Thursday, May 5, 2011

NY - Court: Sex offender not threat to his children

Original Article
Decision PDF

This is how courts are suppose to work, they must PROVE someone is guilty or neglectful, not the person accused proving they are not a threat. Glad to see the system is working, for once!

05/05/2011

ALBANY — New York's top court ruled Thursday that a man designated a sex offender for patronizing an underage prostitute hasn't been shown to be an imminent threat to his own five children and that his return home did not constitute child neglect by him and his wife.

The Court of Appeals said evidence presented by Dutchess County social services workers against the man based on his 2007 convictions was insufficient for a family court judge to force him out of his Poughkeepsie home for the next three years.

After spending a year in jail, the man identified in court only as [name withheld]. pleaded guilty in Manhattan to second-degree rape involving a 14-year-old and to patronizing an underage prostitute. He was sentenced to time served and went home.

A midlevel court reversed the family court decision in 2010. Though the wife and children moved to Canada, the top court said Thursday's ruling still could be of some consequence because they may return.

"No doubt there are circumstances in which the facts underlying a sex offense are sufficient to prove neglect," Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote. "Where, for example, sex offenders are convicted of abusing young relatives or other children in their care, their crimes may be evidence enough."

However, the judges "reject any presumption" that an untreated sex offender residing with his or her children is a neglectful parent, Ciparick wrote. Five other judges agreed.

Instead, under New York's Family Court Act, they cited two findings that required them to determine neglect. The first is "proof of actual (or imminent danger of) physical, emotional, or mental impairment to the child." Second is the danger "must be a consequence of the parent's failure to exercise a minimum degree of parental care."

The court noted the statutory test is not best or ideal care for children, but a minimum degree.

The Dutchess County Department of Social Services filed neglect petitions against both parents alleging the father was an untreated level-three sex offender, deemed likely to reoffend, whose crimes involved young teens, and that the mother failed to protect the children from the father. The caseworker acknowledged having no evidence the father was sexually inappropriate with any of his children, who then ranged in age from 4 to 14.

In a concurring opinion, Judge Victoria Graffeo said this was not an area of law "amenable to bright-line rules," but requires establishing neglect based on particular facts and circumstances proven at a hearing. She said there were gaps in the information the county presented, with no evidence detailing the facts underlying the father's convictions or from the hearing where he was designated a level-three sex offender, but that he was reluctant when questioned to provide any details.

"The facts underlying that finding may have supported an inference that the father posed a threat of harm — but they do not appear in the record of this neglect proceeding," Graffeo wrote. She doubted the court's ruling will have broad value as a precedent.


KS - House passes sex offender bill

Original Article

05/05/2011

By Dion Lefler

TOPEKA — The House today advanced a measure to bring the state into compliance with national reporting standards on sex offenders, despite some argument over the bill slightly lowering sentences for first-time violations of reporting requirements.

Senate Bill 37 brings Kansas into compliance with the Adam Walsh Act, a federal law named after the son of America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh. In 1981, Adam, 6, was abducted from a Florida mall and murdered.
- And Adam's death had nothing to do with a sex crime either.

The federal act sets national standards for registering and publicizing the names, addresses and workplaces of sex offenders and others who commit crimes against children.
- So if it's for all who harm children, then why are abusive parents, family members, etc, not on the registry?

Rep. Pat Colloton
By bringing Kansas law into compliance, the state will become eligible for $300,000 in federal funding to improve law enforcement access to offender databases, said Rep. Pat Colloton, R-Leawood, who carried the bill on the floor.
- And these idiots are not even investigating how much it will cost to implement everything, which is in the millions.  So in order to save a little over 1/4 of a million, they must spend millions.  Doesn't make much sense to me, but hey, it requires common sense.

The bill also tightens reporting requirements for criminals on the registry.

At present, offenders have 10 days to report to law enforcement when they move, change jobs or go to a new school. The bill shortens that to three days.

The one hangup for more conservative members of the House was a provision that reduces the presumptive sentence for a first offense of failing to report.

Rep. Joe Patton
Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka, offered an amendment to send the bill back to a House-Senate conference committee.

He wanted to keep the sentencing on first offenses where it is and quoted a Corrections Department estimate that the state would need about 40 prison beds to accommodate that.

