Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NY - Queensbury officials alarmed by many sex offenders in one motel (Media Vigilantism)

Original Article

The very laws idiotic politicians continue to pass, is what is causing offenders to congregate near one another. The residency restrictions make it so there is very little places an offender can live, so it's only obvious, to those with half a brain, that this clustering would occur. Now, in typical knee-jerk reaction, they are wanting more laws so this doesn't occur, thereby creating homelessness, watch and see.



QUEENSBURY -- Town officials plan to look into whether they can enact a sex offender notification law after learning that, as of Tuesday, as many as 14 registered sex offenders were living in a motel on Big Boom Road.
- So, this new proposed law, will do nothing except force the offenders underground, and into homelessness, it's been done all across the country.

Supervisor Dan Stec said he planned to ask the Town Board to look into a law similar to the one being proposed in Lake Luzerne and the one enacted in Colonie, limiting the number of sex offenders that can stay in a motel or hotel and requiring motel owners to register with the town, pay a fee and post a notice if housing registered sex offenders.
- Post a notice?  Wow, so you are basically making it so that offenders won't be able to live there, period!  No motel owner is going to want to post such a sign, so they will just not allow offenders into the building, thus creating a new homeless population!

Stec's comments came after he was told The Post-Star found that as many as 14 registered sex offenders, all men, are living at the Best Inn Motel. The motel has about 48 rooms.

Two of the men told a reporter the sex offenders were placed in the motel by the Warren County Department of Social Services, and that the Department of Social Services also puts families there for temporary housing,

A search of the motel's address - 24 Big Boom Road - on the Offender Watch website, lists 14 registered sex offenders at that address. The Warren County Sheriff's Office contracts with Offender Watch to inform the public about the whereabouts of registered sex offenders.

Eight of the 14 are Level 3 offenders, determined to be at the highest risk of re-offending. Six Level 2 offenders are also listed at that address. Information about Level 1 offenders is not public.
- So? Even the most dangerous have to live somewhere!

A review of public sex offender records at 16 other motels in the region that house clients from county departments of social services found no more than three registered sex offenders listed at any of one address.

The Budget Inn in Moreau had three listed at its address, while Rodeway Inn in Queensbury, Madden Hotel in Glens Falls and Crest Inn in Moreau had two. Several others had one.

The Post-Star began looking into the issue last week, when a reader contacted the paper after receiving a notice from the Queensbury Union Free School District saying that five Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders had recently moved into the Best Inn Motel. The reader said he called the motel, and was told the notice was not accurate.
- Yep, the public is fueling the fire, and the media vigilantes go along with it.  Like I said, they have to live somewhere!

A reporter who called the Best Inn on Tuesday morning without identifying himself and spoke with owner Paresh Patel was also told the notice was inaccurate.

The reporter also attempted to interview Patel in person later Tuesday after speaking with two of the registered sex offenders in their rooms, and Patel again said the school notice sent out by the Sheriff's Office was wrong.

He said no sex offenders were staying in the motel, but when shown a list of names from the Offender Watch website, he said he was not aware of the background of the residents. Patel pointed to one man on the list - Level 3 offender Eric Larkin - and said he no longer lived there.

When asked if he knew that sex offenders were living in the motel, Patel told a reporter to leave.
- I would as well.  It's not the job of the media to be sex offender vigilantes!

One of the sex offenders interviewed Tuesday said he had been living there for three weeks and another said he had been there for nearly three months after being placed there by the Warren County Department of Social Services.

One of the men, a Level 3 offender who spoke on condition his name not be published, said he understood that 16 registered sex offenders were living at the motel.

Convicted six years ago of misdemeanor sexual misconduct, the man said he had been at the motel since early February, after losing his apartment when he was charged with misdemeanor assault. He said was trying to get out of the motel but hadn't been able to find an apartment.

Level 2 sex offender _____, a state prison parolee who shares a room with a Level 3 sex offender, said he has told friends who have contemplated staying at the motel not to stay there because of the number of sex offenders.

"The Department of Social Services puts families with kids here. It's ridiculous," he said.

_____ said he has tried to find an apartment, but has been hindered by the Saratoga County law that bans sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, park or day care center.

He said he works and pays the motel's $250-a-week room rent himself.

Stec said he was unaware that a motel in town, just off Northway Exit 18, housed that many sex offenders.

"You have to wonder whether this is some sort of cottage industry situation," he said.
- Give me a break!  Where the hell do you expect them to live? The laws being passed by politicians, are what is causing offenders to cluster together.

He said he had read about the proposed law in Lake Luzerne, and had wondered whether Queensbury should explore such a statute, even before learning of the Best Inn situation.

He said his main concern is for families getting off the Northway to stay at the motel without knowing who the other long-term residents are.

"The public has a right to know this, and I think the public would be furious if they knew this was going on," he said. "I think the father getting off the Northway with his kids for the night would want to know if there are sex offenders living there."
- Show me the law which says the public has a right to know who lives around them!

"If it's once in a blue moon that's one thing, but when it's this many living there long-term, that's an increased level of risk."

Stec also said he had concerns about the county's potential liability from grouping sex offenders in one place.

Warren County Department of Social Services Commissioner Sheila Weaver did not return phone calls on the issue and would not meet with a reporter who went to her office Tuesday afternoon.

Warren County Sheriff's Patrol Officer Paul Wells, who is in charge of the agency's sex offender registry, did not respond to inquiries about the issue Tuesday, either.

The motel, which was formerly the Susse Chalet, is part of the America's Best Inn chain, according to its website.

Michael Brown, a manager at the chain's headquarters in Georgia, said Tuesday that he was unaware of the sex offender issue at the motel and said he would speak to the owner about it.

The issue is not the first that Patel has had with sex offenders at one of his motels.

He also operates Graylynn Motel in Moreau, where in 2008 the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office removed a registered sex offender who was living there, because the motel is too close to a preschool.

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

GA - Sex Offender Woes

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

NY - Woman who falsely accused man of rape, sending him to prison for 4 years, gets 1-3 years jail

Original Article
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So the man spent almost 4 years in prison, so why is she getting only 1 to 3 years? Why not the same amount of time he served?


By Rich Schapiro

A 27-year-old mother who falsely accused a man of rape - sending him to prison for nearly four years - was sentenced to one to three years behind bars yesterday.

"What happened in this case is one of the worst things that can happen in our criminal justice system," Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Charles Solomon said before shipping Biurny Peguero off to prison.

Peguero pleaded guilty to perjury last August, admitting that her claim of rape against _____ was fabricated.

_____, a Bronx contractor, was released from prison four months later.

"To Mr. _____, I am aware that nothing I can do or say can bring back the years he spent in jail," Peguero, a mother of two young sons, said prior to her sentencing.

"I want him to know that I will carry this guilt for the rest of my life, and words cannot describe how deeply sorry I am."

In court papers filed by her lawyers, Peguero said she was too drunk to remember the night of the alleged attack in September 2005 so she came to believe her lie.

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

DC - Breaking a Law…That Doesn’t Exist Yet

Original Article


By Krista Gesaman

Why the Supreme Court should overturn the retroactive application of a sex-offender statute.

In 2003 _____ was arrested in Alabama for inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl over her clothes. He pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse, was jailed, and after receiving credit for time previously served, was released from prison in July 2004. In compliance with Alabama law, he registered as a sex offender three days after his release. Several months later _____ moved to Ft. Wayne, Ind. But _____ didn't escape trouble for long. In July 2007 he was arrested again for involvement in a fight.

When authorities checked _____'s criminal history, they discovered that he had previously committed a sex offense and was not registered as a sex offender under Indiana state law or the federal statute called the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). _____ was clearly in violation of Indiana law, but claims he shouldn't be subject to punishment under SORNA, a law that went into effect more than a year after he moved to Indiana and three years after committing the sex offense. Under Indiana law, sex offenders who fail to register with the state within 10 days are subject to a year in prison, but SORNA requires sex offenders to register three days after they move, and failure to comply in time can result in up to 10 years behind bars.

"It was impossible for _____ to take into account what the [federal] law was because it didn't exist [when he committed the crime]," says Jonathan Marcus, an attorney representing the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, an organization supporting _____'s position. "He didn't have notice."

By 1996 every state and the District of Columbia had enacted a sex-offender registration law. Ten years later the federal government decided to weave together these varying state laws to create the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which includes SORNA. Now the Supreme Court is left to unravel exactly what the statute means. The language at issue states that a crime is committed by someone who "travels in interstate or foreign commerce" and fails to register as a sex offender within the prescribed time period. If the court decides to read the word "travels" to mean "future travel," _____ could not be prosecuted under the federal law because he moved to Indiana a year before the statute was enacted. In a case similar to _____'s, the Tenth Circuit determined that SORNA should only cover sex offenders who violate the law after it was enacted.

