Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CA - Lawmaker Proposes Sex Offender IDs

Original Article

02/15/2012

SACRAMENTO -- An Inland Empire lawmaker today introduced a bill that would require convicted sex offenders to have a state-issued identification card or driver's license in their possession at all times.

"Requiring the most dangerous sex offenders to carry a form of identification is the most effective way for law enforcement to determine a suspect's registration status," said Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Beaumont. "Most registered sex offenders will re-offend, which means we have to take a proactive approach when dealing with the worst of the worst."
- More BS lies not based on facts.  Many studies show sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of any other criminal, yet Mr. Cook apparently drank the koolaid.  He's been on a sex offender kick for awhile now, see the video below.

Assembly Bill 1695 targets offenders whose convictions stemmed from a violent sexual attack or the sexual assault of a child.
- I do not see this bill anywhere on the state legislature web site.

Under California Penal Code section 290, anyone convicted of a sexual offense in California must register their address with law enforcement and notify authorities whenever they relocate.

"This bill says they also have to have a state ID on them," John Sobel, the assemblyman's chief of staff, told City News Service. "That way, when law enforcement officials are searching for someone, and they happen to stop someone covered under this bill, that person will have an ID, and it will be easy to identify him or her."

In the 2011 legislative session, Cook introduced AB 885, which would have required sex offenders to possess an ID or driver's license with a scannable strip onto which their registration status would have been encoded, permitting authorities to immediately determine their identity.

Cook reasoned that such a device would enhance law enforcement officials' ability to locate suspects during a search for a missing child or determine whether convicted sex offenders were violating their parole.

The bill was voted down in the Assembly Committee on Transportation, where a majority of lawmakers said the program would be too expensive, according to Sobel.

AB 1695 is slated to be heard by the same committee in the next few weeks.


IN - Hug in school leads to Benton teen's arrest

Original Article

02/14/2012

By MIKEL LIVINGSTON

A Benton County high school student serving two years on probation for a prior sex offense has been arrested following what family and friends describe as a friendly hug.

About 1:30 p.m. Friday, a junior high guidance counselor was walking through the commons area of Benton Central Jr.-Sr. High School when she saw 17-year-old [name withheld] and a 13-year-old female acquaintance hug, according to court documents filed in [name withheld]'s most recent arrest.

Hours later, police arrested [name withheld] at his home for violating his probation, which dictates he have no unsupervised contact with minors.
- He's in school, how is this possible?  Everywhere he walks he'll be in violation.

[name withheld]'s probation stems from a sexual encounter when he was 15 with his then 13-year-old girlfriend, said his father, [father name withheld].
- And now, simply due to a label, from an incident where kids are being kids, he's treated as if he always has inappropriate intentions. He should not be a "sex offender" in the first place! Yep, pure insanity!

On July 30, 2010, [name withheld] was found guilty of child molesting, a Class B felony, and possession of a controlled substance, a Class C felony.

Court documents show that [name withheld] was placed on two years probation, scheduled to end July 30, 2012.

[father name withheld] said his son has acknowledged his past mistakes and is trying to move forward -- something he worries will be tougher in light of this event.

[name withheld] is currently being held at a juvenile detention center in Muncie.

"What scares me more than anything is, when he comes out of Muncie is he going to be a different person?" [father name withheld] said.

Benton Superintendent Destin Haas said he couldn't legally comment on specifics of the case but told the Journal & Courier, "The bottom line is our job is to make sure students are safe at all times."

Although [father name withheld] questions how interaction with minors during school hours can be considered unsupervised, Haas said his understanding of "supervision" was supervision by a member of law enforcement.

Complicating things, said [father name withheld], is that his son is mildly mentally handicapped. As a result, he has suffered depression that resulted in self cutting.
- And this label may push him over the edge.  This is pure insanity!

According to the 13-year-old's parents, their daughter is now bearing much of the guilt for the incident. It's their daughter, mother [mother name withheld] said, who instigated the hug.

"I told her it's not her fault but she still blames herself," [mother name withheld] said. "She's constantly kicking herself."

Greg Barrera said the hug was a gesture of friendship.

"They're just really good friends," he said. "We're really tight with his family. It's just an innocent hug and now he is sitting in Muncie's detention center."

A detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning, but it was postponed upon a request by [name withheld]'s lawyer. It has not yet been rescheduled.


CT - Recidivism Study (02-15-2012)


Letters to the Editor - All the "shunning" in the world won't help someone heal

Original Article

02/15/2012

By Shana Rowan

I knew my husband was going to kill me, I just didn't know when.

Mr. Looney, I take serious offense to the entirety of your post "Shun the Sex Offender." If you are going to use my life as the basis for shunning sex offenders from society, at least make sure you understand the situation first.

My "sex offender house mate" is my fiancee. We have known each other for over 10 years, before he was arrested. He is the kindest, gentlest, most considerate individual I have ever met in my life. He has endured unspeakable abuse from virtually every person who was ever supposed to protect him, or help him, or teach him.

