Monday, December 23, 2013

CT - Problems With Drug, Sex Offender Zones

Drug free school zone
Original Article

12/23/2013

Do crime-free zones around schools and other places where children gather actually protect children?

The question will be aired in the next session of the General Assembly because of two proposals, one that seeks to reduce the size of drug-free zones around schools and another that would create zones around schools where sex offenders couldn't live.

The Connecticut Sentencing Commission has unanimously approved a recommendation to scale back the state's drug-free zone from 1,500 feet to 200 feet of school property. Meanwhile, two legislators are proposing a bill that would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day-care center.

All communities want to protect children from harm, but there are serious questions whether protective zones achieve that goal. The Courant supports the contraction of drug zones and opposes the creation of sex offender zones.

Drugs

Connecticut and many other states created drug-free zones in the 1980s as a get-tough response to the surge in crack cocaine use. The goal was to protect children by increasing the penalties for anyone caught selling or possessing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. The law has since expanded to 1,500 feet and now includes day care centers and public housing projects.

Advocates say it is a deterrent. Some researchers don't think so. For example, In 2001 former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General William Brownsberger reviewed 443 drug cases in three cities — Springfield, New Bedford and Fall River — and found that 80 percent of the cases occurred in drug-free school zones, and only 1 percent of cases involved minors.

The findings might be more extreme in Connecticut. The state's larger cities have scores of schools, day care centers and public housing projects crowded onto relatively small (except for Stamford) geographical areas. The result is that the zones overlap; in New Haven and Hartford they cover virtually the entire cities. As Mr. Brownsberger said, if every place is a stay-away zone, no place is a stay-away zone.

The result is what some call the "urban effect," higher penalties in urban areas for the same crime — which, as members of the legislature's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus pointed out last year, disproportionally impacts blacks and Latinos.

Sex Offenders

If the sex offender proposal becomes law, overlapping 1,000-foot zones will restrict offenders from living almost anywhere in Hartford, New Haven or Bridgeport. Where do they go?

Although residency restrictions may make sense in individual cases — and are sometimes imposed as conditions of probation — blanket residency restrictions are highly dubious.

They are fueled in part by the notion of "stranger danger," the idea that most child molesters are strangers, sinister perverts in trench coats lurking around the school playground. But the research says the vast majority of child sexual abuse victims identify their abusers as family members or acquaintances. A Justice Department study in 2000 of police reports from 12 states found that only 7 percent of sexual assaults on children were perpetrated by strangers. (The data are similar for adult female victims.)

Also, many people assume that everyone on the registry is either a rapist or pedophile. But it also includes an array of porn possessors, voyeurs and people who as older teenagers had consensual sex with an underage girlfriend or boyfriend.

Some on the list are dangerous and must be watched, but many are not. The state has pretty good assessment tools to determine which offenders might be dangerous to women and children, and treatment programs that work. State counselors use residency restrictions on a case-by-case basis, and there is no reason to change that system.

Finally, state and federal research finds that sex offenders as a group have one of the lowest rates of recidivism of any category of criminal. That means most of the crimes are committed by people who are not on the registry. That is where the concern should lie.


Romeo & Juliet Cases, Revisited

Romeo & Juliet
Original Article

12/23/2013

The primary question when it comes to prosecuting Romeo & Juliet cases, or what the courts refer to as Statutory Rape, is whether or not at least one of those participating in a sexual act is under the age of consent. The idea is that even if the act was what would generally be considered consensual, where both partners were very willing to share in the act, at least one of those participating was not of a legal age to give their consent.

This occurs most often when students in high school or even late middle school decide they are ready to share the sexual act with another, usually their girl or boyfriend, and they either don’t know or don’t care about the consequences. They may be driven by love, or may just be experiencing new sexual urges brought on by the hormonal changes that all teenagers go through. They may feel pressured in to engaging in sexual activity as a result of peer pressure. Many young people might believe that this is a necessary initiation step in coming of age. Research estimates, according to a Pew survey, that currently nearly 78% of all boys and 62% of all girls have become sexually active while in high school.

When I was back in high school there was always a group of high school girls that were known to be willing to “go all the way”. Some girls even dated numerous boys and thus initiated some boys who had never had sex with a girl before. These girls were known to have a “bad reputation”, and on occasions became pregnant outside of wedlock. The usual solution to that problem, since abortion wasn’t legally available, was to secretly send them away to a home for unwed mothers where once the child was born it was given up for adoption. Unfortunately some abortions were also sometimes preformed illegally and were often done under less then acceptable medical conditions, known as back alley abortions.

Other times when a pregnancy would occur between a girl and her boyfriend they would be forced in to what was called a “shotgun wedding”, where the boy was required to marry the pregnant girl. This was a typical response where the parents of both the boy and girl were religious and believed the choice of marriage had already been made by the couple. Most surprising of all is that history has shown that most shotgun weddings actually proved to have a lower divorce rate than weddings in general.


TX - My Nephew was a child when he committed his crime and now he has to live with being a registered sex offender

The following was sent to us via the USER STORY form and posted with the users permission.

By Dwayne:
My nephew was a young man with his whole life in front of him. Now he has very little going for him. He has to register as a sex offender even though he was a minor himself. Something is wrong with a system that continues to punish children for their bad choices. He did time in T.Y.C. for his crime and now has a future of low scale jobs and a life of poverty. By no means should he have done what he did , but as I stated he served his sentence and is trying to be a man. The state of Texas is requiring him to register even though he was a minor. Is this how it is supposed to be? It just doesn't seem right. Any feedback would be helpful. Thank you.


AR - Ex-Cop (Jamison Stiles) Accused Of Sexual Assault Doubled As Courtesy Officer At Scene

Jamison Stiles
Jamison Stiles
Original Article

12/20/2013

By Aubry Killion, Shain Bergan and Kayla Paine

A former Fayetteville police officer was arrested Friday (Dec. 20) in connection with sexual assault of two women, according to an affidavit.

Jamison Stiles, 31, faces felony charges of rape, second-degree sexual assault, residential burglary and disclosure to an unauthorized person, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Fayetteville police received a report from a woman Nov. 10, that an officer sexually assaulted her two weeks earlier. She told police she woke up naked in her apartment at The Cliffs around 4:30 a.m. after a night of drinking to a uniformed officer standing over her, who then proceeded to pull her blanket down and grab her breast, according to the affidavit.

Police said an internal investigation was launched.

Officer Stiles and another officer had stopped an intoxicated woman on Block Avenue at 12:03 a.m., Oct. 26, according to the affidavit. She was placed in Stiles’ patrol car to be taken to the Washington County Detention Center. The other officer left the scene at that time, according to Fayetteville Police Sgt. Craig Stout.

The affidavit states Stiles told the woman he was “trying his best not to arrest her” and asked if someone was home for him to take her to, she told Stiles that she lived alone and then Stiles turned off his police vehicle video recorder. Stout said that it is against policy for a police officer to turn off his recorder.

Police found that Stiles recorder was turned off again around the time the woman reported the officer to be in her apartment. Investigators used GPS data to place Stiles’ patrol car was located near The Cliffs at the times his recorder was turned off, according to Stout.

Stiles also lived and worked at his residence, The Cliffs, as a courtesy officer which gave him a master key to the apartment complex, according to Stout.

Investigators interviewed Stiles Dec. 3 concerning the allegation. The next day, he was placed on administrative leave, and relieved of his badge and gun pending the outcome of the internal investigation. On Dec. 6, Stiles was fired from the police department for eight policy violations, police said.

Stout said Stiles had been employed by the Fayetteville Police Department for almost three years.

The following day, a former Fayetteville Police Department dispatcher reported she had been sexually assaulted at her home in July by Stiles. She said Stiles was on-duty and in uniform at the time of the alleged assault.

Both the internal and criminal investigations are ongoing, according to Fayetteville police.

Stiles has been released from the Washington County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. His arraignment will be at 7:45 a.m., Jan. 24, 2014. The judge gave a no contact with the victims order, according to the detention center.