Monday, August 25, 2008

NJ - Middlesex Boro council to discuss rescinding sex offender residency law

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08/25/2008

MIDDLESEX BOROUGH —The Borough Council will discuss rescinding its sex offender residency law tonight, a month after a state appeals court ruling last month rendered such laws unenforceable.

The council will discuss its next step during an agenda meeting set for 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 1200 Mountain Ave. The meeting will be followed by a regular council meeting.

Last month, a state appeals court struck down laws in Cherry Hill and Galloway that barred convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of areas - such as parks and schools - where children might congregate. Middlesex Borough has a similar law, passed in 2006, that made it illegal for a convicted sex offender to live within 1,000 feet of a park, school, playground or day care.

The court said that Megan's Law, a state law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their addresses with law enforcement officials, was comprehensive and preempted local laws like the ones in Galloway and Cherry Hill.

Mayor Gerald D'Angelo said the court's decision left the borough with little choice.

"The court's ruling really kind of stated that what's in effect from the state pretty much takes care of everything," he said. "We didn't have a problem before we passed the ordinance so I don't foresee a problem coming in the future."

As part of Megan's Law, sex offenders' addresses are publicly accessible through an online database. A search of that database yesterday afternoon revealed that no convicted sex offenders are listed as having a Middlesex Borough address.

D'Angelo said he did not believe his borough's law had ever "come into play."

At least three other Middlesex County municipalities have similar laws — Carteret, Sayreville and Spotswood. Officials from the latter two municipalities have said they would consider rescinding their ordinances as well.

Deborah Kole, staff attorney for the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, said all such laws are now unenforceable, but she said the formal act of rescinding the laws could still have value.

"As long as an ordinance is on the books there's always the danger of a miscommunication and someone enforcing it," she said.

D'Angelo said the council would discuss the matter tonight, but may not vote on rescinding it yet. Borough attorney Ed Johnson is out of town and is not expected to attend the night's meeting.

Ironically, the sex offender residency law is not the only now-unenforceable law the borough will consider rescinding tonight. The council will also discuss a 2006 law that governed the removal and replacement of trees in the borough. A similar law in Jackson has been overturned by an appeals court. The state Supreme Court is expected to hear arguements in that case next month.

Jared Kaltwasser can be reached at 908-707-3137 or jkaltwasser@mycentraljersey.com.


CA - Two SLO County men - including former sheriff's deputy - arrested in child porn case plead not guilty

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08/25/2008

Two San Luis Obispo County men arrested last week after a nationwide child pornography investigation pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles federal court today.

Former county Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Jon Goossens and mail carrier Jeremy Neubauer pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing child pornography.

The arraignment of a third local man also arrested in the case, construction worker Bryan David Arnold, has been set for Sept. 8.

Goossens and Neubauer were arrested Monday and Arnold was booked Tuesday, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. The three men from San Luis Obispo County were among 55 people charged in federal and state courts after an eight-month investigation led by the FBI Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The men were among more than two dozen people arrested over the past several months accused of using peer-to-peer file-sharing software to trade and view child pornography images and video, according to FBI officials.

The trial in the case against Goossens, 46, of Atascadero, is set for Oct. 14. Neubauer, 29, of Nipomo, will go to trial Oct. 15.

Arnold, 47, lives in Grover Beach.


FL - Governor Charlie Crist’s Clemency Board Notes on the Restoration of Felon Civil Rights, 2007

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News article (Video included)

How ironic! Notice the text below each image! Also in the video, he mentions the "Golden Rule!" Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Which sounds good, but he apparently doesn't believe in it, but it makes for good sound bites!

(From: Florida. Governor 2007: Crist, Series S 2068)

Until 2007, convicted felons in Florida had to apply to the Executive Clemency Board (formerly the State Pardons Board) for restoration of their civil rights, such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, hold public office or apply for an occupational license. Over the years many have argued that this rule was racially or politically motivated to disfranchise specific populations from voting. Others have argued that the rule protected the safety of the greater public. On April 5, 2007, after much debate, the Executive Clemency Board voted 3-1 (Attorney General Bill McCollum was the dissenting vote) to automatically restore the civil rights of convicted felons (except for the right to bear arms) once they have completed their sentence and parole, paid all restitutions, and have no outstanding cases.

