House Ignores Sexting Bill (FL) April 30, 2010: http://www.flanews.com/?p=9465
Global Megan’s Law receives backing from House Foreign Affairs Committee April 30, 2010: http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-19/1272606486258340.xml&coll=5
(See Bulletin Board Posting #218 for more information)
Homeowners Unable to Evict Convicted Sex Offender, April 29, 2010:
Proposal to Put Sex Offender Pics in Schools (LA), April 29, 2010:
Is the Tide Turning in Georgia’s Child Molestation Case? Tonya Craft, April 29, 2010:
Witch Hunt or Child Molester? Kindergarten Teacher Tonya Craft, April 29, 2010:
‘Sexting’ Bill Gets Unanimous Approval by Florida Senate, April 29, 2010:
Chelsea’s Law Foes are Riding Into Wind, April 29, 2010:
Bill Would Require Registration of Homeless Sex Offenders, April 29, 2010:
Our Sex Offender Laws are CRAZY, April 29, 2010:
Confronting Your Neighbor Sex Offenders on Inside Edition, April 29, 2010:
Federal Appeals Court Nominee Faces Tough Questioning, April 29, 2010:
RNC Accuses Obama Of Shredding Constitution, Nominating Sex-Offender Defenders, April 28, 2010:
Broward Sex Offenders Get Less Room to Move, April 28, 2010:
Just weeks after Miami-Dade County altered its restrictions on where registered sex offenders can live, Broward County Commissioners did just the opposite Tuesday by increasing restrictions.
Broward and Miami-Dade already have laws ordering registered sex offenders – which includes a wide range of offenses – to stay as much as 2500 feet away from parks, schools, bus stops and anywhere else kids gather.
Extra Fee for Sex Offenders (UT) April 27, 2010:
Sex offenders will now have to pay more money to live in certain Utah communities.
The new fee is in addition to state fees
Colonie Law Becomes a Local Model (NY) April 27, 2010:
Statute on motels that house sex offenders copied by other towns
Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live (ND), April 26, 2010:
A Fargo commissioner says city leaders and police are on the road to a solution when it comes to where sex offenders can live in Fargo. It could soon get a lot more restrictive. Commissioner Dave Piepkorn plans to introduce an ordinance that will put a 12 hundred foot perimeter around schools, parks and pools, banning sex offenders from living there.
The perimeter would only apply to level two and three sex offenders.
“And it’s a symbolic thing, I admit, but I think it will be a way for them to make it more difficult to find housing, especially around schools, I think most people will be supportive of that.”
Piepkorn is also working with the planning department to restrict sex offender group homes in apartment buildings. Right now, there are no restrictions. He wants to change that so a special permit is needed.
Craigslist Makes $36 Million From Illegal Sex Ads, April 26, 2010:
Flaws Found in State Child-Abuse Registries (NY) April 25, 2010:
Congress authorized a national child abuse registry in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy abducted and murdered in 1981.
More than 40 states have the abuse registries — which are distinct from the better-known registries of convicted sex offenders that every state makes publicly available on the Internet. The abuse lists aren’t accessible to the public, but are used by day-care centers, schools, adoption agencies and other entities to screen people who want to adopt, be foster parents or get a job working with children.
It’s the process underlying many of the registries that has come into question — and their potential to entangle innocent people as well as wrongdoers.
A person doesn’t have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to get listed. Under the general practice in most states, entries are based on a child protection investigator’s assertion that the person committed an act of abuse or neglect; hearings or appeals, if granted at all, often come long after the name is entered.
“Anybody can call a child abuse hotline and report abuse — anybody, including your ex-spouse who hates you, your landlord who’s trying to evict you,” Kubitschek said.
Howard Davidson of the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, said most people on the state registries are accused of neglect, not battering or other physical abuse.
Davidson supports use of the registries to screen potential adoptive or foster parents. But he questions whether they’re a suitable tool for employers to vet job applicants because of inconsistencies in the level of proof required to register a name.
Alabama Legislature Passes Limit on Housing Sex Offenders, April 24, 2010:
The Alabama Legislature has given approval to a bill that would limit the number of registered sex offenders living together in Jefferson County.
The measure would bar landlords from housing more than one registered sex offender under one roof and would require offenders who live in an apartment complex to reside at least 100 yards from each other.
