Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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CA - Seal Beach OKs sex offender ban for beach, pier and parks

Original Article

See Also:
Cypress relegates registered sex offenders to a particular part of the city

02/28/2012

By ROXANA KOPETMAN

SEAL BEACH – Sex offenders will be banned from this town's beaches, parks, jetties, pier and the adjacent parking lots under a new law given initial approval Monday night.

"We're sticking up for the kids," said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, urging the City Council to approve the ban that is modeled on a similar county law.

The Seal Beach City Council voted 5-0, without any discussion, to approve the law.

If adopted at the next meeting, Seal Beach would join a growing number of Orange County cities that have created similar laws targeting sexual predators. They include Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Westminster, Yorba Linda and the county itself.

Fullerton was the first city in Orange County to bar sex offenders from loitering within 300 feet of parks, schools and daycare centers. County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and Rackauckas last April crafted the county law barring registered sex offenders from county parks, harbors, historic sites and beaches. Some of the city ordinances are modeled after the county's law but vary from it. Irvine, for example, passed a narrower version focusing on offenders who victimize minors.

The laws have been criticized as overly broad, unconstitutional and difficult to enforce.

In Seal Beach, there are 10 registered sex offenders, according to a staff report. Seven of the 10 live in the retired senior community of Leisure World, one lives in College Park East neighborhood and another one lives in the Hill neighborhood, north of PCH. The 10th offender is registered in the Oakwood Apartments but he no longer resides there, according to the staff report.

Called a "child safety zone," the new law would make it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter recreational areas where children gather. A first conviction would lead to a maximum of six months in jail or a fine up to $500 or both.

California has a number of measures to protect children from sexual predators, who are required to register their addresses with law enforcement.

The laws include: Jessica's Law (Proposition 83 PDF), a 2006 voter-approved act that requires, among other things, all registered felony sex offenders to be monitored by a GPS device while on parole and bans them from residing within 2,000 feet of any school or park where children regularly gather; Senate Bill 1128, a 2006 law that prohibits sex offenders from entering school grounds without written permission; Chelsea's Law, a 2010 law that includes increases in penalties, parole provisions and oversight for offenders who have attacked children.


KY - Former Officer (Ray Kiefer Jr) Pleads Guilty To Sexually Abusing Girl

Ray Kiefer Jr.
Original Article

02/28/2012

LOUISVILLE - A retired Louisville metro police officer will have a felony on his record after pleading guilty to sexual abuse.

Ray Kiefer Jr. took a deal and admitted in court that in December, three days before Christmas, he had sexual contact with a 4-year-old relative.

Kiefer, 63, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree sexual abuse.

The victim's family members at the hearing were visibly upset.

"The focus of the family and of everybody is the care of the 4-year-old. Obviously, people want more of a penalty in cases like this, but there has to be balance with what are we going to do to a child," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Scott.

The agreement reached is a three-year prison penalty with the commonwealth recommending Kiefer instead gets five years of probation.

Kiefer must also complete a sex offender treatment program and will be required to comply with the sex offender registry for 20 years.

The 4-year-old girl came forward and told her parents what happened.

Scott said Kiefer was compliant with police and came in with a written confession to the allegations.

I guess the real message here is that this child was a 4-year-old victim and she had knowledge to tell someone when someone did something bad to her, and so we hope that parents are talking to their children about good touches and bad touches," Scott said. "This is a fairly typical type of offense that no one ever hears about and a child that knew to come forward and tell everyone about it."

Kiefer returns to court for formal sentencing in May.


LA - Facebook ban raises questions on punishment

Original Article

02/28/2012

By MELINDA DESLATTE

Sex offenders are an easy set of criminals to condemn. Their offenses are reprehensible. Politicians can get a lot of mileage out of seeming tough on crime when they load up their sentencing requirements.
- Not all those who wear the "sex offender" label have had "reprehensible" crimes.

But when does the list of penalties become too outrageous? Do lawmakers and the governor believe sex offenders can’t be rehabilitated? Can someone have served his time and move on, or because it is a sex offense, is that impossible?

A recent legal argument over sex offenders is raising those questions.

A federal judge this month threw out a Louisiana law banning certain sex offenders from Facebook and other social networking sites, saying it was an unreasonable restriction on constitutionally protected speech that could keep them off the Internet entirely.

The law, which took effect in August, made it a crime for anyone convicted of a sex offense against a minor or of video voyeurism to use networking websites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks.

