Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OFF TOPIC - PA - US child appeals against being tried for murder as an adult

Original Article

This is insane. In all articles that have kids who are underage, they do not release their photo or name, but in this case, they did. Either you are an adult or not, and he isn't, and this sentence shows our system is screwed, IMO. The "scientists" are always saying that a child's brain doesn't develop until age XX, and they cannot be held responsible for XX crime, yet here, they go against that.

01/25/2011

By Ed Pilkington

[name withheld], who was 11 when he allegedly killed his father's pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole

Lawyers for a child in Pennsylvania who was 11 when he allegedly shot and killed his father's pregnant fiancee attempted today to persuade an appeals court not to try him as an adult under America's harsh system of juvenile justice.

Unless the lawyers for [name withheld] who is now aged 13, can convince the judges to change tack, he will be tried in adult court and if convicted will serve an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole. He would become the youngest child in US history to be sentenced to be incarcerated forever.

The US is the only country where juveniles are serving life imprisonment without parole under the so-called "life means life" policy. Only the US and Somalia have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which rules out life sentences with no chance of release for crimes committed before the age of 18.
- Life is life? Really? How come a murderer gets sentenced to life, and is out in 20 or so years? Doesn't sound like "life is life" to me.

[name withheld] is accused of having killed [name withheld], in February 2009 at her home in the countryside about 35 miles north-west of Pittsburgh. According to the prosecution, [name withheld] shot her through the back of the head as she slept in her bedroom.

He is then alleged to have got on the school bus and gone to his elementary school as usual.

[name withheld], 26, was just two weeks away from her due date and her unborn child, who would have been called Christopher, died too. [name withheld] has been charged with two counts of homicide.

[name withheld] allegedly carried out the killing using his own hunting rifle, a shotgun designed specifically for children. The prosecution alleges that the killing was premeditated and they found residue from the gun on [name withheld]'s shoulder.
- Who the hell would buy a shotgun for their 11 year old kid?

When he was first presented to court [name withheld] was made to wear shackles around his wrists and ankles.

Human rights campaigners are protesting the treatment of [name withheld] as an adult. Amnesty International said the move would be a violation of international law. "It is shocking that anyone this young could face life imprisonment without parole, let alone in a country which labels itself as a progressive force for human rights," said Susan Lee, head of the campaign's Americas operation.
- Hell, we are a socialist country now, haven't you heard. We are the USSA!

The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based campaign, said no other country had juveniles serving life without parole. "That leads to only two conclusions: either kids in the US are far more violent than those in the rest of the world, or the US has developed uniquely harsh sentences."

At a federal level, the US penal system has been inching towards a more lenient approach to juvenile crime. In 2005 the US supreme court abolished the death penalty for under-18s.

Then last May it ruled that juveniles could not be subjected to life without parole for any crime other than homicide.

But that still leaves about 2,400 prisoners facing permanent imprisonment for homicides committed when they were children.

Pennsylvania, where all juveniles are automatically treated as adults unless a judge decides otherwise, heads the league table of 44 states that hand out the sentence, with about 450 cases.

[name withheld]'s death has divided the two families involved in their response to [name withheld]'s judicial treatment. The boy's father, [name withheld], protests his son's innocence and says he has no idea what could await him.

"Try to explain to a 12-year-old what the rest of your life means. It's incomprehensible for him," he told ABC News last year.

The victim's mother, [name withheld], has pushed for the toughest sentence for the boy. "I can't stand this 'Oh, he's 11,' 'Oh, his clothes don't fit him,'" she told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review soon after her daughter's death. "He knew what he was doing. He killed my baby."


Illinois Voices - Newsletter - Volume II (01-2011)

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UK - Sex offenders: Monstrous or misunderstood?

Original Article

01/26/2011

The words "sex offender" spark public revulsion and anger. In our week-long series about the probation service, the YEP speaks to those who rehabilitate men.

Ask the average man or woman on the street how to tackle the problem and the response will probably involve restoring the death penalty or permanent incarceration, particularly in cases of paedophilia or rape.

But Rita and Sarah, respectively practice manager and operations manager with the sex offender programme of West Yorkshire Probation Service, insist that wouldn't solve the problem.

Simply branding every sex offender as a monster and depriving them of their lives or liberty would mean they never get to understand – and therefore prevent – further offending, they say.

Most importantly, they argue, where would you draw the line? After all, the programme deals with people who are on the sex offenders' register, which encompasses the whole spectrum of crimes.

Rita says: "Would you lock someone up and throw away the key who, perhaps, got drunk and indecently assaults a woman by, uninvited, touching her bum in a pub? Because if that were reported to police you could be charged and convicted for that."

"In a lot of cases there's a very blurred area surrounding consent too. Let's say a girl is 15 years old and appears to be consensual towards someone in their 20s."

"He's potentially convicted because he's the adult and should have taken responsibility to establish her age and ensure she can give informed consent. Would you throw away the key on someone like that?"

"After all, there are some rare cases where a 17-year-old lad has ended up on the sex offenders' register because he had sex with a girl two years younger than him."
- Rare?  I don't think so, it's very common, as can be seen on this blog.

They say there is a sliding scale of offences and circumstances which need careful consideration because there are so many grey areas that drawing the line would be potentially perilous.

Instead those running the sex offenders' programme believe that treatment, in combination with a prison sentence when meted out, is invariably the best solution.

"It's a very difficult thing for people to accept and understand," says Sarah. "It's not palatable for many people, but we do this job because we believe in it."
- Well what do you expect when the media and politicians continue to spread fear and lies instead of the facts?  Hell, the UK is rife with vigilantism towards sex offenders, and I think it's mainly due to the media who use terms like "sex beast," "monster," etc.

"We have a very skilled group of staff who are passionate about what they do and that has a positive impact – it works."

"But just removing people from society and compartmentalising them doesn't actually tackle the problem. What we've learned helps with the detection of offences."

"For example, what we've learned about female sex offenders isn't something that was ever imagined 30 years ago. But now we have a greater understanding of sexual offending of all kinds."

The programme, based in Leeds, includes around 50 men at any one time. (It is only open to men since female sex offenders are so few in number and they would require separate treatment anyway).
- I think females are so few is because most males see it as a "right of passage," or something good to have sex with an older female, and they do not report it, or even see it as a crime!  That is obvious by most of the comments you see on articles where a female is involved, like Debra LeFave in the US.

Those who are referred to the unit have a combination of group work, coursework, home visits and one-on-one consultations to establish the exact nature of an individual's offending, make them accept what they did was wrong and how best to avoid and manage risky situations in the future.

But doesn't that seem a little optimistic and woolly?

Rita says: "I know the work we do prevents further victims – that's good enough for me. Despite what some people may think, there is actually a very low rate of re-offending among men who commit sexual offences. But, after treatment, there's evidence of a further decrease in that rate."
- It's a known fact recidivism among sex offenders is low, yet the media and politicians continually say it's high.  They don't know or care for the facts.  And many claim, "if it saves one child, it's worth it!"  And helping treat and rehabilitate offenders would potentially save a child, but then the hypocrites change their minds.

Sarah added: "I take the view we're here as public servants and represent the interests of the community. We know that sex offending is very emotive and is difficult to engage with."
- Well, the community claims they want to help reduce sexual abuse, but when they just ignore the facts and don't even want to carry on an adult discussion on the issue, it's clear they don't want to reduce sexual abuse, IMO.  If we did not discuss the growing collapse in the US, would we expect it to just fix itself?  Of course not, but that is what people are doing here.

"But our staff are always very mindful of the victim. The skill of the staff in creating sex offending programmes is about balancing the need to create an environment where men can talk openly about themselves and remembering what they've done."

"But we do challenge the men – there's nowhere to hide when we confront them with their offending."

Perhaps the most unsavoury element of their work is approaching offenders with a relatively open-mind and accepting them as humans, not monsters.

"I would hate to come across that I have any sympathy with people who abuse children or rape people," says Rita. "Because that behaviour is indisputably wrong, illegal and harmful."

"But the way I make sense of doing this work goes back to an old adage: 'you can despise the sin but care for the sinner'."

"And, through doing the work, I have realised the vast majority of men who commit sexual offences aren't the monsters they're often portrayed to be."

"You become aware of how varied the expression of human sexuality can be and how important sex is in people's lives. They can be totally preoccupied by it, which leads to massive distortions about what is and isn't acceptable."

"I've been a probation officer for about 20 years and specialised in working with sex offenders for the last 10 years, but human sexuality is still a revelation to me."

"The difficulty is that when we're working with sex offenders we can't always have the victims at the forefront of your mind because it stops you working empathetically with the offender."

"You certainly can't forget the victims, but in order to exact change in the offenders they have to be aware that we're on their side and see them as human beings."

Rita and Sarah say their work has shown them that there are many men who lead apparently normal lives.

"The majority of the individuals we meet wouldn't fit the stereotype of what people may expect from a sex offender – they hold down jobs, they have families, they can lead otherwise successful lives."

But their sexual norms can become warped due to certain triggers, understanding those circumstances and triggers is key.

Sarah says: "It's as simple as this: the more we know about sex offending, the more we can prevent sex offending."

"It's a very difficult thing for people to accept and understand. It's not palatable for many people, but we do this job because we believe in it - and it works."


VA - Senator Seeks to Castrate Sex Offenders

Original Article

Castration will solve the budget problem, which was created by the corrupt politicians? Why not castrate the politicians, then fire them? What is next, killing people to solve the "Global Warming" or population problem? I'm sure Hitler would be proud!

01/26/2011

RICHMOND - A Virginia legislator is proposing castrating sex offenders as an alternative to the increasing costs to detain and treat them after they've served their prison sentences.

Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger's bill would require the state to study the use of physical castration as an alternative to civil commitment for sexually violent predators. A similar proposal was vetoed four years ago.

The civil commitment program's budget grew from $2.7 million in 2004 to $24 million this year. Gov. Bob McDonnell has proposed spending nearly $70 million over the next two years to meet the increasing demands.

Hanger's bill also would require study of the crimes that qualify for commitment, the process and housing options for those who leave the program.


UK - Girl, 15, guilty of false rape accusation against 14-year-old

Original Article

01/26/2011

A teenage girl has been convicted of making a false rape allegation against a boy of 14.

The 15-year-old, from Lydney, willingly had sex with him during a game of 'truth or dare' with other youngsters.

But her untrue allegation led to the boy being arrested and questioned by detectives until they became satisfied he was telling the truth about her consenting to sex, Cheltenham youth court heard.

The girl, now 16, denied she attempted to pervert the course of justice by making a false rape allegation. But after a three day trial the magistrates found her guilty.

Julian Kesner, prosecuting, told the court the girl, who cannot be named because of her age, initially told police that she and the boy were alone in his room in Lydney when the incident happened in August.

But she later changed her story and said two other young people were in the room at the time.

Mr Kesner said she told police she tried to push the boy away and told him to stop. Eventually, she said, she pushed him off and shouted for her friend. She later told her friend what had happened and alleged rape in three different police interviews.

Mr Kesner said: "The boy told police that he asked if the girl had ever had sex and did she wanted to try it. She told him she did and they had sex with her consent."

He said the other two young people backed up much of this account and had certainly been in the room at the time. They said that the girl did not shout for her friend and, the following day, she and her alleged attacker were seen holding hands. The court heard that the girl did not tell anyone about the alleged rape for some days afterwards, and when she did, it was because she thought she might be pregnant.

In evidence yesterday the girl admitted she had told lies to police but maintained she had been raped.

She said she'd told the boy she did not want to have sex with him and tried to push him off but had been too frightened to shout out to the other two teen in the room.

She was found guilty and the case was adjourned for sentencing at a later date.


IL - State rep proposes murderer registry

Original Article

Once again, a politicians trying to make a name for himself. Murderers have the LOWEST recidivism rate of any other criminal, and sex offenders have the second lowest recidivism rates. So it seems to me, they are going about this totally bass-ackwards. But, the more registries we have, and the sooner, then the sooner they all come crumbling down.

01/25/2011

By Ted Gregory

Database would track killers convicted before truth-in-sentencing law

Motivated by outrage over the 1998 murder of a Batavia woman, a state representative on Tuesday proposed creating a public database of convicted murderers.
- Why not save a ton of money and just create one registry for ALL CRIMINALS?

Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, filed a bill known as "Andrea's Law," which calls for the Illinois State Police to create a murderer registry database on the Internet of individuals convicted of first-degree murder before truth-in-sentencing requirements were imposed.
- The police are already over burdened with just one registry, and when you introduce more?  But hey, the more the merrier, right?

The bill is named for Andrea Will, 18, who was strangled by her ex-boyfriend, Justin Boulay, while they were students at Eastern Illinois University.
- So, another white girl, another law named in her "honor?"  So why do we not have a gang offender registry for those killed by gangs (drive by shootings)?  A DUI offender registry for those killed by drunk drivers?  Or any other crime, like drug dealers/users, domestic violence, bank robbery, you name it.  Think about it!

Boulay was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Under sentencing laws at the time, he had one day removed from his punishment for every day he served without disciplinary problems. Boulay, now 33, was released in November and moved to Hawaii to live with a woman he married while incarcerated.

The proposed murderer registry "is a natural extension to the state's current sex offender and child murderer registry," Reboletti said in a prepared statement.
- So you are throwing big words in there to heighten the fear factor.  What about those I mentioned above by gang members, DUI's, abusive parents, teachers, etc.

The law would apply to convicted murderers who committed the crime before June 19, 1998. It would require them to be registered for 10 years after their parole, a Reboletti spokeswoman said.
- So once again, another ex post facto law, violating the state (See section 16) and US Constitutions!