Archive for April 24, 2010

Sex Offenses Common Among Troubled Vets

April 24, 2010 Comments off Sex offenses common among troubled vets.

In multiple federal studies conducted over the past decade of inmates in U.S. prisons, Veterans were found to be more than twice as likely to be serving time for a sex offense as non-veteran inmates.

Former Marine Mark Peterson is serving time in the Utah State Prison at Draper for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl. He staunchly denies that his service was in any way related to his crime. Convicted in 2001, Peterson was released last year — only to return after his parole officer found he was viewing pornography, he said.
(Viewing any type of pornography while on parole/probation results in arrest as a “parole/ probation violation”. The pornography does not have to be illegal for this to happen.)

Some therapy may be available, but Lynn Jorgensen, who helps incarcerated veterans re-enter society, said he is limited in what he can do for sex offenders. For instance, Jorgensen said, he has helped many parolees find transitional housing at veterans homes in Salt Lake City — but those homes won’t take vets who have been convicted of sex crimes.

Sex Offender Sentenced to Life for Failing to Register Loses Appeal

April 24, 2010 Comments off :Sex offender sentenced to life for failing to register loses appeal.

A man sentenced by a Torrance judge to life in prison for failing to register as a sex offender lost an appeal of his sentence Friday.

Wynford Eugene Murray sexually abused two young girls in New York more than a decade ago and failed to register as a sex offender when he moved to California.

Last April, Torrance Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold sentenced Murray to the “third strike” term of 25 years to life in prison after a nonjury trial in which he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.

Murray claimed Arnold abused his discretion in denying his request to vacate at least one of his prior “strikes” from the New York case, but a three-justice panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down his appeal.

Murray, a transient who had lived first in Canoga Park and then Redondo Beach, contended that he did not know until after his arrest that California law required him to register as a sex offender, the justices noted in their eight-page ruling.

Make no mistake: This man was sentenced to life in prison NOT because of any sex crime , but because he failed to register his address with authorities when he moved to California. Does that punishment fit that crime? Of course not. It is insanity.

AL: Legislature Passes Limit on Housing Sex Offenders

April 24, 2010 Comments off Alabama Legislature passes limit on housing sex offenders.

The Alabama Legislature has given approval to a bill that would limit the number of registered sex offenders living together in Jefferson County.

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Priscilla Dunn, D-Bessemer, and in the House by Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, now goes to Gov. Bob Riley for his review.

The measure would bar landlords from housing more than one registered sex offender under one roof and would require offenders who live in an apartment complex to reside at least 100 yards from each other.

City officials in the western Jefferson County town of Mulga asked Dunn to sponsor the bill because a boarding house there has had as many as four offenders living there. State law prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care. Mulga has no schools or day care facilities.

Rosie Parker, who owns the boarding house, said she has only one registered offender at her home now, her brother. “I was trying to help them out,” Parker said.

Her brother, Samuel Washington, said it was disappointing to learn that the bill had been approved. Washington, 53, who was convicted in Texas of aggravated sexual assault, said he didn’t think the bill was fair because “everybody deserves a second chance at life.

“I can understand how they feel, but I’m human, too,” he said. “It creates a problem for those who are trying to resume a life.”

The bill would affect 122 convicted sex offenders and 23 addresses in Jefferson County that would not be in compliance if it becomes law, including apartments, hotels, a ministry and at least two boarding houses, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

David Gespass, a Birmingham lawyer who is a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said he believes the legislation has the potential to create a cycle because the inability to provide a residence could cause many sex offenders to fail to register, which brings additional convictions and jail time.

The bill does contain some exceptions. A landlord would not be in violation if the registered sex offender is a spouse or child, or the owner of the property. The landlord would also not be in violation if a registered sex offender does not provide written notice of his prior convictions.

Dunn said there was no opposition to the bill. It would become effective three months after it becomes law.
A state law that passed in 2007 doesn’t allow landlords in Birmingham to house more than one registered sex offender under the same roof.