Friday, January 8, 2010

FL - Ex-GPD officer gets two years in prison

Original Article
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01/08/2010

By Cindy Swirko

Former Gainesville police officer David Reveille was sentenced Friday to two years in prison on charges related to sexual activity with prostitutes while he was on duty.

The sentence by Circuit Judge Ysleta McDonald follows the terms of an agreement in which Reveille pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony -- sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment, one count of official misconduct and two counts of battery.

Reveille was arrested last year on charges that included sexual battery.

Credit for 324 days Reveille has served in the Alachua County jail will reduce his time in prison.

"No one is above the law," Police Chief Tony Jones said of the sentencing when contacted by The Sun. "He went through the system and got his just desserts for his action."

Also, Reveille will serve 13 years' probation and will be prohibited from going into areas known for prostitution and from having pornographic material. He must also undergo a mental health/sexual deviance risk assessment.

Reveille, who has lost considerable weight since his firing, said nothing at the sentencing.

His wife, Sandi, said afterward, "It will be all right in the end."

Reveille was fired from GPD in late 2008 after an internal investigation reported he "used his official position as a law enforcement officer to obtain sexual favors."

One case involved a woman who police said Reveille handcuffed, took to a marked patrol car and threatened with arrest if she didn't perform a sex act.

Reveille was charged with eight counts of sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment, one count of official misconduct, and two counts of battery.

Spencer Mann, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said the plea agreement meets the goals of having Reveille serve prison time and the loss of his career. Mann added it also saves the victims from having to testify.

"It accomplishes multiple things for us," Mann said. "He is going to get some prison time and long-term probation with sex offender sanctions. He loses his law enforcement certification."

Reveille's attorney, Gloria Fletcher, said afterward she believes the sentence was a good resolution to a difficult case.

"Law enforcement is no different than news reporters, lawyers, doctors -- we all make mistakes and we all make choices that we'd like to redo. I'm not suggesting that he made a mistake. I am suggesting that he would choose not to be in this situation," Fletcher said.

Reveille recently suffered facial injuries in a scuffle with another inmate at the Alachua County jail. Fletcher expressed concern to McDonald over whether his treatment for those injuries had progressed enough to make it safe to turn him over to the state Department of Corrections.

A doctor on the case was summoned to court and after talking with her, McDonald said she felt comfortable proceeding with the sentencing.

Reveille's case was one of several involving GPD officers in the past few years that created image problems for the agency and were termed an embarrassment by former Chief Norman Botsford.

Ex-Cpl. Bill Billings pleaded no contest to felony charges of scheme to defraud and official misconduct in June. He later admitted in court that he paid women for sex while on duty.

Meanwhile, two GPD officers admitted to the off-duty harassment of prostitutes in certain neighborhoods, including throwing eggs at them.


NC - More Charges Filed Against Jackson

Original Article
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01/08/2010

CHARLOTTE - In what has become an increasingly regular occurrence over the last eight days, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers stood at a podium and announced two more women had come forward saying they were sexually assaulted by former officer Marcus Jackson.

This time, however, police said they have more than the women’s stories as proof.

We did have independent evidence in this case to back this particular allegation,” said CMPD Sgt. Darrell Price.

Price said that during a traffic stop in north Charlotte on Dec. 28, Jackson’s patrol car dash cam caught him inappropriately touching two 21-year-old women during a search.

Today’s accusations bring to five the number of women saying they were either fondled by or made to have sex with Jackson.

Police said calls about other possible cases are continuing to come in from the community, and detectives are going over all of Jackson’s actions since he began patrolling alone in May.

The investigation will look into every ticket, arrest and traffic stop for which Jackson was responsible.

Anything he’s had … anything to do with dealings with the public, we’re looking into those incidents to see if we can find other incidents where he’s committed illegal acts,” Price said.

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MO - No registration needed for some Mo. sex offenders

Original Article

01/08/2010

JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri judge says a federal sex offender registration requirement cannot apply to a person who received a suspended sentence.

The ruling Friday by Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan is the latest in a series of Missouri court decisions clarifying who must abide by laws requiring sex offenders to register their addresses with authorities.

The person in the current case was not identified by name, only as someone who pleaded guilty to a sexual abuse charge in 1992 and received a suspended imposition of sentence.

Callahan says the person does not have to follow a 2006 federal registration law because it applies only to convicted sex offenders - and Missouri law does not treat a suspended sentence as a conviction.