In 2007, the Executive Clemency Board consisted of Governor Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson, and Attorney General Bill McCollum. The board usually meets four times a year. Currently authorized by the Florida Constitution of 1968 (Article IV, Section 8), the Governor, with approval of a majority of the members of the Cabinet, may grant full or conditional pardons, restore civil rights, commute punishment, and remit fines and forfeitures.

Charlie Crist was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1956, although he grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. After attending Florida State University and Wake Forest University, he received his law degree from Cumberland School of Law. After several years in private practice, he served as U.S. Senator Connie Mack's state director. In 1992, he was elected to the Florida Senate. In 2000, he became the last elected Commissioner of Education, followed in 2002 by his election as Attorney General. On November 7, 2006, he was elected Governor of the State of Florida.

This series consists of the notes (two pages) created by Governor Charlie Crist during the April 5, 2007 meeting of the Executive Clemency Board. They reveal the governor's thoughts and arguments regarding the change in the Board's rules.

Click the image to enlarge it

- Justice cries out for us to do what's right.

- These people have paid their debt to society ... and once that debt has been fully paid - we do not have the moral right to add to it.

- What would give this body the right to add five more years, five more weeks or 5 more minutes to someone's sentence. Handed down by a judge and jury?

- Dignity, justice, honor; at what point does the punished have the right to a simple chance to come back to society.

-Can't we find it in our hearts to choose to forgive and not forever condemn.

Click the image to enlarge it

- Those whose lives we discuss today have served a sentence, as they should have; but what right have we here to add to that sentence.

- Redemption - Forgiveness - Grace

- I call for Redemption!

God given inalienable rights from our Creator - once the debt is paid we must again honor their rights - and thereby honor him

-"We should not confuse punishment with revenge"


H.R. 5722: International Megan's Law of 2008


HR 5722 IH

110th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5722


To mandate reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other sex offenders intending to engage in international travel, to provide advance notice of convicted sex offenders who intend to travel outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, to prevent entry into the United States by any foreign sex offender, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


April 8, 2008


Mr. SMITH of New Jersey (for himself, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. FORTENBERRY, Mr. PITTS, Mr. WOLF, Mrs. DRAKE, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. CHABOT, and Mr. WILSON of South Carolina) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned






A BILL


To mandate reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other sex offenders intending to engage in international travel, to provide advance notice of convicted sex offenders who intend to travel outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, to prevent entry into the United States by any foreign sex offender, and for other purposes.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.


This Act may be cited as the `International Megan's Law of 2008'.


SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSES.


(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:


(1) Megan Nicole Kanka, who was 7 years old, was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered in 1994, in the State of New Jersey by a violent predator who had been convicted previously of a sex offense.


(2) In 1996, Congress adopted Megan's Law (Public Law 104-145) as a means to encourage States to inform the public of sex offenders who had been convicted and are present in their communities.


(3) In 2006, Congress adopted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (title I of Public Law 109-248), which further strengthens the national standards for sex offender registration and public notification.


(4) Since 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has made nearly 11,000 arrests, including over 9,100 arrests of non-United States citizens, of persons suspected of illegally exploiting children. Violations include child pornography, child sex tourism and facilitators, and trafficking of minors.


(5) It is estimated that more than 2 million children are exploited each year in the global commercial sex trade.


(b) Declaration of Purposes- The purposes of this Act and the amendments made by this Act are to prevent the international travel of sex traffickers and other sex offenders who intend to commit a sexual offense by—


(1) expanding access to information about known sex offenders in the United States who intend to travel outside the United States;


(2) ensuring that foreign nationals who have committed a sex offense are denied entry into the United States;


(3) including information in the annual report to Congress required by section 110(b)(1) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107(b)(1)) regarding the establishment of systems to identify and provide notice of international travel by sex offenders to destination countries; and


(4) providing assistance to foreign countries under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to meet the requirements described in paragraph (3).


SEC. 3. SEX OFFENDER TRAVEL REPORTING REQUIREMENT.


