Friday, June 24, 2011

WV - State Police Perform Sex Offender Sweep in Summers County

Original Article

Once again, a compliance check was done, all offenders are compliant, except one, and it was not for another sex crime, which shows, once again, that sex offender recidivism is low.

06/24/2011

By Matthew Smith

West Virginia State Police checked in on 30 registered sex offenders in Summers County to make sure they were compliant with the Sex Offender Registry Act.

HINTON -- The West Virginia State Police performed a sex offender sweep throughout Summers County Friday afternoon.

Police were checking in on members of the local sex offender registry list believed to have been in violation of their restrictions. “Our primary goal is to keep them up to date so we know where they’re at,” said Cpl. M.K. Summers. “We want to keep an eye on these guys.”
- As I have asked many times, what is the purpose of probation and parole officers?  Isn't this their job?  If not, then what are they needed for?  Why get the goon squad out?  Grandstanding maybe?

State Police had help from the Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Marshal’s Office, and other various departments to help perform the sex offender sweep.
- Thus wasting money and time that could be spent on real crime.

One arrest was made as part of Friday's Sweep. [name withheld], 34, was taken into custody and charged with failure to comply with the West Virginia Sex Offender Registry Act. Crawford was staying at a girlfriend's home which was not registered, as well as, having his mail delivered to a P.O. Box that was not registered.

Police say other areas of interest were raised. They expect to look into those areas of interests, and more cases may be investigated in the coming days.


MO - Proposed law would bar sex offenders from veterans cemeteries

Original Article

Pure insanity! Do you think that once an ex-offender who paid their debt to society is dead, they are going to become zombies or something and start molesting the dead? So it's okay for an ex-sex offender to serve and die in the military, but not be buried in a military cemetery? This is just absurd!

06/24/2011

JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri lawmaker has introduced new legislation in Congress that would prevent sex offenders from being buried in national cemeteries.

The "Hallowed Grounds Act," introduced by Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler, would prohibit an individual who is classified as a Tier III sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act from being buried at a veterans or national cemetery. A Tier III sex offender is one whose offenses against a child might include the crimes of aggravated sexual abuse or abusive sexual contact.
- So I guess this evil witch would be okay for a leper cemetery?

"While veterans guilty of capital crimes have justly been denied burial in our national cemeteries, veterans guilty of sexual abuse of children are still entitled to these honors," Hartzler said. "Allowing these offenders to rest in fields of honor is an insult to America's military heroes. Furthermore, it is an outrage to the victims and their families."


Myths Of The Criminal Justice System: Part 3

Original Article

06/24/2011

By Radley Balko

Note: As part of this week's launch of the HuffPost's Crime vertical, senior writer and criminal justice reporter Radley Balko outlines 10 popular myths and misconceptions about the criminal justice system. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

 

Myth 8: Sex offenders are more likely to reoffend than other criminals.

There's no set of crimes more plagued by misconceptions and hysteria than sex crimes. In some cities, laws restricting where convicted sex offenders can live once they're released have become so restrictive, they're forced to live under bridges or in patches of woods.

While it's understandable that lawmakers and the public in general would have little sympathy for rapists or child molesters, in truth, people have landed on sex offender lists for exposing themselves in public (remember the "streaking" craze in the 1970s?), public urination, or having sex at age 17 with someone who is 15. In Texas, children as young as 10 can be put on the sex offender list.

In some states, you can land on the sex offender list for crimes that have nothing to do with sex. In seven states, "unlawful restraint of a minor" will land you on the list. See the Illinois case of Fitzroy Barnaby, who is now forced to register as a sex offender for grabbing a girl by the arm to lecture her after she road her bike out in front of his car, nearly causing him to hit her. The federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, passed in 2006, requires all states to put in place similar regulations in order to continue to receive federal funding.

Because they're usually passed out of anger and passion rather than after careful contemplation, sex offender laws often make little sense. People caught with child pornography on their computers, for example, can be subject to harsher penalties than people who actually molest children, despite the fact that many people who merely consume child porn aren't a threat to actual children. (Some were molested as children themselves, and consume pornography as a form of therapy.)

As Jacob Sullum points out in a recent article for Reason magazine (my former employer), under federal law, "a defendant with no prior criminal record and no history of abusing children would qualify for a sentence of 15 to 20 years based on a small collection of child pornography and one photo swap, while a 50-year-old man who encountered a 13-year-old girl online and lured her into a sexual relationship would get no more than four years."