What that means is, if we don’t fix this, there’s 40 sex offenders that we don’t know where they’re at,” he said. “They’re not reporting and they’re wandering around in the neighborhood.”

Colloton, however, said the idea was to shorten sentences for one-time violators who might report a little late due to personal issues or mental problems, while saving about $1 million to lengthen prison terms for those who fail to report for six months or more.

She said that’s the approach the Kansas Bureau of Investigation recommended as the best use of resources.

They want to go after the people who are trying to evade detection,” Colloton said. “Those are the sex offenders we’ve got to get.”
- But I thought the registry was for all those who harm children?  If so, then all are not sex offenders.

Patton’s motion failed 32-82.

Several representatives initially voted against the full bill, but then changed their votes. The final tally was 118-0 in favor of passage.

The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily.
- Of course it is, they don't want to look "soft" on crime, especially sex offenders.


WA - Corrections officer (Jonathon Clapper) forced sex act on female inmate

Original Article

And as usual, because he's an officer/guard, his photo is not shown to protect him, when the general public is not protected.

05/05/2011

By Brandi Kruse

(Listen) A former guard at the Washington Corrections Center for Women will face a sexual misconduct charge after he forced a female inmate to give him oral sex, according to charging documents.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in July 2008, Jonathon Clapper had caught two inmates at the facility stealing food.

"This guard then lorded over them the fact that he had caught them stealing and at some point ended up having sex with one of these two inmates," Lindquist said.

According to charging documents (PDF), the defendant's semen had been wiped on the inmate's camisole during the encounter.

"The woman saved the clothing that she was wearing and she actually mailed it out of the prison to her mother," Lindquist said. "As a result, we have a DNA sample that matches the defendant."

"The estimated probability of selecting an unrelated individual at random from the U.S. population with a matching profile is 1 in 220 trillion," read documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

Clapper resigned from his post with the Department of Corrections in August of 2008 during an internal investigation into the incident.

Custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree is a class "C" felony sex offense.


TX - Texas court ruling may affect sex offender parole

Original Article

Good, this should've been a no-brainer, but as usual, when people can push unconstitutional laws, and get a way with it, eventually they will push it further and further. Why in the world would you label someone a sex offender when they did not commit a sex crime? That is like arresting someone for DUI or drugs, and labeling them a murderer. If you are going to do this for some, then why not label all criminals sex offenders?

05/05/2011

See Also: Court: All Texas parolees must get sex-offender hearings

AUSTIN - A Texas parolee has won a court appeal that frees him from prison and removes his designation as a sex offender in a case where he wasn't convicted of a sex-related crime.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld a ruling from a trial judge in Tom Green County that [name withheld], who served five years of a 10-year term for reckless injury to his two baby daughters, wasn't afforded due process (thus violating the constitution) before the sex-offender designation was imposed by the state parole board.

The ruling orders [name withheld] released from prison, where he was returned as a parole violator after his life spiraled downward because his sex-offender status hurt his ability to work.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said they're not certain how many other parolees may be in a similar situation. Defense lawyer Scott Pawgan, however, told the Austin American Statesman the ruling Wednesday from the appeals court means every parolee and every inmate about to be paroled who is not convicted of a sex-related crime is entitled to a hearing so he can provide a defense before sex-offender conditions can be applied to his parole.
- If the person did not commit a sex crime, why must they obey draconian sex offender laws in the first place?  We are quickly turning into Nazi Germany!

"This now applies to everyone, even though (parole officials) desperately tried to limit it," he told the newspaper in Thursday's editions.

[name withheld] cited in his arguments a federal appeals court ruling last year in an Austin case that banned the practice of placing sex-offender conditions on a parolee at a hearing he wasn't allowed to attend.

In [name withheld]' case, he said a new parole officer assigned to him when he moved from Lubbock to El Paso to be closer to his children "mistakenly opinionated" the circumstances of his original crime and gave him notice he could be assigned sex offender conditions. He submitted a written response but his parole officer recommended to the parole board that the sex-offender special conditions be applied. The board agreed and the restrictions, among other things, barred him from school areas. [name withheld] lost his job as a tile installer because he couldn't drive to work without going through child-safety zones.

[name withheld]' parole subsequently was revoked and he was returned to prison after parole officers found he had a cell phone with pictures of nude women, pornographic videos and disposable cameras, all violations of his sex offender status.
- How asinine!  He was not convicted of a sexual crime!  Talk about cruel and unusual punishment, this is a prime example.

[name withheld] sued, saying his constitutional rights were violated because the designation was imposed during a hearing he was not allowed to attend.

The trial court in Tom Green County found he wasn't convicted of a sex offense, there was no evidence of sexual abuse of his daughters and that he wasn't afforded due process before the sex offender conditions were imposed. The appeals court, in its 8-0 ruling Wednesday, agreed.


NY - Unclear and Unconvincing Evidence in SORA Hearings

Original Article

04/18/2011

By Lorca Morello

"The fact that the Act uses past crime as the touchstone, probably sweeping in a significant number of people who pose no real threat to the community, serves to feed suspicion that something more than regulation of safety is going on; when a legislature uses prior convictions that outpace the law's stated civil aims, there is room for serious argument that the ulterior purpose is to revisit past crimes, not prevent future ones.


Widespread dissemination of offenders' names, photographs, addresses, and criminal history serves not only to inform the public but also to humiliate and ostracize the convicts. It thus bears some resemblance to our shaming punishments that were used earlier in our history to disable offenders from living normally in the community."

Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 109 (2002) (Souter, J., concurring)

Editor's Note: This article has been modified to reflect a Correction.

The Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) is based on the assumption that "sex offenders" are a distinct class of people with an incurable compulsion to sexually assault other people. Unlike with other ex-offenders, the state actively obstructs their re-integration into the community after they have served their sentences. For persons adjudicated as presenting a high or moderate risk of sexually reoffending, SORA imposes onerous registration requirements and a lifetime of public stigma, making normal civic life impossible.

Because SORA creates a permanent deprivation of protected liberty interests, its constitutionality is conditioned on providing significant due process protections. These include the right to a judicial hearing to determine risk level. Since the statute presumes that all sex offenders are a danger to public safety, everyone under SORA is automatically "level one" by default. But if the state seeks a level two or three designation, i.e., moderate or high risk, it must prove the supporting facts by clear and convincing evidence.

Unfortunately, judicial rulings have not always upheld the statute's due process protections. Instead of holding the People to their burden of proof, some rulings have adjudicated SORA registrants as high or moderate risk based on accusations in the criminal complaint, grand jury testimony or even internal law enforcement documents that have never been corroborated or cross-examined. Not only does this result in "sweeping in a significant number of people who pose no real threat to the community," it is a jettisoning of basic, hard-won principles of our legal system. If accusations are presumptively true, what do we need a judicial hearing for?

SORA encompasses anyone convicted of an offense from a long list of felonies and misdemeanors, many not involving public safety and some not even involving sex. All persons under SORA are subjected to registration requirements and "community notification." Persons adjudicated as high or moderate risk have their names, photographs, addresses and other personal information displayed on a website that is unrestrictedly available to anyone in the world—which goes far beyond "community notification." This global stigmatization subjects them to every kind of discrimination and harassment, resulting in homelessness, unemployment and severe impingements on their personal and family lives. Over 32,000 persons in New York State bear the legal status of "sex offender." About 2,000 persons are added every year.

Well-documented research, including findings of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, has shown that, contrary to the premise of SORA, sex offenders as a whole reoffend at a lower rate than other offenders, while most sex offenses are committed by first-time offenders. Most sex offenders do not reoffend. The vast majority of sex offenses against children are not committed by strangers lurking around schools and playgrounds, but by family members and acquaintances. A 2008 study analyzing statistics compiled by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services concludes that, for those reasons, public notification has had no meaningful impact on sexual reoffending.

"Sex offenders" have replaced drug addicts as the scapegoat for society's anxieties about raising children in a complex world. A few years ago the bogeyman was the drug dealer hanging around schoolyards getting your child addicted to drugs. Before that, it was the Communist brainwashing your child to take orders from Moscow. Before that, it was the witch in the gingerbread house. How much easier to rail against "sex offenders" than deal with the more intractable and controversial problems of parenting, health care or education.

Some New York rulings apparently accept the popular wisdom about sex offenders and appear wholly unskeptical of SORA's claim to be a purely regulatory measure for public safety. The SORA hearing becomes in effect a second sentencing where the People get a second bite at the defendant under a nearly non-existent standard of proof.

Regardless of what the public thinks of sex offenders, judicial rulings have to uphold the constitutional protections that SORA mandates. Clear and convincing evidence is a high standard, requiring proof that is unequivocal and highly probable. It is not a sliding scale depending on whether the defendant is a sex offender or an insurance company. No just legal process considers bare accusations as proof of anything, regardless of whether they are sworn.

Some have sought support from People v. Mingo, 12 NY3d 563, where the Court of Appeals concluded that, under the specific facts of the case, a complainant's accusations in a criminal complaint constituted clear and convincing evidence. The Court noted that the police officer who wrote the complaint had a duty to record, alluding to the business records exception. Mingo also commented that grand jury testimony is "sufficiently trustworthy for SORA purposes" because "although not subject to cross-examination, this evidence is taken under oath, a significant but not indispensable indication of reliability."

However, this is pure dicta, since the reliability of grand jury testimony was not before the Mingo Court. Had it been at issue, the Court would have had to consider cases such as People v. Geraci, 85 NY2d 359, 365 (1995), which say exactly the opposite: although grand jury testimony is taken under oath, it is unreliable because it has not been cross-examined.

The purpose of the grand jury has never been to create substantive evidence but only to determine whether the defendant may be accused of a crime. Not only are the accusations inherently one-sided and not subjected to cross-examination, they are elicited in a secret proceeding by a prosecutor who has no duty to present a balanced case. Therefore, not only is an indictment proof of nothing, grand jury testimony uncorroborated by a conviction has always been considered inherently unreliable.

Mingo also provides no justification for the People's practice of using grand jury minutes as they please in SORA hearings. Had the admissibility of grand jury testimony been at issue, the Court would have had to consider its longstanding holding that, where the People seek to use grand jury testimony in a related civil case, they must, like any other litigant, first seek a written court order based on a showing of a compelling and particularized need.

And Mingo certainly did not intend to alter the business records exception, which applies only when the declarant has a duty to report. A crime victim has no such duty, and the recording police officer is not the declarant unless he has personal knowledge of the facts. In sum, Mingo must be narrowly read.

Public safety is not served by throwing basic principles out the window. SORA is a cruel and foolish law born of unreason and vindictiveness and a throwback to the days of displaying sinners in the marketplace in stocks.

It does nothing for public safety while causing great misery to individuals and creating a permanent underclass. The statute nevertheless requires a high showing before permitting the drastic lifetime deprivation of protected liberty interests that results from being publicly stigmatized by the state as a sex offender. Courts are bound to uphold this protection.

Comment from the following, from Assemblywoman Wirth:
- The Constitution, which this person took an oath to defend, guarantees all people rights, not just who he thinks should have rights!
"You know, we are talking about fairness for people who committed the ultimate crime of molestation, of rape, of a three-year-old girl, of a nine-year-old boy. We, as a society, dictate what's fair and what's right and what is just through our laws and our rules. That's what makes us all up; that's what makes government so we can dictate what's right and what's fair. And I will tell you personally, I think these people have no rights. . . ."


Germany high court rules preventive detention unconstitutional (Learning from history?)

Original Article

It seems Germany has learned from it's past mistakes, unlike the USA, who continue to repeat them. And we are the leader in human/civil rights? See the video below, about a movie called "The Baader Meinhof Complex." Also see "Nazi Concentration Camp Badges" on Wikipedia.

05/04/2011

By Jennie Ryan

[JURIST] The German Federal Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [press release] Wednesday that the preventive detention of prisoners beyond the maximum sentences for their crimes is unconstitutional. The court held [judgment, in German] that the laws governing the practice of extending prison terms for prisoners deemed to be a public safety threat violates provisions of the German constitution [text, PDF, in German]. "[T]he provisions on the retrospective prolongation of preventive detention beyond the former ten-year maximum period and on the retrospective imposition of preventive detention in criminal law relating to adult and to juvenile offenders infringe the rule-of-law precept of the protection of legitimate expectations." The court said that the country's current preventive detention laws infringe the constitutional minimum distance requirement for preventative detentions in that they are not sufficiently distinguished from normal prison terms. The distance requirement mandates that "the deprivation of liberty effected by preventive detention must keep a marked distance from the execution of a prison sentence." The court did not impose an outright ban on all preventative detention, but rather set narrow guidelines for the German parliament, the Bundestag [official website, in German], to follow in designing a law which emphasizes the "liberty-oriented execution aimed at therapy [and] which clearly shows to the detainee under preventive detention and to the general public the purely preventive character of the measure." The current preventative detention laws will remain in place until parliament passes new legislation. The court set a deadline of May 2013 by which the legislature must enact new legislation.

In other countries, controversial laws pertaining to the preventative detention of prisoners deemed a threat to public safety have also come under fire. Last month, rights groups called for reform [JURIST report] of a Kashmir law they allege is being used to detain people despite the absence of sufficient evidence for a trial. Last year, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously that a federal law allowing for the indefinite detention of mentally ill sex offenders was constitutional [JURIST report].



The Baader Meinhof Complex (Amazon)

Video Link



Paragraph 175 (YouTube Video)

About:
Rupert Everett narrates this sensitive documentary about the Nazi persecution of homosexuals during World War II. "Paragraph 175" refers to the old German penal code concerning homosexuality, which was used to justify the prosecution of gay men during the war (the code ignored lesbians, still considered viable baby-making vessels). As mere rumor became enough to justify imprisonment, over 100,000 were arrested and between 10,000 and 15,000 were sent to concentration camps. In Paragraph 175, Klaus Müller, a historian from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, sets out to interview the fewer than 10 who are known to remain alive. The film covers the astonishingly quick rise of Hitler (one interviewee points out how ridiculous a figure he seemed at first) and the shock that more liberal Germans felt as it became clear that he was a force to be reckoned with. Some of the film's most touching moments come when the participants reminisce about their first loves and the "homosexual Eden" that was Berlin in the 1930s. This is a beautifully well made documentary that poignantly captures a piece of nearly forgotten history. - Ali Davis


Speech On Juvenile Sex Offenders


IL - Reformers blast sex offender legislation

Original Article

05/05/2011

By Patrick Yeagle

Bill increases restrictions, requirements for sex offenders

Legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to increase registration time and other requirements for Illinois’ 25,000 sex offenders awaits a House vote in the final days of the session. Opponents working to stop the bill say it would waste scarce resources without improving public safety.

Senate Bill 1040 (PDF) would increase the length of time sex offenders have to register in the statewide database, increase the frequency of registration updates and even require sex offenders to report their whereabouts if staying in a temporary location for three or more days in a calendar year. Registration terms for applicable misdemeanors would increase from 10 years to 15 years, while convictions for other applicable crimes would require registration for 25 years. Sex offenders who don’t register or don’t update their address or other information would then have to register for life, and registration would also be required for several similar offenses under federal law.

The bill passed the Senate with a 59-0 vote on April 13 and will likely see a vote in the House before an upcoming May 27 legislative deadline. It is sponsored by Sen. William Haine, a Democrat from Alton.
- Of course they did, they don't want to look "soft on crime!" Got to save their reputations and careers.


If SB1040 becomes law, it will bring Illinois closer to compliance with the 2006 federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (PDF), which mandates the longer registration terms for sex offenders and requires that individual states adapt existing sex offender registries to a federal standard, among other requirements. At least one federal law enforcement grant is tied to compliance with the Adam Walsh Act, so states that don’t comply risk losing federal funds.
- But, it will cost more to implement the laws instead of just accepting the loss.

But advocates for reform of laws pertaining to sex offenders say the longer registration terms and increased update frequency are an unnecessary enhancement to an ineffective system with regard to juvenile offenders.

Nicole Pittman, a juvenile justice policy attorney at the Juvenile Defenders Association of Philadelphia who studies state registration databases, says current registration requirements in Illinois unfairly stigmatize youth offenders. Her research indicates that 98 percent of all individuals who commit sexual offenses as juveniles do not commit further sex offenses, often because their crimes are only statutory violations rather than cases of sexual assault or abuse.
- And even adults who commit sex crimes, the recidivism rate is very low.

What I’ve found is that registration for juveniles is not effective at all. It doesn’t have any effect on the level of public safety,” Pittman says, adding that Illinois sometimes requires sex offender registration for non-sexual offenses like urinating in public.
- The same applies to adult offenders.

It makes no sense to increase registration times to 15 or 25 years when a juvenile is not going to recidivate,” she says.

Tonia Maloney, director of Illinois Voices for Reform, says “many people required to register as sex offenders are teenagers having consensual sex with someone a few years younger."

These young people are no threat to society, and especially children,” she says. “Having them register for longer periods of time does nothing to protect society, which was the original intent of the registry. Life as a registered sex offender is extremely difficult as it is. These young people just want a chance at a normal life.”

House Bill 1139 (PDF), which would have relaxed penalties for a teen caught in a consensual sex act with another teen under the legal age of consent, failed in the House March 3 with a 36-73 vote. That bill would have also allowed certain juveniles to petition a court to waive their registration requirement.

Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat from Northbrook, requested that the state estimate how much SB1040 would cost and how many inmates it would add to Illinois prisons. Those requests – referred to respectively as a fiscal note and a corrections note – must be completed before the bill can pass. Nekritz said she is not sure when the notes would be completed, adding that she is not necessarily against the bill, but she believes penalty enhancements need more study.

Increasing penalties in a state where we already increase penalties 20 to 30 times a year is not a rational policy,” Nekritz says. “I’m not sure these changes move us toward a rational policy when dealing with sex offenders, and all of these penalty enhancements cost us money. We really need to look at these issues before we act.”


MA - Framingham Town Meeting split on sex offender bylaw

Original Article

05/05/2011

By Danielle Ameden

FRAMINGHAM - Opposition to a proposed sex offender bylaw mounted last night as Town Meeting debated whether to prohibit registered offenders from loitering near children.

Town Meeting adjourned for the night without making a decision on the Board of Selectmen's proposal. Modeled after bylaws in Ashland and Natick, it would prevent Level 2 and 3 offenders from hanging out near designated "safety zones," which include schools and school bus stops.

Precinct 4 member Linda Lackey, who opposes the article, shared a personal story of what she called an encounter with a predator when she was a girl.

"I can speak to you today because I'm not Sarah Pryor," Lackey told fellow voters, referring to the 9-year-old Wayland girl who disappeared in 1985. Her remains surfaced years later two miles from her home and the case remains unsolved.

Lackey recounted being stalked after stopping to buy a Coke while walking home from a summer program at Dunning Elementary School.

When a man followed her from a gas station in Nobscot and then drove past her over and over, she ran door to door in a neighborhood, searching for help.

Lackey lucked out, she said, when she finally found a resident who was home. They called police.

"How would this bylaw have helped me?" Lackey demanded. "Many of you may feel that this bylaw is sending a message," but sex offenders "aren't just loitering in safety zones."

While the proposal has support from Town Meeting's Standing Committee on Public Safety, the Government Study Committee is recommending voters turn it down.

That committee's chairman, Karl Thober, said it's in the community's best interest to protect its residents and children from molesters.

"At the same time, we think that the bylaw is well intended, but poorly written," he said.

Selectman Ginger Esty and board Chairman Jason Smith, who worked on the proposal, defended it as a "first step" and an important tool for police.

Some members said they support the bylaw, which comes with a $300 fine per violation.

"It's not perfect," Kathy Vassar of Precinct 1 said. "It won't prevent every crime, but it's a tool for the Framingham Police Department to use."

Dan Gittelsohn of Precinct 14 urged support, even proposing several amendments to make the rules tighter. One suggestion was to require that offenders could only "loiter" for two minutes before violating the bylaw, not 10 as proposed.

"We should give the pervert no more than two minutes to walk by a safety zone," he said. "I do not want them anywhere near our children, and I'm sure most of you don't either."

He said a friend of his was molested. "That experience has impacted his whole life. He's in his 50s now. To this day he does not live a normal, happy life."

Some members said they oppose the bylaw because it's unconstitutional.

Precinct 12 member Geoffrey Froner said it would infringe on the civil rights of an offender.

"Most of them just want to be citizens and get on with their lives," Froner said.

Precinct 7's Mel Warshaw said the bylaw would give residents a false sense of security, and he said it could be easily challenged in court.

Town Meeting will pick up the debate following special Town Meeting, which starts tonight at 7:30 in Nevins Hall.


