Monday, March 15, 2010

OH - Deputies find it tougher to track sex offenders

Original Article

The first state to come into substantial compliance, is already showing signs of the laws not working, or making things worse!


By Cristin Severance and Denise Alex

Although legislator wants closer tabs kept, cutbacks force shift in priorities

Detective Linda Rinear was knocking on doors, looking for _____. She'd gotten a tip that the 38-year-old registered sex offender wasn't living at the address he'd provided to the Summit County sheriff's office.

The department used to check on every sex offender who moved into its jurisdiction, renewed his or her registration, or reported a change of address - a level of scrutiny that exceeded state requirements.

If the offender wasn't living at the specified house, apartment, hotel or trailer, the department would seek an arrest warrant.

Things are different now.

Like many of its counterparts across Ohio, the Summit County sheriff's office is no longer keeping such close tabs on sex offenders - not by choice, but out of necessity.

Budget cuts tied to lagging tax revenue have forced departments to scale back in many areas, including the monitoring of Ohio's 19,000 registered sex offenders.

It's simply a matter of identifying priorities when resources are limited, said Robert Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association, which represents Ohio's 88 county sheriffs.

"I'm not going to take a vandalism report on a hit mailbox rather than respond to a burglary in progress," he said. "We try our very best to enforce all laws, but we have to prioritize."

Cornwell said recession-related budget cuts have forced 70 percent of the state's sheriff's departments to lay off deputies - hundreds in all. To make matters worse, he said, even before the economy soured, almost every department in Ohio had reduced its headcount through attrition.

In this environment, sheriff's departments have to drop non-statutory functions - that is, things they'd like to do, and the public would like them to do - just to keep up with those mandated by law.

Under state law, sheriff's deputies are required to visit only so-called Tier III offenders - those convicted of the most serious crimes - and, even then, only once a year or when they change addresses.
- This is how it should be, since 5% or less are truly dangerous, which is probably most Tier III offenders. Why monitor all 100% when not all are dangerous?

State Sen. Nina Turner (Email), D-Cleveland, is pushing legislation that would require those offenders to register - and be checked - more frequently. That would place an even greater, if not impossible, burden on sheriffs statewide, Cornwell said.

The Franklin County sheriff's office, for example, already has its hands full keeping track of the more than 850 Tier III offenders in its jurisdiction. Last year, the five detectives spent all their time - and then some - verifying those individuals' addresses. The department ended up paying $150,000 in overtime just for that.

Chief Deputy Steve Martin recently told The Dispatch that checking on Franklin County's nearly 800 Tier I and Tier II offenders "would carry an astronomical cost."

The Summit County sheriff's office, headquartered in economically distressed Akron, has laid off 30 deputies so far. The four-person unit assigned to watch the county's 900-plus registered sex offenders has been cut in half, forcing the remaining detectives to abandon their longstanding practice of routinely checking the whereabouts of Tier I and Tier II offenders.

"It's just frustrating because we feel like we're just spinning in circles," said Sgt. Scott Cottle, a spokesman for department. "We just put out one fire after another, and we can never get ahead of the game."

Cottle worries about possible repercussions.

"If these sex offenders know that we're not going to be checking addresses anymore, what's the point of giving us your real address?"

Some of the same concerns exist in other Ohio counties - even those with relatively small offender populations.

Meigs County, a largely rural county along the Ohio River, has fewer than three dozen registered offenders, but that doesn't mean the local sheriff's office is any better equipped to visit the addresses they provided.

"We have limited staff," said Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle. "Basically, we can't be proactive. We have to be reactive."

A few weeks ago, the department got some help from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation. Under a program called Operation Neighborhood Watch, the agencies joined Beegle's deputies in a two-day sweep of the county.

"Any time you're talking about sex offenders, especially ones that have preyed on children, we want to make sure they are actually living where they say they are living and not re-offending," said Cathy Jones, acting U.S. marshal for the southern district of Ohio.

_____ was right where he said he'd be - in a trailer with his mother, his 9-year-old daughter and several other family members.

_____ was ordered to register as a sex offender after being convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He said he was 18 when he had sex with a 14-year-old who lied about her age.

"What I did - I didn't do it on purpose," he said. "It just happened."

_____, now 29, said he hasn't been able to land a job because of his status as a registered sex offender. Even so, he said he's committed to keeping the authorities apprised of his whereabouts, as required by the judge who sentenced him.
- And again, this proves the laws are punishment!

Do other offenders obey the rules?

"I guarantee you they don't."

He was right.

Meigs County had 35 sex offenders living within its borders when the sweep was conducted. The task force determined that 11 of them were out of compliance.

Three men were arrested for failing to register, and six others were taken into custody on other violations.

Back in Akron, Summit County sheriff's detective Linda Rinear spent the rest of the day looking for the subject of the tip she'd received - _____, convicted of second-degree rape in 1990.

Rinear eventually found a man who described himself as _____'s roommate. He said _____ hadn't been home for five days.

He showed her some clothes that he said belonged to the offender, but he wouldn't sign an affidavit stating that _____ lived there.
- Can't say I blame him, I would not sign a damning piece of paper like this either.

The next day, Rinear learned that _____ had left Ohio for North Carolina.

He's now on the sex-offender registry in that state.

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

ND - Convicted Fargo sex offender cut off monitoring device, police unaware of his location

Original Article

You see, GPS does nothing to prevent or deter crime. A truly dangerous person will do whatever they want to do. GPS is a waste of money, IMO.


FARGO - A high risk registered sex offender, _____, also known as _____, cut off the GPS monitoring unit he was wearing today and police do not know his whereabouts.

Police sent out a news release late this afternoon to notify the public about _____ and say officers don't know whether he remains in Fargo or has left the area.

Agents from the North Dakota Department of Corrections are seeking an arrest warrant for _____, whose registered address is 528 27th St. N.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact local law enforcement.

_____, who was born in 1985, is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing 172 pounds. He has blue eyes and brown hair.

In 2007, _____ was convicted in North Dakota's Burleigh County for felony sexual assault. He is required to register as a lifetime offender.

_____ also has convictions in Minnesota and Iowa for burglary, fleeing/eluding, assault and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

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

NY - Lake George considers new sex offender ordinance

Original Article


LAKE GEORGE -- The town is following Lake Luzerne's lead and is looking to enact its own local sex offender ordinance.

Officials set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on March 31 in Town Hall to discuss adopting a law that would force local motel and hotel owners to get a permit and prominently display it before they are allowed house sex offenders.

Lake Luzerne adopted a similar measure last month. That law requires motel and hotel owners to purchase a $3,000 permit and display it in a lobby or registration area before renting to sex offenders.

The law was adopted there after a group of concerned residents approached the town when they learned of a sex offender living in a motel nearby.

Lake Luzerne's law was modeled after one adopted in Colonie. Since that law was passed, the town attorney said only one hotel has gotten the permit.

In Queensbury, officials have also said they are looking into the law.

Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy said he spoke to Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino before proposing the law in Lake George.

McCoy said Merlino told him Saratoga County Social Services was placing sex offenders in Lake Luzerne, but now that the town has passed the law, and Queensbury may soon do so, he did not want Lake George to be the town sex offenders were placed in next.

"I figured we'd get ahead of the curve," he said. "I think it's something we should address."

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

MD - Mark Lunsford to testify in Annapolis on child predator bills

Original Article
See Also
Flawed management plagues Lunsford's foundation

Hey Mark, just make sure you mention the child porn they found on your machine, and the fact that your own son Joshua, molested a child and got away with it, because he knows you!


By Mark Newgent

Mark Lunsford, father of Jessica Lunsford the nine-year old Florida girl abducted and murdered by a convicted child sex offender (and father of child molester Joshua Lunsford), will be in Annapolis Tuesday March 16 to testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Senate bills SB622 and SB395.

Lunsford said, “the only way we can protect children from sex offenders is to keep them in prison where they can't prey on another child, where they can't rape another child, where they can't murder another child. A career sex offender abducted and murdered my daughter, Jessica.”
- So why isn't your son, Joshua, in prison for life?

SB 622 sets mandatory 20 year minimum sentences for rape and molestation of a child under 13 years old. It’s sister bill in the House of Delegates is languishing in the Judiciary Committee because the chairman, Joe Vallario refuses to bring it up for a vote.
- And you see, his own son, if the laws in Ohio were retroactive, and he was not famous for exploiting his daughters death, his son would be in prison for 20 or so years, but he got 10 days in jail and is NOT on the registry!

SB 395 calls for the elimination of diminution (good behavior) credits for child sex offenders. Vallario’s committee approved their version of the bill HB 289.

Video Link

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

GA - Ga. Supreme Court rebuffs sex offender registry challenge (This is how you dilute the sex offender registry!)

Original Article
See this SSRN Document as well

This is why their should be a CRIMINAL registry with ALL criminals on it, to be more meaningful. This man committed no sex crime, yet he has to be labeled a sex offender and turned into a pariah for it? Come on! Ignorance knows no bounds in the USSA!


By Bill Rankin

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a provision of Georgia's sex-offender registry law that requires some offenders who have not committed sex crimes register as sex offenders.

Under the strict law, those convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor must register as a sex offender, whether or not a sexual crime was involved.

The challenge was brought by _____, convicted in 2000 in Gwinnett County of a drug robbery.

At the time, _____, then 18, and his co-defendants picked up a 17-year-old girl who was going to sell them some marijuana. Instead of buying it, they drove her to a cul-de-sac, took the pot and left her.

_____ pleaded guilty to robbery and false imprisonment. Because of the latter conviction, he has had to register as a sex offender, meaning he cannot live or work within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate, such as parks, schools and swimming pools.

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

CA - Another girl's death, another law

Original Article


By Cathleen Decker

Legislative reaction to grief has not always proved effective in dealing with sex offenders.

Their names, breezy and alive, conjure the girls they used to be before they collided with horror.

There was Megan Kanka, the 7-year-old from New Jersey. Her rape and murder at the hands of a neighbor who -- unknown to her parents -- was a sex offender inspired Megan's Law. That statute led to electronic lists of offenders' addresses.

There was Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old from Florida. Her rape and murder 150 yards from her home led to Jessica's Law, which banned predators from living near where children congregate.

There was Amber Hagerman, the 9-year-old from Texas. Her abduction and murder led to the creation of Amber Alerts, advising the public about missing children.

Into that sorrowful sorority may come Chelsea King, the 17-year-old Poway High School student who went out for a run and was found days later in a shallow grave. A registered sex offender has been charged with raping and killing her.

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (Contact), a Republican from San Diego, announced last week that along with the King family, he was moving to create Chelsea's Law. It will be meant, as the other laws before it, to prevent what befell them from visiting any other family.
- So how many laws in someone's name do we have to pass to help politicians get elected and to "look tough" on crime before we see that it is not working?  You can make 1 million laws, but it will never stop a true predator from harming another person, and we need to stop treating all sex offenders as if they are like the truly predatory offenders, which account for 5% or less of all sexual crimes.

"We really have an obligation to focus in and say 'what can we do to make this better?' " Fletcher said. No specifics have yet been determined, but Fletcher said he was looking at extending sentences and parole requirements, among other things.
- Prevention and education maybe, and stop exploiting the issues and fears to further your own career maybe?

If history is any guide, Chelsea's Law will be embraced by victims' groups, law enforcement and politicians of all persuasions. When the alternative is violent vengeance, a legislative reaction to such wrenching grief can seem measured and civil.

But the near-universal appeal of such laws has stilled the basic questions that inform debates over less emotionally freighted subjects. For one thing, do their restrictions actually work? Given California's woeful financial state, with the corrections system under intense pressure to save more and more money while it imprisons and monitors more and more felons, do they make sense?

At least some of the time, according to both state studies and analysts, they do not. But the measures drive forward, as if penance for the past.

The most heralded such measure recently was Proposition 83 -- informally known as Jessica's Law -- which passed resoundingly in California in November 2006. Similar laws have been passed in dozens of other states. Besides extending prison sentences for sex offenses, the law bans offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children play and says they can be monitored for life with tracking devices. It also expands the definition of offenders who can be kept in custody with mental health holds after their criminal sentences are served.

A January report by the state's Sexual Offender Management Board portrayed the effect of Jessica's Law as difficult to determine at best, and wrong-headed at worst.

The requirement that offenders live away from children has required many to stay away from their own relatives or to become homeless -- both instances of instability that put them "at increased risk of re-offense," the report said.

The report also challenged the premise of the law's residency restrictions.

"The hypothesis that sex offenders who live in close proximity to schools, parks and other places children congregate have an increased likelihood of sexually re-offending remains unsupported by research," the report said. "On the contrary . . . there is almost no correlation between sex offenders living near restricted areas and where they commit their offenses."

California spends an estimated $80 million annually on ankle-bracelet monitoring of high-risk offenders, but the report suggested that there is no indication that the public is safer from felons monitored by global positioning systems than from those unmonitored.

"The law was passed with little information about how it would be implemented or evidence of whether GPS technology would protect Californians from sex offenders," the report said.

Jessica's Law also requires state officials to run a far larger number of sexual offenders through the mental health system to see if they qualify for civil incarceration. Costs for those evaluations rose from $161,000 per month before the proposition to more than $1 million monthly after its passage. The number of felons who remain in custody as a result went from about seven a month before the law to 10.

Franklin Zimring, a UC Berkeley law professor who has studied the measures, said they have largely become "symbolic politics." Few have bothered to question whether the measures actually promote public safety, he said, because of the stigma of defending sex offenders.

"Nobody wants to be photographed in close embrace with sex offenders," he said. "Unless something is very expensive, it's not apt to get much political scrutiny."

Fiscal calculations can seem cruel when measured against a life, but in California's present straits that calculation is hard to avoid. While state officials spend millions on monitoring that has questionable effect, for example, prison-based treatment programs have gone unfunded.

"Currently there is no formal sex offender treatment . . . in the adult prison system," said the report, which "strongly recommended" it.

Fletcher said that in drafting Chelsea's Law, he would draw together experts to craft something meaningful. He acknowledged the difficulty, however, if those experts propose throwing more money at the corrections system, where budgets for many programs have shrunk dramatically in recent years.

"There's a lot of potential savings within the corrections system," he said. He brushed aside the notion of a tax hike to fund strictures imposed by his measure.

"Let's get through the process," he said. "It's a fair question. But I think the state has enough money to do this. I think it is a question of priorities."

There is no time frame yet for proposing the law that will carry Chelsea's name, he added.
- I am surprised Obama hasn't named his Healthcare bill in some child's name.  When a name is attached to a bill, it almost always passes, and politicians know this!

"Everyone wants action now," he said. "We owe it to the memory of Chelsea King to make sure that we do this right."

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