Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is there any way to ID a sex offender? (David Hawkins)

NY - Man Allegedly Abducts Teen; Commits Suicide

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New York State Police are investigating a bizarre case that includes the assault of a teenager and a suicide.

Troopers say a 15-year-old boy was walking home along Oatka Road in the Town of Perry around 10:30 p.m. on Monday when the teen claims he was approached by a man and then struck in the head with a gun.

State Police say the man tried to bind the teen's wrists with plastic cuffs.

Investigators report a struggle ensued and the teen managed to get the gun from the man.

Troopers say the teen fired two shots into the ground and the man fled.

The teen suffered head injuries along with bruises and cuts but is said to be okay.

On Wednesday, Police were investigating the incident when they received a call of a suicide in the town of Castile.

They went to the home and found 39-year-old Paul Richards dead.

State Police say Richards was the man who assaulted the teen.

Richards is not on the Sex Offender Registry. Neither Richards nor the 15-year-old boy have a criminal record.

The case is still under investigation and an autopsy is being performed on Richards' body at the Monroe County Coroners Office.

Sex Offender Law Violates Rights, Puts Kids at Risk


By John Hardenbergh, Washington Legislative Office

Last Tuesday, a U.S. House subcommittee held a hearing to evaluate states’ compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). That law requires that states scrap their sex offender monitoring programs and create online public registries of sex offenders according to strict new federal standards. Instead of basing the length of monitoring on an assessment of the chances that the person will reoffend, states must apply a three-tier system based solely on the person’s offense. The law covers all people convicted of crimes that involve a sexual act, including some minors and even covers people who had paid their debt to society decades ago. States that aren’t in compliance with this law by July 29, 2009, could lose a substantial piece of federal aid for state law enforcement.

SORNA will not prevent sexual victimization. In 2007, Human Rights Watch released a comprehensive report, No Easy Answers, which found that if anything, these laws are counterproductive. They make it harder for law enforcement to focus its resources on the truly dangerous individuals. And unrestricted public access to the registries results in ostracism and diminishes the likelihood of reintegration into society. Our increasingly scarce resources would be better spent on counseling for victims, education for the community, and treatment for the offenders.

We’ve gotten used to having few friends on this issue. We’re okay with this. We didn’t get into this business in order to make friends. With the exception of the criminal defense bar, there just aren’t a whole lot of people who want to stand up for the rights of sex offenders. So we were pleasantly surprised to hear the testimony of Emma J. Devillier (PDF), Assistant Attorney General of Louisiana, and Detective Bob Shilling (PDF), who works in the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit of the Seattle Police Department.

Bob Shilling was molested as a child, and has dedicated his life to ending sexual abuse. He testified that SORNA’s three-tier system is making his job more difficult. He argued that it’s more effective to base sex offender monitoring decisions on the actuarial risk-based system that attempting to calculate the chances that the person will reoffend and is currently used in over 20 states. Simply looking at the crime a person was convicted of tells you very little about the chance that he or she will reoffend. By adopting SORNA’s rigid categories, states governments and police departments will divert valuable resources away from policing high- and moderate-risk sex offenders to people whose risk of reoffending is very low.

Emma Devillier is a front-line prosecutor of sexual offenders in Louisiana, and was in charge of implementing SORNA’s requirements in the state. She also argued that SORNA will make it harder for her to do her job. Sex offenses can be very hard to try. Often there is no physical evidence and no witness besides the victim. If Devillier does not have the discretion to waive the sex offender registration requirements, her ability to get defendants to plead guilty will be compromised. She will have to bring more of these cases to trial, forcing the victims to publicly relive their personal trauma.
- I do not agree with the statements in blue above.  Accusations alone is enough to get someones life ruined, and these cases are not hard to try, from what I've seen over the last couple years, that are pretty easy.  You will also note that she said there is usually no physical evidence, which is why they always seek a plea deal.  Because more than likely, if it goes to trial, the person would not be found guilty, if based on evidence alone and not emotions.

Knowing that laws like SORNA have done nothing to make us safer makes me suspect that many of the politicians who support them are thinking more about their next re-election campaign than actually protecting kids. I have a low tolerance for politicians who use kids to score cheap political points. It’s not like there isn’t anything else going on that Congress could be spending its time on instead of forcing counterproductive legislation down states’ throats.

TX - Ex-juvenile officer charged with sexual misconduct

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Charge stems from interaction with teens

A former Gregg County Juvenile Detention Facility officer has been charged with sexual misconduct with juveniles detained at the facility.

Johnny Jackson III, 30, of Jefferson was released from jail Tuesday after posting a $30,000 bond. Jackson was arrested about 7:45 p.m. Monday in Marion County. His jail card listed the charge as sexual performance by a child, induced by an adult.

The Gregg County Juvenile Probation Department hired Jackson in June 2006, said department spokeswoman Erin Jones. He was placed on administrative leave in January, after a 17-year-old girl provided a statement alleging Jackson's misconduct. Jones said the department fired Jackson after a warrant for his arrest was issued March 10.

According to the warrant, the 17-year-old girl told investigators that Jackson had encouraged her to expose herself to him and that he made sexual gestures to her. A 15-year-old girl also said Jackson harassed her at the facility, gesturing for her to lift her shirt. The two girls said they did expose themselves at Jackson's urging. A different 17-year-old girl said Jackson had stared at her, winked at her and placed his hand on her.

The events described by the three girls were reported to have happened between September and January.

Jackson had not received any prior complaints or allegations of misconduct at the facility, according to his personnel file.

"This was the only (negative) thing in his file," Jones said.

Jones said she was not aware of any other detention officers being charged with sexual misconduct with a detainee. The officers are county employees hired by the probation department. Employees must pass criminal background and sex offender registration checks at the state and federal levels. Employees also must not have been arrested or placed on probation within the past 19 years.

"I don't know how much more intrusive we can get," Jones said. "We check everything."
- And you see, the sheeple expect the government to protect them, when the government cannot protect themselves!

NY - For now, the law's the law in Albany County

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By CAROL DeMARE, Staff writer

Police in Albany County are enforcing a county sex offender residency law even though the statute is being challenged in court and could be deemed invalid.

Since the law took effect in September 2006, city police have arrested 15 people for violating the statute, which prohibits level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers and playgrounds.

"We give offenders 30 days to move before we apply for an arrest warrant," said Detective Lt. Kevin Connolly who heads the department's Children and Family Services Unit. The unit monitors sex offenders, watching for violations such as failing to register, he said.

Those arrested for the county law are charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of a year in the county jail. "The goal is compliance," Connolly said.

Colonie Detective Lt. John Van Alstyne said the town also enforces the law. "However, we have not made an arrest. We check on all of them, and they are all in accordance with the law at this point."

The law has come under criticism. Some officials fear it could drive offenders underground. Others feel a similar state law pre-empts the county law. A state judge in Rockland County struck down a similar local law earlier this year on the pre-emption issue.

The law "gives parents a false sense of security that their kids are going to be safe whether at school or at a playground," Connolly said. "The county would have been better served to have assisted the police departments in funding or providing abduction-prevention training to school-age children throughout the county."

The law also "doesn't prevent a level 2 or 3 sex offender from hanging out by a school or driving by a school or walking by a school," he said.

In the mid-1990s, the late John Finn, who supervised Albany's Juvenile Unit, used a state grant to cover overtime for off-duty detectives who went to elementary schools, showed a video, talked about luring tactics, such as asking a child to help find a puppy, and taught kids to yell for help or yell that the person grabbing them was not a parent, Connolly said.

A challenge to the Albany County law is pending in state Supreme Court, brought by attorney Terry Kindlon on behalf of several sex offenders, who cite the pre-emption issue and claim they are being denied due process under the state constitution. Kindlon and his associate, attorney Kathy Manley, working pro bono, have also challenged similar laws in Rensselaer and Washington counties, where officials have said they would abide by the outcome in Albany County.

Rensselaer and Washington counties are withholding enforcement of their laws until the matter is settled in court, Kindlon said.

"If we decide as an agency to hold off and not enforce it, God forbid if something happens; we are on the hook," Connolly said. "Until the court says it's unconstitutional or invalid, we will continue to enforce it."

Currently, Albany has 55 registered Level 2 sex offenders, two of whom are under parole supervision. Records show 31 of those committed a crime against a minor. "One of the 31 is registered as homeless because he couldn't find a residence, and we don't know where he is," Connolly said.

Currently, 37 registered Level 3 sex offenders, judged the most likely to reoffend, live in Albany, and 22 committed crimes against a minor, Connolly said.

"On a regular basis, we go out and verify the addresses of the higher-risk sex offenders — home checks — to insure they are living where they tell us they are living, and once a year verify that all sex offenders registered here live where they say they are living," he said. This has been done since January 1996 when the sex offender registry took effect, he said.

Aiding city detectives is a geographic mapping system, a computer program that displays a 1,000-foot boundary around schools and day care centers.

Blanket patrols

Police agencies in Albany County made more than 1,000 traffic stops last weekend during a four-day DWI blanket patrol, arresting 41 for drunken driving, including nine for aggravated DWI, having a blood-alcohol content of 0.18 and above. The state's threshold is 0.08. Included in the 41 arrests were three for driving with ability impaired by alcohol.

Saturation patrols are scheduled each year around the weekend closest to St. Patrick's Day. Sheriff Jim Campbell said. Throughout the county, people are attending parades and celebrating into the night, he said. The patrols were conducted between 5 p.m. Thursday and 5 a.m. Sunday. Last year, police made 35 DWI arrests.

"Arrests were evenly spread throughout the county," the sheriff said. The average blood-alcohol content was 0.14, up from last year when it was 0.13, he said.

Guilderland police made the most stops, 213, and the most arrests, six, during the 71st countywide blanket patrol conducted by 11 agencies. Next were sheriff's patrols with 166. State Police from Troop G made 144 stops. Albany police made 101 stops. Colonie, with 87 stops, arrested a man who registered 0.30, nearly four times the legal limit, officials said.

Agencies reported 93 designated drivers during the 1,099 traffic stops, a decrease from 2008's patrols, which netted 104 designated drivers.

Stiff penalties for aggravated DWI are a two-year-old addition to state law.

"The state Legislature increased penalties for people who drive with a blood -alcohol content of above 0.18 and that's what they term aggravated DWI," said sheriff's Staff Sgt. Lenny Crouch, administrator of Albany County STOP-DWI Program.

The intent was to prevent those charged with an aggravated DWI to plea bargain it down to DWAI, Crouch said. "You have to plead to DWI because of the level of your impairment."