Wednesday, March 21, 2012
By DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN
DURHAM -- Durham is starting the first Circles of Safety and Accountability in the South for sex offenders getting out of prison. COSA will match recently released sex offenders in Durham with a circle of people who will meet with them weekly to hold them accountable and support them in re-entering the community.
Durham County is home to about 300 convicted sex offenders.
The COSA steering committee is led by Nick McGeorge, who lives in Durham and in England and was a principal psychologist in the English prison system. He started circles in the United Kingdom in 2002. Circles were first developed in Canada in 1994, and both projects have been successful in reducing rates of reoffenses. The Durham COSA steering group includes representatives from the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Durham Criminal Justice Center and those will experience in corrections, community support for ex-offenders, child protection work, restorative justice and criminal courts.
McGeorge is also a Quaker, and Quakers led the circles in the UK, while Mennonites led circles in Canada. The circle in Durham is the second on the East Coast, following Pennsylvania. There are also circle programs in Minnesota, California and Washington state. McGeorge said he has found that church groups are more interested finding volunteers. The appeal for volunteers in Durham has gone out on the list serve of Durham Congregations in Action, which has given seed money to COSA. The program is also launching with a private donation.
Gudrun Parmer, director of the Durham Criminal Justice Resource Center, said that Durham is fertile ground for COSA because of what it already has in place.
“We already have faith teams [for prisoner re-entry programs] and an interested and active community who believe in rehabilitation,” she said. However, talking about sex offenders is uncomfortable, Parmer said. Volunteers participate for different reasons, she said. Some because of their faith and interest in restorative justice and surrounding them with positive people, Parmer said. Others might be interested because they are connected to the criminal justice system and this is a new model, she said. Volunteer training begins this weekend.
Circles of four to seven people will form around a registered sex offender, called the core member. The core member will be on supervised probation through the criminal justice system already. Circles will visit the offender’s home and meet with the individuals weekly to hold them accountable, as well as help them with re-entry issues like housing and employment. The offenders are in the circle voluntarily. The first person in a Durham circle will be released from prison in May.
Parmer said that many people coming out of prison have no one to go home to, and having a circle is a positive thing.
Circles give the offender another model of life, McGeorge said. The circles are also there to notice things before a reoffense occurs, he said, like questioning an offender who is dating a woman with children. Core members can contact the circle if they feel in distress, and circles are available 24/7, when agencies aren’t open.
McGeorge said the circle can act as an early warning system, both helping reintegration and able to stop reoffending.
“The result is no more victims,” he said.
Training for Circles of Safety and Accountability volunteers will be held this weekend. The deadline to sign up is noon Friday at (919) 383-5160 or email@example.com. The Human Kindness Foundation is offering administrative help for the training.
The SOPA and PIPA bills that went down in flames earlier this year for their unbearable intrusiveness, used content piracy as an excuse to give the government powerful tools with which to censor Internet content.
For 2012 the primary author of those bills has switched to a fallback tactic: using child porn as an excuse to create a vast surveillance network from which the government can demand data on every email sent, site visited or link clicked on by all but a fraction of one percent of the U.S. population.
Internet anti-censorship advocates including Anonymous are calling for the ouster of Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, who is following his co-sponsorship of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) with a bill critics call "Big Brother" disguised as an effort to curb child porn and sexual abuse.
Last May Smith, a Texas Republican credited as primary author of both SOPA and PIPA, the Senate version, also introduced H.R. 1981, a bill called the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011″ (PCFIPA).
The anti-child-porn provisions in the bill are a "fig leaf for its true purpose: A sweeping data retention requirement meant to turn Internet Service Providers and online companies into surrogate snoops for the government's convenience," according to Julian Sanchez, Internet privacy and censorship researcherat the center-right Cato Institute.
The amendments expand the Marshals' ability to issue subpoenas and adds online pornographers to their list of top targets.
The important, though administrivia-looking part of the bill is this: "A provider of an electronic communication service... shall retain for a period of at least 18 months the temporarily assigned network addresses the service assigns to each account... records retained pursuant to section 2703(h) of title 18, United States Code..." -- FCPIFA, H.R. 1981 ISPs are already required to keep some customers' activity records for 180 days, so this doesn't look like a big change.
Except, PCFIPA, HR 1981, requires ISPs keep track of every single IP address they assign (except to wireless users) and all the activity flowing across that link.
