Monday, March 2, 2009

UT - Former Ogden officer takes plea deal

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And once again, another cop, another slap on the wrist, for sexual conduct with a 17 year old. So much for holding those in government to a higher standard.

03/02/2009

By Sandra Yi and Randall Jeppesen

OGDEN -- The former police officer hailed as the Trolley Square hero pleaded no contest to sexual battery today. The charge stems from an incident involving a 17-year-old girl in 2005.

Ken Hammond was supposed to have a hearing today to determine whether that felony case would go to trial. Instead, he took a plea deal, avoiding the possibility for a felony conviction.

With his attorney beside him, Hammond pleaded no contest to sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the felony charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old.
- Of course they did.  It looks bad on the state/county to have one of their own on the sex offender registry, where he should be with all the others who did the same, or less, than what he did!

In court, we heard details of the allegations for the first time. Prosecutors say on July 12, 2005, an 18- year-old girl called police to report a disturbance in the parking lot of her apartment complex. Hammond responded to that call and took a report from that 18-year-old and her 17-year-old friend.

Prosecutors say Hammond left around midnight and returned an hour or two later. They say Hammond was in the teen's apartment when the 18-year-old encouraged her 17-year-old friend to perform a sexual act on Hammond, which she did.
- In Utah, the age of consent for males is 16 and females 18, so this 17 year old was under the age of consent, so he should be held for child molestation and on the sex offender registry, but, cops have a different set of laws!

Hammond was in uniform and on duty when the incident occurred. Prosecutors say there was no reason for him to have been there.

"There was no follow-up investigation going on. The call had been terminated prior to midnight, I believe, on the incident call, initially," said Deputy Weber County Attorney Christopher Shaw.

After the hearing, Hammond let his attorney do the talking. The attorney said Hammond does not agree with the facts that prosecutors presented, but he took the plea deal to avoid a possible prison sentence. If convicted, he would have also had to register as a sex offender.

"He's had an opportunity to talk to his wife ... and his mother and father and other family members and friends with regard to all of this. And he's at a point in his life where he would like to move forward, and he would like all of this to be done with," said defense attorney Brenda Beaton.
- So would about 600,000 other people in this country!

Hammond resigned from the Ogden Police Department in January, but he's also dealing with a civil complaint filed against him by a woman who claims he used excessive force and assaulted her during her husband's arrest in May of last year.

Hammond will be sentenced for this sexual battery charge next month. He could face up to a year in jail. Prosecutors say the 17-year-old girl, who reported the indent only last year, is satisfied with the plea deal.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com


IA - Bill defines kids' access to porn as child abuse

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The law is insane, but the registry is a good idea.  The more registries we have, the better, IMO.  The reason is, then we'd all know who the criminals are, and the more people we'd have to get the other registries knocked down.

03/02/2009

BY JASON CLAYWORTH

Child care providers or parents who allow children access to pornography would be guilty of child abuse and listed on the state’s child abuse registry, under legislation being considered by lawmakers.

Some critics say the bill could be interpreted so broadly that even a child who sneaks a peek at a Playboy Magazine could push parents into legal turmoil. The legislation is not clear on whether it includes explicit material a child might discover on the Internet. And critics note other laws already hold parents accountable for failing to provide care that could prevent children from harm.
- Just like the teens who are both underage, who have consensual sex, and who are labeled a sex offender for life.  You better not let your child use the Internet then...  I guarantee you, they are viewing porn!

Supporters contend that a loophole exempts guardians or parents from a law against the dissemination of obscene material to minors. Access to pornography puts children at greater risk for sexual abuse as well as psychological and emotional harm.
- Show me the PROOF of this idiotic statement!

Several lawmakers said today that they will work aggressively this year to pass the bill. The two sides are likely to collide Tuesday when the bill, House File 443, is considered in a House subcommittee.

This would have the state intervening in families every time a parent drops their guard,” said Randall Wilson, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. “You have adolescent hormones raging here, you have curiosity and I think, truth be told, you would find that a whole lot of kids would qualify as children in need of assistance who belong to perfectly normal families.”

Kathy Lowenberg, director of Counseling for Growth & Healing in Iowa City, wrote to lawmakers last month outlining the flaws in the law and the harm she believes it’s causing Iowa children. Lowenberg said she’s treated more than 100 children who have been sexually assaulted and that, in most cases, pornography played a pivotal role in the abuse.
- So was that from parents showing the kids porn, or from the kids viewing porn on the Internet or looking through their parents drawers for Playboy or other adult books?

Lowenberg said today that Iowa’s current law essentially prohibits human service workers from opening an abuse investigation when they are faced with evidence that children are being exposed to obscene material unless other allegations of abuse are made.

“This legislation isn’t the icing on the cake. It’s the cake,” Lowenberg said. “We have to have it.”
- Well, here we go again.  A ton more people will wind up ruined for life, and in prison, if this passes.  Watch and see!

The intent of the proposal is to reserve the law for only the most serious cases where parents or guardians subject children to obscene material that is considered hard core, said Rep. Kurt Swaim (Email), D-Bloomfield, who said he will do everything he can to get the bill passed this year.
- That is what they said about the sex offender registry, but not what is being implemented, and you can bet, this intent, will be ignored when the law is passed!

“There’s been concern on the part of some legislators that if there were inadvertent viewing of material that it might cause some problems but that’s not the intent of the law,” Swaim said. “The intent is to get at hard pornography and things that there should be no reasonable basis for a child to look at.”
- Then what about all the porn sites who allow anyone to view their images for free?  You thought about that?

The bill was introduced last week by lawmakers after child counselors, including Lowenberg, made some of them aware of the issue. A companion bill, Senate File 271, was also introduced last week.

Sen. Becky Schmitz (Email), D-Fairfield, acknowledged that the current proposals in the House and Senate do not clearly answer questions such as what happens if a child views obscene material from a home computer without the parent’s knowledge.

