Thursday, December 27, 2007

OH - Adam Walsh Act (SB-10 Issues)

Adam Walsh Act

Frequently Asked Questions about Senate Bill 10

OPD Policy on Reimbursing Counties for Indigent Representation
at SB 10 Reclassification Hearings

Sample Motions

These forms are provided to help you file pleadings in your case without the assistance of a lawyer. You can print these forms, fill in the blanks, and file them with the court. Be sure to carefully read and follow the instructions. If possible, please consult with an attorney about your case.

Petition to Contest Reclassification: File this motion within 60 days of the day you received your Notice of New Classification from the Ohio Attorney General, if you want to contest your reclassification. Use this form if you were convicted as an adult in common pleas court. (Click here for a Rich Text Format version)

Motion for Relief from Community Notification: If you were previously labeled a sexually oriented offender or a habitual sex offender and were not subject to community notification, and you have now been reclassified a Tier III offender with a community notification requirement, you can file this motion to ask the court to relieve you of the new community notification requirement. (Click here for a Rich Text Format version)

Lawsuit Challenging SB 10

On October 15, 2007, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, ACLU of Ohio Foundation, and Equal Justice Foundation filed a direct action in the Supreme Court of Ohio, challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 10’s retroactive application. The complaint asserts that SB 10 violates the ex post facto, double jeopardy, and separation of powers provisions of the Ohio Constitution and the United States Constitution. Click below to view the following documents.

On December 12, 2007, the Supreme Court of Ohio dismissed this challenge to SB 10. Please check this website regularly, as information about future challenges to SB 10 will be posted soon.

Background

On July 27, 2006, President Bush signed into law a bill known as the Adam Walsh Act. States must comply with this federal legislation by July 27, 2009, or risk losing 10% of a federal law enforcement grant. The Ohio General Assembly chose to implement the Adam Walsh Act this year, and passed Senate Bill 10 and Senate Bill 97 in an effort to comply with the federal legislation.

New tier structure

The Adam Walsh Act and Ohio Senate Bill 10 organize sex offender classification into three Tiers. Classification is based solely on the offense of conviction; a person’s likelihood to reoffend will no longer be considered.

Registration and verification duties:

Tier I: registration duties last 15 years for adults, 10 years for juveniles; in-person verification at the county sheriff’s office is required annually.

Tier II: registration duties last 25 years for adults, 20 years for juveniles; in-person verification is required every 180 days.

Tier III: registration duties last a lifetime for adults and for juveniles; in-person verification is required every 90 days.

Click here for a chart of which Ohio offenses fall into which Tier.

Testimony offered by the Office of the Ohio Public Defender

The Office of the Ohio Public Defender testified several times in opposition to this legislation as it moved through the state legislature. OPD’s opposition focused primarily on two points: retroactivity and juvenile offenders. Click below to read the testimony offered by OPD:

Proposed Guidelines

In May 2007, the U.S. Attorney General’s office issued Proposed Guidelines for the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act. The guidelines were open for public comment through August 1, 2007. The Office of the Ohio Public Defender submitted comments regarding retroactivity, juveniles, and substantial compliance. OPD also signed onto comment submitted by the Juvenile Justice Initiative of Voices for Ohio’s Children.

Additional information

On June 29, 2007, the Ohio Attorney General sent letters to approximately 200 people whose 10-year registration duties were set to expire during the month of July 2007. This letter informed people that, due to SB 10, their registration duties may not actually expire as previously scheduled. Click here to read a copy of the letter.

The Ohio Attorney General has prepared forms that are to be given to persons convicted or adjudicated of eligible offenses between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007, informing them of their duties to register as of January 1, 2008.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office has prepared a summary of what Ohio’s juvenile sex offender registration system (JSORN) will look like once SB 10 comes into full effect on January 1, 2008. Click here to read this summary.

OPD prepared this one-page (front & back) handout that briefly summarizes the impact SB 10 will have on juveniles. This may be a helpful introduction to the Adam Walsh Act for children, parents, treatment providers, and other non-lawyers who will be impacted by SB 10.

Related Cases

  • Mikaloff v. Walsh: the Northern District of Ohio held that Ohio's sex offender residency restrictions are punitive and that they violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution when applied retroactively. Click here for a copy of Mikaloff v. Walsh

  • Hyle v. Porter: the Supreme Court of Ohio is considering whether Ohio’s residency restrictions can be applied retroactively. Link to the Court’s docket.

  • State v. Ferguson: the Supreme Court of Ohio has agreed to decide whether Ohio’s current SORN law violates the Ex Post Facto and Retroactivity clauses of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions. Link to the Court’s docket.

Resources


OH - The Implementation of the Adam Walsh Act in Ohio

View the article here

A little old I know, but still has some good info.

05/29/2007

Call Representatives to voice your concerns on the effects of the Adam Walsh Act on juveniles in Ohio!


BACKGROUND:
Criminal justice laws are failing to recognize how kids and adults are fundamentally different from each other, despite what extensive research, experience, and common practice demonstrate about their significant developmental differences; as a result, youthful offenders intent on turning their lives around will no longer be able to do so. Last year, Congress enacted the Adam Walsh Act to mandate strict sex offender registration laws and penalties. Now, through Senate Bill 10, the Ohio General Assembly is working to implement the Adam Walsh Act in Ohio. The Ohio legislature wants to pass SB 10 before they recess at the end of June, in order to qualify for bonus money from the federal government (an amount not yet determined). But SB 10 goes too far. While Ohio already has a juvenile sex offender registration law, SB 10 mandates expanding both the kinds of youth included in the registry and the numbers of years–in many cases for life–that the registration is required. But it goes even further by requiring that the juvenile’s information be placed on a web-based public registry.

Specifically, under SB 10, kids age 14 and older who are adjudicated of 6 specified offenses (rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, or aggravated murder, murder, or kidnapping with sexual motivation) must be classified as “Tier III” sexual offenders. These children will be included on an online public registry of sex offenders. Their names, pictures, home addresses, school and employer names, and other information will be posted on the internet. These children will remain on this public registry for the rest of their lives.

Problems with SB 10:
  • It ignores decades of research that show critical differences between youth who sexually abuse younger children and adult sex offenders. The majority of youth are much more amenable to treatment (90–96% will never commit another sex offense).
  • It removes the current incentives in place that encourage and motivate youth to seek and comply with treatment, as kids will still be required to register regardless of whether they have successfully completed treatment. With fewer youth in treatment, the risk for future re-offending will undoubtedly increase, inadvertently creating more of a community safety risk.
  • It fails to recognize that many children adjudicated of sex offenses have themselves been victimized. By placing their pictures, names, and addresses online, SB 10 puts these children at risk for further victimization as they become easy prey for adult offenders.
  • It actually threatens to undermine public safety by flooding the sex offender registry with thousands of children and adults who are unlikely to re-offend and who pose no threat to public safety. As this happens, the registry will become meaningless as a public safety tool. Additionally, local law enforcement agencies will have to expend countless resources registering and tracking people who pose no threat to the public.
  • SB 10 imposes adult sanctions on kids without giving them full adult due process protections, like the right to trial by jury.
  • SB 10 is retroactive. Children who were adjudicated for sex offenses years ago will be placed on the Adam Walsh registry, despite never having committed any additional offense.
ACTION NEEDED:
Please contact the Governor’s office immediately: http://apps.das.ohio.gov/govpublic/contact.aspx

Please call or email your state representative and members of the House Criminal Justice Committee and ask them to amend SB 10:
  • Children who receive traditional juvenile dispositions should be exempted from SB 10 (they are already subject to the existing juvenile sex offender registration law as determined by a judge).
  • SB 10’s registration requirements should be reserved for the most serious offenders, and thus should only apply to kids who are transferred (“bound over”) to the adult criminal system or to kids who receive a serious youthful offender (“blended”) sentence and have the adult portion of their sentence imposed. This preserves the discretionary determination of the judge or prosecutor for each youth.
  • SB 10 should not be applied retroactively.
Chair: Robert Latta
Clerk: Amanda Cooper, 466-8104
Regular Meetings: Thursday, Rm. 121
Partisan Breakdown: 12 Republicans, 11 Democrats
Email Committee

Republican
Email Committee Caucus
Chair Rep. Robert Latta, 466-8104
VC Rep. Shannon Jones, 644-6027
Rep. Louis Blessing, 466-9091
Rep. Tom Brinkman, 644-6886
Rep. Danny Bubp, 644-6034
Rep. Anthony Core, 466-8147
Rep. James Hughes, 466-2473
Rep. Josh Mandel, 644-6041
Rep. Jon Peterson, 644-6711
Rep. William Seitz, 466-8258
Rep. John White, 466-6504
Rep. John Widowfield, 466-1177

Democrat
Email Committee Caucus
RMM Rep. Timothy DeGeeter, 466-3485
Rep. Matthew Barrett, 466-9628
Rep. Linda Bolon, 466-8022
Rep. Steve Dyer, 466-1790
Rep. Tracy Heard, 466-8010
Rep. Dale Mallory, 466-1645
Rep. Vernon Sykes, 466-3100
Rep. Matt Szollosi, 466-1418
Rep. Sandra Williams, 466-1414
Rep. Tyrone Yates, 466-1308
Rep. Kenny Yuko, 466-8012

Prepare and offer testimony to the House Criminal Justice Committee. Whether you’re an advocate, a treatment provider, a juvenile defender, a parent, or a concerned citizen, the legislature needs to hear from you on this bill. The House Criminal Justice Committee meets Thursdays at 11am, and SB 10 will be heard from May 24 through the first 2–3 weeks of June.

Let’s raise our voices and urge the Ohio General Assembly to take this important step for our children!

Tips for making phone calls:
  • Clearly state your name and where you live.
  • Be prepared to make your point in several sentences.
  • The staff member answering the phone is making brief notes about the subject of your call and your opinion.
  • Ask for a response that includes the elected official’s position.
  • Realize that the staff member answering phones may have been instructed not to make detailed comments about the issues; this is done in letters so that elected official’s position is not misrepresented.
  • Follow up with a letter if possible. Mail, fax or e-mail it to the legislator’s office.

Effective letter writing and e-mail techniques:
  • Make sure to address the elected official and your correspondence correctly. All members of the General Assembly may be addressed as “The Honorable First Name, Last Name” followed by their address. Senators are addressed as “Dear Senator Last Name.” Representatives are addressed as Dear Representative Last Name.”
  • State who you are and where you live in the first paragraph so it is clear that you are a constituent. Make sure that you state any credentials, for example being a member of an organization or institution that would make you particularly credible on a particular issue. For instance, if you work or volunteer at an organization with experience on your issue, say so in your letter or E-mail. It means that you have first hand experience and knowledge about the subject that the legislator may not have. At minimum you have credentials because you live in that official’s district and you have an opinion.
  • Tie the issue to the larger needs of the community. Make the long-term benefits to large groups of people known.
  • Ask for a response letter or e-mail stating the elected official’s position.
  • Include your name, street address, e-mail address and a phone number with area code.

For more information contact:
Amy Borror
Office of the Ohio Public Defender
8 East Long Street
Columbus, OH 43215
614.644.1587
amy.borror@opd.ohio.gov
Yvonne C. Hunnicutt
Voices for Ohio’s Children
4019 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
216.881.7860
yhunnicutt@vfc-oh.org


ME - Woolwich Man Says His Name Doesn't Belong On Sex Offender List

View the article here

12/27/2007

WOOLWICH (NEWS CENTER) -- A Wiscasset woman says the state has harmed her family by putting her son on the sex offender list. Cathy Onorato and her son Daniel are trying to get the legislature to change the sex offender law.

Daniel Onorato, who lives in Woolwich, was convicted of criminal restraint against his girlfriend ten years ago. He was 18 years old at the time and she was 17.

Three years later, the Maine legislature added criminal restraint to the sex offender list. They made the new law retroactive, so that Daniel Onorato's name was added. Since then, both Onorato and his mother say being on the list has made life miserable for all of them. She says it's unfair, because his crime had nothing to do with sex.

"His close family knew he wasn't a sex offender. But outside of close family, you can't explain to somebody he's on the sex offender registry but he hasn't committed a sex offense. Cause they don't believe you," said Cathy Onorato.

"I think there are several laws that don't belong on the sex offender list. That's just one of them," said Rep. Stan Gerzofsky from Brunswick.

Rep. Gersofsky (Email) is co-chairman of the legislature's Criminal Justice Committee. He says the sex offender law needs some changes, so that some people are not unfairly labeled.

Daniel Onorato's name is scheduled to come off the list next month.


DC - Santa Claus Delivers 37,000+ Copies of Constitution to President Bush

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12/20/2007

Kringle Hopes President Can Find Time to Read Document, Abide by Its Laws

Washington – This morning, Santa Claus (in the person of noted constitutional lawyer Bill Goodman) drove his sleigh to the White House to deliver thousands of copies of the U.S. Constitution to President Bush.

Americans from all over the country – more than 37,000 of them – asked that a copy of the Constitution be delivered to the President in their name and cordially requested that he make time in his busy schedule to read it.

"While I was going over the list of who's been naughty and nice," Mr. Claus said, as he prepared for his visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, "I heard from many people who feel the President hasn't been doing a very good job of upholding his oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution."

Responding to an urgent request from the Center for Constitutional Rights, Claus stepped in to bring messages from Americans who felt the President might need a refresher course in the Constitution. Citizens want to remind President Bush that the Constitution forbids torture and spying on Americans without a warrant, requires that prisoners get a fair hearing of the charges against them before a real court and makes the government's treaty obligations, such the Geneva Conventions, the law of the land.

"These Constitutions will make great holiday reading," Claus continued. "I want to be sure that the President has plenty of time to look at them before he decides on his New Year's resolutions."



The complete text of the letter that accompanies the Constitutions is available here.

CCR thanks Marco Ceglie and Andrew Boyd of the Billionaires for Bush; filmmakers Eddie Martinez and Sam Alcoff; and Bill Goodman (santa) and Jessie Reilly (elf) for their invaluable contributions.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.


GA - Changes For Aiken County Sex Offender Law?

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We need to get back to making laws that do NOT violate the United States Constitution and/or State Constitutions, then I don't think we'd have a problem, as long as they do not violates these documents.

12/27/2007

AIKEN CTY -- Aiken County wants to keep a closer eye on sex offenders. Their plans for doing that may be changing. This after a Georgia Supreme Court ruling on sex offenders a month ago.

It's supposed to be about protecting children and letting sex offenders know the county is serious about their safety. That's why lawmakers want to restrict where sex offenders live. But that issue now a hot topic among council members and other people.

Connie Collins wants to make sure her 16 year old daughter can be a teenager and of course, be safe.

"Our children need to be safe, need to be in a safe environment and a safe community," says Connie.

And the Aiken County Council agrees. In the past, they have proposed this: sex offenders cannot live within a thousand feet of a church, school, park or child care facility.

Connie lives near a Boys and Girls Club in Aiken. A place she says lots of minors hang out at and that's one of the places the Council is looking at in this proposed ordinance.

But an obstacle stands in the way, coming from Georgia's Supreme Court -- which changed it's law restriction where sex offenders can live.

"I don't think we need to base our laws on Georgia laws. If the people in our area and our community feel this is something that needs to be done, I think this is something we need to go ahead and do," says Connie.

So now, the Aiken County Attorney is looking at the county's proposal. Along with the legality of it as it stands now.

"Something to protect the children and something enforceable. And something that sex offenders will know we are very serious about our children and their safety," says Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie.

That may mean grandfathering in sex offenders who already live in the county or adding a classification system.

"I don't care if you are only a 1 time offender. An offense is an offense. To me, if you did it once, you'll do it again," says Connie.

"We want to be fair in this law, but our number 1 priority is keeping the children safe," says McKenzie.

"That's what I want. A safe community. A safe community," says Connie.

At the next Judicial and Public Safety Committee meeting, the County Attorney will let everyone know what he finds out about grandfathering in sex offenders, classifications and enforceability. And most importantly, if he can defend the law as it stands now.

That discussion will determine whether the full County Council will vote on the ordinance at its next meeting. That's scheduled for January 15th.


SC - Sex Assault Suspect Killed

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12/27/2007

A West Ashley High School teacher accused of raping a woman drove his car into a tree and died this morning, Charleston County Sheriff's Major John Clark said.

A suicide note was found in 38-year-old Scott Knight’s car.