(a) Duty To Report- An individual who is required to register pursuant to section 113 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act shall notify an appropriate jurisdiction or jurisdictions in conformity with the rules issued under subsection (b) not later than 21 days before departure to or arrival from a foreign place. A jurisdiction so notified shall promptly inform the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General.


(b) Rules for Reporting- Not later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General shall make rules to carry out subsection (a) in the light of the purposes of this Act. Such rules—


(1) shall establish procedures for reporting under subsection (a);


(2) shall set forth the information required to be reported; and


(3) may provide for appropriate alternative reporting in situations, such as emergencies, where the requirement of subsection (a) is impracticable or inappropriate.


(c) Criminal Penalty for Failure To Report-


(1)   NEW OFFENSE- Section 2250 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:


'(d) Whoever knowingly fails to report his or her travel to or from a foreign place as required by the International Megan's Law of 2007 shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.'.


(2) AMENDMENT TO HEADING OF SECTION- The heading for section 2250 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting `or report international travel' after `register'.


(3) CONFORMING AMENDMENT TO AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE- Section 2250(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting `or (d)' after `(a)'.


(4) CONFORMING AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL PENALTIES FOR VIOLENT CRIMES- Section 2250(c) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting `or (d)' after `(a)' each place it appears.


(5) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The item relating to section 2250 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 109B of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting `or report international travel' after `register'.


(d) Duty To Notify Sex Offenders of Reporting Requirement- When an official is required under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act to notify an offender of a duty to register under that Act, the official shall also, at the same time—


(1) notify that offender of that offender's duty to report under this section and the procedure for fulfilling that duty; and


(2)   require the offender to read and sign a form stating that the duty to report and the procedure for reporting has been explained and that the offender understands the reporting requirement.

SEC. 4. NOTIFICATION TO FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL BY SEX OFFENDERS.


(a) In General- In order to protect children and others and prevent sex trafficking, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish a system in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State whereby the appropriate authorities in relevant foreign countries or territories are notified in a timely manner about travel outside the United States by persons required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and to report pursuant to section 3 of this Act.


(b) Foreign Authorities To Be Given Sufficient Information- Each foreign authority notified under subsection (a) shall be given sufficient identifying information so as to be able to properly identify and track the registered individual.


(c) Technical Assistance- The Secretary of State may provide technical assistance to foreign authorities in order to enable such authorities to participate more effectively in the notification program established under this section.


SEC. 5. IMMIGRATION LAW REFORM TO PREVENT ADMISSION OF SEX OFFENDERS TO THE UNITED STATES.


Section 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C.1182(a)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:


`(J) SEX OFFENDERS- Any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of, a sex offense (as defined in section 111 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (title I of Public Law 109-248)) is inadmissible.'.


SEC. 6. ANNUAL REPORT ON STATUS OF SEVERE FORMS OF TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS AND IMPLEMENTATION ASSESSMENT.


(a) In General- Section 110(b)(1) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107(b)(1)) is amended—


(1) in subparagraph (C), by striking `and' at the end;


(2) by redesignating subparagraph (D) as subparagraph (E); and


(4)   by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:


`(D)(i) a list of those countries that have established a system—


`(I) to identify sex offenders (as defined for purposes of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (title I of Public Law 109-248; 42 U.S.C. 16911)) traveling to the United States or any other country; and


`(II) to notify the United States or the other country of--


`(aa) the identity of the individual,


`(bb) the nature of the sex offense for which the individual was convicted, and


`(cc) the anticipated manner, date, and time of the individual's arrival in the United States or the other country, prior to the individual's travel;


`(ii) a list of those countries that are making substantial progress in establishing a system pursuant to clause (i), and the estimated time of completion;


`(iii) a list of those countries that do not have and are not making substantial progress in establishing a system pursuant to clause (i); and


`(iv) an assessment as to the progress made and difficulties that exist in establishing a system pursuant to clause (i) on a global scale, and the extent of inter-country cooperation with respect to sex offender travel notifications; and'.


(b) Assessment Required- Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees an assessment based on the information provided pursuant to subparagraph (D) of section 110(b)(1) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107(b)(1) (as added by subsection (a) of this section), as to how an amendment to section 108(a) of such Act (22 U.S.C. 7106(a)) to include the establishment of a system described in subparagraph (D) of section 110(b)(1) of such Act (as added by subsection (a) of this section) would facilitate and contribute to advancing the establishment of such a system on a global scale.