“As I say, we need to do a lot more discussion and be a little more specific about what we mean and the ramifications of it,” Schmitz said.
- I agree.  When you act quickly to pass a law, without thinking it through, you get draconian laws like the sex offender laws, and many people ruined for life.  All bills should be thoroughly reviewed and discussed.  But, it's normal for people running this country to not read bills, just look at the STIMULUS issues, and many of the sex offender laws, which nobody reads!

Details of House File 443

ABUSE CHARGE: A parent, guardian or other custodian that allows a child direct or indirect access to obscene material could be found guilty of child abuse.
- So "indirect" means if a child views porn without your knowledge, then you will be placed onto the abuse registry, from what I am reading!

REGISTRY: People guilty of a violation could be required to be listed on the state’s child abuse registry.

OBSCENITY: State law defines obscene material as “any material depicting or describing the genitals, sex acts, masturbation, excretory functions or sadomasochistic abuse which the average person, taking the material as a whole and applying contemporary community standards with respect to what is suitable material for minors, would find appeals to the prurient interest and is patently offensive; and the material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, scientific, political or artistic value.”

CURRENT LAW: Iowa law prohibits any person other than a parent or guardian of a minor from knowingly disseminating obscene material. People who committee the crime face serious misdemeanor charges. Parents are exempted over concerns that those who attempt even misguided sex education should not be subjected to criminal proceedings, according to an analysis of the law by Daniel Bray, an Iowa City attorney and former state representative. Bray outlined the law in a letter last month to lawmakers, advocating for the exemption to be closed.

TUESDAY: A House Labor subcommittee will discuss the bill in a public meeting that begins at 11:30 a.m. in the House Lobbyist Lounge.


ME - Sex registry should focus on protection

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03/01/2009

The online registry loses value if it is used to punish everyone ever convicted of a sex crime.

Law enforcement experts will tell you that the people who commit sex crimes against children are different from other criminals.

Unlike those who commit crimes of dishonesty or violence, there is a population of fixated sexual predators who will hunt victims and violate them in more and more brazen ways until they are stopped.

But the same experts will also tell you that not all sex crimes are the same. There are older teenagers, for instance, who have sexual relations with a willing partner not old enough to legally consent. They have committed a crime but may not be predators.

But under current law, all offenders are required to register with local law enforcement and have their names, photographs, addresses and places of employment published on a state Web site that can be accessed by anyone.

That practice is now under review by both the state Legislature and the courts, in response to complaints that it is an unfair tack-on punishment for some individuals.

The public should understand that rethinking the law makes sense and is not about giving sex offenders a break.

The goal of sex offender registration and the online publication of information should be providing members of the public with information they need to protect themselves. It should not be about public humiliation and, in effect, an extra measure of punishment.
- If this is true, then why do we not have a registry for murderers, DUI offenders, gang members, drug dealers, child abusive parents or care takers, corrupt public officials, etc?  It's not about providing information to the public to protect themselves, it's about punishment, humiliation, and has become a vigilante hit-list.  That is what it's about!  Why single out one group, when there are many other criminals who harm children?

A system that provides too much information and mixes truly dangerous people with those who are probably not a threat is as dangerous as one that provides too little.

The Legislature has been struggling with this issue for several years, and it is not an easy one. Cases now before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court could result in opinions that would provide more clarity.

The important thing for lawmakers to focus on is public protection. Other states have developed registration systems that collect and maintain current data about all sex offenders for police use, but only publish information about the ones considered to pose a real danger to the community.

For the lawmakers who believe that sex offenders would not be punished enough in such a system, there is an option -- longer jail sentences for those convicted of sex crimes.

But the purpose of the registry and the Web site should remain providing the public with accurate information about real risks. Doing that may mean fewer names on the Web site.

Copyright 2009 by The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. All rights reserved.


CA - Lawyer gets jail time on child porn charge

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Original Story Here

Another lawyer, another double standard slap on the wrist! I am sick and tired of this. They should be held to a higher standard. The average Joe who had the same, would be in prison for many years. Just look through the ChildPorn label, and you will see what I am talking about. Lawyers, Judges, Police, etc, thought, usually get slaps on the wrist, like this one.

03/02/2009

By GLENDA ANDERSON - THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A former Lake County Juvenile Court public defender was sentenced Friday to 120 days in the county jail and three years of probation for possession of child pornography.

Robert Wayne Wiley, 75, of Lakeport, also will be required to register as a sex offender and is prohibited from using the Internet during his probation, said Lake County Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg.

Wiley had pleaded guilty last month to one count of possession of child pornography just before his case was scheduled to go to trial. The charges stemmed from an electronic thumb drive Wiley apparently lost in a courtroom in February 2007.
- One count?  When the average Joe has 200 images, they usually get one count per image, and many years per image.  Yet here, he gets to plead to one count, when he had a lot more child porn!

A bailiff took the device home and plugged it into his computer to determine its owner when he uncovered the pornography, Borg said. During the ensuing investigation, additional images were found on another thumb drive Wiley was wearing around his neck and on his home and work computers, he said.
- So what right does a bailiff have to take something that doesn't belong to him, home?  He should've turned it in to lost and found.

Wiley practiced juvenile law after moving to Lake County in the 1980s. His contracts were terminated in September 2007 when he was arrested.

Wiley was not suspected of sexual misconduct with juveniles and there had been no complaints brought against him about his conduct with his child clients, officials said.


NC - Woman gets 9-year sentence for boyfriend's 2007 shooting death

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Nine years for cold blooded murder. This is just insane! She should be in prison until the day she dies, IMO.

03/02/2009

By Veronica Gonzalez

Even before Betty Louise Malpass divorced her husband of 25 years, her life started taking a turn for the worse, her younger sister said.

