Archive for February 19, 2010

NH: Bill Prevents Local Residency Restrictions

February 19, 2010 Comments off N.H. House passes bill preventing communities from limiting sex offenders.

Concord, NH — A bill that would prevent communities from establishing residency restrictions for sex offenders has passed the state House of Representative and is on its way to the Senate.

House Bill 1484, which would prohibit any political subdivision of the state from adopting an ordinance or bylaw that restricts the residence of a sex offender or an offender against children, passed the House without any discussion, according to state Rep. Beth Rodd, D-Bradford.

Rodd proposed the bill in response to a district court ruling regarding Dover’s former ordinance, City Code 131-20, which prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school or day care center. Judge Mark Weaver ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in August after a 2008 challenge by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Rodd said she is confident the bill will make its way through the state Senate and eventually end up in the governor’s office to be signed into law because there has been much testimony about how such residency restrictions discourage sex offenders from registering.

“It’s dangerous to restrict residency for sex offenders because it diminishes law enforcement’s ability to track these offenders,” she said.

Bill Text: “651-B:13 Residency Restrictions Prohibited. No political subdivision of the state shall adopt an ordinance or bylaw that restricts in any way the residence of a sexual offender or an offender against children. Any such ordinance or bylaw adopted by a political subdivision of the state prior to the effective date of this section shall be null and void on the effective date of this section. “

VA: Tougher Sex-Offender Bills Die in Committee

February 19, 2010 Comments off Tougher Sex-Offender Bills Die in Committee.

Four bills that would have brought tighter restrictions on registered sex offenders died in a House committee this week.

The bills would have prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a child daycare center or school, from entering onto the property of a daycare center at any time and from being within 100 feet of a children’s museum. A fourth bill would have retroactively included offenders convicted before July 1, 2000, in legislation that bans loitering near schools.

Local legislators said that the bills failed because they would have had fiscal impact in a year that allows no room for extra spending.

Some convicted sex offenders may not be dangerous predators. Del. Chris Peace, R-Mechanicsville,said “The truth is, there are sex offenders living in communities all across Virginia,” “and they’re doing so peacefully and they’re abiding by the laws.”

Ohio: State v. Spangler

February 19, 2010 Comments off

This is not a new ruling. It dates back to June 2009, but we found we had not adequately posted this ruling in our blogs. Ohio court declares sex offender law a violation of the “Separations of Powers” clause and unconstitutional.

Ohio: State v. Spangler, 2009-Ohio-3178, Ohio Appellate Court, 2009 (PDF)

The 11th Appellate Dist court of Ohio has found the changes made by Senate bill 10 (made according to the Adam Walsh Act) unconstitutional in the case of Spangler v. State, 2009-Ohio-3178. Opinion issued 6-30-2009 which goes as follows:

Appellant, Raymond J. Spangler, appeals the judgment of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, denying his Petition to Contest Reclassification and classifying him a Tier II Sex Offender. The fundamental principle of the “separation of powers” doctrine as written by our forefathers in the United States Constitution is inviolate, and, therefore, mandates reversal of the decision of the court below. However, Spangler must still comply with the notification and registration requirements under his original sentence.

On January 23, 2001, Spangler was convicted, in Case No. 2000-CR-276, of the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, of Attempted Corruption of a Minor, a felony of the fifth degree in violation of R.C. 2923.02 and R.C. 2907.04(A), and Public Indecency, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 2907.09(A). At the time of his conviction, Spangler was seventy-three years old. The charges against Spangler stemmed from allegations that he had exposed himself to and fondled neighborhood children six or seven years previously.

On April 27, 2001, Spangler was sentenced to five years of community control, fined $350, and ordered to register for a period of ten years as a sexually oriented offender. Spangler was also required to annually verify his current residence and/or place of employment by personally appearing before the sheriff of the county, pursuant to former R.C. 2950.06(A) and (B)(2).

On November 26, 2007, the Office of the Attorney General issued Spangler Notice of New Classification and Registration Duties Tier II Sex Offender (Adult). Spangler was advised “of changes to Ohio’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2950, ‘SORN’) *** due to Ohio Senate Bill 10, passed to implement the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.” Under the new classification, Spangler is a “Tier II Sex Offender” and “required to register personally with the local sheriff’s office every 180 days for 25 years.”

On January 23, 2008, Spangler filed a Petition to Contest Reclassification, pursuant to R.C. 2950.031(E) and R.C. 2950.032(E), in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, the county in which he resides and currently registers.

On March 20, 2008, a hearing was held on Spangler’s Petition. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial judge denied the Petition and reclassified Spangler a Tier II Sex Offender. On March 24, 2008, the trial court memorialized its decision in a written Judgment Entry.

On April 22, 2008, Spangler filed his Notice of Appeal with this court. Spangler raises the following assignments of error on appeal.

“[1.] The retroactive application of Ohio’s SB 10 violates the prohibition on ex post facto laws in Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution.”

“[2.] The retroactive application of Ohio’s AWA violates the prohibition on retroactive laws in Article II, Section 28 of the Ohio Constitution.”

“[3.] Reclassification of defendant-appellant constitutes a violation of the separation of powers[] doctrine.”

“[4.] Reclassification of defendant-appellant constitutes impermissible multiple punishments under the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Ohio Constitutions.”

“[5.] The residency restrictions of the AWA violate Due Process Clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I of the Ohio Constitution.”

“[6.] Defendant-appellant cannot be subjected to the community notification requirements under pre-AWA law.”

“[7.] Defendant-appellant cannot be subjected to the community notification requirements under the AWA because it would violate the contract clause of the Ohio Constitution and the plea agreement entered into with the State of Ohio in the underlying criminal proceeding.”

These assignments are considered out of order for the sake of clarity of presentation. …For the remainder of the opinion.. by 11th Appellate Dist Court

GA: Another Cop Caught with Child Porn

February 19, 2010 Comments off Former Forsyth deputy sheriff sentenced on child porn charges.

More corrupt and hypocritical double standards of police officers and public officials possessing child pornography.

Gainesville — Milton Scott Pruitt, 41, of the Forsyth County Sheriff Department, was sentenced today by United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “This defendant was once entrusted with protecting the public’s safety as a law enforcement officer but chose to violate that public trust by victimizing innocent children when he used the internet to receive child pornography on his home computer. To make matters worse, on at least one occasion, he also used a Forsyth County Sheriff’s computer to view child pornography while he was working. By prosecuting child pornography offenders such as defendant Pruitt, this office is working to make our community safer for our children. This sentence underscores the substantial consequences for people who possess images of children being sexually exploited.”

While working the overnight shift on March 15, 2007, Pruitt, a sergeant supervising other patrol deputies, used his in-car laptop computer to access child pornography stored as evidence in a Forsyth County detective’s computer file. Pruitt accessed and viewed 10 images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Pruitt’s illicit computer activity was discovered several weeks later by an employee of Forsyth County’s information technology department, who reported Pruitt’s conduct to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office referred the case to the GBI. During a subsequent interview with a GBI agent, Pruitt admitted that he accessed and viewed the pornographic images because he was “just curious.”

Following his admission, GBI seized Pruitt’s home computer and conducted a forensic examination of its hard drive. The examination revealed more than a hundred images of child pornography and numerous Internet searches for such images.