Shorecrest Residents Unhappy About Relocation of Sex Offenders, April 24, 2010:
Sex offenders? Not in my backyard, Miami residents tell their mayor and other city officials. http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/23/1595691/shorecrest-residents-unhappy-about.html
20/20 Episode- In an Instant, April 23, 2010:
In 2005 Biurny Peguerno claimed she was raped. There was no evidence, no DNA and no witnesses but yet a jury found an innocent man guilty of rape and he was convicted to 20 years in prison, Sing-Sing.
Biurny claims she never thought he’d be convicted because there was no evidence. Finally she admitted she lied, she recanted her claim and the prosecution refused to accept her recant or look into the case.
William McCaffrey served four years in prison while Biurny got married and had children.
(Why an Accusation Should NEVER be Enough to Convict and Why a Recant Needs to Be Accepted No Matter How Long Ago the Conviction Occurred)
Contract To Help Sex Offenders Awarded To Non-Profit They’re Forbidden to Enter, April 23, 2010:
Paroled sex offenders forced into homelessness in San Francisco by Jessica’s Law used to have at least one place they could call “home”: the day-reporting center for parolees at the Northern California Service League, a non-profit in an alley across from the Hall of Justice. There, they could grab a snack, receive counseling, and charge their Jessica’s Law-mandated GPS unit as they must do for two hours each day. Many of the sex offender parolees we wrote about in a December cover story spent hours there daily as an alternative to roaming the streets.
Yet the contract to operate the day reporting center recently expired, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently relocated the service to Walden House, a non-profit providing drug rehab programs at Mission and 15th Streets.
But there’s a problem with the new location: Walden House sits across the street from Marshall Elementary School — and the powers that be have decided that congregating sex offenders a stone’s throw from a school is a poor idea. So now, the parole department has told the sex offenders they’re out, though all other parolees are still welcome at the center.
That’s right, the contract to help the sex offenders was awarded to a place they are now forbidden to enter.
SEC Porn Investigation Nets Dozens, April 23, 2010:
Expert: Crowded prison bad for public safety (PA), April 23, 2010:
The U.S. may incarcerate more people than any other country in the world, but an expert believes that is a clear sign of a dysfunctional criminal justice system.
“The fact that your facility is overcrowded does not make your streets any safer,” justice system expert Don Smarto said Thursday morning to Schuylkill County Prison Warden Eugene Berdanier.
Smarto is a former probation officer and juvenile justice facility administrator and travels the country pitching an overhaul of the justice system.
Smarto said there are simple steps that could both reduce prison populations and significantly decrease recidivism.
Along with reforming drug law and mandatory prison sentences – a topic that Smarto blasted lawmakers for failing to take action on – he suggested revising the way sexual offenders are classified. He said having sexual contact with a 17-year-old, for example, is far different than molestation or rape of children.
However, the stigma of being a sex offender will stick with someone for the rest of his or her life, often preventing the offender from getting a job.
Grouping everyone together, Smarto said, helps no one.
He also suggested revamping job applications, striking out the common application question: “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”
Smarto said he wishes to see inmates given the chance to impress an employer during the first interview, rather than having an application thrown in the trash can because of past crimes.
North Texas Schools Deal with Parents Visiting Campus Who are Listed as Sex Offenders, April 23, 2010:
Sex Offender Registry Violates Right to Privacy – UK ruling April 23, 2010:
State Lawmaker: Sex Offenders who Fail to Register Should Face Felony Charges (MI) April 22, 2010:
He says Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Democratic leaders of the House have made it clear they don’t want any new felony laws, because they want to thin the current prison population.
Sex Offenders Must have Chance to Change, says Supreme Court (UK) April 22, 2010: http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/11926
Virginia OKs Victim Visits with Convicted Attackers, April 22, 2010:
That’s a Relief: Under a New State Bill, Public Urination Ceases to be Deemed a Sex Offense (CO), April 22, 2010:
GA Senate Approves Change To Sex Offender Law, April 21, 2010:
Senate Passes Sex Offender Bill (GA) April 21, 2010:
Julia Tuttle Sex Offenders Evicted, Again, April 21, 2010:
Sex-Abuse Victim Lauren Book’s Healing Journey to Florida Capitol, April 21, 2010:
Her campaign is called “Walk in My Shoes.”
Does ‘Adam Walsh Act’ Require New Hearing to Exempt Pre-2008 Sex Offender from Community Notification? April 21, 2010:
The Ohio Supreme Court will decide if people convicted before Ohio adopted a tougher sex-offender law are subject to those tougher penalties. It heard arguments today in a case that could affect hundreds of courts, and thousands of offenders and the neighborhoods in which they live.
De Pere Sex Offender Restrictions Approved (WI) April 21, 2010:
Opinion: Civil Confinement, Controversial Reincarcerations Must be Done with Great Care April 21, 2010:
Fla. Sex Offenders Evicted From Temporary Housing, April 20, 2010:
Updates Lag on Sex Offender Registry (IN), April 18, 2010:
Sexting Raises New Problems for Cops, Schools, April 18, 2010:
Child pornography laws in Maryland and Virginia, as well as federal laws, treat all images of the underaged as child pornography. If prosecutors chose to move forward with the charges Jordan listed, the adolescents would face stiff penalties: A minimum of 10 years in prison for manufacturing or distributing. The kids could spend their lives on a sex offender registry mixed in with rapists and pedophiles. “We have to find a way to distinguish between bad judgment and intentional criminality,” said David Rittgers, a legal analyst at the Cato Institute. Vermont recently changed its child pornography laws by creating a separate charge that sends convicted sexters to juvenile courts. “That may still be a bit much,” Rittgers said, “but [the new law is] a step in the right direction.” Last year, Virginia lawmakers pondered taking a similar step, but chose not to because it was “too dangerous,” said Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax, who heads the House’s Courts of Justice Committee. “If we make exceptions, then we may be setting up a road map for a 35-year-old man to take pictures of an 11-year-old girl and get away with it,” Albo said. Maryland lawmakers proposed a bill that would have classified sexting as harassment, but it didn’t make it out of committee. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Sexting-raises-new-problems-for-cops_-schools-91101994.html
Chelsea’s Law: One Day State Will Get it Right, April 18, 2010:
Tougher Pennsylvania Megan’s Law Act May Hit Snag Because of Costs, April 18, 2010: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_677001.html
Residency Restrictions Create Dangerous Scenarios, State Should Opt for “Child Protection Zones” (FL), April 18, 2010:
Restrictive local ordinances intended to keep sex offenders away from places where children gather and play have pushed some of Broward’s 1,300 registered sex offenders into homelessness and into communities like Broadview Park — leading Atlantic Magazine to crown it “Sex Offender City” in its March issue.
Despite the community’s many young families, Broadview Park has become a sex offender haven. In 2007, there were four registered sex offenders in the neighborhood. By 2009, there were 106.
This was not the vision of lawmakers back in 1995, when Florida passed its first statewide law to restrict where convicted sex offenders could live. After all, it seemed like common sense to keep sex criminals away from our state’s most vulnerable population. The state law said that sex offenders could not live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and day care centers.
Ten years later, the City of Miami Beach one-upped the state law by declaring its city entirely off-limits to sex offenders by passing its own 2,500 foot residency restriction. The bold move immediately put pressure on politicians in every other city and county in Florida to pass similar ordinances. As a result, there are now 149 different ordinances throughout our state, ranging from 1,000 feet to 3,000 feet.
Ironically, what started out as a well-intentioned plan to keep our kids safe from sex offenders has actually put them in greater danger. Unable to find housing after being released from prison, sex offenders have gone homeless or have gone underground in record numbers.
The homeless sex offender problem has now spread throughout Florida. Law enforcement’s efforts to track these offenders are obstructed by an inconsistent patchwork of differing local laws, along with the difficulty of electronically monitoring homeless offenders who have few places to recharge their ankle bracelets. Moreover, it has become clear that homeless sex offenders are more likely to commit additional crimes than offenders who are employed and who have a stable residence.
At the same time, the absconder rate has tripled. The offenders still live amongst us, but now we don’t know where many of them are. Statewide, nearly 800 sex offenders have dropped off the radar because they have never registered their new addresses as required by law.
The most shocking part of all of this is that these so-called “tough” residency restrictions apply only between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. For eight hours at night, these laws are designed to keep offenders away from schools, parks and libraries — when there are no children at such places! Meanwhile, during the remaining 16 hours of the day, sex offenders are allowed to linger at places where children congregate.
To add to this dangerous mess, a court in Jacksonville declared these local ordinances unconstitutional, which has put all 149 of them in legal jeopardy. The court found that Jacksonville’s 2,500-foot residency restriction “had the unintended consequence of increasing the risk to our community, and posing greater risks to neighboring communities.”
Iowa was one of the first states to pass a law to restrict where registered sex offenders could live — and it was also the first state to repeal these laws altogether. After passing what was considered the “toughest” statewide law in the country, that state witnessed a dangerous rise in absconders.
In fact, Iowa’s residency restrictions were blamed for a doubling of the number of sex offenders who could not be located since the law took effect. These sex offenders did not report that they were leaving the state; rather, they just stopped reporting at all. In response, Iowa law enforcement officials recently convinced legislators to repeal its residency restrictions and replace them with 24-hour-a-day child protection zones.
Sex Offender Registry Casting a Wide Net, April 16, 2010:
Lawmakers Pass Stricter Limits For Sex Offenders (FL) April 16, 2010:
Offenders Cannot Wear Costumes, Be Near Schools Or Playgrounds
Florida House Passes More Sex Offender Limits, April 16, 2010:
It also has a “Romeo-and-Juliet” clause that would prevent the state from labeling someone a sex offender for having consensual relations with a minor if there was less than a four-year age difference between perpetrator and victim.
New Bill Targets Sex Offenders (WI) April 16, 2010:
City Council to Look at Policy on Facility Rentals to Sex Offenders (MI), April 16, 2010: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20100416/NEWS01/4160324/1001/NEWS/City-Council-to-look-at-policy-on-facility-rentals-to-sex-offenders
Bethesda Students Traded, Sold Nude Photos, Probe Reveals, April 16, 2010:
Padilla: A New Tool In Sex Offense Litigation? April 15, 2010:
Benefits of Tracking Via GPS Questioned, April 15, 2010:
Adding to California’s Dysfunction: Chelsea’s Law is Wrong, April 15, 2010:
Tonya Craft’s Alleged Victim Reports How She Remembered Abuse: ‘My Momma Told Me’ April 15, 2010: http://reason.com/blog/2010/04/15/tonya-crafts-alleged-victim-re
Opinion: Most Sexual Offenders Do Not Reoffend, April 14, 2010:
(Keep in mind these are Canadian Statistics. He states all facts, not the hysteria driven lies that the media and politicans give! He’s with The John Howard Society of Canada)
Should Facebook Have a ‘Panic Button’? April 14, 2010:
“The panic button really isn’t a panic button at all,” says Parry Aftab, the New York-based head of the website wiredsafety.org and a lawyer who specializes in Internet privacy and security law. “It’s not a cyber 911, it is a link to Internet safety materials when things go wrong. It’s not a report to police, it just instructs you to call the police if you suspect a crime has been committed.” Aftab also doubts that a panic button would increase abuse reporting because many times youngsters don’t realize they’re in danger when they’re involved in risky online situations. “These kids go willingly to a meeting where they don’t know the person,” Aftab says. “It’s fun and thrills; they say, ‘Sure other people get hurt but not me.’ They just think they’re the exception.”
Larry Magid, co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a group dedicated to Internet safety education, says that while the idea of a panic button is a step in the right direction, its current incarnation might be off the mark. “I think that having a report abuse button is a good idea, but I don’t think the word ‘panic button’ is appropriate,” Magid wrote in an e-mail. “Also I don’t think we need a government mandated panic button that’s the same for all users.” Both Aftab and Magid say the company’s current safety efforts are as effective as they can be. “If we can come up with one button that’s great, but until we teach them [Facebook users] how to protect themselves they’re all at risk,” Aftab says.
Wetterling Speaks on Sexual Violence Costs, April 14, 2010:
Woman Testifies that Maryland Trooper Fondled her After DUI Arrest, April 14, 2010: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041304251.html?wprss=rss_metro/md
(But will the Trooper become a Registered Sex Offender? Probably Not.)
Lakeland Teens’ Arrests Spark Debate Over Underage Sex, April 14, 2010:
What’s society to do when teenagers engage in sexual activity? Does age matter? Does maturity count? Should 18-year-olds not be allowed to date underage classmates? What if the classmates are under 16? These are not new arguments, particularly when the sex is consensual, as was the case here.
The girls told the deputy that the groping was consensual but their parents demanded criminal charges, Wood said. The law is clear: Anyone under 16 cannot legally give consent to any kind of sexual activity.
“The parents [of the girls] were adamant that the letter of the law be followed,” Wood said. “They had the option of signing a waiver and dealing with it between themselves.” But they did not, she said.
But when a teen over 18 engages in such activity with someone under 16, it is illegal and the consequences can be life-changing. A felony conviction can haunt a teen for the rest of his or her life. And then there’s the stigma involved with being a registered sex offender.
“We don’t have the luxury of debating with a group of people should we or shouldn’t we,” Wood said. “We’ve been entrusted with responsibility of maintaining the letter of the law and protecting the community.”
McDonnell Spokesman Says Voting Rights Letter Sent to Felons ‘Without Approval’ (Virginia), April 14, 2010:
“John Doe” Goes To Court To Seek To Stay Off Sex Offender List (TN), April 14, 2010: The man, who said he moved to Hamilton County in 1989 and has not picked up any new sex offenses, was notified recently by county detective Jimmy Clift that he had 48 hours to register as a sex offender.
He is suing detective Clift as well as Sheriff Jim Hammond, state Attorney General Robert Cooper and TBI Director Mark Gwyn.
The suit, filed by attorney Jerry Summers, says the man was convicted in January 1983 in two other states “of criminal offenses which may or may not qualify as predicate offenses coming under the provisions” of the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry.
Opinion: A Ruthless Rush to Judgment April 14, 2010:
Arizona Bill Aims to Outlaw Illegal Immigrants in State, April 14, 2010:
“Supporters celebrated the bill as a measure to protect the state from violent criminals”.
(Very Interesting fact. If you are an Illegal Immigrant, the state of Arizona says you are also violent. Does that include the children too?
Ahh, America loves to alienate, tear down and hate anyone they can get away with doing that to. The Registered Sex Offenders, the Terrorists and now the Illegal’s. No group should be targeted as a public safety ploy by the politicians)
Lawyers Question Usefulness of Proposed Chelsea’s Law, April 13, 2010:
Chelsea’s Law would require lifetime parole for serious sex offenders. They would also have to wear GPS devices. But most of the state’s paroled sex offenders are already on GPS and their movements are only tracked once or twice a day. Critics say just because you know where someone is doesn’t mean you know what they’re doing.
Chelsea’s Law would also seek a one-strike rule for violent child predators. Defense attorney Gerald Blank says that rule is already on the books. He says Chelsea’s Law is redundant.
“This is another feel-good law that makes people feel safe when they aren’t really safe,” Blank said.
Defense attorney Chris Plourd says the state would be better off making sure existing laws are enforced.
After Another Murder, Another Proposed Law, April 13, 2010:
Megan, Jessica, now Chelsea — each name a legislative expression of public fury.
The proposed legislation is reigniting the debate over the the efficacy, justness and consequences of laws against sex offenders that have been ushered through during the emotionally fraught periods following shocking and high-profile crimes.
The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice opposes the bill because it said there is no proof that longer sentences and parole terms are effective, KGO-TV reported. The group also said the state would not be able to afford to implement the measures.
In January, California’s Sexual Offender Management Board concluded that Jessica’s Law was in fact potentially harmful as it displaced hundreds of convicted offenders from their homes, heightening the likelihood that they might recommit crimes.
Franklin Zimring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, told The New York Times that sex offender laws were sometimes nothing more than a barometer of public opinion.
“They’re a plebiscite on sex offenders, and no one likes sex offenders,” Professor Zimring said. “It’s not like they have a lobbying group.”
Lifetime GPS But No Funding in Chelsea’s Law, April 13, 2010:
Assembly Speaker Endorses Chelsea’s Law, April 13, 2010:
Lawmakers Approve Sex Offender Bill (MD), April 13, 2010:
The Ever-Growing Sex Offender Registry, April 13, 2010:
“Chelsea’s Law” Introduced in Sacramento (CA), April 12, 2010:
Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for forcible sex crimes against children under 18 when aggravating circumstances exist. The type of aggravating circumstances that would require the harshest sentence depends on the age of the victim. Some aggravating circumstances include physical harm, kidnapping, torture and use of a weapon.
• Where no aggravating circumstances exist, penalties would double for certain sex crimes, depending on the age of the victim. For example, the new prison sentence would range from 6 to 16 years for forcible sex crimes against children under 14.
• Registered sex offenders would be subject to misdemeanor charges and possible parole revocation if found in a park where children regularly gather — unless prior permission had been granted by the park administrator or parole agent.
• Parole terms would be doubled to 10 years for a forcible sex crime, regardless of the age of the victim.
• Those convicted of a sex crime against a child under 14 would be on lifetime parole, requiring constant supervision and a global positioning system tracker.
Ex-NJ Lawmaker Pleads Guilty in Child Porn Case, April 12, 2010:
A former New Jersey lawmaker who championed legislation fighting child pornography pleaded guilty Monday to distributing nude images of underage girls.
Neil Cohen, 59, acknowledged viewing and printing images meant for sexual gratification from a computer in his former legislative office.
Cohen pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by distributing child pornography and could be sent to state prison for five years when he is sentenced on July 12.
Under terms of a plea agreement, Cohen will have to register as a sex offender under Megan’s law and be subject to lifetime supervision by the Parole Board when he is released from prison. He agreed never to seek public office again and to pay at least $1,800 in fines. His use of social networking Web sites also will be restricted.
The staff member who discovered the photos told the two lawmakers who shared the office with Cohen, Sen. Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman Joe Cryan. They reported Cohen to state authorities in July 2008.
A week later, Cohen resigned, ending a 17-year career in the Legislature. He then checked himself into a psychiatric hospital.
10 Issues to Watch on Assembly’s Last Day (MD) April 12, 2010:
Concern Grows As Sex Offender Bill Stalls, (MD) April 12, 2010:
McDonnell in Hot Water over Nonviolent Felons’ Rights (Virginia), April 11, 2010:
State’s Sex Offender Risk Classifications can Mislead Public (TX) April 11, 2010:
In 2005, the Texas Legislature directed the Council on Sex Offender Treatment to study dynamic risk assessment, which would include assessing the offender based on multiple factors.
“What it’s going to provide is a more accurate predictor of risk,” said Allison Taylor, executive director of the council. “The main thing is determining the true predators.”
She said the public needs to be notified of how dangerous an offender is, rather than just the sexual recidivism level as indicated on the Static 99 form.
Talks Stall on New Sex Offender Laws (MD) April 11, 2010:
Requirement Added for Restoration of Voting Rights (Virginia), April 11, 2010:
Editorial: Branded for Life: Predator Laws’ Flaws, April 11, 2010:
Narrow sex offender lists to true threats
Sex Offenders Find Home in Waterford (MI), April 11, 2010:
Bill Aims to Clarify Where Sex Offenders Can Live (FL) April 11, 2010:
Sex-Offender Opponents Cite Safety Fears, Cancel Protest (CA), April 11, 2010:
Leaders of a planned protest outside a Buena Park church that runs a group-home program for convicted sex offenders canceled the protest Sunday, saying they feared for their safety.
But, they said, they will keep up pressure on governmental officials to close the homes, located in a quiet Anaheim neighborhood with lots of children.
The church’s pastor, The Rev. Jose Mata, spoke to a reporter outside the church Sunday, saying he is aware of the neighbors’ concerns, but he believes in his church’s mission and won’t move or close the homes.
Neighbors learned last month that the church, Holy Ground Christian Fellowship, was renting two Anaheim homes within blocks of each other and running them as group homes for 11 sex offenders – six in one home, five in the other.
That outraged many neighbors who said it has created suspicion and fear, prompting some parents to keep their children indoors.
Community leaders announced last week that they would picket the church on the 7600 block of Ninth Street in Buena Park on Sunday. But protest leader Linda Liptrap-Gutierrez – whose home backs up to one of the Anaheim group homes – drove by the church Saturday, then decided to call off the protest.