Malpass, who at 47 was living with her mother, eventually became involved with a registered sex offender. Malpass’ sister, Linda Malpass, said he got her sister hooked on drugs.

On Monday, Betty Malpass pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the Aug. 7, 2007, shooting death of her 31-year-old boyfriend, _____.

A judge sentenced Malpass, now 49, to about seven to nine years in prison.

“This is the best resolution of this case for both families,” said Joy Alford-Brand, a New Hanover County assistant district attorney.

Holloway’s family attended the hearing, but declined to speak in the courtroom or to reporters.

Linda Malpass wiped away tears after the plea hearing in New Hanover County Superior Court and said she planned to stay in contact with her sister.

“I hope and pray she gets the psychiatric help she needs,” Linda said.
- You don't get help in prison!

Life slips downward

Even before the shooting, Betty Malpass’s life seemed to be on a downward spiral, her sister said.

She had been in and out of several mental health hospitals, her sister said. Her sister would do well, but then she’d slip again.

For several years, she had dated Holloway, and the two lived with her mother at 210 Flemington Drive off U.S. 421, Linda said.

It didn’t help that Malpass was doing drugs with Holloway, and there had been reports of domestic violence between the two, her sister said.

Deputies had responded to a domestic disturbance at the house that February.

A violent turn

The day of the shooting, Holloway and Malpass had argued, possibly about buying a recreational vehicle, and at one point, she reportedly told him, “If I had a weapon, I’d shoot you,” Alford-Brand said. Holloway handed her a .22-caliber rifle, and Malpass suddenly shot him in the chest from a foot away, the prosecutor said.

Malpass apparently dialed 911 and then hung up after the shooting.

Then, she ran next door to the home where Holloway’s brother lived to say there had been an accident. Holloway later died at the hospital, Alford-Brand said.


TX - Sex offenders, the unlikely special interest group

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03/02/2009

By Emily Ramshaw

Registered sex offenders are an unlikely special interest group. But as lawmakers push legislation to require them to report their e-mail addresses and social networking aliases to the state, they're becoming more and more visible -- strange for a group that is branded with such a stigma.

Today, several of them -- using their full names -- stood up in front of lawmakers and cameras at the Capitol to tell their stories (This is what all sex offenders should do, when new laws are being reviewed in their states!  Speak Up, Let Your Voice Be Heard!). Most of them are now in their 30s, and were arrested in their 20s for having consensual sex with underage women. All of them served their time and are now trying to be functioning members of society. Many of them have children -- and struggle even to show up at their schools for plays and sporting events. They argue that forcing them to report all of their online networking monikers is yet another hindrance to allowing them to fully re-enter society.

"What more do I have to give in order to earn that second chance?" asked Bruce Siegel, a Plano sex offender who was arrested 15 years ago, at age 24, for having sex with a 16-year-old girl. "Every session we're faced with new obstacles."

Sponsors of several sex offender registration bills this session say MySpace recently found 90,000 sex offenders among its ranks. They say it's necessary to track sex offenders' activities online in order to ensure they aren't using chatrooms or email to target children.
- But out of all those 90,000, how many were doing anything wrong?

"Sexual predators' use of the Internet is not slowing down," said Rep. David Liebowitz (Contact), D-San Antonio. "In increasing numbers, they're on e-mail accounts, and in chat rooms and social messaging groups used by children."
- If they are doing something wrong, and talking sexually with children, then prosecute them, if not, then leave them alone!


WA - The Good Unrepetent Mother

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She should've got a lot longer in jail for assault, than three months!  And you could call it attempted murder, because that was her intent, from her own words.  They also do not mention that William Baldwin was 14 when he committed his crime in 1998, and was 24 when he was assaulted by this trailer park trash.  And if you look at her record, she is a repeat offender.  So who is more of a threat to society?  Anybody want to bet, that when she gets out, as soon as a new sex offender moves into the trailer park, she will wind up killing the next person?  I'll be watching this!


03/02/2009

By SHG

Tammy Gibson was a mother who cared enough about her daughter that she was ready to beat William Baldwin to death. When everything was over, including her prosecution, she was ready to do it again. And her hope is that next time, she will have greater success. What do we do with Tammy Gibson?

Doug Berman asked the question at Sentencing Law & Policy, then asked some other blawgers what they thought about it. It was a great question.

According to police documents, Level-3 sex offender William A. Baldwin had moved into his uncle's home in Tacoma in early June. Following his move, county deputies distributed flyers around the neighborhood to alert residents of his presence. On June 19, Gibson went to the house in the trailer park and asked for Baldwin. When Baldwin stepped outside, she claimed she was going to kill him because Baldwin had molested her children. Gibson then proceeded to hit Baldwin repeatedly with her bat, the document said, leaving him with an injured arm. "I kept swingin' and swingin', and swingin'," Gibson told investigators. (And they fail to mention her HUGE criminal history for assaults, which can be found by searching Google or purchasing her criminal background!)

Contrary to what she had said to Baldwin, Gibson later told investigators Baldwin had not molested her children. But she did say that she recognized Baldwin from the flyer as the man who had chatted up her then-10-year-old daughter during the previous summer. Baldwin is the memorable height of 7 feet, 3 inches tall. "For him to be right there, in front of my house and talking to my child — made me crazy," she told KOMO. "And I told him I thought he was a piece of crap and I smacked him," she added. "I just didn't stop hitting him. I just told him that 'if it were up to me, I'd kill ya."'

According to the ABC story, Gibson received a 3 month sentence for her efforts. One of her daughters, Rachael Porter, reacted:

"I think it's crap; that she was protecting her kids like she should have been. They locked her up for way too long." (No, the man was in his home, doing nothing wrong, and she hunted him down, and beat him with an aluminum baseball bat!)


Protecting one's children can be a very vague concept. Tammy made clear that she was by no means deterred.

