10/27/2012 - Interviewed the lawyer trying to get Halloween restrictions on registered sex offenders in California lifted. At one point she compares sex offenders to Jews in Nazi Germany who were forced to wear yellow stars. Outrageous!
Thursday, December 13, 2012
CA - Joe Pagliarulo - Interviewed the lawyer trying to get Halloween restrictions on registered sex offenders in California lifted.
By Andria Simmons
An estimated 258 dangerous sexual predators are not being monitored as closely as they should be because Georgia’s system of classifying sex offenders based on their danger to the community is seriously backlogged.
Such sexual predators, who are considered likely to commit more sex crimes, are required under a state law passed in 2006 to wear a GPS monitor the rest of their lives and update their sex offender registration twice yearly. Although they are listed in the publicly available registry, the GPS monitoring requirement makes these violent sexual predators accountable for their whereabouts, providing greater assurance that they will stay away from areas where children gather.
Officials on the special state review board said the classification process has been hindered because their analysts who investigate cases were stretched too thin.
Five analysts at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are currently slogging through 4,300 pending cases while also getting anywhere from 120 to 150 new cases a month, and officials can’t say how long it will take to eliminate the backlog.
“At this point, we’re just trying to catch up and keep up,” said Cindy Ledford, assistant special agent in charge of the Georgia Information Sharing Analysis Center of the GBI.
The backlog has alarmed some advocates of child and adult sexual assault victims.
“To know something like this is happening is … very disheartening and puts you in a mindset of second-guessing what’s the sense of even coming forward,” said DeQuanda Sanders, who founded the Georgia-based nonprofit Saving Our Children and Families (Facebook) to help victims of child abuse. “For an offender to get out and not have their sentence fit their crime, it really is a disservice to the victim.”
When state lawmakers in 2006 passed the sex offender bill it was considered one of the toughest in the nation (PDF). The law prohibited registered sex offenders from living or working within 1,000 feet of any place where children gather, such as churches, schools, swimming pools and parks. Some of those restrictions have since been eased after several lawsuits filed by civil rights groups challenged the constitutionality of the law.
But part of the bill that still stands required sex offenders to be classified as either a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 Sexually Dangerous Predator by a specially appointed board called the State Sex Offender Registration Review Board. The classification system helps local law enforcement focus on monitoring those sex offenders who pose the greatest danger.
- Level 1 means the convicted sex offender has a 4 to 13 percent chance of committing another sex crime.
- Level 2 indicates there’s about a 34 percent chance the sex offender will strike again.
- A Level 3 Sexually Dangerous Predator designation means there’s a 65 percent chance or greater that the offender will commit more sex crimes — and it is this level of offender that requires GPS monitoring and twice-yearly registry updates, said Tracy Alvord, executive director of the Sex Offender Registration Review Board.
Sexually dangerous predators make up only about 4 to 6 percent of convicted sex offenders in Georgia. Based on that percentage, Alvord estimated that about 258 of the 4,300 backlogged offender cases are probably sexually dangerous predators.
- From the data we've been gathering, which is a little out dated, predators account for less than 2% of all sex offenders in the state. We will be updating this spreadsheet again, in the next day or so.
A recent incident in Fairburn illustrates the need for keeping closer tabs on convicted sex offenders.
Bobby Wilcox checked the list of sex offenders in his area in October and recognized one as a volunteer at his children’s Bear Creek Middle School. The man had apparently lied about his name and address to fool school officials. After Wilcox alerted the school, the man was arrested for violating the terms of his probation.
“You may think you live in a nice area, but you just never know,” Wilcox said. “A lot of people get complacent and think things like this won’t happen. They do all the time.”
Research has shown only a small percentage of sex offenders pose a high risk of reoffending, and those offenders are responsible for most of the nation’s sex crimes, said Dr. Julie Medlin, a psychologist who specializes in treating sex offenders and operates four treatment centers in metro Atlanta.
- We have many more studies, here.
