Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dear Mr. President


"Dear Mr. President"
(feat. Indigo Girls)

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me.
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me.
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why?

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You'd never take a walk with me.
Would you?

NJ - Crime-fighting arsenal increases with new face recognition system

View the article here


Heather J. Smith
staff writer

Technology advances every year, and local law enforcement agencies are trying to take advantage of it to deter and solve crimes.

Last week, Jim Sidler, director of marketing for Securus Technologies, presented the biometric face recognition system to members of the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Sam Page said he is seeking ways to modernize a new jail. Though it will be two years before the building is complete, Page has started to look at new technology.

Sidler said the current system of mug shots and fingerprints have flaws. The wrong criminal can be released from large prisons when their first mugshot looks nothing like their preset physical appearance. Fingerprints have a large range of fallibility, and accurate prints cannot be taken of laborers whose prints have been rubbed off after years of heavy work.

Identity is difficult for officers in the field, too. A deputy may arrest someone, but if the person produces no documents proving who he or she is, there's no way of proving if the arrestee is a common resident or a wanted criminal.

"One of the worst feelings for a law enforcement officer is not knowing who you have in the back of the car," Sidler said. "Are they a drug dealer or serial killer?"

A biometric system takes a three-dimensional picture of a person's face and compares faces using 20,000 points of reference. "The more points of match we have, the more accurate the system is," Sidler said.

The precise facial measurements give the system 99.2 percent accuracy. Sidler said an image of a new arrestee can be compared to a database of other mug shots nationwide. If the same face has been linked to several aliases, the system displays that, too.

Images can be taken in the field, just after an arrest or when an inmate is brought to a prison. The system can also track visitors. Sidler said several people were caught carrying messages between imprisoned gang members. Some were even identified as being wanted on old charges.

"I think this system would better protect the public," Page said. "I think it's a direction we want to go in."

There are drawbacks. The system's national database is still being built, so record access would be limited. Sidler said each camera runs about $13,000. Page said Rockingham County would probably start off with two cameras to use when booking arrestees.

"We could look at grants to pay for the system," Page said. "But it all depends on the cost of the system."

Old ways of monitoring criminals are quickly being replaced with more accurate methods. More detailed methods were used first by national agencies, but now even Rockingham County boasts highly developed crime-fighting tools.

The Eden Police Department has its own collection of technology. It is the only agency in the county with a computer lab. Detective William East analyzes computers belonging to people charged with possessing child pornography or committing identity theft.

"Whether you know it or not, any time a computer is started it makes a record," East said. If a computer is confiscated for evidence, investigators cannot alter it. East uses a device that analyzes hard drives and can rebuild information that was deleted without altering anything.

"The software recreates data that's been deleted, so any photo or graph you've looked at, the computer stores," East said.

East described a case of a man facing child-porn charges. He pleaded innocent until Eden police confiscated his computer. Though the man normally used a program that completely hid the sites and pictures he accessed, it malfunctioned long enough to leave three photos on the hard drive. When the man learned police had reconstructed incriminating evidence, he changed his plea to guilty.

While the computer lab has useful software, there is one new piece of software on East's wishlist.

"It tracks IP (internet protocol) addresses," he said. "I'm hoping to get software that reads IP addresses that have been to a certain Web site and then allows me to track the number to the house. Now, we're having to call Time Warner and ask for information."

Eden is also installing mobile data terminals for police cars and hopes to soon have one for each officer. Capt. Greg Light said MDTs save time in the field.

"Officers can run tag numbers and license numbers from their car," Light said. " The system runs on a wireless system they can pick up pretty much anywhere."

The Reidsville Police Department installed surveillance cameras downtown but will soon install portable cameras that can be moved to areas residents feel have regular drug traffic.

Chief Edd Hunt said the downtown cameras have already made a big difference, and he is excited to see what surveillance elsewhere will change.

"We're very proud of what it's done so far, and we believe that's worked," Hunt said.

Police cars will soon have mobile reporting units, as well as new in-car cameras that automatically download to the department's database when an officer parks in the department's wireless Internet hotspot.

"It'll be automatic so the officers don't have to spend time putting the video on a disk and bringing it in," Hunt said.

A new barcoding system will minimize how much police handle crime-scene evidence. Each piece will be given a barcode, and inventory is done with a lower risk of altering pieces. A digital crash reporting system will cut paperwork for officers at scenes, and a template will show the 50 intersections with the most accidents.

Reidsville police expect to soon have suspect composite sketch software. Because trained composite artists are not widespread, a witness description of a suspect is drawn with the software and is immediately available to investigators and the media.

While old-fashioned crime fighting will never be better than technology, it does keep officers safer and helps solve cases faster.

"It all saves time and keeps officers out on the streets instead of them having to come in to write reports." Hunt said.

Staff writer Heather J. Smith can be reached at or 349-4331, ext. 16.

© 2007 Media General, Terms & Conditions

WI - Casanova rocker banned from stage

View the article here | MySpace Page

Below is one video from this group, for those who care.


Judge says convicted sex offender used music to hit on underage girls

WAUKESHA - A 21-year-old heavy-metal musician convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old was banned from playing in public for five years by a judge who said he used music to win the favor of underage girls.

Randall Shesto II of Waukesha, described in Internet postings as having performed with a band called Nailwounds, was convicted in June of second-degree sexual assault of a child. He had been accused of having a sexual encounter with an underage girl last December whom he met through

He was also convicted this year of having sex with another 15-year-old girl.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Ralph Ramirez sentenced Shesto to 2 1/2 years of prison and 2 1/2 years of extended supervision, but stayed the term and placed Shesto on probation for five years. He was also ordered to serve a year in jail — including one month behind bars and 11 months on work release.

"You love your music," the judge told the defendant. "Your music has been the tool by which you have ingratiated your way into the lives of these girls. You may not play in a band in any public appearances during the term of your probationary period. I'm taking away from you the tools by which you worked your misdeeds, sir."

Shesto was ordered by Ramirez to register as a sex offender and told that, while he is on probation, he cannot have access to the Internet or a cell phone unless approved by his probation agent.

HI - KITV Investigation Finds 30 Sex Offenders Live At IHS

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HONOLULU -- Community leaders in Kalihi said they are shocked to hear that a Honolulu homeless shelter in their neighborhood is home to at least 30 registered sex offenders.

Public defenders and the shelter's leaders said there is just nowhere else for the sex offenders to live.

Earl Williams Jr. was released from prison this summer. He was imprisoned for sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl. Her mother shocked to learn a homeless shelter, the Institute for Human Services in Iwilei, was his home on probation.

He is not alone. A KITV review of sex offender registrations showed 30 registered sex offenders currently list IHS as their home.

"For years Kalihi has been a dumping ground for people like this," Kalihi Neighborhood Board member John Dell said.

Dell said IHS should not be considered a stable home, or true address.

"IHS is nothing more than a temporary holding area for meals and sleeping," Dell said.

"We are not overly concerned about it. We have people who are well-trained and able to deal with any kind of thing that might come up," IHS coordinator Kate Bepko said.

IHS officials said they know their population includes many ex-offenders of all types. Its shelter for adult men only offers a mail and phone message services to anyone who stays at least once every two weeks.

The state's Probation Division knows it has a number of probationers who call the shelter home, but they said it is better than being purely homeless because at least there they can be reached.

The state public defender said registered sex offenders are often denied housing.

"As the registry grows and housing becomes more difficult to find, the problem will only grow," public defender Jack Tonaki said.

Tonaki pointed out that people who have served their prison time still have the right to be free, with or without a home.

Registry May Soon Add Sex Offenders' Web IDs

View the article here | View the Bill Here

The text of this bill is also pasted below, but the bills do change, if not law yet, so check the above link to read the most recent.


The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill that would require sex offenders to submit e-mail addresses and other online identifiers for inclusion in the Justice Department's National Sex Offender Public Registry.

The registry is made up of data on sex offenders collected by each state. Only 11 states require sex offenders to submit online aliases to state sex offender registries, according to the office of Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who wrote the bill with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The legislation, dubbed the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act, or KIDS, passed committee Thursday and is supported by several children's advocacy groups as well as the Facebook and MySpace social networking sites.

"We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the KIDS Act that requires convicted sex offenders to register any e-mail address or online identifier they use, so social networking sites can block them from accessing their communities," said Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace's chief security officer. "This legislation is another important tool that will make MySpace an even safer place for all." Last December, MySpace began purging sex offenders from its site based on registry information.

Facebook declined to say whether the company would use such e-mail addresses to deny and restrict sex offenders' access to its site.

Legal experts said yesterday that while it is legal to deny services to customers based on their criminal history, they were unsure that this bill would curtail sexual predation on the Web.

"Unlike moving from one house to another, which is visible and which probation officers can physically check, people can still create and respond to multiple e-mail addresses," said Daniel Filler, law professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. "Physically, you can only be in one place, but in cyberspace, you can live in a thousand places at once."


To authorize additional appropriations for supervision of Internet access by sex offenders convicted under Federal law, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007' or the `KIDS Act of 2007'.


    In addition to any other sums authorized to be appropriated for the purposes of supervising persons on probation and pretrial release in connection with convictions for Federal offenses, there are authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 for each fiscal years 2008 through 2013 for any or all of the following purposes:

      (1) To evaluate computer internet filtering, monitoring and other programs and devices that are designed to filter access to certain web sites, permit monitoring of the use by persons under supervision of internet, and related purposes.

      (2) To purchase those programs and devices determined through that evaluation to be the best for those purposes.

      (3) To train probation officers in the use of those programs and devices.

      (4) To train probation officers in the supervision of sex offenders.

      (5) To hire probation officers and other personnel as required to supervise convicted sex offenders effectively.


    (a) Probation- Section 3563(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (22), by striking `or';

      (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (23) and inserting `; or' and

      (3) by inserting after paragraph (23) the following:

      `(24) if required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act--

        `(A) obtain access to the Internet only from computers approved by the probation officer;

        `(B) consent and fully cooperate with periodic examinations of the computers by the probation officer, including the retrieval and copying of all data from those computers and removal of the computer equipment for a reasonable period of time for the purpose of conducting a more thorough inspection;

        `(C) consent and fully cooperate with the installation on the computers any hardware or software filtering systems designated by the probation officer that restrict the defendant's access to classes of web sites designated by the officer as to which, under the circumstances of the offense, access should be restricted;

        `(D) consent and fully cooperate with the installation on the computers of monitoring systems or hardware that permit the probation officer to monitor the defendant's computer use to assure compliance with the law, conditions of probation, and to protect public safety; and

        `(E) take no steps to disable or evade the filtering or monitoring programs or devices.'.

    (b) Supervised Release- Section 3583(d) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking `any condition set forth as a discretionary condition of probation in section 3563(b)(1) through (b)(10) and (b)(12) through (b)(20)' and inserting `a condition set forth in section 3563(b), other than that described in paragraph (11) of that section'.


    The United States Sentencing Commission, pursuant to its authority under section 994 of title 28, United States Code, and in accordance with this section, shall review and, if appropriate amend the Federal sentencing guidelines (including its policy statements) applicable to persons convicted of sex offenses involving children in circumstances where the offense is committed or facilitated by the use of the Internet, and--

      (1) a misrepresentation is made over the Internet as to the age of the offender; or

      (2) there is a failure of the offender to reveal the offender's status as a sex offender.


    (a) In General- Subparagraph (C) of section 621(a)(1) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16981(a)(1)) is amended to read as follows:

        `(C) MINIMUM STANDARDS- The electronic monitoring units used in the pilot program shall at a minimum--

          `(i) provide a tracking device for each offender that contains a central processing unit with global positioning system; and

          `(ii) permit continuous monitoring of offenders 24 hours a day.'.

    (b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to grants provided on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.


    (a) Offense- Chapter 95 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`Sec. 1960A. Financial facilitation of access to child pornography

    `Whoever knowingly conducts, or attempts or conspires to conduct, a financial transaction (as defined in section 1956(c)) in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowing that such transaction will facilitate access to, or possession of, child pornography (as defined in Section 2256) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.'.

    (b) Amendment to Table of Sections- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 95 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

      `1960A. Financial facilitation of access to child pornography.'.


    Section 1956(c)(5) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by striking `or' at the end of clause (i); and

      (2) by inserting `, (iii) electronic or digital currencies, and the corresponding monetary value of any associated account, or (iv) stored value cards or similar devices' after `delivery'.

Passed the House of Representatives November 14, 2007.



Clerk 1st Session H. R. 719 AN ACT To authorize additional appropriations for supervision of Internet access by sex offenders convicted under Federal law, and for other purposes.

TX - Next time, evacuees subject to criminal checks

View the article here


State's plan calls for putting some offenders on separate bus

Texans seeking to escape the next hurricane or state emergency by evacuation bus will first be submitted to criminal background checks, the state's emergency management director says.

The idea, according to Jack Colley, is to keep sex offenders and others who may be wanted by police off the same buses used by the most vulnerable during an evacuation: the elderly, disabled residents and children.

"This will allow us to help them evacuate," Colley said of sex offenders and others wanted for crimes. "We're not going to leave anyone."

Though the intent is to make sure vulnerable evacuees aren't victimized, Colley acknowledged that culling sex offenders and other criminals from a herd of evacuees during a potentially chaotic evacuation comes with plenty of challenges.

"We'll be able to do it," he said of the task, declining to be more specific about the process because of safety concerns.

He said the agency's first concern is to move people out of harm's way.

But Colley insists a better filter on who gets on an evacuation bus with special needs residents will eliminate potential problems.

"We're here to save lives," Colley said.

Earlier this month, it was announced AT&T Inc. has contracted with the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management to provide electronic wristbands for those residents wanting them, before they board an evacuation bus.

The wristbands would be scanned by emergency management officials and the person's name would be added to a bus boarding log. That person's name and their bus information would be sent wirelessly to the University of Texas Center for Space Research data center.

When the evacuee arrives at a designated shelter, the wristband would be scanned again to help state employees respond to inquiries from the public about the safety and location of evacuated family members.

The decision to wear a wristband is purely voluntary. But anyone who boards an evacuation bus will have to provide a name. There will be no requirement to show an identification card, such as a driver's license, but officials may ask those boarding for an ID.

Colley confirmed that all of those names will be checked against existing sex offender registries and other criminal background databases. Colley said officials are not interested in evacuees' past criminal convictions, only if they have outstanding warrants, are sex offenders or parolees.

After Hurricane Katrina, nearly 1,700 parolees failed to check in with authorities in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

"We're all entitled to privacy, but we're not entitled to anonymity," Colley said.

Colley would not discuss how thorough the background checks will be. He said the state's focus was keeping sex offenders and those with current warrants segregated from vulnerable residents.

"We'll have procedures and we're not going to advertise what they are," he said.

Colley stressed no one will be left behind during an evacuation because they have a criminal history. But those with warrants or with a sex offense conviction will be evacuated separately.

Lessons from Katrina, Rita
Initially, Houston became the destination for at least 273,000 people fleeing hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Among those evacuees were parolees and others with criminal histories. During those hurricanes, there was no way to segregate sex offenders and others from vulnerable populations during an emergency.

Colley says the state's intention is to keep evacuees safe.

"We took that very seriously after Rita and Katrina and there was no system," he said.

What the state is doing, is perfectly legal, according to at least one expert.

"Since it's a government record they're checking you against, there is not the same invasion of privacy concerns that may come up in other contexts," said professor Charles Rhodes, who teaches constitutional law at South Texas College of Law. "I think the need for it would outweigh any privacy concerns. This is a public safety issue"

Rhodes' only reservation would be the system itself, whether it's set up to handle, perhaps, a false match indicating someone had a criminal record when they did not. He also wants to know how smoothly such checks could be processed.

"It's going to be interesting to see how this is implemented in the time of an emergency," Rhodes said.