Monday, March 22, 2010

FL - Sexual abuse victim to walk across Florida

Original Article

The thought behind this is good, but I believe it's just a publicity stunt to get money for her web site/organization. Her father has proven he is running on emotions and not reason, IMO, by lobbying for draconian laws that made people homeless and created the Julia Tuttle Causeway leper colony, which he helped create and destroy!


TALLAHASSEE - A former sexual abuse victim will walk 500 miles from Miami-Dade County to the Capitol to help other survivors and to seek laws that prevent abuse.

Lauren Book-Lim was sexually abused by a nanny for more than six years, beginning when she was 10. She and her father, lobbyist Ron Book, run a nonprofit organization that helps victims and seeks new laws.

One message Book-Lim is telling survivors is that it's OK to talk. On Monday, she said, "Sharing your story is part of healing. Abusers thrive on silence. Talking shifts the power to the victim."
- Yes, people should not be afraid to tell. Tell a parent, relative or the police, if you are being abused!

Among laws she's advocating for are measures that would create safety zones from sex offenders and eliminate a statute of limitations for people who sexually abuse children.

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."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

The 2009 Shiitake Awards - Part 1

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"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."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

CA - Sex Offender Monitoring

Original Article


By Audrey Asistio

California Parole Officers are now required to increase monitoring of all sex offenders. The new policy requires parole agents to track all offenders more closely by using GPS linked ankle bracelets. It also requires agents to visit high-risk sex offenders at their homes one additional time each month. Some law enforcement officers say while the new policy is a huge step toward safer communities, there are still plenty of improvements needed. Butte County Sheriff's Office Detective Mike Turenne told Action News, "After these people do their time, the limits on what they can or can't do pretty much goes away."

Turenne believes sex offenders should be monitored even after they have done their time as a parolee. "Another issue that concerns me is that Megan's Law gives people perhaps a false sense of security because the Megan's Law website that's available to citizens will show that there's about a little more than 500-sexual registrants in Butte County, however, law enforcement knows that there are about 725," said Turenne.
- That would be ex post facto punishment!

Trying to help fix the problem, Tehama County Sheriff's Office uses a website called Offender Watch. Sheriff Clay Parker explained, "It allows us to send them notification where a sex offender moves in next to their house, park, church or school. Whatever they set up to be notified about."

While the new policy will immediately take effect, Parker addresses its main setback, money. "Everything has a cost and that's probably the biggest problem, its cost. If we had unlimited amounts of funds, we can do a lot of things," said Parker.

Several weeks ago, Butte County deputies and parole officers conducted a joint operation, making sure about 60-registrants were following parole orders. Eight-sex offenders in violation were arrested and two computers were seized.

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

WI - Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects challenge to sex offender registry statute (Non-Sex crime)

Original Article

This is just absurd! Then why call it a sex offender registry when not everyone on it is a sex offender? This is like putting a drug dealer on a serial killer registry, or a sex offender on an arson registry when arson was not involved. It doesn't make much sense to me. Why not just call it a criminal offender registry, that makes more sense.


By Deborah G. Spanic

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in State v. Smith (2008AP1011, March 19, 2010), rejected a constitutional challenge to the Wisconsin sex offender registration statute and affirmed the Court of Appeals decision.

In 2001, Smith pled guilty to a charge of false imprisonment when he and others forced a minor to ride around with them in a vehicle in order to collect a drug debt from the minor’s friend. There was no allegation that the false imprisonment entailed anything sexual.

However, under Wisconsin’s sex offender registry statute, Wis. Stat. § 301.45, Smith is required to register as a sex offender because he was convicted of false imprisonment of a minor. The court noted that 41 other states, including Wisconsin, require individuals convicted of false imprisonment or kidnapping of a minor to register as sex offenders. See Smith ¶ 4, Note 4. Because Smith failed to register, he was charged in 2005 with violating Wis. Stat. § 301.45(2)(g) and sentenced to one year of confinement followed by one year of extended supervision.

Smith appealed his conviction and challenged the constitutionality of the sex offender registry statute as it applied to him, claiming it violated his due process and equal protection rights under the United States and Wisconsin constitutions because the crime he committed was not sexual. This was the issue before the supreme court.

The court’s analysis

A statute enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, and to overcome that presumption, a party must prove that the statute is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. See Id. ¶ 8. Smith acknowledged that the statute serves a legitimate state interest and, therefore, he did not raise a facial constitutional challenge. Instead, he argued that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to him because requiring him to register is irrational, arbitrary, and cannot be rationally related to any legitimate governmental interest. See Id. ¶ 10.

The parties agreed that in this case, a fundamental right is not implicated and that a suspect class is not disadvantaged, therefore the challenged statute is not subject to strict scrutiny review but rather a deferential, rational basis review. The statute “must be sustained unless it is ‘patently arbitrary’ and bears no rational relationship to a legitimate government interest.” See Id. ¶ 12.

To have a rational basis, substantive due process requires only that the “means chosen by the legislature bears a reasonable and rational relationship to a legitimate governmental interest.” Under equal protection, the legislature must have reasonable and practical grounds for the classifications that it draws, and when determining if there is a rational basis, we must presume that the legislative action is valid. See Id. ¶¶ 14-15. The court determined that the analyses under both substantive due process and equal protection are essentially the same.

Registration is in the government interest

Wisconsin’s sex offender registration statute broadly defines “sex offense” to include certain offenses without regard to whether they are of a sexual nature, including the offense of false imprisonment if the victim was a minor. “The legislature was well aware of its ability to carve out exceptions to the registration requirement,” but in the case of false imprisonment, “the legislature retained the reporting requirement for Smith, and others like Smith, who committed the crime of false imprisonment of a minor, regardless of whether his crime was of a sexual nature.” See Id. ¶ 23.

Smith’s argument essentially boiled down to the fact that the title of the registry and the statute’s language unfairly characterize him as a “sex offender” because the crime he committed was not sexual. The court, however, determined that “the name of the registry and the label that is associated with Smith’s crime do not change the fact that the statute includes his offense as one for which registration is required.” See Id. ¶ 24.

The court found that requiring Smith to register is rationally related to the government interest in protecting the public and assisting law enforcement because: (1) false imprisonment has been linked to the commission of sexual assault and violent crimes against children; (2) and offender’s sexual motive or intent may be difficult to prove or determine within the context of false imprisonment; and (3) false imprisonment places the minor in a vulnerable position because the offender, rather than the minor, has control over the minor’s body and freedom of movement. See Id. ¶ 13.

The court further determined that in requiring child abductors to register, the legislature may well have rationally concluded that child abductions are often precursors to sexual offenses. See Id. ¶ 30. In addition, the statute does not require the State to prove what the abductor must have been thinking or whether the abductor committed a sexual act. See Id. ¶ 32. “The legislature conditioned registration for that crime on the victim being a minor, rather than on the State being able to prove sexual motivation.” See Id. ¶ 34.

The court, therefore, found that Smith was not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that requiring him to register as a sex offender is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest, and the court tallied numerous conceivable, rational reasons why the legislature could have chose to include registration for Smith. The court affirmed the court of appeals decision and concluded that Wis. Stat. § 301.45 is constitutional as applied to Smith.

The dissent

In the dissent written by Justice Bradley, the minority found two errors in the majority’s analysis. First, that the majority failed to carefully define the purpose of the statute and, second, that the majority mischaracterized Smith’s challenge by blurring the distinction between facial and as-applied challenges.

As to the first error, the dissent discussed the substantial need for accuracy, specificity, and analysis when articulating the nature of the government’s legitimate purpose, and found that the majority’s determination that the purpose was “to protect the public and assist law enforcement” was far too broad. See Id. ¶ 46-47. As a result, “the court waters down its constitutional analysis.” See Id. ¶ 52.

As to the second, the dissent argues that the majority did not undertake an analysis appropriate to an as-applied for constitutional challenge.

Because Smith posed an as-applied challenge, the dissent argues that the majority must tie the legitimate government purpose underlying the sex offender registry to the facts of Smith’s case. Therefore, the question presented is whether the registration requirement is constitutional even though it is undisputed that Smith’s crime was not sexually motivated and involved no sexual act or misconduct. See Id. ¶ 61.

The majority ducks the actual question presented by flipping it on its head,” the dissent continued. “It addresses hypothetical facts.” As a result, the dissent concludes, the majority failed to provide meaningful review, “depriving citizens of the touchstone of due process protection of the individual against arbitrary action of the government.”

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

CA - On call Sacramento deputy (Eric Cephus) enters plea, sentenced in underage sex case (with a 13 year old girl)

Original Article


By C. Johnson

PLACER COUNTY - An on call Sacramento County sheriff's deputy arrested late last month for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old was sentenced to prison Monday morning.

Eric Cephus, 39, had previously entered not guilty pleas to committing to lewd acts with a minor under age 14 and kidnapping with the intent to commit a sex act.

However, Monday morning during his preliminary hearing in Placer County Superior Court, Cephus changed his plea to no contest and was sentenced to 18 years, according to Placer County District Attorney's Office spokesman Art Campos. Judge Colleen Nichols imposed 15 years for the kidnapping charge and three years each for lewd acts and forcible acts with a minor. The latter two sentences were to be served concurrently.

Camppos said Cephus was also ordered to pay restitution to his victim. He must also register as a sex offender.

Cephus was arrested at his home in Santa Clara County March 2 following an investigation that began the previous weekend when Lincoln police responded to a report involving a girl found wandering outside a local motel. The girl reported a sexual encounter with Cephus at the motel.

Investigators say Cephus' first contact with the girl was while he was on duty patrolling for a park district in Sacramento County and in uniform. He was accused of picking up the girl and taking her to the Lincoln Holiday Inn Express for sex.

Police said the 13 year old, who was from Sacramento, wasn't reported as a runaway at the time of the meeting with Cephus.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said Cephus was hired in 2008 and had cleared all background and criminal checks. He was a full-time deputy until he was laid off in August 2009 and placed on "on-call" status.

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

CA - Changes Made To Tracking Of Calif. Sex Offenders

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

WI - State bill would void municipal sex offender residency ordinances

Original Article


By Jennifer K. Woldt

Determining where sex offenders can reside may be taken out of local hands if the Wisconsin legislature acts on a bill currently making its way through committee, a move some officials do not think is appropriate.

A bill currently before the state Assembly’s Committee on Corrections and Courts would nullify local ordinances that restrict where sex offenders can reside.

Town of Algoma Chairman Time Blake, who helped craft the town’s ordinance, said determining where sex offenders can reside is an issue that is best dealt with at a local level because communities know what they want and how to best handle the issues they are facing.

The bill would not allow communities the ability to do that, Blake said.

Under the bill, ordinances local municipalities would no longer have the ability to enact ordinances that restrict where sex offenders can reside. Any ordinances currently in place would no longer be valid. The bill would require level one sex offenders, those who have been committed as sexually violent individuals or have committed certain specific sex offenses against a child, be supervised with a global positioning system for life and be restricted from living within 100 to 250 feet from areas where children congregate.
- Unless their system is backwards, I think this reporter means level three offenders, not level one.

It does absolutely nothing to protect our children,” said Blake, who took part in the March 11 public hearing held on the bill. “And that’s what these ordinances are created to do, to keep sexual predators away from our kids.”

The Town of Algoma became the first municipality in the state to restrict where registered sex offenders could live when it approved an ordinance in November 2006.

Other municipalities around the state, including Green Bay, Ashwaubenon and Little Chute, passed similar ordinances.

Algoma’s ordinance prohibits sex offenders who have victimized a child younger than 16 years old from living within 2,000 feet of parks, playgrounds, churches, schools and bike trails. However, the ordinance also provides a mechanism that would allow offenders to live within the child safe zones if they meet certain criteria.

Rep. Richard Spanbauer (Email), R-Town of Algoma, was chairman when the town enacted its residency restriction ordinance in 2006. He said having a state law on where offenders would be able to live could give uniformity throughout the state, however he thinks some changes need to be made to the current bill.

He said he had questions about whether the 100 to 250 foot distance from areas where children congregate was far enough away. Spanbauer also noted he would like to make sure the bill addressed offenders who had victimized young children and not teenagers who were involved in consensual relationships.

If they are making a state law that’s going to water it down to a point where it’s not as effective, I would not be in support of it,” Spanbauer said. “It helps to have teeth.”

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