Senate Backs Marking Sex Offenders’ Drivers Licenses (MD) April 10, 2010:
Sex Offender Housing Restrictions May Lead to More Crimes, April 9, 2010:
Tribune examination finds those who are forced to serve parole in prison are more likely to reoffend, disappear
Sex offender housing restrictions have long been criticized by civil liberties advocates, who argue that it’s unjust to banish any segment of society, and by criminal justice experts, who say it’s more productive and cost-effective for most offenders to undergo parole supervision and treatment in the community.
Now some victims’ advocates and members of law enforcement are echoing the calls for reform.
“There’s a growing awareness that these housing restrictions make politicians feel good, but don’t protect victims or prevent crime,” said Kaethe Morris Hoffer, a legal director at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.
Does ‘Befriending’ Sex Offenders Stop New Crimes? April 9, 2010:
Suit Fights for Homeless Sex Offenders (MI) April 9, 2010:
Va. Jury: Naked in Own Home Not Indecent, April 7, 2010:
A man charged with indecent exposure after two women said they saw him naked inside his own home was acquitted Wednesday by a Virginia jury.
In December, a judge in Fairfax County’s General District Court convicted Williamson of misdemeanor indecent exposure, but imposed neither jail time nor a fine. Still, Williamson appealed his case to the county’s circuit court, risking a maximum punishment of a year in jail to clear his name.
Under Virginia law, indecent exposure occurs when a person intentionally makes an obscene display of his or her private parts. The law does not necessarily require the exposure to be in a public place — it allows for prosecution when the exposure occurs in a “place where others are present.”
Arrest of ‘Most Wanted’ Sex Offender Raises Policy Questions April 9, 2010:
But Hall of the Lansing Police Department said there are concerns about using the sex offender registry in that way.
“Just because they are on the list doesn’t necessarily mean they are a danger,” said Hall. He noted that not all sex offenders on the list have restrictions preventing them from having contact with children, but the only way to identify those people would be through a background check by police. “The sex offender list does not do that for you. It’s not a helpful tool in weeding out the so-called Romeo and Juliet effect.”
Statutory rape cases involving young people just above and just below the age of consent in consensual sexual relationships — say, an 18 year old boyfriend and a 15 year old girlfriend — are referred to as “Romeo and Juliet” cases. Michigan Messenger has reported in a series of articles about the negative impact of listing such offenders on the sex offenders registry — including the resulting run-ins with law enforcement.
Hall says the case of a truly dangerous defendant — one who actually has been convicted of predatory crimes with children, as opposed to someone convicted of entirely consensual activity — illustrates the concerns about having a list that combines genuine predators with those who are no danger to society. “What [this situation] does is expose the limitations of the sex offender list,” he said. “It’s not a perfect tool in determining the level of risk they might pose.”
‘Drug Offender’ Could be Added to Licenses (LA), April 6, 2010:
Area Republicans Demand Mayor’s Resignation (CA), April 6, 2010:
Do Sex Offender Boundary Laws Work? (ND) April 5, 2010:
Piepkorn says yes, but those who’ve studied issue disagree.
Expert Warns Local Sex Offender Restrictions Could be Dangerous (WI) April 5, 2010:
An expert with the state Department of Corrections told a panel of state lawmakers Thursday (4/1) that local ordinances restricting where sex offenders can live actually put children more at risk.
Sexting Creates Sub-class of Teenage Sex Offenders, April 5, 2010:
The sponsor of the Florida bill in the state House, Representative Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington) believes that a rethinking of the penalties is overdue.
“We shouldn’t be labeling our children as sexual predators for this type of behavior,” Abruzzo said. “We are lessening the penalties. When the child pornography laws were written, they obviously didn’t take this into consideration.”
“It is stupid behavior that young people will regret for years to come, but it shouldn’t be treated as child pornography. We’re trying to make the punishment fit the crime,” said the bill’s Senate sponsor, Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres).
If the bill passes on April 30th, both parties can be prosecuted if one teen sends a naked photo to another.
But first-time offenders would get a slap on the wrist: eight hours of community service and a $25 fine. A second offense would be a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The consequences of sexting can be unpredictable.
The National Council on State Legislatures reports that in 2009, Nebraska, Utah and Vermont changed their laws to lessen the penalties for teens who sext. This year, 13 states besides Florida are considering legislation that would treat teens who sext differently from adult sexual predators and pornographers.
Editorial: All Sex Offenders Are Not Equal, April 4, 2010:
State Must Look To Research, Not Fear or Politics
How Many Registered Sex Offenders have Never Committed Sex Crimes?, April 3, 2010: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/crime_and_courts/article_2a980c7e-5c63-540e-98df-f286467f472a.html
Knee-jerk Reactions to Abuse are of Little Use, April 3, 2010:
Mental Health Experts Less Likely To Interview CA Sex Offenders, April 3, 2010:
Appeals Court Rejects 30-Year Ban on Computer Use for Sex Offender, April 2, 2010:
A federal appeals court in Washington today struck down a 30-year ban on any computer use by a convicted sex offender, sending the case back to the trial court to refine the restriction in a way that opens it up to modification for work purposes.
“[T]he question is not the appropriateness of an internet restriction but its form and severity,” wrote Senior Judge Stephen Williams in the majority opinion. Williams was joined by Judge David Tatel.
Williams said it’s difficult to imagine white collar work not requiring access to computers “just as white collar work 100 years ago would almost invariably have required the use of pens and pencils. In fact Russell’s training and experience mark him not only as a white collar worker but as one at the most technically sophisticated end of the white collar distribution.”
The judge noted that even some blue collar work requires a computer: Russell “has evidently found that computer use is required for filling out most job applications, including those at McDonald’s, as well as discharging the duties of even low tech occupations, such as keeping inventory at PETCO, and producing frames at A.C. Moore.”
A “minimum change” on remand, the court said, would allow a probation officer to modify the outright ban to adjust to developments in technology and “to secure a reasonable balance between the statute’s rehabilitative and deterrence goals.”
Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson agreed with remanding the ban to the trial court for further review. But she rejected the notion, reflected in the majority opinion, that a ban on computer use is a “substantial burden” on a person’s liberty interest.
“We can judicially note that millions of Americans every day perform jobs without using (or even seeing) a computer,” Henderson wrote in a concurrence. “If Russell cannot find a job, it is more likely because of his criminal record than the computer ban.”
Court: 30-year Ban on Computer use Too Much, April 2, 2010:
A three-judge panel agreed with prosecutors and the man’s lawyer that the restriction was too harsh because it could never be modified over three decades.
The judges noted it is often necessary to use a computer to apply for a job, including at McDonald’s and PETCO. Russell had served several years in prison and challenged the conditions of his release. The panel ordered a lower court to modify the conditions.
As part of his sentence, Russell was ordered not to own or use a computer “for any reason.”
The 15-page appeals court ruling said that isn’t fair, particularly to a 50-year-old man who worked for 10 years as an applied systems engineer.
“Even a lot of blue collar work requires some computer use,” the judges wrote. “It is totally unsurprising in the realities of the modern world that in his post-release search for employment Russell has evidently found that computer use is required for filling out most job applications.”
Such a 30-year ban on computer use hinders Russell’s rehabilitation, the judges found.
Activists, Lawmakers Push For CORI Reform (MA), April 2, 2010:
Lawmakers Debate Sex Offender Residency Rules (WI), April 1, 2010:
A bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee would prohibit those local ordinances, and allow the state to set uniform guidelines. Sen. Lena Taylor, a Milwaukee Democrat, says a patchwork of rules could result in sex offenders flocking to Milwaukee or remote areas in northern Wisconsin.
“We do have our habits of being very territorial and not worrying about the effect of whether or not what we’re doing is really what we need to do for uniformity so that we can address the issue for our sisters and brothers that are in areas that are more remote than ourselves, or communities that may not be remote, but may not have the same ordinances that we have,” Taylor says.
Who Should Decide Where Sex Offenders Live? (WI) April 1, 2010:
Grain Valley Candidate Not a Sex Offender (MO), April 1, 2010:
Ariz. House Panel Delays Vote on Sexting Bill, April 1, 2010:
Targeting Sex Offenders (MD), April 1, 2010:
County DA Says Teen Sexting Will be Punished (PA), April 1, 2010:
‘Sexting’: Should Child Pornography Laws Apply? April 1, 2010:
Legal Debate Springs Up After Man Put on Sex Offender List for Forwarding Risque Images
Some Sex Offenders Not Entitled to Get Minimum Wage (WI), April 1, 2010:
Firm Can’t be Sued for Using Info from Offender Registry (CA), April 1, 2010: