Sunday, February 14, 2010

TX - Texas Teen Sentenced To Sixty Years in Prison For Consensual Sex (Thanks to the Adam Walsh Act, thousands of kids lives are being ruined!)

Original Article


I will never forget that day in June when I heard Judge Banales say, “You are hereby sentenced to 60 years in the Texas Department of Corrections”. My legs felt like spaghetti, my hands went cold. I had no moisture in my mouth. I was numb all over. I wanted to throw up. I could hear my mother’s horrific cries in the background. I turned to see her and I saw my father holding her and my grandmother tightly. He was so scared, I could tell. There were other ladies that were also crying. They felt for my mom, and possibly for me. The judge told my dad if he didn’t quiet my mother, he would have her arrested. My mother had a look of fury in her eyes when they met with mine. I knew right there and then that her love and commitment as a mother would induce a fight for justice. The bailiff was so nice to me. He kept asking me if I needed some water. I couldn’t talk. All I could hear was my mother’s cry, over and over. I couldn’t even hug her goodbye.

When I was 17 years old, I made a mistake, a mistake that will haunt me and my family for the rest of our lives. I had consensual sex with a girl whom I believed to be much older. I was young and immature, drinking and smoking pot like many other teens at our school. I never intended to hurt anyone. I am not a dangerous predator or a violent rapist. I am a young man who has been given a punishment far beyond what is reasonable and just.

Two detectives approached me and asked me if I had sex with Michelle. I answered “yes, why?” They handcuffed me and took me to the Corpus Christi Police Department. I had no attorney present, nor my mom or dad. I was scared out of my mind. They told me that if I did not write out a statement, and sign it, that I would go to prison. I had never been in any trouble with the law before. I did what I was told because I was scared, did not want to go to prison, and did not know what else to do. Once the statement was signed, I was told that Michelle was only 12 years old. I wanted to throw up. I didn’t know whether to believe them or not. She looked much older than 12. Amanda told us that she was 16. My little sister was 12 years old at the time and that made me feel awful. I was sent upstairs and booked into jail. I called my mom at work and told her that I had been arrested for aggravated sexual assault and the bond was $20,000.

About 8 hours later, my mom and dad picked me up from the jail and took me home. My mother was crying and very upset, asking me “how could you do this?” I was crying so hard and grabbed my mom and told her to look into my eyes and listen to me. My mom always knew when we were not being truthful by our eyes. I explained to her that I did not know Michelle was 12 and that I was sorry for my behavior.

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"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln

OH - Richland Co. tops in sexual predators

Original Article



MANSFIELD -- The reasons vary, but the fact remains: Richland County has the highest rate of serious felony sex offenders in the state.

Some place partial blame on state lawmakers, whose implementation of the Bush Administration's far-reaching Adam Walsh Act was hard and swift. Among other things, that law compelled even misdemeanor sex offenders to register with authorities upon release.
- The Adam Walsh Act, residency restrictions and the online registry are all to blame.  The residency restrictions forces offenders to move into certain areas of the state, that is why you get groups of them living near each other.  It also forces them into homelessness.  The online registry makes it hard to get a job or home, and to keep that job or home.  It's obvious, if you'd think about it for awhile!

Others blame the Mansfield Volunteers of America, a halfway house for convicted sex offenders, which some local officials say gives incentives for offenders to stay. For still others, the reasons for such high numbers are much more complex, involving and revolving around the area's ongoing, destabilizing economic situation.

"The research shows that higher concentrations of sex offenders have been found in more socially disorganized and disadvantaged communities," said Cynthia Mercado, a psychology professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and an expert in public policy regarding sex offenders.
- And why is that?  It's because of the residency restrictions, they push offenders to live in certain areas of the state, which is usually run down areas, or out in the country.

There's no evidence, Mercado said, to suggest offenders live in communities where they think they'll find a bigger pool of easy targets. In fact, it's not all that much about choice. They stay, she said, "due to job availability, social ties or financial constraints."
- A vast majority of those labeled sex offenders, are not out trolling for their "next victim!"

The Walsh Act

Whatever the reason, the statistics speak for themselves. Nearly 28 of every 10,000 residents in Richland County are Tier II or Tier III sex offenders, according to a News Journal analysis of sex offender statistics provided by the Ohio Attorney General's Office (Contact). That statistic gives Mansfield, by far, the highest per capita high-level sex offender rate in the state, even when the men housed at Volunteers of America are excluded.

In Geauga County, where the fewest high-level sex offenders reside, the rate is one-tenth of Richland's -- about 3 for every 10,000.

Tier II and Tier III offenders are those convicted of crimes including soliciting prostitution, sexual battery, sexual contact with a minor, kidnapping, forcible rape and murder with sexual motivations, nearly all felonies.

These designations were codified in the Walsh Act. That statute was a legislative attempt to create a national, standardized system for registering sex offenders. Once each state complied, federal officials said at the time, the resulting database could go live nationally, capable of notifying anyone with Internet access the whos, whats, wheres and whens of those convicted of sex crimes.

Holly Hollingsworth, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Richard Cordray, said Ohio officials pursued implementation of the act aggressively. Three and a half years after the law was passed, Ohio remains the only state to have complied.
- And it's going to cost them a ton of money, more than they receive in grants, to maintain everything involved with the sex offender laws.

The Walsh Act this year added to local rolls just three dozen or so offenders -- all Tier I, misdemeanor offenders, less than 10 percent of Richland County's 397 registered sex offenders.

In other words, more than 90 percent of sex offenders here committed felonies or repeated misdemeanors.
- Come on, just about anything that will land you the sex offender label, is a felony!

"You get extremely concerned when you hear that a young person is missing or didn't get off the bus," said Mansfield Service-Safety Director Phil Messer, who until recently was the city's police chief. "When something like that happens, we go into crisis mode."
- And that is the typical knee-jerk reaction for politicians who want votes and to look good to the sheeple, they exploit an issue like a child abduction to pass more draconian, unconstitutional laws.

Too wide of a net?

Some criminals have protested the new sex offender classifications.

_____, 31, of Mansfield, is one of them. He was convicted in 2000 of attempted rape and corruption of a minor after police said he forced a 14-year-old girl to commit sex acts at gunpoint. After serving almost seven years in prison, he was released in 2007 to five years of parole. Originally classified as a Tier I offender, he was reclassified as Tier III after the Adam Walsh Act took effect in 2008. He appealed the state reclassification.
- At gun point?  Sounds to me like the Tier III is the appropriate tier for this man, if all this is true.  Also, how ironic, the news media gets the typical worst case, or a bad case, and shows that to make it seem like that is the norm, or to further demonize sex offenders.

"They classified me as a repeat or habitual offender, someone who seeks out victims, which isn't true," _____ said recently from his home in north Mansfield. In 2008, Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese agreed, ruling that a retroactive reclassification of _____'s status was wrong.

The reclassification changed _____'s registration requirements. But it also meant notification cards would be sent to everyone within a mile radius of his Burns Street home, and the same thing would happen every time he moved.

After the state appealed DeWeese's ruling in _____'s case, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a stay in December, which returned him to Tier 1 status until justices hand down a formal opinion, which could come at any time.

Currently unemployed, _____ worked at StarTek, the Mansfield telemarketing firm, until he was fired over the conviction last June amid a wave of firings of employees with criminal records there.
- This is the problem, nobody wants to hire a sex offender, even if the job has nothing to do with kids.  So therefore they become homeless and jobless, and then the state expects them to pay all the insane fees?

"As of now, it's pretty hard to find work," _____ said.

He insists that what's past is past, and says classifying him in Tier III cheapens the value of a registry that, in the end, he would support.

"It's like the boy who cried wolf," _____ said. "Someone's going to be a predator for real, but (the public) will think that everyone's a predator, and then something will really happen."

Factoring in the VOA

Officials here say another factor contributing somewhat to the county's high offender count is the local joint enforcement effort.

Lt. Dino Sgambellone, commander of the METRICH special enforcement unit, said local detectives handling sex-related crimes are very busy.

For more than two decades, those detectives also have cooperated with Richland County Children Services when it comes to juvenile sex crimes, conducting joint investigations and sharing information.

A former Children Services investigator, Carrie Benham-Daniel, is director of the Mansfield Volunteers of America. She also attributed the county's high rate to the teamwork of investigators.

"They're all very good at what they do," Benham-Daniel said.

Still, others question the outcome at the other end of the legal process -- once those caught, convicted and imprisoned are released to parole or probation.

Messer, Mansfield's long-time police chief, is one of many local law enforcement people who contend that despite Volunteers of America's claims to the contrary, the state-contracted agency also is a factor in the high number of offenders living here.

"The sex offender population grew dramatically when they opened," Messer said. "If they're here for a year of treatment and they establish contacts here and they're comfortable in the community, they could stay."

Sgambellone agreed, adding that because many of the offenders undergo treatment in Mansfield, many stick around once their term at the halfway house is over.

Volunteers of America houses 58 Tier III offenders. "There's a lot of them," Sgambellone said.

Benham-Daniel said employees there work hard to make sure offenders do not stay in the area. She said numerous safeguards were built into the system to ensure offenders who leave the facility also leave the county.
- They have to stay somewhere, and that is why the halfway house had so many.  Where do you expect them to stay?  If everyone passed laws so they were "not in my backyard," then where would they stay?

