Friday, June 15, 2012

CA - What ever happened to the Eighth amendment?

Original Article

06/14/2012

By RLitchfield1

[name withheld] is hurt, anxious, and angry.

He might actually be dangerous.

If he wasn’t dangerous before our legal system got hold of him, our legal system may have made him that way.

[name withheld] is 39 years old. He has been homeless, on and off, for five or six years.

When he wasn’t homeless during the past few years, he was in and out of jail for parole violations.

[name withheld] claims that some of those parole violations were not fair, and that the Corrections Department and the police have constantly looked for some way to put him back in jail.

[name withheld] is a registered sex offender.

[name withheld] says that he is completely up front with people about his being a Registered Sex Offender. He doesn’t try to hide it. In fact, he is one of the only homeless registered sex offenders who will wear shorts in the Summer. (Most homeless registered sex offenders and other parolees on ankle monitors will wear long pants even in the heat of the summer, to cover up the ankle monitors.)

Back in 2003, [name withheld] was convicted of sexual battery by restraint. That’s a pretty serious charge...even though [name withheld] claims that what he did with the woman wasn’t really that bad.

I have no idea what really happened. I wasn’t there.

My more cynical friends tell me that every convict will tell you that he is innocent.

So, go ahead and be cynical about [name withheld]’s claims if you want.

All I can tell you is that there is something about [name withheld] that makes me feel uneasy.

But I don’t think that it’s really his status as a Sex Offender.

I think it may be something else.

The poor man has a way of speaking that might be deemed a form of speaking disability. This speaking disability would make it difficult for [name withheld] to convince anybody that he was innocent, if he was accused of a crime.

It’s difficult to describe what it is about [name withheld]’s way of speaking that is out of alignment. He has no trouble forming words or sentences. And his pronunciation is excellent. Even his grammar is good. So, he doesn’t really have a speech impairment, in the classical sense.

It’s more like an impairment of his tone of speech.

[name withheld] says that he has been diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder.

He has had this anxiety disorder every since he was a child.

When he was sixteen years old, he tried to kill himself.

I’m no expert, but [name withheld]’s anxiety disorder appears to me to be the real thing.

When he speaks to you, he is so nervous that it makes you feel uncomfortable. And you get the uneasy feeling that he’s hiding something... or that something just isn’t right.

But that tone may just be anxiety, rather than concealed dishonesty.

It was a warm June day when I was interviewing [name withheld]. We were standing outside, and most of us were perspiring a little.

But [name withheld] was just dripping with sweat.

It looked to me like this sweating was another symptom of his anxiety.

It’s difficult for me to imagine [name withheld] talking to a law enforcement officer in the same nervous manner that he spoke to me, and being dripping with sweat, and convincing any police officer that he wasn’t guilty of something.

The nature of [name withheld]’s communication disability just naturally makes him look guilty.

[name withheld] says that the earliest that he might be able to get off of parole is in the year 2015.

That means that a man who might be sexually dangerous, and who has been rendered artificially homeless and unemployable by the Registered Sex Offender List, will be electronically chained to the Auburn area for the next three years.

[name withheld] grew up in Marysville, and was living in Lincoln at the time of his criminal offense. But for the next three years, he will be homeless and unemployed here in Auburn.

It’s almost as if the geniuses in our Legislature got together and said, “Hey! Let’s take the City of Auburn... one of the last really decent places left to live left in the State of California, and let’s fill it full of homeless, unemployed, Registered Sex Offenders. That’ll promote good will and tourism.”

[name withheld] says that he has worked in construction in the past, and he would like to be working in construction again. But because of his status as a Registered Sex Offender, no one will hire him.

You go to a construction company to ask for a job. But, as soon as you tell them that you are a Registered Sex Offender, you’re out!"

I can’t really blame them,” [name withheld] says. “What construction company, if it knows that you are a registered sex offender, would want you to represent them?

[name withheld] says that the hardest part for him about being homeless is being able to get showers to stay clean. He sweats profusely almost all the time during the Summer. And since he can’t get access to a shower very often, he worries that most of the time, he doesn’t smell very good.

So, here is [name withheld]... a man who already served his debt to society in prison. But now, he is forced to serve years and years and years of additional time as an unemployable homeless person, wearing the Scarlet Letter/GPS ankle monitor of a Registered Sex Offender, doomed to the Registered Sex Offender List for the rest of his life, freezing in the winter, and burning up in the Summer... not admissible to any church homeless shelter because of his registrant status, and forced to scrounge for bits and scraps of charity food and clothing where ever he is lucky enough to get them.

The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution states that there shall be no cruel and unusual punishments imposed by our government.

Would somebody please explain to me... perhaps some brilliant legal scholar, State Legislator, or some Judge who has been elevated to the bench from among the ranks of the geniuses at District Attorneys Offices... please explain to me why what is happening to [name withheld], and to all of the other homeless, unemployed Registered Sex Offenders in this State, is not a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution?

I would really like to know.

I’d especially like to know, in light of the two recent vigilante murders of Registered Sex Offenders that occurred elsewhere.

What would [name withheld] do if he had a magic wand that would allow him to do anything?

He would go back to the year 2003, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with the woman who accused him of a sex crime.

If he couldn’t do that, then, he would go back to the earliest time that he was on parole, and he would avoid drinking, and hanging out with other parolees, so that he wouldn’t have been hauled back into jail for parole violations.

My best guess is that local law enforcement officers are made to feel just as uneasy as I was made to feel by [name withheld]’s anxiety disorder. Feeling that uneasy about [name withheld], law enforcement officers might have looked for ways to keep the community safe by finding reasons to put [name withheld] back into jail.

If that is what happened with [name withheld], I do not fault them for that. Putting [name withheld] back into jail is probably the only method the police have to keep him separated from the rest of the community.

But most likely, what [name withheld] really needs is some form of medical or psychiatric treatment.

[name withheld] says that when he first got out of prison, he was in a convict re-entry program for awhile.

But he says that the re-entry program was a scam.

He says that the place where they lived during the re-entry program had no heat in the winter, and no air conditioning in the summer. So, it was always either freezing cold, or hotter than hell.

He claims that the re-entry house would get his rent money in advance, and then, as soon as they got the rent money, they would violate his parole, and throw him back in jail again.

This is what [name withheld] says about the convict re-entry program.

It is not what I say. I know nothing about the re-entry program that [name withheld] participated in.

But I did promise these homeless people that I was going to try to give them a voice.

So...there is [name withheld]’s opinion of the convict re-entry program that was available for him.

Does [name withheld] have a message for the world?

You need to quit persecuting us Registered Sex Offenders."

We have become the new blacks and Hispanics. The police are treating us like dirt."

They keep moving us from one place to another. Telling us first that it is all right for us to camp in one place, and then, changing their minds, and telling us that we have to move all our stuff somewhere else."
- California has been playing the shuffle for a very long time, as seen in the following video.


They don’t know what they’re doing. And they’re leaving us with no safe place to go.”

I asked [name withheld] what it is about him that makes him special and unique in the world.

I recognize faces,” he said. “I see a person’s face, and I will remember that face for years to come. I might not remember your name, but I will remember your face.”

The most ironic thing about [name withheld], the Registered Sex Offender, is this:

Lately, [name withheld] has been hanging out with a small group of homeless people made up of one other man, and two women.

One of those women told me that she actually feels safer having [name withheld] around.

She says that [name withheld] has a bit of a temper, and that he won’t take any guff off of anyone.

So, she feels safer having [name withheld] around, in spite of knowing that he is a Registered Sex Offender, because there is one other homeless man about to be released from jail after beating one of the other homeless women almost to death.

A woman who has a Registered Sex Offender as her best hope of protection. Such is the life of a homeless woman.