Wednesday, March 2, 2011

IL - Illinois law may take East Moline man off sex offender registry

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OH - Justices Could Rule On Sex Offender Cases

Original Article


The Ohio Supreme Court considered two cases involving sex offenders Tuesday. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports they could decide once and for all what happens to sex offenders who are caught up in a sea of changing legislation.

These cases follow up on a ruling from last June, in which the Ohio Supreme Court decided parts of Ohio’s version of the federal Adam Walsh sex offender law were unconstitutional. The law re-classified sex offenders into three tiers, and the justices ruled the state couldn’t override the sentencing decisions made by local judges in reclassifying offenders who’d already been sentenced. These two cases involve people who were caught in between the old law – Megan’s Law – and the new Adam Walsh Law, also known as Senate Bill 10.

Katherine Szudy represents [name withheld] of Warren County, who was 19 in 2007 when he had sex with a 14 year old girlfriend. Szudy says [name withheld] was supposed to register annually with law enforcement for 10 years – now that’s been bumped to twice a year for 25 years. And Szudy says because [name withheld] has already served his sentence, that is unconstitutional punishment.

Senate Bill 10 makes information on all sex offenders available to the general public without restriction and without regard as to whether the individual actually poses any particular risk to society. And contrary to the common misconception, the recidivism rate for sex crimes is no worse than the recidivism rate for other crimes.”

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld other laws on sex offenders. Michael Greer with the Warren County prosecutor’s office says the Adam Walsh law does not differ that much from the older Megan’s Law in requiring information from sex offenders at regular intervals so the public can keep track of where they are.
But Justice Paul Pfeifer wasn’t sure.

That’s very reasonable, and probably should have been included in Megan’s Law. I mean—we don’t want to confuse...

Pfeifer: “If that had been included in Megan’s Law, we might have made a different call on whether or not it was punitive.”

Greer: “But I don’t think you would have, because….

Pfeifer: “How do you know? I don’t know that we know. I sure don’t know.”

Greer: “But this information, this additional information is necessary to carry out the goal of Senate Bill 10.”

The second case involves [name withheld] of Trumbull County, who’s in prison for sex crimes including rape – he won’t be eligible for parole till he’s 114 years old. But when he was notified that he’d been classified into the worst category of sex offender, [name withheld] argued that wasn’t constitutional because he’d never had a hearing.

Deena DeVico from the Trumbull County prosecutor’s office told Justice Judith Lanzinger that even though the reclassification was correct and [name withheld] will never leave prison, his claims raise important concerns.

The state feels that this court at least would be willing to consider Mr. [name withheld]’s contentions.” Lanzinger: “And whatever we decide may apply to somebody who is going to get out.” “That is true, Your Honor.”

And both sides do hope that these cases may finally settle the classification issues for thousands of sex offenders - and their prosecutors and defense attorneys - caught in limbo between the old and new laws. Jay Macke represents [name withheld].

The amount of money that’s been spent by local governments dealing with reclassification has been astronomical. Millions and millions of dollars that aren’t on the state budget, but they’re on the local budgets. Hopefully we’re coming towards the end of that.”

Some 5,000 sex offenders could be affected by the rulings in these cases. Ohio was the first state to fully comply with the federal Adam Walsh law on sex offenders – other states have moved much more slowly.

NY - Are Sexual Offense Laws Too Harsh? And Do They Work?

Original Article


New Book by UB's Ewing looks at the laws' legal effectiveness

BUFFALO - University at Buffalo Law School Professor Charles Patrick Ewing has added to his series of critically acclaimed books on some of the most unsavory but attention-grabbing aspects of the law, this time with a book questioning the legal logic and effectiveness of the country's increasingly harsh sex offense laws.

In "Justice Perverted," Ewing examines what he calls "radically reshaped" laws dealing with the country's sex offenders. These laws include ordering sex offenders to register with authorities, punishment for people possessing child pornography that "dwarfs" sentences for more violent crimes, including murder, and a federal law that requires a minimum 10-year prison sentence for those using the Internet to lure minors for sex.

All these dramatic changes in sex offender laws have come about at least partly from input from the fields of psychology, psychiatry and the social sciences, according to Ewing, whose extensive writing credits include several books on forensic psychology, which is the application of psychological principles and methods to legal issues, and how they play out in the courtroom. And Ewing's research and experience in many trials -- both nationally notorious as well as obscure -- conclude that enforcement and administration of many of these significantly more restrictive sex offense laws rely heavily the opinions of mental-health professionals.

Working from that conclusion, Ewing takes on an original and intellectually courageous direction of answering questions about and evaluating this established legal environment:

Are these laws supported by empirical evidence, or even by well-reasoned psychological theories? Do these laws actually work? Are mental health professionals capable of reliably determining an offender's future behavior, and how best to manage it?

"All of these laws are purportedly designed to enhance public safety by reducing the incidence of sexual offending," says Ewing, whose work in forensic psychology has involved using psychology to understand legal issues such as insanity, competence to stand trial and future danger. "Not only is there no evidence that these laws have had their intended effect, but there is some evidence that some of them may in fact lead to an increased threat to society."

"The economic costs of these laws are staggering and seem indefensible at a time when other valued government programs are being cut to avoid fiscal disaster," says Ewing. "There can be little doubt that sexual offenses bring great harm to individuals and society or that we should do all that we can reasonably do to prevent them from occurring. The question is what is reasonable. It is neither reasonable nor responsible to spend billions of taxpayers' dollars on laws with no proven value."

The questions Ewing takes on in "Justice Perverted" go beyond the arcane procedures of the nation's courtrooms to issues of justice and fair treatment of all parties. Are experts capable of providing effective treatment for sex offenders, Ewing asks, for example, treatment that actually reduces the likelihood that an identified sex offender will repeat a similar offense?

Ewing is a nationally known expert on the criminal mind, a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor who has taught at the UB Law School for 25 years. He is an expert witness who has testified or been closely involved on some of the most celebrated and often grisly criminal cases in the country.

Ewing's past accomplishments have earned him a reputation for capturing the world of courtroom drama in books both scholarly and captivating. His "Insanity, Murder, Madness and the Law" took readers inside the minds of some of the nation's most heinous murderers, including David Berkowitz, John Wayne Gacy and Andrea Yates.

His previous book, "Trials of a Forensic Psychologist," was another example of Ewing's talent to produce a work of scholarship that is informative and still retains the ability to be darkly entertaining.

"Justice Perverted" has already earned impressive kudos from law and university professionals.

"A remarkable, eye-opener of a book. Professor Ewing brings to this highly controversial subject his knowledge as both a law professor and as a practicing forensic mental health expert," according to Alan M. Goldstein, a board certified forensic psychologist and professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"'Justice Perverted' is informative, readable and should be required reading for attorneys, judges and forensic psychologists and psychiatrists working in this area. Ewing's specific recommendations for public policy reform should make all of us re-think our immediate 'gut reaction' as to how those who commit these horrific crimes should be treated."

"This book is a breath of fresh air," says Michael L. Perlin, professor of law, director of the International Mental Disability Law Reform Project and director of the Online Mental Disability Law Program, New York Law School.

"It debunks the media-driven frenzy of fear, hate mongering and utterly irrational laws that do far more harm than good. Professor Ewing writes thoughtfully, carefully and persuasively. This book should be read by all who care about -- and think about -- this topic."

Ewing, who has been frequently quoted regionally and nationally on legal issues and high-profile trials, is available for interviews on this book and other legal issues.

Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School -- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes UB Law unique among the nation's premier public law schools.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

CA - City of Bell Shells Out $750,000 To Settle Sex Assault By Former Police Officer (Feliciano Sanchez)

Original Article


In December, former police officer Feliciano Sanchez, 35, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to forcing the woman to perform a sex act during a May 2007 traffic stop and violating her civil rights.

BELL (KTLA) -- Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars is what the city of Bell has agreed to pay a woman who was sexually assaulted by a police officer during a traffic stop.

In December, former police officer Feliciano Sanchez, 35, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to forcing the woman to perform a sex act during a May 2007 traffic stop and violating her civil rights.

Luis Carrillo, the woman's attorney said this settlement, which a judge signed off on last month, ends the state and federal lawsuits filed against the city, former police Officer Sanchez and former Police Chief Andreas Probst.

The city rocked by scandal, came up with a plan for the settlement to be paid in installments ending in July 2012, which the city requested because of its fiscal woes.

TN - Memphis Man Says He Was Wrongly Arrested During A Police Sex Offender Roundup

Original Article


By Alex Coleman

Will The Real [name withheld] Please Standup?

Memphis - [name withheld]'s just been released from jail.

[name withheld] said, "Take a look at his picture. They say that's me, but that's not me."

[name withheld] who admits he's had trouble with the law before says this time he was mistakenly arrested by Memphis police because they thought he was the other guy.

[name withheld] said, "My story is I've been falsely accused and falsely identified and falsely imprisoned for something I never did."

[name withheld] says he was arrested during a Memphis police and U.S. Marshall Service roundup of more than three dozen sex offenders.

He says they were really looking for [name withheld] who's charged with rape.

[name withheld] said, "They came to my house and said I had an indictment for failing to register as a sex offender and I don't even have a sex offender charge. They held me in here for 24 hours for nothing."

He says officers knew they had the wrong man.

[name withheld] said, "On my way to jail they told me they know it's not me and they made me make a bond and arrested me."

He posted a 10-thousand dollar bond.

[name withheld] says he's embarrassed for something he didn't do, "I'm really emotionally distressed right now. It's nothing to explain how I feel to be honest with you. I'm really just disappointed with the whole system, the city, the sheriff, the judicial system, all of them."

This [name withheld] also says make no mistake, he will take the police department to court because of his case of mistaken identity.

[name withheld] said, "I feel like just because my name is in the system I shouldn't be going to jail for a mistake that they made and I feel like I need to be compensated."

As for the other [name withheld], he hasn't been arrested.

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin admits a mistake was made and says officers had the correct arrest number for the suspect but apprehended the wrong person with the same name.

Godwin says his people tried to get [name withheld] released but he'd already bonded out.


NH - Bill would put more scrutiny on airport screeners

Original Article


By Lauren Collins

The state of New Hampshire is considering a bill that will put more scrutiny on airport passenger screeners. If the bill passes, security agents could be charged with sexual assault.

Necessary security measures, or an invasion of your privacy?

"I don't like the idea of somebody touching me," says Concord, NH resident Darren Tapp.

Is it a violation of your constitutional rights?

"Part one article 19. Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches," quotes Rep. Dan Itse (R-Fremont), reading from the New Hampshire Constitution.

A bill before New Hampshire's criminal justice committee would make "the touching or viewing with a technological device of a person's breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault."

"Let's put their names on our sex offender registry," proposes co-sponsor Rep. Andrew Manuse (R-Derry).

The proposal is drafted the spirit of those strong reactions to enhanced security measures at airports across the country, like traveler John Tyner's now viral encounter at the San Diego airport last fall.

"When he said 'no I'm not going to subject myself to having you touch my genitalia,' or as he referred to it, 'don't touch my junk.' They told him that he could not leave how is he going to hide a weapon in his junk? I don't know," says co-sponsor Rep. George Lambert (R-Litchfield)

"It shouldn't be allowed unless there's a warrant that allows a strip search," says Tapp, who no longer flies to avoid the possibility of being screened.

The transportation security administration doesn't comment on proposed legislation but a statement from the agency does say it "appreciates there is some level of discomfort associated with pat down procedures, however, we know that pat downs are a critical security tool designed to address current threats."

Sponsors of this measure acknowledge those goals and want travelers to be safe.

"But when we have citizens who are being strip searched and they have no ability to leave under color of law," says Rep. Lambert, "at what point have we gone too far?"

No one testified in opposition to the bill.

It's unclear whether this law, if passed would override federal airport regulations.