Monday, February 22, 2010

CA - Mayor Gomez charged with sexual battery

Original Article

02/22/2010

By JESSICA CEJNAR

BARSTOW - Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez (Email) was formally charged with misdemeanor sexual battery Monday by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office.

Gomez is accused of touching an intimate part of an unidentified woman Dec. 18, “for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse,” according to the complaint.

Gomez could face a fine of up to $2,000 and a six-month jail sentence if convicted, said Steve Sinfield, the deputy district attorney trying the case. Gomez would also have to register as a sex offender.

Sinfield declined to explain the circumstances behind the charges at this time.

Gomez has not been arrested. His arraignment is scheduled for April 9 in San Bernardino. Sinfield didn’t know who Gomez’s defense attorney is.
- Has not been arrested? Why not?  The average citizen would be.

The district attorney’s office made the sexual battery investigation against Gomez public in January. The alleged incident occurred in the unincorporated Barstow area.

City Manager Richard Rowe and the city attorney had discussed the allegations with the mayor before they became public. However, Rowe declined to comment on the issue Monday, saying it’s a personal matter for the mayor.
- Of course it's a personal matter, but when John or Jane Q. Public is charged with the same, they are arrested and thrown in jail immediately!

City Councilmember Tim Saenz and Mayor Pro Tem Julie Hackbarth McIntyre hadn’t heard about the charges brought against the mayor and had no comment.

Councilmember Willie Hailey Sr., who defended Gomez at a City Council meeting Feb. 1, said he felt for the mayor’s family.

It’s a sad day for Barstow and a sad day for the Gomez family,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to comment further.

Gomez addressed the public at the Feb. 1 City Council meeting, saying the allegations were false and declared his intent to defend himself. Gomez didn’t return calls for comment Monday.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


ID - Boise man files lawsuit over sex offender label

Original Article

02/22/2010

TWIN FALLS - A Boise man designated a violent sexual predator in 2001 has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the state in the wake of an Idaho Supreme Court ruling that such designations were made with a lack of due process for offenders.

The Idaho Department of Corrections stopped making the designations after the court's decision last year but has retained the designation applied to offenders before justices made their ruling. And violent sexual predator information is still being published through law enforcement.

One of those offenders with the violent sexual predator designation was _____, 56, whose designation was vacated in 4th District Court following the Supreme Court ruling involving a different sexual offender.

Then, on Feb. 4, _____ filed his $5 million lawsuit against the state in U.S. District Court, arguing he was damaged by the violent sexual predator designation that the high court ruled has constitutional flaws.

"In our view, there are significant constitutional shortcomings in the statutory procedure as a result of the lack of procedural due process afforded (to) an offender," the high court decision reads.

In the lawsuit, _____'s attorney, Jacob Deaton, said "Mr. _____ now seeks to recover damages, in the amount of $5,000,000, that he suffered by the unconstitutional designation."

Jeff Ray, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Corrections, told The Times-News the agency has suspended issuing new violent sexual predator labels until a new process is developed.

"A proposal is expected to be ready for consideration by the 2011 Legislature," Ray said.

He declined to comment on the lawsuit.

_____ was convicted of sexual battery of a minor in Ada County in 2001, and for attempted communication with a minor for immoral purposes out of King County, Wash.

Idaho has online registries that have 52 listings for violent sexual predators throughout the state.

The violent sexual predator designation was intended to identify high-risk offenders, according to state rules: "A sexual offender shall be designated as a VSP if his risk of re-offending sexually or threat of violence is of sufficient concern to warrant the designation for the safety of the community."

Former Twin Falls resident _____, 34, challenged the designation, leading to the Idaho Supreme Court ruling last year. _____ cites that case in his $5 million lawsuit against the state.

Kathy Baird, management assistant for the Sexual Offender Classification Board, defended the state's use of the designation.

"The _____ decision did not nullify the VSP designation, so anyone who was previously designated as a VSP is still considered as such," she said. "Every time a VSP moves or reregisters with the sheriff's office, his picture and address is published in the newspaper."


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


MD - Groups to oppose proposed sex offender bills

Original Article

02/22/2010

Sex offenders have been a hot topic in Annapolis this session, with a number of bills submitted and Gov. Martin O'Malley (Contact) reactivating an advisory board. But several groups plan to oppose the bills Tuesday at a House of Delegates judiciary committee hearing. I'm ripping this straight from the press release I just recieved from the Justice Policy Institute:

Annapolis, MD – Representatives from the Justice Policy Institute (JPI); American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland (Contact); the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (Contact); the National Juvenile Justice Network (Contact) (NJJN), the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Office of the Ohio Public Defender (Contact) will testify Tuesday, February 23 before the Judicial Committee of the Maryland Assembly, as the Committee considers a host of bills aimed at increasing penalties and post-incarceration requirements for people convicted of sex offenses. In particular, some bills will expand Maryland’s sex offender registries to come into compliance with the controversial federal Adam Walsh Act, which requires states to include many youth on registries. Other bills would limit employment, living, civic and other opportunities for people who have been convicted of a registerable offense.

WHAT: Hearing by the Judicial Committee of the Maryland Assembly on numerous bills related to sex offenses

WHO: Various experts on sex offense policies and Maryland advocates, including:

Amy Borror, Public Information Officer, Office of the Ohio Public Defender, to discuss the failure of Ohio’s sex offender policies and registries to improve public safety (while costing that state millions of dollars);

Nicole Pittman, Esq., Juvenile Justice Policy Analyst attorney, Defender Association of Philadelphia, on the negative impacts of sex offender registries on youth;

Sarah Bryer, National Juvenile Justice Network, on developmentally appropriate responses to youth that have committed sex offenses;

Tracy Velázquez, Justice Policy Institute, on the research around what policies are effective in promoting public safety, and collateral consequences to youth and adults of registration and other punitive policies;

Cindy Boersma, ACLU of Maryland, on the threat of juvenile registries to public safety and the importance of focusing sex offender management on effective prevention and deterrence rather than stigmatization.

Laurel Albin, Esq., Maryland Office of the Public Defender, on the dangers of juvenile registries and importance of risk assessment-based sex offender supervision.

WHEN: 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WHERE: Maryland House of Delegates, Judiciary Committee Room, Six Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


Abolish Retroactive Application of Sex Offender Registration (SIGN THE PETITION)

View the article here

11/24/2009

To: The President of the United States, The U.S. Senate and The U.S. House

Started by: Citizens For Change, America

All across the United States, countless thousands of families are being torn apart by unconstitutional lawmaking which began when in 2007, Alberto Gonzales the then Attorney General made the Adam Walsh Act Retroactive thereby violating the Constitutional Ban on Ex Post Facto Law.

This action has been devastating to not only the lives of ex-sex offenders who have been living clean, law abiding and productive lives in society for decades, but also this action is devastating, ostracizing, humiliating and counter productive to the lives of the Children, Grand Children and husbands and Wives of these Ex Offenders.

Article 1, Section 9 of the United States Constitution:

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Furthermore, Each and All 50 states have this very same section in their State Constitutions.

The United States Supreme Court in 2003 stated in Smith v Doe that the ex post facto application of these Sex Offender Registration Laws was not Punitive in nature, but civil and regulatory intent.

I stress, hundreds of new laws are bing passed since that decision which target anyone who wears the label, Sex Offender and though the intent of the retroactive application of this law may have been civil and regulatory, the effect has become criminal and punishment.

Thousands of lives of citizens who have lived clean, productive and law abiding lives for decades are not on the registries and being monitored at tax payer expense. These people are no threat to society and have proven so for decades.

Drunk drivers kill 18 thousand people a year, but nobody is creating retroactive laws, online drunk driver registry and shaming to homelessness those who kill while drunk. 18 thousand deaths a year!

Entire SORNA Debate | SORNA Highlights | Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


Predicting Relapse: A meta-Analysis of Sexual Offender Recidivism Studies

Original Article

Click the link above for the entire study.

1998

Abstract:
Evidence from 61 follow-up studies was examined to identify the factors most strongly related to recidivism among sexual offenders. On average, the sexual offense recidivism rate was low (13,4%; n=23,393). There were, however, subgroups of offenders who recidivated at high rates. Sexual offense recidivism was best predicted by measures of sexual deviancy (e.g., deviant sexual preferences, prior sexual offenses) and, to a lesser extent, by general criminological factors (e.g., age, total prior offenses). Those offenders who failed to complete treatment were at higher risk for re-offending than those who completed treatment. The predictors of nonsexual violent recidivism and general (any) recidivism were similar to those predictors found among nonsexual criminals (e.g., prior violent offenses, age, juvenile delinquency). Our results suggest that applied risk assessments of sexual offenders should consider separately the offender's risk for sexual and nonsexual recidivism.


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


OFF TOPIC - CA - State considers registry for animal abusers

Original Article

02/21/2010

By JESSE McKINLEY

SAN FRANCISCO — California may soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.

The proposal, made in a bill introduced Friday by the state Senate’s majority leader with help from an animal-rights group based in Cotati, would be the first of its kind in the country and is just the latest law geared toward animal rights in a state that has recently given new protections to chickens, pigs and cattle.

This is a completely new idea in the realm of animal protection,” said Joyce Tischler, a Petaluma resident who co-founded the Animal Legal Defense Fund in 1979.

Dean Florez, majority leader and a Democrat who is chairman of the Food and Agriculture Committee, said the law would provide information for those who “have animals and want to take care of them,” a broad contingent in California, with its large farming interests and millions of pet owners. Animal protection is also, he said, a rare bipartisan issue in the state, which has suffered bitter partisan finger-pointing in the wake of protracted budget woes.

We have done well with these laws,” he said.

Last fall, California became the first state to outlaw so-called tail-docking of dairy cows, where the tail is partially amputated to ease milking. In 2008, voters in the state passed Proposition 2, which gave hens, calves and pigs more room in their crates or cages. That law has upset many in the California egg industry and prompted some agriculturally minded residents to even talk about seceding from the state.

Under Florez’s bill, any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s offense.

The bill was drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The group, which moved to Sonoma County about 15 years ago from Marin County, has promoted the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes.

People who are abusive to the family pet, are often abusive to the rest of the family too,” Tischler said.

About 12 of the organization’s 20 employees work in the Cotati office. Tischler is a pioneer in the field of animal law and has played a prominent role in the animal rights movement.

In addition to sex offenders, California lists arsonists in an online registry, and the animal abusers would be listed on a similar site, Florez said. Such registries have raised privacy concerns from some civil libertarians, but Joshua Marquis, a member of the defense fund’s board and the district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore., said the worries were unfounded.

Does it turn that person into a pariah? No,” Marquis said. “But it gives information to someone who might be considering hiring that person for a job.”

He added: “I do not think for animal abusers it’s unreasonable considering the risk they pose, much like the risk that people who abuse children do.”
- So then, what about murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders, etc?  They harm children and society as well, so why not put them on a registry as well?

One supporter of the proposed law, Gillian Deegan, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Botetourt County, Va., says such a registry could also be valuable in tracking people who run puppy mills and animal-fighting rings, as well as hoarders, who sometimes collect hundreds of animals, often resulting in neglect.

A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught,” said Deegan, who has written on animal welfare laws. “It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around.”

One Web site — Petabuse.com — already offers a type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes.

Such registries have been introduced in other states, but never passed. In 2008, a similar bill in Tennessee stalled after passing the state Senate.

That legislation was endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, said Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the society.

Pacelle said that the proposed financing mechanism for the California bill, a small tax on pet food, was “an extremely controversial idea” and unpopular with the pet food industry.

Taxes are usually opposed by Republicans in California, and that gives Pacelle doubts about the bill’s prospects.

The idea of that succeeding in this climate in California is not high,” he said.

But the bill’s sponsor, Florez, who recently helped establish an Animal Protection Caucus, which includes Republican members of the state Senate and Assembly, says he is confident that he has the votes to move the measure forward and estimates that the registry would cost less than $1 million to establish. He also said his background — he hails from the farming-friendly Central Valley — will help the cause.

I think people think, well, if Dean is supporting it,” he said, “it can’t be that off the wall.”

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin