Friday, May 20, 2011

States Seeking New Registries for Criminals

Original Article

Like we've said many times, if an unconstitutional online hit-list that protects nobody, nor prevents crime, is okay for sex offenders, then all criminals should be on a registry as well. Instead of many registries, they should just have one large registry. Each new registry created wastes millions of dollars, and if they had just one, then the money is already spent and would save US, the tax payers, millions.

05/20/2011

By ERICA GOODE

Lawmakers around the country are pushing for online registries, like those used for sex offenders, to track the whereabouts of people convicted of a wide variety of crimes, from arson and drunken driving to methamphetamine manufacturing and animal abuse.
- No registry will prevent crime, nor protect anybody, but what's good for some, is good for all. Also, will they be forced to live by similar residency restrictions as well? When this happens, thousands, if not millions, will not be able to get a job and possible a home.

State senators in Illinois are considering a law to create the nation’s first registry for first-degree murderers. In Maine, legislators are debating an online registry of drunken drivers. And proposals to register animal abusers have been put forward in several states; one such registry, in Suffolk County on Long Island, will become operational next week.

Homeless Kitty Cat
Under a canine version of Megan’s Law, Virginia even registers dangerous dogs, including Elvis, a cat-killing collie in Roanoke whose bad acts are among those listed on the state’s database.
- So does the dog have to register each year? And does he have to live 1,000 feet from other dogs?

Advocates for online registries, many of them searchable by the public, argue that people have a right to know about potentially dangerous offenders in their midst and that the benefit of alerting parents, neighbors and others in a community outweighs any privacy concerns.
- No they don't! What gives them that right? Ex-felons also have the right to live a normal life, like you!

But as the registries proliferate, so do questions about their value. Critics say that while the registries are attractive to politicians who want to appear tough on crime, they often do little more than spread fear and encourage vigilantism.
- Which can be seen here and here.

The monitoring systems cost money at a time when recession-strapped states can ill afford the extra expense, the critics say, and their effectiveness is dubious: Sex offender registries, for example, have had little success in reducing repeat crimes, studies suggest.

Wayne Logan, a professor at Florida State University College of Law and the author of a recent book on registration and notification laws, likens the registries to “legislative catnip.”

You’d be hard pressed to find a more politically popular movement in recent years,” he said. “Whether it’s actually good public policy is a distinct and independent question from whether it’s politically popular and makes us feel good.”

Mr. Logan noted that once passed, the laws were difficult to remove because politicians did not want to seem to diminish the suffering of victims. Instead, they are added “like Christmas ornaments on a tree, year after year.”

The New York State Senate voted 57 to 4 on Tuesday for a violent offenders registry. In Illinois, the murderers registry bill passed the House in April by a 97-to-1 vote. The legislation is now before the Senate.

Monique Davis
Representative Monique Davis, the lone member of the Illinois House to oppose the law, said that although she favored the state’s sex offender registry, “I just don’t think that a murderer registry is of much value to anyone except those getting paid to set it up.”
- Same for the sex offender registry. Just look at all the "for the children" advocates, they are getting rich by exploiting fear and hysteria, which has created a moral panic and modern day witch-hunt.

She noted that the recidivism rate for murder was very low to begin with and that the state, facing a deficit of more than $4 billion, could not afford the cost of another registry.
- Yes, murderers are the least likely to re-offend, for obvious reasons, and sex offenders are the second lowest, based on studies and facts, not personal feelings and disinformation.

But voting against such a measure, she said, is “very difficult to do, because sometimes the public perceives you as being soft on crime.”

Dennis Reboletti
Representative Dennis Reboletti, the main sponsor of the House bill, said that it “would allow not only law enforcement, but also the community to know who resides here, who our family members are associating with and who our children are dating.”
- Hitler liked exploiting children for his own gain, as well as eradicating people's rights, doesn't mean it's right.

These are people who are lying in wait,” Mr. Reboletti said in a phone interview. “It’s cold. It’s calculated. It’s planned over time. And it’s one of the most evil things that somebody can do on this earth.”
- The same can be said about how politicians prey on the sheeple to get their way.

The inspiration for the murderers’ registry, as for many such laws, was a high-profile crime, the 1998 murder of Andrea Will, an 18-year-old freshman at Eastern Illinois University who was strangled by her ex-boyfriend, [name withheld]. Convicted before Illinois adopted a truth-in-sentencing law, Mr. [name withheld] was paroled from prison after serving half of a 24-year sentence, a turn of events that Ms. Will’s mother, [name withheld], said she saw as “a slap in the face.” She was even angrier when Mr. [name withheld] promptly moved to Hawaii to join the medical school professor he had married while in prison.

I felt like I had to do something because I never felt justice was served,” Ms. Rosenberg said in a recent phone interview.


NE - Supreme Court upholds sex offender commitment

Original Article

05/20/2011

A Lancaster County District court did not err in approving the mental health commitment of a convicted sex offender deemed likely to re-offend, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in an opinion released Friday.

The state high court's decision upheld the ruling in the case of a man convicted in 1991 of raping a woman in her home after he spotted her sunbathing on her balcony. The man — listed in court documents only as "D.H." — was to be released from prison in 2009, but a local mental health board deemed him a dangerous sex offender likely to rape again.

The board based its determination on the testimony of two psychologists who evaluated D.H. and diagnosed him with paraphilia, a psychiatric disorder marked by deviant sexual behavior, and anti-social personality disorder. Court documents show the psychologists administered several tests to D.H., and that he scored in the high-risk category for committing a future sex offense.

D.H. objected, arguing among other things that Nebraska's sex offender registry act dictating sex offender commitments applies only to sex offenders convicted in 1997 or later. But the state Supreme Court said the law applies to anyone who is serving a prison term for rape and other sex offenses in 1997 or later.

Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said Friday he was pleased with the state high court's ruling.

The civil commitment law "is a pretty important component of public safety," Kelly said.

An attorney with the county public defender's office who represented D.H. did not immediately return messages left Friday by The Associated Press.

Last week, the state's high court ordered a mental health board to reconsider a case in which it committed a convicted sex offender to treatment following his prison sentence. In that case, the state's high court reversed a ruling by a Dawson County District judge in the case of a man known only as "A.M. Jr." who was convicted in the early 1990s of raping a 15-year-old girl.

The state Supreme Court agreed with the man that the board's use of statements and facts from his vacated 1992 sex assault conviction was improper.


MA - Former Police Officer (Alan C. Vigiard) Guilty on Child Porn Charges

Original Article

05/20/2011

PITTSFIELD — A former Adams police sergeant pleaded guilty Friday morning in Berkshire Superior Court to 10 counts of child pornography.

Alan C. Vigiard, 46, appeared before Judge Daniel Ford and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of knowlingly possssing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct. A single count of lsciviously posing a child in a state of nudity was dismissed at the request of the commonwealth.

Vigiard was released on personal recognizance pending sentencing, which will take place on June 22 at 3 p.m.
- If he was not an ex-cop, he'd not be given this opportunity.

The veteran officer was being investigated after a folder with pornographic images was found on a CD sent to the district attorneys. Vigiard wsa caught viewing pornography on a police computer at the station on Oct. 29, 2009.

He was placed on administrative leave and then resigned. As of last year, he was receiving retirement benefits accrued during his service but will lose those if the retirement board determines his crimes were linked to his employment.

The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and members of the Adams Police Department.


FL - Policy penalizes state's ex-offenders

The Scales of Injustice
Original Article

Well, they do have to keep the prison business running, and what better way to do it?

05/17/2011

By Tom Gabor

Four years ago, Gov. Charlie Crist passed rules allowing more than 100,000 ex-offenders to regain their civil rights, including their right to vote. Those rules called for the automatic restoration of the civil rights of nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentences. On March 9, Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet voted to rescind those rights. Ex-offenders must apply to have their rights restored, but only after a waiting period of five to seven years, depending on the nature of the crime that led to their conviction. This new policy not only denies people who have served their sentences the right to vote but also means they will have a long wait to get other rights restored.

Some suspect that the governor's move was politically motivated (of course it was), as those affected are disproportionately people of color who are more likely to vote Democrat. This regressive policy is now among the most restrictive in the country and will make it more difficult for ex-offenders to re-integrate successfully into society. It will make it harder for them to find work and sends a powerful message that their debt to society has not been paid, even after they have served their sentences. Scott and his administration purport to stand for fiscal responsibility. However, creating obstacles to the successful re-entry of ex-offenders into society is likely to increase criminal recidivism and, raise incarceration and other correctional costs, as well as the financial and other costs of additional crime. Ironically, the new policy undermines the considerable efforts of Florida's Department of Corrections aimed at reducing re-offending. In 2009, the Department of Corrections launched a five-year initiative called the Recidivism Reduction Strategic Plan (PDF). Most of the growth in Florida's prison population since 1985 is because of re-incarceration rather than the imprisonment of offenders who had never previously been in prison. The strategic plan is also based on the fact that 88 percent of inmates will be released at some point.

The Department of Corrections asserts that the restoration of the ex-offender's civil rights is a critical part of preventing criminal recidivism. Crist's Ex-Offender Task Force found that almost 40 percent of the 7.6 million jobs in Florida were subject to criminal background checks or restrictions based on criminal history. According to the Department of Corrections, finding and maintaining a job is vital to improving an offender's chances of staying out of prison. The Scott administration's new policy of withholding the restoration of the civil rights of ex-offenders will make it more difficult for offenders to become independent, compromises public safety and creates additional costs to taxpayers by undermining efforts to reduce the criminal recidivism rate.


WI - Case asks: Can a 6-year-old commit sexual assault?

Original Article

This is just absurd, and shows how insane the sex offender moral panic has become, it's nothing but mass hysteria.

05/01/2011

By SANDY CULLEN

Grant County authorities have accused a 6-year-old boy of first-degree sexual assault of a child for allegedly playing “doctor” with a 5-year-old girl in September.

The case, which is plowing new legal ground in Wisconsin, calls into question when a child’s act can be considered criminal — particularly when it involves behavior some experts say is normal for children that age — and who makes that determination.

Under state law, the boy is too young to be charged with a crime or in a juvenile delinquency petition, the equivalent of a criminal complaint for juveniles. Instead, prosecutors have included the allegations in a petition seeking protection or services for the boy. Such petitions are typically used by parents or authorities to identify children under 10 who need services to change inappropriate behavior.

If a judge finds the boy committed a delinquent act, the court can order that he and his family receive services such as counseling or other treatment.

A second petition accusing the boy of disorderly conduct alleges that last summer he repeatedly grabbed the breasts of two teenage baby sitters, took off his clothes and rubbed himself on their legs and tried to kiss them.

The boy’s lawyer, Stephen Eisenberg of Madison, called the allegations “crazy” and said he has never heard of a 6-year-old being accused of first-degree sexual assault. The boy is now 7.

At a court hearing last week, Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker said the case “isn’t about punishing (the boy); it’s about making sure he gets the help he needs.”
- For what?  Normal behavior?  I guess this lady wants to deny she did the same as a child?

Riniker and county Social Services Director Fred Naatz declined to comment on the case outside of court, citing confidentiality rules.

Richland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Leineweber, who is handling the case, said during the hearing the case presents a thorny legal problem.

You’re going to have to prove a criminal act. If he was 2, would we be here?” he asked the prosecutor. “How are we going to figure out what side of the line (the boy) falls on?
- I'm sure if he did this at two, today, yes, you'd be in the same situation due to the insanity!

Eisenberg said the boy, who has a developmental disorder for which he is receiving treatment, likely is below the maturity level of a typical 6- or 7-year-old.

Dispute over what happened

Earlier this month, the judge granted a State Journal request for access to juvenile court records and proceedings in the case. State law prohibits identifying the children or families involved.

According to the petition for protection or services filed Nov. 12, the girl’s mother found her daughter in the boy’s yard “with her skirt and underpants around her ankles” and the boy sitting underneath her, penetrating her with his finger. The petition alleges the boy “did have sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 12.”

State law defines sexual intercourse, in part, as “intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body.”
- So if someone licked someone on the face, would that be sexual intercourse?  No, but by the above, yes.  How friggin' insane is that?

The girl told her mother they were playing “butt doctor” and told authorities the boy only touched her on the outside of her body, court documents state. A third child, a 5-year-old boy, also was with them, but he did not touch her inappropriately, the girl said.

Judge Leineweber refused to dismiss the petitions, saying the relevant part of the sexual assault allegation is the mother’s observations.
- This judge should be ashamed of himself.  How would he feel if this boy was his own son?

The boy needed only to have penetrated the girl and known she was under a certain age, he wrote, adding, “Even the most immature 6-year-old could appreciate these two concepts.”

Last week, Leineweber found probable cause to proceed with the petitions and ordered a competency evaluation to determine if the boy can understand the allegations and assist in his defense.

But Leineweber also questioned how it could be determined that the 6-year-old was capable of committing a criminal act.

Riniker said she made that determination using her discretion as a prosecutor. She also said she has more information about the boy’s actions than she included in the complaint.

I’m not so sure that’s how it should work,” Leineweber replied.

Eisenberg told the judge small-town furor “just exploded this thing that never should have gotten off the ground,” saying, “It’s over the top and it really is absurd.”

He said the boy had several enemas and other procedures for a medical problem before the incident with the girl. He also questioned whether the girl’s mother could actually see if penetration occurred, as well as the accounts of the baby sitters.

Sexual exploration normal in young

Dr. Lucy Berliner, director of Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress in Seattle, Wash., said it is “completely outside” accepted medical practice to characterize a 6-year-old’s actions as sexual assault.

Berliner, responding after the State Journal described the allegations, called the charge “very unusual” and equated it to charging a 6-year-old with physical assault for hitting another child.
- I would not doubt if it comes to that.

Sexual exploration, curiosity and play among children is common,” Berliner said. “Even if there was an attempt to penetrate, it’s still a 6-year-old doing it.”

If a child has no history of other behavioral problems, just talking to him and making sure there are no other issues that need to be addressed would be an appropriate response, she said.

But Mike Walsh, Dane County deputy district attorney in charge of juvenile cases, said even very young children can engage in “extreme victimizing behaviors.” The youngest child Walsh brought a petition against for sexual assault was an 8-year-old boy who repeatedly raped his 5-year-old sister.

In most cases, however, police deal with the families involved and the matters never reach court, he said. In some cases, if he believes the child needs treatment beyond what a family obtained on its own, he would pursue the matter in court.

In the Grant County case, Walsh said, the boy’s alleged actions reflect sexualized behavior more advanced than his level of development.

Families tried alternate solutions

In a letter to the State Journal, the boy’s parents said they have taken “all steps necessary to make sure our six year old has received all the services he needs.”

They said they forwarded that information — along with written confirmation from the boy’s school and day care providers that he has never engaged in inappropriate conduct at those facilities — to the district attorney’s office and the Grant County Department of Social Services.

Yet both insisted on pursuing court action, they wrote. They said authorities even raised the prospect that the boy be evaluated as a potential sexual predator and suggested he not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children.
- What the hell?  So, you are going to ruin a 6 year old kids life for playing "doctor?"  You folks should be fired!

The girl’s parents said they initially sought to settle the dispute without involving the authorities but were unsatisfied with the response by the boy’s family.

From the beginning, it was our hope and our goal to work this out between the families and to talk and figure out what was happening privately,” the girl’s father told the State Journal. “We were not given that opportunity by the (boy’s) family.”
- So, has anyone asked the boy if the girl touched him inappropriately?  If so, she should be charged as well, then maybe someone will drop the whole thing.


KY - Supreme Court finally following their oaths of office by not passing ex post facto laws