Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CA - California Struggles With Paroled Sex Offenders

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ESCONDIDO - Darrell Littleton calls them “his guys,” but he does not trust them.

One got drunk and exposed himself to a jogger in a public park. Another was a fire captain until he molested his 13-year-old stepdaughter, went to prison and lost his wife, his job and his home. Now the man sleeps behind a drive-through restaurant.

Mr. Littleton is a parole agent, and “his guys,” about 40 in all, are paroled sex offenders. On a September morning, as he does each day, Mr. Littleton fired up his laptop computer to check on his charges; the signals from their global-positioning ankle bracelets trace dotted trails cutting through a Google satellite map. Mr. Littleton tracks them, calls them frequently and shows up unannounced to make sure they are behaving themselves. But they still struggle to stay straight.
- Struggle to stay straight?  What is that suppose to mean?  Do you mean that, or mean struggle to survive the draconian laws?

One of his parolees recently harassed a teenage prostitute, and Mr. Littleton had to “violate him” — revoke his parole and return him to prison. Another promised Mr. Littleton that once he is off parole in a few months, and no longer subject to random drug testing, he is going to resume his marijuana habit. And before the day was over, another parolee would emerge as a suspect in a sexual assault on a 9-year-old girl. “Twenty is really the ideal caseload for my guys,” Mr. Littleton said as he drove a high-riding pickup truck on one of several parolee visits he had planned that day. “With that kind of caseload, I could spend more time in the field and less in the office. With these guys, you don’t want them to know you’re coming. You need to watch them when they don’t know they’re being watched.”

A series of high-profile crimes involving parolees in California highlight the challenges of keeping track of them in a state that discharges more than 120,000 inmates annually, more than any other.

Last month, two campus police officers at the University of California, Berkeley, became suspicious of a paroled sex offender named Phillip Garrido and called his parole officer, leading to Mr. Garrido’s arrest on charges of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard, now 29, in 1991, raping her and holding her captive in a backyard encampment.
- The high profile cases are rare, less than 5%, but the media, police and politicians make it out to be the norm, which is flat out wrong.  And everytime they run a story, they mention the worst case, why?  To further demonize ALL sex offenders, when 95% or them are not dangerous.

Like the sex offenders Mr. Littleton supervises, Mr. Garrido had been monitored by GPS and visited at his home at least twice a month by parole agents. But he was still able to keep his secret for 18 years.
- Yep, and it shows, the laws don't work.  If a man/woman is so dangerous they need to be monitored like an animal, why were they not sentenced longer in prison in the first place?  Then we'd not need to waste a ton of money on GPS which doesn't prevent crimes.  If a person is intent on committing a crime, they will do so, and by making it almost impossible to survive, then you are potentially creating crime, but hey, got to keep the prison system money flowing, right?

In July, a Los Angeles man on parole was arrested in the kidnapping and murder of a 17-year-old girl, and an Oakland parolee shot and killed four police officers before being killed by other officers.
- Notice how they always mention the worst cases?  What about all the others who are not reoffending?  What about working on rehabilitation and prevention?  Oh yeah, can't do that, it would eliminate a ton of jobs, and not rake in a ton of money for the prison complex.

California is the only state that places all released prisoners on parole, no matter the seriousness of their crime. Even at a time of historically low violent crime, critics argue that overloading parole agents compromises public safety.

Legislation passed this month will reduce the “average” caseloads for parole agents to 45, from 70, and nonviolent, less serious offenders will no longer be returned to prison for administrative infractions like missing counseling appointments, ditching parole agent visits or failing drug tests. Agents handling some of the most violent offenders, like Mr. Littleton’s parolees, will also see their caseloads reduced.

Legislators argued that the law was necessary to reduce chronic prison overcrowding. Packed prisons thwart rehabilitation programs and medical treatment and incite riots on a regular basis, according to findings in federal civil rights cases against the California corrections system.

The law was hard-won by the Democratic-controlled state legislature. Corrections officer unions, police organizations and prosecutors opposed it, arguing that even parolees convicted of nonviolent crimes were too dangerous to be left unsupervised.
- Just think about it, they see everyone as dangerous, and needs monitoring, so they continue to have a job!

Mr. Littleton said he thought parolees should be given incentives for early release and reduced supervision inside and outside of prison — G.E.D. courses, drug treatment programs and psychological counseling, for example. But providing services is one thing the legislation does not emphasize.

