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Archive for March, 2010

LA: Appellate Court Overturns Sex Offender Rule

March 31, 2010 Comments off

2theadvocate.com (Louisiana): Judges overturn sex offender rule.

Finally a sane court rules that these retro-active registration laws are indeed punitive in nature !

An appellate court has ruled that the state cannot require a West Feliciana Parish man to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life or carry a special driver’s license and identification card.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal overturns a District Court judge’s ruling against Jimmy L. Smith, who was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile and carnal knowledge of a juvenile when he was 19.

Charles Griffin II, Smith’s attorney, said Smith served his sentence for the 1995 convictions, completed his probation and complied with post-release registration requirements for a 10-year period after he was released from prison.

Smith said authorities told him in 2009 that he would have to register again as a sex offender for the rest of his life because the law had changed after he was convicted.

Smith complied, but challenged the order in 20th Judicial District Court. Unless the state decides to challenge the ruling, Griffin said, Smith will be able to get a driver’s license without “sex offender” written on it in orange letters. Driver’s licenses for sex offenders must be renewed annually.

The opinion, issued Friday by Judges Vanessa G. Whipple, Jefferson D. Hughes III and Jewel E. “Duke” Welch, says case records show that Smith fulfilled his duty to register as a sex offender for the period of time that was applicable when he was convicted.

The opinion says Louisiana’s version of “Megan’s Law,” has a legitimate civil purpose to alert and protect the public from sex offenders who might offend again.

In Smith’s case, however, the amendments adopted after his conviction are “so punitive in effect as to transform what was intended as a civil remedy into an additional punishment for him.”

The retroactive application of amendments to the law violates the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions, the opinion says.
————————————–
This decision can be read here:
Case Numbers 2009 CA 1765 and 2009 CW 1169
JIMMY L SMITH VERSUS STATE OF LOUISIANA – March 26 2010

Excerpts:
“Based on the particular facts of this case we find that the application of the amended provisions of LaRS51454 as amended by 2007 La Acts No 460 and as amended by 2008 La Acts Nos 462 and 816 to Mr Smith is so punitive in effect as to transform what was intended as a civil remedy into an additional punishment for him. Louisiana Megan’s Law has a legitimate civil purpose – to alert and protect the public from sex offenders who may offend again. The provisions of Megans Law were already imposed on complied with and fulfilled by Mr Smith. Thus the purpose of Megans Law has been served. To now impose additional time on Mr Smith duty to register after his duty had already terminated either for his lifetime or for an additional five years imposes a
significant affirmative obligation on him. Because Megans Law’s non punitive purpose has already been served by Mr Smith’s compliance with the statute, this new additional affirmative obligation is excessive in relation to Megans Law’s non punitive purpose as it is being applied without regard to Mr Smith risk of re offending. Thus placing the burden on Mr Smith to re register as a sex offender for the duration of his life or for an additional five years after his duty to register had already terminated constitutes another punishment for his offense.”

“Additionally requiring Mr Smith either for the duration of his lifetime or for an additional five years to re register as a sex offender and to comply with the community and public notification procedures would also impose a new financial burden on Mr Smith.

“An offender who serves the entirety of his sentence and upon release is subjected to a new financial burden that was not in place when he committed his crime is not merely subjected to a regulatory cost but rather an affirmative disability amounting to punishment.

“As we have concluded that the application of the amended provisions of La RS 51454 as amended by 2007 La Acts No 460 and as amended by 2008 La Acts Nos 462 and 816 transforms what was intended as a civil remedy into a punitive one for him thereby increasing the penalty by which his crime is punishable the retroactive application of those amendments to Mr Smith violates the United States and Louisiana constitutional prohibitions of ex post facto. Accordingly the judgment of the trial court ordering Mr Smith to register as a lifetime sex offender pursuant to the amended provisions of La SR 51454 is hereby reversed.”

“Furthermore because we can find no statutory authority nor have we been directed to any other applicable statutory authority by which the State can command Mr Smith to reregister as a sex offender for the duration of his life or any further time period as Mr Smith has already fulfilled his duty to register as a sex offender for the requisite period of time under the provisions of former La SR 51454 applicable to his case we hereby render judgment prohibiting the State from enforcing the provisions of LaRS 51450 et seq against Mr Smith
with regard to the convictions for the two sexual offenses addressed herein.”

FL: Have Sex Offender Laws Been Effective?

March 30, 2010 Comments off

myfoxtampabay.com: Have sex offender laws been effective? – Some lawmakers say no, want to change them.

“We’ve learned that residency restrictions don’t make any difference,” said State Representative Rich Glorioso , a Republican from Plant City, Florida. “They have not been shown to stop repeat offenders.”

He says there’s a better way and calls it the “circle of safety.” His plan restricts where sex offenders can hang out. It’s designed to keep sex offenders from loitering near kids. The proposed law would keep them 300 feet away or the length of a football field.

“We don’t care where these guys are sleeping,” said Rep. Glorioso. “I want to know what they’re doing when they’re awake.”

Rep. Glorioso has introduced a bill in Tallahassee. It doesn’t eliminate residency restrictions, but he thinks if his “circle of safety” law passes, over time there will be no need for the current rules which force sex offenders to live together in tents, trailers or motels, and the general public will be safer for it.

Another Sex Offender Murdered in Philly

March 30, 2010 Comments off

Another Sex Offender Murdered in Philly – all thanks to the legislators and judges who prop up these public sex offender registries…

Philly.com: Man shot dead in car in North Philly was sex offender.

A 35-year-old man found shot dead in a car in North Philadelphia has been identified as a neighborhood resident. Police say Hassain Griffin was shot in the head and left side following an unspecified argument while sitting in the car around the corner from where he lived.

Griffin pleaded guilty last July to indecent assault and corruption of minors.

SC: Ban Sex Offenders from State Parks

March 29, 2010 Comments off

palmettoscoop.com: No sex offenders in state parks?

Registered sex offenders will no longer be allowed to enter South Carolina’s state parks if lawmakers have their way.

State Rep. Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston) offered a bill last week that would ban sex offenders from parks, something he said was a response to the highly-publicized a response to the rape and murder of 17-year-old California girl. Limehouse said park-goers are vulnerable in rural areas where there is little law enforcement. The legislation currently has 39 co-sponsors.

Not only is this a constitutional violation of the rights of citizens, but it is also impossible to enforce. If you live in South Carolina, call this idiot (and the co-sponsors) to tell them to knock it off.
Bill -H. 4774: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess118_2009-2010/bills/4774.htm

Sponsors: Reps. Limehouse, Brantley, Simrill, Miller, McEachern, Sottile, Vick, Hayes, Knight, H.B. Brown, Hutto, Anthony, Bowen, R.L. Brown, Crawford, Daning, Hamilton, Horne, Jefferson, Littlejohn, Long, Lowe, Mack, Millwood, Mitchell, D.C. Moss, Nanney, Parker, M.A. Pitts, Rice, Sandifer, G.R. Smith, Stringer, Toole, Umphlett, Whipper, Willis, Wylie and A.D. Young
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ms\7739ahb10.docx

Bill Text:
“TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 23-3-537 SO TO PROHIBIT A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER FROM ENTERING OR REMAINING IN A STATE PARK OR FACILITY UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, RECREATION AND TOURISM AND TO PROVIDE A PENALTY; TO AMEND SECTION 51-3-70, RELATING TO RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR STATE PARKS, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, RECREATION AND TOURISM TO ESTABLISH POLICIES FOR POSTING INFORMATION REGARDING UNSOLVED ATTACKS THAT OCCUR IN THE STATE PARKS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 51-3-145, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO CERTAIN ACTS WHICH ARE UNLAWFUL AT STATE PARKS, SO AS TO INCLUDE ENTERING A STATE PARK IF THE PERSON IS A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER. “

KS: If You Visit a Prostitute, Your’e a Sex Offender

March 29, 2010 Comments off

kansascity.com: Kansas ponders adding prostitutes’ customers to sex offender list.

Topeka- A bill passed by the Kansas House on Wednesday would land people convicted of hiring a prostitute on the state’s sex offender list for 10 years.

Many states, including Kansas, already require sex offender registration for those soliciting minors. Some states, such as California, give judges the discretion to require registration in solicitation cases. But adding solicitation to the crimes requiring offender registration would be a significant expansion of the offender registry, critics said.

Slattery’s amendment passed the House easily, but it’s likely to run into trouble in the Senate. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican, worries that adding solicitation to the list of crimes requiring registration goes too far. “We’ve expanded it more and more and more,” Owens said. “It diminishes the impact. How far do we go?”

We are all for adding groups of citizens to online registries. This will join drunk driving, animal abuse, sex offenses, murders, gun crimes, child abuse and more as crimes deemed by our governments to be publicly shamed online. The more , the merrier. We have already diluted sex offender registries with almost one million offenders; most of whom pose little or no threat to anyone. With the online registries promulgating like this, they only become the butt of jokes, which will eventually kill them altogether.

TN: Ban Sex Offender Parents From Afterschool Sports

March 29, 2010 Comments off

TNreport.com: Bill bans registered sex offenders from after-school events.

Registered sex offenders who are parents or legal guardians of school children will be barred from school events like ballgames and will be required to receive written permission before entering school grounds, under a bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Barnes of Adams and Rep. Phillip Johnson of Pegram.

“Registered sex offenders have no business going to after-school events, and they shouldn’t be anywhere near a school without a principal’s knowledge,” Barnes said. “Parents and teachers should know that their children are learning and playing in a safe environment.” The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the bill Monday evening.

The bill (SB2988/HB3263) bans parents and legal guardians who are registered sexual offenders from their children’s school events like plays and ballgames. Those individuals will have to obtain written permission from a school principal or administrator before attending conferences, and provide written notice of their status upon their child’s enrollment in order to drop off or pick up their child. Current law allows such parents to do all of the above without written permission or notice. Violation of the proposed law would result in a fine. Monetary penalties for violations of current sex offender restrictions range from $350 to $1,100.

Parents in Tennessee should contact these two idiots to explain to them that parents on a sex offender registry are “parents” too – and are entitled to the same rights as any other parent to support and watch their children play and grow up ! Just because they may have made a horrible mistake, often decades ago, does not prevent them from being outstanding parents.

Child Abuse (Not Sex Offender) Registry Coming

March 29, 2010 Comments off

salon.com: Do we need a child abuse registry? – Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for a national database to track child abuse offenders.

Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing for a national registry of child abusers. “Track child beaters like we do sex offenders,” blares one headline. It sounds like a righteous idea, at first glance. But although it may look like a huge step, and is certainly being announced as such, ultimately it will only make it easier for people to find out what other people already know.

Registries for child abuse already exist, on the state level, though federal law doesn’t mandate that states keep them. A key factor in the national registry — which was authorized in 2006, but which has not yet been put into place (an extensive feasibility report was published in May 2009) — is that it would centralize the information and allow child protective services easier access to it when abusers cross state lines.

Schumer compared the national registry for child abusers to registries for sex offenders. But that begins to make clear some of the potential shortfalls of the system: For one, tracking sex offenders is only one of the ways we work to prevent repeat crimes, and it doesn’t always work. And, just as in the case of the sex offender registry, this system would only work to track abusers who have been reported — which seems like a point so obvious it’s not worth bringing up, until you think about how under-reported child abuse actually is.

We are all for adding groups of citizens to online registries. Child abuse will join drunk driving, animal abuse, sex offenses, murders, gun crimes and more as crimes deemed by our governments to be publicly shamed online. The more , the merrier. We have already diluted sex offender registries with almost one million offenders; most of whom pose little or no threat to anyone. With the online registries promulgating like this, they only become the butt of jokes, which will eventually kill them altogether.

Vigilante Launches Sex Offender Magazine

March 29, 2010 Comments off

theindychannel.com: Vigilante Launches Sex Offender Magazine.

A monthly magazine that features Indiana sex offenders is part of a personal mission for a man who was a victim of abuse. The magazine is now offered in 55 Speedway stores in the Indianapolis area.

The publisher, who only wants to be identified as Ryan, designed the magazine and pays for all the printing costs, 6News’ Tanya Spencer reported.

“I don’t think the registry (online) is in your face enough,” said Ryan. The magazine has pictures of convicted sex offenders and outlines the charges against them. With more than 2,000 sexual predators in Indianapolis and new offenders being released from jail frequently, the featured pictures will change each month.

Ryan insisted that publishing the information is fair game because it’s already online and public domain anyway. He argued that the high recidivism rate of sexual abuse warrants the scrutiny and that his endeavor will be a success if it prevents one child from going through what he did. The magazine is currently only offered in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, but Ryan hopes to expand to other cities.

Courts around the nation should see this increasing vigilantism as a result of their refusal to rule these registries as “punitive”. This man, understandably afraid to reveal his true name, is using his own dysfunctional psyche to further harass individuals who are already being publicly shamed via online sex offender registries. What he is doing is borderline illegal according to most local sheriff department guidelines regarding distribution of sex offender information. Hopefully, one or more of these offenders will sue him, or he will be arrested and charged with illegal dissemination of sex offender registry information to the public.

Not only this, but he even spouts the typically false recidivism rate mantra. US Department of Justice statistics report that sex offender recidivism is around 5 %.

AZ Attorney Challenges GPS Monitoring in District Court

March 26, 2010 Comments off

azstarnet.com: Attorney calls bracelet mandate unconstitutional – Porn defendant’s monitoring challenged.

The attorney for a retired Tucson police officer indicted on child-pornography charges is challenging a federal law that requires his client to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Michael Piccarreta contends the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is unconstitutional as a whole and as it applies to his client, Jefferson Sutton Stahl, because it prevents individual judges from determining whether electronic monitoring is needed.

“While I think this act is good politics, it’s probably bad constitutional law,” Piccarreta said Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy who was abducted from a mall in 1981 and later found murdered, (but no sexual crime was every alleged) was signed into law in 2006 and applies to all sex crimes. Among its provisions is a requirement that defendants out of custody be subjected to electronic monitoring.

Stahl, 62, was indicted in January on three counts of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.

Piccarreta told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro deciding whether a defendant requires electronic monitoring should be up to the judge, not up to legislation. “I feel it’s inappropriate for Congress to limit judicial power,” he said.

MD : Report Parents Who Lets Kids Near Sex Offender

March 26, 2010 Comments off

sfexaminer.com: MD. bill: report those who let kids near offenders.

Big Brother !

Annapolis, MD. — Both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly have endorsed authorizing Marylanders to report parents to police if they suspect them of allowing their children to spend time with sex offenders.

The House of Delegates unanimously voted for the legislation Thursday. The Senate passed a similar bill last week. The measure authorizes people to report parents, guardians and caregivers suspected of letting kids live with or be in the regular presence of child sex offenders.

The votes comes months after the highly publicized slaying of a Salisbury girl. (for political expediency, of course)

Authorities allege 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell was killed by a registered sex offender who is a former boyfriend of her aunt and legal guardian. (Note: As is usually the case, this man was a REGISTERED sex offender – and that did not stop the murder, did it?)

Representatives of the House and the Senate will confer and work out any differences between the bills.
Read House Bill 811: http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/amds/bil_0001/hb0811_39251101.pdf

Maryland citizens should contact their Representatives
http://mlis.state.md.us/
http://mdelect.net/
http://mlis.state.md.us/mgaweb/mail32.aspx