Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Series on Sexual Violence

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Sex Offender Residency Restrictions: Implementation and Impact June 19, 2008: 1 pm – 3 pm (EDT)

~Online event. Registration required, and free of charge.~

This event is the first of four in the Series on Sexual Violence, sponsored by the Government Innovators Network and the National Institute of Justice. Additional event topics include sexual assault on college campuses, sexual violence and evidence collection, and a discussion about international policy. Ample time will be allocated for audience Q&A.

Those who register for this event will be notified as subsequent events are scheduled (approximately one per month through September).

Numerous states and hundreds of municipalities have laws restricting the location of a convicted sex offender's residence. Little is known about the effectiveness of these restrictions. Do they keep children safer or give a false sense of safety?

Some people suggest these laws are driven by media attention to a few cases. Others believe they are not grounded in research. What do we know about the effectiveness and impact of these laws? What are the practical aspects of implementing such laws?

This event will examine facts of residency restrictions, research about the types of offenders, lack of research about effectiveness, the use of crime mapping and the practical considerations required when implementing these restrictions. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Jill Levenson, Associate Professor and Human Services Department Chair at Lynn University. The panel includes:

  • Julie Wartell - Crime Analysis Administrator, Office of the District Attorney, San Diego County
  • Timothy Hart - Director, Nevada's Center for the Analysis of Crime Statistics (CACS), University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Kristen Zgoba - Supervisor of Research & Evaluation, New Jersey Department of Corrections in collaboration with Rutgers University

Register now - Please fill out some basic information if you are interested in attending.

Instructions - Review these instructions and practice logging in ahead of time (Try it now!).

Resources - Links to resources related to this event (this list may be updated periodically as the event nears).

Questions? Contact us.

MA - Mass. 'Jessica's Law' debate

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Election time is coming up, so it's time to bust out the sex offender issues. I hate politics, I really do. None of these laws will or are working. Click the link above to watch the video. There is so much BS in the video, it's pathetic... Children do not have to testify, because they do everything to get the accused to accept a plea bargain. NEVER ACCEPT A PLEA BARGAIN, IT ISN'T A BARGAIN!!!


(NECN) - Her name is Jessica Lunford. At age nine, she was raped and murdered by a previously convicted sex offender. The crime led the state of Florida to adopt the so-called Jessica’s law, calling for 25-year minimum mandatory sentences for sex crimes involving children under 12 years of age.
- And the person who did this, begged and begged and begged for treatment, which they did not give him, why? If they would've, she would still be here today.

In Massachusetts, the house has passed a version of Jessica’s law that is backed by the state's top law enforcers...but it falls short of the 25-year minimum mandatory sentence. NECN's Brad Puffer explains.

Jim’s NewsNight guests oppose the house version of Jessica’s law. But for very different reasons. Karyn Polito is a Republican State Representative from Shrewsbury. And attorney Ed Ryan is a former President of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

WA - State Expanding Sex Offender GPS Tracking

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Just a waste of tax payers money. If someone needs to be monitored 24/7, then why are they out on the streets in the first place? This is nothing but feel good BS that wastes tons of money for nothing.


KENNEWICK - For the first time, the Washington State Department of Corrections is releasing how many Tri-City sex offenders are enrolled in the state's new GPS tracking program along with plans to expand the new program.

That tracking is aimed at some of the state's most dangerous sex offenders, and Tuesday we learned four of them are being tracked here in the Tri-Cities.

It's the first time the Department of Corrections has released information on offenders in specific areas.

Those offenders are wearing those bracelets so the state knows where they are at all times and can confirm that they're abiding by their release terms and finding jobs and staying out of certain situations that could make them more likely to reoffend.

"You can get the addresses to where they've been, they're bringing in applications so fun us that was the one that we've done. So these are kind of thing that you can look at and you can definitely track on there," said Michelle Ballard, who helps run the program in Kennewick.

Ballard also now says they'll soon begin expanding the tracking program to include Level-2 offenders also.

This all comes just weeks after the DOC head ordered victims be immediately notified if their offender cuts off the bracelet.

Two offenders so far have found themselves back in the news after removing their trackers.

OH - Revoke Adam Walsh Act Laws!

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In Ohio, vs Vincent Holloman-Cross, the Court of Appeals refused to recognize the implementation of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act’s retro-active application as being punitive in nature.

The ex post facto clause of Article I, Sections 9 and 10 of the United States Constitution prohibit:

  1. Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action.
  2. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was when committed.
  3. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed.” Calder v. Bull (1798), 3 U.S. 386, 390.

{¶ 16} The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is contained in the Adam Walsh Act, enacted on July 27, 2006, which requires convicted sex offenders to register in the jurisdiction in which he or she resides. SORNA is incorporated into Ohio law. See R.C. 2950 et seq.

{¶ 17} SORNA requires all jurisdictions to maintain a registry including the following information regarding sex offenders: names and aliases, social security number, residence, place of employment or school, vehicle information, physical description, criminal history, current photograph, fingerprints, palm prints, a DNA sample, and a photocopy of one’s driver’s license or identification card. 42 U.S.C. 16914. SORNA also sets forth the manner in which sex offenders are to register, namely, every ninety days, as applied in the case sub judice. 42 U.S.C. 16916.

{¶ 18} The Supreme Court of the United States set forth the framework for determining whether a statute violates the ex post facto clause:

“We must ascertain whether the legislature meant the statute to establish ‘civil’ proceedings. If the intention of the legislature was to impose punishment, that ends the inquiry. If, however, the intention was to enact a regulatory scheme that is civil and nonpunitive, we must further examine whether the statutory scheme is so punitive either in purpose or effect as to negate the State’s intention to deem it ‘civil.’ Because we ordinarily defer to the legislature’s stated intent, only the clearest proof will suffice to override legislative intent and transform what has been denominated a civil remedy into a criminal penalty.” Smith v. Doe (2003), 538 U.S. 84. (Internal quotations and citations omitted.)

{¶ 19} Thus, we must first consider whether SORNA is civil or punitive in nature. SORNA is codified in Title 42 of the United States Code, a section reserved not for criminal punishment, but for “Public Health and Welfare.” Furthermore, SORNA’s purpose is to “protect the public from sex offenders and offenders against children ***.” 42 U.S.C. 16901. Thus, “[i]t is clear that Congress intended SORNA to be civil in nature.” United States v. Mason (M.D.Fla. 2007), 510 F.Supp.2d 923, 929. Therefore, we find that SORNA is civil and nonpunitive.

{¶ 20} Furthermore, we must consider whether SORNA’s statutory scheme is so punitive either in purpose or effect as to negate the intent to deem it civil. A review of SORNA reveals that it deals primarily with procedural issues, including collection and dissemination of a sex offender’s information, which is indicative of a civil statutory framework. Thus, “there is insufficient evidence to transform SORNA from a civil scheme into a criminal penalty.” Mason. The majority of courts that have addressed this issue as it pertains to failure to register pursuant to SORNA have found the same. See United States v. Markel (W.D.Ark. 2007), 2007 U.S. Dist.

{¶ 21} Therefore, we find that SORNA, as set forth in the Adam Walsh Act does not violate Holloman-Cross’ ex post facto protections. Holloman-Cross’ second assignment of error is overruled”

This decision irresponsibly fails to understand the comprehensive nature and onerous requirements instated on offenders who committed crimes BEFORE this law was passed. The requirement does not involve simple dissemination of information, but a requires past offenders to report in person up to four times a year for as long as he lives, in many cases. And to have his/her personal information and image posted online as a Scarlet Letter, which exposes him to vigilante violence and societal rebuke. THIS IS PUNISHMENT. And this Court is wrong.

NC - Police: Rape Suspect Removes Tracking Bracelet, Skips Town

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Yep, wasting tons of tax payer dollars on BS that will not work. Like I've said before, these laws are for law obiding people, not people like this who will vanish any chance they can get. And more proof that GPS protects nobody from someone who is intent on committing another crime. This is just wasting thousands, if not millions of dollars for nothing.


MAYODAN -- A registered sex offender who police in Mayodan, N.C., said is a suspect in the June 8 attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl cut off his house arrest bracelet and skipped town, police said.

Police are looking for Jason Lee Tuggle, 26, of Mayodan. They said they plan to charge him with attempted rape but haven't been able to because he removed the bracelet Monday night and is currently on the run.

Tuggle's mother told police she saw him at his North 7th Avenue home Monday evening.

Tuggle had been on house arrest for charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Police are asking that anyone who has seen him to call 336-548-6038.

NY - Mohawk board still mulling sex offender ordinance

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Mohawk - The Mohawk Village Board of Trustees will continue to digest information before coming to a decision on whether to enact a sex offender ordinance.

At the board’s May 26 meeting, a North Street neighborhood attended after they learned a level III sexual offender was planning to move to their street.

Level III offenders are deemed high risk and must be registered with the sex offender registry for life according to the New York Sex Offender Registration Act.

The group had issued the village a sample ordinance to consider where a registered sex offender would not be able to live within 2,500 feet of a school, playground or day care center.

Village Attorney Karl Manne spent portions of the past two weeks researching the issue and updated the board and members of the neighborhood on his findings at Monday’s meeting.

Through his study he found two laws that apply to the village, a state penal law that applies to level three offenders regarding probation and a corrections law that applies to level three offenders regarding parole.

He said under the laws, which mirror each other, level three offenders still on probation cannot come within 1,000 feet of school grounds and if they did, a violation would occur.

Manne said when looking at a village map, most of the village is within the 1,000 feet from one of the village’s two schools.

“There are consequences to enacting something too broad,” said Manne.

He said as village attorney, he was hesitant to enact an ordinance because the issue is something new and still a hot issue.

“There are both pros and cons, it’s a judgment call,” said Manne.

Manne said the village would have a decent chance of getting sued if it enacted an ordinance, which could cost between $10,000 and $30,000.

North Street resident James Fleming said the 2,500 feet was too much and he would like to see 1,500 feet.

“Summer vacation is coming up and we’re afraid to let our kids play outside,” said Fleming. “I know (the offenders) are still human beings but we have a responsibility to protect our children.”

Mayor Irene Sweet said although the offenders created a crime, they still have rights.
Trustee Kathy Eisenhut suggested the group go to the Herkimer County Legislature and state officials to see what they could do.

Trustee Marge Berrie said the board would send a letter to the group when a decision has been made.

ME - Westbrook Sued Over Sex Offender Law

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Suit Seeks To Challenge Ordinance Passed Last Year

WESTBROOK -- A lawsuit seeks to challenge the city of Westbrook's new sex offender ordinance.

Lawmakers approved the ordinance last year to ban sex offenders from living or working within 2,500 feet of any place where a child might go regularly, including schools, day care centers, playgrounds, dance schools and bowling alleys.

This case is part of a larger lawsuit targeting the constitutionality of the state's sex offender registry law.

NC - Where sex offenders can live still is a riddle

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Two years ago, the General Assembly passed tough rules on where sex offenders released from state prisons couldn’t live. What it failed to say is where they could live. Now that issue needs to be resolved.

A short-term solution in the 2008-09 budget proposes that ex-offenders stay for a while in hotels at state expense. But it doesn’t add up.

Nationwide, laws that prohibit convicted sex offenders from living near schools, child-care centers and parks make it extremely difficult for them to find housing once they leave prison. In a few extreme cases, parolees even have asked to return to prison rather than wander the streets.

Of course, it’s unfair to force people who have already served their time back behind bars because they have nowhere else to go. It’s also expensive. The state pays $26,000 a year to feed and house each inmate.

Putting up released offenders in low-cost hotels, which already can serve as magnets for criminal activity, seems equally ill-considered. But these individuals have to live somewhere.

North Carolina released more than 1,400 sex offenders last year after each served time for crimes ranging from horrific acts against children to consensual relations with a minor. Without an address, convicted sex offenders can’t comply with strict registration requirements.

That makes law enforcement’s job more difficult and limits the public’s access to online information on these ex-offenders’ whereabouts.

To be fair, a 2007 study by the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch disputes the common perception that "once a sex offender, always a sex offender." The study concluded that 98.6 percent of those convicted of sex crimes and released from North Carolina prisons remain onetime offenders.

Still, the state needs to proceed with caution in determining how best to release these individuals back into society, for their sake, and for society’s.

One approach may not fit all. Lawmakers should closely examine recidivism rates for specific, sex-related crimes. It’s quite possible that restrictions applied too broadly may unfairly penalize a sex offender who poses no more of a danger to the public than any other ex-offender.

Vastly limiting where a released offender can live places a burden on the state to come up with workable alternatives. Among the possibilities are arranging contracts with homeless shelters and halfway houses. (North Dakota chose to use state funds to build temporary housing.)

Instead of buying time by using hotels and motels as a stopgap measure, the legislature needs to start looking, now, for a doable permanent solution.

WA - Plea Bargains ARE Contracts!!!

According to the State of Washington, in State v. Schaupp (See snap shot):

  1. Plea agreements are contracts.
  2. As such, they include an implied promise by the prosecutor to act in good faith.
  3. And because a defendant gives up important constitutional rights by agreeing to a plea bargain, due process also requires the State to adhere to the agreement and make any promised recommendation.
  4. Although the recommendation need not be made enthusiastically, the State is obligated not to undercut it.
  5. The test is whether the prosecutor contradicts, by words or conduct, the State's recommendation for a standard range sentence.
  6. We apply an objective standard to determine whether the prosecutor's statements undercut the agreed upon recommendation.
  7. A defendant is entitled to relief regardless of whether the prosecutor's breach was deliberate or inadvertent.
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