(c) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined- For purposes of subsection (b), the term `appropriate congressional committees' means the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.


SEC. 7. ASSISTANCE TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES TO MEET MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TRAFFICKING.


(a) In General- The President is strongly encouraged to exercise the authorities of section 134 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2152d) to provide assistance to foreign countries directly, or through nongovernmental and multilateral organizations, for programs, projects, and activities designed to establish systems to identify and provide notification of sex offenders traveling to the United States or any other country.


(b) Definition- In this section, the term `sex offender' has the meaning given the term for purposes of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (title I of Public Law 109-248; 42 U.S.C. 16911)).


SEC. 8. CONGRESSIONAL REPORT.


(a) Report Required- Not later than one year after the enactment of this Act and every year for 4 years thereafter, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the implementation of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, including—


(1) the number of sex offenders who report travel to or from a foreign place pursuant to section 3(a) of this Act;


(2) the number of sex offenders prosecuted and convicted for failing to report travel to or from a foreign place pursuant to section 3(a) of this Act; and


(3) what actions have been taken, if any, by foreign countries and territories of destination following notification pursuant to section 4 of this Act.


(b) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined- For purposes of subsection (a), the term `appropriate congressional committees' means the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.


SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.


To carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2013.


Not all sex offenders are child predators or violent

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08/20/2008

Dear Editor,

After reading in the Star News and the Pender Post of Mr. David Williams’ (Pender County Commissioner Chairman) encounter with an alleged convicted sex offender at cheerleading and football practice, I became alarmed at his immediate call for an ordinance prohibiting all registered sex offenders from public parks.

I believe this is unnecessary.

All registered sex offenders are not child predators or violent offenders, and should not be tarred with the same brush. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few theory is not valid. If it were, this country would not need affirmative action and equal opportunities policies. If this were valid, we might still have slavery.

As a retired police officer, I have witnessed far too many young lives ruined when teens, who thought they were in love, were branded as sex offenders by outraged parents and/or over zealous prosecutors.

This is retribution, not justice. The county should be selective regarding which sex offenders would be prohibited from public parks, targeting those who are truly a danger to our children. Why are those who are a danger, out of prison and on our streets? Or, does the theory that they have paid their debt to society hold in this case?

A youthful offender who made one mistake as a teen should not be barred from attending their children’s athletic or other events held in public parks as an older, responsible adult and family person.

Further, as I understand present county policy, a public hearing is not required to pass this type of legislation. Commissioners have the present ability to pass laws which affect out lives greatly, without our input; this type of power is outrageous. Will school grounds and churches be next to be banned? Our governing bodies must be held accountable to the public they are sworn to serve.

Last but not least, from reading the articles in the papers, I get the impression, understandably, that Mr. Williams is requesting this legislation more as a personal issue than a public safety issue. Then, again, getting hit on the head with a hammer is rather personal.

MJ Boyko

Atkinson


TN - Tennessee's meth offender registry copied and reviled

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These people are just idiots.  Why must we have 10 million registries?  Why not one registry with ALL CRIMINALS on it?  Then we'd know who EVERYONE is, not just specific groups, which is discrimination.

08/24/2008

Tennessee took the lead in the campaign against methamphetamine abuse three years ago, becoming the first state to establish a searchable, online database of meth offenders. While clandestine laboratory seizures in the state are down from 2005’s record highs, critics are wondering what kind of legacy Tennessee’s offender registry has left.

At least four states — Montana, Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas — have adopted similar offender registries since then. Proponents cite the community impact of manufacturing the addictive stimulant, which is produced using over-the-counter ingredients, often in private homes.

Meth has forced state and federal agencies to take on radical new approaches in the war on drugs, from the disturbing television spots of the Montana Meth Project to restrictions on the sale of key meth ingredients.

Tennessee’s registry was part of the Meth-Free Tennessee Act, a comprehensive legislative package that included a number of preventive and punitive approaches to the issue. The act was passed in 2005, following more than 1,500 meth lab seizures in the state. Tennessee’s seizure rate was surpassed that year only by Missouri.

