Friday, August 26, 2011

WV - Former Deputy (Sean Marenkovic) Found Guilty Of Felony Sex Crimes

Sean Marenkovic
Original Article

Video available at the link above.

08/25/2011

OHIO COUNTY - A jury has found a former Ohio County sheriff's deputy guilty of felony sex charges against a teenage girl.

Sean Marenkovic was found guilty Thursday of two counts of sexual assault in the third degree and is now a convicted sex offender.

Marenkovic served as an Ohio County deputy from fall 2001 to summer 2005, and department officials previously said there were no disciplinary issues with Marenkovic. The crimes happened in 2003.

The accusations came to light in late 2010 when the victim was called for jury duty. At that time, she said she was a victim of a sexual assault about eight years ago, when she was 14 years old. Marenkovic was charged in the spring of 2011.

The jury reached its verdict late Thursday morning after two days of trial and hours of deliberation.

The victim wept quietly and Marenkovic sat with his head down as Judge Arthur Recht read the verdict and asked each juror if he or she agreed that Marenkovic was guilty.

Investigators said although the crimes happened years ago, sexual assault will not be tolerated, no matter when it happened.

Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Shawn Turak said the relationship started with the two chatting online, a fact that Turak said should send a message to parents.

"A young teenage girl was on the Internet talking to someone she didn't know. It turned out to be particularly disturbing in this case because it was a law enforcement officer. So I think parents need to be vigilant," Turak said.

Marenkovic faces one to five years in prison for both convictions. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 21.


Contact Congress: Your Letters

Original Article

08/25/2011

By Donny Shaw

As congressional approval reaches new lows, it’s more important than ever that people have a reliable public forum for communicating with their members of Congress. Yet, as we’ve seen during this August recess, communicating with Congress is actually getting more difficult. Less than half of senators and representatives are holding public town hall meetings this year. Constituents trying to speak with their members are being threatened with arrest, and those fortunate enough to be able to attend meetings are having their rights to document the public events violated by police.

Clearly we need better channels for open discourse between the public and their elected officials. That’s what motivated us to build our free and open-source suite of OpenCongress v.3 tools, which put engaging with Congress at the center of the site experience.

Until now, to email members of Congress people had to visit separate websites for their three lawmakers, fill out three different web forms, and submit messages via an opaque system that, frankly, feels like it feeds to a paper shredder at the other end. With our Contact-Congress tool, now you can email all three of your lawmakers at the same time, get a custom permalink to your letter, share it with your social networks, and track responses on a public forum. Plus, our unique message-builder platform makes it easy to add campaign finance information relevant to your topic, important bits of legislative text, comments from peers, and more in one click. Full details of how that works here.

Since we launched OpenCongress v.3 about one month ago, we’ve delivered more than 1,500 original messages to Congress about specific pieces of pending legislation. That may not sound like a lot compared to the numbers organization get with their petitions and form letters, but these are all individually-crafted, personalized and detail-rich messages, which research shows have a much stronger impact on members of Congress. According to a study from the Congressional Management Foundation, “Only 3% of staff surveyed say identical form postal mail would have ‘a lot’ of influence on their Member of Congress if he/she had not reached a decision. In contrast, 44% report individualized postal letters would have ‘a lot’ of influence.” And, in case you’re wondering, email and postal mail are equally influential to an undecided Member.


CA - Sex Offenders May Not Have To Move


OK - Judge's Ruling To Impact Okla. Sex Offenders

Original Article

See the video at the link above.

08/25/2011

Ruling In Case Of [name withheld] To Impact Other Cases

A district judge's ruling that 60 sex offenders no longer have to register could impact hundreds of other sex offenders.

A ruling on the case of [name withheld] will benefit 60 others. Court documents indicate that he was convicted in Texas in 1992. He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and was not required to register as a sex offender.

He moved to Oklahoma and was eventually charged with failing to register. [name withheld]'s lawyers are fighting for his rights, and -- on Wednesday -- they won.

[name withheld]'s attorney, David Slane, said the order will effectively remove 50 to 60 sex offenders all with the stroke of a pen. Slane said everybody who has completed the required 10-year registration is off the list if they have a case before 1999.

The judge also ruled that if you're from out of state and you come to Oklahoma, you must register for 10 years from the time you arrive if your case is before 2007.
- This only makes since for those currently required to register.  If they are off registration in another state, or never had to register, regardless of the date, it's additional (ex post facto) punishment.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections plans to file an injunction. Ultimately, this will be decided by the Supreme Court.