The backlog in classifying sex offenders is a consequence of a well-intended law that the state had inadequate resources to swiftly implement, Alvord said. The board meets only once a month and is composed of volunteers who are law enforcement officials, medical professionals and victim advocates. Up until July, the board had only three analysts to gather offenders’ criminal histories.
“Sometimes they pass legislative acts that we have to play catch-up on,” said Chief Steven Land of the Hazelhurst Police Department, who is also vice chairman of the Georgia Sex Offender Registration Review Board. He said no one realized the number of sex offenders who would have to be classified.
Former state Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), who was House majority whip when the law was passed, said the sex offender classification system may be backlogged, but it’s still an improvement over prior years when no risk assessment was required.
“The situation is getting better, but you couldn’t take years and years where this law hadn’t been implemented and catch up with it overnight,” said Fleming, who has been re-elected to return to the House in January after leaving office in 2008.
In order to classify an offender, the Sex Offender Registration Review Board looks at the person’s history. That review process requires analysts to gather court documents, victim-witness statements and investigative reports for cases that can be years if not decades old, in counties that have different methods of record-keeping.
The biggest obstacle to increasing the volume of classifications was the time it took analysts to obtain those documents.
Up until July, analysts were also hampered by working for a civilian state agency — the state Department of Human Resources — because some local law enforcement agencies were reluctant to send them sensitive police records, said GBI spokesman John Bankhead.
House Bill 895 (PDF), passed by the General Assembly this year, remedied that by transferring the three analysts to the GBI effective July 1. The GBI has also dedicated two more analysts to help with the caseload. Now, the analysts are able to gather the necessary records at a faster clip, Bankhead said.
Medlin, who served on the Sex Offender Registration Review Board prior to the start of the classification system, said one solution to the backlog might be to start classifying sex offenders as soon as they’re convicted, so judges can lock up high-risk offenders longer or require more intensive psychological treatment.
- And you'd have to re-evaluate them when they come out of prison/jail as well.
“It would be much more effective, so much more timely and would make so much more sense,” Medlin said.
By ADAM ELMAHREK
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is preparing to fight what could be the beginning of significant backlash against his signature issue over the past year — banning sex offenders from local parks.
After successfully pushing for a ban at county parks, Rackauckas spent many hours and nights this year attending city council meetings across the county lobbying for ordinances that would make it illegal for registered sex offenders to enter city parks.
The intensive lobbying effort paid off, with 15 cities voting to adopt such bans.
- And hopefully these cities will now repeal the laws, which do nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody?
But then a registered sex offender sued, and a panel of Orange County Superior Court judges ruled last month that the county’s ban was illegal because it preempted state law and created a confusing patchwork of local restrictions.
That decision could end up before the state's 4th District Court of Appeal, which will decide by Dec. 15 whether to take on the issue.
If the appellate court affirms the Superior Court’s decision, it could spell doom for Rackauckas’ high-profile campaign.
- Good, and hopefully they will find the laws unconstitutional?
It appears that reversals and criticism have already begun.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has decided to stop enforcing the ordinance in county territories and some cities because of advice from the county counsel’s office in the wake of the court ruling.
And following heated exchange between Lake Forest Mayor Kathryn McCullough (Video) and Rackauckas, Lake Forest City Council members last Tuesday night voted to repeal their ordinance.
Officials in other cities across the county are considering doing the same.
Despite those setbacks, Rackauckas remains undeterred.
At last week's annual Orange County Inns of Court annual holiday event, Rackaucakas said he sharply disagrees with the county counsel’s position and the ruling of the lower court.
Rackauckas said his office is confident in their legal position that the sex offender bans are constitutional and that county officials need not stop enforcing the ban unless the appellate court decides to take on the issue and offers an adverse ruling.
DA officials have taken the stance that regardless of how many sex crimes are actually prevented, defending children from sexual predators is worth fighting for and that the cities were warned of possible court battles if they adopted the ordinances.
“We have always said that this is a law that will never show up in the statistics. You will never know what child will not get raped or not get molested because this law existed,” said Susan Kang Schroeder, Rackauckas' chief of staff.
