Saturday, December 19, 2009

ARC RADIO - Edward Blackoff "Incest- A Family Tragedy"

Hosted by: RealityUSA

Title: Edward Blackoff "Incest- A Family Tragedy"

Time: December 17, 2009 8:00 p.m. Eastern

Episode Notes: Ed will be here to Discuss his Documentary called "Incest- A Family Tragedy"

HISTORY: Director's Narrative

Barraged with a daily onslaught of media alarm over a growing army of child sexual molesters who were raping, kidnapping, and murdering children, I decided to do something to help prevent these attacks on our kids. I began with the premise that if I could find several pedophiles who would agree to be interviewed on camera and show their faces, these same molesters could be the key to teach parents how to better protect their children from these same predators.

I ran into dead end after dead end in my search to find "hero" rapists but what I began to learn was that my premise insofar as child molestation was quantitatively misguided. The main origin of child abuse was not some stranger but was actually family members and trusted family friends.

Yes there are strangers who molest our kids but they account for only 5% of the incidences. 95 times out of a 100 the offenses are done by dads, and uncles, and grandfathers, and often by our religious ministers. In a word, the real crime we need to address is INCEST. Wow! what a rude awakening! And why I asked was no one speaking up, how is such a terrible secret kept by so many of us? Why is nothing said? Nothing done? Why are lawmakers ignoring the facts.

After all The U.S. Department of Justice has published this information, its right on their web site for heaven's sake!

Naturally I changed my approach and began to identify all the players in this drama and look for those who would be willing to speak openly about committing the crime, can this behavior be changed, what does law enforcement , experts, victims, survivors, lawmakers, treatment providers, and how does the average citizen look at this problem.

While I failed to reveal the minds of stranger predators, I was successful in finding Incest molesters who came forward undisguised and told us graphically how they violated their own children. I found survivors willing to talk about what this awful violation affected their lives to this very day.

I had the history of Incest detailed by the world's foremost psychohistorian and learned from those involved with treating incest molesters, what more needs to done. There is hope, we can better protect our children but we need to stand up and bring this dark deeply held secret into the light so that we can change it. INCEST A Family Tragedy can tell you what we need to do and how to better protect your children while doing what must be done.



Video Link


WV - Photog Arrested For Taking Pictures, then threatened by police

Original Article

12/11/2009

Scott Rensberger took pictures of kids with Santa

CHARLESTON - A freelance photographer is outraged after being arrested for taking pictures.

The dispute revolves around what exactly happened recently at a Charleston, West Virginia mall.

Scott Rensberger says when he took some photos of a child on Santa's lap, a man asked him if he could delete the photos.

He says he complied, but then moments later, Rensberger says police officers approached asking why he was taking photos of kids.
- These cops apparently see pedophiles in their dreams!

The argument got heated when police say Rensberger started taking photos of the officers, who then arrested him.

Rensberger is now facing battery, resisting arrest and obstructing justice.

"American's gone nuts. We can't take pictures anymore," said Rensberger.

He continued, "Two gentlemen walked into the store and they asked me if I took a picture of Santa and I said yes I did. And they said, my daughter, my child was on his lap, could you delete that picture? And I said, oh, sure."

"These officers approached me, one in particular, and asked me, he said, why are you taking pictures of kids? And I was shocked by that," Rensberger said.

"I snapped off a picture (of the officers questioning him) and at the same time he grabbed my camera, and I reached up with my left hand to catch the camera from hitting the floor and he said don't you touch me," he continued.

Rensberger stated, "He (the officer) said, if your shoulder dislocates, we'll call a paramedic."

"I would never in a million years slap a police officer in any way." “There are people with cell phones everywhere, are we gonna arrest everyone for taking a picture that a child might be, like, this big in the shot?" he continued.

Rensberger says he plans to argue his case in court.

Mall officials meanwhile did not have a comment on their photo policy.

Video Link


Net Cetera - Chatting with Kids About Being Online

Download PDF here


TN - Sex registries for youth: better politics than policy

Original Article

12/19/2009

By Tracy Velazquez

Tennessee Voices

Preventing sexual violence should be a priority for policymakers and the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

However, the bill filed by state Sen. Diane Black (Contact) and state Rep. Debra Maggart (Contact) to require the registration of youths convicted of sex offenses will do little to secure the safety of Tennessee children, will have long-lasting consequences for youths on registries and may actually reduce public safety.

The legislators say that their bill will help bring Tennessee into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act. Around the country, there is growing discontent with this unfunded and ill-conceived federal mandate. Certainly, youth need to be held accountable for their actions; but registration that can last for decades or a lifetime is not an effective or fair way to do this.

Youths are particularly amenable to change and should not be treated the same as adults. That is the rationale behind a separate system of juvenile justice, which caters to the specific needs of youths.

Registries in effect re-punish youths and may hinder success when they return to the community. Youths on registries often experience rejection from peer groups and positive adult role models and are, therefore, more likely to associate with anti-social peers. They are also less likely to attend positive activities like school and church. The online display of personal information may even put youths or their families at risk.
- The same applies to adult offenders.

Furthermore, the fear of having a child on the registry may make parents less likely to seek needed help or treatment for their child.

Registration may hurt a young person's ability to maintain employment or access education and housing and can hinder his or her ability to access the re-entry services shown to be critical for young people who are trying to turn their lives around.
- The same applies to adult offenders. 

Registries also create a false sense of security for families who rely on them to identify people who might be a threat.

Registration requirements also overburden law enforcement and take away resources that can be more effectively used to protect public safety. States attempting to implement the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act have seen law enforcement tasked with database management rather than community protection.

Most people are under the misperception that children are usually sexually assaulted by strangers and that registries are an effective prevention strategy. Sadly, the young woman who spoke at the bill's announcement represents the reality that 93 percent of sexual assaults on children are committed by family members and acquaintances who likely wouldn't be on a registry.

For too long, public policies around sex offenses have been driven by politics and misperceptions. The Adam Walsh Act is one example that will have particularly toxic results, especially for youths.

Instead of passing ineffective, punitive legislation such as the registry, resources should be focused on educating the public about the realities of sex offenses and how to protect their families from sexual violence, and providing better services for troubled youths.

We all want our children and communities to be safe, but the sex-offender registry makes better politics than policy.

Tracy Velazquez is executive director at the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington-based organization that published Registering Harm: How Juvenile Sex Offender Registries Fail Youth Communities.

Video Link


CA - Teen accused of school rape appears in court

Original Article

12/17/2009

By Laura Anthony

EL CERRITO (KGO) -- Thursday afternoon, the young suspect in a rape at a middle school made his first court appearance.

A slight boy with wavy dark hair, the 14-year-old accused of raping a fellow student at last Thursday El Cerrito's Portola Middle School did not enter a plea during his arraignment in a Martinez courtroom.

"Abraham R.," as he referred to in court, sat quietly with his attorney. The charges against him were not read in open court, but prosecutor Dan Cabral says they include a serious sexual assault.

"The judge has ordered him to remain detained in juvenile hall and the matter's been put over for further conference in the future," Cabral said.

The court appearance comes one week after Abraham R. was found with another student, a 12-year-old girl, in this stairwell during school hours. El Cerrito police arrested him for rape and false imprisonment.

West Contra Costa school district officials are distancing themselves from comments made earlier this week by two paid school employees that the sex was consensual.

"We regret what they commented on, their comments certainly do not reflect the feelings of the district," district spokesperson Nia Rashidchi said.

"There are lots and lots of cases where school districts have been held liable in circumstances like this for either negligent supervision or a failure to supervise and I think we can pretty much see that this school district has got a problem," ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson said.

The sexual assault at Portola Middle School comes two months after a gang rape at Richmond High School and days before a series of fights at two other West Contra Costa high schools.

"Certainly the community is wondering what's going on, but we want to make certain that people understand that it does not appear there is any connection between these different incidences, other than they occurred on school grounds," Rashidchi said.

The defendant has been ordered not to have any contact with the 12-year-old victim and will be back in court Dec. 30.

Video Link


TX - Harris judge found guilty of oppression

Original Article

12/18/2009

Harris County Criminal Court-at-Law Judge Don Jackson, who is accused of offering to help a drunken-driving defendant in his court get her case dismissed in exchange for a sexual relationship, has been found guilty on Friday of official oppression. The jury deliberated for 2½ hours.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Video Link


NE - Sex Offender Registry To Change Drastically - Once again, states ignoring the constitution and passing ex post facto laws!

Original Article

See the video at the site above.

12/18/2009

Offender Says It's Not Fair

OMAHA - _____ was convicted of attempted first degree sexual assault.

He served two years and will be on Nebraska's sex offender registry for 10 years, but starting next year, that will change.
- And thus the state is violating the state constitution and their oath of office, and should be fired! This is an ex post facto law, which is forbidden by the US and state constitution.

"Now, all of a sudden, it's going to change to a lifetime registry and I don't think that's fair," said _____.

_____ will also have to check in with law enforcement every three months and register all social Web sites he uses and communication devices like computers and cells phones.

"Anything that pertains to public access they have to know about," said _____.

The new law will place all convicted sex offenders on a public site. How long their listed, depends on the crime.

A federal lawsuit questions its constitutionality, saying "not only is this burdensome on the registrants, but it creates a prohibition on their right to engage in first amendment activity free from government monitoring."

"The new act also infringes on the privacy of the registrant's family roommates or employers by coercing a registrant to give "consent" to search all computers or electronic communication devices "possessed by the registrant."
- The police cannot search all computers in a residence, they can only search the one owned by the offender, and if they are on probation or parole.  If they are off both, then the police have to have a search warrant!

Nebraska's attorney general expected the legal action.

"They've had a lot of time. I'm surprised they came this close to the holiday," said Jon Bruning.

Bruning said he's confident the law will be upheld. He said it parallels federal legislation to better monitor convicted sex offenders.
- And Bruning, is ignoring his oath of office to uphold the constitution, and should be fired from his position, as well as all others disobeying their oath of office.

"All we're trying to do here is not put a scarlet letter on sex offenders, but to try to keep Nebraska kids safe," said Bruning.
- And we all know that is BS!  You are putting a scarlet letter on them and it protects nobody!

_____'s victim was an adult. _____ said he's ashamed of what he's done, but feels he and his family will be punished even more.
- You see, states are always saying these laws are for child sex offenders only, yet they apply the laws to all sex offenders and treat them all the same, as if they are all predator, child molesting, pedophiles, which a vast majority of them are neither!

"It's a losing battle. It's going to really affect them and affect me in all sorts of ways," said _____.

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing next Wednesday to determine whether a temporary injunction should be issued.


TX - Sexting can ruin young lives, experts tell teens

Original Article

So, in their on words below, they basically prove that being a sex offender, is punishment and can ruin your life forever!

12/11/2009

High school students who take nude photographs of themselves with their cell phones and send them electronically to others — known as sexting — could find themselves charged with distributing child pornography.

Students who receive such photos on their cell phones could be charged with possessing child pornography.

Even if they aren’t sent to prison, students caught sending such photographs or possessing would likely have to register as sex offenders the rest of their lives.

Law enforcement officials shared the grim repercussions of sexting with A.C. Jones High School students on Wednesday morning.

The assemblies, one for the boys and one for the girls, were scheduled after five students at the campus were caught possessing or sending such photographs.

School officials said three girls, ages 15 and 16, used their cell phones to photograph themselves nude and forwarded those photos to two boys, who apparently showed the nude pictures to others.

No charges were filed against the five students but Principal Jaime Rodriguez thought the school should explain the dire repercussions of such acts to all the students.

He said he also wanted to take a proactive step to ensure that other students do not commit similar acts in the future.

We are sending a letter home to parents explaining why we held the assemblies and what we went over with students,” he said. “We also let parents know about the ramifications of sexting.”

Beeville police officers, Bee County sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and juvenile and adult probation officers were invited to speak to students.

Registered sex offender

A sex offender doesn’t always mean an old guy driving around in a van or someone in a ski mask holding a knife and raping somebody,” said Beeville Police Department Detective Lt. Rene Guerrero. “That’s typically the image you get when you think of a sex offender, but a sex offender is anybody who’s been convicted of a crime that has some kind of sexual element to it. It may be indecency with a child, where you touch someone; it may be aggravated assault, where you raped someone and killed them. But they’re also people charged with possession or distribution of child pornography.”

Anyone convicted of a sex crime must register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life, he noted.

For the rest of your life you will have to go see somebody and tell them all about your business until you die,” he said.

Depending on the severity of the offense, sex offenders must visit with authorities once a year, every three months or once a month, added Guerrero, who heads up the BPD’s registered sex offender program.

When you register, you have to tell me everything about yourself,” he said. “Everything from your name, date of birth, address and phone number to your blood type, shoe size and type of car you drive.”

In addition, a new state law gives authorities access to registered sex offenders’ computers and cell phones, as well as access to their e-mails and social networking websites to which they subscribe, such as Facebook or Myspace, he said.

Additionally, a nationwide website allows authorities, employers, schools and colleges, even neighbors anywhere in the country, to know who is a registered sex offender and track their whereabouts, Guerrero said.

No prom, no way

Alma Rodriguez, an officer with the juvenile probation department in Bee County, said registered sex offenders who are still juveniles could be sentenced to the Texas Youth Commission, a prison for kids.

Or, she said, they could be placed on juvenile probation.

In either case, they are restricted from having contact with other juveniles and prohibited from being within a certain distance of places where children congregate, such as schools, parks and Friday night football games.

You also will not have any access to the Internet.No e-mail. No Facebook. No MySpace,” she said.

Juveniles who are convicted of sex crimes such as sexting also cannot have access to magazines, such as Cosmo or other respectable publications with photographs of young people.

Any of you like to go to the movies on Saturday night?” she asked. “You can’t go. You cannot go to a park. Say goodbye to all the high school games. Say goodbye to your homecoming. Say goodbye to your prom, because you’re not going.”

She said registered sex offenders in some instances cannot even be around their own children. Their children are taken away and the only way they can see them again is through supervised visits, she explained.

Can you imagine not being able to see your own kids, all because you sent a (nude) photograph of yourself to someone else while you were in high school?” she asked.

Extends to adulthood

Once registered sex offenders reach their 19th birthday, they are turned over to the adult probation department.

If you come to see me, I could see you for the next 20 years of your life,” said adult probation officer Keith Monroe. “Every month you are going to come see me. I can go through your house. I can go through your (cell) phone. I can go through your computer. You basically turn your life over to me for the next 20 years.”

Students who don’t want anyone else snooping through their private lives should think twice about sexting, he said.

Before you hit send, you need to think about where that photo is going to go, who is going to send it to who, and when it’s going to end up posted on the Internet.”

Futures at risk

Even if they aren’t caught or convicted of sharing nude photos of themselves with others, students are still in jeopardy of ruining their lives.

You may not have legal ramifications — you may not have to register as a sex offender, you may not have to go to prison, you may not have to go to jail, you may not have to do any of that stuff — but it will still come back to haunt you,” said Lorena Moreno, another juvenile probation officer.

Your entire life is stripped from you because you decided to send a (nude) picture of yourself to a boy. If you hit send, it is forever. It’s on the Internet forever. People will find out.”

She said ex-boyfriends or high school sweethearts may one day decide to sell the nude photographs or post them online if their girlfriends ever become famous or seek high profile jobs.

Tragic consequences

Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division Agent Drew Pilkington reminded students of the tragic consequences of sexting.

He reminded the students of Miss California Carrie Prejean, who lost her crown after an ex-boyfriend sold semi-nude and provocative photos of her on eBay.

She was 18. It wasn’t child porn, but he decided to sell them on eBay, make a little money, embarrass her, and she lost her crown,” he said. “She’s not Miss California anymore.”

Pilkington said sexting ended in tragedy for Jessica Logan, an 18-year-old girl from Ohio, who sent similar photographs to her boyfriend’s cell phone.

He posted them online.

After weeks of harassment from other students, Logan committed suicide.

‘Online forever’

Bee County sheriff’s investigator Steve Martin also warned students about the longevity of photos posted on the Internet.

Is there anybody in this room who would take their clothes off and walk out onto the field during a homecoming football game?” he asked. “That’s what you do when you send your picture out to somebody, even one person. And it’s there forever.”

Although the district attorney decided not to prosecute the five students accused of sexting, future incidents will not escape punishment, Martin assured the students.

Sexting is stupid,” Pilkington said. “And if you do it, chances are you will be the victim.”

Video Link


CA - Getting to the bottom of the Watchdog's sex offender story

Original Article

12/18/2009

Last night, while I was being terrifyingly jostled about on the worst plane ride I've ever had, a local and very smart Twitterer (with a very important boss) had an idea: let an independent panel examine the Watchdog's sex offender story and come to a conclusion on what it got right and what it got wrong. A journalistic audit, of sorts.

Citybeat said it's game. VoiceofSanDiego.org has agreed to coordinate. Now, will the Watchdog Institute cooperate?

First, I think it's sad that it's come to this. Citybeat already investigated the story's claims, and did it well. In fact, Kelly Davis got multiple authoritative sources to debunk the story's entire premise. And we know now, after waiting a week for a response, that the Watchdog had nothing to back up its astonishingly sensational lead other than it's own opinion. It's hard to argue with a we're right even though we couldn't find anyone else to agree with us mentality. They've demonstrated woeful ignorance of basic legal concepts like statutory construction, res judicata and stare decisis -- all things you need to really understand for an undertaking like that story.

Second, I don't think they really stand behind that story as much as they want everyone to believe, nor are they brave enough to allow outside reporters and lawyers to investigate its claims.

Third, the Union-Tribune, as the ones who published this story, have should've undertaken these steps as soon as they knew the central points had been challenged. That's the responsible and ethical thing to do, but who expects that? Not me.

All the being said, can I propose a few questions the panel should try to get to the bottom of?
  1. Are 70 percent of San Diego county registered sex offenders violating the residency restrictions in prop. 83, and if so, according to whom?
  2. Does a "literal" reading of a statute allow one to presume intent that's not explicit, that is, can a statute in California that makes no mention of retroactivity be presumed retroactive on its face?
  3. Does the pending Supreme Court challenge over prop. 83 automatically suspend decisions already handed down by the federal court, that is, are state agencies currently bound to follow rulings issued by federal judges on prop. 83 until the state high court gives its decision?
  4. Did Watchdog Institute reporters have any information or sources that would've led them to believe the unambiguous claim in the story's lead that 70 percent of registered sex offenders are violating the law might not be correct? That is, did anyone challenge the story before it was published?

- Justin McLachlan



Original Article

12/12/2009

Recently, the Watchdog Institute wrote a story published by the Union Tribune about sex offenders and a state law that restricts where some of them can live. The story's conclusions were bold and reporters at San Diego Citybeat immediately challenged them as inaccurate and misleading.

And despite citing top legal authorities, like the attorney general, the Watchdog Institute and the UT are seemingly standing by this bungled mess of a story. I've come out strongly against it, joining Citybeat in trying to hold the Watchdog accountable for the power it has.

The story has a multitude of problems, starting with its thesis: that 70 percent of sex offenders in San Diego county are violating the law. They aren't, and the Watchdog can't cite anything other than their own interpretation--flawed and in opposition to the only court to rule on the subject--to support their claim. That's bad, irresponsible and unethical journalism.

Here's the root issue: A lack of familiarity with California's laws and basic legal concepts.

For example, the law doesn't specify whether residence restrictions apply to all convicted sex offenders or only to those who were convicted or paroled after it passed.

The inference there is that because the law doesn't discuss retroactivity, that voters left that open to debate. In other words, that it could be retroactive. Well, first, California has statutory prohibitions against "presumptive retroactivity" in its laws. That is, California law says that if another law doesn't declare itself retroactive, it's not retroactive. That's a basic tenant of statutory construction: expressio unius est exclusio alterius, if something's omitted, it's excluded from the meaning and interpretation of a statute.

This is a time-honored, bedrock legal principle that even every law student would be aware of. And those aren't my words, they're Justice Rehnquist's in U.S. v Security Industries Bank.

Of course, nothing is ever quite that black and white. There was a federal court case addressing the retroactivity. Several anonymous sex offenders asked the court to prevent the state from enforcing the law's residency restrictions on them. The judge applied California's rules of statutory construction and found the law couldn't apply to sex offenders released before voters passed it in 2006. In fact, this case was actually held against those sex offenders because they'd asked for an injunction against the state. The court said the statute is so plainly not retroactive that they don't even need the injunction.

Here, reading the SPPCA retroactively would raise serious ex post facto concerns, and the court is obligated to avoid doing so if it can reasonably construe the statute prospectively...

(ex post facto means "after the fact" and the U.S. Constitution generally prohibits laws that criminalize behavior or increase punishment for a criminal offense after its committed)

Some, including Ms. Hearn, the Watchdog's editor, have argued that the federal court case isn't important because the State Supreme Court is free to ignore that decision in an upcoming case about the law differently if it so chooses. Hardly. While that the State Supreme Court is not bound by the federal court's decision, a federal court is generally obliged by various legal precedents and doctrines to not get involved in a dispute over state law if it can't easily predict how the state high court will rule. "Plainly, that is not the case here," the court wrote in its decision.

There are other problematic statements in the story.

Attorneys for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation say voters intended to create "predator-free zones," so the law applies to all registered sex offenders.

Ms. Hearn and others have cited this as a defense of their piece, saying that it represents the state's current position on the law. Indeed, this argument was put before the federal court. The judge shot it down, noting the phrase "predator free zone" comes from the official ballot summary. The court called it "sloganeering" of the type expected in an argument in favor of the law and said it's "not to be taken literally" because the law doesn't prevent any sex offender from actually entering those zones, just from living there. So, in other words, how could it really be a "predator free zone"? It can't.

Astoundingly, the Watchdog Institute didn't even mention the federal case in its story. They did, however, write about a current challenge to the law pending before the State Supreme Court. But they got the issues in the case a bit wrong, or at least, incomplete.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to stop the state from enforcing the law as "a parole condition." Each is a registered sex offender who was released before the law was passed and each was jailed and subsequently paroled for non-sex offenses after the law was passed. California then said, because you're currently on parole, we're going to hold you to the residency restrictions in the law, too. The plaintiffs argue that making the law a parole condition for those paroled for non-sex offenses is the same as applying it retroactively.

Could the court deny the petition and rule the law applies retroactively to all sex offenders based on the facts of this particular case? Assuming California's laws allowed presumptive retroactivity (which they don't), that's possible, but it's a huge stretch. The court usually rules as narrowly as it can to effect the relief it deems necessary (or not necessary). The plaintiffs have only asked for injunctive relief and in the unlikely case that the court chooses to deny that, it'll probably do so without reaching any legal conclusions that it doesn't have to in order to support its ruling.

But, as I said, anything's possible. Still, the mere possibility of a court ruling in one particular way two months from now doesn't begin to justify the Watchdog's sensational claims. And the story doesn't even mention the unique facts of this case, or the potential for the court's ruling to only affect a narrow subset of sex offenders. Instead, they use it to imply that there's real uncertainty about if the law applies to those released before it took effect. It doesn't.

What's most troubling about this issue is the Watchdog's silence. Despite one half-hearted, almost incoherent response from the story's editor on Citybeat's blog, those responsible for this story haven't addressed what are valid concerns. That in and of itself is an ethical lapse. "Journalists should clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct," according to the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics. Instead, we've mostly received silence.

We have been accused of "picking just to pick" by the sole Union-Tribune employee bold enough to talk publicly about the story. It's not clear what his role is here or why he's inserted himself in the controversy because he insists he's not a spokesperson for the company, despite vigorously defending the story. I'm at least happy to know someone cares enough to do so, even if his role is so far undefined.

Still, he seems generally not happy with us over this issue, views our concerns as petty and seems to take them as a personal attacks. They're anything but. The same code that holds the Watchdog's reporters to a standard they're not currently meeting requires that we, as their colleagues, "expose" their "unethical practices."

I won't apologize for doing that.

Currently, the state's top prosecutor, the department of corrections, CDCR Adult Parole (the ones charged with enforcing the residency restrictions) and the senator who wrote the law have all said that the Watchdog simply got the story wrong.

But that's not been enough. The non-spokesman has repeatedly told me that the story addressed all of the questions surrounding it. We've been told "CityBeat's articles appear to highlight differences in interpretation of the law and how it is applied, but that does not mean the institute's article is wrong."

Actually, Citybeat highlights how the federal court--the only court to rule on the issue so far--has interpreted the law. The Watchdog Institute might disagree with that interpretation, but if so, they should air that in an opinion piece, not a news story.

We've heard "... it appears about 70 percent of San Diego County's registered sex offenders live in areas the law says they cannot live - based on a strict reading of what the plain language of the law appears to say."

If it appears that way to the Watchdog Institute (though the story doesn't use the word "appear"), then perhaps they can take over the responsibilities of presiding over the Eastern District of California, because that "appearance" is a direct contradiction of the district court's ruling. Calling it based on a "strict reading of the plain language" is disingenuous (and in legal speak, actually means something different than I think was the real intent), because as I've already said above, that reading presumes no mention of retroactivity means that one is free to presume retroactivity. That's simply not the case in California and anyone who believes that is only demonstrating their ignorance of basic legal concepts.

We've heard "In the story, the institute's reporters wrote the law is 'nearly impossible to enforce.' If courts have ruled this law cannot be applied retroactively, that would appear to be one major reason why it is "nearly impossible to enforce."

It is nearly impossible to enforce, but because it's hard to find reasonable places for sex offenders to live that don't violate the law. But that it's not retroactive wouldn't make enforcement harder, would it? It would make it easier. There are fewer sex offenders to track, and few to find places where they can live that don't violate the residency restrictions. This is also another disingenuous claim, as it tries to twist the story into saying something it didn't. The report never even addressed the federal court's ruling.

We've heard "CityBeat appears to take the position that convicted sex offenders cannot violate a law that it says doesn't apply to them."

Well, duh. How could someone violate a law that doesn't apply to them?

But, he goes on "But again, that doesn't mean the institute's story is wrong."

Actually, the story says in clear, plain and unambiguous terms, that those sex offenders are violating a law that they're not even subject to. In what reality can that be correct?

We've heard, "Which interpretation of the law and facts of this case are correct? I believe readers are smart and they can weigh all sides of this issue and then come to an informed decision."

They could come to an informed decision if the Watchdog provided them with correct information. What matters is not one's opinion about whether a person is violating a state law, but whether that person actually is. When the top legal authority in the state says they aren't, when a federal court says they aren't, and you write a story baldly declaring that they are, is that okay? No.

- Justin McLachlan


FL - Sex Offender Removes Signs From Yard

Original Article
See the video here

I don't blame him, if I were made to have some sign in my yard about some past crime, I'd remove it every time as well. And if he is breaking the law, then why has it occurred 10 times without an arrest? Because I don't think he's breaking the law. I have monitored these laws for years, and have not heard of anybody else having to do this, in Florida. And with them not arrested him, then it appears he's not breaking any law, or if he is, then the police are not doing their jobs!

12/18/2009

Deputies Say Signs Warning Community Of Man's Past Have Been Taken Down

BAKER COUNTY - Baker County (Contact) deputies said _____ is really trying hard to hide his past.

He's a registered sexual predator, arrested in 1997 and charged with sexual battery on a 1-year-old.

Deputies said they've put up a sign 10 times to warn neighbors about _____, and all 10 times the sign was taken down.
- So why 10 times?  If he is breaking the law, which I doubt he is, then why not arrest him?  You apparently are not doing your jobs!

The last two signs were put in his yard near the road in concrete. Deputies said the final straw was when they saw _____ in action removing the sign.
- In concrete?  Sounds to me like these deputies are just harassing this man, and doing this to further shame him.  Point me to some law that says he must do this, and I'll shut up.

"He thinks he can circumvent the law and he can be the only one," Sheriff Joey Dobson said. "We have five predators in Baker County. All of them have signs in front of their houses, and he is no different. He is going to have a sign in front of his house."
- So, you have 5 people with signs in their yards.  So where is the law that says you have the right to place the signs in their yards in the first place?

Karen Balas, who lives with her children right next door to _____, said she only knew about his record after she saw the sign in his yard, and she wants it back up.

"I wouldn't have known unless the sign was up. Nobody would have known," Balas said. "I think it's a good idea, I really do. I don't see why someone wouldn't keep them up. People should know that live in the neighborhood."
- And this brings out more points.  Why did the woman not check the online registry?  Why did the police not alert the people in the neighborhood?  Sounds to me like they are just trying to shame these people further.  They are already on the registry, and if people are really concerned, then they'd check their address on the registry and see who lives around them.  And that also points out, that many people could care less about the online phone book with pretty pictures.

Dobson said people will know. He said another sign will go up next week, and it will also be placed in concrete.
- And I'm sure it will come down as well.

"We have made the decision that the signs are the best way to notify the community," Dobson said. "We've done that for years and it's worked properly."
- Well, the sheriff's department doesn't make laws either.  So you have no right to do so, period.  If a judge demanded it, that is another issue, but if they did not, then you are breaking the law.

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