Archive for April 5, 2009

Woman Falsely Listed As Sex Offender for 5 yrs

April 5, 2009 Comments off : DPS Accidentally Posts Woman’s Name As Sex Offender For 5 Years.

Ft. Worth, Texas (AP) – The Texas Department of Public Safety has apologized for posting a Dallas woman’s name and photo erroneously on the state’s sex offender Web site for nearly five years.

She said she’s consulting with lawyers about what her next move should be, if any. Her name apparently was posted on the Web site in 2003. That’s when the then-13-year-old girl was detained on a minor trespassing complaint.

Now 20, Marquez said she learned of her listing when she tried to rent a new apartment and the management denied her application. They cited her status as a registered sex offender. Marquez is a mother of two and a criminal justice student at Remington College in Garland.

Supreme Court Delays Release of Sex Offenders

April 5, 2009 Comments off : Obama Delays Release of Sex Offenders.

Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday granted a request of U.S. President Barack Obama to block the release of up to 77 sex offenders; some of the 77 offenders in question were set to be released as early as next week without this intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court. The federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, previously invalidated a law allowing indefinite incarceration of perceived “sexually dangerous” inmates.

When Congress enacted a law permitting the indefinite commitment of sex offenders, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals claimed that the decision was beyond the bounds of Congressional powers. The appeal was brought forth by several convicted sex offenders: four men serving terms of three to eight years for a variety of charges, such as possession of child pornography or sexual abuse of a minor. Though the four men were due to be released over two years ago, their incarceration was extended due to a perceived risk of repeat offending.

Keeping an inmate in prison one year past his parole date costs about $30,000, versus $800 for a year of parole.

OK Sex Offenders Decry Classification System

April 5, 2009 Comments off : Oklahoma sex offenders decry classification system.

The number of Oklahoma sex offenders saddled with lifetime registration has doubled since 2007, when state officials implemented a classification system to come into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act, which increased the federal government’s role in dealing with convicted sex offenders.

Some local attorneys say it has resulted in harsher treatment of such offenders. “These people are living just in absolute terror,” attorney Mark Bailey said. “The rules have been changed on them.”

Bailey said he has been approached by a number of people with sex-related convictions in their distant past who recently have been notified they must register with authorities, most for the rest of their lives.
He said the stigma of being branded sex offenders keeps people from speaking out about the recently enacted registration requirements.

William Farmer isn’t so shy. He condemned the restrictions that have hampered one of his relatives for a decade, since he was convicted of indecent exposure in 1999. Farmer said the man was drunk when he urinated on the side of his truck in the view of two women, but that shouldn’t brand him a sex offender. “He is not a danger to society,” he said.

The Choctaw resident complained the state is not doing enough to differentiate between dangerous sex offenders and people who made a stupid mistake. “They’re lumping them all in the same basket,” he said.

Lifetime registration

The law that went into effect in November 2007 requires authorities to evaluate everyone convicted of a sex offense since 1989, assigning each one a tier in the new classification system. Tier 1 offenders must register for 15 years; tier 2 for 25 years and tier 3 for life. Most of the state’s 6,000-plus convicted sex offenders fall into the latter category, state Corrections Department officials said.

Sex offenders considered aggravated or habitual were subject to lifetime registration before the tier system was enacted, said Jim Rabon, who oversees the sex offender registration program. Those offenders used to make up about 40 percent, he said. Now more than 80 percent are subject to lifetime registration.

Bailey said there should be more tiers to encompass the range of people who committed crimes classified as sex offenses. Many are not sexually dangerous, he insists, but guilty only of bad behavior. He said the assessment is based on the charge of conviction, not the circumstances that led to it. It doesn’t consider how likely someone is to commit further sex crimes. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” he said.

Oklahoma’s classification guidelines (before Adam Walsh Act) were created by a committee that included prosecutors, counselors and victim advocates. Tulsa counselor Randy Lopp said the state’s assessment tool meets the requirements of the Walsh Act, but he acknowledged it is not the best way to classify sex offenders.

Lopp, who is head of the Oklahoma Coalition for Sex Offender Management, said offenders should be classified according to their risk level rather than their offense of record.

“This belief is based on accepted research in the field that indicates (75) percent of sexual offenders are not re-arrested over a 15-year period,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Oklahoman.

Richard Kishur, an Oklahoma City counselor who specializes in treating sex offenders, said ideally sex offenders should be evaluated before they are sentenced, to determine if they are a risk to re-offend.