Wednesday, June 19, 2013

LA - Louisiana removes sex-offender label from those who shouldn't have had it

Original Article

The sex offender registry is suppose to be for those who have committed sex crimes, is it not? So why wouldn't you want prostitutes, pimps and John's to also be on the list?


By Jarvis DeBerry

[name withheld], whose crimes had earned him a place on California's sex-offenders registry, was murdered by neighbor Ivan Garcia Oliver in November 2007, 35 days after [name withheld] moved into a mobile home in California's Lake County. Oliver, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2012, never denied killing the man.

Instead, in a jailhouse interview with the Los Angeles Times, Oliver gave what amounted to a manifesto. His son had already been molested, Oliver explained. Then [name withheld] whose name was on the registry, moved into the neighborhood. "Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people. I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

California listed [name withheld]'s crimes as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force." As for the oral copulation, it was the "by force" part that applied to [name withheld].

"He was convicted of other bad things," a Lake County prosecutor told the Los Angeles Times, "but nothing involving a minor." Oliver leaped to the wrong conclusion. He isn't much different in that regard from most of us. We tend to assume that people on a sex-offenders list have hurt children.
- Well you need to stop assuming that now don't you?

I imagine that's why "Louise" was so quick to tell me what she hadn't done when we spoke in October 2011. "I've never molested a child," she said. Even so, "I can't even celebrate Halloween or go trick-or-treating with my kids." Louisiana's registration laws didn't distinguish between predators who had raped or otherwise exploited minors and desperate drug addicts who, like Louise had, peddled oral sex on the streets.

Nope. In Louisiana a sex offender was a sex offender was a sex offender. And all of them with the label were instructed to register their addresses and keep their distance from children.
- So it's okay to take prostitutes off the list, but continue to punish many others who didn't harm children?

That's why it was such a big deal last week when U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman approved a settlement that removes hundreds of names from the state's sex-offender registry. It was wrong in and of itself for the law to label prostitutes as if they were predators. But not everybody selling sexual gratification got the label. Only those who sold oral or anal sex. Those selling intercourse could get convicted repeatedly and never be labeled a sex offender.
- So what about all the others still on the list who are labeled predators who are not, or is this a sexist issue?

In 2011, the Louisiana Legislature changed the law so that those convicted of soliciting oral and anal sex wouldn't have to register, but that didn't help people whose names were already on the list. Thanks to a settlement between the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Louisiana attorney general's office, those names will be removed.

Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell should have removed the names sooner, but as the Legislature was debating changing the law, an attorney from Caldwell's office said the state couldn't afford the $37,000 a year it might take to go back and remove the names of people like Louise, people who hadn't ever preyed on anybody. Caldwell continued his foot-dragging even after Feldman ruled last year that the state had no "rational basis" for putting people like Louise on its registry. In a December hearing, Feldman said, "I am incredulous and very concerned about why this process has been dragged out against the backdrop of politics for so long."
- So apparently they don't think that dressing up in sexy outfits and walking the streets looking for John's is predatory?

Louise had cleaned herself up from drugs and was a full-time college student when we spoke. But she was weary of all the obstacles she routinely encountered as a labeled sex offender. She had an upcoming court date after being charged with not registering as she should have. She later pleaded guilty to avoid going to jail.

But the label itself was its own kind of prison, not to mention an invitation for scorn and ridicule. Some people think they can do anything to convicted sex offenders, that people with that label can't be mistreated. They're wrong, of course. And Louisiana itself was wrong for ever burdening non-predators with that label.

1 comment :

Loneranger said...

So we need to be careful as to who we call a sex offender. Why is it that it always comes back to I never harmed a child to justify some other action. Frankly prostitution does harm children on many levels. The John as they want to call them are often times married and often have children of their own. So they go out and catch something from these innocent victimless acts and go home and give it to the spouse next is a divorce and what happen to children in these cases? They end up often times with less of a life. Now this is only one way this can harm a child. How about the prostitutes that lead under aged girls into what they call the life. Are they not damaged? It is all intertwined and it never just ends with a few minutes of fun and then know one else is affected. then the fact that the men are not always safe from attack as some of these women use this to get someone alone and then when vulnerable rob them. So you have many reasons why prostitutes are not the innocent victims of the system. Frankly they and their pimps are much more predatory than 90 percent of the sex offender in general. One has to wonder what goes through the lawmakers minds.

Another problem they create is when caught they get a slap on the wrist and back out on the street. the guy on the other hand gets placed on the registry and he isn't going to get off any time soon. Now given both were involved in the same action why is this true in most states? Are they trying to place as many men on the list as possible for as long as possible and now want to remove the women? Somehow we have a problem with this as we are always looking at the women as the victim and the men as the offender. She really doesn't want to go to bed with fifty guys a day but she just can't say no to the money. Gee if they would just stop paying her she wouldn't do it. All the guys fault right? Well if we want to lock up and then register every man that commits some kind of illegal sex act and really anymore it's much like trying to stay inline with the hunting and fishing guild if you did that you would starve to death. You can't shoot a deer coming or going to it's bed from food or water. What else do they do? I suppose if they were climbing a tree but then they might be looking for food. Anyway the deck has been stacked against men for decades. I find it interesting that so few women are listed on the registry at all. so either they are all victims and innocent or they manipulate the system. Write the laws so no matter how obvious their actions it is always the guys fault. Well no matter what they do it should be equal. If they are caught having sex or she is out looking for it or the guy is then call it illegal if there is money involved I guess. But at least when it comes to the guy who is out there a few times or maybe even just once figure he is an amature and the woman is a pro. If you want to register the guy it should be required you register and punish the woman and more so as it's her business and a daily act on her part.

Frankly they don't care what happens to the guy. For lawmakers the male population is no more than a way to gain votes. As far as the women go they need to be protected from shame and ridicule and the prison that the registry is as really it's only for men as they being viole creatures in general and they are the ones that commit acts against nature right? Humm