Thursday, February 28, 2013

NY - Warren County suspends sex offender residence ban

Original Article

02/28/2013

By JON ALEXANDER

QUEENSBURY - Warren County has suspended enforcement of its law that bans registered sex offenders from living close to schools, playgrounds and parks in the face of a lawsuit charging the law is unconstitutional, according to the lawyer for the plaintiff.

The county’s 2006 law limits where any sex criminal convicted of illicit acts against children can live and work.
- This is not true!  The law affects all ex-sex offenders, not just those who have harmed children, we are willing to bet.

Albany-based lawyer Kathy Manley, who represents an unnamed level two sex offender, said Warren County’s law banning convicted sex criminals from living or working within 1,000 feet of schools and parks, even after they’ve completed parole, unlawfully supersedes state jurisdiction.

It doesn’t make sense to essentially banish people from areas where they could potentially get treatment or find employment,” she said.

State law places limitations on where offenders can live and work only until they have completed parole.
- We also don't think this is true.  From what we've heard, these residency restrictions continue even after parole / probation.  Just ask anybody in New York who is dealing with the laws.

The offender Manley represents — listed as “John Doe” in the lawsuit filed Feb. 6 — wants to move in with his mother in Queensbury, according to court documents filed at Warren County state Supreme Court.

He was convicted in 2010 in Washington County of sexual acts with a minor who was under 16, and he served two years in prison, the lawsuit states. Manley said her client has completed parole, but is still barred from moving in with his mother under county law.
- Exactly, like we said above, it goes on beyond parole / probation.

County Attorney Martin Auffredou has agreed to suspend enforcement of the county law until the constitutional challenge is settled.

What we’re going to do is not enforce this for the time being until I talk to the Board of Supervisors about it,” Auffredou said.

John Doe is expected to move in to his mother’s residence soon, Manley said.

Warren County Board Chairman Kevin Geraghty and Sheriff Bud York both acknowledged talking this week with Auffredou about the matter. York declined comment when asked about the policy change.

Geraghty said no one has spoken yet about repealing the local law, and he referred any additional comment to Auffredou.

Washington County officials couldn’t provide John Doe’s identity with the information provided in the lawsuit.

We’re giving ourselves time to look at the law and how comparable laws have fared in other counties,” Auffredou said. “In my view, there is sufficient state law in place as a safeguard.”

Manley said she wasn’t sure which school playground or public park John Doe’s mother lives near.

Counties across the state — including Washington County — passed similar sex offender statutes in recent years, only to have them ruled unconstitutional in the courts.

Essex and Franklin county lawmakers recently convened a forum to discuss what local governments could do to address growing concern about where local sex offenders live and work.

The discussions resulted in little action after county lawyers advised county lawmakers of the constitutional problems with such restrictions.


MN - House attaches sex offender limit to Mpls. park fee bill

Original Article

02/28/2013

By Eric Roper

A discussion about Minneapolis park fees on the floor of the Minnesota House Monday took a peculiar detour when Republicans successfully linked the issue to dangerous sex offenders.

For years, Minneapolis has been trying to acquire the right to charge developers a fee to build or renovate parks near their projects. A technical change in state law to make that possible passed the House Monday, but an amendment could make the fee near-impossible to implement in some parts of Minneapolis.

Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, pushed successfully for a tweak that prevents the fee from being levied for parks within 1,500 feet of a level-three sex offender's home. That's about five to seven blocks, she said.

Governments across the metro area (PDF) already levy park dedication fees. Minneapolis is proposing to charge $1,500 per unit on residential projects and at most $200 per employee on commercial projects.

"It's not guesswork to figure out that registered sex offenders shouldn't be playing near our children," Scott said.
- Another ignorant politician who thinks all ex-sex offenders are child molesting, pedophile predators who love to hang out in parks or playgrounds just waiting to pounce, which is so far from the truth.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, added "a green vote will help protect these vulnerable children. And a red vote will fail to do so."
- This is the same mentality as a president wanting to wage war and saying "either you are for us or against us."

Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, countered that while the amendment is "trying to protect people from a sexual predator, you're also denying everybody else that's very close to that location the opportunity to have a park that they're able to get to."

The author of the bill, Rep. Frank Hornstein, urged that the issue should be first vetted by the public safety committee. But it was nonetheless attached to the bill in a vote of 86-43. Hornstein expects it will be reviewed further when the House and Senate bills are resolved.

The amendment could have a major impact on the ability to fund parks in some parts of the city such as North Minneapolis, which has the largest concentration of sex offenders, according to the Southwest Journal. Incidentally, since the language only addresses developer fees paying for parks near sex offenders, taxpayer dollars could likely still be used.

They’re hoping that that can be used in a political campaign," Hornstein said later in an interview. "And it’s gutter politics. It’s the worst of politics. And I’m glad that at least 43 of my colleagues resisted that.”
- And you are not using this to make yourself look better for your campaign or career?  This is "the pot calling the kettle black."

