Friday, October 12, 2012
By Ashley Rodrigue
COVINGTON - Authorities in St. Tammany Parish are taking their operation into the future.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office has new iris-scanning equipment that you’ve likely seen on crime television shows, but now it will be in your face if booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail.
Six months ago, the jail installed two scanners that record the colored part of the eye of anyone booked on a felony, or any sex offender registered with the sheriff’s office. Four handheld scanners are also on the streets just to make sure those sex offenders are where they’re supposed to be.
- So you see here, they use it for anyone booked on a felony, or sex offender, but the last paragraph says sex offenders pay for it, not the other felons.
"The recidivism rate among sex offenders is probably the highest in all of the crime categories we watch, so we're taking the steps just to keep everybody honest," said Sheriff Jack Strain.
- Yet more lies by an ignorant sheriff who is just repeating the same lies he's heard elsewhere. It has been proven and documented over and over that ex-sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of all other criminals, yet they continue to exploit ex-sex offenders with lies and extortion to appease the sheeple of the country. And keeping people honest, really? What about the Sheriff who is using lies and not honest facts?
The scan, if done on someone arrested before, includes a full criminal record and full face picture for deputies to access in the blink of an eye.
Soon, the technology will be with detectives on warrant round-ups to make sure the right person is arrested every time.
"Many times, not often, not daily, but it certainly is a possibility that an offender can try to mislead law enforcement and move," said Strain.
ACLU says it doesn't understand the need for this new technology and calls it intrusive. But one defense attorney we talked to says he doesn't see the difference between a picture of your eye and your thumbprint.
- So what if TSA asked you to bend over so they can perform a rectal examine? Yeah, it's pretty much the same thing.
"The government has held in court cases over and over again that the law enforcement have a right to fingerprint anybody that they arrest, that they have a right to take a DNA swab in most states," said Marion Farmer.
All of the pictures recorded go into a national database for only law enforcement to access. Almost 4,500 have been taken in St. Tammany so far, about 300 of those from sex offenders.
The cost of the devices, which runs around $3,000 a piece, is covered by fees collected from the sex offender registration program.
By BALFORD HENRY
The Senate is expected to debate, and possibly pass, the Sexual Offences (Registration of Sex Offenders) Regulations 2012 when it meets at Gordon House this morning.
But it is likely that the regulations will face some resistance from senators who believe that access to the information on sex offenders is too limited.
The process of accessing the information is very unlike the predictions which followed the passage of the substantive Act in 2009, which suggested that communities would be sensitised to the presence of sexual offenders in their midst.
The Sexual Offences Act regulations, which were tabled last Friday in the Upper House, have a three-tiered information system which severely limits access to the information and requires persons employed by the registry to sign a declaration of secrecy.
The regulations state that "all information in the register and registry shall be secret and confidential, and the registrar shall only allow access to the register and registry in accordance with (certain) regulations".
The application must be made in writing and provide information necessary to enable the registrar to "identify the information requested".
The information concerning sex offenders will be divided into three tiers.
Tier one information comprises a photograph of the sex offender taken on the date the offender reports to the registration centre; name and aliases; addresses; date of birth; specified offences; and the sex and date of birth of the victim.
Tier two will have names and addresses of the offender's parents; addresses of every place the offender resided as a child; name and address of closest kin; age at the time of the crime; race, sex, height, hair and eye colour; TRN; distinguishing features and fingerprints.
Also included in Tier two are the offenders' occupation; name and address of places of employment; area of work and travel; name and address of educational institution where the offender is enrolled; particulars of the conviction; and history of treatment for mental or personality disorders.
Tier three information includes the name of the victim; address of the victim; and telephone numbers and e-mail addresses at which the victim may be contacted.
However, Tier one information will be limited to the police; professional counsellors; prospective employers and employees; persons managing educational institutions connected to the individual; persons managing facilities for the care and treatment of sex offenders; information needed by the Ministry of National Security for statistical purposes; and a parent, guardian, caregiver, nearest relative or persons with legitimate interest sufficient to justify provision of the information.
In considering the application for Tier one information, the registrar will have to look at whether the offender poses a risk of harm to vulnerable persons, or if disclosure is necessary to protect a vulnerable person.
Tier two information will only be provided to the police, professional counsellors or persons whom the court considers as having legitimate interest, sufficient to justify being given the information.
By Alan Travis
Report by chief inspector of prisons criticises conditions and rehabilitation efforts at Wakefield high security institution
Little or no effective work is being done with some of the most serious sex offenders behind bars, the chief inspector of prisons says in a report published on Friday.
Nick Hardwick says in the report that almost half the 750 men held at Wakefield high security prison, many of whom are serious sex offenders, are in denial about their crimes, and there are no programmes at the jail to tackle their behaviour.
His report criticises the decision to concentrate so many men who refuse to take responsibility for their crimes at Wakefield, and points out that accepted expert opinion is that useful work can be done even with men in complete denial.
The inspection, which took place in May, also criticised conditions in Wakefield's close supervision centre (CSC), which holds seven of the country's most dangerous prisoners. It found the gated, cage-like cells in the centre to be small and stark with limited natural light.
"The unscreened toilets were located directly in front of observation panels," the report says. "Exercise yards consisted of bare, individual cages. There was some exercise equipment in a separate room. Limited education and visits could take place in a closed visits-style room in which a reinforced window separated the prisoner from whoever was speaking to him. Most of the men had lived in these conditions for about three years; one for as long as 11 years."
The inspectors said the failure to do much effective work with those in denial about their crimes risked entrenching negative attitudes and undermining the work done with those prisoners who did admit to the need to change.
"The prison service should consider whether it is right to place such a concentration of men in denial in one establishment. That does not reduce the responsibility of HMP Wakefield itself to do some work with these men. There is now expert opinion that it is possible to make some useful interventions even with men who are in complete denial, and the prison should be attempting to prepare and motivate men to change," the report says.
Hardwick said it was no surprise in such conditions that progress in rehabilitating men at Wakefield was often slow and small advances required enormous effort.
"The prison is stable and generally safe but more management attention is required across a number of high-risk areas such as self-harm prevention, segregation and the CSC. The need to occupy the prisoners more fully and purposefully remains unaddressed," he said.
Michael Spurr, the head of the national offender management service, said he recognised the concerns raised in the report.
"It is not unusual or surprising that prisoners serving long sentences deny or minimise their offence, particularly those with sexual offences who may deny their guilt due to shame or fears about status and family support," he said.
"However, staff will need to continue to work with offenders throughout their whole sentence to motivate them to address their offending and to reduce their risk."
NC - Former Moorestown officer (Robert Melia Jr.) and one-time girlfriend (Heather Lewis) sentenced for sex assaultson teens
|Heather Lewis & Robert Melia|
MOUNT HOLLY — A former Moorestown police officer and his one-time girlfriend received lengthy jail terms today for sexually assaulting several youths.
Robert Melia Jr. of Moorestown was ordered to spend 30 years in prison, while Heather Lewis of Pemberton received a 25-year term. Both were convicted in April of multiple sex offenses involving assaults against three juveniles.
Melia, who was suspended from the force after his April 2008 arrest, also was found guilty of official misconduct.
A jury reached no verdict on charges relating to a fourth victim, a teenage girl who was the first to accuse the couple.
Charges against the couple ranged from multiple counts of first degree aggravated sexual assault to endangering the welfare of a child to invasion of privacy, according to the prosecutor's office.
All four accusers — three girls and a boy who ranged in age from 12 to 17 when the alleged assaults took place between 2000 and 2008 — testified during a graphic two-week trial in Superior Court in Mount Holly. They said most of the assaults took place inside Melia's home.
Melia was arrested in April 2008 after a search at his Cottage Avenue home turned up a video that showed him performing sex acts with five calves.
The case soon gained national attention as Melia was charged with animal cruelty. Those charges, however, were later dismissed after a Superior Court judge ruled there wasn't evidence the acts had actually tormented the cows.
|Judge Jeanine Pirro|
In Simi Valley, California, a law was passed prohibiting registered sex offenders from giving out candy to Halloween trick-or-treaters. A group of sex offenders have now sued the city, saying the law is an infringement on their First Amendment rights.
The law bans those convicted of sex crimes from having Halloween displays or outside lighting on Oct. 31. For offenders listed on the Megan’s Law website, the city also requires them to have a sign clearly posted on the front door, reading: “No candy or treats at this residence.”
Judge Jeanine Pirro weighed in on the dispute this morning on Fox and Friends, saying essentially that the law should be upheld because government’s first obligation is the protection of its citizens.
- No, the first obligation is to defend the Constitution and everyone's rights, not just those you like.
“They say it’s a violation of their civil rights … that’s hogwash. Here’s the bottom line: predators and pedophiles are repeat offenders. They are cunning, they are devious. They are waiting for our children to come to their doors,” said Pirro, cautioning that not every city or state has such an ordinance.
- Yeah, your statement is what is hogwash. If that were true, then how come there is not one documented case of where this has occurred on Halloween?
A real-life soap opera becomes a TV show ... the nightmare story of Jodi Barrus.
Her picture-perfect life as an Iowa history teacher was shattered when she was falsely accused of having sex with a student. It destroyed her marriage, her friendships and nearly her career. She was found not guilty, but is paying a price.