Monday, March 16, 2009

IN - Public shaming by vigilante organizations - Anything for a quick buck, right?

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Video available at the site above.  And like I said in the title, they are just exploiting ex-criminals and peoples fear, to make a quick buck!


03/16/2009

By Megan Stembol

FORT WAYNE (WANE) - A convicted felon is not happy to see his mug shot on the cover of a new publication.

"I don't think it's in the interest of justice," says Joe Wilson about his picture in MugShots, Inc. "All it's doing is parading people to embarrass them."

Wilson shot and killed a man during a fight in 1994. Now, Wilson says the paper, "MugShots Inc." is making him pay even more on a debt that he's already paid in full.

Wilson served almost 12 years for involuntary manslaughter. He was 18 years old at the time. He's now 33 years old; a home-owner, with two bachelor's degrees.

"I've started a new life," says Wilson, with a copy of MugShots, Inc. on his table. "This seems to hinder that."

MugShots, Inc. is a collection of mug shots of people with a criminal past or with warrants out for their arrest. Wilson's picture was recently featured on the front cover with 21 other people.

"It implies to anyone who walks into the store and sees it that I either have a warrant or am a local sex offender," says Wilson.

A sex offender, Wilson is not. And the police aren't looking for him. That's why Wilson intends to sue the editors of the paper: for not making that distinction.

Since his mug shot and address were printed in MugShots, Inc., Wilson says people stare at him in the grocery store. He's answered several prank calls, and had people park outside his home and honk their horn. He's worried not only for his own safety, but for that of his 14-year-old daughter.

Wilson says including cases like his in MugShots, Inc. is not in the interest of justice. That's why he'd like to see the editors of the publication use a little bit more discretion.

"I think it's unjust to hold [a violent offender's] past [against them] and to stigmatize them in society," says Wilson. "I don't think that's right."

As a violent offender, Wilson has to register with the state's registry every year. He says, apart from changes at MugShots, Inc., he'd also like to see the state make changes to the registry, so eventually his criminal past wouldn't be a matter or public information at all.


NC - Man recalls being tied up, dragged into the street naked

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Related Article

03/16/2009

By David Allen

SHELBY - _____ doesn't deny his criminal record. But since his release from prison in 2005, _____ says he's looked to be a better man, a "citizen."

He stands by an old adage - "I feel like everybody should be punished for the wrong they've done and I feel like I've done my time."

_____, _____'s wife, agrees. She believes that 68-year-old Guynell Jones "got what was coming to him" after he tied _____ up and sent him into the street naked more than a week ago.

The incident
Jones, of Oak Street, was "crazy" about 26-year-old _____, he said. He "helped her any way he could."

"Money-wise, food-wise, just anything," Jones said this week. "When she first moved in the house, I paid the power bill. I helped her get some groceries because I cared about the person."

Jones told authorities he knew _____ was married, reports read, but she supposedly referred to _____, 45, also of the McBrayer Street address, as only a friend.

"He (Jones) thought he (_____) didn't deserve to have me," _____ said Monday, "that I should be with somebody better."

_____ and _____ returned home from a relative's house that Friday night and went to bed shortly after.

_____ then heard a knock at the door. When _____ checked to see who it was, no one was there.

Another knock sounded roughly 10 minutes later, _____ said.

"She opened the door and I guess he (Jones) started pushing her away to get in the house," _____ said.

Within a few moments, _____'s wrists and legs were bound together with cable ties. _____ claimed Jones had a gun, "otherwise I would have fought him."

Jones told authorities he never had a gun but did have a box cutter on his person, according to a police report.

Jones previously told The Star he stripped _____ of his boxers and directed him into the street.

"I ain't got no piece of clothing on," _____ recalled. "Only thing I was doing was saying, ‘Lord, please don't let this happen. Please don't take my life.' I was in shock, really. Helpless. Hopeless."

_____ said her main goal at that point was to call the police.

Trying to survive
Shelby Police arrived on the scene soon after and Jones was taken to jail on a second-degree kidnapping charge.

Jones told authorities he didn't mean any harm by his actions.

"Mr. Jones only wanted to show each of them he would not be used anymore," read a report by Shelby Police Officer M.B. Watson. But _____ didn't buy it.

"What kind of example (was Jones trying to prove)? That he's stupid and crazy?" she asked. "He got what was coming to him. He went to jail."

_____ didn't dispute Jones' claims of providing money for various items, but his characterization of them was off the mark, she said.

"He's making it look like we're the bad ones," _____ said. "This is all over because we told him to leave us alone."

_____, a registered sex offender, said he and _____ are soon moving to another location in Shelby and seek to put the past behind them.

"I don't bother nobody. Since I've been out of prison since 2005, I've been trying to do right," _____ said. "And yes, I'm an ex-sex offender ... but that's just something I have to live with."

_____ admits to smoking every now and again to calm his nerves and drinking once in a while, but said, "I keep this maintained from doing stupid (things) that's going to put me back in jail."

"God knows I don't want to go back," he said. "I don't know how much time I have on this earth but I'm trying to make a change."


TX - Texas jail was an Animal House, authorities say

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03/16/2009

By ANGELA K. BROWN, AP

MONTAGUE - For months, perhaps longer, the Montague County Jail was "Animal House" meets Mayberry. Inside the small brick building across from the courthouse, inmates had the run of the place, having sex with their jailer girlfriends, bringing in recliners, taking drugs and chatting on cell phones supplied by friends or guards, according to authorities. They also disabled some of the surveillance cameras and made weapons out of nails.

The doors to two groups of cells didn't lock, but apparently no one tried to escape — perhaps because they had everything they needed inside.

The jailhouse escapades — some of which date to 2006, according to authorities — have rocked Montague (pronounced mahn-TAYG), a farming and ranching town of several hundred people near the Oklahoma line, about 65 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

There were whispers in the past year about an affair between a female jailer and male inmate, but folks dismissed the rumors as small-town gossip. It was not until late last month, when a Texas grand jury returned a 106-count indictment against the former sheriff and 16 others, that the inmates-gone-wild scandal broke wide open.

The indictment charged Bill Keating, sheriff from 2004 until December, with official oppression and having sex with female inmates. The others indicted include nine guards — seven women and two men — who were charged with various offenses involving sex or drugs and other contraband. Four inmates also were charged.

Local, state and federal authorities are still trying to figure out how this small-town Texas jail was turned into something resembling a frat house.

The new sheriff, Paul Cunningham, said he was stunned while touring the jail for the first time just hours after being sworn into office Jan. 1. He saw partitions made of paper towels that blocked jailers' view into cells, and pills scattered about.

Cunningham, who had not worked for the county before his election in November, immediately ordered the jail closed and moved the nearly 60 inmates to another institution.

"It literally scared me — not for myself but for the employees," Cunningham said. "How somebody kept from being killed was beyond me."

Cunningham, who defeated Keating in the Republican primary last spring, suggested that Keating lost interest in the jail after that and turned his back on the place.

Separately from the indictment, Keating, 62, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in January to charges he coerced a woman into having sex with him by threatening to jail her on drug charges.

Keating's attorney, Mark Daniel, called the latest charges against the former sheriff "kind of silly in the face of the federal investigation, like piling on." He declined further comment.

The investigation began with a tip last fall from inside the jail.

An official received a handwritten letter on notebook paper from an inmate arrested on charges of kidnapping his girlfriend. The inmate, _____, said they met in 2007 when she was a jail guard and he was behind bars on another charge. He said their sexual relationship started in a jail shower and continued during her late-night visits to his cell.

"I'm just reaching out for help to show (the jailer) is a person who abused her power. She broke the law by having sex with me in cell #16 while I was an inmate. ... Please help me. I am telling the truth. Everybody knows I am," Bolton wrote, offering to take a polygraph.

The former jailer is among those indicted. Bolton remains in jail.

Current employees said they were shocked by the scandal.

"People say, `How could you not know?' Well, it didn't go on during our shift," said Jerrie Reed, who works the day shift. Reed said the then-sheriff sometimes asked to see female inmates privately in his office, but she assumed they were informants. She said none ever seemed upset as she led them shackled to and from Keating's office.

Cunningham said it appears that most of the illegal activities occurred in a certain section of the 100-bed, one-story jail, which has several long corridors that make it difficult for anyone to hear what is going on beyond their immediate areas.

The jail will reopen this week following about $1 million in repairs, needed after years of damage by inmates, Cunningham said. Also, the entire department is getting new uniforms, badges and vehicles.

"I just think this office needs to change the image completely," the new sheriff said. "I think we're well on our way to getting the public's confidence back."


TX - Have the Eyes Had It?

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See this article as well

03/14/2009

By Dahlia Lithwick

Is our eyewitness identification system sending innocents to jail?

"We are able to find everything in our memory, which is like a dispensary or chemical laboratory in which chance steers our hand sometimes to a soothing drug and sometimes to a dangerous poison." - Marcel Proust

Describe the last person who served you a coffee. What if I helped refresh your memory? Showed you some photos of local baristas? Pulled together a helpful lineup? Cheered exuberantly when you picked the "right" one? Now imagine that instead of identifying the person who made your venti latte last week, we had just worked together to nail a robber or a rapist. Imagine how good we would feel. Now imagine what would happen if we were wrong.

Last month, a Texas judge cleared Timothy Cole of the aggravated sexual assault conviction that sent him to prison in 1986. Although his victim positively identified him three times—twice in police lineups and again at trial—Cole was ultimately exonerated by DNA testing. The real rapist, Jerry Wayne Johnson, had been confessing to the crime since 1995. Unfortunately, Cole died in prison in 1999, long before his name was cleared.

Our eyes deceive us. Social scientists have insisted for decades that our eyewitness identification process is unreliable at best and can be the cause of grievous injustice. A study published last month by Gary Wells and Deah Quinlivan in Law and Human Behavior, the journal of the American Psychology-Law Society, reveals just how often those injustices occur: Of the more than 230 people in the United States who were wrongfully convicted and later exonerated by DNA evidence, approximately 77 percent involved cases of mistaken eyewitness identification, more than any other single factor.

Wells has been studying mistaken identifications for decades, and his objection to the eyewitness identification system is not that people make mistakes. In an interview he explains that eyewitness evidence is important but should be treated—like blood, fingerprints, and fiber evidence—as trace evidence, subject to contamination, deterioration, and corruption. Our current criminal justice system—blessed by a 30-year-old Supreme Court precedent—allows juries to hear eyewitness identification evidence shaped by suggestive police procedures. In a 1977 case, Manson v. Brathwaite, the Supreme Court held that evidence that was a product of suggestive identification procedures need not be excluded if the identification was nevertheless deemed "reliable." Five criteria for determining whether that identification could be reliable were laid out—including how much opportunity the witness had to view the perpetrator and how certain she was of her identification. In the intervening years, social scientists have called into question much of the science underlying these five factors. Today we know, for instance, that you can have a good long look, be certain you have the right guy, and also be wrong. But Manson is still considered good law.

Jennifer Thompson was 22 the night she was raped in 1984. Throughout the ordeal, she scrupulously studied her attacker, determined to memorize every detail of his face and voice so that, if she survived, she could help the police catch him. Thompson soon identified Ronald Cotton in a photo lineup. When she—after some hesitation—again picked Cotton out of a physical lineup a few days later, a detective told her she'd picked the same person in the photo lineup. As Thompson told Leslie Stahl on CBS last weekend, that assurance led her to think: "Bingo. I did it right. I did it right."

But in this case Thompson got it wrong, although Cotton served 10 and a half years before DNA evidence exonerated him and decisively implicated another man, Bobby Poole. The curious part of the story is that despite Thompson's determination to memorize every detail, when she first saw Bobby Poole in court she was certain she had never seen him before. Indeed, according to Wells and Quinlivan, "Even after DNA had exonerated Cotton and Thompson herself had accepted the fact that Poole was her attacker, she had no memory of Poole's face and, when thinking back to the attack she says, 'I still see Ronald Cotton.' "

How did our eyewitness identification system manage to paint a detailed picture of the wrong face in Jennifer Thompson's mind while somehow completely erasing the right one? Wells and Quinlivan's paper suggests a host of tricks the mind can play, ranging from incorporating innocent "feedback" from police investigators, to increasing certainty in one's shaky memories that become reinforced over time.

Add to that Thompson's determination to regain control over her life, and her need to believe that the justice system was just, and it would have been doubly hard for her to look at a police lineup that, as it happened, did not include an image of the real rapist and walk away. To hear Thompson and other victims tell it, being part of a system that identified and ultimately convicted the wrong man became another form of victimization, and for that reason alone the system needs to be reformed.

The problems with the eyewitness identification system cannot be laid at the feet of crime victims any more than they can be blamed on police investigators. Wells' argument for reforming our eyewitness identification system is that the incentive for the police to subtly nudge our memories goes not only uncorrected by the justice system, but sometimes is rewarded by it. Wells wants the Supreme Court to revisit the scientific assumptions underpinning Manson v. Brathwaite, which allows such identifications to come into a courtroom as long as the identification is "reliable."

Whether or not the John Roberts court wishes to take up the issue of innocent prisoners—there is, for instance, a case now percolating through the New Jersey courts testing the scientific premises of Manson—a few states and cities have used innocent exoneration scandals to rethink their eyewitness identification practices in ways that would begin to restore the credibility of such evidence. Proposed changes include showing victims photos sequentially, explaining to the victim that the perpetrator may not be included in the lineup, and ensuring that whoever conducts the lineup has no knowledge of which person is the actual suspect.

This is not an issue that tracks the usual pro-prosecution, pro-defense divide. Mostly, police departments don't change their eyewitness identification procedures simply because there is no big loud constituency demanding that guys in lineups be treated more fairly. But some of the most zealous reformers of the current eyewitness identification process are lifelong conservatives who recognize that the credibility of the whole justice system is on the line each time an innocent man goes to jail. That's because when that happens, a guilty man often walks free.


OH - Woman Accused of Having Sex with 13 Year old Boy

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02/26/2009

A Tri-State mother, who was in court just last month for allegedly using her child to shoplift, now faces a sex charge involving a minor.

31 year old Kelly Kidwell will be arraigned this morning for a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Prosecutors say she had sex with a 13 year old boy on New Year's Day.

Kidwell was in court in January for allegedly stealing children's merchandise and jewelry from a Sears store in Westwood. Security at the story said they caught Kidwell and her sister Karen Lienesch putting clothing on their children and then trying to leave the store. Kidwell's son is 2 years old.

At the time, police said Lienesch had enough cash on her to pay for the clothes but Kidwell and Lienesch's mother told Local 12 that neither woman had a job and they were saving the money for rent and food.


NY - Sex offender forum set for Pleasant Valley

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03/16/2009

PLEASANT VALLEY — County Legislator Suzanne Horn, R-Pleasant Valley, is hosting the County Committee for Sex Offender Management community forum at 7 p.m. March 23 at Traver Road Primary School.

Parents and other concerned residents are encouraged to attend the session.

The forum will include information on myths and facts about sex offenders, sex offender management in the community, protecting children from predators and sex-offender and victim services in Dutchess County.

Traver Road is located at 801 Traver Road in Pleasant Valley (Map).


