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Archive for March, 2009

Trends in Arrests of Online Predators

March 31, 2009 Comments off

Crimes Against Children Research Center : Trends in Arrests of “Online Predators” (PDF file).
(Janis Wolak, David Finkelhor, Kimberly Mitchell)

Key Findings:
Between 2000 and 2006, there was a 21% increase in arrests of offenders who solicited youth online for sex. During the same time, there was a 381% increase in arrests of offenders who solicited undercover investigators (UC) posing as youth.

• In 2006, of those arrested for soliciting online, 87% solicited undercover investigators (UC) and 13% solicited youth. (this can only indicate that undercover investigators were actively urging-on the solicitations)

• During the same period that online predator arrests were increasing, overall sex offenses against children and adolescents were declining, as were overall arrests for such crimes.



Arrests of online predators in 2006 constituted about 1% of all arrests for sex crimes committed against children and youth.

• During the interval between the two studies (2000 ‐ 2006), the percentage of U.S. youth Internet users ages 12‐17 increased from 73% to 93%.1,2

• Although arrests of online predators are increasing, especially arrests for soliciting undercover law enforcement, the facts do not suggest that the Internet is facilitating an epidemic of sex crimes against youth. Rather, increasing arrests for online predation probably reflect increasing rates of youth Internet use, a migration of crime from offline to online venues, and the growth of law enforcement activity against online crimes.

• The nature of crimes in which online predators used the Internet to meet and victimize youth changed little between 2000 and 2006, despite the advent of social networking sites. Victims were adolescents, not younger children. Most offenders were open about their sexual motives in their online communications with youth. Few crimes (5%) involved violence.

• There was no evidence that online predators were stalking or abducting unsuspecting victims based on
information they posted at social networking sites.

There was a significant increase in arrests of young adult offenders, ages 18 to 25. • Few of those arrested for online predation were registered sex offenders (4%).

MO Applies Retro-active Sex Offender Law

March 31, 2009 Comments off

BND.com (St. Lousi) : Mo. Senate votes to expand sex offender list.

Jefferson City, Mo. — The Missouri Senate has voted to require sex offenders convicted before 1995 to register with the state.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that the registry law does not apply to those people because the law took effect in 1995 and the state Constitution prohibits laws from being applied retrospectively.

Senators gave initial approval to a proposed constitutional change that would carve out an exemption for the registry law. The change would also retrospectively apply a prohibition on sex offenders living near schools and a requirement of felons to submit DNA samples.

CT Says Kill Sex Offenders

March 31, 2009 Comments off

apublicdefender.com : Legislature ponders bill to ignore Federal Constitution.

Connecticut State Republican Senator Dan Debicella apparently hasn’t heard of the Federal constitution, or doesn’t care that it exists. That can be the only logical explanation for his sponsorship of this bill, which effectively overrules Kennedy v. Louisiana.

The proposed bill would make a sexual assault, under section 53a-70, 53a-70a or 53a-71 of the general statutes, of a child under thirteen years punishable by death.

For those of you with extremely short memories , Kennedy (U.S. Supreme Court 2008) held that:

“[t]he Eighth Amendment bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death.

According to the Court, “[t]he death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child.” The opinion, which was joined by the court’s four more liberal judges, went on to state, “The court concludes that there is a distinction between intentional first-degree murder, on the one hand, and non-homicide crimes against individuals, even including child rape, on the other. The latter crimes may be devastating in their harm, as here, but in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public, they cannot compare to murder in their severity and irrevocability.” The opinion concluded that in cases of crimes against individuals, “the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim’s life was not taken.”

Now that seems pretty cut and dry, unless of course, there is some argument that the Federal Constitution applies to Louisiana but not Connecticut, because Connecticut was never a part of the United States due to some error back in the day and hence is its own duchy.

Either that, or Debicella got some bad advice. Thankfully, the rest of the legislators in the judiciary committee seem to have heard of Kennedy, since there’s been no action on the bill since it’s proposal in January.


Proposed Bill No. 213

Sex Offender Mom Banned from Son’s Graduation

March 31, 2009 Comments off

Cincinnati.com : Dinkel banned from son’s graduation.

Convicted sex offender Jeni Lee Dinkel won’t be allowed to attend her son’s high school graduation this May. In a March 24 letter, school officials told Dinkel, a 53-year-old mother of two, that Covington Catholic High School and the Diocese of Covington won’t allow her to attend graduation events with her family. Those include the Mass, the baccalaureate luncheon and commencement.

Nearly two years ago, Dinkel, the wife of former Bengals linebacker Tom Dinkel, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree rape for having sex with a 15-year-old friend of her son, Alex. She was sentenced to 60 days in jail, given probation for five years and ordered to register as a sex offender for 20 years in May 2007.

The letter from Covington Catholic High School Principal Robert J. Rowe and Margaret Schack, chancellor of the Diocese of Covington, is in response to Dinkel’s Feb. 13 letter informing school officials that she had permission from her probation officer to attend Covington Catholic High School’s graduation events in May.

Her son, Alex, has been “fighting for his life.” Alex Dinkel has battled cancer.

Junior High Students Arrested for Sex Video

March 31, 2009 Comments off

thebostonchannel.com : 3 Minors Arrested For Alleged Sex Video;Police Say Trio Shot, Distributed Sexual Intercourse.

…The charges that may be leveled against the teens are serious as the forwarding of such a video, also known as “sexting,” is a felony offense. “Some of the kids involved could be looking at possession of child pornography, dissemination of child pornography. There’s also the possibility of statutory rape and if there’s any audio discovered on the video there’s also the possible charge of wiretapping,” Mitchell said.

Because of the Adam Walsh Act, these children could be listed as registered sex offenders for life.

CT Says Sex Offenders Stay Out

March 30, 2009 Comments off

apublicdefender.com : AWAinCT: We dun’t want yer kind ’round ‘ere.

One of the more disturbing provisions being considered by the Lege in adopting the Adam Walsh Act here in Connecticut:

(d) Any person who is a registered sexual offender under the laws of any other state who enters this state and fails to notify the Commissioner of Public Safety in writing not less than forty-eight hours prior to entering the state of the information required under this section or falsely reports such information shall be guilty of a class D felony.

Oh yes. There is nothing missing from that sentence. If you were looking (and correctly so) for a qualifying clause in that language that required an individual to establish a residence here before being subject to “registration” you didn’t find it because it’s not there. It’s in the proposed subsection (c).

Subsection (d), that I just quoted above, mandates that anyone entering the State, for whatever reason, notify Public Safety 48 hours in advance. This is so silly it’s scary. There are no exceptions for emergencies or unplanned trips or anything. At all.

So if you’re required to register in CA, and are driving through from Yankee Stadium to Fenway Park to see the Yankees play the Red Sox and you take I-95 or the Merritt or I-91 or I-84 (all of which pass through Connecticut), you have to call public safety.

Read text of Connecticut General Assembly Governor’s Bill No. 6384 bill here:
http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/TOB/H/2009HB-06384-R00-HB.htm

Sec. 5. Section 54-253

GA : Class Action Lawsuit Suit

March 30, 2009 Comments off

Atlanta Journal Constitution : Sex offenders’ class-action lawsuit moves forward.

A federal judge on Monday allowed a class-action case seeking to overturn Georgia’s tough sex offender law to go forward. The judge also barred enforcement of a provision that bans offenders from volunteering at churches.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper rejected attempts by the state to declare the class-action suit on behalf of 16,000 sex offenders to be unmanageable. Instead, Cooper allowed the lawsuit to proceed in “subclasses.”

These include offenders seeking to overturn a provision banning them from living within 1,000 feet of a designated school bus stop; offenders who want to volunteer at places of worship; and offenders who were convicted before the law’s passage on July 1, 2006, but were put on the sex offender registry.

“Allowing plaintiffs to continue to participate in their faith communities will further public safety by providing support, stability and a grounded sense of right and wrong,” Cooper wrote. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs presented evidence from several ministers and others who work with sex offenders about the restorative powers of faith and volunteering in faith communities, Cooper said.

“Georgia’s sex offender law has suffered more legal setbacks than any such law anywhere in the country,” he said. “This order should send a clear message to the General Assembly that it’s time to fix this law.”

Preliminary Injunction:
http://media.morristechnology.com/mediafilesvr/upload/gainesville/article/0401RULINGDOC.pdf
A federal judge this week granted a preliminary injunction that overturns a provision of Georgia’s sex offender law. The provision imposed by state lawmakers prohibited registered sex offenders from volunteering in churches.

Public Housing? No Sex Offenders

March 30, 2009 Comments off

NYDailyNews : Councilman Eric Gioia: Keep sex offenders out of public housing.

Councilman Eric Gioia is adamant about where New York’s most dangerous pervs should not live – city housing projects. But when asked to suggest neighborhoods where they might reside he couldn’t come up with a single suggestion.

“I don’t think government should be telling people where to live,” Gioia offered.(So government should only tell sex offenders where to live? This guy sounds like a real Rhodes Scholar; he doesn’t understand the difference between a sex offender and a predator)

March29th

March 29, 2009 Comments off

Note: Today was a busy day for constitutionalfights.org
We posted 17 new posts. Please be sure to read through them all.

Categories: Uncategorized

SC 4th Circuit : Sex Offender DNA Law

March 29, 2009 Comments off

jurist.law.pitt.edu : Fourth Circuit rules South Carolina sex offender DNA law is constitutional.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that a South Carolina law [SC Code §§ 23-3-600 et seq. text] requiring convicted first degree sex offenders to submit to a DNA test and pay $250 in processing fees prior to their release does not violate the ex post facto clause [text] of the Constitution. Anthony Eubanks, convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in April 1995, brought the action against the South Carolina Department of corrections, challenging the constitutionality of the provisions, which took effect in July 1995. In a narrowly tailored ruling, a three-judge panel upheld the district court’s grant of summary judgment against Eubanks, holding that the state DNA Identification Act did not violate the ex post facto clause because DNA gathering was a regulatory, not punitive function. The court also held that the $250 fee was a relatively small sum suggesting that it “was not intended to have a significant retributive or deterrent” function. The court was more troubled by a provision that allowed South Carolina to garnish prisoners’ wages to pay the $250 fee but avoided ruling on the issue as the appellant had not brought a due process claim. Finally, the court found that the statutory requirement that the prisoner must pay the $250 fee before he is paroled or released is unenforceable against Eubanks, as this provision is severable from the rest of the statute.

This case is the third instance that a court has held that the South Carolina DNA statute does not violate the ex post facto clause. Two South Carolina Court of Appeals rulings previously held that the law was constitutional, including one case decided [opinion] in June. Federal DNA collection laws have also withstood recent constitutional challenges. In 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld [JURIST report] an amendment to the DNA Backlog Elimination Act [JURIST report] that required all felons in federal prison to submit DNA to a national database available to police departments throughout the country. In 2005, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the constitutionality of an FBI DNA database, and the New Jersey Court of Appeals upheld a state DNA database for convicted criminals.