Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MO - Managing sex offenders is a lot of work but after a storm devastates an area

Is There a Perjury Epidemic?

Original Article



James B. Stewart dedicates his new book “to all who seek the truth.” But in his view, the ranks of committed truth-seekers are shrinking before our eyes. “Mounting evidence suggests that the broad public commitment to telling the truth under oath has been breaking down, eroding over recent decades, a trend that has been accelerating in recent years,” he declares. “Perjury has infected nearly every aspect of society.”

What is Stewart’s “mounting evidence” that perjury is on the rise and “false statements are undermining America”? He concedes that “it’s impossible to know for certain” whether lying is “worse now than in previous decades,” but he emphasizes that “prosecutors have told me repeatedly that a surge of concerted, deliberate ­lying” by white-collar criminals “threatens to swamp the legal system.” There is simply too much lying, he laments, and “too little is prosecuted to generate any meaningful statistics,” in contrast to other serious crimes, like murder. “We know how many murders are committed each year — 1,318,398 in 2009,” he writes in the first sentence of “Tangled Webs.”

At this point, if I were caught up in Stewart’s prosecutorial spirit, I might object that the first sentence of his book is a lie. In fact, according to the F.B.I.’s statistics, an estimated 1,318,398 violent crimes, not murders, were committed in the United States in 2009. And a vast majority of these violent crimes didn’t involve murder; they involved robbery and aggravated assault. But of course, it would be hyperbolic and unfair of me to accuse Stewart of lying without knowing more about the motive behind his false statement. Perhaps it was an inadvertent error, in which case calling it a lie seems much too strong. On the other hand, perhaps it was a deliberate misrepresentation devised to create a more dramatic opening — perhaps, in other words, he felt that comparing lying to robbery would be less vivid than comparing lying to murder. Deliberate misrepresentation seems highly unlikely for a Pulitzer Prize-­winning journalist of his caliber, but without knowing more about his motives, I can’t make a fair-minded judgment about how seriously to treat his false statement.

Unlike Stewart, the Anglo-American legal system has long been sensitive to these fine distinctions. It has treated some lies more seriously than others, depending on the intent of the speaker and the effect on other people. It’s true, as Stewart notes, that perjury was dealt with severely in 16th-century England. (“The offender was typically punished by cutting out his tongue,” he observes wistfully.) But he doesn’t note that English and American courts were so concerned about the human instinct to tell self-protective lies that they avoided putting defendants in situations in which they might be tempted to commit perjury. Until the late 19th century, American courts never examined defendants under oath, considering it a form of moral torture to force people to choose among self-incrimination, contempt of court and perjury, along with the eternal damnation they believed was the real punishment for betraying an oath to God.

Although Stewart, now a business columnist for The New York Times, claims that lying has been on the rise, a more plausible thesis is that prosecutions for false statements have been rising — not because of growing contempt for the truth but because defendants are increasingly prosecuted for doing nothing more than denying their guilt to investigators. (These are the kinds of lies that courts used to excuse under a doctrine called the exculpatory no.) It wasn’t until the post-Watergate era that prosecutors began routinely to indict people not merely for lying under oath but for lying to federal officials even when not under oath — using a novel law that is the basis for several of the prosecutions Stewart celebrates.

CA - We can't have a society based on vigilantism - Miguel & Erik Cerda beat an accused child molester

Original Article


By Scott Herhold

Let's get one thing straight. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is not a turn-the-other cheek guy. If someone harmed his family, he would be outraged. He once chased down litterbugs in his neighborhood.

But Rosen is no believer in vigilantism. And as he sifted through the photos of the severe beating and whipping suffered by a child molester at the hands of his victim's relatives, he couldn't hide his distaste. "This is a prison case," he said.

It's a tale with an ugly set of facts. On Thanksgiving weekend, an 8-year-old San Jose girl woke her mother at 2 a.m. to tell her that she had been sexually abused by a houseguest who had duct-taped her mouth and attacked her.

Several hours later, the girl's stepfather, Miguel Cerda, and his brother, Erik Cerda, allegedly drove the accused molester, [name withheld], to a ranch in Gilroy.

In the mayhem that followed, [name withheld] lost several teeth and suffered two black eyes, a broken jaw, burn marks and bruising from what appeared to be a whipping.

Saying he understood the provocation, Rosen nevertheless has charged the Cerdas with mayhem, torture, battery, assault and making criminal threats. The district attorney reportedly has offered them a deal of six to eight years in prison.

[name withheld], meanwhile, has confessed to the attack and pleaded no contest to two felony counts. He is expected to receive a sentence that will require him to serve 19 years in prison before a parole board can consider releasing him.

Lengthy beating

For an experienced prosecutor like Rosen, the call on the Cerdas was not hard. He says the beating and whipping occurred several hours after the molestation, indicating planning, and lasted much longer than a few brief seconds.

"Nobody is calling the police," said Rosen, who points out that [name withheld] could have been left free to commit another crime. "The thought is, 'We're going to get this guy.' "

For a politician, however -- and remember, the DA is also an elected official -- the Cerda case poses more challenges. It's one thing to go after a molester. It's another to go after relatives seeking vengeance.

The online comments on the piece by Mercury News reporter Tracey Kaplan criticized Rosen. "What parent would not want to protect their child or punish the person who harmed their child? What message does this send to the stepdaughter?" asked one reader.

No private vengeance

My take? We can't base a society on private vengeance. We have police and prosecutors for a reason. The gulf between the Cerdas' revenge and honor killings is not so great.

"There are certain core functions of government, and justice for its citizens is one of them," Rosen said. "If we said, 'Yeah, we're gonna give these guys a pass,' then we're encouraging that kind of behavior."

How does Rosen answer critics? "When people do this, it isn't about justice," he said. "It's not helping their daughter or niece. There's nothing for her. All this does is feed their own egos and their sense that now we're in control."

That, I think, is the message to the victim: This is terrible, we are with you, and we will seek justice. But we are better than the man who attacked you.

OR - Parole officer (Mark John Walker) from Eugene gets 10 years for sex abuse

Mark John Walker
Original Article


PORTLAND - A parole officer who sexually abused female offenders under his supervision was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday.

Mark John Walker, 52, of Eugene was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, a visiting judge from Alaska.

Walker engaged in sexual contact or aggravated sexual abuse with female offenders who were under his direct supervision as a federal probation officer from 2006 to 2009. The sentence stems from his conduct involving five women.

As a United States Probation Officer, Walker supervised offenders who were serving probation or supervised release terms imposed by a federal judge, including offenders with vulnerable backgrounds involving sexual abuse, mental illness and drug addiction.

Walker had the power to recommend that offenders who violated their conditions of probation or supervised release be jailed or otherwise sanctioned.

While exercising his authority as a probation officer, Walker willfully violated the victims' civil rights by kissing them or touching their breasts, buttocks and inner thighs without their consent and in order to gratify his own sexual desires, prosecutors said.

With one victim, Walker pulled her pants down and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him when he visited her home as part of his official duties, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

The victims never reported the violations to authorities because they were afraid that no one would believe them and because Walker, as their probation officer, had the power to have them incarcerated or otherwise punished, prosecutors said.

Walker, who was a federal probation officer for over 20 years, will himself be subjected to supervision by a probation officer for five years when he is released from prison.

In addition, he was ordered to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and get treatment.

Walker was ordered not to have any contact with any of the victims in the case, as well as several other women who came forward to law enforcement and reported that Walker had treated them in similar ways in years past.

Chief Judge Beistline also ordered Walker to pay a $25,000 fine.

"Walker's betrayal of trust is staggering," stated U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton. "He victimized people he was entrusted to supervise, and on top of that, he undermined the credibility of people in law enforcement and the courthouse community. I hope his lengthy prison sentence makes clear that we will hold accountable those who breach the public trust."

Chief Judge Beistline apologized to the victims on behalf of the government and the federal court and commended each of them for their courage, strength and integrity in coming forward. The court found that each of the victims was particularly vulnerable and that the defendant took advantage of those vulnerabilities.

The case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Eugene, Oregon. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pamala Holsinger, Hannah Horsley and Craig Gabriel prosecuted the case with assistance from the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section.

IL - Mother and son forced to be on the SEX offender registry, not for a sex crime, but kidnapping?

Original Article

The original law was called the "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act", but now anybody can be placed on the sex offender registry for non-sex crimes. This is misleading to the public, and now, they will be treated as if they are child molesting pedophiles when sex wasn't even involved. Why not rename the registry the "Child Protection" registry so it has more meaning, instead of misleading like this?


ST. CHARLES — A mother and her son have been charged with violating the Child Sex Offender Registration Act after their new home was determined to be too close to a day care center.
- Read below, why are they on the "child sex" offender registry when no sex was involved, nor child sex? Like I've said before, why not call it the "SINNER" registry or the "ALL CRIMINALS" registry and put all criminals on it, then it would have more meaning and we'd all know all the criminals who live around us.

According to St. Charles police, [mother name withheld], 53, and [son name withheld], 24, 1600 block of Covington Court, St. Charles, both registered sex offenders (for non-sex crimes), informed the Geneva Police Department they would be moving from Geneva to the Covington Court address. Geneva police instructed the two to check with St. Charles police to ensure the new address was not within 500 feet of a day care center, the distance required by law.

Last week, after moving to the new address, the pair went to St. Charles police to register. On Thursday, a detective determined the Covington Court address to be only 383 feet from a day care center.

[mother name withheld], [son name withheld] and [mother name withheld]’s then-boyfriend were all convicted in a 2006 incident where they held potential drug customers at gunpoint (you see, a non-sex crime). In December 2006, [son name withheld] — who was selling marijuana — called his mother’s boyfriend to say gang members were coming to the house, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, the three people coming to the house had paid for drugs with counterfeit money in the past. [son name withheld] and [mother name withheld] held two of the victims at gunpoint in her St. Charles Township home, prosecutors said. The boyfriend drove the third victim at gunpoint to Arlington Heights to get money, prosecutors said.

Marijuana was found in the house and all three later pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping (a non-sex crime, so why are they on a sex related registry?). The [name withheld] are required to register because of the kidnapping aspect of the crime.

CA - Teen shot in Bayview by SFPD dies, Police says teen had felony convictions

Original Article


By Mike Aldax

[name withheld], the 19-year-old killed by San Francisco police in a shootout Saturday, was a convicted pimp accused of having a 13-year-old girl perform oral sex on him and later demanding the teen make him “ho’ money” in Seattle, court documents show.

[name withheld], a Seattle resident, was fatally shot by two cops in the Bayview district after he fired at them, according to San Francisco police. [name withheld] had been detained for evading a Muni fare about 4:45 p.m. on the Muni platform near Third Street and Oakdale Avenue.
- All I know is what I have read here, but I wonder if they knew about the 13-year-old, and decided to shot first and ask questions later?

The suspect tried to make a run for it, and opened fire “indiscriminately” in the crowded Mendell Plaza, firing off multiple shots as the cops chased him, police said.

[name withheld] was also the “person of interest” in a fatal quadruple shooting last week in South Seattle that killed 19-year-old [victim name withheld], along with her unborn child.

He had only been released from a year prison stay in April after a conviction for first-degree promoting prostitution, San Francisco police said. His rap sheet also includes a robbery conviction.

The teen victim called police saying [name withheld] stranded her on a Seattle street after trying to force her to prostitute on “the track” near Seattle Center. The victim, who had turned 14 by then, refused, police said.

[name withheld] commanded her to charge $50 for oral sex and $100 for full sex, and gave her several condoms to use, according to the victim’s account to police. She told [name withheld]no, that she is not a whore,” the police report said.

He told her “she was either going to make “ho' money" and get a ride back or he was going to leave her there,” the report said. [name withheld] ended up stranding her on a strange street, it said.

Police arrested [name withheld] on Jan. 7 of last year after the victim led cops to his home.

She said that was where she had oral sex with him on Feb. 6, 2009, when he was under home detention for armed robbery,” the police report said.

[name withheld]’s death in San Francisco on Saturday has sparked outrage in the Bayview community. Protestors say police officers did not need to shoot and kill [name withheld], with some believing he was unarmed.

Witnesses to the shooting told police they saw a man pick up the suspect’s gun and run off with two other men, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Informants led police to what is believed to be the suspect’s .45-caliber handgun, which is now being tested, Suhr said.

Community leaders held a news conference Monday near the sight of the shooting. They are demanding that the FBI investigate the incident. They also want San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón to have nothing to do with the case, since he is The City’s former police chief.

I don’t care if this kid was like the chainsaw massacre poster child,” activist Mesha Irizarry said. “You don’t die like a rabid dog with nobody helping you.”

Protestors accuse cops of doing nothing while the injured [name withheld] lay dying in front of numerous witnesses.

Police planned a news conference on the matter at 2 p.m.

Both officers, at least one of whom was black, have been placed on administrative leave during an investigation by the department’s internal affairs, the District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Citizen Complaints and the homicide detail.


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