It doesn't limit itself to just ISPs, either. By addressing the bill to cover any company providing "electronic communications" or "remote computing" services, the bill effectively covers any site offering services online.
PCFIPA, HR 1981, reverses that point of view (as did PIPA and SOPA), to create a vast database of every action of ever American online -- a deep pool of data on the activity of millions of Internet users, through whose private activity they can sift at will until they find something that looks like evidence of a crime.
That's exactly the opposite of the intent of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment prevents police from searching, questioning, holding or otherwise harassing suspects unless a judge agrees there's a good reason to investigate a specific person for a specific crime.
As anyone can see from the video; edited for brevity, Representative Maggart appears to know very little about what she is asking for in this bill (HB2853, PDF). In fact, her response to every question she is given is to repeat herself ad nauseum. I find it not as surprising as it should be that when she is asked what the current penalty for "promoting prostitution" is she doesn't know.
At 12:40, Rep. Floyd seems to get his information on trafficking in persons from tabloids he reads at the barber shop. But hey, it was four pages long. Who votes for these people and do they know they vote on laws based on such things?
Watching this video it is easy to see how the conflation of consensual and non-consensual solicitation of sex is easily exploited. Rep. Maggart can't even seem to answer whether someone would be considered "promoting prostitution" if they are promoting themselves. In fact, "promoting prostitution" is never clearly defined.
I also have a HUGE problem putting someone not guilty of any violence on a list of violent sex offenders. Two counts of something do not equal a violent offense. It equals a repeat offense. If only we had legislators with the courage to vote in ways that reflect the misgivings many obviously had in the video.
- Not everyone on the sex offender registry is violent!
This is yet another example of sloppily worded legislation being passed by those who don't fully understand the issue of trafficking in persons. Who knows how many will suffer for this.
Joe Reyes, Jr., was convicted and sentenced for failing on January 8, 2008, to register as a sex offender pursuant to the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). See 18 U.S.C. § 2250; see also 42 U.S.C. § 16913. On November 24, 2009, we affirmed his conviction and sentence in a memorandum disposition. Our disposition relied upon our prior opinion in United States v. George, 579 F.3d 962 (9th Cir. 2009), which was amended thereafter by United States v. George, 625 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 2010). Reyes filed a petition for rehearing and for rehearing en banc on December 3, 2009, and later filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We stayed further action pending final resolution of the issues in George. George has now been vacated and we have ordered that the indictment in that case be dismissed. See United States v. George, No. 08-30339, slip op. 2593 (9th Cir. Mar. 7, 2012).
BOISE - Young men convicted under an older definition of statutory rape would get a chance to clear their name from the sex offender registry under a bill that has passed the House.
House lawmakers voted 64-1 to approve the legislation, which applies to young men who were convicted of statutory rape before 2010.
The measure has passed the Senate and awaits Gov. C.L. ``Butch'' Otter's signature.
In 2010, the Legislature cleared statutory rape charges in cases of consensual sex when a man is within three years in age of his 16 or 17-year-old partner. Previously no girl under 18 could legally give consent.
Ketchum Rep. Wendy Jacquet endorsed the plan, saying it gives judges discretion to expunge offenders' names from the registry who wouldn't be guilty under the updated law.
Former Prince George's County Officer Gene Gillette was sentenced Wednesday for a 2011 shooting incident
A Prince George's County judge sentenced former Mt. Rainier Police Department Officer Gene Gillette to a 20-year sentence, with 10 years suspended.
- Sure pays to be a cop! If you commit a sexual crime, even if it doesn't involve a child, and you are not a cop, you get more time in prison than this man, who attempted to kill someone after sexually assaulting them.
Police charged Gillette last July with 12 felony counts, including attempted murder, sexual assault and false imprisonment.
Gillette lured a 20-year-old victim to his home last July, promising there would be girls there and they’d make pornographic movies, investigators said.
But when the victim entered Gillette’s home, there was no one else there, police said.
Instead, Gillette allegedly gave the victim alcohol and touched him inappropriately, attempting to get the victim to perform sexual acts on him, police said.
Gillette pistol-whipped and shot the victim twice with his service weapon when the victim tried to get away, police said.
If Gillette is found guilty of another crime after serving his 10-year sentence, he will have to serve the 10 suspended years.
Gillette, who was named 2009 Officer of the Year in Mt. Rainer, pleaded guilty in 2011 to attempted sex offense, attempted murder and use of a handgun in the incident.