In fact, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced $280 million in cuts this week to educational and rehabilitation programs inside prison. The cutbacks follow an 80 percent cut in Proposition 36, the state’s largest drug treatment diversion program, even though most parolees suffer from drug and alcohol addictions, mental illnesses and chronic unemployment. A University of California, Los Angeles, study showed that the program, approved by voters in 2000, treated 30,000 drug offenders a year in lieu of prison and saved $2 in taxes for every $1 invested in the program.

Michelle Jackson, a parole agent in Corona, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, who supervises 40 violent felons, said she would prefer to focus on the social work aspect of her job rather than the law enforcement role but sees few alternatives, even with the new legislation. “Most programs won’t take my guys or they want them to pay, and all my parolees have very low-paying jobs,” she said. “They can’t afford a month’s worth of counseling.”
- It's because the system is about punishment and not rehabilitation, that's the problem!

When Ms. Jackson visits _____, 39, a muscular member of the Sons of Samoa gang, she chides him for his lack of chivalry toward his wife.

Really? You’re going to let her carry the groceries by herself?” Ms. Jackson asked as she watched Mr. _____’s wife struggle to carry bags into their house. Mr. _____, who served 12 years in prison for attempted murder, hustled across the lawn to help.

After Mr. _____, Ms. Jackson visited _____, 38, who was on parole for shooting a man in 1991. He spent more than 10 years in prison. “Does someone collect shot glasses?” Ms. Jackson asked warily as she spied them on a shelf. If Mr. _____ is caught abusing alcohol, his parole could be revoked.

No, no,” he said. “My sons’ sports teams give them out.”

Ms. Jackson said that in the absence of appropriate programs, she was more likely to revoke an offender’s parole.

If employment doesn’t work out, if staying home doesn’t work out, and they start using again or getting in trouble — even if it’s not another crime — we have to violate them to protect the community because we don’t know what will happen,” she said.
- What?  So you are predicting the future?  If they have not committed a crime, how can you "revoke" their probation/parole?  Sounds like corruption to me.

That uncertainty keeps Mr. Littleton thinking about his guys even when he is off the clock. Even a vigilant parole agent cannot keep parolees out of trouble every minute of every day, he said.
- And it's not you job to do that, it's the parolees job to stay clean, or, if they commit another crime, go back to prison.

Around the middle of his shift, Mr. Littleton received an alert that the police here in Escondido, a suburb of San Diego, were looking for a parolee supervised by his office named _____, 70, in connection with an assault on a 9-year-old girl. Mr. _____ was on parole after serving 12 years for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl.

The signal from Mr. _____’s GPS anklet indicated that he had lingered near an elementary school an hour earlier and then had gone to his residential construction job before tampering with the homing device a few blocks away. Mr. Littleton gunned his truck toward the location to meet other agents. They found the anklet under a roadside cactus. Mr. _____ was now a fugitive. “We’ll be focusing on him now,” said Lindon Lewis, Mr. Littleton’s supervisor. “He has our full attention now.”

Mr. Littleton returned to his truck and clipped Mr. _____’s mug shot — slicked-back hair, a salt-and-pepper moustache, grim eyes with dark circles underneath — onto his sun visor. The parolee’s face looked down at him.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

IN - Dolton cop caught on camera in student's beating is in jail on rape charge (He beat the child, because he would not tuck his shirt in!)

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By Kim Janssen and Jeremy Gorner

A Dolton cop caught on camera allegedly breaking a 15-year-old special needs student's nose for failing to tuck in his shirt has a troubling history that includes killing a man in a case of disputed self-defense and is now in an Indiana jail on an unrelated rape charge.

Christopher Lloyd, 38, was identified Thursday by his father Charles Lloyd and Dolton Mayor Ronnie Lewis as the officer who in May was recorded by a school security camera scuffling with 15-year-old, 140-pound Marshawn Pitts at the Academy for Learning in Dolton.

An attorney hired by Pitts' parents released the video this week, calling the incident an "unprovoked attack" on a vulnerable child. The video, which has no audio, appears to show the officer slamming Pitts against a locker, wrestling him to the ground and pinning him.

But speaking Thursday, Charles Lloyd said he had seen the video and discussed the incident with his son, who he said was "just trying to do his job as a police officer and is completely innocent."

"My son said, 'Sir, you need to tuck your shirt in,' and this boy (cussed at him and said) 'I'm not going to tuck my shirt in, you can't make me,' " Charles Lloyd said.

"That boy struck my son in the eye and broke his glasses -- he had a history of behavior issues," he alleged.

Christopher Lloyd was arrested last month and charged with sexually assaulting a woman he knew at her home in Hammond, his father said.

