Thursday, September 22, 2011

NJ - Court: Electronic monitoring of sex offender violates his constitutional rights

Original Article

It's about time a judge sees the laws for what they are! Now hopefully other judges who took an oath to defend the Constitution, will do the same? Also, will he also be taken off the online registry and not have to live by the residency restrictions, which are also ex post facto laws? Also, I am sure the AG will appeal, so it's not over yet.


By Michelle Sahn

A state appeals court ruled that forcing a sex offender convicted more than 20 years ago to comply with GPS monitoring rules that were enacted about four years ago violates his constitutional rights.

In the 2-1 decision, the Appellate Division of Superior Court reversed a state parole board decision that required [name withheld], a Tier III sex offender, to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. The court said the requirements of the monitoring program constituted a level of punishment that violates the constitutional provision barring retroactive laws.

We conclude that although the Legislature's intention in enacting the Sex Offender Monitoring Act was civil and nonpunitive, the act is so punitive in effect that it violates the ex post facto clause,” Judges Stephen Skillman and Marianne Espinosa said in their decision.

In his dissent, Judge Anthony J. Parrillo said while the GPS monitoring may be more burdensome than the yearly registration requirements for sex offenders, “it does not rise to the level of a direct and punitive disability or restraint,” and is far less restrictive than the involuntary civil confinement some sex offenders are subject to upon completion of their prison terms.

Simply put, the majority's constitutional tolerance of laws that register, publicize, monitor and indefinitely institutionalize sex offenders after completion of their criminal sentences cannot logically be reconciled with its avowed distaste for a rule requiring the most serious sex offenders, who remain free to live, work and walk wherever they please, to submit to a form of electronic surveillance,” he wrote.

Because the appellate decision was split, if the state Attorney General’s Office files an appeal, the case would automatically be heard by the state Supreme Court.

[name withheld] did not have an attorney – he filed briefs pro se, or acting on his own behalf – and he did not argue in court.

But the appellate division allowed both the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the state Office of the Public Defender to argue as a friend of the court – meaning that although those two groups did not represent [name withheld], they entered the case because of an interest in the legal issues surrounding it.

Alison S. Perrone, the Burlington County-based attorney who handled those arguments, said that with Thursday’s ruling, the court “reaffirmed a fundamental Constitutional principle – that a person can’t be subject to retroactive punishment.”

Lee Moore, a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said: “We’re still reviewing the decision and considering our legal options.”

[name withheld], of Eatontown, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 1986 attempted sexual assault. According to newspaper accounts from that time, [name withheld], an Eatontown sanitation worker, telephoned an 11-year-old girl, whose family lived on his route, and suggested they have an intimate relationship.

With permission from the girl’s family, police recorded the phone calls and [name withheld] was arrested when he showed up at the family’s home, the newspaper reports said.

He was convicted at trial and ordered to serve that sentence consecutive to a term he was already serving for a parole violation. According to newspaper stories, in the 1960s [name withheld] was sentenced to 62 to 65 years in prison for rape, robbery, assault and weapons offenses that occurred in several communities, including Colts Neck, Howell and Neptune. Those prison terms did not carry mandatory minimum sentences, according to records.

In the 1960s, he wore a ski mask and preyed on young couples parked in lovers’ lanes, according to newspaper accounts. In some cases, he assaulted the men with a rifle, then sexually assaulted the women, the newspaper said.

[name withheld], now 78, was released from the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center – the state’s prison for sex offenders in the Avenel section of Woodbridge – in February 2009.

Because he finished the prison sentence – or maxed out – he was not subject to parole, although he was subject to Megan’s Law registration requirements.

About six months later, the state Parole Board notified [name withheld] that he was subject to 24-hour a day, 7-day-a-week GPS monitoring because he had been classified as a Tier III offender, with a high risk of re-offense, according to the appellate decision.

That monitoring came with other conditions, including a requirement that he allow a parole officer access to his home if the device stopped emitting a signal, and a rule that he provide a parole officer with advance notice of out-of-state travel, the court papers said.

The state argued that it was not [name withheld]’s 1986 conviction, but his 2009 classification as a high-risk offender that triggered the GPS monitoring requirement. But with Thursday’s decision, the appeals court rejected that argument.

The GPS monitoring program was set up after the Sex Offender Monitoring Act was signed into law in 2007. That law directed the chairman of the parole board, in consultation with the state attorney general, to “establish a program for the continuous, satellite-based monitoring of sex offenders in this state.”

CO - Motels housing dozens of sex offenders, not telling guests

Original Article

Leave it up to the fear-mongering media to whip people into a frenzy for a story! Must be a slow week or something!


By Will Ripley

DENVER - It's not exactly a room at the Ritz, but for some people, motels on Colfax Avenue are all they can afford. A three-month 9Wants to Know investigation found, if you stay at one of those motels, there's a good chance you're living next to sex offenders and may not even know it.

Motels are not legally obligated to tell you who is staying in the room next door, even if that person is a registered sex offender. There are no laws in Colorado restricting where sex offenders can live, although guidelines may be established by the court in individual cases.

9Wants to Know found some motels are housing 10 or even 20 offenders, and not disclosing that information to other guests. We also interviewed a sex offender staying at one of those motels, who told us he would not feel safe having his own children stay there.
- Like you said above, they don't have to tell people, and the vigilante media is out in full force to get that next story. The very laws being passed, are what is causing this. Get rid of the residency restrictions, and this problem with most likely vanish.

"My name is George," he said. "I'm 43. I grew up in Minnesota and since I've moved to Colorado I've been in trouble. I can't seem to get out of the cycle."

On the road of life, George has taken plenty of wrong turns. Now he feels he has hit a dead end. When he spoke to 9Wants to Know in June, he had recently been released from prison on parole and was required to register as a sex offender. He asked 9NEWS not to use his last name.

"I have [a charge of] attempted sexual assault on a minor which resulted from an Internet sting," George said.

George was chatting with an undercover police officer who claimed to be a 14-year-old girl. He served two years and three months before his early release. The Colorado Department of Corrections provided him with vouchers to cover his housing costs for two months, giving him time to look for a job.

"They put me in a motel," George said. "They put us in a high-crime area."

At the time of our interview in June, George was living in The Carriage Motor Inn on East Colfax Avenue and Yosemite Street.

"There are crack dealers up and down the street and there's all kinds of craziness going on," Mary Elise Filipy said.

Filipy used to work at another Colfax hotel, the Newhouse, on East Colfax and Grant Street, directly across from the State Capitol.

Filipy says the Newhouse is filled with felons on parole, including sex offenders.

"They had been in jail for child molestation, for rape," Filipy said.
- And what about the other felons you seem to be skipping over?

9Wants to Know first reported about the Newhouse in June, when a guest complained that they had not been told about all the sex offenders staying there.
- So what is the registry for again? It's for the public, and also so shame ex-offenders, but clearly the public doesn't use it. It's your job, not the government or the hotel/motel to tell you who lives around you.

A recent search of the Colorado Sex Offender Database found 11 sex offenders who registered the Newhouse as their home address.
- Okay, so? What's the point of this story? Ex-offenders have to live somewhere!

We also found 10 registered sex offenders at the Sand and Sage motel at East Colfax and Wabash Street, 14 at the Shepherd's motel at East Colfax and Valentia Street, and 21 at the Carriage Motor Inn.
- Have you ever bothered to ask why they might be living there, or why they might be homeless? Maybe it's the very laws being passed that is the problem, you ever think of that, or does the label "sex offender," all of a sudden make your brain die so you cannot see past the label?

A State of Colorado voucher shows the state paid $180 per week for George's motel room, which amounted to $1,440 for two months.
- Okay, the state put them there using tax payer money, so why are you harassing ex-offenders and the hotel/motel owners?

"They picked the motel," George said. "They told me where I was going before I even got out."

Chris Lobanov-Rostovsky, program manager for the Colorado Sex Offender management board, says the state is doing the best it can to provide housing and support for Colorado's 14,600 registered sex offenders.
- Except going back to the self-serving legislature passing the draconian laws, that would be a major step in finding housing for these people. Get rid of the residency laws that don't work as intended in the first place, they only cause homelessness and people to cluster together, because that is the only place they can legally live. Ever thought of that?

He says, ideally, all offenders would be placed in a "halfway house" environment or shared living arrangement. However, bed space is limited and many landlords won't rent to convicted felons, let alone sex offenders.
- And when a place opens that is housing ex-offenders, like mentioned here, the mob comes out and complains! Ideally, once a person has been to prison and completed their time, they'd not have to live by draconian laws and on some shaming list, that is what is ideal!

"It's a tough balancing act," Lobanov-Rostovsky said. "Parole has to make decisions in terms of who to put where."
- It's not really that tough, repeal the laws and the problems go away! You just put them where you can, hoping nobody complains, and when they do, you just move them somewhere else, just like California, whose been placing the "sex offender shuffle" for a very long time now.

Lobanov-Rostovsky estimates a small percentage of sex offenders eventually become homeless after they are released from prison because they cannot find a job or housing.
- And why can't they find a job or housing? BECAUSE OF THE DAMN LAWS YOU ARE PASSING, that is why!

"The state is doing the best it can to try and monitor these offenders and protect the community and keep citizens safe," Lobanov-Rostovsky said. "We're trying to help an offender to be successful, and to be successful we mean to not re-offend and to live a law-abiding life."
- You can NEVER protect the community from someone intent on doing them harm, never. 10 million laws won't prevent that. Even if each person had their own bodyguard, it would not prevent it. And I really don't think you are trying to help ex-offenders re-integrate back into society, if you were, you'd repeal the unconstitutional laws, but, that could make you look bad and ruin your career, right?

"Other neighborhoods don't want them, so they're kind of left with no other alternative," Filipy said. "Where are they going to go?"
- Who cares if neighbors don't want them? Hell, I don't like a couple of my neighbors, can I get rid of them as well?

Filipy thinks the hotels housing offenders have a responsibility to alert potential guests, especially those with children.
- No they don't! Is there a law saying they must do that? They are making a lot of money by helping ex-offenders.

"I personally believe that people have a right to know and to be aware of their surroundings," Filipy said.
- Not me. There is nothing that gives them that right, except them being smart people and knowing their neighbors, talking with them, purchasing a gun, legally, etc. Hell, if we have a right to know, then I'd like to know about all the other non-sex offender felons who live around me as well, like murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders, thieves, etc. Do you also remember all those RIGHTS that God gave us, and the Constitution gave us? I like those rights, how about you?

When a new manager took over, Filipy says she quit her job as a front desk clerk.

"I was told that I was no longer allowed to tell people that we had sex offenders staying in the hotel," Filipy said. "And if families with children wanted to stay there that would be OK too."

9Wants to Know left several messages with Filipy's former manager. We have not yet received a call back.
- And I don't blame them, the media is always out for blood, and I don't think this is any different!

Two 9NEWS staffers went undercover with a young child to see what really happens when a family tries to check-in.

The clerk at the Newhouse told us as soon as we walked-in: The hotel is not safe for children.
- And I'm sure she will probably be fired soon as well. It's not their responsibility to tell you, it's your responsibility to find out before checking in, that is whose responsibility it is! Everyone in this world now wants someone else to blame, or to "protect" them, instead of themselves. If we ever do have a war in this country, we are all screwed!

"Just between you and me, you don't want to have a kid in this building," he said. "There's a lot of felons here and stuff."

It was a different story at the three other motels we visited undercover.

A worker at the Carriage Inn told us the motel was OK for kids, in spite of the 21 sex offenders registered there.
- Well, if you examine the facts, most known sex offenders do not go on to commit new sex crimes, but hey, the truth doesn't matter, only what people perceive to be the truth is what matters, or the lies they've been told over and over.

At the Shepherd motel, a clerk told us they did not accept vouchers from the Department of Corrections, and even mentioned how "other" motels would accept convicts.

"It's all about them getting their money," she said, never mentioning the 14 sex offenders registered at the motel.

The manager of the Sand and Sage told us it was a great place for kids, in spite of the 10 sex offenders registered there.
- So, what are the 10 sex offenders charged with? You just let everyone assume they molested kids, and that they are all dangerous pedophile predators, just like most media outfits do. The media is a joke these days, it's all about money and entertainment, anything to rake in the cash, viewers and ratings.

We returned to the hotels with a 9NEWS camera and received various explanations.

Soo Kim, who identified herself as the wife of the Carriage Inn owner, told us they normally turn families away and the clerk who helped us was just filling in.

"She's not a manager," Kim said.

Orlando Martinez Jr., son of the Shepherd motel owner, said his clerk did nothing wrong.

"That's your responsibility to keep an eye on your kids," Martinez said.

Joseph Rivers, manager of the Sand and Sage, said he didn't know there were sex offenders at his motel.

He told us he would disclose information about sex offenders to guests with children.

"Because it's their right to know," Rivers said.
- I disagree, it's not their right to know, and it's not your responsibility to tell them, it's their responsibility to check before checking in, period!

George says motels full of sex offenders are no place for children.

"I see kids running around the parking lot," George said. "If it was my kids I wouldn't want them running around. Because I know who's there."
- So, my final question is, how long have they been living there? If it's a long time, then apparently it's not a problem and people are not in danger, which is my suspicion.

NY - Sex offender law adopted by Springville Village Board

Original Article


By Chris Proctor

The Springville Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept Local Law 2011, Restrictions of Residency for Registered Sex Offenders, into the village penal code. The new law is designed to assist in protecting those children and adults considered most vulnerable as targets of registered sex offenders.

Although only two village residents attended the public hearing held prior to the monthly board meeting on Sept. 12, both spoke in favor of the bill and told the trustees that they would like to see the legislative wording expanded to offer the community greater protection from convicted sexual predators.

The first citizen to address the board asked the trustees to include not only an offender’s residence, but his or her places of work and recreation, as well. He also requested that the board “put some bite in lawbreaker penalties by increasing both jail time and the amount of fines.”

The other resident to speak asked the board “to be brave. Do more than is just politically correct.” She also pointed out that “children and their parents need to be protected from these individuals.”

Board members said they were reluctant to overstep their authority. Trustee James Bentley said, “We can’t just limit a person’s movements.” Village attorney Audrey Seeley agreed, “We could run into problems by detaining people.” Board Member Terry Skelton said, “This could be very difficult to enforce.”

Mayor William Krebs and Police Chief John Fox participated in further discussion on the law and ascertained that the existing New York state statutes were “vague and lacking in uniformity,” the reason the board had proposed Local Law B 2011 in the first place.

Fox said, “Having the law in effect may tell [sex offenders] not to come and live here in the first place.” Krebs asked the trustees, “Do we need to rework the law?” Skelton responded, “This residency law is a good first step.”

The board’s 5-0 vote to approve the bill as originally presented was followed by a 5-0 vote to have Seeley investigate the possibility of expanding the new ruling. Trustee Gerald Lohrey warned, “This law should not give people a false sense of security.” Nor, according to Building Inspector Mike Kaleta, “should we assume the threat is only to children.”

Krebs summed up the passage of the new village law by saying, “There are no guarantees [regarding public safety]. People need to remain vigilant.”

OK - Former officer (Maurice Martinez) accused of sexually abusing some of his former foster children speaks out

FL - Woman sues Bunnell, former police officer (Nick Massaro) over Internet sex ad

Original Article



BUNNELL -- A woman who awoke to obscene phone calls and text messages because of a sexually explicit Internet ad falsely placed in her name is now suing the former Bunnell police officer responsible and the city's Police Department.

The lawsuit charges the Bunnell Police Department failed to properly supervise former Cpl. Nick Massaro, who fabricated the sexually explicit Craigslist ad using the woman's real name, phone number and picture.

The woman said she started receiving obscene and degrading phone calls and text messages just before 8 a.m. Nov. 30, 2009, from strangers seeking sex and asking for pictures after they read the ad on Craigslist. The News-Journal is not publishing the woman's name because of the nature of the complaint.

"This case is about the folks that are supposed to be protecting the public violating that trust," the woman's attorney, Daniel Mowrey, said in a phone interview Wednesday. The suit was filed Monday in circuit court in Flagler County.

Bunnell City Attorney Sid Nowell said Wednesday the city reacted promptly to the problem and is not responsible for Massaro's transgressions.

"He was trained in what was appropriate and not appropriate," Nowell said in a phone interview. "We can't put somebody next to him during the entire shift to ensure that he doesn't use the computers in an unauthorized fashion."

This is the latest controversy to hit the Bunnell Police Department. Two former Bunnell Police Officers, Lt. John Murray and his wife, Cpl. Lisa Murray, still face unrelated criminal charges in separate matters. John Murray was charged with official misconduct, possession of cocaine and tampering with physical evidence. The official misconduct charge stemmed from allegations he improperly sent vehicle towing jobs to former Bunnell City Commissioner Jimmy Flynt. The drug charge stems from allegations cocaine was found in his patrol car after he turned it into the city. The tampering with physical evidence is related to some marijuana plants found in a field.

The official misconduct charge against Lisa Murray is related to allegations she threatened to arrest a used car salesman if he didn't pay Flynt money owed for a tow.

The Police Department also has been sued by two former sergeants who individually claim they were unjustly fired. One claims he was dismissed for helping the State Attorneys Office in its investigation of the Murrays, a claim the department denies.

The woman suing Massaro and Bunnell was a friend of Massaro's ex-wife.

The woman now lives in Jacksonville but remains "extremely embarrassed" and is fearful of being in her hometown in Flagler County for fear strangers will recognize her from the Craigslist ad, the lawsuit states. The woman is receiving psychotherapy and suffers from anxiety and nightmares caused by the "horrendous and sexually explicit advertisement," according to the lawsuit.

Massaro also abused a law enforcement database by using it to search for records on the woman, her family and friends, the complaint states. Massaro also used a police computer to look at pornography, according to the lawsuit. And the Bunnell Police Department failed to "monitor, audit and control" Massaro's access to that personal information, the suit states.

Massaro initially denied posting the false Craigslist ad but later said he and a couple did it as a joke, according to a report from an internal police investigation cited in a News-Journal story in January 2010. Massaro said the pornographic websites were from spam emails he received while checking his personal email.

Massaro is not currently employed as a police officer but still has a law enforcement certificate, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

He could not be reached for comment.

Massaro was last working as a bouncer in Jacksonville, said Mowrey.

Nowell said as soon as the city was aware of the problem it took action and was set to discipline Massaro, including possibly firing him, when he resigned on Jan. 26, 2010. Massaro had worked four years at the Bunnell Police Department, which named him its officer of the year in 2007. Besides commendations he also had disciplinary actions for neglect of duty and court absences.

"I don't see how the city can be held responsible," Nowell said.

The matter will be referred to the city's insurance carrier, Nowell said.

"I believe the city's position is that officer Massaro engaged in some unauthorized and possibly illegal activity and none of it was condoned by the city," Nowell added.

HI - Former officer’s (Kristopher Galon) crimes ‘incredibly serious’

Original Article


The Associated Press - A federal judge last week sentenced a decorated former Maui police officer to a year-and-a-half in prison for extorting sex from a woman shortly after she was released from jail and stealing about $1,500 from a driver during a traffic stop.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi gave Kristopher Galon, 38, of Lahaina one year for sexual assault and six months for theft. Galon must also pay restitution to his victims.

A police officer is supposed to be out there to defend and protect, and put forward the best foot in the community,” Puglisi told Galon at the sentencing. “I view these crimes as incredibly serious. It is the public trust that will take some time to recover.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Cushman had asked Puglisi to sentence Galon to one year in prison. He had pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

IL - Metro East cops (Sean M. Harris, and others) charged with misconduct, forced sexual encounter, theft, and other crimes

Sean M. Harris
Original Article

So, out of all the officers charged, why do they only show the image of one officer?



BELLEVILLE - Six police officers from departments in St. Clair County and one former police dispatcher were charged Wednesday with official misconduct, accused of an array of crimes including a forced sexual encounter with a woman, theft and state benefit fraud.

Three of the police officers work for Alorton. The other officers work for Washington Park, Fairview Heights and Belleville. The former dispatcher used to work for East St. Louis.

All of the official misconduct charges, filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, are felonies.

The St. Clair County state's attorney's office will hold a joint news conference with the U.S. attorney's office at 10 a.m. Thursday in Belleville to further explain the charges.

State's attorney Brendan Kelly said in a statement Wednesday evening the arrests were part of an ongoing "public integrity operation." It was unclear if the incidents were in any way connected or whether they were simply a part of investigations focused on public corruption.

It was also unclear if any federal charges will be filed in connection with the arrests.

Those arrested are:
  • Alorton officer Harry Halter, 51, of Cahokia, charged with one count of official misconduct. Halter is accused of pulling a woman over while he was off duty. He allegedly convinced the woman to perform oral sex on him to avoid being charged with driving with a suspended license. Court records state Halter also had been drinking at the time of the incident.
  • Belleville officer Sean M. Harris, 31, of the 2100 block of Southern Oaks Circle in Belleville and a five-year veteran of the department. Harris is charged with battery and official misconduct stemming from an encounter with a man in June. The battery charge is a misdemeanor.
  • Former dispatcher Shantez Lockett, 35, of East St. Louis. She is charged with two counts of official misconduct and one count each of aiding a fugitive, obstructing justice and obstructing a peace officer.
  • Washington Park police officer Jeffrey L. Waters, 60, of Jerseyville, charged with one count of official misconduct and one count of theft. According to court documents, Waters is accused of theft for taking nine ballistics vests, valued at less than $500 total.
  • Alorton officer Larry D. Greenlee, 39, of Belleville, charged with one count each of official misconduct and state benefit fraud greater than $300.
  • Alorton officer and former East St. Louis officer Beverly Miles, 39, of Fairview Heights, charged with one count each of official misconduct and state benefit fraud.
  • Fairview Heights officer Tina Presson, 43, of O'Fallon, Ill., charged with one count each of official misconduct and theft.

Six of seven were booked into the St. Clair County Jail on Wednesday and released on bond, according to jail officials. Waters was being transferred from the Jersey County jail to St. Clair County late Wednesday night.

In the Harris case, Capt. Don Sax said a Belleville man, Mark Bush, 55, filed a complaint against the officer on June 14 and that Harris has been on "in station" duty since then.

According to a probable cause statement filed with the St. Clair County Circuit Court, Harris dealt with Bush in an "insulting and provoking nature" and then "approached and shoved" him.

Bush and his wife Lee Ann Bush, 56, said they called police June 14 to report harassing phone calls. They claimed Harris refused to take their report, used vulgar language with them and started to leave.

The Bushes said that when they followed him outside their home to request a police supervisor to take the report and ask for Harris' name, Harris grabbed Mark Bush by the neck and threw him to the sidewalk.

They said they did not provoke or touch Harris.

Mark Bush said the attack triggered seizures from a prior medical condition and left cuts and bruises. His medical bills are approaching $30,000, Lee Ann Bush said.

They said they have a digital audio recording of the incident that they gave to police.

"If I did what he did, (police) would have put me in jail and charged me with a felony," Mark Bush said. "This guy shouldn't be on the police force. I know some of the guys on the police force and they're good guys. This isn't one of them."

Mark Bush said he was relieved charges were filed Wednesday but he thought it should not have taken three months.

Harris posted 10 percent of a $20,000 bail and remains on duty inside the Belleville police station only, police said.

AZ - Glendale police launch new program to monitor sex offenders

Original Article
Comments from eAdvocate

Those who use this Offender Watch program, which comes with a generic presentation that has the "50% of sex offenders will re-offend" lie, and never change it, except Washington state. Why? Fear maybe? See here for more info. Since almost 99% of the police departments who use this, do not change it, why doesn't Offender Watch change it? We've emailed them, but as expected, no response!


By Raquel Velasco

The Glendale Police Department has launched a new Web-based program that allows residents to monitor the whereabouts of registered sex offenders.
- Not exactly true. It tells you where they said they sleep at night, not where they go during the day, or night.

Police hope the free program, OffenderWatch, will help reduce the amount of time it takes to notify residents when a sex offender moves into the city.

The program is updated throughout the day as sex offender addresses and other offender information is posted.

Along with notifications sent to the community, residents have easy access to offender's information.

Residents can search addresses to see how many sex offenders live within a 2-mile radius and sign up for e-mail alerts when an offender moves in nearby. Residents can register as many addresses in the county as they wish.

The personal information of those who choose to use OffenderWatch is confidential.

OffenderWatch is utilized by hundreds of agencies and aims to make it easier for police to maintain accurate information on sex offenders, who tend to move often.