"No, I'd do it again if not better," she told ABC News Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV. "I don't care if it hurts me, I don't regret it. It got him away from my kids and all the other kids in the neighborhood." (So what is going to happen, when she gets out, and another sex offender moves into the neighborhood?  Is she going to kill the next person?  Will she then get another slap on the wrist?  I sure hope not!  She has made her intentions clear, and also taking into account her long history of assault!)

So many of the issues wrapped around sentencing, sex offenders, vigilantism and motherhood come into play here that this case is tantamount to a Rorschach test for criminal sentencing. Which side are you on, boys. Which side are you on?

Criminal defense lawyers often talk of jury nullification, the sense of the ordinary citizen that a person should not be convicted for his conduct despite the fact that it is against the law. This may be because the law is perceived as unjust, or the defendant is perceived as not being morally culpable. In either event, we look to a jury to free the defendant from the technical yokes the law would otherwise require be applied.

The Tammy Gibson case is perhaps the antithesis of jury nullification. It is institutional nullification, where the officials who make the wheels of the system grind, the police, prosecutors and judges, are unable to muster the degree of anger toward Tammy Gibson to do more than go through the motions. A three month sentence for beating another person with a baseball bat is, under almost any other scenario, trivial. Why should this be different.

The set up here clearly tugs at the heartstrings of the institution. A mom who, whether technically right or wrong, is acting out of love and protection for her child. A sex offender, an individual most despised by the institution of all. One holds the status of moral righteousness in the eyes and minds of the institution, while the other is as worthless and morally disgusting as any person can be. One is worthy. The other will never be worthy. Is there anyone who, in the heart, can't appreciate the feelings that ran through Tammy Gibson, believing that this man tried to go after her baby?

Of course, William Baldwin did not harm Tammy Gibson's daughter. William Baldwin was inside his home, doing nothing wrong, when Tammy Gibson chose to attack. As much as Baldwin may be relegated to the human junk heap in the eyes of many, he is a human being entitled to exist without being the target of death of any person who felt entitled to pick up a bat and beat him to death. Certainly, we can't have moms trying to murder people at will for perceived wrongs that never actually happened. Certainly, people can't simply decided that sex offenders are perpetually fair game for harm.

Tammy Gibson's reaction to her prosecution and sentence invokes two of the fundamental premises of sentencing, general and specific deterrence. She is the poster child. For many parents with perceived grievances against a sex offender, a three month sentence might be seen as a cheap price to pay to get in a good beating. Rather than deter such crimes, it could prove to be an incentive. If I felt that someone might harm my child, I would happily put three months at risk. Probably a whole lot longer.

Adding fuel to the fire is Tammy Gibson's challenge to the system, affirming her belief that she was right to attack and that she will not be deterred. This is an intolerable position, regardless of what one thinks of her motives. To ignore it is to invite her to take a second shot. I suspect the judge realizes this, but isn't overly concerned about losing sleep the night of William Baldwin's funeral.

Doug expresses concern that a three month sentence isn't "a truly effective or sensible sentence." I doubt it's even in the ballpark of effective or sensible. It's the proverbial slap on the wrist, an extremely modest price to pay if one seeks to deter the beating of sex offenders by moms. Clearly, it hasn't done much to change Tammy's mind, and knowing how protective I, as a parent, am with my children, it wouldn't do much to me either if I felt the way she did. Any half-decent parent will go to extreme lengths to protect their threatened child. The problem is where the legitimate line of threat is to be drawn, and it seems clear that Tammy drew it in a place where few would, and no one should.

It's hard to muster sympathy for a child molester, even when he's paid his dues and caused no harm since. It's hard to avoid the sense of sympathy toward a parent who, even belatedly, perceived a threat to her child. The ABC article doesn't say what Baldwin did to merit the title "sex offender." But it's enough in our society to simply have that title hung around his neck to make him unworthy of humanity. It's enough to render him unworthy of much protection from our institutions.

And this apparently makes Baldwin, and anyone else forced to wear the title "sex offender" (many of whom have done little or nothing to deserve the moral culpability that goes along with this epithet) a lower breed of person, someone who can be beaten without serious consequence according to the sentence given Tammy Gibson.

This is a dangerous and unacceptable message. Tammy Gibson feels no remorse. Another parent may well accept three months in jail for the chance to beat a sex offender. The message to parents, and to sex offenders, is clear. Sex offenders are fair targets and moms who beat them, or worse, deserve our understanding and sympathy.

The story ends with one additional assertion that requires mention. Tammy Gibson is not merely unremorseful, but sees herself as standing at the vanguard of parental righteousness.

Gibson said she hoped that the attention created by her case would lead to a change in the laws regarding released sex offenders.

"I would hope that me doing this and going to jail would change something, change some kind of law, change something where people like him can't be standing around little kids you know what I mean?" Gibson said in her interview with KOMO-TV. "It's not right, it's not fair to the kids at all."

In her mind, Tammy Gibson is the hero of this story, perhaps hoping for a law in her name entitling mothers to beat former sex offenders at will. No, a three month sentence is not effective or sensible, and Tammy Gibson is not a hero. Every sentence sends a message, and the message sent by this sentence is that sex offenders can be attacked with virtual impunity, even when they have done no harm. This is a very dangerous message, and it was sent as clearly as possible.


1 in 31 - THE LONG REACH OF AMERICAN CORRECTIONS



Also see the related story below!

03/2009

Executive Summary
States face the worst fiscal crisis in a generation. Shrinking budgets are forcing governors and legislators to examine all areas of public spending for possible savings, even those that have been off limits.

Corrections is a prime target for cuts. Last year it was the fastest expanding major segment of state budgets, and over the past two decades, its growth as a share of state expenditures has been second only to Medicaid. State corrections costs now top $50 billion annually and consume one in every 15 discretionary dollars.