But in a strange twist, the Seventh Circuit came to an entirely different conclusion. It determined that although Congress wrote "travels" in the statute, it actually meant to write "traveled." The Seventh Circuit relied on previous case law to support its position that Congress's use of tenses "is not very revealing," and reasserted that "the present tense is commonly used to refer to past, present, and future all at the same time." Subsequently, people like _____ could have violated the law when they traveled out of state, even before SORNA's existence.

Legal scholars agree that the Supreme Court will have likely little compassion for _____, but assert that the legal ramifications of this case could have an adverse precedential impact. "I think there is often a mistake made in the public that because it involves sex offenders, they should lose and it's not an important issue for the rest of society," says Corey Rayburn Yung, law professor at John Marshall Law School and author of the Sex Crimes blog.

The ex post facto clause of Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution is designed to prevent the legislature from punishing individuals for things that had been done prior to the passage of a law. "Just think about it in terms of olden days when a king could suddenly banish everyone who wore red the day before," Yung explains. "It's a basic right to know what the law is ahead of time so you can abide by it. But a statute like SORNA is actually a retroactive piece of legislation that one might not know they have violated."

Some legal scholars speculate that enacting SORNA was the federal government's way of usurping power from the states to more harshly punish sex offenders. "The state laws work," Yung says. "For the federal government to take over cases merely because someone passes between states seems wrong. At that point, why even have state criminal laws?" Essentially, the federal government could claim to have jurisdiction over specific issues when individuals cross state lines at any point in their lives. "It's a genuine threat to the liberty of citizens," he adds.

_____'s defense attorneys aren't advocating for him to walk out of the courthouse without serving any prison time, acknowledging that he violated Indiana's law, but arguing that the federal law shouldn't apply.

Yung is pessimistic that the Supreme Court will rule in _____'s favor. "The court isn't sympathetic to criminals, and they're even less sympathetic to sex offenders," he says. But legal scholars are concerned about the broader-sweeping legal issue, the fact that the Constitution should apply equally to everyone. If the court allows disfavored groups of society to be punished by retroactive laws, who will be punished next?

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

FL - Five years after Jessica Lunsford's killing, legislators rethink sex offender laws

Original Article


By John Frank

TALLAHASSEE — The brutal killing of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford five years ago Wednesday fueled the creation of a boogeyman in Florida politics: the sex offender.

The designation carries loaded significance in the legislative process, and efforts each year to restrict the freedoms of sex offenders win broad support. This year is no different with proposed measures to require background checks on athletic coaches and forbid some sexual offenders from using the Internet.

But now — after time, a trial and the killer's death have dissolved the zeal that spurred the Jessica Lunsford Act in 2005 — a number of lawmakers are rethinking how the state monitors sex offenders and whether current laws are really making children safer.

"The emotion and publicity and political science that comes into play after a horrific situation tends to create an overreaction," said Rep. Mike Weinstein (Contact), R-Jacksonville, a prosecutor.

The public knew Jessica as a Citrus County third-grader with a cute smile and a pink hat. Convicted sex offender John Couey, who unbeknownst to local authorities lived across the street, confessed to kidnapping, raping and burying her alive in a shallow grave about 100 yards from her home.

The law named in her honor ordered more electronic monitoring and registration of sex offenders, tougher prison sentences, and background checks for people who work at schools. The effort spread nationwide to more than 30 states with the help of her father, Mark Lunsford, a truck driver turned activist.

The attention also propelled city and county officials in Florida to implement tougher barriers prohibiting sex offenders from living or working near schools, playgrounds, bus stops and churches.

Combined with the Jimmy Ryce Act in 1998, which permitted the civil commitment of sexual predators for life, the efforts made Florida among the most restrictive states in the nation.

But recent studies and state statistics show that the fear that propelled the laws doesn't match reality.

"Across the country, studies are not showing that changes in sex crime rates can be attributed to those policies," said Dr. Jill Levenson, a professor at Lynn University in Boca Raton who studies sex offenders. "Sex crimes against children are on the downslide — but since the 1990s."

The number of people on Florida's sex offender registry tops 53,500, an increase of nearly 50 percent in five years. Nationwide, the tally of registered sexual offenders exceeds 700,000.

Even more telling, Florida now spends an additional $36 million a year on sex offender programs. But the number of inmates convicted of sex crimes has held steady in the five years since the Jessica Lunsford Act, according to Department of Corrections statistics.

The laws also have created unintended consequences. The restrictions on where sex offenders can reside made hundreds homeless and prompted dozens in Miami to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. And the requirements to register those convicted of lewd crimes put the sex offender label on people who authorities don't deem a threat.

"There is no empirical support that restrictions on where sex offenders live prevents sexual abuse or reoffending," said Levenson, a clinical social worker. "Not every person who commits a sex crime is a predatory pedophile."

This is the message Jennifer Dritt, a leading victims advocate at the state Capitol, preaches. As executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (Contact), Dritt supported tougher restrictions on sex offenders. But she said the lesson from the Jessica Lunsford case was misunderstood. Most sexual offenders are not strangers across the street. The overwhelming majority are those with familial authority.

"In a positive vein, (Jessica's case) really raised awareness of sexual offender management issues," Dritt said. "But I think it also sponsored a lot of knee-jerk reactions."

Some lawmakers are starting to agree.

State Rep. Rich Glorioso (Contact), R-Plant City, is sponsoring legislation to revamp Florida's sex offender laws by implementing a "circle of safety" to protect children instead of strong residency restrictions on sexual offenders. The main provision of the bill (HB119) would prohibit sexual offenders from loitering within 300 feet of locations where children are present.

"Sometimes we focus on where those people live," Glorioso said. "Where they are sleeping last night really isn't the issue. It's what they are doing when they are awake."

He said he wants to protect children but readily acknowledges the problems in the existing laws. "These people, whether we like it or not, still have constitutional rights," he said. "I don't want to infringe upon their rights, but I don't want to jeopardize my kids either."

Already Glorioso's bill is falling prey to the politics that put current provisions in place.

As originally drafted, the legislation would have pre-empted local residency restrictions on sex offenders, forbidding counties and cities from making barriers tougher than the 1,000-foot standard in state law.

Glorioso said that even though research shows the restrictions don't help, he plans to strike that part of his bill, blaming political opposition.

It's tough for lawmakers to walk the fine line.

"I think after a period of time you have to determine whether it's working the way you designed it to work," said Ron Book, a prominent lobbyist whose daughter was a victim of sexual abuse. But, he added, "nobody wants to read a piece of mail in a campaign that they have somehow lessened child safety laws."

Rep. Adam Fetterman (Contact), D-Port St. Lucie, embodies the difficulty of legislation so closely tied to emotional crimes. His wife was abused as a child, and he is pushing a measure to limit sex offenders access to the Internet if they used a computer to commit a sex crime.

"I don't want there to be a boogeyman, but for too long we refused to accept the number of children … who have been victims of sexual abuse," said Fetterman, a lawyer.

But he also thinks the existing laws need a tweak to make them more effective. "I think the Legislature passes all kinds of laws that haven't been well thought out because of political reasons," he said.

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

OK - Police Track Okla. Sex Offenders (Run for your lives........)

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

OH - More kids on registry; fewer being labeled

Original Article



Every year, more teens are added to Ohio's sex offender registry, slapped with labels that will follow them past their 18th birthday and mark them as potential threats to their neighbors.

But if teen sex offenders are indeed dangerous, how come they're being locked up far less often than in the past?

The answer may be a 2008 law that was designed to crack down on sex offenders, but may have the opposite effect when it comes to juveniles.

Data from the Ohio Attorney General's Office (Contact) and the Department of Youth Services (Contact) shows that for every two juveniles made to register for the first time in 2008 and 2007, one kid was locked up for a sex offense.

However, last year, only 88 minors were locked up for sex offenses while 290 entered Ohio's registry network. The overall population in Ohio's juvenile prisons has declined as well, but the percentage of inmate youths committed for sex offenses is at its lowest in at least five years.

In 2006, 193 juveniles were placed into custody for a sex crime. Admissions for rape numbered 120 that year. The vast majority were not forcible sexual assaults, but sex acts between two teens where one of the parties was younger than the age of consent, or 13.

Last year, 50 of the 88 lockups were for rape, a 240 percent decrease in that offense from three years earlier. The number of age of consent rapes by teens dropped from 72 in 2006 to 34 in 2009.

This is despite Ohio's implementation in 2008 of the Adam Walsh Act, the federal government's uniform policy on sexual offender registry. Or maybe because of it, according to some in the judicial system.

The Adam Walsh Act requires anyone 16 or older who is convicted of a sex crime to be added to the state's sex offender registry. As a result, some judges and prosecutors are changing charges to avoid registration requirements they say are too harsh to be applied uniformly to every juvenile.

Usually, that means "sex" disappears from the sex crimes.

For example, a sexual imposition charge can turn into an assault because both deal with unwanted contact. Or a pandering obscenity allegation for "sexting" -- sending lewd images of minors with a cell phone -- can morph into a charge that punishes the teen for using a cell phone in a criminal act.

"There are lots of charges that capture the essence of what you're seeing without putting the extra word in that says, 'This is sex'," said Judge Steven Michael of the Jackson County Juvenile/Probate Court.

But even convictions for a sex offense in the lowest tier -- Tier I -- can be a way to avoid teenage transgressions following offenders into adulthood.

The law allows for judges to lower classification after a juvenile's incarceration or probation is completed. So if a judge designates a teen a Tier I offender and orders him to complete six months of probation, the label can be removed a half-year later. If they're still under 18 at that point, the teen successfully avoids inclusion on the online, publicly accessed registry.

A snapshot of the registry database in each of the last three Decembers shows that the ranks of Tier I offenders have grown significantly. In December 2007, the state attorney general's office was watching 148 teens in that lesser designation. By Dec. 15, 2009, the state had 290 Tier I teens to monitor. The number of teens who committed more serious sex crimes has trended only slightly upward.

Richland County Assistant Prosecutor Bambi Couch Page, who handles many of the department's sex crime cases, said there are cases where the consequences of giving a juvenile a sex offender label that lasts into adulthood might be the wrong thing to do.

Defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges "don't necessarily want this person at age 14, 15, 16 stuck in these categories that have a lifelong effect," Page said. "There has been a whole lot of maneuvering in the juvenile system."

Michael, who also is president of the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges, said the law, if applied to the letter, would cost good kids who exercised bad judgment a chance to fully realize their potential as productive citizens.

"(A teen's) judgment is being formed during those years and they're going to make some stupid decisions," he said. "I think that's why you're starting to see prosecutors and judges and players in the system having a real conversation around what we are really seeing. Is this someone a sex offender? A dangerous person that we really do need to make other people aware of?"

Counselors are learning more about how to treat child sex offenders every day. They are not lost causes who need to be branded and kept away from other kids, said Penny Wyman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies.

Counseling for juveniles with sexual behavior issues is far more successful than it is for adults.

A 2006 report by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers stated that with appropriate short-term outpatient treatment, juvenile sex offenders are at no greater risk to commit another sex offense than any other child receiving mental health assistance.
- The same applies to adults.

The Adam Walsh Act was crafted with the best intentions, but may be creating a second set of victims, Wyman said. If teens aren't a danger to others, she said, they shouldn't be labeled as sex offenders well into adulthood.

A well-publicized example is sexting, which would be legally construed as the felony charge of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

"Sexting opens the doorway for virtually every teenager in America to become a sex offender," Wyman said.

Legislators say sexting wasn't something that was anticipated when the law was drafted.

Maggie Ostrowski, spokeswoman for State Sen. Bill Harris (Email), R-Ashland, said the Walsh Act was designed to protect kids from repeat sex offenders. Its application to child offenders should be up to the officials closest to the cases, despite the rigidity of the law for 16- and 17-year-olds.

"In his view, it's important to give our prosecutors the flexibility to prosecute cases and to accept pleas given the facts and circumstances of each case," Ostrowski said.
- That should be done in adult cases as well.

A bill was introduced in April by Cincinnati-area Rep. Ron Maag (Email), R-Salem Township, to reduce sexting by teens to a first-degree misdemeanor.

At its heart, the Adam Walsh Act and its predecessors -- the Jacob Wetterling Act and Megan's Law -- are designed to protect children. Each is named after a victimized child.

Michael said that laws crafted in the spirit of protecting our most vulnerable can go too far because of their near-universal appeal.

Supporting sex offender legislation, or any law that purports to be tough on crime, rarely hurts re-election prospects, lawmakers said.

"I'm not familiar with anyone ever losing an election because they were too tough on crime," said Rep. Dan Dodd (Contact), D-Newark. "You're not going to lose support by going too far ... sometimes that does create bad law."

