Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sex-Offender Registry is Cruel Punishment

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Sample Letter - Also available in Word format at the site

MM/DD/YYYY

From: YOUR NAME
      YOUR ADDRESS
      YOUR PHONE OR EMAIL (if desired)

Dear Senator/Representative __________,

As a concerned citizen, I appreciate your efforts to serve and protect the citizens of Louisiana. Knowing that your desire is to represent all Louisianans’ in a fair and appropriate manner, I pray that you will research the current sex offender laws. Although many sentences are based on the severity of the offense, public registration for non-violent, consensual offenses is in itself neither fair nor appropriate. A young man, like Eric at www.ChangingTheLaw.com, will face a lifetime of restrictions, ridicule, and instability. The broad definition of the term “sex offender” has devastated many individuals, and their families, who are guilty of no more than a one time lapse of good judgment. Contrary to popular belief, many so called “sex offenders” are of no risk to children or society in general. Precious resources are wasted prosecuting, monitoring, and incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses. Current laws offer no differentiation between a young man who has participated in online chat with his teen aged girlfriend and a dangerous pedophile or rapist.

Law enforcement officials are not able to monitor those who are truly dangerous as the registry is overblown. As of August 2008, the registry has 8,150 individuals listed. Sex offender laws, as structured, are not keeping anyone safe. Rather, they are grouping thousands of individuals under the same big, evil umbrella. I pray that your commitment to fairness and public service will help to create a more balanced and educated Louisiana concerning the sex offender laws. How can online chat be more punished than actual physical contact? I find this particular law to be incredibly ridiculous. Young people who chat compared to older gentlemen looking for a victim must be distinguished. One should be a misdemeanor and the other a felony. Please, remove the people who are of no danger to our children or adults and put the Wetterling Act back in place per its original intent. It kept us much safer than we are today. Thank you for your time.

Respectfully,

__________________


NH - Mom gets prison for sex with teen - Judge admits double standard in issuing 2- to 4-year sentence

View the article here

So the double-standard BS needs to change. It shouldn't matter if you are a male or female, if you have sex with an underage person, you should be punished equally as the other sex would be, period.  By this judge admitting and allowing the double standard, he is only helping the issue.  IMO, this judge should be fired!

12/09/2008

By ALBERT McKEON - amckeon@nashuatelegraph.com

NASHUA – Acknowledging that a societal double standard exists, a judge on Monday sentenced a 38-year-old woman to a two- to four-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

"Like it or not, an underage boy having sex with an older-aged girl is viewed differently than the other way around," Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Robert Lynn said before handing down the sentence on Nashua resident _____.

_____ also received three concurrent 3-1/2- to seven-year sentences that are suspended for good behavior upon completion of the first sentence.

She was convicted in June on four felony sex assault charges and acquitted on a fifth charge. At the time of the 2006 crimes, _____ was 35, and the male, a friend of her teenage daughter, was 15.

While standards should hold equally, Lynn said, society has different viewpoints on male and female victims. In this case, Lynn said he weighed the extent of the teen's victimization on how the boy "aggressively pursued" sex with _____. "Young men have raging hormones. It doesn't make him a bad person," the judge said.
- So do young women, but it doesn't make it right.  The adult should be prosecuted, regardless of her sex or the victims.  It is suppose to be equal justice, but I see you are not helping the issue either.

But the teen also tried to use the relationship as a "bargaining chip" to escape penalty for crimes committed as a juvenile, Lynn said.

In arriving at the sentence, Lynn said he placed considerable weight on _____'s post-crime behavior, particularly her false testimony at trial.

Lynn chastised _____ for falsely testifying that the teen forced her to have sex at knifepoint. She also falsely claimed he threatened to rape and kill her teenage daughter if she spoke about their affair.

"That was complete baloney," the judge said.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia LaFrance had requested a stiffer sentence: roughly 8-1/2 to 21 years for the four felonies, with two sentences suspended and served concurrently.

When the hearing concluded, LaFrance left the courtroom seemingly angered, and didn't offer much comment.

_____'s attorney, Adam Cook, asked Lynn to consider _____ incompetent and thus strike the jury verdict.

"My client is not competent," Cook said. "She's now off opiates. She's not okay."

But Lynn said a doctor had found _____ competent.

Lynn granted an unusual request in allowing three members of _____'s family to walk into the main courtroom area to hug her and offer words of encouragement prior to sentencing.

_____'s parents and sister echoed Cook's claim that she is mentally ill and needs help.

_____, her sister, said the divorce of their parents at a young age and abusive relationships had caused _____ to concoct elaborate stories. She suggested having _____ serve a home-confinement sentence with an electronic bracelet.

_____'s mother, _____, offered similar testimony. But _____ added that in _____'s "weakest state, she was taken advantage of."

But LaFrance dismissed the testimony and said _____'s only weakness was lying.

"Someone usually says, 'I was wrong' – and saves the victim from testifying, but _____ lied several times," she said.

LaFrance added that prosecutors are reviewing _____'s testimony for untruths, and could pursue more charges, presumably for perjury.

The teen's father also addressed Lynn. He said he worried that other parents would face the same news he did in 2006: that _____ assaulted their children.

The father said the assaults had changed his son. He said he worries his son's emotional wounds will further surface at an older age.

_____ was convicted of having sex with the boy on four occasions in April and May 2006. A jury acquitted her on a fifth charge that she initiated sex at a motel.

_____ will receive 180 days time-served credit on her first sentence. The other three sentences will be suspended pending her good behavior and the following of guidelines for registered sex offenders.

She can no longer have contact with those younger than 16, except with family members. She must also undergo sex offender treatment.


WA - Inspector General: "Public can not rely on sex offender registries"

View the article here
Full report filed by DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (PDF)

This is EXACTLY why I said, if there needs to be a public SHAMING registry, we should have ONE only.  Besides, the more registries you have, the more tax payer dollars are wasted, and the more errors made, that is only common sense, but we seem to have very little of that these days!

12/09/2008

SPOKANE - The FBI is responding to a report filed by the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that states the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) and state registries are inaccurate and incomplete. The report states neither law enforcement officials nor the public can rely on the registries for identifying registered sex offenders.

The report specifically points out that states across the country have not entered records on roughly 22 percent of their individual sex offenders and have not identified those who did not maintain their registration in the NSOR. The OIG says that they also found states do not enter sex offender information such as Social Security Numbers, driver's license numbers and Vehicle Identification Numbers.

The OIG found several causes for the missing and incomplete records. Prior to the Adam Walsh Act, states were not required to enter information on their registered sex offenders into NSOR. Further, some records that states attempted to enter were rejected because they lacked information required by NCIC. Also, some state registries are not fully compatible with NCIC, causing records to be lost when those states attempt to update NSOR records.

The OIG also says it found the state sex offender records accessed through OJP's NSOPR portal are inconsistent and incomplete, and they do not provide reliable information to identify non-compliant sex offenders. Due to these weaknesses, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who use the NSOPR portal to query the public state registries during investigations may not obtain accurate information on a suspect's registration or fugitive status. In addition, the public cannot use the state information available through the NSOPR portal as a reliable tool to identify all registered and non-compliant sex offenders in their communities.

Included in the report are three recommendations made to the FBI as to how to solve the problems listed above. OIG believes that the Department and its components should provide additional assistance to jurisdictions to ensure that information on registered, non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders is included in the national registries. Specifically, OIG makes the following recommendations to the Department's components:

1.The FBI should ensure NSOR has more complete and accurate information by designing and implementing a new audit of jurisdiction registries' compliance with FBI NSOR procedures and with the SORNA guidelines.
2.The FBI should implement the Advisory Policy Board-approved changes to NSOR that specifically provide information regarding fugitive status.
3.The USMS should obtain NSOR and the NCIC Wanted Persons File data downloads from the FBI and use that information to manage and conduct fugitive sex offender investigations.

The FBI responded to the report by stating the agency concurs with all three of the recommendations made by the OIG. The FBI also noted that the sex offender information maintained by the FBI is sourced through individual states and territories, additionally, that is the responsibility of the states to populate the NSOR.

Coming up tonight at 6 p.m., KHQ Local News reporter Anthony Gomes will deliver a report on how sex offenders are tracked in Spokane County. (Videos here)


HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF!

This video is from 1982! Larry Craig, Pages and Sex!


Larry Craig - Busted in an airport sexcapade!


Mark Foley - Sex Scandal with pages


GA - Send in the clowns

View the article here

12/09/2008

IT’S ALMOST time to send in the clowns again, meaning the General Assembly will be back in session next month.

As an Atlanta editorial quite correctly observed recently, “Most of the bills that the legislature enacts are pantomime — symbolic acts designed to give the appearance of decisiveness.”

Would that these clowns were actually mimes whereby citizens would only have to see their pratfalls instead of also having to listen to them boast about them.

One of the legislature’s worst pratfalls in recent years has been its sex-offender residency/registry law, one of the lousiest, most unconstitutional, absurd and brain-dead bits of political posturing ever to disgrace a deliberative body.

No doubt one of the first items on the legislative agenda come January will be an effort — once again — to rewrite and repair yet more portions of this law as courts continue to strike down section after section of it. Unfortunately, the way the legal system works, issues must be raised piecemeal instead of doing what’s actually required and ash-canning the entire thing.

MOST RECENTLY, the Georgia Supreme Court deemed the portion requiring an automatic sentence of life in prison for released sex offenders who don’t register where they are living (because the legislators also made it near impossible for them to live anywhere) to be unconstitutional because it amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment.” Not a one of the 23 other states with similar laws exact anywhere near this severe a penalty.

And, after the coming rewrite, there are certain to be more revisions in future years as the legislators hold onto their ugly creation with a death grip. This bunch simply refuses to admit it can be wrong about anything.

Still pending in federal courts are suits challenging the provision banning sex offenders, who have served their sentences, from volunteering at a church and the one not allowing them to live near churches (of which Georgia has thousands) and school-bus stops (of which Georgia has 150,000).

Actually, a challenge is needed to the core problem of this law, which is its overly broad, sweeping definition of what constitutes a “sex offender” who must be kept tabs on for life. Basically, it’s anyone who had sex, natural or unnatural, at a time, place or age that the legislators believe inappropriate ... and got caught at it.

ONE WONDERS how many Georgians, including those in the legislature, are not now governed by the awful law simply because they were never caught.

If the definition were limited to known predators not vouched for as “cured” by psychiatric professionals, that would be one thing. But just about anybody for anything?

In the specific instance of the latest court ruling, the state was trying to send away for life a 26-year-old who, at the age of 19, was convicted of statutory rape for consensual sex with a 15-year-old. Were it not for U.S. Supreme Court rulings striking down rape being a capital offense, one wonders if the current batch of Georgia legislators would try to make have sex out of wedlock a hanging offense.

Far-fetched? Just remember, this same bunch has already made active membership in a church community illegal for those they don’t appear to believe worthy of salvation.

Repairing the law’s definition of what constitutes a sex offender who poses an actual threat to concentrate on predators would solve much of its problems. There’s nothing wrong with protecting “our children,” the cover excuse the legislators use. There’s something very wrong with violating the fundamental civil rights of tens of thousands of largely upstanding citizens who once made a mistake (as the state sees it) and are now back on the straight and narrow.

ONE SUSPECTS that a large part of the legislature’s problem in this regard is the mindset of its current majority. Some (not all) of the Republican leaders actually appear to believe they are infallible.

Indeed, it was worrisome in the recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling to note that the sole objector in the 6-1 decision, Justice George Carley, said the law should stand because to do otherwise would be a “monumental abuse of this court’s authority to determine the constitutionality of legislation.”

If whatever a legislative body does is legal, as Carley seems to imply, and the constitutional rights conferred to citizens so easily discarded, why even have courts? The judiciary is the sole check (other than the ballot box) against legislators who believe they are gods.

Would Carley uphold a law banning all Georgians from participating in any church activity other than services themselves? After all, “freedom of religion” may be protected but there is no “freedom to operate a food bank” in the state and national constitutions.

To amplify on what our Atlanta peers noted, the General Assembly engages in more than “symbolic acts designed to give the appearance of decisiveness.” They engage equally in symbolic acts designed to give the appearance of omnipotence.


MN - Court: Craig's guilty plea to bathroom sex solicitation stands

View the article here

See the second video at the end, which is from 1982, and is about other sex scandals with pages and this same man.

12/09/2008

By ROCHELLE OLSON, Star Tribune

The Court of Appeals: Sen. Larry Craig can't take back his plea. The Senator was nabbed in a sex sting in a restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The right to privacy and to be left alone is "very strong" in a public restroom stall, the state Court of Appeals said Tuesday in rejecting U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's attempt to withdraw his 2007 guilty plea to disorderly conduct in an airport men's bathroom sex sting.

In a statement, Craig said he is innocent, disappointed and is considering an appeal.

A three-judge panel of the court issued a crisply worded opinion denying the senator's attempt to withdraw his mail-in plea. The decision allowed a ruling from Hennepin County District Court Judge Charles Porter to stand. Porter rejected Craig's attempt to rescind the plea he sent to District Court Judge Gary Larson.

Craig was arrested in June 2007 by undercover police Sgt. Dave Karsnia in a sting operation at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Karsnia, who was in a stall, said Craig peered in for more than two minutes from 3 feet away -- so close, Karsnia said, that the officer could see the senator's blue eyes. Prosecutors described Craig as peering into the stall with a "prehensile stare."

When the next stall opened, Craig went in and then tapped his foot and waved his hand under the stall, behavior indicative of an interest in a sexual encounter, the complaint said.

Once his conviction became public, the senator tried to rescind his plea. He did not seek reelection last fall in large part because of the fallout from the arrest and published reports raising questions about his sex life.

The court dismissed Craig's arguments that the disorderly conduct statute was too broad and that the mail-in plea was insufficient to sustain a conviction.

Craig said he disagrees with its findings. "I maintain my innocence, and currently my attorneys and I are reviewing the decision and looking into the possibility of appealing," he said in a statement on his Senate website.

The state Supreme Court takes roughly 1 in 10 takes it is asked to hear.





This video is from 1982!


WI - Boy's family fights sex charges

View the article here

12/08/2008

MEQUON (UPI) -- Several teenage girls in Mequon, Wis., say they object to a classmate being criminally prosecuted for allegedly touching them inappropriately.

The girls, in court affidavits, said they did not feel degraded by the boy, now 14, and don't want to see him prosecuted for five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.

The boy's parents, who admit their son behaved inappropriately, said he is guilty only of disorderly conduct and could be tagged as a sex offender if prosecutors succeed with their case, the Journal Sentinel reported, noting the family's identity has been withheld to protect the identity of the juvenile.

The boy is to appear in court Feb. 3 for an evidentiary hearing in which experts will give their opinion on whether a 13-year-old boy can be sexually aroused by grabbing a girl's buttocks, the newspaper reported.
- Do you really need experts for that?  Of course he could be aroused by doing so, but, he was 13 for God's sake, and should not be labeled a sex offender and ruined for life.  These laws were "suppose" to protect children, not ruin them forever!

Prosecutors allege the boy several times in 2007 and in June 2008, when he was 13, grabbed the girls' buttocks or their breasts, licked a girl's neck and tickled a girl in the stomach.
- So now, they are trying to make sexual experimentation and flirting a crime.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


NY - Sex Offender Restriction Law Approved

View the article here

12/09/2008

Schuyler County lawmakers Monday night approved a law that limits where sex offenders can live in the county. It covers level two and level three offenders which are the more serious level of sex offenders.

One change made in the law was removing the restriction keeping sex offenders from entering county parks. County Administrator Timothy O'Hearn said opponents of that provision felt it was unenforceable and probably overly restrictive. O'Hearn said, "The legislature feels that the legislation adopted best reflects the balance between protecting the rights of the residents of the county as well as convicted sex offenders."

The law prohibits sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds, camps or daycare centers. No one spoke about the new law at Monday night's public hearing before the vote approving it.
- This is exactly why laws continue to pass.  If you do not speak out, more and more laws will be made.


FL - Predator Program Short On Funding (More fear-mongering from the state of Florida!)

View the article here

I guess everyone is going to ask for a "bail out" now, and they use FEAR to get it. Just like they did with the financial market, and also with the auto bail out. Now Florida is increasing the fear factor as well.  Well, what do you expect from politicians?

12/09/208

By CATHERINE DOLINSKI - cdolinski@tampatrib.com

TALLAHASSEE - Before Jessie Lunsford, there was Jimmy Ryce.

Like the Jessica Lunsford Act of 2005, which toughened sentencing for child sex offenders, the Jimmy Ryce Act bears the name of a young victim of a brutal rape and murder. That law, which state lawmakers passed in 1998, keeps Florida's most disturbed, violent sexual predators confined even after their prison sentences end.
- I am sick and tired of people saying these acts are to crack down on child sex offenders!  They are cracking down on ALL sex offenders, not just child sex offenders.  But, anything to get ratings and votes, right?  Look, yes, I am a sex offender, but I did not kill Jimmy Ryce, Jessica Lunsford or Adam Walsh, so stop making it look like I did!

Nineteen percent of rapists and nearly 13 percent of child molesters commit new sex crimes within four or five years of release, according to statistics from the Center for Sex Offender Management, a U.S. Department of Justice project.
- Well, I have linked a lot more studies on my Studies blog, which show lower rates as well.  I'm surprised they are not spewing the 80% or more myth, like they have in the past.  They only use the studies that further their "agenda," so my blog has other studies as well, to disprove their lies.

Florida tries to prevent repeat crimes by holding its worst offenders for treatment and guiding their transition back into society. However, state officials say they may have to stop accepting offenders to the program next fiscal year if lawmakers don't provide more money.
- Guiding their transition back into society?  Is FORCING people to live under bridges what you had in mind?  Come on, when are you idiots going to stop the BS fear-mongering, and show the facts?  And yeah, this kind of talk, is the same crap they did with the bail out, in the video below.



"We are talking a lot of money, but we're also talking about a lot of sick individuals who should not be out on the streets," said Sen. Mike Fasano (Email), R-New Port Richey, who co-sponsored the original legislation. "I think we have a responsibility to our children and the law-abiding residents in this state."
- Yeah, scare everyone more with your fear-mongering.  And I think you have a responsibility to uphold your oath of office, which you said you would uphold the Constitution of the United States, and Florida.  So I guess you lied?

Under the Jimmy Ryce Act, the state transfers sex offenders deemed most likely to strike again to a civil commitment facility when their prison terms are up. The state Department of Children & Families oversees the program, which housed 675 offenders on Nov. 30 at the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia.
- Civil commitment is another waste of millions of tax payer dollars, and you are asking for more?  Greedy, Greedy, Greedy!  Civil commitment is just prison outside of prison, and without due process of law as well.

That's up from 568 residents just two years ago. Sally Cunningham, chief of mental health treatment facilities at DCF, who oversees the Sexually Violent Predator Program, said a new facility opening in April is expected to be filled on its first day, with more than 700 residents.

'This Would Not Be Our 1st Priority'

Faced with shrinking revenue, lawmakers have declined for two years to budget for growth in the program. Last summer, DCF officials asked the Legislative Budget Commission to bolster the $26 million program with a transfer of an additional $6 million, just to make it through the end of the current fiscal year.

The legislative panel agreed to the one-time budget patch, but the program will have to ask for that money again in 2009-10, on top of money for expected growth. All told, they say, the program needs an additional $30.2 million.



With the state facing a shortfall next year of up to $5.8 billion, "this would not be our first priority," said Durell Peaden, R-Crestview, who oversees DCF's budget in the Senate.

Families of disabled children are begging to keep their state-paid services; impoverished, chronically ill patients are pleading for treatments, he said. That makes funding for sex predators a tough sell. "This is money to keep people locked up; we're trying to keep people alive."
- Notice the fear mongering?

Yet it is also ironic, considering the cascade of bills that lawmakers have filed in recent years to crack down on sex offenders.
- Yes, it is ironic.  The sex offender laws are wasting millions of tax payer dollars, and will not do anything to prevent someone intent on harming another person from doing so.  They are all just placebo's to make you "feel" like you are safe.  You will NEVER be safe, period!  We are not living in Wonderland!



"Actions speak louder than words," said Sen. Nan Rich (Email), D-Sunrise, who is vice-chair of Peaden's committee. "It's fine to stand up there and make political statements and file bills, but once you get the bill passed, if you don't provide the appropriation to implement it, it's useless."
- That is why you idiots should be reading the bills before passing them into law!  Put the blame where it belongs.

Rich worries that dwindling funding will increase violence and security breaches at the Arcadia facility. "Eventually you reach a point of no return," she said. "You can only put so many people into a facility before it becomes dangerous."
- Give me a break, more fear-mongering.  People need to read the book "Culture of fear," to see what these idiots are doing.  And also see this Wikipedia article.  Hell, the sheeple continue to put idiots like you in office until it's dangerous, like now!

In 2005, a scathing Miami Herald series exposed dangerous conditions and other problems in the program. The previous year, residents filed a class-action federal lawsuit against the department, citing inadequate treatment and services.

'Detainees' Strain Program

The state Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability reported in January that both treatment and security had measurably improved since DCF switched contractors in December 2006. The 2004 class-action suit is still pending.

The state office also found that a high ratio of "detainees" persisted at the facility, meaning those transferred there at the end of their prison sentences but before the state has concluded whether they need civil commitment.

Stuck in limbo, detainees accounted for nearly half of the program, straining its budget and causing crowding, the report found.
- Just like the over crowded prison system.  We are a prison nation, that is a fact!

They were less likely to accept treatment, a legal option for all program residents, and more likely to cause violence and attempt escape.
- When you have nothing to lose, what do you expect?  You make it impossible for anyone to have anything of a normal life when they get out of prison.  I'm surprised more violence is not going on.  But, that disproves your fear-mongering as well.

Cunningham said DCF has stepped up efforts to reduce detainees. Since March, that number has dropped from 299 to 261.

Lawmakers interviewed for this report said the program's underfunding is purely a budget issue, not a reflection on the program.
- No, I think it's because the sheeple are voting idiots into office who have no clue as to what they are doing, and this budget crisis and draconian laws are proof of that!

Victor Crist, who oversees the Senate's criminal justice appropriations, said there may be cheaper options for housing and treating these sexual predators within the corrections system.

"We'll be looking at prioritizing spending so that we get the greatest return," said Crist, R-Tampa. "If that means cutting back on some programs and beefing up others, that's how the chips will fall."

The demise of the civil commitment program would not disappoint some civil rights advocates, who continue to argue that locking up offenders after they have served their time violates their civil liberties. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed in 1997, finding that a similar program is Kansas was constitutional.
- I agree, Civil commitment is a waste of tax payer money.  People should be getting help in prison, not after the fact!  And the Supreme court disagreed, because they are corrupt, and not upholding the Constitution either.  So did you expect anything different?  Now a days, anything is constitutional!

Larry Spalding, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, said admission to Florida's program is not selective enough, committing some people who don't deserve it.

"The net is too wide," he said, adding that if the program is falling on hard times, that's all the more reason to tighten criteria for commitment.
- It's because they are not evaluating people, using experts in the field of dealing with sex offenders, and are not listening to these experts.  You have a couple idiots, reading papers, and using their best judgment to try to predict the future.

Cunningham, of DCF, said she would have to see specifics before endorsing that idea.