The remarkable rise in corrections spending wasn’t fate or even the natural consequence of spikes in crime. It was the result of state policy choices that sent more people to prison and kept them there longer. The sentencing and release laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s put so many more people behind bars that last year the incarcerated population reached 2.3 million and, for the first time, one in 100 adults was in prison or jail.

The escalation of the prison population has been astonishing, but it hasn’t been the largest area of growth in the criminal justice system. That would be probation and parole—the sentenced offenders who are not behind bars.

With far less notice, the number of people on probation or parole has skyrocketed to more than 5 million, up from 1.6 million just 25 years ago. This means that 1 in 45 adults in the United States is now under criminal justice supervision in the community, and that combined with those in prison and jail, a stunning 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2 percent, is under some form of correctional control. The rates are drastically elevated for men (1 in 18) and blacks (1 in 11) and are even higher in some high-crime inner-city neighborhoods.




States urged to improve probation, parole programs

By DAVID CRARY

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of offenders on parole and probation across the United States has surged past 5 million, complicating the challenges for fiscally ailing states as they try to curb corrections costs without jeopardizing public safety, according to a new report.

The Pew Center on the States report, released Monday, says the number of people on probation or parole nearly doubled to more than 5 million between 1982 and 2007. Including jail and prison inmates, the total population of the U.S. corrections system now exceeds 7.3 million — one of every 31 U.S. adults, it said.

The report also noted huge discrepancies among the states in regard to the total corrections population — one of every 13 adults in Georgia and one of every 18 in Idaho at one end of the scale, one of every 88 in New Hampshire at the other extreme. The racial gap also was stark — one of every 11 black adults is under correctional supervision, one of every 27 Hispanic adults, one of every 45 white adults.

The report notes that construction of new prisons will be increasingly rare as most states grapple with budget crises. It said improved community-supervision strategies represent one of the most feasible ways for states to limit corrections spending and reduce recidivism.

"Every single one of them should be making smart investments in community corrections that will help them cut costs and improve outcomes," said Susan Urahn, managing director of the Center on the States.

At present, according to the report, prisons consume nearly 90 percent of state corrections spending, even though two-thirds of offenders under supervision are on parole or probation. Costs per year for a prison inmate average nearly $29,000, while average costs for managing parolees and probationers range from $1,250 to $2,750 a year.

Adam Gelb, director of Pew's Public Safety Performance Project, stressed that violent and incorrigible criminals need to be locked up, but contended that many prison inmates could be safely overseen in their communities at far lower cost.

"New community supervision strategies and technologies need to be strengthened and expanded, not scaled back," he said. "Cutting them may appear to save a few dollars, but it doesn't. It will fuel the cycle of more crime, more victims, more arrests, more prosecutions, and still more imprisonment."

Among the report's recommendations for strengthening community corrections:

_Base intervention programs on sound research about what works to reduce recidivism.
_Use advances in supervision technology such as electronic monitoring and rapid-result alcohol and drug tests.
_Create incentives for offenders and supervision agencies to succeed, and monitor their performance.
_Impose swift, certain sanctions for offenders who break the rules of their release.

The report cited a probation program in Hawaii as a positive example. Under that program, which offers extensive counseling and treatment, failure to comply with random drug tests, office visits and treatment requirements is met with immediate sanctions — typically a few days in jail. Participants have proven far less likely than others on probation to be arrested for new crimes and sent back to prison.

Arizona was praised for a law enacted last year that creates performance incentives for offenders and the county-based probation supervision system. For every month that an offender complies with the terms of supervision, the length of probation can be shortened by up to 20 days. Slip-ups result in a loss of the earned time.

Kansas has made headway in curbing its prison population by offering grants to community corrections programs that cut down on the high number of probation and parole rule-breakers being sent back to prison solely for such rule violations.

The Pew report says strong community supervision programs for low-risk offenders not only cost much less than incarceration but, when properly funded and managed, can cut recidivism by as much as 30 percent. That could be a huge boon to the states, which, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers, spent a record $51.7 billion on corrections last fiscal year — up 300 percent over two decades.

The five states with the highest rate of adults under correctional supervision were Georgia, Idaho, Texas, Massachusetts and Ohio. Those with lowest rates were New Hampshire, Maine, West Virginia, Utah and North Dakota.

Georgia, although only the ninth most populous state, had more people on probation in 2007 — 435,631 — than any other state, according to the report. The state Department of Corrections said the number might be inflated by double-counting of some offenders, but it has previously acknowledged that its probation population is the highest per capita in the country.

One consequence, according to the department, is that Georgia probation officers have had a caseload far higher than the national average.

On the Net: http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/


WA - Raw Video: Deputy Shown Kicking Teen Girl

This is not related to sex offenders, but, I do not care what this girl did, nor what she called this policeman, it gives him no right to assault her like he did. I hope he is put into jail or prison for awhile, and can NEVER be a policeman again. He should not be working around people! Not with that attitude! And this girl is a minor, and as the old saying goes, "WHAT ABOUT PROTECTING THE CHILDREN?"  Yeah, I hate hearing that, but, society is always screaming it, so where is the hysteria over this child abuse by a policeman?


TX - What's Next for Samuel Kent in Wake of Guilty Plea?

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03/02/2009

By John Council and Brenda Sapino Jeffreys - Texas Lawyer

In September 2008, U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of the Southern District of Texas spoke loudly and forcefully when entering a not guilty plea to sex abuse charges. But last week in a Houston courtroom his tone was markedly different as a clearly beaten Kent whispered "guilty" to an obstruction-of-justice charge.

"I accept your guilty plea," U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida told Kent in court.

Kent's decision to plead guilty to the obstruction charge on Feb. 23 in exchange for the government dropping five sex abuse charges -- combined with his lawyer's announcement that Kent was "retiring" from the bench -- will cost Kent any chance at a standard judicial retirement salary and most likely his bar card and freedom, five experts say.

The guilty plea likely wouldn't have happened if Kent's former Galveston case manager, Cathy McBroom, hadn't decided to file a complaint against him with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals two years ago. While Kent's judicial superiors couldn't take his job away from him, that's what McBroom's allegations -- which formed the basis for some of the criminal charges against him -- did on Feb. 23, the day jury selection would have begun in Kent's criminal trial.

"I'm very happy this part of the process is over. I feel extremely relieved, and I look forward to the sentencing," McBroom said outside the Bob Casey U.S. Court House in Houston on Feb. 23. Specifically, Kent pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Special Investigative Committee of the 5th Circuit, which was investigating McBroom's complaint.

"It's a fall that has been hard and fast," says Matt Orwig, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. Protecting his career and reputation may have been Kent's priority during his September 2008 not guilty plea, but that changed at some point during the ensuing months, Orwig says.

"The job became less important to him," say Orwig, now managing partner of the Dallas office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. "And he quit caring about the cheese; he just wanted to get out of the trap" by minimizing any prison time.

Kent, who is the first federal judge in history to be indicted for alleged sexual crimes, will be sentenced on May 11 by Vinson, who is sitting by assignment. While the maximum sentence for obstruction of justice is 20 years, the 12-page plea agreement notes that the government agrees the maximum term of imprisonment that it may seek is three years and it may seek a lesser sentence.

Kent, whose wife was not in the courtroom on Feb. 23, did not comment after the hearing. Vinson made a point during the plea hearing to address Kent as Mr. Kent instead of Judge Kent.

"Everyone in the courtroom calls you Judge Kent. Today for purposes of this proceeding, it's going to be Mr. Kent," Vinson said.

Prosecutors Peter J. Ainsworth, John Pearson and AnnaLou Tirol of the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., did not comment after the hearing.

"Judge Kent believes that this compromise settlement is best for all involved, the complainants and their families, Judge Kent and his family, and the court and the judicial system," Dick DeGuerin, a partner in Houston's DeGuerin & Dickson who represents Kent, said after the plea hearing. "A trial would have been long, embarrassing, and difficult for all involved and this avoids that."

DeGuerin added that Kent had notified President Barack Obama and Edith Jones, chief judge of the 5th Circuit, that he is retiring from the bench effective immediately.

"He's been a walking basket case for a couple of years since this all came crashing in on him," DeGuerin says in an interview. "I'm not trying to milk any kind of sympathy here. The fact is his whole life has been irretrievably changed. And it's had an effect on him.

"It all started with his first wife dying. ... But he's had some very serious health problems that were greatly exacerbated by his legal problems, which I believe makes him qualified for a medical disability retirement," DeGuerin says.

For Kent to qualify for medical disability, Jones must certify his disability and it must also be approved by Obama. DeGuerin declines to comment about whether Kent will apply for disability.

"This is a matter between Judge Kent and the chief judge of the 5th Circuit and the president. And I have really said all I have to say about that, with this one addition: Whether you're a weekly wage earner or a yearly salary earner or self-employed, most people have retirement or pension plans that they work hard for years to build up. It's no different for a judge. He's worked as a judge for 18 years. His wife has no income. And for 18 years he worked hard at being a judge. His plea of guilty and misconduct really had nothing to do with that. And so, I'm simply trying to preserve what life he might have left once he serves his sentence whatever that is."

McBroom's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, was traveling on Feb. 26, the day Vinson lifted a gag order in the Kent case, and therefore was not available for comment.

Only Congress can impeach a federal judge and applying for disability opens the possibility that Congress will impeach Kent, say Arthur Hellman, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law who is an expert on federal judicial discipline. While Congress would have no reason to impeach a judge who has resigned from the bench because that judge has forfeited his title and salary, it would be different for a judge who retires and applies for judicial disability. A judge who is disabled retains his status as an Article III judge, his status as a civil officer of the United States and his salary, Hellman says. As a judge, Kent earns more than $160,000 a year.

And claiming a disability is the only way that Kent can continue to draw a judicial salary, Hellman says. During his plea hearing last week, Kent told Vinson that he had been treated by a psychologist.

In response to questions by Vinson, Kent said he was competent to enter a guilty plea even though he had taken prescription medications before coming to court on Feb. 23. DeGuerin read off a list of at least six drugs, and told Vinson that some were for depression, anxiety and diabetes.

"It's a Pyrrhic victory for him because it [disability] will immediately lead to impeachment," Hellman says. "What would be the good of giving him the benefit of a certificate of disability?"

That's exactly what one congressman intends to do. In a Thursday letter to Jones, U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he'll introduce articles of impeachment against Kent following his May 11 sentencing hearing if Kent "does not resign his bench."

"It is my understanding that Judge Kent will attempt to have a disability certified in order to receive pay and benefits as a senior judge," Sensenbrenner wrote. "If Judge Kent's claim is granted, it will likely result in attempts to re-open countless cases he has presided over during the past few years.

"Given the circumstances, it is outrageous that he is asking to retire under a disability exception so that he can continue to draw a paycheck for the rest of his life at taxpayer expense, including while he is incarcerated. I trust you will examine all of these issues carefully before considering Judge Kent's disability request." (See Sensenbrenner's letter to Jones (PDF).)

In an interview, Sensenbrenner warns that fighting impeachment is a long and expensive process. "He will be facing that expense, together with the embarrassment. I don't see how the House can fail to impeach him, given what he has pleaded to," Sensenbrenner says.

Hellman says Kent does not qualify for standard federal judicial retirement. Federal judges must adhere to what is known as "the rule of 80" before qualifying for retirement pay: They must be at least 65 years old and must have served at least 15 years on the bench. While Kent has been on the bench for 19 years, he is 59 years old.

"He cannot retire on salary because he doesn't have the age," says Hellman.

If Kent applies for disability, it would put Jones in an interesting position, Hellman says. "In a way I do feel for Chief Judge Jones because she's really caught in the middle here. If she believes he is genuinely disabled then he does have a claim," Hellman says.

"If she does grant it, Judge Kent finds himself as a target for the impeachment, but Judge Jones opens herself up to criticism as allowing her sympathy to overcome a crime that he has admitted to," Hellman says.

However because Kent pleaded guilty to a charge that he lied to a Special Investigatory Panel of the 5th Circuit, it may not be that tough of a choice for Jones, he adds. Kent was "accused of lying to her and her colleagues," Hellman says. "That's exactly it. And in some ways that may make it ironically easier."

Jones did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Joe St. Amant, senior appellate conference attorney for the 5th Circuit, says Kent's status as a judge "right now is not certain."

Federal judges who "retire" generally continue to be judges and draw a salary or a pension, St. Amant says. Federal judges who "resign" do not continue to draw a salary or a pension, do not hold the title of judge and usually return to the practice of law, he says.

"I don't think you can make any assumptions at all about what the [5th Circuit Judicial] Council is going to do," St. Amant says.

CRIMINAL CHARGES

In September 2008, Kent pleaded not guilty to three charges -- two counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse -- that stem from the complaint McBroom filed with the 5th Circuit.

On Jan. 6, a federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment in United States v. Samuel B. Kent that added three criminal charges against him -- one count of aggravated sexual abuse, one count of abusive sexual contact and one count of obstruction of justice. The alleged victim in the superseding indictment was only identified as "Person B," but on Feb. 23 her identity became known -- Donna Wilkerson, Kent's legal secretary in Galveston, stood outside the courthouse with her lawyer Terry W. Yates of Houston.

Wilkerson did not comment, but Yates told reporters after Kent's plea that his client is glad the process is over. "She will tell her story in due time," Yates said.

Yates says it would be "unjust" for Kent to go on disability and draw a judicial salary.

The obstruction charge in the superseding indictment alleged that Kent obstructed justice when he falsely stated to the Special Investigative Committee that "the extent of his unwanted sexual contact with Person B was one kiss and that when told by Person B his advances were unwelcome no further contact occurred, when in fact and as he well knew defendant Kent had engaged in repeated unwanted sexual assaults of Person B, in order to obstruct, influence and impede" the investigation. On Jan. 7, Kent pleaded not guilty to the three additional charges.

But in the Feb. 23 Factual Basis for the Plea, Kent stipulated that in August 2003 and in March 2007, he engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact with McBroom without her permission, and from 2004 through at least 2005, he engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact with Wilkerson without her permission. (See the Factual Basis for the Plea.)

The three additional charges in the superseding indictment prompted the Judicial Council of the 5th Circuit to reopen a disciplinary case against Kent on Jan. 9, according to an order from the Judicial Council of the 5th Circuit.

On Sept. 28, 2007, the Judicial Council of the 5th Circuit reprimanded Kent after a Special Investigator Committee looked into McBroom's "sexual harassment" complaint and other "instances of alleged inappropriate behavior toward other employees of the federal judicial system." The committee recommended that Kent be reprimanded "along with the accomplishment of other remedial courses of action," and by a majority vote the Judicial Council accepted the recommendations.

The council concluded the proceedings "because appropriate remedial action had been and will be taken, including but not limited to the judge's four-month leave of absence from the bench, reallocation of the Galveston/Houston docket and other measures," wrote Jones, who signed the order reprimanding Kent.

In October 2007, before Kent returned to the bench, an executive session of the judges of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District decided to transfer Kent's Galveston Division to the Houston Division. He only received civil suits when he returned to the bench in January 2008.

PRISON TIME?

Kent's felony guilty plea to the obstruction charge potentially cuts off another source of income for Kent -- practicing law. Lawyers and judges who are convicted of felonies that are considered "serious" crimes may be subject to compulsory discipline by the State Bar of Texas -- a streamlined process that bypasses the normal grievance panel system and allows the Bar to automatically suspend or disbar a lawyer.

"We are in the process of getting the papers related to Judge Kent's plea. And when we get the papers we will evaluate what to do next," says Maureen Ray, special administrative counsel for the State Bar's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.

"I really can't comment as to what will occur to Judge Kent against his law license," Ray says.

Kent currently has an inactive law license, Ray says, but judges are allowed to sit on the bench with inactive bar cards. "Inactive status would not deter prosecution in an otherwise proper case," Ray says.

Because the State Bar considers obstruction of justice a serious crime, it may have little choice but to disbar Kent, says Robert Hinton of Dallas' Robert Hinton & Associates who defends lawyers in Bar disciplinary cases.

"That will pretty much tie the State Bar's hands," Hinton says. "I would believe he would be disbarred because that would be a serious offense and it would be an intentional offense."

Three criminal defense lawyers say that Kent most likely will receive at least some prison time.

"Lying to Congress, lying to a judge, lying to the 5th Circuit, lying to the FBI -- they're all serious obstruction charges," says Mike Uhl, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner in Dallas' Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl. "I'll be surprised if he gets straight probation."

A look at the federal sentencing guidelines seems to indicate why Kent took a plea deal: It was the only chance he had at avoiding a lengthy prison sentence, Orwig says. If a jury had convicted Kent of obstruction "then he's looking at 15 to 20 months" minimum in prison, Orwig says. If he pleads and accepts responsibility, he's eligible for a federal sentencing guidelines reduction, putting Kent in range for a "split sentence" that would allow him to serve half of his sentence in alternative incarceration such as home confinement or a halfway house.

But Marlo P. Cadeddu of Dallas' Law Office of Marlo P. Cadeddu, who is an expert on federal sentencing issues, says there's a chance Kent could avoid prison.

To do so, Kent would have to request that Vinson depart from the federal sentencing guidelines and give him an additional two-level sentence reduction beyond what is contemplated in the plea agreement. Kent could ask Vinson for a guideline departure on the ground his safety would be threatened in prison because he has sentenced thousands of criminals.

