Wednesday, March 3, 2010

CA - Sex Offenders Fuel Outrage

I am so sick and tired of the media and politicians putting all sex offenders into one basket and assuming they are all like this man and the less than 5% of the others who commit similar crimes. Over 95% are nothing like this man, and many are NOT a danger to the public, yet all are punished over and over, every time some jerk like this commits a murder! Why do we not punish all other criminals for the crimes of a few? That would only be fair! As long as the media and politicians continue to fear monger and spread lies, instead of facts, then this will only become more and more of an issue, which I'm starting to think they want in the first place. I am also sick and tired of Jake Goldenflame being the spokesman for all sex offenders. Who the hell made you the voice for all sex offenders in the first place Jake? This idiot speaks for himself! I do agree with some things he says, but a lot I do not. Prison has NEVER been about rehabilitation, it's all about locking someone up, forgetting about them, until it's time for them to get out. Anybody who has been there, can tell you this is a fact!

So, we have
John Couey, Ottis Toole, Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., Jesse Timmendequas, Richard Allen Davis, Anothony Sowell, Phillip Garrido, and maybe a couple more.

And we have over 700,000 sex offenders in this country, many kids themselves for stupid stuff like consensual sex or sexting.

I don't think a handful of insane people is the norm, yet those are what make the news for weeks on end, pounding into peoples heads, but not the real facts, as usual!!!


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


MN - Legal scholar warns about Minnesota Sex Offender Program’s failures

Original Article

03/03/2010

By Paul Demko

In 1996, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the state’s law permitting the indeterminate commitment of sexual predators was constitutional. In reaching that determination, then-Chief Justice A.M. “Sandy” Keith stressed that the program was primarily therapeutic rather than punitive.

Specifically, he cited evidence that patients enrolled in the state’s sex offender program could complete the four phases of treatment in a mere 32 months before being released back into society. Keith concluded that the appellant in the case, _____, had not offered any evidence that the treatment program “is a sham, or even that such treatment is ineffective.”

More than 13 years later, there would seem to be abundant evidence that the state’s therapeutic regime is a sham — or at least a failure. Despite the state’s assurance that patients could complete the therapy program in less than three years, not a single person has been released from what eventually became known as the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP).

Consequently, the number of individuals civilly committed at facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter has skyrocketed. In 2000, there were 149 sex offenders enrolled in the program, according to the Department of Human Services, which runs the MSOP. By the end of 2009, the population had risen above 500. Within six years there are expected to be nearly 1,000 individuals committed by the state as sexual predators.
- So you see, civil commitment is just sugar coating for lifetime imprisonment!

The costs associated with the program have grown almost as quickly. Since 2004, the budget for the MSOP has more than tripled, from $20.4 million to $64.8 million. It costs more than four times as much to house someone at the sex offender lock-up as it does to keep them in prison.

The continuous growth of the MSOP has become a point of contentious debate during the current legislative session. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Contact) wants $89 million for a planned expansion of the Moose Lake facility, which is expected to run out of beds within three years. Some Democrats have questioned the wisdom of continuing to pour money into a program that’s failed to produce any results, and the DFL-controlled Legislature didn’t include funding for the projects in the $1 billion bonding bill passed by the House and Senate last month. Pawlenty vowed to veto the measure, in part owing to the lack of funding for the sex offender facility. Democratic House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher used a parliamentary move to keep the bonding bill from reaching Pawlenty, hoping that a “cooling off period” would restart negotiations.

This latest funding debate over the MSOP once again raises questions about the program’s constitutional soundness. If the civil commitment statute was originally approved by the courts based on the premise that it was designed to rehabilitate the state’s most dangerous sexual predators, what happens if it’s unequivocally shown that the state has failed to follow through on that mission?

We don’t know whether it has been able to rehabilitate anyone, because no one’s had the opportunity to try it,” says Eric Janus, dean of William Mitchell College of Law, who has spent more than a decade contesting Minnesota’s civil commitment statute in the courts. “What does that tell us about the real, true underlying purpose of the law?
- Well, from the notes above, there are over 500 people who have been committed.  So either they are just being locked up and nothing else, or, they are being "treated" and never released because they "fear" someone might reoffend, or that "all sex offenders are dangerous!"  This just shows you, it's prison outside of prison, period!

Most politicians — and more importantly, their constituents — aren’t particularly concerned about the constitutional rights of the state’s most heinous sex offenders. But the continuing failure of the MSOP to successfully rehabilitate individuals enrolled in the program raises the specter that the courts could eventually intervene. Ultimately that could threaten the very ability to indeterminately detain violent sexual predators.
- Sure, they are not concerned, because it doesn't affect them.  Well, let's tear up the Constitution, since it's not worth the paper and ink it's written on, eradicate everyone's rights, then let's see who cares!

I think there’s some danger that, if the matter is presented properly, a court could now say that the constitutional foundation has crumbled,” says Janus.

There is some evidence that courts in Minnesota are growing skeptical of the sex offender program. Olmsted County District Court Judge Kevin Lund has repeatedly questioned the therapeutic intentions of the program. Two years ago he refused to commit a convicted sex offender on grounds that the MSOP had demonstrated no ability to rehabilitate individuals.

These facilities are nothing more than detention facilities,” Lund wrote at the time.

Last year, the Olmsted County judge similarly granted an appeal in the case of _____. Janus was enlisted to write a legal brief on the sex offender’s behalf. The gist of his argument was that the state had failed to follow through on promises to treat individuals enrolled in the MSOP.

_____ now claims that the promises are bankrupt — systematically, pervasively, and intentionally,” Janus wrote. “Just as the courts inferred a non-punitive purpose from these fulsome promises, so now should the courts infer a punitive purpose from their betrayal.”

The Minnesota Court of Appeals was unmoved by this legal argument. In June, the court rejected _____’ appeal and sent the case back to Olmsted County.

There’s also been some recent legal heat for the MSOP in federal courts. _____, who is involuntarily enrolled in the program, originally filed a pro se lawsuit in 2007 arguing that his civil rights were being violated and that conditions at Moose Lake were tantamount to imprisonment. Among _____’s specific complaints: full-body strip searches and confinement in shackles. After a federal judge determined that _____’s complaints might have merit, the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (Contact) (ACLU) was enlisted to recruit lawyers for the case.

We’re not saying shut the program down,” says Teresa Nelson, an attorney with the ACLU. “We’re not saying release the plaintiffs. It’s not a challenge to the overall program. It’s a conditions challenge.”

Despite these recent legal tremors, the MSOP is highly unlikely to be invalidated by the courts anytime soon. Judges are no more eager than other public officials to stick their necks out for sexual predators, and there is abundant case law backing the legal soundness of civil commitment programs. In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Kansas statute passed constitutional muster, and it has ratified that viewpoint in multiple ensuing cases.
- Judges should be sticking their necks out for HUMAN and CIVIL rights, which they all took an oath to defend, and are not doing so!

It will have to be raised in the right context and at a time when the court feels receptive to re-examining its earlier decisions,” says Janus. “I don’t know when, if ever, that will be. There’s a huge amount of resistance to opening that can of worms.”

Another impediment to challenging the bedrock constitutionality of the civil commitment statute is cost. Such a legal battle would likely take years and is unlikely to look particularly enticing for an attorney working pro bono.

It would be a very expensive undertaking,” says Nelson. “It would be very difficult. It’s going to require a lot of expert witnesses to fully review the program and the treatment that’s offered.”


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


FL - Ron 'The Scrooge' Book helps tear down the sex offender camp his lobbying helped create!

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


Special Deputies Attempting To Check Sex Offender Addresses

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


State Electronic Harassment or "Cyberstalking" Laws


Law enforcement agencies estimate that electronic communications are a factor in from 20 percent to 40 percent of all stalking cases.  Forty-seven states now have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws.  State laws that do not include specific references to electronic communication may still apply to those who threaten or harass others online, but specific language may make the laws easier to enforce.  Two reports from the U.S. Department of Justice provide detailed information on cyberstalking: Stalking and Domestic Violence: Report to Congress and Cyberstalking: A New Challenge for Law Enforcement and Industry.  Other related NCSL resources: Enacted Cyberbullying Legislation.

Last update: December 21, 2009
STATE
CITE
Alabama
Ala. Code § 13A-11-8
Alaska 
Alaska Stat. §§ 11.41.260, 11.41.270 , § 11.61.120
Arizona 
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2921
Arkansas 
Ark. Code §§ 5-41-108, 5-27-306
California 
Cal. Civil Code § 1708.7 Cal. Penal Code §§ 422, 646.9, 653m
Colorado 
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-111
Connecticut 
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-182b, § 53a-183
Delaware 
Del. Code tit. 11 § 1311
Florida 
Fla. Stat. § 817.568, § 784.048
Georgia 
Georgia Code § 16-5-90
Hawaii
Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 711-1106
 Idaho Idaho Statutes §§ 18-790518-7906
 
Illinois 
720 ILCS §§ 5/12-7.5135/1-2, 135/1-3, 135/2; 740 ILCS 21/10
Indiana
Ind. Code § 35-45-2-2
Iowa 
Iowa Code § 708.7
Kansas
Kan. Stat. § 21-3438
Louisiana
La. Rev. Stat. § 14:40.2La. Rev. Stat. § 14:40.3
Maine
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 17A § 210-A
Maryland 
Md. Code tit. 3 § 3-805
Massachusetts
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43, 43A
Michigan 
Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.411h, 750.411i, 750.411s
Minnesota 
Minn. Stat. § 609.749
Mississippi 
Miss. Code § 97-29-45, § 97-45-15
Missouri 
Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 565.225, 565.090
Montana
Mont. Code Ann. §§ 45-8-213, 45-5-220
Nevada
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.575
New Hampshire 
N.H. Rev. Stat. § 644:4
 New Jersey  N.J. Stat. § 2C:12-10 
New York 
New York Penal Law § 240.30
North Carolina 
N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-196,  14-196.3
North Dakota 
N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-17-07
Ohio 
Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2903.211 2913.01(Y), 2917.21(A)
Oklahoma 
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173
Oregon 
Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 163.730-.732, 166.065
Pennsylvania 
Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 18 § 2709, 2709.1
Rhode Island 
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-52-4.2,  § 11-52-4.3 
South Carolina
S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(B), -1700(C), -1700(F)
South Dakota
S.D. Cod. Laws § 22-19A-1, 49-31-31
Tennessee
Tenn. Code §§ 39-17-308, 39-17-315
Texas
Tx. Penal Code § 3307 (2009 H.B. 2003), § 42.07 
Utah

Utah Code § 76-5-106.5
 
Vermont 
13 V.S.A. §§ 1027, 1061, 1062, 1063
Virginia 
Va. Code §§ 18.2-60  18.2-152.7:1 
Washington
Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.020, 9A.46.1109.61.260, 10.14.020
West Virginia
W. Va. Code §61-3C-14a  
Wisconsin 
Wis. Stat. § 947.0125
Wyoming 
Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-506 

 *PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) serves state legislators and their staff.   This site provides comparative information only and should not be construed as legal advice.  NCSL cannot provide assistance with individual cases.

NCSL Contact: Pam Greenberg, 303-364-7700


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


GA - 'Sexting' Investigation Hits Atlanta Private School

Original Article

03/03/2010

ATLANTA -- An investigation is under way at The Lovett School in Atlanta involving students accused of texting inappropriate pictures.

Police told Channel 2 Action News reporter Richard Elliot that a female eighth grade student sent an inappropriate photo of herself to a male eighth grade student, who in turn forwarded the picture to his friends. Investigators said those friends then sent the photo to other students at Lovett during the week of Feb. 22.

One student notified a teacher after receiving the photo, which prompted the school to investigate.

"The Lovett School can confirm that one student has been suspended and another student has withdrawn in the face of likely dismissal. [The eighth graders] engaged in the electronic transmission of improper images and content," said Lovett School official Kim Blass.

The Lovett School said it is will notify parents Thursday about the incident.

Atlanta police are investigating whether any laws were broken.

When Elliot spoke to Atlanta police about the incident, authorities said that "every student who passed the inappropriate photo to another could be charged with misdemeanor child pornography."

Sexting is the process of sending text messages that includes sexually related material including photos and/or video.

Sexting can result in charges of criminal solicitation and corruption of a minor, in addition to possession of child pornography. People convicted of sexting could be sentenced to prison.


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


VA - Erik Estrada Working With Virginia Task Forces

Original Article

03/03/2010

By Adam Rhew

State lawmakers are scrambling to secure permanent funding for police task forces that hunt down and arrest online predators. Now they're getting some help from a 70's TV icon.

Virginia has two Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, and every year lawmakers have to scrape together a little less than $2 million to fund those teams. This year legislators pulled in a little star power and a very serious message.

In the 1970's and 80's, Erik Estrada was best known for playing motorcycle cop Ponch on the hit NBC television show ‘CHiPS'. Now, Estrada is working as a real cop, a sworn deputy who helps Virginia's Internet Crimes Against Children task forces. Estrada says, "Yeah it's satisfying. Take another puke off the street."

Wednesday, Estrada walked the halls of the General Assembly building lobbying for a dedicated funding stream for the sex crime units. He joined lawmakers at a press conference pushing for the cash.

State Senator Creigh Deeds (D) 25th District says,"In government we like to talk about the things we like to do, but you know what? It costs money sometimes." Deeds has a bill that would find that money, about $1.8 million a year, by tacking ten dollars on to the court costs for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. The Senate okayed the measure. It's still awaiting action by the house.

Deeds says, "This legislation is critically important if we are going to put our money where our mouth is." To drive that point home, task force agents gave lawmakers and reporters a taste of what they find online, ads for child porn with descriptions so graphic we can't show them to you here.

Supporters hope the new money will help them catch the people posting those images. Estrada says. "The predator now doesn't really hang out in the parks or in the malls. They're on the Internet."

Part of what's complicating this situation is that senators have included a number of fee increases in their budget proposal. Delegates say they will not include new fees in their spending plan, so budget negotiators will have to work out some sort of compromise over the next week.


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


NY - Warsaw's proposed sex offender law draws mixed reaction

Original Article

03/03/2010

By Matt Surtel

WARSAW -- A proposed law limiting where sex offenders can live is getting mixed reactions.

The Village Board is pursuing the law as a way to protect children from sexual predators. But some argue it would violate offenders' civil rights.
- This is true, and it also doesn't prevent any crime nor protect anybody, it's just a placebo so the state legislature can "look tough" on crime instead of SMART on crime, and so they can exploit sex offenders and the public's fear (which they and the media caused) to look good, as usual.

The law would prohibit convicted sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of schools, child care centers and similar places, if their crimes involved young people less than 16 years old.

Those already living in such areas would be grandfathered in. But they would be affected if they tried to move elsewhere.

About 10 people -- including a Level 2 sex offender -- attended a public hearing at Monday's Village Board meeting. Most of the speakers were opposed, with the others asking how parts of the law would work.

"The whole thing is unconstitutional because it's not going to work," said resident Bob White. "It hasn't worked in other places and I don't believe it will work here. It's just unconstitutional, bottom-line."

But the Village Board maintains the law is meant to keep certain offenders away from close proximity with young people.

"There are many medical and scientific studies documenting relapse rates, recurrent risk, and things of that nature," said Mayor Scott Treutlein. "That's why this is being considered."
- So show us those so called studies Scott, if you can find them, or are you relying on sound-bites you have heard over the years?  I can provide you with many, here.

Similar laws have been passed in 82 communities statewide, said Village Attorney David DiMatteo before the hearing.

Three have been overturned, though not for reasons involving offenders' rights. A decision from last June in Rensselaer County found that management of sex offenders -- including sex offender residency restrictions -- is the state's exclusive domain.

Village Police Chief Bill Blythe said he doesn't really favor the proposed law.

"A lot of these folks have been arrested, convicted and served their sentence," he said Tuesday after the hearing. "Now there's no sanction of any kind on them under state law, and they've basically paid their debt to society. Even though some of these folks have to register for the rest of their lives, we are now restricting where they are allowed to live."

The department posts advertisements and public notifications when a Level 3 offender's moving into the village.

Blythe said he has no problem with placing all the restrictions necessary on an offender as part of sentencing, probation or parole.

But some civil rights issues are involved. The proposed law would add extra restrictions against people who have already served their sentences and completed their legal obligations.
- And that is called an ex post facto law, which is strictly forbidden by the US and State Constitutions.

"It seems to me anyplace it has been challenged in the state, it's been found they can't do it," Blythe said. "They may have passed it in 80 communities across the state or whatever, but until a higher court makes a bigger (legal) umbrella, they're doing it piecemeal, county by county."

Landlords and homeowners could also be impacted, as the law could restrict who they can rent or sell to, if they live within a certain area.

Blythe also asked during the hearing why the proposed law didn't include all sex offenders, such as a Level 3 offender who violently raped a 17-year-old girl.

The law is intended to protect younger victims, such as 12-year-olds, Treutlein said. Nobody agrees with any form of rape, he said, but raping a child is a different level of offense.

"We're not trying to exclude an entire group of people," Treutlein said. "We're trying to protect a certain set of people in the village, and that's children."

Both DiMatteo and Blythe believe state lawmakers need to clarify the situation, though it's not known when that will occur.

Megan's Law only addresses identifying and classifying sex offenders, and isn't a comprehensive law, DiMatteo said. It doesn't consider anything else such as residence and workplace limitations.

The decision needs to be made someplace, and possibly in the state Assembly, he said.

The New York Council of Mayors is encouraging the law to go forward, DiMatteo said. The village board will continue to consider the issue.


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