NE - Lindemeier's sex offender registry law challenge removed to federal court

Original Article

I have also heard that the Nebraska police are not enforcing the law yet, which went into effect Jan 1st, 2010, due to a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order)

01/08/2010

By Ben Schwartz

Bob Lindemeier’s challenge to the new Sex Offender Registry laws filed in Lincoln County District Court has been removed to federal court.

The defendants named in Lindemeier’s suit, including County Attorney Rebecca Harling, Police Chief Martin Gutschenritter, Sheriff Jerome Kramer, Attorney General Jon Bruning, and the Nebraska State Patrol, filed a joint notice of removal Friday afternoon.

This came on the heels of an order handed down by federal Judge Ricahrd Kopf, asking that state judges take no further action challenging the constitutionally of the new act.

Attorney Martin Troshynski, who has assisted Lindemeier with the challenge, told the Bulletin that this new action makes it as though the actions taken by the state court never happened.

The hearing scheduled in Lincoln County Jan. 14 before Judge John Murphy will not take place in light of the new developments.

Troshynski said he and Lindemeier had not yet decided how to proceed.


TN - Former Memphis police officer gets 7 years for coerced sex with prostitutes

Original Article

01/08/2010

By Lawrence Buser

A former Memphis police officer pleaded guilty today to charges related to having sex with prostitutes while on duty and in uniform.

James George, 52, one of four officers charged last year, pleaded guilty to three counts of official oppression and three counts of official misconduct.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but will ask Criminal Court Judge John Colton Jr. for diversion or probation in a later hearing.

George, an officer since 1996, was assigned to the Mt. Moriah Station.

He resigned last April after he was charged with taking prostitutes off the street against their wills, driving to remote areas and raping them in his squad car.

Sex-related charges also are pending against former officers Daniel Wallace and Larry Orange.

A fourth former officer, Thomas Woods, 54, pleaded guilty last year to misconduct and oppression after admitting to having sex with prostitutes while on duty. He was placed on judicial diversion until 2015 when his record will be cleared if he abides by court conditions.


CT - Sex offender facility in limbo

Connecticut is one of a few states in the country that does not have a secure sex offender treatment facility. But are the lawmakers playing politics with the public's safety?

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NY - Housing the Homeless Sex Offender

Original Article

01/08/2010

By Karl Grossman

How to provide housing for homeless registered sex offenders in Suffolk remains a knotty problem. In recent years the county has placed them in trailers in Westhampton and Riverside —resulting in complaints from area residents. Southampton and Riverhead Towns brought lawsuits over the placements.

County officials have now come up with a new plan: the purchase of industrial buildings to be renovated for housing for the homeless sex offenders. This way, ostensibly, the offenders would be in industrial areas away from residences and, most specifically, children who some might molest, it is feared. The sex offenders include those in legal categories which identifies them as likely to repeat their crimes.

Among the industrial sites being eyed by the Department of Social Services are several in the Town of Babylon: in East Farmingdale, West Babylon and Wyandanch. But DuWayne Gregory, the county legislator who represents these areas, wrote just before Christmas to 300 civic and religious leaders: “We have enough homeless/emergency housing shelters, Section 8 housing, sober homes, etc. We do not need an entire homeless sex offender shelter dumped in our community, too.”

He has also suggested that the arranging of the housing for sex offenders in his district could be retribution for his clashing with County Executive Steve Levy. Mr. Levy emphatically denies that. And Social Services Commissioner Gregory Blass emphasizes that the locations in the Gregory district, some near cemeteries, the Babylon Town landfill and Republic Airport, were picked because of being in industrial locations distant from residential areas.

Race could be exacerbating sensitivity on the issue. Mr. Gregory is the only elected black Suffolk County official and his district has a large African-American population, especially Wyandanch. People in that hamlet for years complained, correctly, about not being properly served by town government.

Still, the county’s idea to use renovated industrial buildings for housing for registered sex offenders is, theoretically a good one. It’s “a great move,” comments Mason Haas, a Riverhead Town tax assessor active in protesting the trailer for sex offenders in Riverside. It is in the parking lot of the county jail, but across the Peconic River from Riverhead.

The Department of Social Services is applying for a grant from the state’s Homeless Housing Assistance Program to pay for purchasing and renovating the buildings. They would also serve as emergency housing for other homeless populations here. The homeless registered sex offenders, however, constitute the problematic category. There aren’t many: approximately 30, depending on the time period, out of 850 registered sex offenders in Suffolk.

In 2007, the county after having housed the offenders in motels, set up its first trailer for homeless registered sex offenders. It sits on Old Country Road in Westhampton on county property near the Suffolk County Police Department’s shooting range. County officials pledged in 2007 that the trailer would be moved every several weeks to different parts of Suffolk. That never happened.

The Westhampton trailer, instead, began being used for “overflow” from a bigger trailer set up the next year in Riverside. At a forum on the Riverside trailer, held last January at Riverhead High School, 300 people jeered county representatives. There were complaints about trailer residents coming into town and of one being arrested for indecent exposure. The locations nearby of schools and the Riverhead library were also noted. County officials stressed that Suffolk was mandated by the state to provide emergency housing for the homeless sex offenders. “Send them to Plum Island!” shouted one audience member.

State Senator Kenneth LaValle observed at the event: “In my years of experience, with the number of citizens who came out on a night like tonight, it’s rare that there will not be a solution of some sort.” The use of industrial buildings is the county’s attempted “solution.”

Dr. Richard Kreuger, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University who specializes in the management and treatment of sex offenders, has said that “sex offenders are almost labeled as nuclear waste; nobody wants them in their backyard.”


IN - Ruling clouds sex-offender registry

Original Article

01/08/2009

By Jeff Wiehe and Rebecca S. Green

Work is hard to find for _____ these days.

He still sells cleaning and hygiene products out of his home, but gone are the days when he would hit nearby farmers markets and hawk his goods and generate a nice supply of cash. After someone found his photo on the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry along with the words “child molesting,” he was no longer welcome.

It’s really, really affected my life in the past five years,” said _____, who claims he was wrongly convicted by a jury of child molesting in 1991 and had to appear on the state sex offender registry after it was created in 1994. “Before I was on the list, I hated the fact I was accused of that crime, but as soon as I got on the list, things got hard.”

A ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court last year, though, found that _____, a man convicted of child molesting in 1989, no longer had to register with the state as a sex offender because he committed his crime before the law that created the registry was enacted.

That ruling has thrown the state and local sex offender registries into disarray.

Allen County officials say that like _____, _____ is no longer required to register as a sex offender. His name and face have been scrubbed from the Allen County sheriff’s online registry. Officials with the Indiana Department of Correction, though, are refusing to erase any names from the state’s official registry without a court order.

The Allen County registry is supposed to be an offshoot of the state registry, something the sheriff’s department created as a way for local residents to search using the sheriff’s Web site. Now, though, the registries do not match.

At issue are different interpretations of the state high court’s ruling: Officials with the Indiana Department of Correction – which keeps the state’s official registry – believe the ruling applies only to _____. Allen County police, prosecutors and local judges have determined the ruling applies to everyone.

Cpl. Jeff Shimkus of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department is part of the agency’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Team. As the officer charged with enforcing the registry laws, Shimkus said more trouble may be ahead.

The situation opens the door for each county to interpret the ruling differently, throwing off uniformity across the state at a time when the state’s goal, in order to comply with federal laws, was to be more standardized regarding sex offenders, Shimkus said.

It’s going to cause problems with the state site because its accuracy can’t be guaranteed,” Shimkus said.

‘A nightmare’

Sometime after the court’s ruling on the _____ case last year, officials with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office met with officials from the Allen County Sheriff’s Department to decide what the decision actually meant, Shimkus said.

The consensus was that the names of offenders who committed crimes before the creation of the registry had to come off the local list.

Also removed were the names of people who had committed lesser crimes that previously did not require registration.

For instance, between 1994 and 1997, people convicted of rape were required to register only if the victim was younger than 18. Someone who raped an adult in 1995 would not have been required to register. But laws were later amended to require all convicted rapists to register as sex offenders.

Now, people convicted of rape before the law was amended no longer appear on the Allen County sex offender registry, local officials said.

We don’t have to like it, but that’s what the law says,” said Shimkus of the decision.

For nearly four months, Shimkus’ team, including himself, Cpl. Michael Smothermon and Crystal Barker, pored over 625 files of sex offenders. By the time they were done removing names, 375 remained on the registry.

It was a nightmare,” Shimkus said of the work.

Some other Indiana sheriff’s departments are falling in line with what Allen County is doing. Officials with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department have been combing sex offender files in their registry but have yet to find any offenders who are affected by the _____ ruling, according to department spokesman Sgt. Chad Hill.

Other departments, like the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, are not removing any names unless given a court order, much like the Indiana Department of Correction.

Our role is to determine who has to register,” said Brent Myers, director of registration and victims services for the Indiana Department of Correction. “Whether or not local sheriffs are enforcing who has to register, that’s something they have to talk about with their legal counsel."

Unfortunately, the (_____) decision, like a lot of decisions, is very complicated, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all option.”

The DOC’s view

Like the meeting in Allen County, officials with the Department of Correction, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council met after the _____ decision was passed down.

But the consensus was different from the Allen County interpretation.

The Supreme Court did not order us to review every individual; it referred to only _____,” Myers said.

The feeling after the meeting with the attorney general was that offenders who thought they should be off the registry because of the _____ decision should take it up with the local courts, Myers said. There, an impartial review could be done.

If the DOC receives a court order to remove a name from the list, then that name will be removed, Myers said. So far, the department has received fewer than 70 such orders from local judges.

Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull said the criminal division has been inundated with requests to remove sex offenders from the state’s registry, including requests from offenders who were never prosecuted in Allen County.

And Gull has also seen requests from out-of-state offenders or even federal offenders wondering how, or whether, the changes apply to them.

I don’t know what the status of the law is in other states,” Gull said. “Hell, I don’t know the status of the law in the state of Indiana. It changes all the time.”

As they work through the petitions that fall within local jurisdiction, Gull said they are strictly applying the statute. If the offenders committed their crimes before the registry was in effect, then their names are off the list.

And like Shimkus, Gull believes the confusion could increase.

I knew it was going to be bad,” she said. “And I don’t think it is as bad as it is going to get.”

Future problems could include offenders not realizing they are eligible to be removed from the registry. The DOC is not doing anything to help, Gull said.

A written request

_____ sent a handwritten letter to Allen Superior Court on Dec. 3.

In it, he talked about how difficult it has been to support his wife and 13-year-old son since being put on the list. He noted that he has not been in any trouble since his conviction and reasserted his innocence. _____ says he was framed.

Not everybody who pleads guilty is guilty,” said _____’s wife, _____, adding that her husband’s past is a dark secret that’s hard to talk about with others. “Everyone who has known him has said, ‘I can’t believe that about your husband.’

_____ didn’t know what to expect after sending the letter, but Thursday he got his validation: a letter of response, telling him the judge agreed with him.

He’d soon be off the state registry.


Capital punishment inhumane, unethical

Original Article

01/07/2010

By Ryan Spencer

John Walsh Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut. It’s not that his crime-fighting endeavor “America’s Most Wanted” hasn’t proven to be successful — it has, most recently with the capture of Jupiter massacre suspect _____ — but rather that he, in his position of influence as a popular television host, should stop trying to be judge, jury and executioner, as he did recently when he called for capital punishment for the above suspect.

During Walsh’s tenure as host, AMW has directly led to the capture of about 1,100 suspects. This is no small feat, and Walsh, along with all of those involved with the show’s production, should be lauded for their efforts. However, Walsh needs to realize his influence must be curtailed at capture.

In consideration of some of his past opinions concerning the punishment of sex offenders (which have touched on rectal explosive devices, for example), it seems he deems himself the ambassador of justice for heinous crimes.

Moreover, he is regarded publicly as an expert when it comes to such matters, stemming from both his position as host of AMW and his son’s highly publicized kidnapping and murder in 1981.
- He is not an expert in anything, except maybe being a jerk and exploiting his sons death to make himself rich!

However, neither he nor any other indirect victims of such atrocities are in any position to decide the fate of the offender, as such acts leave victims’ families emotionally compromised when it comes to resolving such an issue, hence the existence of a fair and just (in theory) legal system as a more civil proxy for self-administered justice.

If I’ve come off as callous, I won’t apologize, but it was not my intention. Rather, I’ll take this opportunity to throw in my two cents as a proponent of abolishing the death penalty.

It is inherently contradictory to condemn someone for killing and then subsequently kill them. However, because the responsibility for such acts is diffused through both the entirety of society and the executioner-less means of capital punishment, such policies are considered morally tenable or at least deluded enough to be permissible.

That notion is an illusion: If the laws upheld by a society are a reflection of it as a whole, then we all share responsibility for such acts.

For those who brush off claims of responsibility because such people deserve to die, let me say this: No one — not even those responsible for the most horrific things you can imagine — deserves to die.

From a different angle: There is no act a person can commit that is terrible enough to merit their life being ended by an ethical society.

Essentially, this has less to do with the nature of their actions and more so with the blood left on all our hands from allowing such a response to them.

Anyone who cites the “humane” way in which these people are “put down” is naïve to the fact that softening and ritualizing killing with euphemisms and the legal system is entirely sadistic.

My line of reasoning is explicitly not an appeal to any metaphysical moral code, but rather an assessment of consequences, which suggest we shouldn’t hold our heads so high when we speak of capital punishment. But if we can live with that, as we have, we do so at the expense of our ethical integrity.

Ryan Spencer is a psychology senior.