Wednesday, September 19, 2012

LA - Sex offenders not allowed at Allen Parish Fair

Original Article

09/18/2012

By Holly Carter

OBERLIN (KPLC) - The Allen Parish fair will go on as usual starting Wednesday, but there will be a major change in who's allowed to attend. This year sex offenders will not be allowed in the gates.
- So I guess they are violating everyone's rights for false safety, and to show force?

"It's not to pick on them," said Sheriff Doug Hebert III. "But it is to ensure the safety of the people of our parish."
- Yeah, right!

Sheriff Hebert hopes the new protocol will make the fair more family oriented and send a message to the parish's 38 sex offenders.

"At the end of the day, the primary goal is to make sure that the kids, and those that would be victims, are safe as they possibly can," said Sheriff Hebert. "And we want those that are sex offenders, some are worse than others, to know that we are watching you."

Law enforcement officers will be at the fair daily on the lookout for sex offenders. All of the parish's offenders were notified by phone call, and signs outside the fair grounds are reinforcement.

"During the course of my career, I've worked rapes of children, and it's just one of those things tend to see across the United States, you see in the news every day, somebody every day is getting, child's getting molested," said Sheriff Hebert. "I don't know what the cause of that is, but I do know we have to do more to ensure the safety of our people and part of that is to make it so it's not as easy for them to do it."
- So why don't you place a deputy at the home of all children since that is where most are sexually abused?

Louisiana's state law says sex offenders are not allowed to be within one thousand feet of a public park, recreational facility, or child care facility. Sheriff Hebert says he plans to enforce the law just months into his term.
- Yep, he's just been elected, so he, like many others, needs to play the sex offender card.

"I didn't infringe upon them, the state of Louisiana did, and I'm going to back them up," said Sheriff Hebert.

One problem he did mention is sex offenders from other parishes coming to the fair. He says that situation will be monitored by his deputies as well.

"There is some technology out there that does some retinal scans," said Sheriff Hebert. "If they're in the system, it can identify them."
- So are you scanning the eyes of everyone who walks through the gates?

To view the state law regarding sex offenders, click HERE.


NM - Repeat Sex Offender Numbers Low in County

Original Article

09/19/2012

By Patrick Lohmann

Every Halloween night, between 30 and 50 Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies spread out all over the county and knock on the doors of registered sex offenders, as a reminder that the county knows where they are and what they’re doing.

The Halloween blitz is just one of the tactics the Sheriff’s Department says could be behind the county’s remarkably low sex offender re-offense, or recidivism, rate.
- Come on, you are taking credit for something that is already low, recidivism.

Of more than 1,200 registered offenders that include sex offenders as far back as the 1970s, the sex offender registry unit has identified only seven who have re-committed a sex crime since 2009 – or 0.6 percent who re-offended over that three-year period.

Fourteen Bernalillo County sex offenders released in 2010 did end up back in prison within 18 months of their release dates, but they were there for such things as failing to register as an offender or for probation violations, according to data from the New Mexico Department of Corrections.

We do have a very low recidivism rate in Bernalillo County,” Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Sam White said. “We believe part of that is our proactive stance.”
- There is a low recidivism rate across the county, not just New Mexico.

Data regarding sex offender recidivism rates are hard to come by.

A New Mexico Sentencing Commission study followed 126 sex offenders released from state prisons in 2004.

The study is still only in draft form and has not yet been reviewed by the Department of Corrections, but according to the draft, 5.6 percent of offenders went back to prison after committing a new sex offense between 2004 and when the study began earlier this year. More than 35 percent of the total number of sex offenders were sent back to prison, but largely for probation violations.

A national Bureau of Justice Statistics study is in the works that will look at sex offender recidivism for offenders released in 2005. The bureau’s last study found that 5.3 percent of almost 1,000 sex offenders released in 1994 re-committed a sex offense within three years.

That rate is considerably lower than for violent offenders, 61 percent of whom were arrested for similar crimes within three years, and for property offenders, who had a recidivism rate of almost 74 percent, according to the same BJS study.

White said he doesn’t know what his department might be doing differently than other counties, but it does make prevention of sex crimes a high priority. He said deputies use their spare time to check up on sex offenders at their homes.

Any rate is not low enough,” he added.

Registry effective?

Whether the sex offender registry is effective in preventing sex crimes depends on whom you ask.

Gov. Susana Martinez, who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes during her career as a district attorney, said Bernalillo County’s low recidivism rate doesn’t necessarily mean offenders aren’t re-offending, just that they’re not being caught.
- And your statement doesn't mean it's true either, you could say that about any crime!

The vast majority of my cases involved delayed reporting by the children (victims) because they are afraid, they are threatened that something bad will happen if they tell,” Martinez told the Journal. “That allows an offender to re-offend many times.”

That’s why Martinez said the registries are so effective, because they allow parents to monitor offenders who might be re-offending without punishment in their neighborhood. Martinez has also pressured the state Legislature during her time as governor to become fully compliant with the Adam Walsh Act, a 2006 federal sex offender registration law.

The state’s sex offender laws do not require offenders to scan palm prints in addition to fingerprints, which is out of compliance with the federal act, nor do they have a juvenile sex offender registration, GPS monitoring or email notifications for when an offender moves into a neighborhood, said Regina Chacon, the state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman.

Despite this, New Mexico has so far avoided fines of between $100,000 and $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice, since it is one of many noncompliant states, Chacon said

Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Bernalillo, voted against the Adam Walsh Act each time it came before the Legislature, and received a standing ovation after speaking at the national Reform Sex Offender Laws conference in Albuquerque.

McSorley said the Adam Walsh Act is a politicized, unfunded mandate that doesn’t differentiate between the worst predators and offenders convicted of milder crimes. As a result, he said, law enforcement and parents are unable to zero in on who poses the greatest threat.

New Mexico citizens are less safe today because politicians have been trying to prove how strong they are against sex crimes,” McSorley said. “They’re diluting our efforts at getting the most serious predators.”

The national conference for Reform Sex Offender Laws, an organization that claims sex offender registries are ineffective and unjust, was held at an Albuquerque hotel earlier this month to the dismay of some residents and law enforcement officials who were concerned about the conference’s proximity to schools.

Lloyd Swartz, the organization’s New Mexico branch president and a registered sex offender who was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 1987, said the response to the conference by the city and residents underscores the need to have a conversation about sex offender laws, which he said are bad policy written out of emotion, not data.

How do we put this hysteria aside, put all these misconceptions aside, and sit down and have an honest conversation?” Swartz said. “We need to acknowledge that what we’re doing may make us warm and fuzzy inside, but it’s not working.”

Swartz said the registry misinforms parents about who threatens their kids, and parents should instead learn to identify signs of a possible sex offender within their homes or neighborhoods.

It’s telling people to look the wrong places, so they can’t protect themselves,” Swartz said during the conference at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center on Sept. 7.

Both Martinez and Swartz said the vast majority of sex crimes are committed by perpetrators who know the victim – as relatives, neighbors, coaches or through other means.

While Swartz argues that’s a reason the registry is not effective, Martinez said that fact makes the registry all the more important, because parents need to be able to find out if their acquaintances or family friends pose a threat to their children.

If you are a convicted sex offender, I as a parent have a right to know,” she said. ” … You can’t teach a parent what to look for.”
- The only reason you have that right, is because of the law, you really aren't entitled to know who lives around you, and yes you can teach parents what to look for.


NY - How New York is trying to grab certain people’s children

Original Article

07/24/2012

By Brian

I am a level 3 registered sex offender, living in the state of New York. We moved to New York in September of 2011. I have been out for nearly 11 years. (October will be 11 years) I have followed the laws and regulations for registration in every state I have lived. North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. But New York does one thing differently. In New York you are assigned a court hearing. At that hearing they will then assess your level. On March 3, 2012 I was given the designation of Level 3 offender.

As had been done in Pennsylvania, approximately June 8th, 2012 the state of New York had posted flyers all over town to make sure that everyone was aware that I was living in town. I am sympathetic to the rule and understand why they do it.

On June 12, 2012 my world came to a crashing halt. Jennifer Allen from the DSS (Department of Social Services) knocked on my door. We asked what she was there for and she claimed that an allegation had been made against me. We asked what the allegation was and she refused to tell us, but kept saying if we let her in, she would talk to us. Having not been awake very long, I let her in.

As she sat down on the couch in the living room, she had said that the allegation was ‘other’ and the ‘other’ was that I am a level 3 sex offender, living in the home with a child under the age of 2, and have not had sex offender treatment. That was it. She started to ask questions about my convictions, if I drank what treatment had I had etc. It didn’t take very long for me to wake up after that and tell her she needed to leave my home.

She actually refused to leave and it took me saying to her 2 more times to leave. On her way out the door, she told my wife that she would be back because she was going to her supervisors to have us taken to family court that day. After she left, we packed up the children’s clothes, picked up my son from school and headed to Pennsylvania to my wife’s parents house. In that short period of time, she had returned back to our home and called my wife to ask her why we were not there. My wife told her we were picking my son up, as it was raining that day. She had told my wife that she needed to be in family court immediately.


GA - Former White County deputy (Christopher Davis) pleads guilty to producing child porn

Christopher Davis
Original Article

09/18/2012

By Lee Johnson

A former White County Sheriff’s Office deputy has pleaded guilty to producing child pornography, but the charges for possession of child porn were dropped, according to the federal court’s minute sheet.

Christopher Davis, 32, of Dahlonega was arrested in August 2011 following a search of his home that led to the discovery of 11 different computers and storage devices that federal agents said contained child pornography. They also seized two cameras from his vehicle, one of which federal officials said was used to produce child pornography.

His trial began Monday in federal court, but Davis changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on the first count, that he used a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct,” as described in the indictment filed in September 2011.

Negotiated in that plea was the dismissal of the second count, that he knowingly possessed child porn, which carries with it a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 27 in federal court.

This defendant committed the ultimate act of betrayal,” U.S. attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. “He violated the trust of the 6-year old victim, who he was charged with protecting, and betrayed the trust of his community by committing this heinous act while employed as sworn law enforcement officer.”

