Monday, January 28, 2008

IN - County considers registration fee for sex offenders

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VALPARAISO - Hoping to recoup some of the costs associated with maintaining a registry list, Porter County officials are considering implementing fees for sex and violent offenders.
- This is extortion. Why don't you ask the federal government and tax payers for the money, they are the ones who wanted these laws. This is more ex post facto punishment, and is unconstitutional.

The ordinance, which was preliminarily approved at this week's commissioner's meeting, would establish an annual $50 fee for the offenders, along with a $5 fee every time they change addresses.

Porter County Sheriff Dave Lain said the fees would help offset administrative costs associated with the county's sex offender registry list -- such as visiting houses to confirm addresses.

"Unfortunately, there's a steady stream (of sex offenders)," Lain said. "It's becoming more labor intensive to track these folks."
- So tax the tax payers who wanted these laws.

According to Lain, the county keeps track of from 130 to 150 offenders and performs regular address verifications for each one. Employees also process multiple address change notifications each week, he said.

Because the registry list is part of a state mandate, Indiana law allows counties to implement the fee. State law also dictates who must register for the local lists.

County commissioners will vote on the ordinance with a second reading before finalizing their decision.

CA - Rapist David Allyn Dokich died of cancer not a beating, coroner rules

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Recently released documents show that a rapist who was the focus of a statewide debate about sex-offender monitoring died of lung and brain cancer.

David Allyn Dokich, 54, died in June 2007, and investigators had to determine whether a beating from his cellmate two months earlier contributed to his death. The outcome of the autopsy was revealed in a Riverside County coroner's report obtained via a public records request.

Dokich was beaten last April in the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside while waiting for a judge to rule whether he should be classified as a sexually violent predator and held indefinitely.

His placement in a Mead Valley halfway house in 2005 after being released from prison ignited a debate and prompted almost nine months of demonstrations outside the home. The outcry led to three state laws that provide for increased oversight of registered sex offenders.

Dokich was convicted in 1987 of raping a Lake Elsinore girl. He had previously served two years as part of a plea agreement in connection with the 1982 rape of a girl in Orange County.

Dokich served 21 months in prison in the Orange County case before being paroled. Three years later, Dokich was arrested in the Lake Elsinore case. He was paroled to the Mead Valley group home after serving half of that 35-year sentence.

The protests outside that home ended when Riverside County sheriff's deputies arrested Dokich for violating his parole after he was caught on video hanging out at a pool hall and arcade. Being there violated his parole because the business sells alcohol and children gather there.

The district attorney's office then began the process of keeping Dokich confined, called a civil commitment. Dokich was later beaten by cellmate David McCay, according to the death investigation report.

On April 13, 2007, McCay grabbed Dokich's head and slammed it against the concrete, the report said McCay told jail personnel. He then jumped on top of Dokich and continued by punching him.

At the hospital, doctors discovered Dokich had malignant brain masses and lung lesions, according to the report.

What had started as lung cancer had spread to the brain. His condition deteriorated despite radiation treatment, and his family filed a do-not-resuscitate order.

The autopsy reported that Dokich had a cut to the head and bruising to both eyes.

McCay was not charged, and court records show he was committed to the Department of Mental Health less than a month after Dokich's death.

TX - Tech employee reinstated after cleared of sexual assault charge

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After being charged with sexual assault on a child in September 2007, Texas Tech employee Barry Todd Smith has been cleared of the charge and given his job back in the university's Accounts Payable and Travel Services department.

According to a news release, a recent investigation performed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services/Children's Protective Services showed no evidence of a crime, causing the Lubbock Criminal District Attorney to reject the charges. In addition, Smith took and passed a polygraph exam stating he was not guilty.

Smith was released on a $100,000 bond in September, which was reduced from the original $500,000 bond by Judge Bob Darnell. Upon releasing him from jail in September, Darnell ordered Smith to live by 17 conditions of bond, all of which have been removed.

In the news release, Chuck Lanehart, the attorney representing Smith, said "I applaud Texas Tech, the CDA and CPS for doing the right thing, but it's a shame Todd had to go through literal hell to clear his name. This just shows how these sorts of accusations should be thoroughly investigated before someone is arrested, not afterward."