Last year, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation documented 583 lab seizures, pointing to the success of the measures outlined in Meth-Free Tennessee. Kristin Helm, a spokeswoman for the bureau, said “there were many things put in place at that time which have contributed to the significant reduction in meth labs.”

The 2005 bill’s preventive approaches included funding for a public awareness campaign, and limiting and monitoring pharmacy sales of key meth ingredients. The purpose of the online registry, which allows users to search for offenders by name or county of conviction, was to empower communities.

“It functions just like any other registry,” said Tommy Farmer, director of the Tennessee Meth Task Force. “Not that their offenses are at all the same, but it’s a very similar application to sex offender registries.”

The meth offender registry shows the name, offense, date of birth, date of conviction and county of conviction of the offender. Unlike the state’s sex offender registry, the meth offender registry does not show photographs of the listed individuals. Meth offenders also do not register annually, like those on the sex offender list. The court clerk in the county of conviction updates the meth offender database once, upon the date of conviction, and the offender’s name remains on the list for seven years.

The Tennessee Meth Offender Registry Database currently shows the names of 14 people in Sullivan County convicted of a methamphetamine offense, including the sale, manufacture or possession of meth. The database lists three offenders from Hancock County, five from Washington County and 28 from Hawkins County. The database Web site is www.tennesseeanytime.org/ methor.

Kansas has taken a starkly different approach with its registry, adopted in 2007. Instead of building a unique database of meth-related offenses, Kansas added meth offenders — and almost all other drug offenders — to an existing registry of violent and sex offenders.

Pictures, current addresses and quarterly updates to the state are required of all those in the Kansas database. First-time offenders remain on the registry for 10 years, not including time served in prison. Repeat offenders remain on the registry for life. The penalties for failing to keep up with the administrative tasks of the registry are the same for all offenders, regardless of the crime that landed them there.

“It’s a person-level crime (a violent felony) not to register, or failing to follow one of the rules of the registry,” said Jennifer Roth, the legislative chair of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “It’s the same for everyone, regardless of whether your underlying offense was a violent crime or not.”

For drug-related offenders, like meth manufacturers and dealers, this means that the felonies they receive as registry penalties are often more severe than their original crimes. The Kansas registry also requires those on the list to have “Offender” stamped on their driver’s license.

“When someone is looking at your driver’s license, they don’t know what kind of offender you are,” Roth said. “ Just the mere presence on the registry means that a lot of people won’t give you the chance to explain yourself.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that it has received numerous inquiries from other states interested in adopting a meth offender registry. While the Kansas requirements are stringent compared to Tennessee’s, they are motivated by the same fears. Because of the cumulative destructive nature of meth manufacturing, the drug has quickly become the country’s top drug threat.

“Meth isn’t any more addictive than crack cocaine,” Farmer said. “But if you blow up your house, or dump toxic chemicals into a waterway, that is something that is going to have an impact on the entire community. That’s what separates methamphetamine from other types of controlled substances.”

If more states initiate meth registries, they may end up looking more like the one in Kansas than Tennessee. As part of the Adam Walsh Act, a federal sex offender registration and notification bill, states are required to make a number of changes to their existing sex offender databases, or else receive a drop in federal grant money. Roth worries about the effect the requirements will have on combined registries like her own.

“It is going to make these registries more draconian than ever, in the interest of not wanting to maintain a bunch of separate databases,” she said. “So we’ll have these 15-year minimum registries that apply to everyone.”

Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a drug sentencing reform group, is beginning a campaign about the Kansas registry. Monica Pratt-Raffanel, the group’s communications director, said that the Tennessee and Kansas meth registries are overly punitive.

“A policy divorced from the people it affects doesn’t make any sense,” Pratt-Raffanel said. “These policies are divorced from the reality, the impact of registering someone for seven or 10 or 15 years for a first offense.”

But for state Sen. Randy McNally, who co-sponsored the Meth-Free Tennessee Act with state Sen. Charlotte Burks, registries are a positive way to protect Volunteer State communities.

“The purpose of warning the public certainly outweighs the individual privacy concerns, or that type of thing,” said McNally. “If they didn’t want to make the registry, they shouldn’t have sold methamphetamine.”