Thursday, December 20, 2012

KY - Lexington police sergeant (Robert Dale Brown) convicted of misconduct gets probation for receiving sexual favors from a woman in his custody

Robert Dale Brown
Original Article

12/19/2012

By Josh Kegley

A Lexington police sergeant was sentenced to unsupervised probation after a jury found him guilty Wednesday of three counts of misconduct.

The jury recommended 150 days in jail for Sgt. Robert Dale Brown, but he won't have to serve that time unless he commits another crime, attorneys said.

Brown was accused of violating the public's trust by receiving sexual favors from a woman in his custody and failing to file proper charges against the woman and her fiancè.

Brown initially was charged with one count of first-degree official misconduct and two counts of second-degree official misconduct, all misdemeanors. A jury of three men and three women found him guilty on all counts after deliberating about four hours. However, they reduced the first-degree count to second-degree.

On Dec. 9, 2011, Brown arrested the woman, who had drug paraphernalia in her purse, took her to a remote area in Fayette County for sexual favors, then "un-arrested" her, according to testimony and court documents.

He also was accused of failing to file charges against the woman's fiancè, Brian Kazee, who was found with narcotic pills in his pocket. Brown charged Kazee with driving on a suspended license, even though Brown did not witness the traffic infraction.

The allegations came to light this year. Brown was relieved of sworn duty and was suspended without pay July 12. He was criminally charged in August. The woman accused Brown of raping her, but Lexington police testified that they found no evidence of rape. She filed a lawsuit in federal court a couple of weeks ago accusing Brown of rape, sexual battery, kidnapping and false arrest.

Testimony in the criminal case started Monday and was scheduled to last four days, but it wrapped up early. Fayette District Judge Kim Wilkie presided.

After jurors returned a verdict about 5 p.m. Wednesday, Wilkie began the sentencing phase. Brown's attorney, Steve Schroering, asked Wilkie to conditionally discharge Brown, meaning Brown would be on probation, but he would not be supervised by a parole officer.

Schroering said that Brown, who turned 51 on Wednesday, had no criminal history.

Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts said he did not object. "I know his background. He's a good man," the prosecutor said.

The judge told Brown he was prepared to send him to jail immediately if Roberts had objected to probation.

"We cannot have police officers in this county, or any county, acting above ... the law," Wilkie said.

After the trial, Roberts said it was a tough case that would not have been won without testimony from FBI agent Kevin Horan, as well as Brown's fellow officers who investigated the case.

Roberts said he thought the punishment was appropriate and that there was no reason to think Brown would commit another crime.

"To me, it was almost an anomaly in his life to have done what he did," Roberts said after the trial.

After Brown walked out of the courthouse Wednesday, his attorney said he would appeal the conviction.

"While we respect the verdict of the jury, we certainly disagree with it," Schroering said.


PA - Adam Walsh Act takes effect today

Original Article

12/20/2012

By Jennifer Harr

The registration provisions of the Adam Walsh Act kick in today, requiring additional reporting time for some, and new registration for others.

Signed last year to strengthen the existing Megan’s Law reporting and other requirements for sex offenders, the new act bases how long offenders have to report on a tiered system, adds new offenses for which people must report and in some cases, will require those already sentenced – and not covered under Megan’s Law – to undergo an assessment and being reporting addresses to state police.

Fayette County Assistant District Attorney Linda Cordaro, who acts as the county’s sex assault prosecutor, said there are many changes, all aimed at protecting potential victims. Included among them are a tiered system that puts offenses into three categories.

The lowest reporting time is for the first tier, and is 15 years. That tier includes charges like unlawful restraint of a minor, luring a child to a motor vehicle, indecent assault and interference with custody of children.

Tier two offenses require a 25-year registration, and include institutional sexual assault, promoting prostitution of a minor, sexual abuse of children. Tier three registrants do so for life, and have been convicted of offenses like kidnapping and rape.

Under Megan’s Law, offenses were divided into two categories, requiring either 10-year or lifetime registration.

The 10-year registrants who are still within their registration period will be reclassified under the Adam Walsh Act, and their reporting time will retroactively increase dependent upon what tier they fit into, Cordaro said.

If a person has been convicted or has pleaded guilty to an offense that required registration under Megan’s Law, and are still under the supervision of the court, and they haven’t successfully completed their super or incarceration, then they are going to fall under the requirements of the Adam Walsh registration, which is a lengthier registration period,” she said.

Uniontown attorney Thomas W. Shaffer recently argued a motion to have a client who pleaded no contest to indecent assault removed from probation so that his client was not retroactively forced into registration under the Adam Walsh Act.

The man, sentenced to one year probation in February, was previously not required to register under Megan’s Law, a provision specifically noted in his plea deal, Shaffer said.