Exorcist - Bobby Jindal
Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers said the ban was designed to keep sex offenders from seeking out children in online forums.
- Yeah right. So where is the online ban for those identity thieves, hackers, or other online crimes? And not all sex offenders have harmed children. If they committed a crime online, then I can see allowing a probation/parole officer to monitor them online, but, once they are off probation/parole, like all other criminals, they should be allowed to move on with their lives.

The Internet is the virtual playground where sex offenders are trying to strike and prey on our kids. We must have the tools to crack down on monsters that are preying on our kids,” Jindal said in a statement.
- I believe Mr. Jindal is doing all this, to hopefully get himself re-elected, so he can "look tough" on sex offenders, while really doing nothing to prevent someone from committing another crime or protecting anybody. If a person is so dangerous, and intent on committing a crime, they will, period.

The law, according to U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson, also could bar the offenders — including those who have served their time in prison and on parole — from reading news websites, searching for jobs online and working in positions that involved the Internet.

That type of isolation could make it impossible to re-enter society.

Jackson said the prohibition went too far, infringing on constitutional rights.

Although the act is intended to promote the legitimate and compelling state interest of protecting minors from Internet predators, the near total ban on Internet access imposed by the act unreasonably restricts many ordinary activities that have become important to everyday life in today’s world,” Jackson wrote in his ruling.
- This could also be said about the "near total ban" from living anywhere within the state(s) (i.e. Residency Restrictions).

During a hearing a few months before his ruling, Jackson noted the statute would appear to ban the sex offenders from even using the federal court website.

Conviction of the crime of unlawful use or access of social media carried a prison sentence of up to 10 years. A second conviction required a prison sentence of at least five years and up to 20 years.

The ACLU of Louisiana sought to overturn the law on behalf of two sex offenders identified as John Doe and James Doe. John Doe is from East Baton Rouge Parish and was convicted in 2002 of possessing child pornography. James Doe is from Iberia Parish and pleaded guilty in another state to having a sexual encounter with a minor, according to court documents.

Jindal vowed to appeal Jackson’s ruling.
- I'm sure he will, and I hope it winds up in the state or US Supreme court as well, and knocked down there, for the same reasons, as well.

Louisiana families should have the comfort of knowing their children are able to go online without the threat of sex predators. It’s offensive that the court would rule that the rights of sex predators are more important than the rights of innocent children,” the governor said.
- Well, we are not living in Wonderland Mr. Jindal. Children and adults will ALWAYS be susceptible to crime, regardless of where they live, work or go online.

In recent years, Jindal has made a crackdown on sex offenses among the centerpieces of his legislative agenda each year. He’s signed into law bills that allow for chemical castration of sex offenders, lengthened jail sentences and expanded monitoring and restrictions on where they can live and travel.
- Next he will be passing legislation for concentration camps and/or gas chambers.

Lawmakers have gone along with nearly every proposal Jindal offered. They balked, however, on a measure to allow the confinement of sex offenders beyond their prison sentences, by involuntarily placing them in mental health facilities for treatment.

The Legislature will get a chance to revisit the Facebook ban in the upcoming session that begins March 12.


AK - Law would ban sex offenders from living near youth recreation equipment

Original Article

Pure insanity!  Now, with this law, all it would take is for a neighbor to get some playground equipment in their yards, and if I understand it right, then offender would then be forced to move.

02/27/2012

JUNEAU -- More question than answers have spun out of a House Judiciary Committee hearing that would allow judges to ban sex offenders from living at a residence with "outdoor recreational equipment" suitable for kids under 16.

Rep. Pete Petersen, D-Anchorage, said he wrote HB 278 (PDF) after he was told about a case in which a man stands accused of using a trampoline to lure three kids who claim they were abused. Everyone at the committee hearing was in agreement that Petersen's bill is well-intentioned, but an array of concerns was raised by committee members and people who testified on behalf of state organizations and interest groups.

Rep. Steve Thompson, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, felt like the wording was vague enough that it would create a lot of unintended problems. "What about snow machines, or basketballs?" said Thompson, R-Fairbanks. "Would those count?"

Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, was concerned that the bill might be redundant because judges can already ban certain living conditions if they believe it to be a fitting requirement. Another concern was less about the wording of the bill and struck more at the core of its approach.

Carmen Gutierrez, deputy commissioner of the Department of Corrections, said the recidivism rate is likely to increase if laws further limit housing options available to sex offenders.

She cited a survey of more than 4,000 parolees that found an unstable living situation to be the strongest predictor that sex offenders would violate conditions of their probationary release.

"By and large, restrictions cause offenders to live at homeless shelters, which often have 30-day limits," Gutierrez said after the hearing. "When individuals leave shelters and end up in homeless encampments, supervision becomes very difficult."

The bill was held pending amendments and another hearing.