Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SOCLEAR - TX - KCBD Witch Hunt - Response

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OH - Richland County judge finds Ohio sex offender law unconstitutional

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08/13/2008

MANSFIELD — William Sigler is pleased by a local court ruling restoring his sexual offender classification to the level of “least serious.”

Sigler, 29, claimed the Adam Walsh Act, signed by President Bush in July 2006, unfairly grouped him as a sexual predator — someone who repeatedly or deliberately set out to find victims.

Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese found in favor of the Mansfield man’s appeal Monday, ruling that retroactive reclassifications are unconstitutional in the state of Ohio.
- And everywhere else as well.

According to James Mayer III, Sigler’s latest attorney, DeWeese is one of the state’s first judges to issue a ruling among hundreds of appeals filed since the Ohio Attorney General’s office reclassified all sexual offenders.

Under the mandate of the Adam Walsh Act, states must fully comply by July 2009 or face a 10 percent cut to their share of federal grant funds used to fight crime — funding that suffered a 67-percent cut in 2007.

Mayer believes other defense attorneys across Ohio will use DeWeese’s ruling in arguing for their own clients.

Sigler pleaded guilty to attempted rape through a plea bargain agreement in May 2000 and was sentenced to six years in prison. His guilty plea stemmed from a November 2006 incident in which he forced a 14-year-old girl to perform oral sex at gunpoint. A pre-sentence report indicated that two other women said Sigler forced them to have sexual relations with him. DeWeese called him a “sexually oriented offender” and said he would not be a good candidate for successful counseling.

In 2000, DeWeese used details of the case and attorneys’ recommendations to determine Sigler's classification as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

That classification was dismissed under the Walsh Act, and Sigler was reclassified from Tier I, the least serious category, to Tier III, the most serious.

In reclassifying him under the new law, the Ohio attorney general considered only the level of crime he pleaded to, rather than actual details, Mayer said.

The retroactive reclassification to Tier III meant Sigler would have to register with the sheriff’s department every 90 days for the rest of his life, instead of once a year for 10 years — or face felony charges. It also meant the Richland County Sheriff’s Department would mail notification cards to every address within a mile of Sigler’s residence.

Sigler’s name would be added to a national sex offender registry under the Walsh Act, but that portion of the law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Florida last April. Currently, Sigler is identified as a sex offender on a registry kept by the Richland County Sheriff’s office and the state of Ohio.

After his reclassification appeared online early in 2008, coworkers and neighbors looked at him much differently, Sigler said.

“When people started thinking I was a ‘predator,’ they had a problem talking with me,” Sigler said.

The Mansfield resident said he’d been up front with co-workers.

“I had no secrets. I told everybody. I said, ‘I’d rather you hear it from me than from someone else, or on the Internet,’ ” Sigler said.

The reclassification made people think he lied about the seriousness of his offense, he said.

Afterward, he was barred from Starbucks, since juveniles might be found there.

“My (probation officers) said I couldn’t (go there) — on the basis that I was just sitting there, hanging out. Well, that is what you do, when you’re enjoying your $7 latte,” Sigler said.

In his ruling Monday, DeWeese said it is appropriate to use the new classifications for people convicted in new cases, but it violates the Ohio Constitution to retroactively change a sentence a court previously decided.

In his ruling, the judge noted the Walsh Act has resulted in more than half of the county’s sex offenders being reclassified as Tier III offenders.

Sigler said his classification is a crucial issue.

Tier I, he explained, “means usually that you’ve made one mistake in your life. You made a bad choice. You chose to do something wrong, and you’re paying for it."

Those labeled Tier II are considered habitual offenders, but not necessarily predators.

“It has been a heck of a struggle for him,” Mayer said of his client. “He was distraught to open that letter, seven, eight years later saying that they were going to reclassify him. He wanted to fight it, right from the start.”

The Ohio attorney general may appeal, Mayer said.

I don’t think we’re going to know how this will play out for some time. But I do feel strongly that Judge DeWeese got it right.”

DeWeese, who could have sentenced Sigler to anywhere from two to eight years in prison, meted out nearly the maximum penalty in 2000. Still, Sigler said Wednesday he’d hoped DeWeese would be assigned his appeal, since he’d heard the original case.

“I am just very pleased with the results of the judge’s findings,” he said.


NY - Protecting our kids – or jeopardizing everyone's freedom?

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08/14/2008

Residency laws for child sex offenders flout the Constitution.

