Tuesday, September 14, 2010
If this were to happen in today's age, in America, they'd be hung out to dry! My how things have changed over the last 10 years or so. These are really creepy though. If I had a kid, and they were on either show, I'd have to put a stop to that real quick!
Something just doesn't sit right in the "Ride for their lives" event. They claim they are "riding" bikes across country. They claim they had to train for this event. Now they started on 08/21/2010 in Rochester, NY, and are already in California as of today (09/14/2010). I do not think even a marathon rider could achieve this feat, do you?
I have noticed in the photos I have seen, and some videos, they are not sweating, nor do they look tired. Even a marathon rider would be guzzling water, be sun burnt, and sweating profusely.
Maybe I am wrong, and this is possible, but for them? I doubt it. I think they should call this "Drive for their lives!"
Here is the trip I did on Bing Maps, which is by car, and is just over 2,609 miles.
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While it's important to find unregistered abusers, registration is no panacea.
An ongoing "sweep" led by the U.S. Marshals Service to track down convicted sex offenders who have failed to update their addresses with local police is one more example of how difficult it is for society to deal with this crime.
No one convicted of any other felony, including murder, is treated the same way, and yet the tracking of released sex offenders remains an expensive and questionable technique for safeguarding citizens from the danger they may continue to present.
Under a 2006 federal law, the Adam Walsh Act, named for a boy kidnapped and murdered by a sex offender, the marshals are the lead agency overseeing compliance with the requirement that sex offenders register with local law enforcement.
- This is a lie and misconception. It has NEVER been proven that Adam was sexually abuse or kidnapped by a sex offender, NEVER! They claim Ottis Toole committed the crime, but he was a pathological liar and an alleged serial killer.
Any new address requires updating, and this sweep, called "Operation Guardian," involved federal, state county and local authorities tracking down offenders and trying to find those with incorrect addresses or who had failed to file any location data.
The sweep was timed to coordinate with the opening of school, since the law mandates that offenders live a certain distance away from schools, day care centers, playgrounds and other locations where children gather.
- All the while ignoring facts that where someone lives, has nothing to do with if they will re-offend, or even prevent crime or actually protect people.
As of the end of last week, nearly two dozen offenders had been arrested for noncompliance with the law, and the effort is expected to continue across the state for several more weeks.
The effort, as necessary as it is, however, cannot be a solution to the problem of recidivism. The rationale for the sweep is that people who have a record of such crimes are highly likely to commit them over and over again, and such treatments as they receive have been ineffective in many cases.
- Which is more lies and misconceptions. See here.
Second, requiring an offender to live a given distance away from a given location offers no guarantee whatsoever that such a person can't still walk or drive there, even if they are legally prohibited from doing so. After all, child sexual abuse is a worse crime than violating standards of release, and if an offender is willing to do that, a mere travel ban is minuscule.
- I agree, and I've said it a thousand or more times. If a person is intent on committing a crime, they will commit the crime, no matter how many "feel good," unconstitutional laws are on the books.
Sadly, the only way to keep hard-core sex offenders harmless is to keep them where not only is their address known, they also can't refuse to provide it: prison. That is, longer sentences and no chance of their reduction is the only strategy guaranteed to work.
Politicians really have no clue, they are just passing laws that "feel good!" These laws prevent them from living near these places, but if an offender has feet, they can walk to them, or near them, which legally, is not loitering. And if a person is intent on committing a crime, they will any way. Besides, how many kids can you name, who have been snatched from a public park by a sex offender?
By SOPHIA VORAVONG
Lafayette resident Allana Diaz is comforted knowing that no child predators are living nearby when she takes her boys, ages 4 and 7, to play at city-run Murdock Park.
- You keep living in Wonderland, okay! So tell me, how do you "know" no child predators are living nearby? There could be many who have not been caught yet. So you reasoning makes no sense.
Since July 1, 2006, in Indiana, sex offenders against children have been banned from residing within 1,000 feet of public parks, schools and youth program centers.
- This is not exactly true. All offenders, if I am not mistaken, are banned from living near these places, not just child sex offenders, and by the media and politicians continually saying this, it leads the public to think all sex offenders are child predators, which is a lie!