Knight was free on a $20,000 bond after being arrested for criminal sexual conduct and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Knight was accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him at his home in Concord West of the Ashley on 45 Sycamore Ave.

He had been on administrative leave from West Ashley High School since November, when he was arrested and charged with harassing two students.

Knight taught computer tech and was employed at the high school for four years.


LA - Homeless Sex Offenders Becoming Difficult To Track

View the article here

12/20/2007

"It's important to a lot of people especially parents with children that they know if somebody is an actual sexual predator." But what if you didn't know where a potential sex offender was living?

A new report shows more and more registered sex offenders could be living on the streets, with nowhere to go. Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche says tracking down homeless sex offenders isn't an easy task. "It's difficult, it's a difficult situation because they don't have a permanent address."

A new law gives homeless offenders three days to notify law enforcement of a move. By law every registered sex offender has to give a physical address. And the offender could be registered at just about any place, a shelter, street corner, or even..."I'm registering my address as the east side of the Texas Street bridge, under the bridge.

"But some residents say the law could be working in favor of offenders, and that has them concerned. "If you can't track them, how can you stop them." "It seems like police are interested in setting up little speed traps than going and looking around and searching out these things."

And as long as the problem continues, Carmouche says there's no quick solution to end the problem. "As long as we have a homeless population of people that more with frequency and constantly changing addresses, and changing locations of where they live it will be difficult."


FL - Officer accused of groping girl, 15

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12/27/2007

FORT PIERCEFort Pierce police arrested one of their own officers Wednesday, accusing him of fondling a 15-year-old girl whom he caught half-naked with a man in a car parked at the beach.

Police say officer Dwight Lavickus Toombs, 33, handcuffed the 20-year-old man and fondled the girl several times under the guise of collecting evidence, an arrest report said. He then had the two drive him back to his patrol car, the report said.

Toombs, who once was suspended for taking a meal break at a porn shop and accepting a free video, joined the force in 2001 and was assigned to neighborhood policing. He was booked at the St. Lucie County jail Wednesday on three felony counts of sexual battery on a person 12 years or older as a government agent and three felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery. He is being held in lieu of $900,000 bail.

Police began investigating Toombs after the girl's parents lodged a complaint. According to the arrest report, the incident happened shortly after 10 p.m. Dec. 18 at Kimberly Bergalis Park, when Toombs tapped the car window with his flashlight.

The girl, who was wearing only a T-shirt at the time, told police Toombs asked for ID from both and then ordered the 20-year-old out of the car, handcuffing him. He then came around to the passenger side and fondled her, telling her he was checking to see if the two had been having sex.

The girl said he offered to let her off with a "warning," so long as her parents knew they were out. Police say Toombs borrowed her cellphone and called them, asking if they knew their daughter's whereabouts. Toombs then got in the back seat and had them drive him back to his patrol car, the report said.

There, Toombs allegedly used rubber gloves to fondle her again. The report said he also had the girl fondle herself with a glove, which he had her sign, telling her it would be used as evidence, the report said.

The report describes how, in the days afterward, Toombs tried to cover up what happened, contacting the 20-year-old man and a fellow officer, who had been called to the scene as backup that night.

Police Chief Sean Baldwin called the allegations "extremely disheartening" but pledged a full investigation and prosecution.

"Our officers work extremely hard every day to maintain the public's trust," Baldwin said. "Even an allegation of this nature just tears this public trust apart. It's very difficult for our officers to deal with this. It hurts and it's embarrassing." Toombs was put on administrative leave with pay on Dec. 20 and will remain on paid leave until the department completes an internal investigation.

He has faced disciplinary problems in addition to his two-day suspension in January for taking a meal break at a porn shop with two other officers, one of whom was his trainee. Toombs was fired briefly in 2004 over allegations that he beat an 11-year-old runaway boy with a belt.

But Toombs won an appeal and returned to road patrol after one of the witnesses' credibility was called into question.


GA - Macon Police investigator charged with sexual assault on a person in custody

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12/27/2007

A Macon Police investigator was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexual assault on a person in custody, according to a police news release.

William Enders, 35, of Northside Drive, is an investigator assigned to Macon Police Area II, according to the release.

He is being held without bond at the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Melanie Hofmann said the case is still under investigation and additional information will be released today.