WA - Washington court reverses sex offender conviction

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Court Document (PDF)

This is not the sheriff's job to determine who is or is not a risk! Glad the court saw it for what it was, and abuse of power!

03/16/2009

A state appeals court has reversed the conviction of a Thurston County sex offender for failing to report.

CHEHALIS - A state appeals court has reversed the conviction of a Thurston County sex offender for failing to report.

The court said it was a violation of separation of powers for the sheriff's office to both classify and enforce a sex offender's level. The court said the Legislature improperly delegated classification authority.

KITI radio reports that sheriffs, prosecutors and defense lawyers are reviewing Tuesday's decision to determine how it will affect sex offender registration in Washington.

The case involves a man convicted in 1993 of sexual exploitation of a minor, Domingo Torres Ramos. In 2001 he was classified by the Thurston County sheriff's office as a Level Two sex offender. He was convicted in 2007 of failing to report.


IN - 'Child molester lives here' spray-painted on man's fence

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Yet more proof the public cannot handle the registry, and more reasons why it should be taken offline and used by police only!

03/16/2009

Graffiti discovered on an Evansville man's fence Sunday morning suggested falsely that a child molester lives at his residence.

Roy Hall reported the graffiti on his fence at about 9:30 a.m. According to an Evansville Police Department report, it read: "A child molester lives here!"

Hall's son reportedly walked by the fence around midnight, at which point it had not yet been spray-painted.

No suspects have been identified.

According to the Indiana Sex Offender registry, no offenders reside at Hall's address. A convicted child molester does live on the same block in a different house, according to the registry.


TX - Deputies: Katy mom offered up son, niece, nephew for sex

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And you will notice, they did not post the females photo on the news article, I had to take it from the video. If this was a man, you can bet they'd have the photo!

08/28/2008

By Kevin Reece - 11 News

HOUSTON - A Katy mom is accused of offering up her child, niece and nephew for sex.

The ordeal began in Independence, Missouri, where an Internet crimes task force arrested Michael Stratton.

He was taken into federal custody. While in custody, Stratton tipped authorities off to the alleged activities of Stephanie Hays, who lives in Katy.

Missouri investigators contacted local authorities, who launched their own investigation.

The Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force engaged in online conversations with Hayes, using Stratton’s login information.

According to investigators, Hays was arranging to meet with Stratton.

“The had an arrangement to meet last week. In fact, the young lady had actually taken a week off of work and had taken a whole week of vacation last week,” said Eric Devlin. He's one of the investigators.

Officials arrested Hays and searched her home. Inside, officials say, they found two laptops with graphic child pornography on them.

Investigators said some of the images depicted an adult male forcing sex on a 2-year-old child.

Stratton, 26, is in jail in Missouri, accused of scheduling an eight-day trip to meet with Hays in Texas.

Authorities said Stratton also planed a sexual encounter with a woman and a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.

“As sad as it sounds, it’s becoming all more common. It’s one where we were very concerned. The internet allows people to go out there and seek almost any type of sexual act that they want even those acts that are illegal, taboo and incredibly horrendous, but most importantly, we want people to know Houston is not the place to do this kind of thing,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Devlin.

Hays made her first court appearance Thursday.

She's charged with possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of a child and is now in jail on $50,000 bond.


How safe are your children?

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03/15/2009

By Sondra Santos LaBrie - San Diego Parenting Examiner

A recent article about the murder of a young teen by a sex offender has many parents wondering about the systems put into place that supposedly keeps better track of offenders when they're on probation or released from prison.

Drivers use GPS monitoring to get to their destination, cell phone users have GPS services on their phones and GPS watches are being used by hikers to send out an alert if they should get lost, allowing the GPS tracking device to provide authorities of their precise location. Even GPS locators for children are available so that they will be easily traced if they should somehow walk out of visible range from their parents.

What these GPS devices don't do is prevent humans from misbehaving, getting into trouble, or - more importantly - stop offenders from attacking new victims. They provide authorities with a false sense of security and in turn, we as citizens are led to believe that we are that much safer because of this technology.

