Friday, October 4, 2013
Yet another reason the sex offender "hit-list" registry should be taken offline and used by police only!
SHILOH (KTVI) - A local man is charged in a plot to try to kill as many people as possible with explosives.
Authorities say 24-year-old Justin Vangilder (Facebook) is charged with federal counts of possession of unregistered destructive devices.
The FBI and state officials device unit found pipe bombs, shotgun shells and shrapnel inside a Shiloh home Thursday.
Authorities say Vangilder also had suicidal thoughts and thoughts about killing registered sex offenders.
Vangilder is currently in federal custody. Shiloh man arrested after reportedly making a bomb threat.
The Probable Cause Statement from police is posted below:
NV - Former Officer's (John Norman) Early Release from Jail Upsets Victims (He's a cop, what do you expect?)
By Nathan Baca
LAS VEGAS - A former Metro Police officer called "a sexual predator with a badge" by a Las Vegas judge is back home just months into his two year jail sentence. Former officer John Norman's early release has two of his victims furious at the justice system.
Metro Police tell the I-Team John Norman's good behavior in jail led to an early release, but in Judge Abbi Silver's words, Norman is "a disgrace" and a "sexual predator."
Two women came forward to describe how Norman forced them to expose and let him touch their breasts during traffic stops. With Norman already home, those women are wondering if justice played favorites for a former police officer.
Former Metro Police officer John Norman is at his Las Vegas home even though he was sentenced to two years in jail in January. That's because two women came forward to tell their stories of what officer Norman did to them during traffic stops.
"He made me lift it up and expose myself totally nude and he took his bare hand and felt my chest. After that, he said, I can cover myself up and I'm not going to give you a ticket because you were so cooperative," said Victoria Murname.
Another woman, Rebecca Portillo, gives her account of Norman's traffic stop and what he said to her.
"'I'm going to need you to shake your bra out this time really good.' So, I shook it out really good, as good as I could. He says, 'What? bashful today, are we?' What I did was I pulled the top of my tank top down and I flipped the outside of the top of my bra out where I exposed my full breast," Portillo said. "He looked down at it, he didn't touch it or anything. He says, 'ok, you're free to go.'"
But a judge decided Norman would not be free to go and sentenced the officer to two years in Clark County Detention Center. Judge Silver called Norman "a sexual predator with a badge" during sentencing.
Norman is still listed as "in custody" on the jail's website, but the I-Team found him at home. The former police officer -- a newly registered sex offender -- is now living with his family. It shocked the victim's attorneys when they found out in August.
"In this instance, it doesn't seem like there was any effort to make the victims aware of Mr. Norman's release," Portillo's attorney William Horne said.
"I was so furious. I couldn't think, I couldn't talk - I just felt it was all for nothing," Murname said.
"I can't even cry because I'm more furious than I am about anything else," Portillo said.
The I-Team offered to interview Norman.
"We appreciate that opportunity. Let me get back with you," Norman said.
He never did respond back to the I-Team.
Clark county courts report that no judge signed off on Norman's early release from jail. The I-Team has also reached out to Metro Police to explain why Norman was released from the jail early.
Norman requested an application for house arrest. Metro Police say that because of his lack of previous criminal history, and his good behavior in jail, that house arrest application was approved.
Norman currently has to wear an ankle bracelet and check in once a month.
Metro Police deny the former police officer received any special treatment for early release. A police spokesman added Norman was released in March, just two months into his two year sentence. They said early releases help relieve jail overcrowding.
By Trent Moore
Double Springs - Police believe the four dead bodies found in a car in rural Double Springs were killed by one another in either a suicide pact or murder-suicide at some point Wednesday.
Three males and one female body, all Caucasians ranging from mid-20s to early 50s in age, were discovered in a car on a county road in northern Alabama, and investigators spent Thursday trying to piece together details of the bizarre case.
At least two of the victims were reportedly facing child pornography and molestation charges in their native Tennessee; and at least one was scheduled to be in court this week, according to Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris.
Authorities say the victims all hail from Tennessee, and all but one were related. The names of the deceased have not been released, pending family notifications.
Harris said gunshot wounds appear to be the cause of death for every victim, noting all the shots seem to have come from inside the vehicle. Authorities say a suicide pact, or murder-suicide, seem to be the most likely scenarios based on the evidence.
“They all died of gunshot wounds, and at this point we’ve ruled out any type of hostile drug takeover, a drug deal gone bad, or anything like that,” Harris said. “We’re exploring the possibility of some self-inflicted suicide, or murder-assisted suicide between the four. Forensics is doing a trajectory investigation now.”
Harris said his team, along with investigators from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, have no reason to believe a killer is still at large in the area.
“Whatever started in Tennessee seems to have ended in Winston County,” he said. “We absolutely do not believe there is anyone dangerous still running around in our county.”
A passer-by noticed the vehicle off County Road 327 on her way to work Wednesday morning and called authorities when she saw it in the same place on her way home.
Dozens of law enforcement officers were at the scene just south of the Double Springs area of Black Pond early Thursday morning.
Harris said investigators have yet to find any tangible reason to explain how the four Tennessee residents ended up in Winston County — though he believes they may have been staying in some area hotels around Alabama the past week.
More details could come Monday, Harris said, pending some additional forensic work.
YOUNGSTOWN (AP) - An Ohio appeals court (PDF) has upheld a convicted sex offender's right to live within 1,000 feet of a school, saying a law creating that geographic limit cannot be applied retroactively.
The Belmont County prosecutor argued the ban should apply to _____ because he hadn't been living at the property in Shadyside in eastern Ohio all along, but only moved in after the ban became law in 2003.
Ohio's 7th District Court of Appeals ruled late last month that previous court rulings in Ohio make it clear the 2003 ban doesn't apply to people convicted before that year, regardless of how long they've lived within the 1,000 foot limit.
_____ was convicted of compelling prostitution in 2001 and finished a 10-year obligation to report to authorities annually last year.
By Sapa and Yolisa Tswanya
Cape Town - Criminalisation of sexual conduct between consenting adolescents is unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court has ruled.
On Thursday, the court confirmed a lower court’s order that sections 15 and 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which relate to sexual offences, were unconstitutional.
The unanimous judgment, written by Judge Sisi Khampepe, was published on the court’s website on Thursday.
The sections infringed on the rights of adolescents between 12 and 16 to dignity and privacy, and further violated the best interest principle contained in section 28(2) of the constitution.
Relying on expert evidence, the court concluded the impugned provisions criminalised developmentally normative conduct for adolescents and adversely affected the very children the act sought to protect.
The court said the effects of the impugned provisions were found not to be rationally related to the State’s purpose of protecting children.
“We must be careful, however, to ensure that, in attempting to guide and protect children, our interventions do not expose them to harsh circumstances which can only have adverse effects on their development,” said Khampepe.
She said the matter was not about whether children should or should not engage in sexual conduct, nor was it about whether Parliament should set a minimum age for consensual sexual conduct. Khampepe said the court was concerned with a far narrower issue: whether it was constitutionally permissible for children to be subject to criminal sanctions to deter early sexual intimacy and combat the risks associated therewith.
The judgment declared invalid provisions of the act that criminalised consensual sexual conduct between adolescents. The criminal prohibitions against non-consensual sexual conduct with children of any age remained in place.
Criminal restrictions against sexual activity between adults and older children on the one hand, and adolescents on the other, also remained.
Childline national co-ordinator Joan van Niekerk told the Cape Argus Childline was pleased with the ruling.
“We are 100 percent delighted by the ruling, we say it is about time. From the time it was passed we objected to it, we found it to be very child- unfriendly.”
Van Niekerk said Childline had not been given the opportunity to “make their voices heard” before it was passed.
“We were denied public participation, there were absolutely no public hearings on this. But we think it violates children’s rights to health care. We are pleased to see that the children who were convicted under this act will see their convictions expunged.”
Van Niekerk said it was important to understand that the ruling did not mean that the age of consent had been reduced but that adolescents who consent to sex would not be criminalised for it.
Paula Proudlock, child rights manager at the Children’s Institute said the institute was “elated by the judgment”.
“We have been getting so much confusion from doctors and nurses because if an adolescent came in for contraceptives and HIV tests they would have to report them to the police, but it is their obligation to treat them.”
Proudlock said many teens were afraid of getting help from professionals because they were afraid of be handed over to the police.
The judgment suspended the declaration of invalidity for 18 months to allow Parliament to amend the provisions.
Khampepe ordered a moratorium on all investigations, arrests, prosecutions and criminal and ancillary proceedings (regarding adolescents) in relation to sections 15 and 16 of the act. This remains until Parliament has remedied the defects identified.
By JOSH BAUGH
SAN ANTONIO - If a suggested ordinance targeting sex offenders in San Antonio becomes law, city parks would gain a 1,000-foot buffer zone to help keep children safe from potential predators, the plan's author says.
Councilman Carlton Soules' proposal would create “child safety zones” around city-run parks. Sex offenders would be banned from the zones and would be prohibited from loitering or establishing either a permanent or temporary residence within 1,000 feet. The pitch has unanimous support from the City Council subcommittee that oversees public safety policies.
Soules, who previously served on the city's parks board, said he has asked city staff to write a draft ordinance for review by the Public Safety Committee, which he chairs, before the full council can vote on the measure. The proposal would give police officers another “tool,” he said, to keep city parks safe.
“There have been a couple incidents in the last couple years of people exposing themselves to kids in parks,” Soules said Thursday.
- Okay, so how would this prevent that? It won't! If a person is intent on exposing themselves or committing a sexual crime in a park, they will!
Under the proposal, registered sex offenders who live within the proposed 1,000-foot boundary around parks would be “grandfathered in” and not forced to move. There would also be exemptions for minors and for adult offenders who were convicted as minors.
A registered sex offender could also petition Municipal Court for an exemption from the ordinance if, in its opinion, “undue hardship will result from compliance,” according to Soules' Council Consideration Request — a two-page city document that starts the process of creating an ordinance.
“As a home-rule municipality, the City of San Antonio has a constitutional right of self-government and a compelling interest to promote and protect the safety and welfare of its citizens,” Soules writes in the CCR. “For that reason, the city should work to create a Child Safety Zone around the city's park system where children regularly congregate in concentrated numbers.”
- This will not protect anybody! It's just the usual fodder for politicians to exploit to get votes or to look "tough" to the sheeple who believe it.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, an advocate for ex-offenders' re-entry into society, questioned whether Soules' proposal could be effectively enforced.
“I would just say our best remedy for people who have violated our laws is, first, to secure faithfully our society, and (second), try to reduce recidivism,” he said. “The whole re-entry process is to try to stop people from being caught up in this cycle of repeat criminality.”
Soules says police officers responding to a call for help in a park today might not be able to remove a sex offender, unless that person had committed a crime on the property. Officers would have legal standing to remove the offender under the new rule.
- Come on! If a person has called 911 for help, and if there is just cause, then the police can force the person from the park and to not come back or be arrested. You don't need a law for this!
Soules has also asked city staff to determine how much the Police Department spends maintaining the local sex offender registry. The councilman plans to ask council to create a fee that offenders would pay upon registering, which they're required to do.
The state has created this mess. Where someone lives has no impact on if or when they will re-offend. Most ex-sex offenders do not commit another sexual crime. And the residency restrictions are what creates these clusters. So if you don't like them, then you need to contact congress to eliminate the residency restrictions and then offenders can live where they want, not in your neighborhood.
By Scott Wise
FARMVILLE (WTVR) - If you live near four or more registered sex offenders, you will have a more difficult time selling your home. In a published study, researchers at Longwood University found homes that sat within a quarter-mile of a “sex offender cluster” were on the market as much as 147 percent longer than other homes.
The longer a home stays on the market, the more pressure it puts on homeowners to drop the asking price.
“We wanted to know if sex offenders cluster and if that has an effect on home prices,” Dr. Ray Brastow, professor of economics, said. “The answer to both questions is yes.”
Dr. Ray Brastow and his colleagues used data from nearly 20,000 Virginia real listings between 1999 and 2009. The researchers said they focused the study on the Lynchburg area.
Their findings attributed the clustering of sex offenders to several factors:
- Lower home prices. Lower prices draw more potential buyers, especially buyers less concerned about living near a sex offender — namely – other registered sex offenders, the study found.
- Development choices. Some neighborhoods have made choices that would prevent sex offenders from moving in.
“We know this is something that people talk about,” Brastow said. “There are certain places that sex offenders can’t live—near schools, daycare centers and parks, for example. Because of this, some neighborhoods are creating small parks, called ‘pocket parks,’ or fighting school closings.”
Living near (one-fourth of a mile) one, two or three registered sex offenders, researchers found, can impact home prices as those homes stay on the market nearly two months longer than the average house.
“However, with four sex offenders, the situation changes dramatically,” Dr. Bennie Waller, professor of finance and real estate, said. “Here we find the ‘tipping’ point, the number at which people get panicky and a neighborhood takes an economic turn for the worse.”
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
NEW YORK - Subjecting a sex offender who is no longer imprisoned to "extraordinarily invasive" penile stimulation testing risks violating the premise that even convicts retain their humanity, a federal appeals court said Thursday.
The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (PDF) in Manhattan frees former police officer David McLaurin of a requirement that he submit to penile plethysmography (Wikipedia), a test in which a man's erectile responses are measured as he is shown sexually stimulating images.
An all-male three-judge appeals panel said it saw a "clear distinction" between penis measurement and other conditions of supervised release, including restrictions on where sex offenders may live, their interactions with children and their access to pornographic material.
"But we see no reasonable connection between fluctuating penis size and public protection — certainly none strong enough to survive the careful scrutiny that we give to unusual or severe conditions of supervised release," the court wrote of the conditions imposed after someone completes a prison sentence. "A person, even if convicted of a crime, retains his humanity."
McLaurin, 48, challenged the requirement after a Vermont judge sentenced him to 15 months in prison, to be followed by a treatment program that could include the testing, because McLaurin failed to fill out paperwork required by sex offenders. McLaurin had notified authorities that he would be working as a chef at a Putney, Vermont, inn in 2011, but he later lost the job and went to the Birmingham, Alabama, area, where he was arrested. He was returned to Vermont to face charges and was released from prison in November.
He was required to register as a sex offender because he was convicted more than a decade ago of producing child pornography for photographing a topless 13-year-old girl who told authorities she had requested a photo shoot to help her modeling career, the court said.
A Vermont federal judge who concluded McLaurin was "unlikely to reoffend again" had said it was "standard" to include a test in which a man's erectile responses are measured as he is shown sexually stimulating images.
The appeals panel said the government had cited instances when Vermont judges had ordered the procedure, but the court added that judges in New York and Connecticut within the 2nd Circuit had not recently imposed such conditions and that the probation office in Vermont has ceased recommending it.
The appeals court said it seemed "odd" to try to deter someone from committing sex crimes by showing him depictions of sex.
"We hold that this extraordinarily invasive condition is unjustified, is not reasonably related to the statutory goals of sentencing, and violates McLaurin's right to substantive due process," it said. The court found the testing "is unduly intrusive and bears insufficient relation to correctional or medical treatment, the protection of the public or deterrence of a crime."
McLaurin's public defender, Steven L. Barth, said he was pleased with the ruling.
"Mr. McLaurin and the Federal Defender Office felt strongly that the invasive plethysmograph testing condition was unwarranted and unconstitutional," he said.
Prosecutors did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
The appeals court did not hide its skepticism about the two- to three-hour test, in which a man's penis is attached to a pressure-sensitive device known as a plethysmograph. The apparatus measures minute changes in blood flow and erection size as the subject views pornographic images or videos.
The judges flatly rejected government arguments that the procedure amounted to "treatment" for sex offenders, saying prosecutors offered no evidence "that this exceedingly intrusive procedure has any therapeutic benefit, and none is apparent to us."
It cited a ruling similar to its own by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that found the test's accuracy and reliability "have been severely questioned."
The 2nd Circuit said even if the test were accurate, "the goal of correctional treatment during supervised release is properly directed at conduct, not at daydreaming."
The procedure "inflicts the obviously substantial humiliation of having the size and rigidity of one's penis measured and monitored by the government under the threat of incarceration for a failure to fully cooperate," the 2nd Circuit judges wrote.
As the court noted, the procedure was developed by Czech psychiatrist Kurt Freund as a means to study sexual deviance and it was at one time used by the Czech government to identify and "cure" homosexuals.
The court wrote: "Whether the device was 'successful' in this regard is not reflected in the record."
OK - City of Tulsa attorneys skeptical of sex offender Halloween ordinance, suggest taking more time
By Liz Bryant
TULSA - Tulsa city councilors hoping to restrict sex offenders' celebration of Halloween will have to wait at least another year before a possible city ordinance on the subject can be realized.
Wednesday, councilors Jeannie Cue and Arianna Moore pushed for the city to look into banning sex offenders from keeping their porch lights on, displaying decorations and handing out candy on Halloween.
Moore, Tulsa's District 7 city councilor, said Thursday she actually thinks the idea could be extended to all holidays.
"We don't want to encourage the encouragement of caroling or trick or treating at homes where they could be in danger or at risk," she said.
But after reviewing the legality of the proposal, city of Tulsa attorneys said any such action would require more time and would not be able to pass by this Halloween.
"At this point in time, I think that we can do some more research, but it is something probably that should be addressed on a state level," said attorney Bob Gardner.
Gardner and fellow attorney David O'Meilia also expressed concern about including all sex offenders in the ban, despite some not being guilty of crimes against children, and about placing further restrictions on offenders after the crimes were committed.
Cue and Moore both said they would continue fighting for the ordinance.