OK - Cashion reserve officer (Paul LaMarche) arrested this week had political aspirations

Original Article

05/05/2011

By BRYAN DEAN

Paul LaMarche, arrested Tuesday on a sex crime complaint, posted a website indicating he planned to run for sheriff in Logan County.

CASHION — A Cashion reserve police officer arrested Tuesday on a sex crime complaint was a former Logan County deputy who planned to run for sheriff in 2012.

Paul LaMarche, 39, was arrested Tuesday on a complaint of lewd or indecent proposals or acts with a child under 16. He was booked in the Logan County jail and released after posting $10,000 bond.

LaMarche could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Logan County Chief Deputy Rob Groseclose said LaMarche worked as a deputy from June to December 2008. He quit shortly before current Sheriff Jim Bauman took office.

I don’t believe (LaMarche) was going to be retained, and I believe that was made clear to him, and he resigned,” Groseclose said.

LaMarche had posted a website indicating he planned to run against Bauman for sheriff in 2012. The website is no longer available, but cached versions included a picture of LaMarche in uniform and touted his law enforcement experience.

A call to a mobile phone number listed on the website was not returned Wednesday.


Stranger Danger and Sex Offender Registries (From a child's perspective)

So tell me, how is it that a child can do a little homework, and come to the same conclusion as many others have? That sex offender residency laws, registry, etc does not prevent crime, nor protect anybody, but the politicians continue to ignore the facts? Once again, I believe, it's all political, to save their own butts, and make themselves look better. This is a well done video! Anybody who is willing to understand the facts, can see the many studies on recidivism, and come to the same conclusion, the draconian laws do not work!


TX - Court: All Texas parolees must get sex-offender hearings

Original Article

05/04/2011

By Chuck Lindell

State officials lost another court case Wednesday over the way Texas imposes sex-offender status on parolees who were not convicted of sex-related crimes.
- Why would someone impose sex offender status on someone who did not commit a sex crime in the first place?  It's about time the justice system took back some of it's power.

This time it was the state's highest criminal court ruling that parole officials violated the due process rights of parolees labeled as sex offenders without being allowed to attend their parole hearings, present a defense or confront prosecution witnesses.

Several federal courts, reaching similar conclusions in rulings beginning in 2004, eventually required Texas to hold special hearings for affected parolees before sex-offender restrictions could continue.

Texas had sought to limit the number of parolees affected by the U.S. rulings, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, ruling 8-0, rejected those arguments.

In effect, Wednesday's ruling means every parolee — and every inmate about to be paroled — who was not convicted of a sex-related crime must receive a hearing and be allowed to present a defense before sex-offender conditions can be applied to their parole, defense lawyer Scott Pawgan said. "This now applies to everyone, even though (parole officials) desperately tried to limit it," Pawgan said.

State officials could not say how many more parolees would qualify for the expanded hearings, or how much money the extra hearings would cost in a tight budget cycle. "We're still evaluating the ruling and will be meeting with representatives of the attorney general's office to determine what our next course of action will be," said Michelle Lyons, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Wednesday's ruling revolved around the case of [name withheld], who served five years of a 10-year sentence for reckless injury to a child after his 2-month-old daughters were hospitalized with broken legs and skull fractures.

[name withheld] was paroled in 2006; 18 months later, he moved from Lubbock to El Paso, where his new parole officer moved to impose "special condition X" — sex-offender restrictions reserved for a parolee determined to be "a threat to society by reason of his lack of sexual control."

[name withheld] had to attend sex-offender treatment programs and could not approach within 500 feet of schools, day cares or playgrounds. He lost his job and was eventually returned to prison for violating various parole conditions, including viewing pornographic images.

[name withheld] sued, saying his constitutional rights were violated because special condition X was imposed during a hearing he was not allowed to attend.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, [name withheld] argued, banned that practice in its 2010 ruling on [name withheld]. [name withheld] is an Austin man who killed 8-year-old Kendra Page in 1982 and was later paroled and placed on sex-offender conditions.

State officials argued that the [name withheld] ruling did not apply to [name withheld], or any inmate paroled since 1996, because Texas had since changed its parole structure.

But the Court of Criminal Appeals, in an opinion written by Justice Cathy Cochran, dismissed the state argument, saying due process rights apply to all parolees. The court also ordered [name withheld] be released from prison and his sex-offender conditions removed.