Archive for December 14, 2009

Amicus Curiae Brief in Carr v. United States

December 14, 2009 Comments off : Amicus Curiae Brief in Carr v. United States.

The petitioner’s brief primarily focused on the statutory interpretation issues in the case. The brief filed partly by our friend, Corey Rayburn Yung at , was solely concerned with the Ex Post Facto Clause claim. You can find the brief here.

Facts of the Case:
An Indiana federal district court convicted Thomas Carr of violating the Sex Offender and Registration and Notification Act. The Act imposes penalties on anyone who is a convicted sex offender, and traveling in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly fails to register as a sex offender, unless he proves that “uncontrollable circumstances” prevented him from doing so. On appeal, Carr argued that he did not violate the act because he traveled before the Act was passed. The Seventh Circuit held that the Act does not require that the defendant’s travel postdate its enactment, and, consequently, affirmed the district court.

1) Can a person be prosecuted under the Sex Offender and Registration and Notification Act when the defendant’s offense and interstate travel both predate the Act’s enactment?

2) Does the ex post fact clause preclude prosecution under the Sex Offender and Registration and Notification Act when the defendant’s offense and interstate travel both predate the Act’s enactment?

Report on Low Sex Offender Recidivism

December 14, 2009 Comments off : New Scientist reports low sex offender recidivism.

Peter Aldhous over at New Scientist is reporting on the declining rates of sex offending in California, which I blogged about on June 23 (click here), as well as similar reported declines in Minnesota. The article, “Sex offenders unlikely to commit second crime,” begins like this:

Sex crime statistics tend to make depressing reading, but now there is some good news from the most populous state in the US. Just 3.2 per cent of more than 4,000 sex offenders released on parole in 2002 were re-imprisoned for another sex offence in the subsequent 5 years, according to new figures from California.

While experts know that sex offenders are less likely to reoffend than most other criminals (New Scientist, 24 February 2007, p 3), the very low rate of re-imprisonment in the new study will challenge public perceptions about the risks these criminals pose.

The figures are broadly consistent with a 2007 Minnesotan study, which found that 3.2 per cent of sex offenders released from 1990 to 2002 had been re-imprisoned for a further sex crime within 3 years of their release.

What’s more, sex offenders in Minnesota are even less likely to reoffend….

Unfortunately, you have to subscribe to read the remainder of the article, as well as prior coverage of this topic by Mr. Aldhous. However, my June 23 blog post on the new California data is here, and the Minnesota recidivism study is online here. A comprehensive, 225-page report by researchers on behalf of the California Sex Offender Management Board is online here. The data on 5- and 10-year recidivism are a bit hidden at the CSOMB website, but you can get them HERE and HERE, respectively.

WV Man Arrested After Taking Santa Kids Photos

December 14, 2009 Comments off : West Virginia Photographer Arrested After Taking Pictures of Children on Santa’s Lap.

A freelance photographer is crying foul after police arrested him at a West Virginia mall, where he had taken pictures of a child sitting on Santa’s lap, according to

The photographer, Scott Rensberger, told that a man came up to him on Tuesday after he took the photos and asked him to delete them. Rensberger said he complied, but then police officers approached him, questioning him why he was taking pictures of children.

Police say they arrested Rensberger after a scuffle that ensued when he started taking photos of the officers.
Rensberger was charged with battery, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, but he denies doing anything wrong.
Rensberger said he plans to argue his case in court. “America’s gone nuts. We can’t take pictures anymore,” he said.

Hysteria run a muck in America!