Here's the text of the change:

"Park land acquired or developed with fees paid under this section must not be within 1500 feet of the residence of a person designated as a risk level III predatory offender under Minnesota Statutes, section 244.052, subdivision 3."


IN - Indiana won't challenge sex offender Facebook ruling

Original Article

02/28/2013

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana has decided not to ask a federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling that overturned a state law that banned convicted sex offenders from social networking websites.

American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said Thursday that the attorney general's office would not ask the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to rehear the case.

The court said in January that the 2008 law was too broad and violated freedom of speech.

State lawmakers are currently rewriting the law to try to make it conform to constitutional limits. A Senate committee has approved an amended version that applies only to offenders convicted of child-related sex crimes who knowingly use social networks, instant messaging or chat rooms to communicate with children under age 16.


MA - Quincy lawmaker files bill to require sex offenders to register social media names

Original Article

02/28/2013

By Mike Trinh

BOSTON - Is that new Facebook friend or Twitter follower a sex offender? How would you know?

For the third time since 2007, a Quincy lawmaker is leading an effort to change the state’s Sex Offender Registry law to require sex offenders to register their online social media handles and email addresses with the state.

It’s an effort first championed by former state Sen. Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy, back in 2007, three years after Facebook was launched and quickly became the social media choice among college students, then high school kids and adults.

That year, the bill never made it out of the Judiciary Committee. In 2011, state Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy, a former aide to Morrissey, refiled the bill with the same results.

This year, Chan has filed the bill again, along with 19 co-sponsors, and said he hopes it will have a better chance this time.

So much of our world is not about physical presences anymore. There are many online presences now,” Chan said.

The bill would update the 2004 Sex Offender Registry Statute to adapt to changing technology and social media, Chan said, adding that sex offender registry laws have to evolve along with society.

Morrissey, now the Norfolk County district attorney, said his office has seen cases of sex offenders meeting young victims on the Internet. The current registry is not designed to stop or bring attention to online predators.

At the time the sex offender registry went into effect, no one was paying attention to the computer and what it would mean in the future,” he said.

The bill would require all levels of sex offenders to register social media names and email addresses, but the registry’s website would only display the Internet identities of Level 3 offenders – the ones considered most likely to re-offend. People would have to contact their local police department for information on others.

Quincy Detective Lt. Patrick Glynn said having more in-depth information on sex offenders would give the police more avenues to check on them.

It would be extremely helpful with the way social media has taken off,” he said.

The penalty for not registering online identities would be 6 months to 2 1/2 years in jail or a fine of not more than $1,000 – the same penalty sex offenders face for failing to register addresses and phone numbers.

John Reinstein, senior legal counsel at the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a written statement that forcing sex offenders to list their online identities is an invasion of personal privacy that would not likely improve public safety. Instead, he said, it would just make the people in the registry more vulnerable to harassment and isolation.

If the goal of the statute is to reintegrate sex offenders into the community and to prevent re-offense, this is not the way to do it,” he said.

However, Reinstein also said that it may be appropriate for offenders caught conducting their crimes on the Internet to register online identities as part of their probation.

To the extent that an individual sex offender’s offense involves the use of the Internet for unlawful purposes, such regulation may be appropriate as a condition of probation,” he wrote.


WA - Man shot by Seattle police near Carkeek Park dies; was registered sex offender and a Schizophrenic

Original Article

This article says the man was a Schizophrenic. What ever happened to doing everything possible to spare a human life? Now it’s take a life and ask questions later!  They could have tranquilized the man without killing him!

02/27/2013

A man shot multiple times by police in northwest Seattle has died at Harborview Medical Center, according to police sources, who say the man was a registered sex offender convicted of attacking a woman two years ago near the scene of Tuesday night's shooting.

The man, identified by sources as [name withheld], 21, was charged with second-degree assault with intent to commit rape after attacking a woman jogging in Carkeek Park in October 2011. A Department of Corrections spokeswoman told The Seattle Times a warrant had been issued for his arrest on Jan. 28 after he failed to report to his community corrections officer and his treatment provider.

Officers responded Tuesday night to reports of a domestic disturbance and possible hostage situation near the park. A caller told dispatchers that a man was threatening to hold his father hostage with a knife.

Detective Mark Jamieson says officers were able to separate the suspect and his father, but the suspect continued to be difficult.

According to police, [name withheld] fled the scene and crouched behind a parked car.

"One of the pursuing officers slipped and fell near the suspect's feet and then suddenly the suspect raised up from his crouched position holding a large piece of metal in his hand," Jamieson said.

Officers fired, striking [name withheld] several times.

In the October 2011 attack, court documents say [name withheld] jumped from a park bench on a remote park trail and grabbed a woman from behind in a choke hold, throwing her down and pushing her head to the ground.

The woman was able to fight him off, according to police.

[name withheld] reportedly apologized and ran from the park, calling 911 to tell police he'd just attacked a woman.

Seattle police plan to brief the media on the shooting sometime Thursday.