Davis’ attorney, Tony Axam, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

In earlier hearings, Axam argued that federal agents did not provide sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant to search the defendant’s home, and said the evidence should be thrown out.

He also argued White County and federal agents took improper steps to obtain a recorded interview with Davis.

In those recordings, the defendant can be heard denying that he photographed a then 6-year-old girl in images that agents described as “sexually explicit.” Later in the recording, Davis can be heard saying he did take the photographs but said they were not explicit and denied “manufacturing child pornography.”

Federal agents were tipped off about child pornography allegations against Davis after investigators from the Child Exploitation Investigations Group arrested [name withheld] of Houston, Texas, on similar charges. Davis’ ex-wife, [wife name withheld], was [name withheld]’s girlfriend at the time.

[wife name withheld] told investigators the images of a then 6-year-old girl found on [name withheld]’s storage devices were produced by Christopher Davis.

She told authorities she took his hard drive because it had photos of her and asked [name withheld] to delete them. She then mailed the hard drive back.

Axam said [wife name withheld]’ statements, made to authorities after her boyfriend’s arrest, were not sufficient probable cause for a judge to give a warrant to search the defendant’s home.

U.S. prosecutors disagreed, saying there was no basis to question [wife name withheld]’ credibility “other than she has horrendous taste in men.”

The maximum sentence Davis could receive is 30 years in prison, while the mandatory minimum term is 15 years.

Prosecutors recommended the minimum term, according to the plea agreement.

Davis will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and may be required to pay a maximum fine of $250,000.


SC - Justices reconsider sex offender monitoring

Original Article

09/18/2012

By JEFFREY COLLINS

COLUMBIA (AP) — Even after hearing the case a second time, the South Carolina Supreme Court isn't sure it is fair to make some sex offenders in the state face lifetime satellite monitoring of their every move without any chance of appeal.

The justices Tuesday reheard a case from May where they decided the monitoring may be too harsh in some cases. The Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services asked the court to reconsider its ruling, saying their decision rewrote the law.

A lawyer for [name withheld] again argued her constitutional rights were violated because she had no chance to appeal or revisit the decision to put a bracelet on her ankle that reports her every move to state authorities.

[name withheld], 32, was ruled to be a sex offender after being convicted of a lewd act on a child charge stemming from her relationship with a 14-year-old girl in Greenville County several years ago. She was found to be at low risk to abuse a child again.

After violating her probation by drinking alcohol, continuing a relationship with a convicted felon she met while behind bars and rescheduling too many appointments for sex offender counseling, [name withheld]' probation was revoked, according to court documents.

The probation violation meant under state law authorities could seek lifetime monitoring for [name withheld] without a chance of appeal. That kind of monitoring can be done for just two crimes — lewd act and first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Most other crimes that land someone on the sex offender registry give an offender a chance to appeal after 10 years.

[name withheld]' lawyer, Chris Scalzo, held up his wedding ring and said while he loves his wife and wears it nearly all the time, he can take it off.

"She's not allowed to take that thing off her body unless there is a court order," Scalzo said.

An attorney for the probation agency, John Aplin, said lawmakers passed the lifetime monitoring law to protect the public.

"The reason you are tracking that person every minute of every day for the rest of their life is to protect children from further future harm. It's also to help law enforcement solve crimes," Aplin said.

Chief Justice Jean Toal said she understands the need for public safety from the most dangerous offenders. But she said it is a fair question to ask if a one-size-fits-all law that doesn't allow a timely chance to appeal the ruling or ask a judge to revisit whether an offender is still dangerous is constitutional.

"This court has no grief for sex offenders. But there are certainly different levels," Toal said.

Associate Justice Kay Hearn, who wrote her own opinion in May suggesting that revealing every detail of [name withheld]' private life to state officials violates her constitutional rights, pointed out that [name withheld] was not considered to be a dangerous sex offender who preys on children and would likely never change her behavior.

"This was, what, an 18-month relationship she had with an underage person," Hearn said. "Clearly wrong, clearly illegal. But there was no predatory nature."


If Drunk Drivers Were Treated like Sex Offenders

Original Article

Some may think this will never happen, but it's already been proposed in some states, and more are following suit. See here for more registries in the works.

09/2012

By eAdvocate

Learned of this and had to save it. Author unknown.

Nobody likes sex offenders. People aren't very fond of drunk drivers, either. Drunk drivers have a much higher recidivism rate than sex offenders, and are much more likely to kill or injure someone than sex offenders. So let us imagine, for a moment, that they are given similar treatment.

2003
You are caught running a red light. The policeman who pulls you over discovers you been drinking, and arrests you for drunk driving. The judge sentences you to a $1000 fine and 60 days in jail. Recognizing your drinking problem, you participate in a voluntary alcohol treatment program, join AA, get sober, and never drink again, let alone drink and drive.

2005
Drunk driving tragedies have been in the news a lot over the past year, and the public wants to toughen up on drunk drivers. A law is passed requiring anyone convicted of drunk driving after the year 2000 to be put on a non-public registry for five years from the date of their conviction. The registry exists so if there are any hit-and-run accidents, the police know who to check out as suspects first.