Friday, March 26, 2010

OH - Former police officer (Colonel Willis) indicted for sex with minor

Original Article

03/26/2010

By Brian Schwartz

TOLEDO - A Huron County grand jury has indicted a former New London, OH police officer for gross sexual imposition.

Colonel Willis, 50, of Norwalk was indicted for having sex on more than one occasion with a girl who was 13 years old.

Willis was employed as a police officer by Monroeville, Norwalk, and New London. He was fired from the New London police department in 1998.

A trial date has not yet been set


"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."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


AZ - Porn defendant's monitoring challenged

Original Article

03/24/2010

By Brian J. Pedersen

The attorney for a retired Tucson police officer indicted on child-pornography charges is challenging a federal law that requires his client to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Michael Piccarreta contends the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is unconstitutional as a whole and as it applies to his client, Jefferson Sutton Stahl, because it prevents individual judges from determining whether electronic monitoring is needed.

"While I think this act is good politics, it's probably bad constitutional law," Piccarreta said Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy who was abducted from a mall in 1981 and later found murdered, was signed into law in 2006 and applies to all sex crimes. Among its provisions is a requirement that defendants out of custody be subjected to electronic monitoring.

Stahl, 62, was indicted in January on three counts of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.

His is alleged to have purchased four DVDs containing child pornography in June, one year after retiring from the Tucson Police Department following a 32-year career.

Court records indicate Stahl began communicating online in June 2008 with an undercover U.S. Postal Inspector operating an Internet forum described as "a special group for daddys who love young little munchkins!"

Stahl paid $100 for the DVDs, and after receiving them in the mail in August his home was raided by federal agents, who found the DVDs had already been removed from their envelope, court records show.

Agents also found more than 500 images and 24 videos of child pornography on computers and computer files in Stahl's home, court records show. During the search Stahl voluntarily told agents "this is something I've had an attraction to for a long time, but was able to suppress it." Sine his retirement, he had "given in" to his desires, according to court records.

Piccarreta told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro deciding whether a defendant requires electronic monitoring should be up to the judge, not up to legislation.

"I feel it's inappropriate for Congress to limit judicial power," he said.

Electronic monitoring is an essential part of the pretrial release process for people accused of sex crimes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carin Duryee said.

Duryee says Stahl is a flight risk because, as a retiree, he has few ties to the Tucson community. Stahl is banned from accessing the Internet, so the monitoring could also determine if he went to a library or other location with Internet access, she said.

"These crimes are predatory," Duryee said. "It's predatory behavior whether it happens behind a computer or on the street."


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


NY - Judge Calls Electronic Monitoring Excessive Bail in Child Pornography Case

Original Article

03/26/2010

By Mark Fass

Eastern District of New York Judge Jack B. Weinstein has held unconstitutional the electronic monitoring of a Brooklyn pizzeria owner awaiting retrial on child pornography charges.

The judge found that the monitoring, mandated by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, constitutes unconstitutionally excessive bail and violates defendant _____'s procedural due process rights.

"The basic defect of the Adam Walsh Act, as applied, is that it imposes a mandatory limit on freedom of an accused without permitting an 'adversary hearing,'" Weinstein held in United States v. Polouizzi (Polizzi), 06-cr-22.

"Required wearing of an electronic bracelet, every minute of every day, with the government capable of tracking a person not yet convicted as if he were a feral animal would be considered a serious limitation on freedom by most liberty-loving Americans."

Weinstein's opinion marks yet another setback for the government in its prosecution of _____, who has admitted collecting thousands of images of child pornography. _____ claims he downloaded the photos in the hope of saving the children or perhaps of finding evidence of the brutal rapes he endured as a child.

Since a jury rejected _____'s insanity defense in October 2007 and convicted him of 23 counts of receiving and possessing child pornography, Weinstein has twice ordered the case to be retried. The first order was reversed by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; the second order is on appeal.

After the government filed its most recent appeal, _____'s counsel, Mitchell J. Dinnerstein, contested the conditions of his bail.

Wednesday, Judge Weinstein ordered the discontinuation of the electronic monitoring, finding that it violated both the Eighth Amendment prohibition against excessive bail and the Fifth Amendment right to procedural due process. The judge cited more than half a dozen decisions finding the Adam Walsh Act, which imposes electronic monitoring without discretion, unconstitutional in cases where flight or safety are not at issue.

"Electronic monitoring devices that inhibit straying beyond spatial home property limits, like those used to restrain pet dogs, are intrusive. Their requirement, when mandated and unnecessary, may constitute excessive bail in particular cases," Weinstein wrote.

"In the instant case there is no statistical foundation for a finding of risk. And the particularized individual clinical and experiential factors suggest no danger that this defendant requires a tracking electronic bracelet to protect the children or public. For the purposes of constitutional assessment, no reasonable risk assessment warrants application of the Adam Walsh Act to this defendant at this time."

Enacted in 2006, the act revised registration requirements for and other rules regarding sex offenders. The law was named after a 6-year-old boy who was abducted from a Florida mall in 1981 and later murdered. Adam's father, John Walsh, is the host of TV's long-running "America's Most Wanted."

_____'s attorney, Dinnerstein, said he was pleased with the decision, but that he still intends to seek relief from the amount of the bail, which was set at $1 million.

Allen Lee Bode appeared on behalf of the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office. An office spokesman declined to comment.


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


CO - Colorado lawmakers weigh softened statutory sex-offender language

Original Article

03/25/2010

By Joseph Boven

Witnesses line up to testify against the change as a blow to public safety

DENVER – A controversial bill seeking to extend Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board and rework some of the language guiding the board’s work stoked intense debate at a Judicial Committee hearing Thursday afternoon. Sponsored in the House by Rep. Su Ryden (Email), D-Aurora, HB 1364 would make distinctions between adult sex offenders and juvenile sex offenders and also lift language that describes sex offenders as incurable.

The bill reflects recent concerns spurred for example by youth “sexting” incidents, where teenagers text naked or even pornographic photos of each other to one another or post them on the internet for fun or spite– not an activity most parents would condone, certainly, but also nothing on the scale of the kind of predatory sexual offenses the state’s harsh laws are meant to curb.

The bill suggests creating two categories of offenders, changing current language to refer to “adult sex offenders” and “juveniles who have committed a sexual offense.”

The move to soften language that describes offenders as incurable, however, has turned out to be the most hotly contested aspect of the bill. Detractors say the move would set a dangerous precedent that doesn’t reflect contemporary medical research, which has tended to see sex offenders as chronically afflicted, much like addicts, enduring a sickness to be managed because it can’t be cured.

One of the bill’s supporters, Rep. Claire Levy (Email), D-Boulder, has come under fire here for championing the language change. Levy told the Colorado Independent that removing the language would effect no changes to laws or sentencing but that, in effect, it opens the conversation.

The bill would strike the words “no known cure” from a portion of the bill that suggests treatment. The new version would ask for the state’s Sex Offender Management Board to conduct further research on treatment. Levy said that the Board’s work may well recommend current treatment consistent with the policy of “no known cure” but she felt the bill was an appropriate place to add another theory about sex offenders.

She said again that removing the language would not change sentencing, reporting mandates or prosecutions.

Reading the bill do you see anything that would hurt the public?” She asked and then answered her own question. “No.”

The bill charges the board to develop recommendations on treatment by mid December.

Witnesses lined up thick and deep to testify against the change in language, mostly citing public safety.

Rep. Mark Waller (Email), R-Colorado Springs, told the Colorado Independent that the bill would likely get out of committee on a party line vote.

A spokesman for the Denver D.A.’s office said recidivism was a chief characteristic of these criminals. “To date we have filed 68 cold cases and every defendant has had another prior offense of contact,” he told the committee.

The Sex Offender Management Board also recommended 14 to 2 to retain the “no known cure” language.

Spokesman for the state Attorney General’s office Geoff Blue said that removing the language would compromise safety unnecessarily.

Levy said that was inflammatory. She challenged the statement as exaggerated and unsubstantiated. She pointed out again that indeterminate sentencing language was not being removed from the bill.

Levy reportedly has told members here she is willing to offer an amendment that would on some level retain the “no known cure” language.

At 5:15 p.m., witnesses in favor of the bill are still waiting to testify.


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