"When they walk in the door, their (probation or parole officer) and myself make sure they know they have to go back to their county of conviction or residence," Benham-Daniel said. "They just don't leave here and we don't know."

Up to a quarter of the 58 offenders there can come from anywhere in Ohio; the rest come from a wide 19-county radius. And while Volunteers of America and parole authority officials have offenders on post-release control sign agreements stating they'll return to the county they came from, neither these agencies nor law enforcement can force offenders to live up to those agreements.

DeWeese, through whose courtroom many local sex-crime cases pass, recently said once offenders complete post-release control, they can stay in Mansfield, regardless of where they've come from.

"There's no way to make them go anywhere else," he said.

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln

Jane Velez-Mitchell - Online Predators (Run for your lives!!!!!)

Jane is nothing more than another Nancy Disgrace, IMO. Just listen to the sensationalism in her voice and the show. It's like the old circus announcers!

She also mentions they are searching for "solutions!" Listen to the show, and tell me what "solutions" they came up with, if any!

Also, they talk about cyber-bullying, but failed to mention the online bullying done by Perverted-Justice, wonder why that is. See here for only one example.

Playlist Link

Transcript - 02/12/2010 (Link)

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln

VA - Bill further restricts sex offenders

Original Article

We all know this is a lie. This law would affect ALL sex offenders, not just those who harmed a child. Do you really think they are going to spend their time figuring out which sex offenders have to obey this law and those that do not?


By Shawn Day

The measure would bar those who committed crimes involving juveniles from living within 500 feet of places children frequent.

RICHMOND -- Legislation that would further limit where sex offenders can live and expand the list of convictions that activate those restrictions has drawn the ire of civil libertarians and advocates of reforming those laws.

Still, Del. Clifford "Clay" Athey, the sponsor of the bill, believes toughening existing laws is a necessary step "to protect the most vulnerable citizens."
- So how tight are you going to make the noose?

If enacted, Athey's House Bill 1004 (PDF) would bar individuals ordered to register as sex offenders for crimes involving a juvenile victim from living within 500 feet of multiple places children are known to frequent.
- Yeah right, this will affect all sex offenders, not just those who have harmed children, watch and see. I know it says children, but just watch!

It would add school bus stops, community parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, public pools and private, parochial and Christian schools to state law, which applies to day care centers, public schools and adjoining public parks.

The Front Royal Republican's bill would also restrict a wider of range of sex offenders.
- Yep, like I said!

Under current law, only those convicted of serious offenses -- rape, sodomy or object sexual penetration coupled with crimes such as abduction and malicious wounding -- against certain minors face residency restrictions.

There were 16,238 offenders registered as of Dec. 1, according to the Virginia State Police.

The lawmaker's stricter proposal worries American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (Contact) Executive Director Kent Willis.

"It's one thing to limit someone's mobility, to prevent them from going to certain places," Willis said. "It's another thing to restrict where they actually live ... There are real legal constitutional questions involved in such a restriction."

Other residency bills passed in Nebraska, Missouri and Indiana were later ruled unconstitutional, he added.

Athey, an attorney by trade, said he has taken those concerns into account. His legislation could withstand a court challenge, he said.

The lawmaker said he narrowly defined his proposal to target those who have abused children.

"The unique nature of these types of crimes tips the balance towards increasing this sort of scrutiny," Athey said.

In 2007, he introduced a bill to lengthen the residency buffer between sex offenders and children to 1,000 feet. It passed the House of Delegates but did not clear the Senate.

Mary Devoy, of Reform Sex Offender Laws of Virginia, said that although the bill is different from the one drafted three years ago, it still has negative consequences for those listed on the registry.

She said Athey's bill, if passed, would lead to more homeless sex offenders.

"The purpose of the registry was to list the most dangerous violent repeat offenders. That's not what it's become," Devoy said.

Instead, nonviolent offenders, including teenagers and adults who send explicit messages via cellphone, can find themselves listed alongside rapists.

And they'll also have a difficult time finding a place to live if the bill passes, she added.

Even if sex offenders don't have a roof, a bill filed by Charlottesville Republican Del. Rob Bell would clarify that they must register where they reside.

Another Bell bill would ban certain sex offenders from being within 100 feet of any children's museum in the state.

And a measure from Del. Sal Iaquinto, R-Virginia Beach, would add language to the law code clarifying ambiguities about when offenders are required to register.

As of Friday, each of those measures was on track to pass in the House alongside Athey's legislation.

Regardless of the final outcome this year, Athey said he considers improving sex offender legislation important, and he will continue to advance such bills.
- Of course he does, it gets him the brownie points and votes he may need.

Although they may have noble intentions, Willis said lawmakers who back legislation that further penalizes sex offenders "tend to ... react by their emotions and react in a politically opportunistic way. That's the unfortunate trap that sex offender laws fall into."

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln