Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WA - Should ex-cons be a protected class in Seattle?

Original Article

03/06/2011

By TONYA MOSLEY

SEATTLE - Right now, people can't be denied jobs or housing because of race, sex or disability. Should those with a record be a part of that class?

"We're people we're not monsters. We've just made a different type of mistake than someone else," said 34-year-old [name withheld], who served 4 years in prison for drugging and raping his estranged wife.

[name withheld] is currently living in a house with five other men, all of them convicted felons. His landlord, Jim Tharp, was the only one who would rent to him. [name withheld] says he actually understands why other landlords would turn him away.

"You group people into classes, even criminals. It's not the class you have to look at, it's the individual and how are you going to look at the individual?" he said.

Julie Nelson with the Seattle Office for Civil Rights thinks landlords should take that time to look at the individual and not just the checked box on the application.

"Once people have done their time we want them to be successful and people cannot be successful if they cannot find housing or employment," she said.

Nelson believes landlords should take the discussion further with the potential tenant.

Landlord Jim Tharp says it's not that simple.

"I don't think it's fair to the landlord or to the most recently released person," he said.

The men who live in Tharp's house are all in therapy, with strict rules. They're learning how to re-enter society. Tharp thinks more programs like this are what ex-convicts really need.

"I don't want to see the city asking landlords to take on something they have no ability to deal with," he said.

Under the provision, Nelson says those who have an arrest record for minor crimes would also be protected. The city is looking for public input, a meeting will be held Wednesday, March 16, from 6-8 p.m. at Seattle City Hall.


WI - Waukesha alderman moves to toughen sex offender residency limits

Original Article

03/08/2011

By Laurel Walker

Waukesha - A Waukesha alderman wants to toughen the city's sex offender residency restrictions even further, and he got support Monday from the Ordinance and License Committee.

Ald. Steve Johnson, chairman of the committee, has proposed a requirement that no sex offender on the state registry can be placed by the Department of Corrections in the city unless that person was a resident of the city for at least 14 consecutive days at the time of the offense.

"I don't believe we should be taking people who lived in Oconomowoc, Sussex, North Prairie, Mukwonago after they served their time to be placed in Waukesha," Johnson said Tuesday.

Johnson's proposal was unanimously backed, though just three members of the five-person committee were present. An amendment to the city's residency restrictions for sex offenders will be drafted, returned to the committee and then eventually be brought before the Common Council.

The city already has a 750-foot limit on how close sex offenders can live to places where children congregate, such as parks, schools and day care centers. Last month the council added strict notification requirements that apply when someone on parole, extended supervision and probation, including registered sex offenders, is placed in a city residence.

Johnson said if the Wisconsin Department of Corrections challenges this new restriction as anticipated either before the Common Council or in court, at least it would shed light on the practice.

"If we have this in place, that is one hurdle they'd have to go through," he said. "They can stand up in front of the citizens of Waukesha and say why they need to place someone here."


AR - Another sex offender bill passes Arkansas House

Original Article

03/08/2011

Another sex offender measure received Arkansas House approval Monday. House Bill 1504 would prohibit Level 3 and Level 4 sex offenders from being at a water park owned or operated by a local government.

Rep. Leslee Milam Post, D-Ozark, sponsored the bill. HB1504 passed the House on an 86-0 vote with 11 members not voting and one voting "present."

All the Twin Lakes Area members — Rep. Karen Hopper, R-Lakeview, Rep. Kelley Linck, R-Flippin, Rep. Lori Benedict, R-Sturkie, Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison, and Rep. Tommy Wren, D-Melbourne — voted for it, according to the Legislature's website. HB1504 now goes to the Senate.


ID - Lawmakers to consider revamp of Idaho’s sex offender requirements

Original Article

03/08/2011

By Brad Iverson-Long

Idaho could change its plan for managing sex offenders that includes requiring offenders to report more information, expanding a state board that oversees sex offenders, and ditching part of the state’s sex offender law that is unconstitutional.

Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, said the package of changes is a major piece of legislation that he thinks will get through the Idaho Legislature this year. Darrington chairs the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee, which approved introducing the plan.

The change comes in response to an Idaho Supreme Court case in 2009 (PDF) that ruled the state’s “violent sexual predator” designation, which required some offenders to check in with law enforcement more frequently, violated the offender’s constitutional rights. Offenders couldn’t receive information on why they were called violent predators, which went against their right to due process.

Darrington, who helped craft that sex offender law in 1998, said the high court ruling wasn’t a surprise, and that Idaho needs to find a new way to manage its sex offenders. Since the court ruling, there have been no new violent sexual predators designated. Currently, 51 sex offenders in Idaho are labeled violent, out of several thousand total registered offenders.


TX - National Sex Offender Registry Draws Concerns

Original Article
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This just shows you how stupid people running this country are... We already have a National sex offender registry, which I'll not link to, but it exists. I personally think this "reporter" doesn't know what they are talking about! Click the TEXAS label above to see other related posts.

03/07/2011

By PATTIE SHIEH

HOUSTON - All states have a sex offender registry. Texas actually has the second largest with an estimated 65,000 names on that list.

