Thursday, October 13, 2011

NE - Lawsuits Filed Against New Sex Offender Registry Law

Original Article

10/13/2011

OMAHA (KPTM) - Convicted sex offenders who are at low risk of re-offending say a new law is branding them as hard core criminals and ruining their chances of starting a new life.

[name withheld] was18-years-old when he and an 18-year-old girl got drunk and had sex.

"I'm on the public registry for 25 years."

[name withheld] says his neighbors come up to him and ask why he's on the registry.

"It was a mistake and I got to live with it now, but it's not fair."

Now [name withheld] is trying to reclaim his life. His mistake has affected his family.

"Our family is always held together because we know who [name withheld] is and what [name withheld] is about. As a family we stand behind [name withheld]. It's worrying about what other people say and we shouldn't go through life worrying about what other people say," [mother's name withheld] said.

Since the law went into effect in 2010, lawsuits have been filed alleging that the law is unconstitutional.

"I hope they do the right thing. I have pretty good faith. I mean I hope that they notice that this law is putting everyone in the same group. You don't know who the predators are."

In Douglas County alone there are 894 registered sex offenders.


NY - Lawmakers Call On N.Y. State To Get Tough on Child Predators

Original Article

Is it election time or something?

10/13/2011

By Paula Katinas

There is no law on the books in New York State to stop predators from using social networking sites to reach out to children for the purpose of luring them into a trap.

That’s the shocking truth, according to two local lawmakers.

State Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis announced that they will introduce a bill in their respective legislative houses to get tough on perverts who prey on children online, or through other means.

Under the bill, those arrested for preying on children by using a car to lure the youngsters to drive them to a secluded place, or via social networking sites on the internet, would be charged with a Class D felony. If convicted of the crime, the predator would face up to seven years in prison.

Right now, it’s only a Class A misdemeanor,” Golden said. That means no jail time, he added.

Golden and Malliotakis announced their bill at a press conference outside the Bay Ridge Library on Ridge Boulevard on Friday, Oct. 7.

The bill would also protect children from those who would harass them online, Golden said.

Current law does not address harassment of a child through the use of a computer — none,” he said.

It is the job of state government to make sure there are tools in place to protect children,” Malliotakis said.

The goal of the bill is to “lock up predators before they have a chance to act,” Malliotakis said.

Golden evoked the names of two children who were abducted and killed by predators — Etan Patz and Leiby Kletzy — and said the tragic fates of these children were proof of the necessity of a new law.

Etan disappeared from a Soho street in the mid-1980s and was never seen again. Leiby got lost on the street while walking home from a summer day camp in Borough Park and was killed and dismembered, allegedly by a suspect who lured the boy into car.

Golden said the bill will be introduced in the Senate and Assembly when the legislature returns to session in January. A previous version of the bill was approved by the Senate last year, but died in the Assembly when no one stepped up to sponsor it. Malliotakis was not in office at that time. “The bill did not have an Assembly sponsor before now,” Golden said.

Malliotakis noted a recent case in which several suspected child pornography predators were arrested.

They were trading images as if they were baseball cards,” she said.

Malliotakis also mentioned the NBC “Dateline” show and its “To Catch a Predator” series in which suspects are captured on camera. The series began in 2004.

We’ve had many years go by and we still have this same problem,” she said.

In the old days, sexual predators would lure children in person, by befriending the child in a park, or by using a car and convincing the youngster to “take a ride,” Golden said. But with the advent of the internet, predators have another means by which they can find victims.

It’s the way of the 21st Century,” he said.

Golden, who is the father of a 13-year-old boy, said he and his wife Colleen carefully monitor the internet sites their son visits.


PA - Township Mulls Repealing Sexual Predator Ordinance Following Supreme Court Decision

Original Article

10/13/2011

By Kyle Bagenstose

The Board of Commissioners must decide whether to repeal a 2007 ordinance restricting the residence of sex offenders.

The Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners must decide whether or not they want to repeal a "Sexual Predator Residency Restriction" ordinance passed in April 2007, after a recent Supreme Court verdict struck down a similar ordinance in Allegheny County.

As the code currently reads, any person who is registered with the state as a sexual predator cannot take up residence within 2,000 feet of any school attended by children in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade.
- Is this really about predators only, or all sex offenders?  I am willing to bet the latter.

The ordinance brought before the Supreme Court was slightly more restrictive at 2,500 feet, and was struck down.

"There was a question of [whether or not] limiting the availability of residences would be constitutional. The Supreme Court has now said it is not," said Gilbert High, township solicitor. "[The court ruled] that the entire process of limiting the availability of housing is not something which a local government can regulate, it's something which the state regulates through the parole office."

Still, commissioners were hesitant to repeal the ordinance.

"We went through a lot of analysis when we passed that ordinance, and to be blunt, I think this stinks," said board president Bob Pesavento.

Commissioner Chet Derr said that he agreed with Pesavento, but wondered whether or not the township could keep the restriction on the books.

"I appreciate that there's been a challenge and it was upheld, however, this specific ordinance has not been challenged, and until such time as it is challenged, I'm of the mindset that it remains," said Derr. "Call it selfish, but I have kids. We all have kids... and my duty is to protect the township and its residents."

Pesavento and Derr both stated that the ordinance was passed after research showed a high reoccurrence of sexual crime by offenders.
- Really?  I'd love to see the so called "research," because the studies we have, show otherwise.

However, High warned that the township could open itself to liability should they keep the ordinance.

"A challenge here would come under the Civil Rights Act, where we would be sued in federal court for the deprivation of a property right to an individual," said High. "If found to have violated the Civil Rights Act, the township becomes liable for the attorney's fees and any damages that the individual would want to put forth."

High also told the board the matter was originally presented by the township's insurance company, which said that it was inappropriate for any such ordinance to be in the code.

The commissioners also asked whether or not leaving the ordinance on the books, but not enforcing it, would still leave the township liable. High said that it would.

The commissioners ultimately decided to table to resolution until they personally review the communications about the ruling and potential liabilities.

Doylestown repealed a similar ordinance in August under the same circumstances. A Doylestown Patch article highlights the state's efforts to register sexual offenders under Megan's Law.

"Under Megan’s Law, people convicted of certain offenses - including kidnapping, indecent assault, sexual abuse of children - must register with local law enforcement agencies for 10 years following their release on probation or parole," the article said.

"People convicted of multiple offenses or of any more serious offenses - including rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse - and offenders designated as "sexually violent predators" must register for life."


WI - Bill would make it legal to refuse to hire felons

Original Article

I wonder how squeaky clean his background is?

10/12/2011

By STEVEN ELBOW

A bill introduced by an Assembly Republican last week would allow employers to refuse to hire felons and to fire them, which a local advocate says will hurt convicts' chances of succeeding after they are released from prison.

"This bill will make it harder for people to find jobs," says Linda Ketcham, executive director of Madison-area Urban Ministry, a group that helps offenders re-enter the community. "It will make it harder to hold onto the jobs they have."

Rep. Joel Kleefisch
Assembly Bill 286 (PDF), introduced by state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, would allow employers to refuse to hire people convicted of a felony and to fire them, even if the circumstances surrounding the felony have no connection to the job. Kleefisch didn't immediately return a message seeking comment about the proposal, which was scheduled for a public hearing today.

Under current state law, employers cannot discriminate against felons unless the circumstances surrounding the conviction substantially relate to the job. Kleefisch's bill also prohibits municipalities from enacting their own laws pertaining to conviction records that differ from state employment law.

The bill widens the scope of a proposal (PDF) already working its way through the Legislature that would allow school districts to fire or refuse to hire felons.

"It will eliminate the protections offered on the state level as well as those offered in our Madison general ordinances," says Adriana Peguero, a lawyer with the Madison City Attorney's Office who represents and advises the city's Civil Rights Department.

Currently Madison ordinances exceed state standards by eliminating conviction records as an employment consideration three years after an offender is placed on probation, parole or is released from incarceration.

Ketcham says the bill flies in the face of Department of Corrections policies that aim to keep offenders out of prison. And it also runs counter to a large body of evidence that shows that gainful employment is a key factor in preventing offenders from re-offending.

"It's going to cost the state much more money ultimately to re-incarcerate these folks," she says.

Ketcham says because of the state online court records database, employers already skirt the law by checking on prospective employees' criminal records, which allows them to determine whether they will call someone for an interview. But she said if the bill passes it will make some employers wonder why they should shoulder the risk of hiring an offender.

The larger impact, however, could be the provision that allows employers to fire felons without repercussions.

"If this bill passes, does that open the door for employers to look at their workforce and say, ‘You're now making $20 an hour after 10 years on the job here. You have an unpardoned conviction. I can now fire you and hire someone at half your wage,'" she says.

The bill makes an exception for those who have been pardoned by a governor, a relatively rare occurrence. A 2005 review by the State Bar of Wisconsin showed that in the previous 25 years only 604 pardons had been issued, roughly the same number of people entering Dane County from the prison system every year.

Ketcham says the bill would also have a devastating effect on children.

"The other concern we have is, what happens to the children of the people who can't find jobs or who lose their jobs?" Ketcham says. "We work with children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system. What happens to the family unit? That's the collateral damage this bill doesn't address."

And she says the bill raises questions about race discrimination.

"It will disproportionally affect the employment opportunities of African-Americans in our community, given the racial disparity rates of incarceration in our state," she says.

Ketcham says state Corrections agents already restrict high-risk offenders such as sex offenders from working in environments where they would pose a potential risk.

She says the bill has no other rationale other than to be "unnecessarily mean-spirited and punitive."

"It's hard to see people on a day-to-day basis struggle to rebuild their lives, who come to it with a sincere desire to rebuild their lives, a sincere desire to become a contributing part of the community, to help their families, to be responsible parents," Ketcham says. "And this bill is saying to them,'We don't care about that. We don't care about you, we don't care about your family, and ultimately, we don't care about public safety.'"


ME - Falmouth may restrict where sex offenders live

Original Article

10/13/2011

By Emily Parkhurst

FALMOUTH — A proposed town ordinance would prohibit people convicted of sex crimes against children under 14 from living near a school, park or athletic field.

Police Chief Edward Tolan proposed the ordinance (PDF) to the Town Council. It would prevent sex offenders convicted of a Class A, B, or C crimes from establishing a residence within 750 feet of a public or private school or any town-owned property frequented by children, including sports fields and public parks.

"We don't have anyone living within those restrictions now," Tolan said. "But if someone tried to move in, (with the proposed ordinance) we would be able to say no."

Tolan said he wasn't prompted to introduce the ordinance by anyone attempting to move to town, but that he wanted the Police Department to be able to enforce a residency restriction if it becomes necessary.

"It's a good restriction, but years ago, towns were going overboard, saying sex offenders couldn't live within five miles of a school," he said. "So that way, they couldn't live in the town at all."
- But you said above, "If someone tried to move in, we could say no."  So you are doing the same thing.

A state law, passed in 2009, allows towns to restrict where sex offenders can live, but only within certain criteria. Towns can only limit residency, and cannot impose fees or require registrations. The maximum distance allowed under the law is 750 feet and towns cannot force those who already live within that distance to leave the area when an ordinance is passed.

The town lists 28 public parks on its website, although it is unclear which of these parks would be included under the proposed ordinance's definition of "property where children are the primary users, including, without limitation, playgrounds and athletic fields."

"It's not just open space, because adults use that as well," Tolan said.

He said police would focus on people living near the school campus, day-care centers and the town's sports fields.

Anyone who failed to register as a sex offender with the town, and moved into a home within the restricted areas, would be charged a $500 per day fine.

City-data lists only two sex offenders living in Falmouth, one on Gray Road, the other on Ledgewood Drive. The Maine Sex Offender Registry reveals a third offender in Falmouth, but the crime for which he was convicted – possession of child pornography – would not have qualified him for restrictions under the proposed ordinance.

The towns of Buxton and Sebago both have ordinances restricting residency for sex offenders, but the cities of Bangor and Portland have both failed to approve similarly proposed ordinances. The Maine Civil Liberties Union opposed the proposed ordinance in Portland, and the city's Public Safety Committee rejected the measure last year.

Some Falmouth town councilors have indicated they would support the chief's proposal.

"I would most likely support this (sex offender) ordinance to protect our children," Councilor Bonny Rodden said prior to Wednesday's council meeting, where the proposal was scheduled to be introduced.
- I guess folks are clearly brain dead in this world.  No amount of laws will prevent someone from harming a child or adult, if they wanted to, period.  So it won't "protect" children.  Hell, DUI offenders kill more kids than even hardcore sexual predators, but you don't see them on a registry and with residency restrictions.

Councilor Fred Chase said he has no sympathy for sex offenders, and that, if a residency restriction is all the council can do, he would support it.
- I don't think anybody has "sympathy" for someone who abused a child, or adult, or commits any other crime, but exiling them and treating them like lepers, just makes it potentially worse.  But hey, common sense is very lacking these days.

Councilor Chris Orestis also said he is in favor of setting the restrictions.

"The police chief would have my support 100 percent on that," he said.
- Sure, it makes you "look good" to the sheeple, and saves your job, by making more work for you.  It's called job security!


PA - Ex-cop (Michael Archacki) bound for trial for alleged sex assaults against three preteen girls

Michael Archacki
Original Article

10/12/2011

By BRETT HAMBRIGHT

A former Chester County police officer was ordered Wednesday to stand trial here for alleged sex assaults against three preteen girls.

Michael A. Archacki, locked up at Lancaster County Prison on $900,000 bail, likely will go to trial next year on numerous sex crimes that allegedly occurred earlier this year.

The three Quarryville girls were under the age of 13, investigators said. Archacki had befriended their families.

District Judge Stuart Mylin ruled Wednesday that enough evidence had been presented at a preliminary hearing to warrant charges and a trial.

Archacki is a former officer with the South Coatesville police and an ex-member of the Chester City Fire Department, prosecutors said.

The offenses all occurred at Archacki's home in the 200 block of Greystone Lane in Quarryville, police reported.

But that wasn't the limit of Archacki's criminal behavior, police contend. He was indicted this week by Delaware officials for a sexual assault against another girl, according to Lancaster County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Dye.

Dye presented evidence at Wednesday's hearing, including testimony of the three girls. According to Dye, the girls testified about the alleged abuse, which included touching and other sex acts.

At least one of the offenses happened while a girl was asleep, according to charging documents.

Archacki also took photographs of the girls, those documents contend.

Mylin ordered Archacki to trial on 18 charges, including several first-degree felonies. The offenses, upon conviction, carry potential prison penalties that would span Archacki's life.

Delaware Deputy Attorney General Casey Ewart is handling prosecution on the out-of-state charges. Further details on those allegations weren't immediately available.

Lancaster attorney Alan Goldberg is defending Archacki.


DC - Vice President Joe Biden warns of more rapes and murders if jobs bill not passed?

Original Article

10/12/2011

In Flint, Michigan this week, Vice President Joe Biden seemed to resort to scare tactics in trying to rally support for the President’s jobs bill. How? He suggested that more rapes and murders could occur if the legislation is not passed.

The Weekly Standard has the video.

In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city,” the vice president said. “In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”

The jobs bill equals saving police and fire jobs. Thus, pass this bill or you could get raped and/or murdered? That seems to be the new angle.

The Vice President’s warning is all the more alarming when one considers the claim that proponents of the bill have no intention of passing it. According to conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh:

. . . the Republicans couldn’t stop this [jobs bill]. If Dingy Harry could keep his caucus unified, the Republicans couldn’t stop this. Democrats didn’t want this bill, Senate Democrats didn‘t think the president’s spending bill was good for their party. Senate Democrats didn‘t think the president’s jobs bill was good for the country. The president couldn’t persuade his own party that controls the Senate.

This bill they’ve been waving around out there touting for weeks failed in a Democrat-controlled Senate, and yet, “Senate Republicans Vote to Kill Obama’s Jobs Bill.” . . . Now, I know the president wants to run against Congress. But why not present a bill that would pass the Senate but get shot down by a Republican-controlled House? These guys are the Keystone Kops. I mean if you really, really really, really want this blamed on the Republicans, get something the Senate would pass. We gotta bunch of lamebrain Republicans in there that would go along with something weak-kneed. But he didn’t even do that.

How many jobs bills from the House has Harry Reid defeated or just ignored? What the headline ought to be is: “Obama Tax Bill Defeated in Bipartisan Vote,” because it truly was a bipartisan vote that shot this thing down. It was a humiliation. Obama’s campaign is entirely negative.