Archive for November 30, 2009

Illinois to Soon Implement Adam Walsh Act

November 30, 2009 Comments off

Apparently, the State of Illinois is intending to implement the Adam Walsh Act. Constitutionalfights has not been able to find any official information about this yet (perhaps the legislators are doing this in stealth mode), but we ask readers to forward any official posting about it. Readers in Illinois are encourage to write letters to their legislators here: : IL – Please Oppose the Adam Walsh Act.

Maine Lawsuits Remove Sex Offenders from Registry

November 30, 2009 Comments off : Nearly 100 removed from Maine sex offender list.

Augusta, Maine – Maine officials say nearly 100 people have been removed from the state’s sex offender registry two months after of a new law went into effect changing the registry’s rules.

People convicted of sex offenses dating back to 1982 were previously listed on the registry. But after court challenges, the Legislature changed the law so that people convicted of offenses between 1982 and June 30, 1992, no longer had to be on the list if they didn’t have any subsequent felony-level offenses.

Matthew Ruel, director of the State Bureau of Identification, told the Kennebec Journal that as of last week, 245 people had submitted applications seeking to be taken off the registry, with nearly 100 of those being removed.

Jessica’s Law too Vague to Enforce?

November 30, 2009 Comments off : Jessica’s Law too Vague to Enforce?

More than 70 percent of registered sex offenders in San Diego County are violating a state law by living too close to schools and parks.

Jessica’s Law, which was approved by California voters in November 2006, toughened sanctions against sex offenders and bars them from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. In San Diego County, 1,266 of 1,731 offenders whose addresses are made public by the state live in those restricted zones, according to an analysis by the Watchdog Institute, a nonprofit investigative journalism unit based at San Diego State University.

That finding surprises virtually no one in law enforcement. They say the law is vague and has holes, making it nearly impossible to enforce. For example, the law doesn’t specify whether residence restrictions apply to all convicted sex offenders or only to those who were convicted or paroled after it passed. There are no penalties for violating the restrictions.

“The initiative itself was so badly written, no one knows how retroactive it is,” said Tom Tobin, a clinical psychologist and member of the state Sex Offender Management Board, an advisory group that includes law enforcement and other professionals who deal with sex crimes.

More than 90 percent of convicted sex offenders listing addresses in Chula Vista are in violation of the state residence restriction, while none violate the municipal ordinance.

Four registered sex offenders, two of whom live in San Diego County, have challenged the residency restrictions, and their case is before the California Supreme Court. The court’s ruling is expected in February.

And while residence restrictions are aimed at keeping strangers away from children, strangers commit a small percentage of child-sex offenses. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office doesn’t track how many child molestations are committed by strangers, but the Justice Department study found that 93 percent of offenders are related to or know their victims. “Often, we’re horrified when we hear about children snatched off the street,” said Phyllis Shess, director of sex-offender management in the District Attorney’s Office. “That is statistically very rare.”

In one aspect, Jessica’s Law has increased concerns about public safety. Since it took effect, more registered sex offenders have identified themselves as transient and are harder to track.

Tobin said sex offenders in an unstable environment, such as homelessness, are more likely to commit another crime. “Why would we want to, with no apparent good reason, increase the risk of re-offending?” he asked. “The reality is we’re pushing people to the brink.”

In January, the Sex Offender Management Board issued recommendations, including one to “rethink residency restrictions.” It stated, “The vast majority of evidence and research conducted to date does not demonstrate a connection between where an offender lives and recidivism.”

Residents Want Sex Offenders Banned from Town

November 30, 2009 Comments off (NY) : Residents Want Sex Offenders Banned from Town.

Lake Luzerne – Residents Thomas Condon, Joseph Catoggio and Clinton Freeman on Davern Drive want sex offenders out of their neighborhood and away from the town.

Town Supervisor Eugene Merlino said he’s not sure the town can do that. “There’s not much the town can legally do,” he said, adding that the district attorney’s office told him if sex offenders they have served their time, they can live anywhere.

But Catoggio told the board that Colonie had recently adopted a new law that requires businesses to get a license from the town before they can house sex offenders. That way, they are regulating businesses rather than the offenders themselves. Catoggio asked the town’s attorney to look into a similar law for Lake Luzerne.

See previous post: Town Welcomes Terrorists Over Sex Offenders

Town Welcomes Terrorists Over Sex Offenders

November 30, 2009 Comments off : Amherst mulls resolution welcoming Guantanamo detainees.

The western Massachusetts university town of Amherst is mulling a resolution urging the Congress to release cleared Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States and calling for the town to welcome those detainees into the community. The town’s Select Board voted 2-1 Monday night to endorse a warrant article titled, “Resolution to Assist in the Safe Resettlement of Cleared Guantanamo Detainees.”

“The United States has a long history of being a place of refuge and asylum for persecuted people. There’s nothing new about this,” said Gerry Weiss, one of the two selectmen supporting the resolution. “This is the tradition of the United States.”

Mark Wootton, 60, of Worthington, owner of Amherst Books, said, “I agree with those who say this is outside of the expertise of the town, but I think it’s a reasonable thing for the town to welcome or accept them if they were cleared by the courts and if they want to be here. They should be free to live here or anywhere else. Banning people from living in certain towns or places is antithetical to a democracy. They’re free to live in Worthington, too, so far as I’m concerned.”

Update: Amherst- Town Meeting approved it overwhelmingly on November 4.

Terrorists should not be banned from living in certain places, but ex sex offenders should be banned from living in certain places ?