However, the man received notice that he was going to have to register under Adam Walsh, a move Shaffer contended is a constitutional violation.

He said that retroactively increasing registration time – or forcing someone to register who previously did not have to – is tantamount to punishing someone twice for the same crime, and precluded.

This act is penal, it’s not procedural,” Shaffer said.


PA - Challenge of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1183


Original Article

12/20/2012

On December 20, RSOL sent a press release to 130 news outlets, and a few legislators, primarily in PA, announcing that it would soon challenge sections of Senate Bill 1183 (Pennsylvania’s new sex offender registration requirements) on multiple constitutional grounds. Constitutional challenges to AWA and other legislation and laws that affect our advocacy are meeting with some success. Just look at what is happening in CA and a few other states. This doesn't just affect PA or any one state. A victory anywhere is a victory for us all; we are truly all in this together.

We need your financial support! If you have thought about making a donation to our legal fund, or encouraging your constituency to do so, this is an excellent time. There is a legal fund PayPal button on the website, or mail checks to RSOL Legal Fund, PO Box 36123, Albuquerque, NM 87176. Donations to the legal fund goes directly to this and other challenges by RSOL. Please help us help you and your family!

Thank you all.



December 20, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Larry Neely
RSOL Legal Committee
202-709-3890.

Reform Sex Offender Laws Inc. (RSOL) plans to soon challenge sections of Senate Bill 1183 (Pennsylvania’s new sex offender registration requirements) on multiple constitutional grounds."

Today marks the beginning of enforcement of a controversial new state law that purports to protect citizens from registered sex offenders. RSOL’s executive director Brenda Jones stated, “It is disappointing that Pennsylvania’s lawmakers chose to ignore the lessons learned when Ohio proceeded down this same disastrous path more than five years ago.” Ohio was the first state to be deemed AWA complaint, but the courts subsequently have found several aspects of Ohio’s new law unconstitutional. After expending millions of taxpayer dollars defending an unconstitutional law, Ohio was forced to revert back to the old registration system for those sentenced prior to the new law’s enactment.

Jones stated that provisions of Pennsylvania’s new law “transform what is supposed to be a non-punitive, civil regulatory measure into a form of lifetime probationary supervision for most persons on the registry,” which RSOL believes to be blatantly unconstitutional. “And further,” she continues, “all individuals on Pennsylvania’s registry will see their registration periods dramatically increase, with the majority becoming life-timers. This,” she emphasized, “is a violation of the ex post facto clause.”

Jones stated that although the new law was touted by its supporters as necessary to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA), “It does little if anything to improve public safety, and any marginal benefit achieved is at the expense of trampling over our most cherished constitutional protections.”

Jones concluded her remarks by saying, “It is most unfortunate that RSOL must undertake such a challenge, but make no mistake about it; we cannot and will not stand by while public policymakers shred the constitution and disregard their oaths of office.”


TX - Female cop (Kellie Helleson) performs cavity search on two women during traffic stop by David Farrell, should be in prison and on the sex offender registry for life! This is sexual assault!

Original Article

12/18/2012

Two Texas women are suing after state troopers subjected them to a humiliating and invasive 'roadside body cavity search' that was caught on video.

Female trooper Kellie Helleson is seen in the footage aggressively searching the private parts of [name withheld], 38, and her niece, [name withheld], 24, in front of passing cars.

The women, who claim the trooper used the same rubber glove for both of them, were initially stopped by Helleson's colleague David Farrell on State Highway 161 near Irving after he saw one of them throw a cigarette butt out the window.
- And if one had a disease, this officer could've spread it to the other. Yeah, I hope they win in court!

Farrell can be heard in the disturbing video questioning the pair about marijuana though he failed to find any evidence of the drug in the vehicle.

However, he requested the women be searched after allegedly claiming they were 'acting weird.'

The lawsuit states he then tried to 'morph this situation into a DWI investigation,' according to the Dallas Morning News.

[name withheld] passed a roadside sobriety test and the women were given warnings for littering.

[name withheld] said Helleson irritated an anal cyst she suffers from during the search, causing her 'severe and continuing pain and discomfort.'

The suit said: '[name withheld] was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner.'

The two women are also suing the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, who they claim ignored previous complaints about 'unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like.'

The [name withheld]' lawyer Scott H. Palmer said the shocking incident, which was filmed on one of the trooper's dash-mounted cameras, was a roadside 'sexual assault.'

He said the Texas Rangers investigated his clients' complaints but failed to take any action against the troopers.

'You can see what's happening clearly,' he told the Dallas Morning News of the video. 'No one's ever seen the likes of this. We can't let them get away with it.'

Update: