Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Have a Guinness on us, but don't get to hammered! And remember, if you are on probation / parole, then don't drink any alcohol!

CA - 'Pocket parks' leave sex offenders questioning where to live

Original Article


By Leanne Suter

LOS ANGELES (KABC) - "John," who doesn't want to be identified, is a registered sex offender on parole, and he'll likely be moving again once a sliver of land in Harbor Gateway is transformed into the city's first pocket park.

"This is the first place I found that I actually could stay, but I've had to move a few times before because it was just where I can't live," said John.

The move could force out the high number of registered sex offenders living in the area since Jessica's Law (Proposition 93 PDF) restricts them from living within 2,000 feet of park, school or daycare.

Sex offender advocates say the high concentration of sex offenders -- more than 130 at its peak in the 13-block neighborhood -- is the direct result of the law, since it makes housing so limited.

Shana Rowan of USA Families Advocating an Intelligent Registry says it's actually putting the public at risk.

"The isolating factor might feel good, but in the end it detaches the offender from the community and makes it more likely that they will re-offend," she said.

She says research has shown residency restrictions do not reduce the recidivism rate, which is already very low at just over 3 percent, according the California Department of Corrections.

"They're going to end up in somebody else's community, and eventually it's going to be problem there, and if we continue to refuse to look at the facts and start integrating them into our policies, this is just going to be a never ending problem," she said.

As housing options shrink, advocates say more offenders are ending up on the streets where supervision is difficult. Even John admits in the end, where offenders live doesn't really matter.

"It is very difficult to find a place to live. Most of us want to live in our own homes, most of us can't even live in our own homes because of these damn restrictions. If we really wanted to do something we'd do it," he said.

At this point it is unclear if the sex offenders in the area will be forced to move or not since an L.A. judge has ruled the park restriction of the law unconstitutional.

See Also:

ME - Legislative committee approves change to sex offender residency law

Original Article


By Susan M. Cover

Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to recommend passage of L.D. 498, preventing sex offenders from residing near Capitol Area Recreation Association ball fields

AUGUSTA - A change to state law to prevent sex offenders from living within 750 feet of the Capitol Area Recreation Association ball fields on the city’s east side earned unanimous approval Friday from a legislative committee.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to recommend passage of L.D. 498 (PDF), which is sponsored by Rep. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta.

After discussion, the committee amended the bill so that it’s narrowly tailored to address the specific situation in Augusta.

The change, if approved by the full Legislature, will allow the City Council to expand an ordinance it adopted in January that prohibits sex offenders from living within 750 feet of any municipal property where children are the primary users. The ordinance did not cover the CARA fields because they are not owned by the city but are state-owned property that is leased by a nonprofit.

The amended bill would address just that: state-owned property leased by a nonprofit that is open to the public and is a park or athletic facility where children are the primary users.

I want to address it as narrowly as possible,” said Sen. Gary Plummer, R-Windham. “Frankly, I don’t think residency requirements help at all.”

Opponents to the bill who testified last week argued that residency restrictions don’t work because they push sex offenders into other communities and because these types of offenses are usually committed against family members, not strangers.

Although he agreed with the opponents and Plummer, Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, voted in support of the bill because he wanted to respond to the concerns expressed by the city of Augusta.

Last week, three city councilors asked lawmakers to make the change to keep sex offenders from living near the fields which are between Hospital Street and Cony Road.

Thousands of children from across the state come to the fields every year for baseball, softball and soccer tournaments.

I think these kind of restrictions are an illusion,” said Dion, former Cumberland County Sheriff.
- Then why did you vote to approve them?

However, I am influenced by Sen. Plummer. I respect the municipality of Augusta.”
- So just because you respect someone doesn't mean you should agree to a bad law!

CA - Gilbert Lam, Department of Homeland Security Employee, Arrested on Kiddie Porn Charges

Gilbert Lam
Original Article


By Chris Roberts

A San Francisco man employed by the federal Department of Homeland Security (Wikipedia) was arrested and charged with two felonies for possessing and distributing child pornography, police said.

Gilbert Lam, 37, was arrested at his San Francisco home on March 9 and has since been charged in San Francisco Superior Court. He is in custody in San Francisco County Jail. Bail has been set at $250,000.

Lam's arrest came after San Jose cops raided his home in 2011. The San Jose-based Internet crimes task force, which is set up to bust Internet users who dabble in kiddie porn, found 80 videos of child pornography after a forensic search was performed on "computers, hard drives, and electronic media" located in his bedroom, according to authorities.

He's accused of possessing the videos in question as well as distributing them via the Internet, through BitTorrent (Wikipedia) or other methods.

It's not yet known how Lam landed on authorities' radar initially, or why it took over a-year-and-a-half after the raid for police to arrest him.

Since Lam is a federal employee, the case was turned over to the local U.S. Attorney's Office, which kicked the case back to local cops. The case was back in the laps of San Francisco police on Feb. 28, and a warrant for Lam's arrest was issued on March 7; he was arrested two days later.

It's believed Lam works for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol office at San Francisco International Airport, where he checks passports of travelers entering the country. It is not yet known if he is still in the employ of the federal government.

See Also:

TX - Bill would end registry listing of where sex offenders work

Original Article


AUSTIN - At any time, you can get online and find out where registered sex offenders live in your area. And thanks to a 2007 law, you can also find out where those sex offenders work.

But now, two lawmakers are working on plan that would not allow you see where they work. The bill is being pushed by Fort Worth Representative Lon Burnham and Houston State Senator John Whitmire. They say making employment information public is keeping sex offenders from getting jobs because companies fear it will hurt their business.

Back in 2007, when that information first came available, our Trouble Shooters uncovered sex offenders working as karate instructors, clowns for birthday parties, and even locksmiths.

What do you think about the plan? Is it too much information or something we need to know for our children's safety? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.