purposes and was designed to assist anyone who is facing a false accusation, false allegation or false allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse, child molesting, incest, rape or who has been wrongfully convicted, because of a false allegation. None of the material provided in the individual links identified below, should ever be relied on as a replacement for qualified legal assistance under any circumstances.
If you are visiting here for the first time and have been falsely accused, I would strongly recommend that you click and review our Site Map link. It will provide you with a simple description of every page on this website and give you the ability to find specific information that applies to you and your case. I would also recommend viewing the Your Attorney link on this page. There are 10 additional links to that page that could prove very beneficial, one being a detailed explanation of what is necessary for a father to win custody of his children when confronted with false allegations of child sexual abuse.
Before sending us email, an email with a file attachment, a letter or a request asking that we telephone you regarding a problem, or before asking what we do or how much it would cost, please click and read Our Policy This identifies the specific manner in which we deal with all correspondence, emails and telephone calls. For an explanation of how we defend cases, see Our Involvement. We can Help!
Without question, false allegations of child abuse as well as convictions based on these allegations, have become nothing short of an epidemic during the past ten years and the obvious question is, why? One major reason for the increase is the mandated reporting law, making it a felony when certain individuals fail to report suspected abuse. As to convictions, often they can be attributed to those prosecutors, social workers and child advocates who have no desire to find the truth, but simply want to validate a child's accusations, even in some cases where evidence supports that the child accuser was never abused. These save the world vigilantes are responsible for sending hundreds of innocent people to prison solely based on the fact that a child said it happened. Secondly, many convictions are the result of defense attorneys who have no clue as to how to defend these specific types of cases, but because of ego, refuse to associate others who do and, as result, simply stumble through a defense.
A false allegation is a lie and when a child tells it, there is absolutely nothing preventing them from adding to the story. Most do and usually it is because they are trying to please their interviewer. See the link above, "Why Lies Multiply". Survival for the wrongfully accused means refusing to accept the lie and refusing to become another victim of the system. The lie can be exposed, but only by beginning a proper and aggressive defense as soon as the allegation surfaces. Defending a false allegation of abuse does require expertise. There are no easy or instant solutions. Much to popular belief, there is absolutely no profile and/or no specific characteristics of a molested child or of a child molester. It just does not exist, but prosecutors will attempt to convince a jury that there is through some "quack" doctor and the inexperienced defense counsel allows it in without objection.
In a great many false allegation cases dealing with child sexual abuse, unfortunately, the initial advice given to the accused is let's wait and see what they have before we do anything. Those giving that advice have no understanding that while waiting, ample opportunity exists for someone to work with that child and, over time, one charge can easily become 10 to 15 individual indictments. When that happens, then the advice normally becomes, accept the plea bargain.
We have a great deal of expertise in preparing a legal defense in false allegation cases, working with individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and in assuring that anyone falsely accused has proper and adequate legal representation. As of January, 2002, we have personally and actively participated in defending clients in 323 false allegation cases, provided 196 consultations and participated in 168 trials in 37 states, Mexico, Canada, England, France, Italy and Brazil.
A conviction for anyone who has been wrongfully accused usually is a result of a totally incompetent defense; investigative, trial preparation, strategy or court presentation. There is absolutely no room for any mistake when defending these cases. Often, immediate and proper action can actually prevent indictments, keeping the entire matter out of the legal system, but timing is critical. Allen Cowling, with more than 36 years of experience as a private investigator and defense strategist, has, for more than a decade, devoted his practice to the specialization of defending false allegations of child abuse, criminal defense preparation, overturning convictions for the innocent and legal malpractice cases for clients, worldwide. We make the impossible possible by providing a "defense strategy" that is designed to expose the lie.
Topics Related to False Allegation Issues
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So all these law suits have been going on for over 10 years, and they are still going on today. I wonder how much money has been wasted on all these law suits?
A state appeals court has ruled that California's nine-month-old sexually violent predator (SVP) law is constitutional.
The law lets the state keep certain state prison inmates from being paroled into the community when they've completed their sentence if it's determined they still pose a serious danger to society. Instead, they go to Atascadero State Hospital (News).
Confinement of sexual predators has divided courts throughout the nation, and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue in a Kansas case.
In the California case, the 1st District Court of Appeal court reversed a Superior Court decision that held the SVP law unconstitutional. The attorneys for the 10 inmates had not determined whether they will appeal to the California Supreme Court. However, many other inmates have challenged the law so attorneys believe the issue will eventually end up before the state high court.
The SVP law was challenged on the grounds that it imposes a new punishment on a criminal who has already done his time. However, the appeals court disagreed, saying the additional confinement is not punitive and criminal, but is mental health treatment that is "curative and civil."
The court ruled that the law "imposes a mental health commitment for a present diagnosed mental illness which makes it likely the predator will commit future sexually violent offenses... "Rather than await a re-offense and offer condolences to the family of the victim," the court said, "the people are not only ensuring that predatory, violent sexual offenders be removed from society, but at the same time ensuring that they receive whatever treatment psychiatry can offer for their maladies."
The law applies to those who have been convicted of a sexually violent offense against at least two victims. When this type of inmate is up for parole, the Department of Corrections determines if he fits criteria for SVP evaluation.
Those who do are referred to the Department of Mental Health for evaluation by two psychologists or psychiatrists who will determine risk factors. This is usually done at Atascadero which has two wards with about 50 inmates at this evaluation stage.
If it's determined that the inmate has a mental disorder and is likely to engage in more sexual violence, this finding is sent to the county where the inmate was convicted. This has been done for about 200 inmates so far.
If the county obtains a court order for civil commitment, the inmate can be held for up to two years of treatment, renewable every two years until he is no longer considered dangerous. Officials say only two inmates have reached this point.
Both are back at Atascadero because the state has not yet determined where the SVP treatment facility will eventually be established when more individuals reach this point.
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By Jon Schmitz, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Opponents of Pennsylvania's "Megan's Law," a 2 1/2-year-old statute that was intended to crack down on violent sex offenders, asked the state Supreme Court yesterday to declare the law unconstitutional.
Supporters of the law said it was a rational and constitutional way to protect citizens from "sexually violent predators."
The Supreme Court heard arguments in Pittsburgh for appeals involving six Megan's Law-related cases from throughout the state. The court usually takes several weeks or longer to issue a ruling.
Several lower courts have ruled that portions of the law, which took effect in April 1996, were unconstitutional. But a state appeals court last year upheld a section requiring certain sex offenders to register their whereabouts with law enforcement authorities.
Every state has enacted some version of "Megan's Law," named for a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a paroled sex offender who had moved into her neighborhood. The laws generally provide for some type of public notification of the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders after their release from prison.
Civil libertarians and other critics have called the requirement a "badge of infamy" that is attached to offenders for life.
Erie County District Attorney Joseph P. Conti, arguing in favor of the law yesterday, said citizens needed special protection from sex offenders because studies had shown that they were far more likely than other classes of offenders to repeat their crimes.
But opponents attacked a provision in Pennsylvania's law that presumes certain types of convicted sex offenders are "sexually violent predators" unless they are able to prove otherwise. Such a designation subjects an offender to the most stringent notification requirements and, in some cases, to harsher sentences.
Under the law, an individual found guilty of kidnapping, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, or some prostitution and obscenity offenses is referred to a state board before sentencing. The board makes a recommendation to the trial judge about whether the offender is a "sexually violent predator." The trial judge holds a hearing, at which the burden rests on the offender to prove by "clear and convincing evidence" that the designation is unjustified.
Those who are so designated face a possible maximum sentence of life in prison, a mandatory life term if convicted of another sex crime and stringent registration requirements if and when they get out of prison.
Karl Baker, a Philadelphia public defender who has spearheaded statewide challenges to the law, said it unconstitutionally shifted the burden of proof from prosecutors to the accused, subjected offenders to multiple trials and punishments and was unconstitutionally vague.
Some lower court judges have agreed. In one such case, Erie County Judge Ernest J. DeSantis Jr. ruled in September that because the label "sexually violent predator" carried possible additional punishment, prosecutors should bear the burden of proving that the designation is justified.
"It would be quite easy for a community to 'let down' its constitutional guard in cases such as this that involve acts which are so heinous and repugnant," DeSantis wrote.
Conti told the court the "presumption of innocence" vanished once an individual was convicted of a sex offense, and that it was both lawful and sensible to shift the burden of proof to the offender.
That prompted Justice Stephen A. Zappala to ask if the Legislature could require every convicted murderer to face the death penalty unless he could prove that a lesser sentence was justified.
Justice Sandra Schultz Newman wondered aloud why convicted killers were not required to register with authorities after their release from jail.
Conti replied that sex offenders, because of their penchant for repeated offenses, posed "unique and serious problems" that justify special treatment under the law.
Another issue before the high court is whether the registration requirements in Megan's Law can be imposed on offenders whose crimes occurred before the law was enacted.
A Superior Court panel ruled last year that the notification requirement was not "punishment" and thus could be applied retroactively.
Public defender Jeanette Dickerson of Montgomery County asked the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling, saying the registration requirement was an "additional penalty enacted after the commission of a crime," and therefore was an unconstitutional "ex post facto" law.
Her client, Dennis Gaffney, was convicted of sexual assault on a 9-year-old girl four months before Megan's Law took effect. He was sentenced to six to 30 years in jail. If he gets out, he must register his whereabouts with state police, who will disseminate the information to local law enforcement officials.