According to Lake County, Ind., court documents, he held a pillow over the woman's face while sexually assaulting her Sept. 14 and had previously threatened her with a knife.

Lloyd, who's being held in lieu of $110,000 bail, faces up to 20 years behind bars if convicted of rape, criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement and sexual battery, said Diane Poulton, spokeswoman for Lake County's prosecutor.

A lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, Nicole McKinney, last summer alleges he gunned down her new husband Cornel McKinney in front of their children outside their home on Feb. 17, 2008.

A Robbins police officer at the time, Lloyd was suspended after the shooting but eventually found work with Dolton police in January, his father said.

Though an autopsy shows he shot McKinney 24 times, the lawsuit alleges, he was not charged because Chicago police accepted his explanation that he had acted in self-defense.

Chicago police spokesman Veejay Zala said details of the investigation into McKinney's death could not immediately be found Thursday, but McKinney's attorney, Rahsaan Gordon, said the latest series of allegations against Lloyd showed he shouldn't have been employed as a police officer.

"At some point, people in positions of power need to protect the public," Gordon said. "You have to ask why he was hired."

Lloyd was terminated after the incident, Lewis said Wednesday.

Dolton Police Chief Robert Fox declined to comment, citing pending lawsuits.

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

NC - Should Sex Offenders Be Barred from Kid-Friendly Churches?

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By Bonnie Rochman

North Carolina is a proud member of the so-called Bible Belt of states that take their religion seriously. So some eyebrows were raised when James Nichols was arrested for attending church.

His offense? Nichols, a convicted sex offender, had chosen to worship at a church that has a nursery where kids play while their parents pray. Now Nichols, 31, who only recently got out of prison, is fighting back, challenging the legality of a new law that took effect in December prohibiting registered sex offenders from coming within 300 ft. — nearly a football field's length — of any facility devoted to the use, care or supervision of minors.

As more states have adopted laws regulating where sex offenders can go, it was only a matter of time before the noble goal of protecting children butted heads with the sacrosanct First Amendment right to worship where and when you choose. Which takes precedence?

"This law makes it illegal to do things that are not wrong, like go to church," says Glen Gerding, Nichols' attorney. "When does the state stop interfering with a church's business? Will pastors be charged as an accessory for letting a known sex offender sit in a front-row pew and worship?"

Most states restrict sex offenders' movements in some way; North Carolina's law is hardly the strictest. In Georgia, registered sex offenders can't live or work within 1,000 ft. of places including schools, churches and child-care centers. Courts there have waded into questions of religion, ruling in favor of the right of offenders to partake in activities including volunteering in a church kitchen, attending adult Sunday School and singing in a church choir.

On behalf of Georgia's 16,000 registered sex offenders, the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights has sued the state over its residency and employment restrictions, including the ban on faith-based volunteering. "There are serious constitutional problems in banning someone from going to church, not to mention this runs counter to the church's mission of inclusion, hospitality and redemption," says Sara Totonchi, the center's associate director.

As soon as North Carolina's law went into effect in December, Katy Parker, legal director for the state's American Civil Liberties Union (Contact) (ACLU) chapter, started fielding calls. Offenders wanted to know if the law prevented them from going to church; pastors worried it would keep worshippers away.

Parker says the law was so vague that she couldn't offer advice, but she did put out the word to defense attorneys that should they wind up representing someone accused of breaking the law, the ACLU wanted to hear about it. Nichols' March apprehension is one of two religion-based arrests that Parker is aware of.

"It's unbelievable that the N.C. state legislature and the people of North Carolina would not want someone to go to church for spiritual reasons and for rehabilitative reasons," says Parker.

But others think the ACLU is missing the point. The premise of the law is sound, says Laurence Tribe, a constitutional-law expert at Harvard. "If the moment you enter a church you don a cloak of immunity from the rule of law, then churches would become sanctuaries for crime," says Tribe.
- And he's a "constitutional-law expert?"  I beg to differ!

Nichols, who was convicted of indecent liberties with a teenage girl (he was 20 at the time) and attempted second-degree rape, had prayed at Moncure Baptist Church in Moncure, N.C., where he was living, for several months before the police paid attention. Oddly enough, Nichols inadvertently outed himself, calling the cops about a fellow congregant — another offender — whom he witnessed fondling a 12-year-old girl. "I thought I was doing the right thing, and they hit me with charges," he says.

But he wasn't about to give up on God. Nichols credits religion with keeping him out of trouble. He had attended church sporadically before he went to prison; now he goes twice a day and three times on Sundays. "Church helps me to not live my old ways," says Nichols, who currently attends New Life Mission Church in Fayetteville, N.C., a hard-knock place that caters to ex-cons, former drug dealers and alcoholics.

Pastor Grace Kim welcomed Nichols to her church, which has no nursery on site and no children who attend the twice-daily services. "We want to try to give everyone a chance to rehabilitate, no matter their background."

Only time — and judges' decisions — will determine whether the new law bars offenders from attending any church (where children might attend) or just those with child-care facilities. What is clear is that those who hammered out the small print of the legislation are sticking by it.

David Hoyle, the state senator who sponsored the bill, says it took two years to pass, partly because legal advisers took care to word it to withstand legal challenges.

The law is named for Jessica Lunsford, the Florida girl who was kidnapped and killed in 2005 by a convicted sex offender. Lunsford was born in Hoyle's district and attended school in the tiny town of Dallas, where Hoyle lives. He still talks to her father regularly; her cousin will serve as a senate page for Hoyle next year.

"I got e-mails calling me the anti-Christ and saying I'm going to hell, but we want to make the law just as strong as we can," says Hoyle. "We feel it is a good law. When a person takes advantage of a child, I don't worry about their constitutional rights."
- You hear that folks, when you commit a crime, he doesn't care about your constitutional rights, and is not upholding his oath of office to uphold the constitution, except when it's him or a close friend in trouble, then I'm sure he'll be talking about constitutional rights.

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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

KY - Tough on crime, or just tough on sex offenders?

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By ocovington

The Louisville Courier-Journal and Elizabethtown News-Enterprise are among the latest to weigh in one the reach of sex offender residency restrictions in the wake of a recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling.

The court issued an opinion earlier this month that struck down a portion of a 2006 state law that retroactively imposed residency restrictions upon convicted sex offenders. The court found that going back and adding additional penalties, in the form of a ban on living within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and daycare centers, after a sex offender had been convicted and sentenced was unconstitutional.

It’s the lastest in a string of court decisions that finds lawmakers imposing additional penalties upon sex offenders that have been found unconstitutional.

Attorney Bradley Wayne Fox represented a Kenton County man in the Kentucky case, and told the Associated Press that such restrictions don’t have an impact.

It doesn’t actually accomplish anything, or at least there’s no statistics or evidence that it accomplishes anything,” Fox told the AP. “It’s a political placebo of ‘Hey, we’ve got this law, we’re protecting your children’ when in reality it’s a false sense of security.

The question remains whether these types of restrictions have the intended impact of keeping children safe, or just making lawmakers appear to be keeping children safe.

That’s the point the Courier-Journal makes in an editorial today, and a point that people need to understand as the state works to balance a person’s rights, which aren’t completely forfeited if they are convicted of a sex offense, and the need to deter sex crimes.

Too many lawmakers shy away from using common sense with sex offenders residency laws for fear of being labeled “pro-sex offender,” as the Courier-Journal notes -

Asking questions about sex-offender laws does not make one pro-sex offender.

Indeed, some lawmakers who made laws that are being struck down by the courts could and should be asked whether sex-offender measures were used to burnish tough-on-crime credentials without careful and further thought about how the laws might play out — or not — and how they might actually protect the public — or not — in the long run, and how those laws might overburden or overextend the law enforcement officers sworn to protect the public.

The Elizabethtown News-Enterprise hits on the same point in its editorial on the issue -

When it comes to sex offenders, there always will be a degree of fear. It is the duty of those in power to hold themselves above such fear and make rational, legal decisions to protect and serve the people. While the temptation to pass or modify laws based on emotion or public outcry is understandably strong, it also is a dangerous way to govern.

Make no mistake, it is imperative to keep our children safe — but it also is vital to make sure we and our lawmakers do not let fears overshadow common sense, individual rights and the sacred duty to uphold the Constitution that keeps our laws fair.

Any thoughts on the issue? Are these residency laws too restrictive or not restrictive enough?

If these types of restrictions work, why not ban bank robbers from living within 1,000 feet of a bank, or habitual drunks from living within 1,000 feet of a bar?

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

A couple of SORNA presentations

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


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By Dean Muchow
Investigative Reporter

Boise, Idaho, District Four of the Idaho Dept. of Probation and Parole
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
- Special investigators from the Idaho Dept. of Corrections (IDOC) and the U.S. Marshall's Office reportedly have shut down the regional office of Probation and Parole located in Boise, Idaho. Prior to the shut-down, all off-duty personnel were called into the meeting and advised of the shut-down.

According to information, the probation officers were reportedly told to “stand-down” or operate on a limited basis pending the outcome of the investigation. Approximately 36 officers have been told not to report back to work, four officers terminated, and another three or four officers have quit.

The investigation reportedly focuses on probation officers, and mainly from the sex-offenders unit, steering the probationers and parolees (referred to as "Clients" by the officers) into housing owned by special interests, manipulating polygraph exams in order to violate clients unfairly, facilitating the sale of vehicles to the clients for a special interest, violating HIPPA regulations, coercion of clients, and coercion of potential witnesses. Reportedly, there is a captured web-page written by one of the officers in the sex offender unit, detailing how he likes bondage and sado-masochistic behavior. We expect to obtain a reported copy of that "Facebook" web-page soon.

The investigation reportedly branches out to the Ada County, Idaho Prosecutor's Office, the Idaho Dept. of Corrections, S.A.N.E. Solutions (which stands for "sex abuse now ended") of Boise, Idaho and a few other private contractors involved with the system.

There is also a multi-million dollar tort claim filed against the district office by a former inmate whose allegations drew the attention of the IDOC investigators.

Our confidential informant states, "a former probation officer who left the district-four probation office due to the corruption, will be testifying in deposition later this week." Other officers, inmates, and former officers, have also come forward to help the IDOC and U.S. Marshall's investigators resolve the case.

While working on the story I received word from local area law enforcement officers expressing gratitude that the reported corruption of the Probation and Parole Dept. was finally being addressed.

According to our inside sources the investigation could last several months and cause quite a disruption in the justice system in Idaho.

The US~Observer will continue the track this story until it reaches its conclusion. The Public Information Officer (PIO) for the IDOC has yet to return a call.

NOTE: This is an active investigation and the US~Observer has special informants delivering detailed information on this situation. The US~Observer, for a time, will withhold certain names and information regarding reported specific details of this investigation in the interest of cooperation with law enforcement.

Please call 541-474-7885 if you have any information on the issues contained in this news-alert.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved

MN - Crackdown on Streaking at St. Francis High

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One streaker may become an official sex offender

SAINT FRANCIS - A school district in the north metro is now having to crackdown on streaking after a prank at St. Francis High School.

For some teenagers, streaking across the field during a football game is a high school tradition.

Five students at St. Francis High School have been disciplined for streaking at three games since school started. This prompted school administrators to toughen penalties for streaking. The punishments could include suspension, banishment from school activities, and transferal to a different school or expulsion.

Fridley police arrested two St. Francis students after they went streaking on the football field at an away game last month.

One of the teens was charged with disorderly conduct.

The other could be charged with fifth degree criminal sexual conduct for exposing himself to a minor under the age of 16. If that teen is convicted, he will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

CA - Veteran LAPD officer, 54, charged with possession of child pornography

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A veteran Los Angeles Police Department officer has been charged with possessing pornographic images of children.

John Deegan, 54, a patrol officer assigned to the LAPD Central Division, was charged by a federal grand jury with two counts of possession of child pornography, according to a copy of an indictment filed in U.S. District Court.

The indictment also includes two charges of possession of child pornography against Deegan’s 25-year-old son, Jonathon. Both turned themselves in to authorities on Oct. 5, when they were formally arrested and charged, law enforcement officials said.

A federal judge released the pair on their own recognizance. They are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow.

John Deegan, who has been an LAPD officer for 22 years, was relieved of duty in March when FBI agents alerted police officials that he was under investigation, said Deputy Chief Mark Perez, head of the department’s Professional Service Bureau.

Deegan has been receiving his full pay since being suspended and will continue to be paid throughout his trial unless he is denied bail and jailed, Perez said.

Paul M. Weber, president of the union that represents rank-and-file officers, cautioned against a rush to judgment before Deegan’s trial is completed, but released an unusually strident statement about the case.

While the arrest is embarrassing to the men and women of the LAPD and the city, our message to the community is unequivocal: Anyone who does anything that might endanger the welfare of a child has no place in the LAPD.”

Federal authorities first came to suspect the younger Deegan of receiving and sending illicit images and video on the Internet, said law enforcement authorities familiar with the case who requested their names not be used because the investigation was ongoing.

When FBI agents served a search warrant on the Long Beach house that father and son share, they found a trove of material on a computer owned by Jonathon Deegan, and discovered child porn images on the elder Deegan’s computer as well, the sources said. Father and son did not return a message left at their home.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved