Archive for the ‘Vigilantism’ Category

Sex Crimes Can Never Be Eradicated

June 17, 2010 Comments off

As much as we, as a society, would like to see the end of all sex crimes in this nation, it will never happen. To believe or suggest otherwise is simply naivete and foolishness.

If you disagree, let’s look at the facts of our society. Don’t most people in our society abhor the taking of another human life? Don’t we want murder to stop? Haven’t we had laws to deter murder for hundreds of years in this country? Of course, we have tried futiley since the inception of our nation to eradicate murder.

Have we ever, over the course of humanity, been able to end all murders? The answer is, obviously: no.

Our laws become deterrents for most people to commit such horrific crimes, but not for all. This truth holds true for all crimes: drunk driving, abuse, theft, fraud, speeding, racism, etc.. None of these can ever be erased from our society regardless of the punishments associated with them. No matter what laws these legislators can dream up, there will always be some who commit sex offenses.

Once we understand this simple truth, we can come to rational approaches to drafting logical sex offender laws. Sex offenses are no worse, nor no better, than any other type of crime. Crime is crime. Right is right, Wrong is wrong.

But as long as we have “sky-is-falling” irrational maniacs driving our legislators to continue this broad-brush, punching-bag style legislative fight against sex offenders, we will never come to effective, constitutional and balanced sex offender legislation in this country.

The Ohio vs. Bodyke Supreme Court ruling is just one step in the right direction. We still have a huge battle before us to step away from all of these emotion-driven sex offender laws across the nation. We, as the people, are to blame. Legislators only act when they see it in their own political self-interest to do so.

If we can ever educate the panic-driven people who want to throw sex offenders off bridges, or castrate them, or worse….we can finally see some rational and logical legislation dealing with this crime. Just as we do with all other crimes. Until then, the hysterical sex offender laws will continue to cause devastation to the families of nearly one million Americans and to threaten the stability of our society.

Ohio Jail Deputy Allowed Inmates to Assault Alleged Sex Offender

June 12, 2010 Comments off Authorities say deputy at Ohio jail allowed inmates to assault alleged sex offender.

Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a former sheriff’s deputy who worked at a northeast Ohio jail is accused of felonious assault and other crimes because he turned a blind eye while four inmates attacked an accused sex offender.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brian Young also faces charges of abduction, dereliction of duty and unauthorized use of property in the alleged assault at the Medina County jail in December.

Young is accused of sharing with the four inmates booking information on the alleged sex offender, who was accused of raping a child. A prosecutor says Young then did nothing when the inmates attacked the man.

You think this is an isolated incident? Think again!

Young has posted a $10,000 bond and faces a Monday arraignment. A sheriff’s official says he retired on a disability pension.

See Medina County Sheriff Staff and contact information here.

Help be a watchdog:

OH: Abduction and Sex Assault was a Hoax

May 27, 2010 Comments off College Student Recants Abduction Report.

Lebanon, Ohio — Police in Lebanon said the abduction and sex assault of a 21-year-old college student has been ruled a hoax. Investigators said Kristen Lamb admitted Thursday during an interview that the alleged abduction and sexual assault was a hoax. They said they attribute Lamb’s actions over her family’s attention to her brother’s recent wedding.

Police said the University of Cincinnati nursing student admitted that she went to the location in a wooded area where she sat for more than 15 hours. She told police that she used zip ties from her father’s toolbox to bound her wrists. Lamb also told police that she used a pillow case from her own room to cover her head. Police said Lamb took officers to the wooded area north of her home, where they found the pillow case and one zip tie.

According to police, Lamb said she had no other help in the alleged abduction and sexual assault. Police are now talking with prosecutors about possible criminal charges against Lamb.

This woman must be charged severely as anyone should be after making a false accusation of sex abuse. Her family should be ashamed of her for her inexcusable actions.

Branding the Scarlet Letter: Special ID for Sex Offenders

May 25, 2010 Comments off Special ID Needed for Sex Offenders.

The father of murdered Escondido teenager Amber Dubois wants all convicted sex offenders to carry special identification. Moe Dubois wants the state to require all sex offenders carry a distinctive driver’s license or state-issued card that would be branded with a special mark indicating that person had been convicted of a sex crime.

Dubois says he knows the legislation could meet resistance at the state capitol by those who may argue more restrictions won’t make communities safer or those who say the law would infringe on the civil liberties of sex offenders. Others could be concerned about the potential cost.

The driver’s license measure is part of a four-bill package aimed at cracking down on sex offenders — and Moe Dubois says he’s ready to fight to try and push them through. Dubois is scheduled to introduce his legislation proposals in Long Beach at noon today.

California wouldn’t be the first state to impose a law branding ID cards.

In Delaware sex offenders get a new driver’s license after release from prison marked with the letter “Y” designating them as someone convicted of a sex crime.

In Louisiana people convicted of certain sex crimes are issued licenses with “SEX OFFENDER” printed in bold on the ID.

Yellow Badge: The yellow badge (or yellow patch), also referred to as a Jewish badge, was a cloth patch that Jews were ordered to sew on their outer garments in order to mark them as Jews in public. It is intended to be a badge of shame associated with antisemitism.[1] In both Christian and Islamic countries, persons not of the dominant religion were intermittently compelled by sumptuary laws to wear badges, hats, bells or other items of clothing that distinguished them from members of the dominant religious group.

The yellow badge that was compulsory in the Middle Ages was revived by the German Nazis.

How Sex Offender Registries Ruin the Lives of Teenagers

May 20, 2010 Comments off

Two news reports of how draconian sex offender laws have ruined the lives of two young teenagers: No longer a registered sex offender, but the stigma remains.

Stilwell, Oklahoma (CNN) — As a teenager, Ricky Blackman carried an Oklahoma driver’s license with the words “sex offender” stamped in red below his picture. His crime? Having sex with a 13-year-old girl when he was 16. The offense occurred when he lived in Iowa, and the label followed him to Oklahoma. Blackman pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse for having sex with the 13-year-old. The age of consent in Iowa is 14.

As a Tier 3 offender on Oklahoma’s sex offender registry, Blackman could not attend high school, visit the town library, or go to his younger brother’s football games. But the label did more than limit where Blackman could go. It transformed him from an outgoing, sociable jock into an introvert who has trouble trusting people, his mother says.

Taking into account the circumstances of the case, an Iowa judge accepted Blackman’s plea and ordered that his record be expunged if he successfully completed probation and sex offender treatment. At that time, his name would be removed from Iowa’s sex offender registry.

After his conviction, Blackman’s family moved to Oklahoma to get a fresh start. He finished his probation and sex offender treatment, and his record in Iowa was expunged in October 2008, according to court documents.

But the action did not carry over to Oklahoma, where Blackman continued to be listed on that state’s sex offender registry. The stigma followed him to his new home and the harassment continued, the family said.

A neighbor who found out he was on the registry videotaped him when he went outside, Blackman said. His picture and address were posted on a vigilante Web site, and a gas station attendant refused to sell him cigarettes, one time taking his license and throwing it across the store.

To comply with state residency restrictions that prevent registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care center, the family moved onto a small plot of land in the rural southeastern Oklahoma community of Stilwell, population 3,500.

Having a son on the registry also made a lasting impression on his mother. She now devotes most of her time to reforming sex offender legislation –specifically, the registry — as chief operating officer of Sex Offender Solutions And Education Network.

Blackman’s story comes at a time of increased push-back against sex offender policies that some see as overly broad. Many states have been resisting toughening their sex offender policies. Only one state, Ohio, has complied with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which lists sex offenders as young as 14 on a uniform registry.

In Georgia, the Southern Center for Human Rights is challenging a state law prohibiting sex offenders from living and working within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day care. Georgia’s laws go so far as to ban sex offenders from living near bus stops. The case is still pending.

Last summer, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, alleging the county’s 2,500-foot residency restriction interfered with Florida’s ability to monitor and supervise released offenders. With nowhere to live, dozens of homeless sex offenders clustered under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. The lawsuit was dismissed in September 2009.

Meanwhile, Blackman was just trying to graduate from high school. He attempted to enroll but was told that he was considered a danger to the rest of the students. He couldn’t take GED classes at the vocational school in town because of an on-campus day care center.

His mother persuaded the school board to provide him with a tutor and private classes at the local police department, under the supervision of an officer.

Finding a job presented its own challenges. He says he was turned down by Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and another fast food outlet that told him he was considered a liability. He spent most days at home learning to build Web sites and helping his mother and brother.

Due in large part to the efforts of his mother, the Oklahoma Legislature last year passed the law that makes expungements of certain sex offenses in other jurisdictions applicable in Oklahoma.

“I know what I did was wrong and I deserved to be punished for it. But this destroyed my life. Took it away from me,” he said. “You never forget about it. I know I’m off the registry but it’s taking a long time for it to settle in.”

In November, Blackman received a letter from the Oklahoma Board of Probation and Parole. It said he had been removed from the state’s sex offender registry, where he had been designated the highest level of risk possible.

His return to a “normal” life has been slow. He still is reluctant to go to his brother’s football games, and the thought of going to places where children convene makes him nervous.

“I know I’m off the registry but others may not know,” he said. “I don’t want to go somewhere and cause a scene ’cause people may not know that I’m allowed to be there and get upset.”
————————————————————— A long wait to get past crime – Kids as young as age 10 can be registered as sex offenders, a label lasting a decade.

Samantha Portwood is marking the days on her calendar until Sept. 30. That’s the day her 24-year-old son’s name and picture is expected to be removed from the state’s sex offender registry.

For the past decade, her son Dale has lived under public scrutiny for a crime he committed when he was 12. He inappropriately touched a 7-year-old girl at his baby sitter’s house and was charged with aggravated sexual assault. After completing two years of therapy and probation, he had to register as a sex offender, which shocked his parents.

“It frustrates me,” said Portwood, of Pinehurst in Montgomery County. “He was 12 years old when it happened. He’s not a threat to society.”

Her son isn’t alone. About 3,600 people on the state’s registry were added as juveniles, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which administers the registry. Eleven were 10 years old when they registered.

The registry has 26 juveniles who are currently 13 to 16 years old, according to state records. Of the more than 340 juvenile registrants who live in Harris County, three are currently 16 years old, records show.

Many people are not aware that juveniles can be registered as sex offenders in Texas. State legislators made registration mandatory for adults and juveniles when they established the sex offender registry in 1991. Texas does not have a minimum age for juvenile registration, but the minimum age for prosecution is 10.

Juvenile registration has been debated by lawmakers, child advocates and crime victim proponents for the past decade. Those who support it contend the community has a right to know about dangerous sex offenders — adult or juvenile. Critics argue that the negative consequences on juveniles and their families far outweigh any benefits to the community. No research suggests registration makes communities safer, they said.

Access to court records for juveniles with delinquent backgrounds are generally restricted to protect them from shame and to give them a fresh start. But anyone can access the state’s online sex offender registry and see the juvenile’s criminal charge. The registry, which went online in 1997, also makes available the juvenile’s address, where he attends schools and annual mug shots.

“I feel like this is totally inconsistent with the way we as a society have determined is the right way to deal with juvenile behavior,” said Theresa Tod, director of the Texas Network of Youth Services. “To protect juveniles from public derision is our job.”

Unlike adult sex offenders who must register for life, juvenile sex offenders are required to register for 10 years after they leave the juvenile system. The vast majority of juvenile sex offenses are against other children, and the juvenile generally knows the victim, said juvenile justice experts.

In some cases, juvenile sex offenders have safety zone stipulations as part of their probation and can’t go to certain places, such as parks or community centers. The restrictions can limit their social activities and job opportunities, which are key to rehabilitation, McLaughlin said.

Allison Taylor, executive director of the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment, said“Anytime you destabilize adults or juveniles, you increase the risk of recidivism” . “That is a public concern.”

Portwood has spent 10 years trying to protect her son from being bullied and ostracized. She said she helplessly watched as Dale’s self-esteem diminished. She believes her once mild-mannered son intentionally misbehaved in school so he would be disciplined and not have to attend.

In high school, classmates called him a rapist and child molester behind his back, she said. He eventually dropped out in 10th grade. “He came to me and said, ‘Mom, I can’t take it anymore,’” she said. “He said, ‘Do people look at me and think I’m a monster?’ What do you tell him?”

Portwood said she knows her son’s actions were morally wrong but believes it didn’t merit him being labeled a sex offender.

Failure to report a change of address, a registry rule, landed him in prison last year. He was released on parole in March and is living outside of Austin, trying to get his life back on track.

Dale, who did not want his last name used to protect his identity, said he did not realize at 12 what he did was wrong. He said he never was a sexual predator and feels like registration robbed him of his childhood because his life was filled with constant embarrassment.

As many as 32 states require juvenile registration, and as many as 20 states have special juvenile procedures that can terminate a juvenile’s duty to register, according to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a project of the U.S. Justice Department.

But judicial discretion, the one element that makes juvenile registration palatable for some critics, would be stripped under the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The law sets new standards for registering sex offenders. All states were required to comply with the act by this year. Many states, however, have objected to a requirement for all juveniles 14 and older who have committed aggravated sexual assaults to register for 25 years. The U.S. attorney general recently issued all states a one-year extension for compliance.

Man Mistaken For Sex Offender Killed with Bat

May 14, 2010 Comments off Man mistaken for sex offender, killed with bat Man Mistaken For Sex Offender Killed

Orlando, Fla. — The Orange County Sheriff’s Office believes a 78-year-old man was beaten to death with a baseball bat because he was mistaken for a sex offender.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Edwards, whose body was found in a pool of blood early Wednesday morning, didn’t have a criminal history. Two men have been arrested in connection to the slaying of a man inside his Bithlo trailer. Deputies pulled Robert Pascale from a wooded area Thursday evening near the Fifth Avenue trailer where Hugh Edwards, 79, was found dead on Wednesday. Investigators said Pascale was found by a bloodhound in a muddy pond with only his face exposed for air.

Pascale is at the Orange County Jail charged with first-degree murder. He told WKMG-TV that he mistakenly beat the wrong man.

When reporters asked him if he thought his alleged victim was a sex offender, he replied, “I thought he was, and the only thing running through my mind is what my uncle did to me.” Pascale continued, “I hit him with a bat twice.”

A woman told deputies she was drinking at a trailer on Fifth Avenue with some acquaintances Tuesday night when one of Pascale’s friends, Michael Garay, asked her what she would do if a sex offender lived next door. The woman told deputies she said, “I would kill him.”

Although Edwards had a similar name and age as a registered sex offender, sheriff’s officials said Edwards had absolutely no criminal record and was not a registered sex offender.

Police arrested Garay on Thursday and charged him with accessory after the fact in a first-degree murder. Deputies said he told them he remained at the gate in front of the victim’s trailer while Pascale went in with a baseball bat. Garay said he watched Pascale later discard his bloody clothes.

According to the arrest affidavit, there were signs of a struggle in Edwards’ trailer that indicated he was murdered.

This animal should be executed for this horrific crime. but watch: because he murdered someone he THOUGHT was a sex offender, he will likely get a light sentence.

U.S. Marshals Checking On Sex Offenders In Ohio and Iowa

May 14, 2010 Comments off U.S. Marshals conduct sex offender compliance check in Iowa. Marshals Checking On Sex Offenders In Butler County (OH).

U.S. Marshals and state-wide law enforcement agencies conducted a compliance check of all registered sex offenders in the Northern District of Iowa.

Tim Junker, U.S. Marshal said, “We take a Deputy Sheriff and a U.S. Marshal and we knock on a door and ask if you’re living where you’re supposed to be and look for the sex offender. It makes an impression upon them and they want to stay where they’re at.”
This week, the sheriff got some big time help from the U.S. Marshals Service tracking them down.

Sheriff Richard Jones, Butler County: “Every month there’s new legislation trying to be introduced making the law tougher and tougher and tougher and the sad thing is they’re adding more requirements and we’re at wits end, we have no more resources.”

“For the last week, almost five hundred registered sex offenders across Butler County have been under the scrutiny of law enforcement. Are they where they belong? Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing? Now we know.” And we know because of the massive county wide effort, which began two months ago, that’s when U.S. Marshal Kathy Jones saw this sobering article in the Middletown Journal. The Butler County Sheriff has been using only one full time deputy and one part-time volunteer to check on almost five hundred registered sex offenders.

Marshal Jones added Butler County to the 8 counties where her team has already been working. Bill Taylor, Deputy U.S. Marshal: “We bring a force multiplier in, we bring in additional bodies, fugitive hunters, parole officers probation officers and we set about trying to make sure these people are abiding by the law.”

We are told that these US Marshall sweeps are being conducted in counties with limited resources or where they do not routinely verify addresses of those registered. If you live in a county which does these routine sweeps, it is unlikely that you will see these “goon squads”. In lesser populated and smaller counties, where local sheriffs are overwhelmed by the sex offender registration laws, it is more likely that they will be present.

Know your rights when and if you see these people at your doorstep. Firstly, remember that they are not there to help you or to preserve your rights. They despise you and are there to try to do harm unto you. They are there to try to catch you doing something wrong or not doing what you are required to do. So if there is any way possible that they can justify arresting you, they will do so. If asked, you must provide your name and other identifying information. You are not required to allow them entrance into your home and you should not allow them to enter unless they present a search warrant. You should not answer any questions which are not related to verifying who you are and proving that you live there.

Notice: we are not legal professionals and we give this advice as such. This information is not to be taken as professional legal advice. It is simply to inform you that you do still have rights. You should verify your rights within your local and state laws. This advice is not to be interpreted as condoning any illegal actions.

Sen. Klein Wants to Kick Sex Offenders Out of Public Housing

May 11, 2010 Comments off (NY): Sen. Klein Urges State to Keep Sex Offenders out of Public Housing.

State senators Jeffery Klein and Diane Savino urged New York State Senate and Assembly on Sunday to pass legislation that would keep registered sex offenders from moving into public housing.

“Unfortunately, we know that even one sex offender living in public housing is one too many,” Klein said. “No parent or caregiver should ever have to worry that their child is at risk—especially right in their own backyard.”

In 1998, Congress passed the Quality House and Work Responsibility Act, which prohibits any person registered as a lifetime sex offender from being admitted by any public housing authority. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires all public housing authorities to perform criminal history background checks on prospective tenants and deny housing admission to registered sex offenders.

A March 2009 report released by New York City Councilman Eric Gioia found 129 lifetime sex offenders living in the city’s public housing units illegally.

In August 2009, the HUD inspectors found 4,784 households with one or more members registered as a serious sex offender. The HUD general inspector said the problem may be that legislation would be required to terminate tenant agreements for those improperly admitted to public housing, but HUD officials claimed public housing officials had the authority to remove registered lifetime sex offenders.

A more recent report released by Klein’s office this year showed 74 registered lifetime sex offenders illegally occupying public housing units in the city, with 12 more found in upstate and western New York. The zip code with the highest percentage of sex offenders in public housing was 11354 in Queens, with 40 percent. The zip code with the highest number of sex offenders in public housing was 11212 in Kings County, with 10.

“The time to act is now—we must make it easier for state housing authorities to identify sex offenders from the start and to boot out those currently taking advantage of this vital public program,” Klein said.

Klein is introducing legislation that would require housing authorities, tenants, and prospective tenants to be provided with a monthly list of all registered sex offenders within the city by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Where do you expect these citizens to live, Mr. Klein? I thought Public Housing is for those who have no other means to find housing. You prefer they live on the streets? Will that make your communities safer?

US Supreme Court Denies Kentucky AG Petition

April 23, 2010 Comments off

On October 1, 2009, The Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled that a law limiting where registered sex offenders can live cannot apply to those who committed offenses before July 12, 2006, the day the law was implemented. The law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, daycare centers and schools, and changed how the distance is measured.

The court, in a decision dated Oct. 1, said the law is punitive in nature and violates the ex post facto clause in the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from passing laws that increase punishment for old crimes.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway
tried to resist this ruling and continued to enforce the law retroactively (and illegally) while he petitioned the United States Supreme Court for further review. His petition was denied by SCOTUS on March 8, 2010.

Case Nos. 2006-SC-000347-CL
Kentucky Attorney General’s Office (502)-696-5342
1024 Capitol Center Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601

Fla. Sex Offenders Evicted From Temporary Housing

April 20, 2010 Comments off Fla. Sex Offenders Evicted From Temporary Housing.

A group of sex offenders who previously lived under a South Florida bridge are again homeless, after being kicked out of a hotel that some had been living in for months.

More than 100 sex offenders set up camp under the bridge in 2007, saying they were unable to live elsewhere because of a stringent county ordinance. Earlier this year, workers took sledgehammers to wooden shacks and huts beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway and took down tents, tearing down the shantytown.

A homeless organization found shelter for the offenders in apartments, trailer parks and hotels at taxpayer expense. About 30 offenders had been living in a Homestead Studio Suites hotel when a manager told them Saturday they had two hours to vacate the property. Roughly half were on probation.

Since then, some of the offenders have been living in their cars camped outside of the probation office. “They were terrified that they were going to be in violation of probation through no fault of their own,” said Maria Kayanan, associate legal director of ACLU Florida. In some cases, the county was paying $1,000 a month per offender to live in the hotel because they couldn’t find more affordable, permanent housing.

The ACLU is challenging the county’s 2,500 foot residency restriction, saying that state law, which imposes a 1,000 foot restriction, pre-empts local government.

It’s unclear what prompted the hotel to evict the offenders. One of the boarders was arrested last week for a sex offense involving a minor at a nearby shopping center, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.

The agency is working with each offender to find them housing. Some have moved in with other sex offenders, some are giving street locations as residences, some will likely spend another night at the probation office, Plessinger said.

“It’s their job to find themselves a place to live. We will assist them because we need to know where they are. If we don’t know where they are we can’t supervise them,” she said.

Residents said they became aware of the sex offenders’ presence when police distributed fliers listing the parolees’ names and photos at the hotel’s lobby.