Despite that, he is doing everything he can to become a better person and loves me in a way that no one ever has. In fact, his presence is likely the only reason I am alive.

As a victim of severe domestic violence, I was at a point several years ago where I knew my husband was going to kill me, I just didn't know when. My fiancee is the only reason I was able to gather the courage I needed to leave. Without him, I am absolutely certain I would be dead right now.

When I explained that he committed his crime in the midst of being severely abused, it wasn't mean as an excuse. It is the truth, and it is extremely relevant to what eventually occurred. Had he merely been an abused child, whose mother physically, emotionally and sexually abused him, and did not teach him or show him any of the basic concepts and skills that we learn as children, you would likely agree that he could possibly "would suffer a lifetime" because of it.

But because at age 12 - an age where we are ALL awkward, confused, and battling feelings and urges we don't understand - he made a choice out of desperation, lack of options and hopelessness - he is now worthy of societal shunning?

He was not an adult man who preyed on a child - he was a desperate CHILD himself who had no one to help him, and who no one stood up for. At what point does someone go from being a terrified kid experiencing something awful and scary all alone, to scum that deserves lifelong punishment? And why does all the good that he has accomplished since then go unnoticed? Do I deserve a life without the most wonderful person in the world, because he made a mistake many years ago?

I'm curious - did you bother to read any of the recidivism studies I provided (Letter: You were dead wrong about sex offender recidivism rates)? I'm not "boasting" about those statistics - they are simply the truth. It's not just one study, it's not just five. The research indicating low recidivism is boundless. And no, low re-offense rates are not due to the registry or to restrictive legislation.
- More studies here.

In fact, many studies indicate that the endless restrictions faced by registrants when they re-enter society - where they can live, where they can work, if they can even find work - not to mention the public humiliation, privacy invasion, and threat of vigilante justice - the "shunning" you suggest - actually lead to higher re-offense rates. Where is the incentive for them to become contributing citizens?

Myself and others like me - those fighting for laws that reflect facts, not emotion, and raise awareness among people like you - do not support sex crime. We do not condone it. We do not believe it shouldn't be punished. We do believe that people who commit sex crimes should be treated just as "well" as other criminals upon their release, and given the same opportunities that our constitution says they have. We believe in this not just for the registrants, but for their families. Even if you can't change your opinion of sex offenders, you cannot deny the existence of their loved ones.

You cannot deny that they suffer dearly as a result of these laws and the massive misconceptions held by the public, as evidenced by your post. I am living, breathing proof that these laws hurt more than they help. And yes, I've been a victim myself. But you know what? My recovery, just like victims of any type of violent crime, should not and is not based on the punishment of someone else. All the "shunning" in the world won't help someone heal.

A life driven by vindictiveness and revenge is a sad, angry life and one I do not envy.

Sincerely,

Shana Rowan
Oneida, NY
www.endsexcrime.org
www.iloveasexoffender.blogspot.com


TX - City sex offender ordinance put on hold

Original Article

02/15/2012

By Diana Crawford

Amarillo - Today's Amarillo City Commission meeting brought an unexpected turn of events, when officials decided to put a measure to restrict where area sex offenders can live, on hold.

City officials were set to finally vote on the issue today, after months of discussion, but instead, the debate continues.

Mayor Paul Harpole says, "I think we have to further study what's going to have the most effect to protect our children. We don't want to put up an ordinance that doesn't have an effect."

As it now stands, the ordinance would restrict registered sex offenders whose convictions involve a minor, from living within 1,000 feet of any place children commonly gather.
- We have noticed before, they say these residency restrictions are for those whose convictions involve minors, but, when you look at who is really affected, it is usually everyone who is on the registry.

But even after listening to yet another round of experts and doing their own extensive research, city officials still couldn't come to an agreement.

City Commissioner Dr. Brian Eades (Facebook) says, "I've found very consistently there's not a lot of benefit in limiting where folks can live. What really seems to be the benefit is closer monitoring."

Which is why a new suggestion was brought to the table that focuses less on where sex offenders live, and more on what they are doing.

Eades explains, "I think the idea should be that we send local officers several times a year to check up on individuals who are on the sexual offender registry to make sure they're registered and to find out what they're doing, where they're working, and who their contacts are."

Now city officials will consider this new idea, but the original ordinance will remain on the table.

Harpole says, "What we really want to do is let people know who are at a high-risk of re-offending that we are concerned, we are watching, and they better stay away from our children. We want to protect them as best we can. But it's not a magic pill that solves the problem. Parents need to be aware of who their children are with and what's going on."

City officials say the issue will be voted on in the next month or so, once all the research is done on the new idea.


WAR Stories: My Fiance is a Registered Sex Offender

Video Description:
If you are moved to tears we understand. This woman's story is not unique. There are thousands of wives, children and entire families of sex offenders who even though their names do not appear on the sex offender registry must suffer the same roadblocks to living that the registrant faces. The unconstitutional laws destroy families.