Yet to critics the sex offender park ban is an unnecessary law, seemingly intended to score easy political points and now placing taxpayers at risk for costly lawsuits.
Lake Forest officials sharply criticized the law as ineffective before City Council members voted to repeal it.
A staff report states that since such bans have taken effect, “only two have resulted in prosecution, and the court recently overturned the sole conviction on appeal.”
By Sally Voth
School boards would have to alert parents of children whose bus routes had stops near sex offenders' homes and take other measures under a bill proposed by Del. Robert Marshall, R-Prince William County.
HB 1369 (PDF) would require local school boards to put in place policies that would minimize the number of bus stops that were 500 feet or less from the home of a registered sex offender.
Additionally, Marshall said in a Tuesday phone interview, parents of children whose bus routes included such stops would get a notification.
"Notifying them, it may encourage [school districts] to put bus stops elsewhere," he sad.
Marshall said he was motivated to introduce the bill after hearing of bus stops near sex offenders in Fairfax County, a jurisdiction he doesn't cover.
"I just think we need to do this so the parents are alerted to the circumstances and they can take whatever precautions they think prudent to take," he said. "I know it would be hard [to pass legislation if] I made it a criminal offense to live near a bus stop. This is the simplest way to get some level of protection for students and alerting the parents. I think this is something for public safety that parents would be interested in if they knew this was going on."
Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, said he would support such legislation.
"I think anything we can do to minimize the risk of our children being preyed upon by known sex offenders is a great thing," he said Tuesday afternoon. "We have a hard enough time protecting our children from the unknown, but when you have known sex offenders living in an area, we should be able to take advantage of that information in order to help protect our kids."
- The fact is, most children are not assaulted by known sex offenders, but unknown sex offenders, family or close friends, so this is another piece of legislation that makes them look good, but does nothing to protect anybody or prevent crime.
Warren County School Board Chairman Roy Boyles wasn't yet aware of the legislation, but said anything that protects children was a positive.
"If that's deemed appropriate and approved by the legislature and it's mandated that we end up having to look into that to ensure children's safety, I'm sure that we will do our best to be able to do that."
Frederick County School Board Chairman Stuart Wolk also hadn't yet reviewed the proposed bill.
"We take students' safety very seriously," he said. "Our bus drivers have specific training on what to watch for and such."
That safety would have to be balanced with the logistics of a system that has about 700 bus stops, according to Wolk.
|Ian Ronald Sleigh|
A NSW policeman has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman while he was in Perth for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last year.
Ian Ronald Sleigh was off duty at a pub in the entertainment district of Northbridge when the assault on the 22-year-old woman occurred.
Sleigh was due to stand trial in the District Court of WA on Monday but has entered a plea of guilty.
He was originally charged with sexual penetration but that was discontinued and substituted with a charge of indecent assault.
Sleigh will be sentenced on Thursday.
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 23-year-old Philadelphia man has been sentenced to 6-12 years in prison for a vicious and sadistic vigilante-justice attack — in retaliation for a crime that did not happen.
Authorities say a woman set up the victim with a false rape claim.
The beating victim testified that Renada Williams, 31, invited him over for sex. Later, authorities say, 23-year-old Shown Aiken and his teenaged brother arrived, prompted by a call from Williams claiming she had been sexually assaulted.
“They went over to her house, kicked in the door, found the victim completely vulnerable and naked in the middle of the bedroom,” notes prosecutor Joseph McGlynn. “They began beating him with an extenstion cord, with a two-by-four, and ultimately they sodimized him with a broomstick after they taunted him and told him he was going to feel what it was like to be raped.”
- So, he is sentenced to 6-12 years and she to 23 months, so are they going to be put on the sex offender registry when they get out? She should've got more prison time than the man who attacked the person, since she instigated the whole thing.
The victim says he suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and other injuries, and was hospitalized for a week.
The motive for the setup is unclear, although some items were stolen from the victim.
The woman pleaded guilty earlier and was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison. The teen is being handled in the juvenile system.