The article published by CNN earlier this week also discussed the increase in the number of homeless sex offenders around the country, quoting a percentage increase of over 800% in California since Jessica's Law was put into place in 2007. This law prohibits sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a school or park and has forced many of these individuals to the streets, where they cannot be traced.

There seems to be a need for a change in the laws surrounding these types of crimes and those that are not already behind bars. Parents need to know that providing their children with skills, confidence (and a cell phone) is not enough to ensure their overall safety. I've read too many articles lately on children who disappeared on their walk home from school or in a neighborhood that is known to them.

Technology has done many great things and continues to provide us with ways to connect and communicate much more quickly. Despite these wonderful benefits, we cannot rely solely on them to keep our loved ones safe. Knowing where your children are, who they're with and maintaining an open and honest relationship with them is truly the key to their individual safety and well-being.

Does your child walk home from school? Does a cell phone in their backpack put your mind at ease that you'll always be able to reach them? How will you address safety issues with them as they get older and become more independent?


NC - Man admits to dragging female friend's husband into street naked

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He tied up and kidnapped someone from their own home, while he was going after the man's wife, even though he knew she was married. He'll probably get a slap on the wrist as well, see the last statement which seems to say he might.


03/16/2009

By David Allen

SHELBY - Guynell Jones admits he was at fault last week when he sent _____, a registered sex offender, into the street naked.

But Jones, 68, claims there's more to the story than a four-page police report detailing his second-degree kidnapping charge.

Jones, of Oak Street, was "crazy" about 26-year-old Renee Walton - he "helped her any way he could."

"Money-wise, food-wise, just anything," Jones said this week. "When she first moved in the house (on McBrayer Street), I paid the power bill. I helped her get some groceries because I cared about the person."

Jones told authorities he knew Renee was married, reports read, but she supposedly referred to _____, 45, also of the McBrayer Street address, as only a friend.

Jones said he also grew tired of _____.

Attempts to contact _____ and Renee _____ were unsuccessful.

_____ is a registered sex offender, according to the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry. He was convicted in 1999 of indecent liberties with a minor.

Jones "went off" Friday night when he encountered _____ in Renee's home, he said. He admitted to tying _____'s hands and legs together and ordering him out of the residence.

"‘If you want to be these things, I'm going to turn it around and show everyone how you really are,'" Jones recalled saying. "I took his shorts off so he was buck naked out in the road so everything could be seen."

Authorities were told Jones felt betrayed and angry.

"Mr. Jones only wanted to show each of them he would not be used anymore," read the incident report.
- Yeah right!  He was hitting on a married woman, and became a vigilante.  He should be put into prison, and made an example of, for a long time, IMO.


TX - Houston woman charged in child porn case

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02/20/2009

By BRIAN ROGERS

Without being asked by prosecutors, a judge today doubled the bail for a southwest Houston woman who police say was caught with more than 200 videos and more than 500 Internet video clips of child pornography.

State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis made his decision after hearing details about some of the allegations against Crystal Dawn Wallace, who is charged with three counts of possession of child pornography.

Wallace’s bail, which had been set at $50,000 on each count, was increased to $100,000 each.

Wallace was arrested Wednesday at her home after being tracked down by the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said Assistant District Attorney Donna Hawkins. She is accused of distributing child pornography online.

During today’s hearing, Ellis was told that Wallace has a record of prostitution and drug convictions outside of Texas. Assistant District Attorney Eric Devlin would not disclose details of that record after the hearing.

He also told the judge that one of the videos found in Wallace’s possession shows a man sexually assaulting a very young girl.

Wallace, 34, is charged with only three counts thus far because that is sufficient to keep her in custody, Devlin said.

The law would allow prosecutors to file a separate charge for each of the hundreds of images that were seized, he said.

If convicted, she faces two to 10 years in prison for the third-degree felony.

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