Archive for March 16, 2010

Sex Offender Sues Ohio For Right to Go Door To Door

March 16, 2010 Comments off Jehovah’s Witness Sex Offender Sues Ohio For Right to Go Door To Door.

Lawrence Bullard, a Jehovah’s Witness and a sex offender, is suing his parole officer and the Ohio Department of Corrections for his right to go door to door, stating that “the state is forcing him to choose between his faith and his freedom.”

Good for him. We hope he wins this lawsuit. More citizens should be suing the state over these laws and restrictions. We should be flooding the courts in every state and costing states millions of dollars in costs and restitution judgments.

Cincinnati – A Jehovah’s Witness who was convicted of felony attempted sexual abuse has sued the State of Ohio, claiming it unconstitutionally prohibits him from practicing his religion by proselytizing door-to-door more than once a month.

Lawrence Bullard says he should be allowed to proselytize door-to-door twice a week with other Witnesses, as their religion requires. He says he’s an exceedingly low risk to re-offend, and the circumstances prove it.

“On or about Dec. 16, 2001, after another break up, Lawrence went over to [his former fiancée’s] house. He was angry at her, upset and confused. He let himself in when she was not home and hid in her closet waiting for her to come home.” When she arrived, he says, he “confronted her. And they argued. At some point, he forcibly kissed her and fell to the floor on top of her. He then put his hands down her pants, touching her pubic area.”

He says he “immediately realized that he made a serious mistake, in violation of both his faith and the law.” He says he called the police from the lobby of his ex’s apartment building, and waited there until they arrested him. After pleading guilty to the class E felony, Bullard says he was classified as a low risk, and sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.

In 2008, “because of his trouble-free adjustment to probation, he says, he “was placed on non-reporting status.”

Bullard, 37, says he has been married for 4 years. He says his religious practice of going door-to-door twice a week with Witnesses made him well-suited for a job in sales, which he eventually found with a roofing company. But when his parole officer in Ohio found out about his religious practices and his job as a door-to-door salesman, Bullard says, she forbade it. She asked him to sign a document agreeing not to go door to door, but he refused, citing his religion. Ohio then “requested a warrant for his arrest from New York.”

He says the request was ultimately withdrawn, and the Ohio Department of Parole allowed him to proselytize once a month. Bullard says his religion requires him to do it twice a week, and that he’s no risk because he will be accompanied by other Witnesses. He seeks a restraining order and injunction. He is represented by David Singleton with the Ohio Justice & Policy Center.

WY Legislators Want Sex Offender Restrictions

March 16, 2010 Comments off Wyoming State Legislators Address Juvenlile Justice and Sex Offender Issues.

Registered sex offenders in Wyoming couldn’t move into residences close to schools under a bill advancing in the state House of Representatives. The House gave preliminary approval Friday to House Bill 83, sponsored by Representative Steve Harshman, a Republican from Casper. His bill would bar offenders from moving into residences within 2,000 feet – or roughly a third of a mile – of schools that teach students age 18 or younger.

Some other lawmakers said the restrictions would leave offenders no place to live in smaller towns. ACLU state Executive Director Linda Burt notes that Wyoming last year cut funding for sex offender treatment programs in the prison system. She says treating offenders does more to protect children than imposing residency restrictions.

View Bill in PDF format. Summary of House Bill 83 is available here.

Sex Offender Cuts off GPS Tracking Device, Disappears

March 16, 2010 Comments off Offender Cuts off GPS Tracking Device, Disappears.

Police in Fargo are scrambling to find a high-level sex offender they say cut off his GPS monitoring device Monday, then disappeared.

Once again: GPS monitoring does not prevent crime!
This has always been a bogus notion to monitor sex offenders.
If someone wants to commit a crime, they will do so. Period.

CA Supreme Court: Sex Offender May Petition for Removal From Registry

March 16, 2010 Comments off Supreme Court: Sex Offender May Petition for Removal From Registry.

A person seeking to be removed from the sex offender registry based on a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling may seek that relief by writ petition, but not by post-judgment motion, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

In a unanimous decision, the justices affirmed a Third District Court of Appeals ruling that a trial court has no jurisdiction to grant a motion to remove the lifetime sex offender registration requirement. But the high court expressly stated that a defendant seeking such relief may do so by petition for writ of mandate if he is no longer in custody and his appeals have been exhausted.

Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, writing for the high court, said the Court of Appeal correctly dismissed former high school teacher Andrew Picklesimer’s appeal from the denial of his motion. She agreed that the trial judge was correct in ruling that he lacked jurisdiction because the defendant’s conviction became final long before the motion was filed.

Picklesimer has been subject to sex offender registration since 1993, when he entered into a plea bargain in Trinity Superior Court. Originally charged with offenses against two minors, he pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation, and digital penetration, all involving a 17-year-old girl.

Picklesimer raised only one issue on appeal, arguing that the separate sentences violated Penal Code Sec. 654, which prohibits multiple punishments for the same crime. The Court of Appeal disagreed, affirming in an unpublished opinion.

Years later, the state Supreme Court decided People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185, holding that mandating sex offender registration for all defendants convicted of oral copulation of a minor over the age of 16 was unconstitutional as a matter of equal protection because the crime is similar to unlawful sexual intercourse, as to which the trial court has discretion as to whether to require registration.

To remedy the violation, the high court declared that judges have discretion as to whether to require registration for those convicted of oral copulation.

The case is People v. Picklesimer,10 S.O.S. 1328 (.doc file). Download decision here.

“In People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185, 1207 (Hofsheier), we concluded imposition of mandatory lifetime sex offender registration on defendants convicted of violations of Penal Code section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) for voluntary oral copulation with a 16- or 17-year-old minor violated the state and federal equal protection clauses. Our decision resulted in the creation of a class of people, those convicted of violating section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) on or before the date of our decision, who potentially might be entitled to relief from mandatory lifetime registration but for whom the precise procedural method of asserting such a claim for relief was uncertain. We resolve that uncertainty here.”

“We conclude that for those like defendant Andrew Nelson Picklesimer, who are no longer in custody and whose appeals are final, claims for Hofsheier relief — relief from mandatory lifetime sex offender registration based on equal protection — must be brought by way of a petition for writ of mandate in the trial court. A freestanding postjudgment motion for Hofsheier relief, such as the one Picklesimer filed, is not cognizable, as the trial court and Court of Appeal correctly concluded.”

“A court may in its discretion treat such a postjudgment motion as a mislabeled petition for writ of mandate. In this case, however, for us to do so is not appropriate. This is because defendants who assert a claim for Hofsheier relief and establish a right to relief from mandatory sex offender registration may still be subject to discretionary registration under section 290.006, and the record before us does not conclusively establish that Picklesimer is exempt from discretionary registration and thus entitled to relief.
Accordingly, we affirm, without prejudice to Picklesimer’s ability to file a petition for writ of mandate in the trial court seeking Hofsheier relief.”