"You worry that someone is going to snatch them when you look away for five, 10 seconds. So, yes, I think it's a great law," said Diaz, who was at Murdock with her sons Thursday afternoon.
- Great law how? The unknown child predator could be right under your nose!
Protecting children from harm was at the forefront for Hoosier lawmakers when they passed the residency restrictions. That also was the motivation behind Indiana's Sex and Violent Offender Registry, a public database that since 2003 tracks those criminals' home and work addresses and posts them online.
However, the effectiveness of such legal tools is debatable, and shifting interpretations of the laws keep offenders and officials on their toes.
One reason is that some of the statutory language is vague, leaving each county to determine how they'll be enforced.
And both the sex offender registry and the residency restrictions have been challenged on grounds that they violate ex post facto provisions of Indiana's constitution and the U.S. Constitution by imposing punishment retroactively.
Two Lafayette sex offenders were told they could move home last fall after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they owned their residences before the 2006 restrictions took effect.
"If the folks know they're going to be monitored consistently, it does create an atmosphere where they know people are watching," said state Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-Lafayette. "Strong monitoring is the key there."
- Where someone lives is not exactly monitoring, it's banishment. The two terms do not mean the same. Look it up, educate yourself. And what about those who are unknown and not caught yet? It's a false sense of security!
She voted in favor of the residency restrictions.
- Of course she did, she probably doesn't know the true facts, or just wanted to make herself look better to the American sheeple!
But Klinker acknowledged that nothing in that legislation prevents child sex offenders from spending their days at the so-called child safety zones.
- So you are contradicting yourself then. Either it "monitors" and "prevents" crime, or it doesn't. My vote is the latter!
"They can stay all day in the park, so long as they go home to sleep," Klinker said. "I expect this could be something brought up at the state level. ... This is a very good point that probably should be investigated."
- Exactly, and even if you passed more unconstitutional laws so they cannot step foot in these places, it still will not prevent a criminal who has the intention on harming a child from doing so. Never will!
She said the 1,000-feet distance was an arbitrary number chosen by police officers, justices and people involved in juvenile justice. Lawmakers in Indianapolis also looked at other states' restrictions.
When asked how 1,000 feet protected children better than 1,005 feet, Klinker replied: "That is true. It doesn't necessarily."
- Exactly. Neither does 300, 500, 2500 or 10 miles! But at least she can say she tried, and doesn't have to appear soft on sex offenders, thus saving her own butt!
In Tippecanoe County, the residency restrictions leave few options within the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette for offenders against children.
"If you're an offender against children, I would say that it would be difficult to find a place to live," said Detective Greg Haltom of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office, who is in charge of the county's registry.
- If you are an offender period! I am sure the laws apply to all offenders, not just those against children.
The residency restrictions law itself is far from solid, four years later.
"We follow the caseload defining the statute, through the appellate and supreme courts," Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said. "This is an ongoing issue. The caselaw changes as the facts present themselves."
- So why not do your job, examine all the "facts" up front, before jumping the gun and passing some "feel good" law that does nothing, and then continually change things, thus punishing people more and more?
Shortly after the law was passed, Haltom worked with Harrington and Deputy Prosecutor Laura Zeman to map out prohibited areas.
- So tell me, why didn't they do this BEFORE the law was passed?
Identifying schools and public parks was simple, Haltom said. However, what counts as a youth program center was not well defined.
Some youth program centers, such as the Boys and Girls Club and Hanna Community Center, were obvious ones to include, Zeman said.
- Hmm, why is it called a COMMUNITY center and not a CHILDREN'S center? Sounds to me like it's not a place just for kids. So I don't see how that would be a place they could not go. Hell, if you define stuff like this, what about grocery stores? Gas stations? Malls? Etc?
When Tippecanoe County began enforcing the law, Haltom sent letters to dozens of organizations and churches, asking whether they provide programs for children.
Some never responded, Haltom said.
The vague terminology continues to cause problems.
For instance, Haltom told the Journal & Courier last week that day care providers are not included on Tippecanoe County's list of 166 schools, public parks or youth program centers because day care providers are considered businesses.
Zeman said last week that well-identified ones -- such as Tippecanoe County Child Care and KinderCare -- should be in the restrictive zones, while home-based ones without noticeable signage should not.
The sheriff's office and prosecutor's office plan to discuss the discrepancy. If day cares are added to the list, it could result in more sex offenders having to move.
- Well, not if you were following the Constitution! That is ex post facto punishment. Something that was legal yesterday, and then you come along and pass a new law, should not all of a sudden force them to have to leave, that is totally against the state and US Constitutions.
About two dozen offenders had to move outside the 1,000-foot zones when Tippecanoe County began enforcing the residency restrictions in 2007.
"We do what we believe best protects the public and the children, based on what stands up to appellate and Supreme Court scrutiny and whether we can prove the defendant knowingly and intentionally violated the law," Harrington said.
Concerns about student safety is what prompted Purdue University to publicize in August that three sex offenders were working at a Subway restaurant in Purdue West, by McCutcheon Residence Hall.
- So, are the offenders, going to all of a sudden jump on someone and molest them in public? Come in, this is pure stupidity!
Fliers with their photos, names and ages were posted in five university residence halls.
- And the WITCH HUNT continues!
The three men -- [name withheld], 30, [name withheld], 32 and [name withheld], 57 -- were eventually fired because closer scrutiny by Purdue showed that they were violating parole agreements -- not by living but by working within 1,000 feet of a public park.
- So when they were looking into a place to work, didn't they have to tell their probation/parole officers? If so, apparently the probation/parole is not doing their jobs, or they would've told them ahead of time, they could not work their, saving them from the public humiliation!
The Purdue West Subway at McCormick Road and State Street is 400 feet east of the entrance to Horticulture Park, a public nature preserve owned by Purdue.
However, Horticulture Park is not included in the sheriff's department list of public parks. That's because it is not governed by a political subdivision, such as a city or town council, as defined under Indiana law, Haltom said.
Rick Loudermilk, supervisor of the Terre Haute Parole District, which includes Tippecanoe County, did not return a message last week seeking comment about the difference.
[name withheld] declined to comment when reached in-person at his West Lafayette home, citing the ongoing publicity. [name withheld] did not respond to a message left by the Journal & Courier at a home telephone listing.
Attempts to reach [name withheld] were not successful.
Of the three men, only [name withheld], who was twice convicted of criminal deviate conduct in White County, is listed as a sexually violent predator on Indiana's sex offender registry.
Indiana does have a 1,000-foot workplace restriction for sexually violent predators, Haltom said, meaning [name withheld] appears to have been in violation regardless of his parole agreement.
Klinker said she would not be surprised if the Subway incident makes it before legislators.
"I hate to keep people from earning a living. That's another side of the coin," she said. "Many times, those fellas and gals have bills to pay. They can't do that if they don't have a job."
- Yeah, I'm sure your heart is just aching.... Not!
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
KANSAS CITY — [name withheld] lost 10 years of his life for a crime he did not commit. There was no physical evidence at his trial for rape, but one overwhelming factor put him away: he confessed.
At trial, the jury heard details that prosecutors insisted only the rapist could have known, including the fact that the rapist hit the 75-year-old victim in the head with the handle of a silver table knife he found in the house. DNA evidence would later show that another man committed the crime. But that vindication would come only years after Mr. [name withheld] had served his sentence and was paroled in 1991.
“I beat myself up a lot” about having confessed, Mr. [name withheld] said in a recent interview. “I thought I was the only dummy who did that.”
But more than 40 others have given confessions since 1976 that DNA evidence later showed were false, according to records compiled by Brandon L. Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. Experts have long known that some kinds of people — including the mentally impaired, the mentally ill, the young and the easily led — are the likeliest to be induced to confess. There are also people like Mr. [name withheld], who says he was just pressed beyond endurance by persistent interrogators.
New research shows how people who were apparently uninvolved in a crime could provide such a detailed account of what occurred, allowing prosecutors to claim that only the defendant could have committed the crime.
An article by Professor Garrett draws on trial transcripts, recorded confessions and other background materials to show how incriminating facts got into those confessions — by police introducing important facts about the case, whether intentionally or unintentionally, during the interrogation.
To defense lawyers, the new research is eye opening. “In the past, if somebody confessed, that was the end,” said Peter J. Neufeld, a founder of the Innocence Project, an organization based in Manhattan. “You couldn’t imagine going forward.”
The notion that such detailed confessions might be deemed voluntary because the defendants were not beaten or coerced suggests that courts should not simply look at whether confessions are voluntary, Mr. Neufeld said. “They should look at whether they are reliable.”
Professor Garrett said he was surprised by the complexity of the confessions he studied. “I expected, and think people intuitively think, that a false confession would look flimsy,” like someone saying simply, “I did it,” he said.
Instead, he said, “almost all of these confessions looked uncannily reliable,” rich in telling detail that almost inevitably had to come from the police. “I had known that in a couple of these cases, contamination could have occurred,” he said, using a term in police circles for introducing facts into the interrogation process. “I didn’t expect to see that almost all of them had been contaminated.”
Of the exonerated defendants in the Garrett study, 26 — more than half — were “mentally disabled,” under 18 at the time or both. Most were subjected to lengthy, high-pressure interrogations, and none had a lawyer present. Thirteen of them were taken to the crime scene.
Mr. [name withheld]’s case shows how contamination occurs. He had come under suspicion, he now believes, because he had been partying and ran his car into a parked car the night of the rape, generating a police report. Officers grilled him for more than seven hours, insisting from the start that he had committed the crime.
Mr. [name withheld] took a lie detector test to prove he was innocent, but the officers told him that he had failed it.
“I didn’t know any way out of that, except to tell them what they wanted to hear,” he recalled. “And then get a lawyer to prove my innocence.”
Proving innocence after a confession, however, is rare. Eight of the defendants in Professor Garrett’s study had actually been cleared by DNA evidence before trial, but the courts convicted them anyway.
In one such case involving [name withheld], who spent 16 years in prison for a murder in Poughkeepsie, prosecutors argued that the victim may have been sexually active and so the DNA evidence may have come from another liaison she had. The prosecutors asked the jury to focus on Mr. [name withheld]’s highly detailed confession and convict him.
While Professor Garrett suggests that leaking facts during interrogations is sometimes unintentional, Mr. [name withheld] said that the contamination of his questioning was clearly intentional.
After his initial confession, he said, the interrogators went over the crime with him in detail — asking how he did it, but correcting him when he got the facts wrong. How did he get in? “I said, ‘I kicked in the front door.’ ” But the rapist had used the back door, so he admitted to having gone around to the back. “They fed me the answers,” he recalled.
Some defendants’ confessions even include mistakes fed by the police. [name withheld], a mentally impaired man who spent 18 years in prison and came within hours of being executed for a murder he did not commit, stated in his confession that the victim had worn a halter top. In fact, she had worn a sundress, but an initial police report had stated that she wore a halter top.
Steven A. Drizin, the director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law, said the significance of contamination could not be understated. While errors might lead to wrongful arrest, “it’s contamination that is the primary factor in wrongful convictions,” he said. “Juries demand details from the suspect that make the confession appear to be reliable — that’s where these cases go south.”
Jim Trainum, a former policeman who now advises police departments on training officers to avoid false confessions, explained that few of them intend to contaminate an interrogation or convict the innocent.
“You become so fixated on ‘This is the right person, this is the guilty person’ that you tend to ignore everything else,” he said. The problem with false confessions, he said, is “the wrong person is still out there, and he’s able to reoffend.”
Mr. Trainum has become an advocate of videotaping entire interrogations. Requirements for recording confessions vary widely across the country. Ten states require videotaping of at least some interrogations, like those in crimes that carry the death penalty, and seven state supreme courts have required or strongly encouraged recording.
These days Mr. [name withheld], 51, lives in suburban Kansas City, in a house he is renovating with some of the $7.5 million in settlement money he received, along with apologies from officials in Riley County, Kan., where he was arrested and interrogated.
He has trouble putting the past behind him. “I was embarrassed,” he said. “You run in to so many people who say, ‘I would never confess to a crime.’ ”
He does not argue with them, because he knows they did not experience what he went through. “You’ve never been in a situation so intense, and you’re naïve about your rights,” he said. “You don’t know what you’ll say to get out of that situation.”