Friday, September 9, 2011

FL - Sheriff’s Office shaming ex-offenders with marked "SEXUAL OFFENDER ENFORCEMENT" cruiser!

Original Article

It's embarrassing enough to have a marked cruiser pull up outside your home, let alone one marked with "SEXUAL OFFENDER ENFORCEMENT" on the outside. Come on, this is deliberate!

09/09/2011

By Amber Southard

Panama City Beach - Sheriff’s deputies and police officers routinely verify the addresses of registered sex offenders and sexual predators to make sure they're following local and state laws, but the Bay County Sheriff's Office is taking the process a step further.

Not only does the sheriff's office check on the counties 341 registered sex offenders and 17 sexual predators, they also let their neighbors know who's living next door.
- So out of 341, only 5% are predators.  If those are true predators, then they should have been sentenced to longer time in prison, then all this nonsense with residency restrictions and the online shaming hit-list, would not be needed.

Every Thursday Malcolm Fowler gets in Bay County's only marked Sexual Offender Enforcement patrol car, checks his address list for sexual offenders and predators, then he visits their neighbors.

"I go door to door. Some people come out, some people don't. I usually leave it on their door and if I see them outside I’ll explain what I’m doing and their usually pretty thankful," said Malcolm Fowler.
- Yeah, instead of letting them go down to the court house, like in the old days, if they want to know the criminals around them, or to visit the web site and sign up for emails, now the police are further naming and shaming ex-offenders who are trying to get on with their lives.  This is deliberate, IMO!

Fowler started as a volunteer. He's now a part time sheriff's office employee.

"It frees them up to do other jobs and I figure that I’m saving them man hours where they can go out and participate in what they are suppose to be doing," said Fowler.

Fowler hands out yellow flyers letting neighbors know registered sexual offenders like 30 year old [name withheld] have moved into their neighborhood. [name withheld] was convicted of lewd and lascivious indecent assault on a child under 16 years. [name withheld]’s neighbor Dan Jolly appreciates Fowler visit.

"Well I had heard of this guy before 2 or 3 months ago that he was living in the neighborhood and I’ve seen him a few times," said Jolly.


CA - Sex Offender Management Board - Homelessness Among Registered Sex Offenders

CASOMB Web Site

RECONSIDERING CALIFORNIA’S SEX OFFENDER RESIDENCE RESTRICTIONS POLICIES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) has, after reviewing the evidence, once again come to the conclusion that the reality reflected by the high and still escalating rate of homelessness among registered sex offenders in California is the single greatest obstacle to the effective management of sex offenders in California. The Board believes that the rise in homelessness among sex offenders needs attention because it is so closely associated with an increased level of threat to community safety. CASOMB continues to believe that the issue is primarily about where sex offenders should live in our communities and under what conditions - concerns that are not addressed by dictating where they may not live. While there are numerous opinions and many impassioned arguments, pro and con, regarding the value, importance and efficacy of residence restrictions, the arguments offered in this paper will be primarily based upon the best available scientific research evidence rather than relying on emotion based arguments.

The four central questions addressing this issue are:
  • What is the current California reality with respect to the impact of residence restrictions for sex offenders?
  • Is there any evidence to support the belief that residence restrictions increase community safety?
  • Is there any evidence which suggests that residence restrictions are actually counterproductive with regard to increasing community safety?
  • Finally, are there any other considerations worth noting in evaluating the effectiveness of California’s current residence restrictions and the validity of the assumptions upon which these policies appear to be based?

The answers provided in the following report to these four questions will only represent summaries of the available knowledge in the field of sex offender management and not a comprehensive review of all the available information.

Based on all that is known about sex offender recidivism and about the nature of most sex offenses involving children, there is no evidence that residence restrictions are related to preventing or deterring sex crimes against children. To the contrary, the evidence strongly suggests that residence restrictions are likely to have the unintended effect of increasing the likelihood of sexual re-offense.

Analysis of the situation in California shows that residence restrictions have led to dramatically escalating levels of homelessness among sex offenders, particularly those on parole, of whom nearly one in three are now homeless. In addition, sex offender homelessness is likely to be exacerbated by local ordinances, which continue to proliferate. It is extremely difficult to keep track of these ordinances and to evaluate their contribution to the problem.

In conclusion, CASOMB strongly recommends, once again, that policy makers take action to review this situation and revise the state’s residence restriction policies.


MN - Bloomington Residents Riled by Sex Offender Home

Original Article

Well, you can bitch and moan all you like, but it's a fact that ex-offenders will be coming out of prison, and they have just as much a right to live where they want as these other folks do.

09/08/2011

By Bill Kelle

Neighbors grapple with safety, second chances

BLOOMINGTON - Residents in one Bloomington neighborhood say they are upset about a home that is being rented to several high-level sex offenders, but the owner says he is just trying to help in a struggle that pits safety against second chances.

At any given time, Bloomington has more than 100 registered sex offenders living within its borders. Most blend into the background, but after the second Level 3 sex offender moved into one home, neighbors said enough is enough.

"We're a little more security-conscious than we used to be," said Jan Andreen. "I'll speak for the whole cul de sac and probably for part of the neighborhood. No one is really happy."

Yet, neighbors say it's not just safety they're concerned about. They're also worried it may affect their property values.

"I want to tell him to get out of here," said one concerned resident.

According to neighbors, the owner of the home is profiting by renting exclusively to sex offenders and ex-convict -- and local police say he's not breaking the law.

"We can make people aware of who is living in their community, and being aware is the best step toward people being safe," said Cmdr. Mark Stehlik, of the Bloomington Police Department.
- I disagree, but if we are going to do this for ex-sex offenders, why not for all other criminals as well?

The owner of the home, David Nutt, says what he is doing comes from a "higher calling," and said everyone deserves a second chance.

"I think David's vision was to help guys out that were struggling when they get out," said [name withheld].

[name withheld], who now goes by [name withheld], is the home's newest resident.

"The minute they hear, 'Level 3,' flags go up in their heads, which is understandable -- but not everybody has those same fears and I think [Nutt is] one of those guys who gets it," he said.

[name withheld] was released in July after serving 20 years in prison for abducting and raping three women at gunpoint. Today, however, he says he is a different person.

"I understand the community's concerns. They got a guy who did a lot of time in prison for some horrible crimes and he's getting out and living in their neighborhood -- and this is a really nice neighborhood," [name withheld] said.

In fact, that's why [name withheld] chose it. As a recovering addict, he said he didn't want to live in the city where he might be tempted by drugs.

"I'm not asking anybody in the community to believe me or trust me, all I ask for is the opportunity," he said. "Watch me. Keep an eye on me. If people watch where I go and what I do, they'll see that these days, I'm about rebuilding my life and doing right."

Currently, only two of the four renters at the home are sex offenders and the other Level 3 offender who lives in the home has since been downgraded.

[name withheld] said he was not allowed to attend Thursday evening's notification meeting, but said he welcomes the opportunity to meet with anyone who has questions about his past.


OK - Judge orders 38 names removed from sex offender list

Original Article

09/09/2011

By WAYNE GREENE

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma County judge has ordered the names of 38 people taken off the state sex offender registry immediately because their length of time on the list was extended after they were initially listed.
- At least we have one judge in this country that isn't allowing unconstitutional ex post facto laws, but, this will probably be appealed by the state as well.

At least 12 more will be removed eventually because of the permanent injunctions signed by District Judge Dan Owens.

Under laws in force at the time, the people all were put on the registry for a set number of years as a result of court actions - typically convictions or deferred sentences - on sex crimes. After they were put on the registry, the number of years they had to stay there was extended by changes to state law.

Owens' ruling - matching findings in similar cases considered by the state Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Civil Appeals - was that the state could not extend the number of years a person is required to be on the list after they are on it.

The people ordered removed from the registry would have completed their time on the list under the laws in place when they were initially put there. The others will only have to stay on the registry the length of time required by law at the time they were initially put there.

"When you think about it, it's common sense," said attorney Mark Bailey, who represented many of the people in the case. "I think it's a good holding. I think it's a fair holding. It was only a matter of time before somebody stepped in and just said this isn't going to work."

The 38 people ordered removed from the list were still on the Department of Corrections' online sex offender registry Thursday afternoon. Only one listed a Tulsa address, although seven were convicted in Tulsa County.

State Corrections Department spokesman Jerry Massie said the state hasn't decided whether to appeal the decision.


MT - Megan's Law Systems May Encourage Sex Offenders To Re-offend

Original Article

Visit the article above, and leave a comment. Everyone should be doing this in the first place, to educate the masses. The media and politicians won't do it, it helps them get elected, to "look tough" on crime, and gets them ratings and viewers.

09/08/2011

By Alissa Irei

MISSOULA - If a registered sex offender lives next door to you, finding out is just a click away. The online Montana Sexual or Violent Offender registry allows you to search the list by name or location.
- True, but what about the murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, abusive baby sitters, DUI offenders, and all the other criminals? If we "have a right" to know where ex-sex offenders are, then what about all other criminals?

But a new study shows that these public notification systems may make an offender more likely to commit another sexual crime, perhaps because he feels things can't get any worse.

"They are pariahs in their neighborhoods," said the paper's co-author, J.J. Prescott. "They have difficulty finding a place to live. These people have trouble finding jobs, forming relationships. You can imagine what it would be like."

Prescott is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. His co-author, Jonah E. Rockoff, is with the Columbia Business School.

The study does suggest that Megan's Law systems discourage first offenses, and that registering offenders with law enforcement – without giving the public access to the registry – decreases re-offense rates.

When Missoula police monitor offenders, they also check in to be sure they're not being harassed or targeted.

"If they are ostracized, then I do believe that does increase the risk of re-offense," said Detective Jamie Merifield. "And so we do want to make sure that they are fitting in, that they are doing OK."

The study's authors believe doing away with or limiting public notification would decrease recidivism rates, by giving offenders something to lose. Some Missoula residents say that's a good idea.
- The registry should be either deleted, or taken offline and used by police only.

"If they don't do it a second time, or haven't done it in ten or twenty years, they shouldn't have their name on there," Diana Neumiller said.

Others disagree.

"I have two grand kids that live next door to me," resident Annette Martin said. "And you know, I think it's our right to know what kind of sex offenders are out there, and where they're located in our area."
- So what gives you that right? And what about all the other criminals out there, who are more of a threat than ex-sex offenders?


LA - Judge Gives Green Light To Challenge On 'Crime Against Nature' Laws

Original Article

09/08/2011

By Trymaine Lee

A Louisiana judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit filed against the state on behalf of a group of plaintiffs who were convicted under an archaic law that makes the solicitation of oral or anal sex a felony.

The case, Doe v. Jindal, was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights in March on behalf of nine anonymous plaintiffs against the state, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and a host of state agencies. The plaintiffs and other opponents of the 206-year-old Crime Against Nature law say it is unconstitutional, discriminatory and that it targets poor women and the gay and transgendered community, who engage in what they call "survival sex."

In the past, penalties for a crime against nature conviction included the requirement that individuals register as sex offenders. Most who have been convicted of this crime are poor, hard-luck black women, the majority addicted to drugs. In New Orleans, more than 40 percent of the people on the sex offender registry are registered because of a crime against nature conviction, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. Of that 40 percent, well over 80 percent are black women.

The nine plaintiffs in the lawsuit include women and men, each of whom have been convicted of such charges and must register as sex offenders for 15 years to life.

Louisiana is one of only a few states, if not the only one, that makes the solicitation of different sexual acts separate crimes. While offering to trade oral or anal sex for money has long been a felony offense, soliciting vaginal sex is classified legally as prostitution, a misdemeanor. And Louisiana is the only state that requires people who sell their bodies to register as sex offenders.

There are a number of absurd things in the Louisiana laws, and this is one of the more absurd,” R. Judson Mitchell, a law professor at the law clinic at Loyola University in New Orleans told the Huffington Post earlier this year. “There are crimes against nature happening at strip clubs on Bourbon Street every single night. The difference is we are dealing with women that didn’t have a fancy strip club to go to.”

Though recent changes in the law have lessened the burden on those convicted of such crimes, convictions can still carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, and those already convicted of so-called "crimes against nature" must still register as a sex offender.

Judge Martin Feldman of the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana heard oral arguments on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in August and refused to do so on Tuesday.

"It's time for the State of Louisiana to give them justice, and we are deeply gratified that the court will hear their case," said Deon Haywood in a statement. Haywood is executive director of Women with a Vision, an outreach group that deals with women on the margins and that has led the fight against the crime against nature legislation and stigma.

Those caught up by the law and registered as sex offenders "have been living with the scarlet letter," Haywood said. "Our clients are mothers, daughters and veterans. Yet, because of this law, they have been forced to live on the fringes of the community, disconnected from many support systems."

In March, the Justice Department issued a scathing report detailing the many failures of the New Orleans Police Department. Federal investigators said the NOPD engaged in targeted and biased policing and abuse of the crime against nature law. Investigators also found that police targeted the LGBT community.

"Transgender residents reported that officers are likelier, because of their gender identity, to charge them under the state's 'crimes against nature' statute -- a statute whose history reflects anti-LGBT sentiment," the report noted. "For the already vulnerable transgender community, inclusion on the sex offender registry further stigmatizes and marginalizes them, complicating efforts to secure jobs, housing and obtain services at places like publicly-run emergency shelters."

"We are pleased that the court has vindicated our clients and allowed this challenge to go forward," said Alexis Agathocleous, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. "Our clients have been labeled as sex offenders simply because they were convicted of Crime Against Nature by Solicitation rather than Prostitution, which encompasses exactly the same conduct. In a significant victory for our clients, the court will now scrutinize their claim that this distinction is unconstitutional because it results only from moral disapproval of sex acts associated with homosexuality."