Archive for July 23, 2009

Sex Offender Tracking Consumes Time, Money

July 23, 2009 Comments off

WBNS : Sex Offender Tracking Consumes Time, Money, Authorities Say.

A law designed to help law enforcement track convicted sex offenders was passed last year, but some authorities said Friday that the law is taking up more time and costing more money.

Fairfield County Sheriff’s Deputy John Baumgardt said keeping the paper trail on the county’s sex offenders has been a full-time job since Senate Bill 10 went into effect. “I’ve had as many as nine, I think, in one day,” he said.

The law reclassified tens of thousands of sex offenders, and required many to register more often and for longer periods of time, 10TV’s Andy Hirsch reported.

Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said the changes have increased his office’s workload, among other things.
“They want to know where these offenders live, and it’s a good tool,” Phalen said. “But, like everything else, it is labor intensive and it costs money.”

Since passage of the law, the number of times sex offenders walk into the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office for registration purposes have more than doubled, Hirsch reported.

The bill has been the subject of legal disputes throughout the state. Critics claim the law’s registration requirements are retroactive punishment on thousands of offenders, Hirsch reported.

The Ohio Supreme Court is set to hear the dispute later this year.

OH Court of Appeals Rules AWA Unconstitutional

July 23, 2009 Comments off : Sex offender law ruled unconstitutional Ruling made in appeals court Monday; Supreme Court decision awaited.

An opinion by the 11th District Court of Appeals in Warren may rekindle the debate over whether Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act sex offender law is constitutional.

It may be a brief debate, since the Ohio Supreme Court is expected to render its decision on the constitutionality sometime this fall.

A three-judge panel of the district court, which covers Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull, handed down the opinion Monday in a Lake County case in which a convicted sex offender is contesting his reclassification as a Tier III offender.

In a 2-1 decision, the court found the new law that resulted in his reclassification unconstitutional.

Under his original 2002 sentence, Jason Ettenger was required to register annually at the sheriff’s department wherever he lived for 10 years.

Under Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act, Ettenger was reclassified and required to register personally with the sheriff’s office once every 90 days for life. The new law stiffened the penalties for failure to register as a sex offender as well as re-classifying nearly every offender convicted in the past 10 years.

Classification of offenders is now determined by the crime they were convicted of. No evidence is weighed on whether the defendant is likely to re-offend.

When the new law took effect Jan. 1, 2008, hundreds of cases were filed across Ohio (actually nearly 4000), challenging the reclassifications as double jeopardy since they already had been sentenced and classified.

In Portage County, more than 80 cases were headed for reclassification when local judges issued a blanket stay “pending a final decision by the Ohio Supreme Court or the federal district court.”

Judges Timothy P. Cannon and Diane V. Grendell found the new law unconstitutional, but for different reasons. They reversed the Lake County court’s decision and sent the case back for reconsideration.

Judge Mary Jane Trapp, dissented from the judgment and other points by Cannon and Grendell, but concurred on their analysis of the separation between legislative and judicial powers, and due process issues brought up in the appeal.

UK Sex Offenders Can Be Removed from Registry

July 23, 2009 Comments off : Sex offenders to get names wiped off register if they no longer pose threat.

Even the British have gotten it right before we have…

Sex offenders who no longer pose a threat to society will be given the chance to wipe the slate clean and have their names removed from the police database, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

The Home Office had been attempting to overturn an earlier High Court ruling that placing people on the sex offenders register for life with no chance of review breaches their human rights.

Today’s landmark decision comes as a serious blow to the Government as it attempts to keep tabs on paedophiles and other sex criminals.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London ruled that the human rights of a two sex offenders, including an 11-year-old rapist, had been violated.

That was because they had been put on the Sex Offenders Register for life, with all the heavy restrictions on their liberty that that entails, without any possibility of review. (…Just like it is here in the USA).

While recognising the vital importance of the Register in the fight against sex crime, Lord Justice Dyson said it was ‘disproportionate’ to keep an offender’s name on it forever, even after it can ‘confidently be said’ that they pose no further threat to the public.

The court’s ruling that placing sex offenders on the Register indefinitely, without any prospect of review, is ‘incompatible’ with the European Convention on Human Rights will almost certainly force Parliament’s hand into changing the law.

Once that happens, thousands of sex offenders will be able to demand reviews of their cases and that their names be removed from the Register and police databases.

Lord Justice Dyson, sitting with Lords Justices Kay and Hooper, said they were sensitive to public concerns and were not putting the interests of offenders ahead of those of the victims.

‘All right-minded people would applaud Parliament’s objective in establishing the register to help police detect and prevent sexual offending,’ he said.

‘But a scheme which obliges offenders who are sentenced to 30 months’ detention or more to remain on the register for the rest of their lives without any possibility of review, even if they can clearly demonstrate that they are no longer a risk, does nothing to promote that laudable objective and, in our view, it is disproportionate for that reason.’

It was for Parliament to decide ‘how high to set the bar’ which an offender would be required to cross in order to prove he was no longer a risk.

JF, now 17, was convicted of two offences of rape of a child under 13 and other sexual offences. He was aged 11 at the time of the assaults.

In October 2005 he was sentenced to 30 months’ detention by Liverpool Crown Court and released on licence in January 2007. Thompson, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, was sentenced in November 1996 to five years’ imprisonment on two counts of indecent assault on a female and other offences of actual bodily harm. Since being released in April 2000 he has not been in any trouble and is now in poor health after a series of heart attacks.

The Home Office said it would seek to challenge today’s judgment in the Supreme Court, which takes over from the House of Lords as the UK’s highest court in October.

Miss. Appeals Court : No Banishment Requirement

July 23, 2009 Comments off : Miss. Appeals Court throws out banishment requirement for sex offender.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The state Court of Appeals has thrown out a lower court order that a McComb man be banished from Mississippi once his completes a 25-year sentence for a sex crime conviction.

Richard A. Simoneaux pleaded guilty in 2004 in Pike County to spying on and assaulting nursing home residents. Simoneaux pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, two counts voyeurism, sexual battery, sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult and burglary of a dwelling.

The trial judge sentenced Simoneaux to 30 years without parole with five years suspended. The judge also ordered Simoneaux to leave Mississippi once he is released from prison.

The Appeals Court rejected Simoneaux claims his pleas were not voluntary, that his attorney could have done a better job but agreed banishment was too harsh.