Monday, October 8, 2007

TN - 2 men plead not guilty in fire that killed Scott Co. woman

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These murderers killed an innocent person and should spend the rest of their lives in prison!


HUNTSVILLE -- Two men accused of setting a fatal fire at the home of a man sentenced for having child pornography have pleaded not guilty.

Robert Bell and Gary Sellers pleaded not guilty in a Scott County courthouse to charges of aggravated arson and first-degree murder.

Both men remain in custody on bonds of $250,000 each.

On the same day as the fire, September 2, Timothy Chandler, whose wife, Melissa, was killed, pleaded guilty to one charge of sex exploitation of a minor for images of child pornography found on his computer.

He was sentenced to five years on probation but will serve no jail time.

Timothy Chandler was also ordered to pay court costs and register as a sex offender.

NE - Level 3 Sex Offender Commits Suicide

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LINCOLN -- A Level-3 sex offender is dead after he shot himself at the Lincoln convenience store where he worked.

It happened Sunday night, when police showed up at the store to get surveillance tapes that may have shown the alleged incident, which involved a 10-year-old boy.

The boy reported the alleged sexual assault to police on Sunday afternoon.

About 10:30 Sunday night, a Lincoln police officer went to the Kabredlos on West Cornhusker to get the store's video surveillance tapes.

The clerk on duty was 53-year-old Glen Edward Sutton. Investigators said after the officer picked up the videotapes, Sutton went to a room in the back of the store and shot himself.

The police officer was still in the parking lot and heard the gunshot.

Tom Casady, Lincoln police chief, said, “He had no inkling the suspect would actually be the person he talked to, and got assistance from in retrieving the tape. The officer did not mention why he needed the tape or anything about the sex assault at all.”

In 1993,Sutton was convicted of two counts of first-degree sexual assault. He was labeled a Level-3 sex offender, which means he was likely to re-offend.

FL - Sex offenders in Lee County may be charged fee

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This is extortion! You don't pay a fee, you go back to jail. Check out the meaning of extortion here.


Sex offenders and predators will be charged a fee when registering and re-registering with the Lee County Sheriff's office if commissioners approve the idea Tuesday.

The fee would offset the administration costs of registering Lee County’s 533 sex offenders and predators.
- Why don't you get the money from the politicians who passed these laws and the government who said they would fund it? Why aren't they funding this?

A sexual offender is anyone who has committed a sexual offense. A sexual predator has been convicted of either one first-degree felony sex crime, or two second degree felony sex crimes.

Lee County Sheriff’s Department Budget Director Bill Bergquist expects to collect between $50,000 to $65,000 each year through the fees.

The first time registration for offenders, predators, convicted felon and career offenders will cost $30. Each re-registration will cost $10.
- So every time you are forced to move, you basically have to pay an additional $10 on top of the $30 yearly or quarterly fees. Extortion, Extortion, Extortion!

Also at the meeting:

• Commissioners will consider purchasing a Bookmobile vehicle for the Lee County Library for $266,490.

• Commissioners will consider whether to approve plans for a dock at Bowditch Point at Fort Myers Beach.

The dock will have 14 free slips available for day use on a first-come, first-serve basis, the only slips of their kind in Lee County. The U-shaped dock will also have a canoe and kayak launching ramp.

The commissioners will vote Tuesday on whether to approve the $299,748 request. If approved, construction would begin after the end of hurricane season, Nov. 30, and be finished in about 90 days.

IN - Controversy over sex offender laws and registry

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The establishment of the sex offender registry has initiated a unique, multi-faceted controversy among the public. Many find it difficult to agree whether public access to the information is beneficial or simply going too far.

According to the sex offender registry, started in July 1994, all adults and juveniles convicted as adults are required to register their personal and residential information on an online database. This database, which was revised in July 2006, is accessible to the public. This makes it possible for anyone to find out where sex offenders live in any area.

“This system is meant to favor public safety, or at least what we perceive to be public safety,” said Brent Myers, research analyst at the Indiana Department of Correction. “It’s a very complex issue, and it does affect lives.”

And it is this complexity that is a major reason why the sex offender registry has been added to the stack of controversial issues in our society. With every restriction, an opinion follows, usually varying with another.

Myers, who oversees all sex and violent offender registry for the state of Indiana, has been with the DOC for two years.

He said that high-risk and low-risk offenders are generally treated the same. All offenders must register and participate in active reporting to law enforcement for information updates. High-risk offenders report more times annually than low-risk offenders.

But while law enforcement may generally treat offenders the same, public reaction toward offenders can vary immensely.

People have difficulty envisioning female sex offenders,” said Diane Mains, staff attorney at the DOC. “Of our sex offenders, females make up a very small ratio.”

Mains, who has been with the DOC for nearly ten years, said the majority of female sex offenders come up in cases of neglect and abuse.

The public has created something of a double standard in their reaction toward male and female sex offenders. The view of female offenders as being involved in teacher-student relationships is more common than the thought of the female as a predatory sex criminal.

Once registered, regulations concerning where offenders can live become more complicated. Though each state differs in law and registry restriction, most prohibit offenders from living within 1,000 feet of school properties, child daycares and public parks.

Because of the restrictions, neighborhoods sometimes take the power of the registry into their own hands.
- Thus becoming self-made vigilantes, who harass, beat and harm offenders, regardless of their danger or not.

Dr. Patrick Clauss, professor of English at Butler University, said he witnessed one such occurrence in his hometown of Fishers, Ind., five years ago.

Clauss said a group of neighbors discovered that an offender had moved into the neighborhood. They surrounded the offender’s home, picketing and protesting in the yard.
- Sue, Sue, Sue! This is called harassment, and they are using the registry to harass people, which most states say on the registry, they should not use the registry to harass or harm offenders or they could have criminal charges files against them. So anyone who is harassed and is living in a place that is legal by law, then sue these people, or they will continue to do this.

“I still have really mixed feelings about it,” Clauss said.

Those mixed feelings among the public are what establish the registry as a controversial issue to begin with.

Clauss said he does feel as though the registry is effective as a means of critical information, but said he wonders still if he should have access to this information.
- It should be as it was when it was working, and that is offline and used by police only.

Though his opinion on sex offenders is from a more protective standpoint as the parent of two young children, he also said that one-time offenses of youth don’t always have much significance later on.

With this, Clauss brings to light an interesting thought. If someone is convicted of a one-time sex offense at a young age, it is possible his name is put on the registry for life. Thirty years later, will this matter?

This can happen in the case of juveniles convicted of non-typical types of sex offenses, such as consensual sex with a minor which is classified as rape. This question of crime significance is the source of mixed feelings on the issue.

Dr. Kenneth D. Colburn Jr., a Butler professor of sociology, said the controversy is rooted in disagreement of how much punishment is enough, as well as the loss of privacy of people who have been convicted of a crime.
- You see, here he goes with the PUNISHMENT words again. But when you take it to court, they say it's not punishment. It is punishment and people need to sue. This is a violation of ex post facto issues in the Constitution of the United States. If it's retro-active punishment, then it's violating this document and thus unconstitutional.

He said, “It goes back to the issue of when a person has paid their debts. When is enough, enough?

With varying public opinion, this question may never have a concurring answer. But Colburn said he wonders if the registry is really even making the public safer. He said it can be a helpful tool, but there are problems with how accurate and updated it is. It won’t always be able to solve the problem of public safety.
- It's a false sense of security, and a hit list for vigilantes. Just ask Perverted Injustice, they use it for seeking out people to harass all the time.

There’s a difference between being safe and feeling safe,” he said. “Are first-time offenders really the kind you can plan for? The registry isn’t going to help with that. It’s only as good as the person complying to the law.”

Because the information on previous offenses and current location is provided by the offenders themselves, a major complaint of the public is inaccuracy of information.

Myers said a lack of quality information results from limited criminal history in court documents.

“This will always be a weakness because it’s offender-based,” he said. “It’s only as good as the offenders who reported the information, and it can be a sense of false security. But some system is better than no system at all.”
- Not when people use it to harass, bully or harm people, which is occurring on a daily basis! It needs to be offline, like it was before, when it was working, and only used by police.

Clauss said he agrees that many problems can come from inaccurate information in the wrong set of hands, such as vigilante justice.
- Are you endorsing this kind of action? Sounds like it to me. And yes, vigilante groups use it all the time. Like I said above, just ask Perverted Injustice.

Neighborhoods are taking it into their own hands to deal with offenders,” he said. “[In the situation in Fishers], most people probably didn’t know all the details.”
- And this is why it needs to be repealed and deemed unconstitutional, and these people need to be arrested. Registries say they info should not be used to harm or harass people, yet they do it, and the police allow it, why?

Myers said that it is not unheard of for an offender to move in next door to a residence that later establishes a home daycare. Doing so forces the offender to move elsewhere, or it is violation of law.
- And that is wrong. The person who wants to open the day care, should either move, or not open the day care. Sorry, the offender was there first before the day care decided to be opened.

If this is a recurring theme, this creates yet another problem.

In many cases, there are literally no places for offenders to live,” Myers said.

Fairness and information inaccuracy aside, the registry is still used by citizens. But not everyone is logging on.

Whitney Sharp, a Butler sophomore political science major, said she’s not incredibly familiar with the sex offender laws in Indiana, or the registry. She said that as a college student, she feels sex offenses are not really thought of as occurring on campus, so students don’t really think about the issue.

“The news seems to direct sex offender issues toward parents, not students,” she said.

Sharp also feels that the public in general should be able to access this information to become more aware of their surroundings.
- Then why don't we put ALL CRIMINALS on a registry so we know what murderers, gang members, drug dealers/users, DUI offenders, child abuse mothers/fathers, etc live around us? Then we can all live in constant fear. You cannot legally do it for one group of people and not do it for everyone else, legally, or it's discrimination.

“I think more people should be aware of its existence,” she said. “Offenders are often repeat offenders.”
- That is a load of crap. Where is a link to the study this is in? Yes, some criminals will continue to be criminals, that is a FACT, as for all criminals. But not all offenders are like this, and MANY want to get on with their lives and forget about all this, and have not reoffended in many years.

Mains said she agrees that much of the public thinks along the lines of “once a sex offender, always a sex offender.”
- That is because people are always saying, once and alcoholic, always and alcoholic, which is not true. People can and do change, and just because they drank before doesn't mean they will always be a drunk.

She said she feels there is very little public knowledge of exactly what the registry is, but that the majority of the public would agree it’s a good thing.
- That is because the media, politicians and other people have been reporting bogus facts and myths about all this, so of course people will think it's a good thing. Like I said, why not do the same for ALL CRIMINALS?

“The whole issue of sex offenders is very emotionally charged,” Mains said. “They are so personal. Sex offender crimes are the kinds people don’t easily move forward from.”
- Again, you are generalizing this. Not all "sex offenders" had anything to do with a child or even sex. Many people are on the registry for public urination, or other small crimes. Yes, they are still bad, but they are not like someone killing and raping some young child.

But Myers feels that in regard to public information, they are moving forward.

“What it comes down to is that we’re all afraid of sex offenders,” he said.
- Why? Because of the media, politicians, John Walsh and others spreading lies. You tell a lie long enough, people believe it, and that is EXACTLY what has occurred. If you look at the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other studies, instead of believing what people say, then you would see sex offenders are LESS LIKELY to commit another sex crime.

Myers said he doesn’t think this fear is increasing or decreasing, but the public does hear about it in the media often.
- Because it sells, and keeps people on the edge of their seat. You only hear about the high-profile cases, who should be in jail for a long time. Like John Couey, but 90% or more of sex offenders are not like this man.

Mixed feelings and disagreement on this issue are common because of the detail in restrictions with respect to the seriousness of the crimes. But with the registry, the public is given the choice, if nothing else, to be informed.

“Some would agree that’s why the registry is bad, but I would argue that that’s why the registry is good,” Myers said. “These tools give people the power to be aware.”
- And the power to find someone to harass, beat and kill.

OR - Former Salem cop will serve 90 days in jail for sex abuse, official misconduct

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A former Salem police officer convicted of second-degree sex abuse and official misconduct will serve 90 days in jail and five years probation, Marion County Circuit Judge Albin Norblad ruled this morning.

Prosecutors had wanted Sterling Alexander to serve a year at the Marion County Jail for sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl he met on duty in 2003 and receiving oral sex from a city employee during a 2004 ride-along.

But Norblad, referring to Alexander’s case as “kind of like dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” reduced the recommended sentence based on the former officer’s active participation in Christian ministry work and youth outreach.

“If Mr. Alexander hadn’t done these things, I would have given him the year without a second thought,” Norblad said. “Because of the good service, I have to moderate my judgment.”
- Since when did good service come into play for the average citizen? It doesn't, so why here? Even a year in jail, IMO, is not enough, compared to what the average citizen gets for the same crimes.

Alexander will serve his time at the county’s work release center so he can keep his job as a power plant operator, Norblad ruled. He must report to the jail on Monday.

Upon his release, Alexander will have to register as a sex offender.
- And he will find it very difficult to keep a job, get a new job, keep his home, etc. Maybe, unless everyone cuts him slack because he's an ex-cop

A Marion County jury convicted Alexander of the charges in June.

The jury deadlocked on more serious charges of raping the 17-year-old girl and sexually abusing the city employee, and threw out sexual abuse allegations from a third woman. Prosecutors decided to drop the charges over which the jury deadlocked.
- Of course, he's a cop, or was, so he gets away with it, when the average Joe would be in prison for a long time.

In court this morning, Norblad said jury members privately communicated to him concerns about Alexander after they rendered their verdict.

They wanted me to know that in their opinion, Mr. Alexander was a predator,” Norblad said.

Alexander declined through his attorney, Kevin Lafky, to comment on the sentence.

He’s made some mistakes and is attempting to atone for those mistakes,” Lafky said. “From what you heard from the judge, that message got through.”
- And yet if you are not a cop, you can never atone for those mistakes, you are punished over and over again. So why should this idiot get off?

Deputy District Attorney Jodie Bureta said Alexander had violated a public trust and deserved a stiff sentence.

“I think jail time is deserved. I think the judge is sending the appropriate message to the public by imposing a jail sentence,” Bureta said. “I think he deserves a year in jail. I think the jury was correct when they said he was a predator.”
- What message is that? That if you are a cop, we cut you slack? But if you are not, you will be tortured for life!

NC - SBI called on sex claims

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LUMBERTON — The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that three Robeson County sheriff’s employees and a pre-trial release officer had sex with a woman in their custody.

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt confirmed that an agency contacted the SBI and requested an investigation. Britt said he became aware of the allegation last week after being contacted by the Internal Affairs Office within the Sheriff’s Office.

“Someone reported this to them,” Britt said. “They began an internal investigation, but they were not the agency that contacted the SBI.”

Britt said the SBI notified him the following day about the allegations and its investigation.

Britt said Friday he did not know any details surrounding the incident. He could not say where the men allegedly had sex with the woman. He also did not know how long the men had a sexual relationship with the woman.

“I know the general allegation,” Britt said. “I don’t know dates or details. They will give me that when they finish the investigation.”

The employees no longer work at the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said.

A bailiff and a jailer were fired Thursday. A second bailiff retired Friday, Sealey said.

The employment status of the fourth person — an employee with the county’s pre-trial release program — is not known. Officials with the program could not be reached for comment.

The Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal investigation, Sealey said. He declined to comment further about the investigation.

Noelle Tally, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Justice, said the SBI is conducting a criminal investigation and is working with the District Attorney’s Office. She declined to comment further about the case.

Authorities said the investigation is not related to Operation Tarnished Badge, a four-year federal investigation. That investigation has led to the guilty pleas of 20 Robeson County lawmen, including former Sheriff Glenn Maynor. The former lawmen were accused of crimes that include satellite piracy, kidnapping and money laundering.

MA - Sex offender bylaw talks set

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CHICOPEE - The Aldermanic Ordinance Committee will again take up the issue of a proposed sex offender ordinance when it meets tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in Aldermanic Chambers in City Hall. It will also hold a public hearing on a proposed tag sale ordinance.

The committee tabled the sex ordinance issue last month because members wanted more data gathered. The committee is using a draft ordinance based on one adopted by Springfield in July.

In Springfield, the ordinance bans sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a school, limits their presence in parks and other places where children tend to congregate, and calls for a $300 fine for violations.

The Ordinance Committee asked city officials to gather data on the city's sex offender list, the distance sex offenders currently live from schools and parks, a list of licensed day-care providers, and maps showing various distances from schools and parks. As of last week, there were 26 Level 3 sex offenders living in Chicopee, according to the state Sex Offender Registry. Level 3 offenders are those considered most likely to re-offend.

The tag sale ordinance received first-reading approval from the Board of Aldermen last month and was sent back to the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing. The proposed ordinance would limit residents to no more than three tag sales a year, require the purchase of a $10 permit for each tag sale, and fine anyone in violation $50. The hours and duration of tag sales would be limited to no more than 72 hours during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Also tomorrow, the city will host an informational meeting regarding the Front Street reconstruction project and the riverfront canal walk. Plans for both projects will be available for review, and Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette and city department heads will answer questions. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the public library on Front Street.

On Wednesday, the Council on Aging will host a candidate's night at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 7 Valley View Court. Candidates for aldermen and School Committee are scheduled to attend.

WA - New ideas for tracking sex convicts

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I would recommend EVERYONE sue over the email issue. If these emails are placed on the registry for all to see, what is to stop some vigilantes from harassing you, sending you porn or child porn?


Task force to present report after two months of hearings

OLYMPIA -- A special panel will tell the governor this week of several ways to keep closer watch on dangerous sex offenders and give communities greater notice when one of them is on the lam.
- Is it going to be those Tier 3 offenders, who have been designated as dangerous? Or all sex offenders? I'm willing to bet they mean all sex offenders.

In its final report after two months of hearings, the Sex Offender Task Force also will urge that services be expanded for victims of sexual assault and steps be taken to ensure all levels of the legal system know when someone is convicted of committing a sex offense.

"We made some progress and some good recommendations," said Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Scott Smith, a task force member.

Gov. Chris Gregoire should receive the report by Friday, one week later than she originally requested it.

Task force members address tracking and monitoring convicted sex offenders in a couple different ways.

They suggest clarifying existing state law to ensure that most serious offenders released from prison can be subject to wearing an ankle bracelet with GPS devices. Under current law, only 32 dangerous offenders are considered eligible for such monitoring.

They also want the sex offender registration law amended to include a requirement that offenders provide their e-mail addresses and the address of any Web sites they operate.
- Why? So they can be spammed with porn or child porn and harassed by vigilante groups like Perverted Justice and the like? This is just asking for people to harass sex offenders, and I am willing to bet this will occur.

And task force members want to alert the public whenever someone who is required to do so fails to register and regularly check in with authorities. In such cases, the name and face of the offender would be posted online.

"These all get to the community expectation of holding the offenders accountable for their behavior," Smith said.
- Accountable for their behavior, or easy targets for constant harassment and punishment? Just say what you really mean!

Punishment is not the only focus.
- You see, they keep saying punishment, but when you take them to court, they say it's not punishment but restrictive. That is a load of crap! Why does EVERYONE keep saying PUNISHMENT then if it's not punishment?

Members will urge the governor to increase funding for services to victims of all ages who have been sexually assaulted or abused, and for community prevention programs run through rape crisis and child advocacy centers.

And there was a strong consensus for improving the flow of information among juvenile, municipal and superior courts. Particular concern was expressed that convictions in municipal court were not getting passed along to those working in superior courts.

"We think this is an extremely important issue," said Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hauge, the task force chairman who will write the final report for the governor.

The panel was created in August following the abduction, rape and murder of a 12-year-old Tacoma girl and subsequent arrest of a convicted sex offender as the suspect.

Gregoire wanted the panel to find out whether that case revealed any need for new laws or fixes of existing ones to boost public safety.

At the same time as the panel was formed, Gregoire rejected a request from Republicans in the state House of Representatives to hold a special session dedicated to passing legislation dealing with sex offenders.

GOP members had drafted eight bills they wanted to debate. Though the special-session idea got nixed, ideas raised in four of those bills will be detectable in the task force's expected recommendations.

For example, Republicans want the most dangerous sex offenders compelled to wear tracking devices. A 2006 law enabled this to happen; no funding was provided, so it hasn't taken place.

Last week, Gregoire, whose representatives attended meetings of the task force, ordered the Department of Corrections to get a handful of level 3 offenders -- those considered most likely to re-offend -- to wear ankle bracelets equipped with global positioning systems. She's paying for it with funds from the department's emergency budget.

Another concern of the task force is the financial burden that monitoring offenders puts on city and county law enforcement agencies. The task force is recommending that money be made available for local authorities to improve monitoring.

"No recommendation is going to come out of here without a demand to be fully funded," Hauge said.

Two months did not provide enough time for consideration of every aspect of how the state deals with sex offenders, Hauge said. Nor was it the panel's purpose to examine the effectiveness of each of the 18 laws passed last year, he said.

What will emerge, he said, is something that should be useful for the governor and lawmakers in the 2008 session.

"This group was the right people to look at the issues from a practical standpoint and then make practical recommendations that will really make a difference," Hauge said.
- Yeah, like I believe this. Practical my a$$!

OH - Cases to be heard by Ohio Supreme Court

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This case will be streamed live 10/10/2007 around 11am, watch it here. Or watch archived documents here.


GREENVILLE - Seven Justices from the Supreme Court of Ohio will hear oral arguments in four cases that will convene in official session at the Darke County Courthouse in Greenville on Wednesday, Oct. 10, beginning at 9 a.m. The visit is part of the Court's semiannual Off-Site Court program that was initiated by Chief Justice Moyer in 1987.

Students from all Darke County schools are to participate in the program. Local attorneys will team with educators at each school to explain Ohio's judicial system and review case materials. Students will attend the oral arguments and will meet with the case attorneys for a debriefing to discuss the legal issues. Student journalists will attend a special briefing during which they may ask questions and interact with the Justices of the Court. The Court normally allots 30 minutes for each case, with each side having 15 minutes to elaborate on written arguments already reviewed by the Court and to respond to questions from the Justices.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the legal profession and for many high school students to watch oral arguments before the Court on cases of state-wide importance," said Judge Jonathan P. Hein of the Darke County Court of Common Pleas.

"It is an honor for the Darke County Bar Association to sponsor this Off-Site Court program."

This will be the first time the Supreme Court of Ohio has brought the program to Darke County and the 54th time the Court has heard oral arguments outside of Columbus during the past 20 years.

The following four cases that will be argued are: Francis Hyle v. Gerry R. Porter Jr.; a Hamilton County case in which the Court is asked to determine whether a state law that prohibits sexually oriented offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school should be enforced retroactively against an offender who committed an offense and purchased a home prior to the effective date ( July 31, 2003) of the law imposing the residency restriction.

Porter has lived with his family in their home for the past 14 years and plead guilty to a sexual battery charge in 1999. The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas issued an injunction requiring Porter to move out of his house, which Porter opposes. Upon review, the 1st District Court of Appeals affirmed the action taken by the Court.

However, the 1st District also found that its decision in this case was in conflict with a 2006 decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals in a case which that court found the residency restriction unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the Hyle v. Porter case to resolve the conflict between the appellate districts.

Kevin Flynn v. Westfield Insurance Co.; Flynn was operating his own vehicle while in the coarse of his joint employment as a partner in a law firm and an employee of a real estate title company when he suffered serious injuries from an accident caused by another motorist. He was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the accident. Flynn recovered the policy limits from the other driver's liability insurance and the maximum coverage provided by his own auto insurance policy. Flynn then filed a claim seeking additional recovery under a corporate auto insurance policy and an "umbrella" policy that his law firm and the title agency had jointly purchased from the Westfield Insurance Company.

Westfield denied the claims, asserting that since Flynn was driving his own vehicle at the time he was injured, he is not entitled to recover under his employers' policies. Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas granted judgment in favor of Westfield. Flynn appealed the decision and the 1st District Court of Appeals reversed the trail court decision. Attorneys for Westfield are now asking the Supreme Court to reverse the 1st District's decision and reinstate the trial court's judgment dismissing Flynn's claim against them.

State v. Jeffrey L. Price; On Sept. 21, 2000, Cathy Price obtained a Civil Protection Order (CPO) from her husband Jerrey L. Price in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, and was granted temporary custody their child. Mr. Price's visitation rights were temporarily suspended and he was ordered not to contact his son by any means.

The terms of the CPO were ordered to remain in effect for five years, unless earlier modified, vacated or extended by order of the Court. The CPO further stated that the order survives a divorce, dissolution of marriage or legal separation. The couple divorced in April 2001, and the court ordered Ms. Price full custody of the child and granted Mr. Price visitation "at the discretion" of the protected party, Ms. Price.

Mr. Price began visiting and contacting his son at Ms. Price's discretion. However, in Dec. 2003, Ms. Price reported that her son began exhibiting violent tendencies after his visits with his father. As a result, she terminated visitations between her son and Mr. Price in June 2004, but allowed Mr. Price to visit their son during Christmas of that year. In April 2005, Mr. Price left several messages on Ms Price's answering machine and left an Easter basket for their son at her front door. Ms. Price contacted the police and told them she considered the messages harassment and a violation of the CPO.

Mr. Price was charged with one count of violating a CPO and a jury found him guilty on Sept. 13, 2005. The trial court sentenced Mr. Price to five years of community control sanctions and in July 2006, the 2nd District Court of Appeals affirmed Mr. Prices conviction and sentence. Mr. Price then appealed to the Supreme Court.

State v. Kevin Johnson; In Aug. 2005, Kevin Johnson entered a not guilty plea after he was indicted by a Butler County Grand Jury for four counts of rape. In Sept. 2005, he was found guilty on each count and the trial court sentenced Johnson to life for each of the four rape counts and directed that the sentences be served consecutively. The sentences precluded any possibility of Johnson becoming eligible for parole.

The trial judge said that his court did not have the discretion to run the sentences concurrent, therefore, the conviction on each count requires a mandatory sentence and the Court is required by law to run each sentence consecutively.

Johnson appealed and the 12th District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, but certified that its holding was in conflict with a decision of the 3rd District, which held a similar case that a trial court was required to impose a separate prison sentence for each of multiple offenses listed in that statute, but had discretion to determine whether those sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively.

NH - Roadside relief

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Under New Hampshire law — RSA 651-B — people are required to register on the state’s sex offender list if they have been convicted of specific crimes, whether in this state or anywhere else. The list is available only to law-enforcement officials. People can also be placed on the list for other offenses “if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence at the time of conviction or sentencing that the person committed the offense as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification and protection of the public would be furthered by requiring the person to register.” In this, the court is supposed to be guided by “the offender's prior criminal history and any other relevant information.”

That’s a fairly broad-based mandate, grounded in a lot of subjective judgment.

If the crime in question involves a child, the offender is placed on New Hampshire’s Registered Offenders Against Children list, a public document posted online at That list contains 1,500 or so names, photographs and addresses, sorted by cities and towns.

All this information has been collected out of concern for public safety. It serves several purposes, not all of them reasonable. Some communities prohibit sex offenders from living near schools, parks and day-care centers, a highly debatable precaution, given human beings’ ability to walk from one place to another. And neighbors have been known to harass people on the public list, just for fun or hoping to force them to move away. We recently published a story along that line about a woman in Manchester. What’s more, New Hampshire’s new sexual predator law allows courts to keep people locked up even after they have completed their sentences.

So this is serious business, prompting consideration of something we can’t recall ever before having mentioned in this space: Imagine what could happen to someone who is arrested in New Hampshire for urinating in a public place and is charged with indecent exposure.

Because New Hampshire doesn’t have a state law against public urination, indecent exposure is one of the offenses police can cite when they nab someone who has pulled over to the side of the road with an over-full bladder. If the problem reoccurs, that person could acquire a “prior criminal history,” perhaps earning a place on the nonpublic list. In any event, a new federal law says people convicted of indecent exposure twice in three years are required to register as sex offenders. And if a child happens to wander by while the crime is in progress, the person could get run out of the neighborhood and earn a profile on the state Web site.

Credit Representative Stephen Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat, with proposing a solution to such a possible travesty of justice. “I think some of the stigma attached to that (indecent exposure) is greater than the offense,” he told the Concord Monitor. He’s right, of course, despite chuckles from colleagues and some folks in the media. Suddenly a matter of someone’s bad judgment could turn into a crazy personal tragedy.

So Shurtleff is introducing legislation to make “public urination” a separate crime in New Hampshire’s statute books. That’s a good idea, which has the backing of those in charge of the sex offender registry. Maybe the new law could eventually be listed as RSA 651-P.