Archive for May 26, 2010

Scotland Sex Offenders Win Human Rights Fight

May 26, 2010 Comments off (Scotland): Scots sex offenders win human rights fight -The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Judges have ruled the system that places sex offenders in Scotland on a register for life with no way of being removed is in breach of their human rights.

In a landmark judgment involving a convicted sex offender who was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely at the age of 15, three judges said the scheme, as it stands, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

It means hundreds of people in Scotland could appeal their cases and challenge their inclusion on the register, while Scottish ministers will now have to change the law to bring the system into line with European legislation.

In future, the system will have to allow offenders to be able to apply for their removal from the register if they can prove they no longer pose a risk.

The decision follows the judgment last month of the Supreme Court, the highest in the land, to unanimously dismiss a Home Office challenge in relation to two English offenders who were on the register for life.

Lawyers for 52-year-old Angus Thompson and a teenager, who raped a child when he was aged just 11, ­successfully argued that the lack of opportunity to demonstrate they had reformed was a breach of their human rights.

The new UK Government may now have to adapt legislation to make ­provision for those who want their inclusion on the ­register re-examined.

The sex offenders register contains the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or released from prison for a sexual offence against children or adults since September 1997, when it was set up.

There are 3913 registered sex ­offenders in Scotland, of which 1631 are subject to the notification requirements for an indefinite period (for life).

In the Scottish case, Lord Hamilton, the lord president, Lord Reed and Lady Smith upheld the appeal of Mr A – who pled guilty in 1993 at the High Court in Airdrie to two charges of assault with intent to rape, one of which included an element of robbery. He was 14 at the time of the offences.

While the case is to be continued later next month – to decide on how it affects ministers and to what extent it will be applied retrospectively – ­lawyers said it was agreed yesterday that Scottish ministers will have to change the law.

Tony Kelly, his solicitor, said: “This outcome was inevitable given the recent declaration by the United Kingdom Supreme Court that the Sex Offender Notification Scheme, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, was incompatible with convention rights – in that it failed to provide a mechanism for review to enable offenders to apply for their removal from the register.

“The court has continued the matter to discuss and decide upon the question of the remedy to be afforded to: the particular petitioner in this case; and Scottish ministers.

“This has important ramifications in relation to sex offender notification for the past and in the future.”

Kelly added: “Scottish ministers’ recognition that legislation will require to be forthcoming (and that in early course) is, perhaps, an indicator of the significance of this ruling for the Sex Offender Registration Scheme in Scotland.”

Offenders are placed on the register for life if they are sentenced to 30 months or more in jail. Any convicted offender on the register has to notify the police of their personal details, any change of address and when they travel abroad.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We will consider the impact of any judgment on the notification regime as it relates to offenders subject to indefinite notification. The objective is to have in Scotland a notification system that will be compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The Scottish Government’s priority is protecting the public. Scotland has one of the most robust systems of managing sex offenders in the world. The notification requirements form an important part of this system. They provide an invaluable tool to the authorities in allowing the police to keep track of the whereabouts of individual sex offenders; and managing the risk of known sex offenders.”

Once again, High Courts in other countries are far ahead of U.S. Courts. The European Court of Human Rights gets it. The have recognized much sooner than U.S. Courts, that applying lifetime sex offender registration with no possibility or means to prove their way off the list, is a violation of rights. Now, when will U.S. Courts get it?

TX: City Council Expands Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

May 26, 2010 Comments off (TX): Boerne city council votes to expand sex offender boundary lines and prohibited lists.

In a vote of 4-1, Boerne City Council made it unlawful for registered sex offenders to reside within 1500 feet of places where children gather.

Prior to this, state law prohibited registered sex offenders from going within 1000 feet of just schools or parks. Boerne has expanded that list to include public and private playgrounds, daycares, public libraries, and more.

The vote came after an hour and a half of debate. One councilman called it a very decisive issue for the city. The community seemed split down the middle in their support for it or against it.

Those against it argued it would severely limit the areas in which registered sex offenders could live. Thus, it would create a cluster of sex offenders. That would lower property values in those areas, and make it unsafe for the children who already live in those areas.

Another big argument against the ordinance was that it was not ethical or even an effective way to protect children. The councilman who voted against it said, “The threat to our children is so much less the guy in the trench coat hiding under the street light. As it is, it’s the people they already know. The vast majority of crimes to children are committed by the people they know.”

Council also voted to increase the fine for anyone who violates this ordinance from $500 to $2000.

As reported, about half those residents understand that these residency limits do not work, and cause unintended negative consequences for the city. Sadly, their city council is still ignorant about these facts and is still hand-picking low-hanging political fruit from the tree.

WI: Law Adds Video Voyeurs to Sex Offender Registry

May 26, 2010 Comments off Law Adds Video Voyeurs to Sex Offender Registry.

A new state law now lets judges put video voyeurs on the sex offender registry. Video voyeurism is classified as a felony. It’s when someone records another person in the nude without their consent, makes copies of the recording, or distributes them.

The law says if a person is convicted of video voyeurism, a court can order them to register with the Department of Corrections as a sex offender.

“Hopefully for the persons with cell phones and all these things, persons thinking of taking an inappropriate picture and putting it on the Internet, that maybe they’ll think twice,” Representative Ted Zigmunt said.

“It might take a little time, but as soon as you start seeing persons’ pictures out there on the sex offender registry it’s going to hit home for a lot of people,” Brown County sheriff’s captain Jeff Sanborn said.

This is just more dilution of the stated intent of these registries. With so many people listed on sex offender registries, their original purpose is lost.

WI: Appeals Court Changes Rules for Young Adults as Sex Offenders

May 26, 2010 Comments off (WI): Appeals Court Changes Rules for Young Adults as Sex Offenders.

Madison, Wisconsin – A state appeals court changed the rules Wednesday for exempting young adults from registering as convicted sex offenders, if they’re caught having consensual sex with minors.

The law says offenders do not have to register if they’re less than 4 years older than their victims. But the 2nd District Appeals Court in Waukesha said the four-year calculation should be based on the actual birthdays of the 2 parties – and not their calendar year ages.

It means that Matthew Parmley of Sheboygan must register with the state as a sex offender – because he was 4 years and 4 months older than the girl he was convicted of having sex with in 2004. Parmley had asked that be exempt from registering – and while a circuit judge agreed with him, the appellate court did not.

Appeals Judge Daniel Anderson said the old formula allowed for a nearly 5-year age difference in some cases, and that was not the intent of the law. There was no immediate word on whether Parmley would appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Woman Sentenced to Life for Letting Minor Touch Her Breasts

May 26, 2010 Comments off Twin Falls woman sentenced to life for lewdness charge.

Elko, Nevada — A Twin Falls woman convicted of forcing a 13-year-old boy to touch her breasts was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Taylor, 34, was convicted of lewdness with a minor under 14 in November after a week-long trial in Elko County, Nev., District Judge Mike Memeo’s courtroom.

With the conviction, Taylor faced a mandatory life sentence, and Memeo set parole eligibility after 10 years, the minimum sentence. If released on parole she must register as a sex offender and will be under lifetime supervision.

The district attorney’s office did not offer a plea agreement in the case, said public defender Alina Kilpatrick, who argued the sentence is unconstitutional and doesn’t fit the crime.

“The jury was not allowed to know the potential sentence in this case and the Legislature doesn’t know the facts,” she said, alluding to the minimum sentence set by the Legislature in Nevada Revised Statute.

Kilpatrick said despite the parole eligibility after 10 years, there should be no mistake that it’s a life sentence for Taylor. “She is getting a greater penalty for having a boy touch her breast than if she killed him,” she said.

After he sentenced her, Memeo said he was bound by state statute to impose the life sentence, but said he isn’t sure why the prosecution chose to charge her under that statute. (After? You should have questioned this before sentencing, you idiot)

Taylor, who lived in Jackpot, Nev., at the time of the crime, kissed a friend’s child, forced him to touch her breast and asked him to have sex with her in February 2008. (If this is a fact, then why was she not charged on this allegation? Because it was not prosecuted , it is unlikely to be true. )

Taylor claimed she was intoxicated and doesn’t remember what happened that night. She told jurors she roughhoused with the boy, but didn’t force him to touch her inappropriately.

As long as murderers get more lenient sentencing than sex offenders do, this societal sex offender hysteria should eventually collapse. As it is now, sex offenders are encouraged by the legal system to kill their victims rather than allow them to live. Is that the incentive we want? If they simply murder the victim, there is no one to testify against them. They would get a much lighter sentence and be completely “free” after completing their sentence, rather than being listed on a sex offender registry for the remainder of their life.