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

MD - Sex offender laws supported

Original Article


By Greg Latshaw

Police, lawmakers meet to fix legislation gaps; Conway, Mathias bills garner praise

SALISBURY -- The grisly murder of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell of Salisbury has exposed gaps in Maryland's sex offender laws that police, prosecutors and state and federal lawmakers want to fix with new legislation this year.

On Monday, a group of them teamed up to discuss how to stop sexual predators in a meeting at the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office. Delegate Norman Conway (Email), D-38B-Wicomico, has introduced bills to the General Assembly that would make it tougher for sex offenders to get pretrial release and increase the age of what constitutes a child victim from 13 to 15 years old. Conway and Delegate Jim Mathias (Email), D-38B-Worcester, have also introduced a bill that would increase interstate information sharing so law enforcement knows of a high-risk offender's criminal history in a different state.

"Laws are a constant evolutionary process. We try to pass laws that fill those gaps," U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil (Contact), a former state's attorney who is now the Eastern Shore's congressman, told the media following Monday's meeting.
- So they wait until a crime is committed or someone is hurt, before they pass laws, instead of thinking ahead of time?  Anyway, no matter how many laws they pass, it will not stop a criminal from committing a crime, if that is their intention.

The closed-door meeting brought together an array of individuals who play a part in making laws or enforcing them. Joining Kratovil were Conway and Mathias, Wicomico County State's Attorney Davis Ruark, County Sheriff Mike Lewis, interim Salisbury Police Chief Ivan Barkley and Maryland State Police Salisbury Barrack Commander Lt. Ernie Leatherbury.
- So where were the civil and human rights people?  Or the experts who treat sex offenders?  Law enforcement and politicians are always biased, IMO, they should have talked with REAL experts!

"I've tried to stay in touch with law enforcement through the State's Attorney's Office. These are the folks on the front line of this," Conway said.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the raft of sex offender legislation introduced this year. The measures, which are needed to bring the state in line with the federal government's Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, go beyond Mathias and Conway's bills. The legislation would increase information sharing, require offenders to provide more personal information and maybe require lifetime supervision for the most serious offenders.

"These are very strong proposals. They will strengthen what we need to be stronger in law enforcement," Lewis said Monday.

Ruark said a perennial concern for prosecutors are cases in which high-risk offenders are released from jail before their trial date. Ruark commended Conway's pretrial release bill, House Bill 1046, which would primarily do two things. First, it would require that a criminal's RAP (Record of Arrest and Prosecution) sheet clearly states his or her history as a sex offender. Second, it would prohibit District Court commissioners from granting pretrial release to registered sex offenders, reserving the authority to judges of the Circuit Court.

"From my perspective, it raises the element of public safety up to the top before individuals are released," Ruark said. "In Maryland rules, public safety is No. 7 out of eight in what judges must consider for pretrial release. No. 1 is a person's flight risk."

Police have charged _____, a 30-year-old registered sex offender in Maryland and Delaware, in Foxwell's death. Ruark said he plans to seek the death penalty against _____, who has also been charged with committing first- and second-degree sex offenses against Foxwell, in addition to murder.

On Christmas Day, police discovered Foxwell's body in a wooded, rural area near Delmar. The autopsy report -- according to Ruark, who won't release the full report -- determined that Foxwell died of multiple injuries.

Conway said _____ shouldn't have been out on the street at the time of Foxwell's abduction. In September, Leggs was charged with burglary in Ocean City after he allegedly broke into a 24-year-old woman's apartment and took off his pants while standing over her bed. However, a District Court commissioner released _____ before his trial date, as the commissioner apparently didn't have access to _____' history of sex offenses and, according to law, dropping pants generally doesn't merit a sexual offense if a person's genitals aren't showing.

Conway said his HB 1046, scheduled for a hearing today in Annapolis, would have informed the District Court commissioner of _____' history and left the decision to release _____ to a judge.

Mathias said Maryland "dropped the ball" in terms of not knowing the severity of _____' sex offenses in Delaware. He and Conway are sponsoring HB 258, which he said would help prevent what happened in the Foxwell case. Delaware listed _____ as a high-risk offender for raping a girl on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, but Maryland law enforcement didn't immediately know about his history.

"God bless Sarah and her family," Mathias said. "We made a commitment that we would not allow Sarah's loss to be in vain."

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