Now, the federal government has issued a mandate to set up a national registry. The government said it would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to get the information they need.
- Why? One already exists. So are they going to demand more money for this when it already exists?

Texas estimates it will cost $38 million to implement that system.

Texas puts people on the list because of the crime they've committed and their threat to the community. Offenders register either for 10 years or in some cases for life.

The federal system would put people on the list according to crimes committed and group them depending on the seriousness of the crime. Those convicted of the most severe crimes would be required to check in person every 3 months.

Defense attorney, Kent Schaffer, calls it absurd.

"This is all stuff that law enforcement can do in a matter of minutes. There hasn't been some sort of mass number of people committing rapes or sexual assaults that were undetected because there's no federal registry in place. This is purely a political move on somebody's part," Schaffer said.
- I would agree.

"We are working with the Department of Justice to extend the time and to look at the regulations that are being required so that states can work on it in a manner that would accommodate the registry being in place. It is an absolute necessity. Children are being preyed upon every day," Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said.
- Children, and adults, have always been preyed upon every day, nothing new there.

Texas has until July to decide if it will adhere to the mandate. If not, the state could lose more than $2 million in federal funds for a crime victims-assistance fund.
- Yes, they are basically saying they would have to spend $38 million to keep $2 million. Sounds insane to me.


VT - Former trooper (Mark Beezup) charged with sexually assaulting child

Original Article

03/07/2011

A former Vermont State trooper was arraigned Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court in Orleans County on charges he sexually assaulted a minor and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child.

The Vermont Attorney General's Office says the charges against Mark Beezup, 53, of Derby, came following an investigation by the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations and the AG's office.

According to court papers, Beezup committed the offenses in August 2009 and January 2011.

Beezup pleaded not guilty and was released on conditions. If convicted he could face up to life in prison.

Beezup resigned his job as a state trooper in March after accusations surfaced of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.


MI - Former Holland attorney (Carl Gabrielse) won't be listed as sex offender

Original Article
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Of course not, he's a part of the rich elite who, instead of being held to a higher standard, they can buy their way out of trouble, or get slapped on the wrist for knowing the right people.

03/07/2011

By MEGAN SCHMIDT

Holland - Former deputy city attorney Carl Gabrielse’s name will not appear on the sex-offender registry, after an Ottawa County judge on Monday agreed to remove a felony criminal sexual conduct charge from his record.

Gabrielse, 32, appeared in court to determine whether he had fulfilled the requirements set for him 11 months ago that would allow him to withdraw his guilty plea to that felony.

Judge Jon Hulsing agreed to dismiss the charge but, as per the plea agreement set last April, Gabrielse instead pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of gross indecency between a male and female.

A plea to this charge does not require Gabrielse to register as a sex offender, unlike the criminal-sexual conduct charge.

The charges stem from a November 2009 incident, in which Gabrielse admitted he offered a 21-year-old woman a plea deal in exchange for sex when she appeared for a court hearing on a drunken-driving charge.

The woman reported that Gabrielse sexually assaulted her in a jury room bathroom at Holland District Court.


LA - Suit filed to block LC sex offender registration fee

Original Article

03/07/2011

By Theresa Schmidt

LAKE CHARLES (KPLC) - A Lake Charles sex offender has filed suit in State District Court against the Mayor and City Council over that controversial new sex offender registration fee. The ordinance would require a $600 registration fee up front and then an annually fee of $200.
- Which is basically extortion!

As well, sex offenders would have to provide authorities with additional details of their past history.

The suit raises six key issues including whether the ordinance violates the constitutional rights of sex offenders by inflicting cruel and unusual punishment and depriving them of equal protection under the law. The suit also raises the question of whether the city council went beyond its authority in enacting an ordinance tougher than the requirements of state law.

[name withheld] was convicted of attempted forcible rape when he was sixteen. He says he does not object to registering as a sex offender but believes Lake Charles new ordinance goes too far. "City council has abused their authority. They are trying to take steps that only our legislature can take . Secondly, they don't have the authority to add to people's sentences."
- I agree, that would be an ex post facto law, which is forbidden by the State and US Constitutions.

[name withheld] is now married and the step father of a six year old boy. He and his wife Amy say a six hundred dollar registration fee would hurt their family. "They were raised from $60 to $600. That is a $540 jump. For me and my wife that's an electric bill, a water bill and a gas bill all together probably." His wife Amy agrees. "Not only would we have to move. We would also have to take out $600 out of our pockets that feeds my little boy. $600 that could very well buy me a new vehicle to get my little boy around."

In the lawsuit filed, [name withheld] says the new requirements amount to dishing out more punishment on those who have already served their time-- so he says it's unconstitutional. "We're human beings and we have the right, just like everybody else, to live where we choose to live." Said Amy, "They don't want my husband to live in this town. Why? He's a human being. Clinton: My residence was approved by the parole office. Since the passing of this ordinance, my residence is going to be within the additional 200 feet added."

[name withheld]'s suit is against the mayor and city council. The effective date of the new ordinance is in July by which time sex offenders are to be in compliance.

The city has not yet been served with the suit, but Mayor Randy Roach says it will be referred to the city's legal department for whatever action they think is appropriate.