Friday, October 24, 2008

Charlton Heston on the Second Amendment (8 years ago)

IL - How the Grinch stole Halloween in Belleville

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By J.D. Tuccille

In important ways, Halloween is just like any other holiday. That is, we can all figure out how to have a good time that day. It doesn't take a rule book to figure out how to put on a costume, throw a party or go trick-or-treating.

And if somebody pushes the limits of the holiday? Well we're perfecty capable of telling forty-year-old trick-or-treaters to get lost ourselves, without a cop along to peer over our shoulders and monitor the proceedings. If the cop is needed because somebody is using the holiday as an excuse to break things or rough people up, I imagine we can find the phone ourselves to summon the law to enforce the myriad regulations already on the books; we don't need a special list of dos and don'ts for the day.

But just try to tell that to the ruling junta in Belleville, Illinois. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Today, Belleville Mayor Mark W. Eckert signed a new law -- approved by the Belleville City Council Monday night -- that sets new rules for those wanting to dress up for Halloween and on other days of the year.

The new law, prompted by complaints from homeowners who were scared by late-night trick-or-treating, will:

  • Ban anyone in the ninth grade and up from trick or treating on Halloween unless they are a "special-needs" child, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Limits the hours of trick-or-treating on Halloween night from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. No one can trick or treat later than 8:30 p.m.
  • Allow children, 12 years old or younger, to wear a mask or disguise any day of the year. Anyone older than that can only wear a mask or disguise on Halloween, but not on any other day of the year.
  • Prohibit any child sex offender from going to any event or holding any event for Halloween where any child, other than their own, is present. It requires those offenders to turn out their outside lights on Halloween night and bans them from handing out candy.

The sex offender issue issue I'm going to leave for another time, except to ask with regards to the proliferation of restrictions on where they can live and what they can do: If released sex offenders remain so dangerous, are we really dealing with them the right way?

But as for the other rules ...

Do we really need a year-round ban on adults wearing costumes, with a one-day exception?

Can't homeowners turn away candy-grubbing high-schoolers without a legal age limit (carrying a $25 fine) on trick-or-treaters?

Isn't it sufficient to just turn off the porch lights if you're done for the evening, just like those folks who choose to completely sit-out the holiday have been doing for generations?

The answer seems to be that Belleville politicians have pretty firm and fast rules about holidays and how they are to be celebrated -- by force of law. According to the Associated Press, "Mayor Mark W. Eckert ... says the city's government also believes Halloween is for small children."

So Eckert feels entitled to turn his own preconceptions about a holiday into an enforceable mandate for his unfortunate subjects. What a swell guy.

Honestly, Belleville isn't exactly fun town, USA. Just a couple of years ago, bar and club owners complained that local authorities were on a jihad to enforce every dotted "i" and crossed "t" of local regulations, with the ultimate goal of driving many businesses to close their doors. From the Riverfront Times:

"You get a little scared that if you p-ss off the wrong person, you're gonna get shut down," says Bobby Menard, a former metro-east bar owner. Menard says police are more intent on punishing bar owners than patrons who break the law. "You don't seem to have that problem in other cities, like you do here."

Hmmm ... I'm starting to see a pattern here. Rules aren't just rules in this town -- they're bludgeons for keeping the little people in line.

Honestly, I can think of a costume that would be very appropriate for all of the people of Belleveville to wear on any day of the year. You remember the masses of anti-government protesters dressed in Guy Fawkes masks in the movie V for Vendetta? That would be a costume worth seeing over and over again in the streets of the town where the Grinch stole Halloween.

NJ - Ex-Cape cop pleads guilty to sex assault of young girls

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Original Article Here



CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE - Walter Krych kept his eyes down and spoke in whispers while pleading guilty Thursday to sexually assaulting two of his daughter's friends while they were sleeping over at his home.

Krych, 54, admitted to the second-degree offenses in Superior Court before Judge Raymond Batten as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. The plea deal calls for Krych, a Middle Township police officer for 14 years, to serve nine years in prison. He will be ineligible for parole for 85 percent of the term.

Both girls were about 9 or 10 years old when the sexual assaults occurred in 2001 and 2002 in Middle Township.

Standing next to his attorney, Amy Weintrob, Krych answered questions in short "yes" statements, speaking so softly that Batten at one point asked him to raise his voice.

Krych only occasionally glanced up at the judge.

A date for sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

In January 2002, Krych placed the hand of a sleeping girl around his genitalia, he admitted Thursday.

