Friday, February 22, 2013

PA - USA Fair - From a fellow advocate in Pennsylvania

Original Facebook Post

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let the group know about the conversation I just had with my contact at the Defender Assoc. of Phila. She told me they are going to file petitions against the AWA on behalf of RSO's that fit certain criteria. The criteria is that the RSO was a 10 year registrant and is now a lifetime registrant or was not on Megan's Law before Dec. 20th and is now on one of the tiers. They are focusing on the contract clause part of the law. They sent the paperwork out in January. For anyone who wants to call the Defender Assoc. of Phila., the number is 215-568-3190.

She also said they have been working with the ACLU about a civil case, but the ACLU would take the lead on that since the Defender Assoc. only deals with criminal cases. It would be a long time before we see anything in the courts. I just spoke with a someone from the ACLU today and they said the same thing. They are still in the research stages. I filed a complaint with them regarding my registration status due to the AWA and Megan's Law. They said over 100 people have done the same and I think everyone in the group should do the same, but of course it's up to you. You need to check their website to find your local chapter and call them to file a complaint or write a letter. http://www.aclupa.org/


IN - Sex offenders will have to pay $50 (extortion fee) in order to register

Original Article

It's extortion, plain and simple!

02/22/2013

By Megan Reust

FORT WAYNE (WANE) - Starting April 1, sex offenders in Allen County will be required to pay a fee to register and change their addresses. Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries and deputies asked the County Commissioners to consider imposing the fee.

A new state law allows each county within the state of Indiana to impose a fee for sex offenders to register and update their addresses. Commissioners approved the county's request Friday morning.

Registering sex offenders takes manpower. Right now, the county has three full-time employees who work on keeping several sex offender registries up to date. Now, Allen County will be able to start charging sex offenders for the service they use.
- For a "service they use?"  First, it's not a "service" and they are not "using" it, it's forced upon them, which is not a fee, it's extortion!

"It is an expensive process and we thought it would be best with the budget constraints that we have now if we did try to generate a little bit of money to cover some of our costs," Corporal Jeff Shimkus explained.
- Then force the tax payers to pay for it!  They are the ones who wanted the laws!

Sheriff Ken Fries told County Commissioners imposing these fees would help cover some of the funds associated with maintaining various databases.

"I think any little bit of help that will get it off the backs of the taxpayers or the squeeze of tax caps is going to be beneficial," Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown said.

Commissioners approved the county's request. Starting in April, offenders will have to pay an annual registry fee of $50. And $5 every time they change their address.

"At this point last year if we collected everything we would had been looking at about $20,000 to about $21,000. So, it's a drop in the bucket but it is a little bit of cash that could help," Shimkus said.

So, what if sex offenders can't afford to pay the $50 up front?

"We will register offenders whether they can pay the money or not. That's not the issue. We'll still register the offenders and keep them compliant so there won't be any criminal charges filed, but if they don't pay these fees, we'll be looking at some kind of civil issue later on down the road."

Commissioners don't believe imposing these fees violates offender's civil rights.
- Well of course not, but if the shoe was on the other foot, then I'm sure they would.

"As a condition of their sentence to be carried out for whatever length of time and I suspect based on what level of infraction that they had committed that this is a requirement that we don't believe this is going to be an infringement of their civil rights," Brown said.
- It's additional punishment, which is called an ex post facto law and is unconstitutional, or extortion, which is a crime.

If offenders don't pay, they could be taken to small claims court and ordered to pay up.


NJ - Assembly Passes Jessica Lunsford Act, 77-0

Original Article

02/21/2013

By Anthony Bellano

District 9 legislators had been concerned with the possibility that A-2027 would slow down the process.

New Jersey's General Assembly passed Bill A-2027 (PDF), dealing with the Jessica Lunsford Act, by a unanimous vote of 77-0 Thursday afternoon, Feb. 21, according to the State Legislature's website.

On Tuesday, the Ninth Legislative District sent a letter to Galloway Council and supporters of the Jessica Lunsford Act, stating that they felt the "watered-down" version of the bill circulated in the Assembly would slow down the process for getting the act passed in the state.

The legislators wrote, in part, that "passing A-2027 will further delay the enactment of the Jessica Lunsford Act as the Senate would be required to reconsider the legislation.”

Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove also expressed concern over the lack of a harboring provision.

When introduced, the bill called for the harboring or concealment of a sex offender to be a second-degree crime, with certain exceptions reserved for the crime to be considered a third or fourth-degree crime. Offenders would be subject to increased penalties for harboring a known sex offender.

On Sept. 27, the Assembly Judiciary Committee amended the bill to eliminate the stricter penalty. The bill was adopted with amendments on Dec. 17, 2012.

The bill proposes a sentence of between 25 years and life in prison, in which a person convicted of sexual assault against a child younger than 13 must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.

Additionally, the cost estimate related to the bill projects a cost of $43,000 to house an inmate for the fiscal year 2013, according to Department of Corrections data.

"It's a step in the right direction," Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola said Thursday night. "It's our obligation to help our children. They're helpless."

Coppola and Councilmen Brian Tyrrell and Jim McElwee agreed that the harboring provision is needed, but the passage of the bill through the Assembly was a positive step.

"It's like harboring a fugitive," Tyrrell said. "If an individual is not registered and you knowingly give that person refuge, there should be a fine for that. The passing of the bill is definitely a move in the right direction. It's a great thing."

"I am disapointed that the Bill A-2027 was offered in a diluted version and not the original Bill S-380 (PDF) that was passed by the Senate almost unanimously," McElwee said. "However, you take your victories when you can get them and supporters of this bill have fought long and hard for many years, especially here in Galloway. Mrs. J and the CUFFS committee are to be congratulated for their tenacity in pushing local and state legislators to pass this into law for the protection of children across the state."

In October of last year, the New Jersey State Senate passed S-380/S-642 (PDF). The Senate version of the bill classifies harboring as a fourth-degree crime subject to a minimum of six months in prison.

The primary sponsors of the Assembly Bill are District 21 Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, District 11 Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, District 24 Assemblywoman Allison Littell McHose and District 22 Assemblyman Jerry Green.

The legislation is named after Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old girl who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005. Lunsford was from Florida, and many states have enacted “Jessica’s Law” since. New Jersey is one of the few remaining states that have not, but the process had picked up speed after languishing for the past few years, stemming from a town hall meeting in Galloway between the Delegation and Galloway and Port Republic residents last February.

Following that meeting, the delegation began an online petition drive calling for legislative action to be taken on the Jessica Lunsford Act as well as other sex offender legislation.

In a matter of three weeks in the fall, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee passed the bill, followed by the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the State Senate.


DC - FBI's New Crisis: Too Much Sexting

Original Article

02/22/2013

By Matt Cantor

FBI agents have received a stern rebuke in internal reports: Time to stop the sexting. An assistant director says the agency has been dealing with a "rash" of dirty texts and naked photos, some sent on government-furnished devices, CNN reports. "When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it's for official use. It's not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress," the official says.

Some 1,045 employees faced disciplinary measures—although that accounts for both sext- and non-sext-related offenses—between 2010 and 2012. Eighty-five of these employees were fired. One was linked to child pornography; another "hid a recording device in (a) supervisor's office"; another engaged in a drunken "domestic dispute." CNN reports a few of the sex cases:
  • A worker "paid for a sexual favor from (a) masseuse," prompting a two-week suspension.
  • Another sent a "nude photograph of herself to (an) ex-boyfriend's wife," landing a 10-day suspension.
  • An employee sent nude photos "to other employees" that "adversely affected the daily activities of several squads."

"I still get files and I think, 'Wow, I never would have thought of that,'" says the assistant director.

See Also:


ID - Committee OKs sex offender registry bill that doubles registration (extortion) fee

Original Article

02/22/2013

BOISE - A bill that doubles the fees charged to sex offenders and creates a statewide electronic offender registry has cleared a House committee.

The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee voted Thursday to send the measure to the House floor. It would boost sex offenders' annual registry fee from $40 to $80 and raise about $150,000 annually.

Those dollars would be used to fund an electronic network designed to track sex offenders' addresses as they move to new communities across the state.

Some of Idaho's biggest counties are already plugged into an electronic registry that tracks offenders, but many smaller counties still track movement on paper.

Boise resident [name withheld], a registered sex offender, said the measure would create a financial burden for recently released or unemployed offenders.

See Also:


CO - Former Officer (Josh Carrier) To Be Sentenced For Sex Crimes

Josh Carrier
Original Article

02/22/2013

A former Springs police officer convicted of more than 100 child sex counts will find out Friday how long he'll pay for his crimes.

Josh Carrier could face decades behind bars after being found guilty in October 2012 of sexual assault on a child, enticement of a child and unlawful sexual contact. In an earlier trial last year, he was also found guilty on more than 20 counts of child exploitation and pornography.

To read more about the Carrier verdict in October click here. For more information on Carrier's first trial in the spring of 2012, go here.

The crimes happened while Carrier was a school resource officer and volunteer wrestling coach at Horace Mann Middle School in Colorado Springs.


WI - No Sex Offender Ordinance in Villages; City Considering One

Original Article

02/21/2013

By Heather Asiyanbi

Racine is considering a rule that would put buffer zones where offenders could not live, similar to what Caledonia has on the books. Neither Mount Pleasant nor Sturtevant have sex offender ordinances.

Where sex offenders live after their release from prison is a touchy subject in any community. But the subject is front-and-center in the Racine area after a convicted sex offender was nearly placed in a home near that of one of his victims.

City of Racine leaders are vetting a new ordinance that would create buffer zones around areas where children congregate. Caledonia has a sex offender ordinance, but Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant do not.

Though Sturtevant does not currently have a sex offender ordinance, Village Clerk/Interim Administrator Mary Cole said trustees considered one about five years ago, but determined it would be too difficult to enforce for those not under supervised release.

"We will probably address this again at some point now that the [name withheld] case has shone some attention on the issue," she said.

Former Mount Pleasant Village President Carolyn Milkie said the subject did not come up during the almost 10 years she served on the board.

Caledonia's ordinance only allows placement in the village for offenders who are originally from Caledonia. Some of the village restrictions for people released after commitment as a sexually violent person (also known as Chapter 980 commitment) are:
  • At least 1,000 feet from a school, church, park, athletic field, trail, playground, conservation district, or H.F. Johnson Park (which is managed by the city); and
  • At least six blocks away from other sex offenders.
  • Chapter 980 is the statute that outlines how the state can commit people to a secure treatment center if they are deemed a danger to re-offend after completing their prison sentence.

For those not under supervised release but required to register with the Department of Corrections' sex offender registry, they must live:
  • At least 2,500 feet away from schools, churches, parks, athletic fields, trails, playgrounds, conservation districts, or H.F. Johnson Park; and
  • At least six blocks away from other sex offenders.

What the city is doing
Racine Alderwoman Molly Hall introduced a draft ordinance at a recent city Public Safety and Licensing Committee meeting after convicted sex offender [name withheld] was nearly moved a few doors away from a former victim and just four blocks from an elementary school.

At [name withheld]'s Feb. 14 placement hearing, instead Hall said the city needs equal footing with surrounding communities that have sex offender ordinances on the books.

"This draft ordinance takes into account state requirements for placing these individuals, like locating them back into the communities where they offended," she said. "We know we don't live in a bubble, but we have to balance the rights of the offender with the rights of the community."

Because of that placement requirement, the community's involvement with the process should be strong, Hall added.

She is hosting a public information meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Zion Lutheran Church, 3905 Kinzie Avenue, to present the particulars of the ordinance to the community. Anyone can attend that meeting.

Impact of ordinances
Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz at the Feb. 14 [name withheld] hearing took Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and Hall to task a bit for perhaps not being fully informed about the measures the state takes to monitor 980 releases.

Barca on Feb. 13 requested a state agency review placement procedures, and Hall is the primary author of the ordinance under consideration.

Part of Gasiorkiewicz's statement addressed the rate of recidivism and how isolation increases the likelihood of sex offenders committing additional sex crimes.

"Wisconsin is at the forefront of sex offender treatment and the misnomer is the rate of re-offending as high when it is actually between 12 and 24 percent," he said. "If we, as a community, exhibit hostile behaviors toward them, their lives continue to be unstable. Under the present law, this is the reality even if we don't like it. Collaboration is key for successful integration back in to the community."

[name withheld]'s lawyer, Robert Peterson, represents Chapter 980 cases all over the state, and he opposes ordinances like the one in Caledonia and the one proposed in Racine.

After the hearing, he stressed that Racine is not a dumping ground for sex offenders and that there is only one other 980 release in the city. He also spoke against any overly restrictive ordinances because they can actually increase the chances of offenders committing new crimes.

"The way these ordinances are crafted, the only location these people can move is the middle of the airport," Peterson said. "I understand how the community feels, but the truth is that these ordinances are counterproductive because they can push individuals into homelessness. Once that happens, all supervision and registering is impossible to monitor and makes it that much more likely for new crimes to be committed."

[name withheld] is not allowed to leave his home unless chaperoned and even then, cannot be more than an arm's length away from that person. He cannot mow his grass, shovel his snow or get his own mail. [name withheld] will be on GPS monitoring for the rest of his life and is also required to wear a proximity bracelet which lets law enforcement know just how far outside his allowed perimeter he might be.
- Wow, the worst serial killer in history was not monitored this much!  You'd think this man was Satan himself.

Peterson said it's the highest level of supervision he's ever seen, and he's hoping this issue raises awareness for the sex offender registry.

"There are over 300 people on the sex offender registry in Racine, and we want people aware," he said. "I hope this raises awareness because that's what the registry is for."