There's also little support for the common belief that sex offenders are especially likely to repeat their crimes after they're released from prison. Sullum points to a litany of research debunking that misconception, including a 2003 Department of Justice survey finding a 5 percent recidivism rate for sex offenders within three years of their release, versus a 22 percent rate for people convicted of nonsexual assault.

None of this is to say we should give a pass to people who actually do prey on children, or others. But our laws ought to address the actual harm, not perceived harm, and they should be passed based on real-world data, not the hysterical visions of pundits and politicians, or in response to a single incident.

Myth 9: Seeing is believing. Eyewitness testimony is a reliable way of solving crimes.

Scientists have known about the problems with eyewitness testimony going back to the 19th century, when psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus’s research on human memory gave us the “Forgetting Curve,” a graph plotting how human recollection fades over time -- within minutes of creating a memory. Since Ebbinghaus, there have been a number of fascinating studies confirming his research.


FL - Are local housing laws for sex offenders too restrictive?

Original Article

06/24/2011

Sex offenders sent packing from motel

You can’t blame the owners of the Budget Inn for asking two dozen sex offenders to find another roof over their heads. Motels are businesses, not shelters.
- Um, they are both, and by kicking them out, you are losing a ton of business and forcing these people into homelessness.

Unfortunately, restrictive municipal laws make it too difficult for sex offenders to find a suitable place to live. That’s why 24 individuals took up residence at the Fort Lauderdale motel, until their backgrounds were revealed and they were shown the door.

That’s why dozens more last year found a home at another hotel in Miami-Dade County, and that’s why many others are homeless, living on the streets or under bridges. We agree there is next to no public sympathy toward sex offenders, but the paramount concern here isn’t compassion. It’s public safety.

Ask just about any probation officer who must keep tabs on those individuals, and they’ll tell you a key way to watch them, and keep them from harming children, is to keep them at a fixed location. That’s not possible if the offenders are constantly on the move, whether it’s because they were asked to leave a motel or because they got shooed away from shanty town quarters under a bridge.

Florida law states that sex offenders — generally individuals convicted of committing certain sex crimes against children — are banned from coming within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, parks and daycare centers. The logic behind the law is obvious.
- Again, these laws affect ALL sex offenders, not just those who have harmed children, and not all sex offenders are child molesters.  I would think a reporter would look up the law, and report the facts, not just personal feelings or assumptions.

But a number of cities in South Florida have gone even further, imposing restrictions extending the state ban up to 2,500 feet, which severely limits available housing and forces sex offenders into a counterproductive nomadic existence.

The trend is not news. A 2009 report (PDF) by the Broward Sexual Offender and Predator Task Force raised such concerns about the unintended consequences of overly restrictive residential restrictions that are proving to be ineffective. Anti-loitering rules are shown to be more effective safeguards.
- Residency restrictions (where someone sleeps at night) do nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody, all it does is exile people and force them into homelessness.  And many studies have been done to show this, but hell, politicians don't like facts, only what makes them look "tough" on crime, and won't kill their careers by looking like they are for sex offenders.

The state and cities need to re-evaluate recently imposed municipal bans on sexual offenders in order to come up with more realistic and humane limits that protect children, rather than provide a false sense of security.
- That would be asking too much of them!

BOTTOM LINE: Put children’s safety first with effective restrictions.
- No, the bottom line is obey their oaths of office, the constitution, and the rights of ALL citizens, period!


OR - Judge clears record of Jason Faulk, an ex-Portland cop who had sex with a woman on job

Jason Faulk
Original Article

06/23/2011

By Helen Jung

A former Portland police officer won a bid today to clear his record of a 2008 official misconduct conviction for having sex with an autistic woman who had called police seeking help for her son.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Michael Marcus said that "in spite of my personal feelings," he had no choice but to grant Jason Faulk's motion to seal his conviction.

Oregon state law allows those convicted of most misdemeanors -- including official misconduct -- and Class C felonies to seek expungement three years after judgment, provided they meet certain requirements.

The expungement seals records relating to the arrest and conviction and allows Faulk to enter "no" on employment applications and other forms asking whether he has ever been convicted of a crime.

Faulk, now 37, who resigned from the Portland Police Bureau and permanently surrendered his police certification as part of a plea agreement, agreed today that he will not seek reinstatement of his police certification or seek any work as a security officer or in other law-enforcement-related fields. He now works at Lithia Subaru of Oregon City.

It's unusual for a police officer convicted of a crime to seek to clear his or her record, although former Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Donald Green also submitted a request earlier this month to expunge his conviction for harassment. Green had also been investigated for allegations he asked three women he pulled over to lift their shirts, remove their bras or unzip their pants, saying he was looking for a suspect with a flower tattoo.

Both the state and the victim in Faulk's misconduct case opposed his expungement request, and the woman spoke at the hearing to protest.

"I asked for you to take a report in my home on the night that you came out," she said, addressing Faulk and referring to her initial call to police to report possible abuse of her son. "You were in no condition to do your job that night. ... I don't live there anymore because I have been through enough in that place."

She said Faulk came to her home several times after that initial visit in 2007 and had sex with her on two occasions. She said she felt threatened into having sex with him because he was carrying a gun and was on duty.

The Oregonian does not name victims of sexual assault.

"We do not think when a police officer engages in this particular type of behavior that he should have his record expunged," said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Travis Sewell. He urged the judge to consider Faulk's failure to appear in a murder trial earlier this year, in violation of a subpoena from the defense, noting that such post-conviction behavior can be considered in a defendant's request for expungement.

But Marcus, who had coincidentally presided over that trial, said he could not find evidence that Faulk had intentionally ignored the subpoena. Faulk testified Thursday that he had been served while he was packing boxes and moving to a new home, and had forgotten about it. The defendant in that trial, [name withheld], was convicted and is serving a life sentence.

In granting his request, the judge expressed his reluctance and warned Faulk, "Please don't make me wrong."

The woman's attorney, Beth Creighton, expressed frustration with the result, saying the expungement shows that state legislators should amend the law to prevent police officers who have been convicted of official misconduct from clearing their criminal history.

She also criticized the district attorney's office for pursuing an official misconduct charge as opposed to a sex crime, which isn't eligible for expungement under Oregon law.

She said she believed the prosecutor gave Faulk a break because he was a police officer, saying there was ample evidence to support his sexual issues -- including a police report in 2007 in which he told an investigator that he "became a sex addict" and cheated on his wife with women "on the job" and "off the job."

The prosecutor in the original misconduct case, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Christine Mascal, said she didn't cut Faulk a break. "I don't softball anything, especially when it comes to bad cops, bad jailers," she said, calling Faulk's actions "deplorable."

But she had presented charges -- including a second-degree sex-abuse charge -- to the grand jury, which heard testimony from the victim as well as several others. The grand jury declined to indict him on the sex-abuse count, instead opting for official misconduct.

Faulk walked away when asked to comment. He sought the expungement for "no more reason than anyone else seeks expungement -- to have a clean record," said his lawyer, Larry Matasar.


SC - Myrtle Beach woman (Janelle Martinez) guilty of false rape claim, ordered to serve probation

Janelle Martinez
Original Article

06/24/2011

By Tonya Root

A Myrtle Beach woman was ordered to serve five years on probation for filing false police report regarding a sexual assault in February, according to police.

Janelle Martinez, 24, pleaded guilty June 10 to filing a false police report and was sentenced to five years in prison, but that sentence was suspended upon her service of five years on probation, according to Myrtle Beach police.

Officers were called Feb. 6 by Martinez who said she was the victim of a kidnapping and sexual assault by three men in a hotel room at the Patricia Grand Resort, according to a police report. Martinez told police the men held her down while one of them sexually assaulted her.

She told officers she was raped by each man before she was able to get away. Officers interviewed Martinez and collected evidence in the case, according to the report. During the investigation, detectives determined Martinez was not honest about the events of the night.

On April 15, police interviewed Martinez again and she admitted she was not raped by any of the men and had filed a false police report, police said. Officers charged Martinez with three counts of filing a false police report.


LA - Judge puts LC sex offender ordinance on hold

Original ArticlePrevious Article

06/23/2011

By Brandon Richards

LAKE CHARLES (KPLC) - A state district judge issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday, preventing the City of Lake Charles from implementing, at least for the moment, a controversial sex offender ordinance.

Judge Mike Canaday issued the order after a request from [name withheld], a Lake Charles sex offender.

[name withheld] filed suit against the City of Lake Charles last month over its sex offender registration ordinance. The ordinance, which was passed in January, requires sex offenders residing in city limits to pay a $600 registration fee. The previous fee (and current until a judge decides otherwise) was $60.
- Any fee is extortion!

[name withheld] claims the ordinance is unconstitutional.

With his order Thursday, Judge Canaday prevents the City from implementing the ordinance until a hearing is held on Aug. 8th at 8:00 a.m.

At that hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue an injunction or let the City go ahead and implement the ordinance while the suit is being decided.