However Vinson may not want to give Kent a sentence he wouldn't give to someone who wasn't a federal judge who committed a similar crime.

"They don't want it to look like he's getting a benefit that a regular person wouldn't get," Cadeddu says.

CIVIL SUITS?

At the plea hearing, Vinson extended until sentencing in May a gag order he had imposed in the case sua sponte in September 2008 to shield the jury from potentially prejudicial statements. But on Feb. 26, Vinson dissolved it.

Vinson wrote that he lifted the order because "it now appears that some of those who are entitled to privacy under the evidentiary rules do not seek or desire continued privacy protection, and those who do desire continued privacy protection do not need or require any further protection by way of this court's order."

Vinson wrote that he is "reasonably confident" he has the ability to consider the evidence and issues dispassionately at sentencing, so any statements to the media will not affect Kent's sentencing.

In the order, Vinson wrote that he extended the gag order on Feb. 23, even though no jury would hear Kent's case, over concern that media reports "might lead to public dissemination and a discussion of matters that had been filed under seal to protect the privacy rights of a number of individuals."

Yates, who represents Wilkerson, says he's pleased Vinson lifted the gag order. He says Wilkerson is undecided if she will make public statements before Kent's sentencing.

"It was very traumatic for her and she wants to think about it," he says.

While federal judges have broad immunity against civil suits, they can be sued individually in state court for criminal conduct, according to a plaintiffs lawyer and three labor and employment lawyers in Texas. However, lawyers for both women say their clients aren't currently considering that.

Yates says his client "doesn't have any plans to file any civil action against Kent at this point."

Civil litigation against Kent hasn't been on McBroom's radar either, says Hardin of Houston's Rusty Hardin & Associates.

"I don't know that she is considering it," Hardin says. "We have deliberately never talked about it or considered it, because neither she nor I have wanted to undermine the legitimacy" of the criminal prosecution, he says.

In an order signed on Feb. 24, Chief Judge Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas reassigned all 217 cases on Kent's docket -- all civil suits -- to the 11 Southern District judges who preside over the Houston and Galveston dockets.

Head declines to comment about Kent's plea. However, he notes that he and his fellow Southern District judges have not yet determined whether to staff the Galveston Division with a permanent judge. "The judicial services aren't going to be abandoned," Head says. "Whether there will be a sitting judge in Galveston will need to be decided."

Head says that he and the other Southern District judges will examine whether the Galveston Division workload justifies a permanent judge or whether the work will continue to be handled by judges in the Houston Division.

Kent still heard cases while he was under indictment, but he did not hear criminal cases or cases in which the U.S. government was a party.

Regardless of what happens to Kent in the future, his indictment and guilty plea have damaged the federal judiciary, says U.S. District Judge W. Royal Furgeson Jr. of San Antonio.

"I just think it's such a bad thing for all of us -- for every one of us. I'm sure Sam Kent wanted to have a good career and retire with honor," Furgeson says. "And I can't comment on anything he's done, but it's sadness where someone has done that and it really makes the situation one of dishonor.

"It's a tragedy all around and it's certainly a tragedy for the women who were placed in the position they were placed in. It's a situation where nobody wins. I think it's a terrible thing for the courts," Furgeson says. "There is nothing good that comes from this."

Copyright 2009. Incisive Media US Properties, LLC. All rights reserved


IL - Do sex offenders have rights?

View the article here

Of course they have rights.  If they are off probation or parole, then they have served their time.  If not, then all criminals should never get their rights back either, and must live under similar restrictions (ie. Punishment), otherwise, it's not fair to single out one group, just because the public has been force fed lies and bogus information.

03/02/2009

By Daily Vidette Editorial Board

Sex offenders in Illinois are punished in a variety of ways but the most substantial takes place in the branding of their identity. Unlike other criminals, sex offenders have to report their every move. They're told where to live and where they can and can't go because their crimes elicit so much disdain from the general public.

As proof, it took about 30 seconds of Internet searching to pull up the number of sex offenders residing in Normal along with their addresses, photos and details of their crime.

New bills in Illinois are raising questions about how much segregation is too much or if there is such a thing. The scope of these new bills' reach is what we find a cause for concern.

While some bills seem to be obvious like banning sex offenders from working in holiday settings and dressing like Santa or the Easter Bunny, others seem to lend a Big Brother feeling like the monitoring of their movements via GPS for the rest of their lives.

Most cringe at the idea that their neighbors may be among those branded for one of society's most unforgivable crimes, a crime that is considered "especially heinous." While this cringe is indeed warranted, it is also the result of the stigma that lawmakers are working hard to keep in place with this new legislation.

Some other ideas being proposed involve banning offenders from Internet dating sites, nursing homes and parts of public libraries.

While we admit that our perspectives place us at a disadvantage in examining these new laws, there is no shortage of angles and ethical questions that need to be considered.

We aren't parents, victims or perpetrators of sex crimes but we are human beings who align our views with those of the American Civil Liberties Union, who claim these new restrictions are unconstitutional and provide the offender with no choice but to start living life "off the books."

While in the case of sex offenders there is no guarantee they won't commit the same crime, it seems somewhat unreasonable to place umbrella restrictions on sex offenders when the nature of their crimes can be very different.

To even consider reforming sex offenders, the facts would need to be considered on a case by case basis. For instance it isn't known if the crime was the result of an innate flaw that provides the propensity to be a repeat offender or if the incident occurred due to statutory rape laws during an otherwise consentual act.

The disparity between types of sex crimes is enormous and the severe range of control within the new bills are as well. We need a more efficient way to classify the variety of sex offenders.

Sex offenders will always have a hard time finding any job, residence or trust from society for the rest of their lives. We say increased restrictions, such as GPS tracking, are not appropriate in every, or even any, situation.