In the summer of 2001, at another sleepover, he touched another girl's buttocks in the middle of the night, he said.

He did this for his own sexual gratification, he said.

Both girls are now teenagers.

Krych was first arrested Jan. 25 after one victim came forward recently, prompting an investigation by the county Prosecutor's Office and Middle Township police.

News of his arrest prompted another victim to contact police several days later. Krych, who was out on bail, was arrested again Jan. 28.

A Cape May County grand jury indicted Krych in May. The Police Department suspended him without pay after the first arrest. Both of the sexual assaults took place while Krych was off-duty, prosecutors have said.

Krych joined the Middle Township Police Department in 1994 after graduating from the Cape May County Police Academy. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and served in the Air Force.

As part of his guilty plea, Krych must spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender, must avoid contact with the victims and is subject to community supervision after his release from prison.

NH - Keeping kids from sex offenders on Halloween

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This state, from the comments below, does not have a Halloween "mandate!"  So it appears to me, to be a reporter, trying to scare people in this state.


By Elizabeth Dinan -

PORTSMOUTH — Police departments across the country are mandating Halloween curfews for registered sex offenders and/or ordering offenders to post "no candy" signs on their doors. Local police departments aren’t mandating curfews, or signs, but are offering information and advice for keeping children away from the dozens of child sex offenders who live and work in the area.

In Portsmouth, an average of 55 sex offenders are registered with city police every day — 40 who reside in the city and another 15 who work at city businesses, said police Capt. Janet Champlin. The homeless shelter and city boarding houses have historically brought additional offenders to the city, she said.

On Friday, one week before Halloween, police had warrants for the arrests of three city sex offenders — Martin Holmes, Paul Charles and Barry White — for allegedly failing to notify police about a change of employment or address.

Champlin said managing the city’s sex offenders is an ongoing and "vigilant" task her department takes seriously, but does not include trick-or-treat curfews or "no candy" signs. Instead, she said, parents are urged to go to the state police Web site, click on the link for the state’s sex offender registry, enter their town’s zip code and familiarize themselves with offenders on the so-called public view list.

"We do a good job in Portsmouth because if someone is supposed to register and they don’t, we arrest them the next day," said Champlin. "It all comes down to parental supervision. Parents need to make sure they know where their children are."

Champlin said signs and curfews are not solutions to the sex offender problem.

"You can mandate all you want, but how do you enforce that?" she asked.

Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh reports five registered child sex offenders in his town, all of whom are on the state police public view list. Walsh said Rye doesn’t impose a curfew or require ‘no candy’ signs, adding he is open to the idea.

"If it’s something that keeps the children safe, I’m all for it," he said. "All of our officers are aware (of who and where Rye offenders are) so it should be a safe and fun night."

Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said he hasn’t heard of the no-candy sign or curfew programs. Asked if he thought they had value, he said he "wouldn’t want to comment" without more information.

Kittery, Maine police report 26 registered sex offenders residing in that town and an unspecified number who work there. A spokeswoman for the department said there are no Halloween-specific enforcement requirements.

GA - Registered sex offenders to be supervised Halloween night

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Sorry, but there is NO LAW in the state of Georgia which says ALL registered sex offenders must participate in this violation of their rights.  If they are off probation and parole, you have no right to say they MUST participate.  These people need to take this to court and sue.

See the comments below, from Jim Wallace!


By Jim Wallace

ALBANY (WALB) - Registered Sex offenders in Albany and Dougherty County will be kept under observation on Halloween Night.

The Dougherty County Sheriff's office reports there are more than 270 registered sex offenders living in Dougherty County, the most ever. But on Halloween evening all of them are ordered to report to several undisclosed locations, where they will be kept under observation while trick or treaters are out.

While children are going door to door throughout Dougherty County looking for treats, state and local law enforcement will make sure they don't encounter any tricks from registered sex offenders. All registered sex offenders are ordered to report to supervised meetings that night, and they have to stay there from about 5:30 until 9PM.

Approved Sex Offender Treatment Provider Dr. Cheryl Kaiser said "Through probation, parole, and a sex offender treatment program are going to be housed in one facility or another so they can be off the streets and the children free to trick or treat, and away from known sex offenders."

