Saturday, January 22, 2011

IN - Bill would ban sex offenders from public libraries

Original Article

01/19/2011

By David L. Hudson Jr.

Registered sex offenders would be banned from Indiana public libraries if Rep. David Yarde has his way.

This month Yarde introduced H.B. 1100 (PDF), which would create the criminal offense of “sex offender library trespass.”

The measure provides: “A registered sex offender who knowingly or intentionally enters a public library commits sex offender library trespass, a Class D felony.”

The bill does allow for an exception for entering public libraries to vote as long as the offenders don’t remain in the libraries longer than is necessary to vote.

If the measure gains any traction in the Legislature, it will be interesting to see whether someone will mount a constitutional challenge to it. In New Mexico, a registered sex offender represented by the New Mexico ACLU successfully challenged a complete ban on sex offenders in public libraries in Albuquerque. The mayor had established the ban by executive order.

In Doe v. Albuquerque (PDF), a federal district judge in New Mexico ruled in May 2010 that the ban infringed on Doe’s First Amendment right to receive information and ideas from public libraries.

The Court concludes that the regulation in this case, as specifically written, which is a complete ban against registered sex offenders in any and all City of Albuquerque public libraries, is not narrowly tailored, nor does it leave open ample alternative channels for communication,” Judge M. Christina Armijo wrote.

However, in a case involving public parks, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the city of Lafayette, Ind., did not violate the First Amendment when it excluded a known sex offender from city parks. The 7th Circuit found in Doe v. City of Lafayette (PDF) that Doe’s First Amendment rights were not violated because Doe did not go to the parks to express himself. The court majority reasoned that “because there is no expression at issue, First Amendment doctrine simply has no application here.”

Undoubtedly many sex offenders wish to go to public libraries to read and check out books. So there is an expressive-related reason for sex offenders to go to the library.

Under modern First Amendment law, a complete ban on sex offenders appears constitutionally problematic.


MI - Father Fatally Shoots Son in Grand Rapids

Original Article

01/20/2011

By Carl Apple

GRAND RAPIDS - There are still no charges filed in the death of a 31-year old man. He was allegedly shot by his own father Wednesday evening in Grand Rapids.

Brandon O'Connor was shot several times inside a home in the 1300 block of Sylvan SE around 4:45 pm.

Police say O'Connor's 54-year-old father called 911 and said he just shot his son with a 357 Magnum that was legally registered to him.

"There was a gentleman who identified himself as the father," said Capt. Eric Payne. "We took him into custody and did locate a shooting victim inside the house."

The father is not being officially identified, but friends say his name is Garry McGhee.

Police say O'Connor had been living at the home, but recently moved out. The two got into an argument which led to threats of violence and then shots fired.

O'Connor has a criminal record that includes weapon and assault charges. He's also a registered sex offender. Police say he was parolled to the home.

The father is still not in police custody. The case will be referred to the Kent County Prosecutor's Office for review. Police say a decision on charges could take a few weeks.
- He killed a person! He should be in jail right now, awaiting trial, but because the victim was a sex offender, he's not in custody. Wow, so much for justice!