Dr. Kaiser says this supervision is necessary for the safety of the community, and that most of the sex offenders welcome it because they will be kept safe from any reoffense opportunity. Authorities will use the supervision period to counsel the registered sex offenders.
- Yeah right, I'm sure those off probation and/or parole, love having you violate their rights and FORCE them, UNDER DURESS, to report to some undisclosed location.  Give me a break!

Dr. Kaiser said "The area I am going to be supervising we are going to be showing a sex offener specific movie. And there will be a lengthy discussion about the movie afterwards. The point of the movie is empathy driven so that sex offenders understand more of what victims have gone through."

Dougherty County Sheriff's Deputies and law enforcement will be doing curfew checks on the sex offenders homes Halloween, as well as patrolling church and business Halloween parties for kids are invited.

Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Captain Craig Dodd said "They will be frequently checked and some of them are going to have off duty officers as well as on duty officers depending on location."

This is the third year that Dougherty County registered sex offenders will be supervised during Halloween. Authorities say they will not give out the locations where those meetings will be held, to protect the sex offenders from potential harm.
- Come on, if police and others are going to be there, how would a sex offender be harmed?  I don't like the words "undisclosed location!"

Law enforcement still want parents to supervise their children while they are out trick or treating, to make sure it is a safe Halloween.

I was simply trying to point out to him, that this does NOT affect ALL registered sex offenders, which he said he learned.  It's for those on probation and/or parole only!

Comments from Jim Wallace:
"I don't want to argue about rights, but Georgia law says registered sex offenders are on that registry for life, and they must abide by all parole and probation laws or be jailed. They must register where they live at all times, their pictures and addresses are posted on public websites to warn neighbors, and they must report to law enforcement, parole, or probation at certain time periods."
- This article, he wrote, states ALL REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS must do this, but here, he mentioned probation and/or parole. So he apparently thinks that all those on the registry are on probation and/or parole for life. That is not the case, and those OFF probation and/or parole, do not, and should not, be "mandated" to obey rules which are NOT A LAW!

"Again I am not arguing. In Georgia registered sex offenders are sentenced on that registry FOR LIFE. I am not a lawyer but that is what I learned researching this story, and those are the people we are talking about. Registered sex offenders. Thanks for your interest."

AR - Court: Sex offender not due hearing

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I thought a review board was suppose to review people, after they have finished sex offender treatment, and before they get out of prison, not something based on police reports and victims statement? That is the whole purpose, or so I thought, of the Sex Offender Review Board.



A former Benton County sheriff’s deputy doesn’t have a constitutional right to contest his sexual-offender status in person before a governor-appointed panel, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
- Maybe not before a Governor, but he does have a right to appeal his case!

Eric Burchette pleaded guilty to one count of fourthdegree sexual assault and two counts of sexual indecency with a child in 2004 and was sentenced to six years in prison.

After entering prison, Burchette was classified as a Level 3 sexual offender — the second-most serious classification — partly on information in police reports and witness statements that described more serious, violent acts that prosecutors never pursued.
In his appeal, Burchette argued that he was entitled to a hearing before the seven-person Sex Offender Assessment Committee to contest his risk assessment and to assert his innocence to the uncharged acts.
- Yes, he is right, despite what this article says.  The review board is suppose to assign a person a tier level, based on criminal past, sexual offender treatment and other psychological tests, from what I understand.  Otherwise, why have the review board?

During oral arguments this month, his attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, argued that a Level 3 assessment would severely hinder where Burchette can work, live and visit, in effect “criminalizing” his future. For that reason, he deserved the chance to argue his case in person before the board, Rosenzweig told the court. Burchette deserved a chance to plead his case before the “ultimate fact-finder,” Rosenzweig argued.
- Any level will hinder everything you do, what job you get, if you get one, where you live, if not homeless, and much more.

Currently, an appeal to the Sex Offender Assessment Committee is handled by one member, who then recommends to the full board whether an adjustment in risk level is necessary.
- What the hell!  You mean a persons life is in the hands of ONE PERSON????

Justice Robert L. Brown wrote that the system in place is legal and works well.

The Sex Offender Screening and Risk Assessment program conducts the interview, reviews the evidence and assigns the classification, Brown wrote, and its decision can be appealed to the committee and to courts.
- That is if the ONE PERSON thought he/she was worthy enough to go before the board!

“We hold that Burchette had a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” Brown wrote.

Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber didn’t participate in the ruling.

Burchette, 27, was released on parole in early October, according to prison records.

At the Supreme Court, the case is 07-408, Eric Burchette v. Sex Offender Screening and Risk Assessment Committee.