New York - Few crimes deserve greater sanction than child sex offense. Such crimes betray all reasonable standards of moral conduct and they are (deservedly) punished harshly.

Yet in society's understandable rush to punish these criminals, the Constitution is being violated.

Residency restrictions, unconstitutional laws that bar sex offenders from living in a specified area, are on the rise. But why break the highest law for the lowest crime?

When government betrays the Constitution, no matter the reason, we jeopardize everyone's freedom.

Twenty-two states have prohibited sex offenders from living within a minimum distance of family facilities, such as schools and day-care centers. The distance ranges from 500 feet to five times that. And further restrictions are on the way.

In California, state legislation already bans a child sex offender from living within a quarter mile of a school. And a number of jurisdictions are contemplating banning residence by sex offenders altogether.

In larger cities and rural areas, such restrictions may not be overly burdensome. But in small towns, they can make residence for an ex-offender impossible.

The more crucial problem, though, is that residency restrictions clearly violate the constitutional limits on statutory law. Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution reads in part: "No bill, or attainder, or ex post facto law shall be passed." The Latin phrase "ex post facto" literally translates as "from after the fact." The Founding Fathers wisely realized that law must not be retroactive.

A free citizenry must know what the law permits and what it forbids; arbitrary punishment is unacceptable. If ex post facto legislation were permitted, no citizen would know if his present actions might be later ruled illegal. We owe our liberty a stronger safeguard than the whims of popular conscience.

Most state laws require their state to build schools and family facilities according to the population of a constituency. Therefore, inevitably a case arises when changes in demographics require construction of a school within the restricted range of a convicted child sex offender. We may feel no sympathy when an ex-convict is forced to sell his home because of it, but this practice is retroactive punishment.

Members of Congress have cleverly tried to sidestep the constitutionality of residency restrictions by inserting a clause specifying retroactive punishment into federal law. But in the traditional spirit of heavy-handed government, this attempt to steer around the spirit of the law is rather like solving racism with Jim Crow. Clever, but the wrong way to protect children.

Until now, the courts have been far too lax. In Doe v. Miller, the Eighth Circuit Court held that residency restrictions, as civil regulations designed to protect children, did not violate constitutional law. But that response barely addresses the argument.

Should society accept law that holds citizens in double jeopardy just because it does so explicitly? If a law, or clause, violates the Constitution, does it make it acceptable simply because a senator notes the unconstitutionality in the law itself? If so, of what value is the Bill of Rights at all?

In fact, residency restrictions are uniquely egregious violations of the ex post facto restriction. It is not only that they happen to fall afoul of the law; it is that they fly in the face of our law. Passing a law that mandates the flouting of the Constitution requires a special brand of legislative hubris.

So what can we do instead?

Society could fix the exact location of all future schools. But without infallible demographic predictions, legislators would find themselves building schools where they were not needed. No law can reasonably lay out exact future residency requirements; therefore no law can constitutionally impose residency restrictions.

Even if an offender is never actually forced to sell his home, democratic society cannot function when citizens are subject to arbitrary forced relocation.

There are other ways to protect our children; we might begin by increasing the number of police assigned to patrol near city schools. Such measures might be costly, but far less costly than violating due process.

We owe our Founding Fathers respect that transcends anger and haste.

C. Alexander Evans is a doctoral student in political philosophy at the City University of New York and an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College.


MI - Livingston County settles lawsuit with inmate

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Earlier Story Here

08/13/2008

HOWELL -- Livingston County's insurance company has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a convicted child rapist who accused guards of allowing other inmates to beat him up.

WHMI and the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus report the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Agency has reached a $190,000 settlement with 30-year-old Shaun Leary. The Pinckney man says jail officers told inmates in 2000 he was charged with raping a 9-year-old girl.

Inmates later beat Leary severely. He was treated at the hospital for facial and skull fractures.

Sheriff Bob Bezotte says authorities believed they could have prevailed in court but made a business decision to settle. The Michigan Department of Corrections has placed a hold on the funds to pay for Leary's incarceration.


Understanding The Cyberharassment Problem


Here are some FAQ's to help understand the cyberharassment problem.

InformationWeek
August 23, 2004 12:00 AM

It may be helpful if you understand more about cyberstalking and harassment before trying to address it. These are the most frequently asked questions we encounter at WiredSafety.org. We provide one-to-one help to cyberstalking and harassment victims in our WiredPatrol Cyberstalking and Harassment Division using our specially trained volunteers.

What is cyberstalking and what is cyberharassment?
Cyberstalking and cyberharassment are similar. Most people use them interchangeably, but there is a subtle distinction, typically relating to the perpetrator's intent and the original motivation for their behavior. While the two situations usually involve many of the same online tactics, cyberstalking is almost always characterized by the stalker relentlessly pursuing his or her victim online and is much more likely to include some form of offline attack, as well. This offline aspect makes it a more serious situation as it can easily lead to dangerous physical contact if the victim's location is known.

Why do people cyberstalk or cyberharass others?
Cyberstalkers are often driven by revenge, hate, anger, jealousy, obsession, and mental illness. While a cyberharasser may be motivated by some of these same feelings, often the harassment is driven by the desire to frighten or embarrass the harassment victim. Sometimes the harasser intends to teach the victim a lesson in netiquette or political correctness (from the harasser's point of view). Often the cyberharassment victim is merely in the wrong place at the wrong time, or has made a comment or expressed an opinion that the cyberharasser dislikes. We've even seen cases where the victim is being targeted because they're the first ones the cyberharasser encounters when they are in a "bad mood."

What do cyberstalkers or harassers do when they stalk or harass someone?
The harasser may post comments intended to cause distress to the victim, or make them the subject of harassment by others. They may send a constant stream of E-mails and instant messages to their victims or a victim's co-workers, friends, or family. They may pose as the victim and post offensive comments or send offensive messages in their name. They may send hateful or provocative communications to the victim's boss, family, or significant other (in their own name or posing as the victim). Often the victim's computer is hacked or their E-mail accounts are broken-into by the cyberstalker or harasser and taken over entirely, or the password is changed and the victim locked out of their own accounts. The victim may be signed up for spam, porn sites, and questionable offers.

Cyberstalkers or harassers frequently follow their victims into chat rooms and onto discussion boards, posting lies and hateful messages, or passing misinformation about the victim. They may create sexually explicit images, using the head of their victims attached to the bodies of porn actors. If they have real sexually explicit or nude images of their victims (usually from a failed romantic relationship between the stalker or harasser and the victim), they may create Web sites posting the images and advertising the site to friends and family of the victim, or supply them to commercial porn sites with amateur image sections for public display.

In the most dangerous type of cases, the cyberstalker posts the name, address, and telephone number of the victim online (exactly what Perverted-Justice does), often posing as them, and soliciting sexual activities on their behalf. In a California case, a man targeted a woman by posting her name and address online and soliciting group sex. The woman had never even used the computer before, but found herself facing angry, sexually frustrated men at her front door. Death threats are typical in a cyberstalking situation. In fact, there have been several well-publicized cases in the United States where victims were eventually murdered by their stalkers. Many of these began as cyberstalking situations.

If there's any indication that a cyberstalker or harasser knows where the victim lives, works, or how to find them offline, law enforcement must be contacted immediately to begin an active investigation into the circumstances of the situation. WiredSafety.org's law-enforcement division, CyberLawEnforcement.org , assists law enforcement in cyberstalking or harassment cases.

Is cyberstalking illegal? What about cyberharassment?
The laws tend to lump the two types of cybercrimes together. For the purposes of this guide, other than when there is a legal distinction, both cyberstalking and harassment are discussed under the heading cyberstalking. While at least 46 states in the United States have various types of cyberstalking or harassment laws on the books, there is no U.S. federal cyberstalking or harassment law (except when children under 16 are involved and being targeted for sexual harassment). Many Western European countries have cyberstalking or harassment laws, but they're the exception rather than the rule. Few Asian countries have cyberstalking or harassment laws.
- This needs to change!  Harassment and stalking should apply to everyone, regardless of who they are.

If I can't file criminal charges against the cyberstalker or harasser, what can I do to them?
Often the victims of cyberstalking and cyberharassment are limited to civil litigation (suing the stalker or harassment) or reporting the cyberstalker or harasser to their ISP and trying to get their accounts revoked, or Web sites shut down. (WiredSafety's WiredPatrol Cyberstalking and Harassment Team has been successful in having accounts revoked and Web sites shut down under these circumstances.)

What about cybertalking or harassment in the workplace?
Cyberstalking and harassment also frequently occur in the workplace, either because the perpetrator is unhappy with management or a fellow worker, or because they've been fired or not hired in the first place. Many cases occur when an employee feels they've been passed over for a promotion or raise, or denied a vacation, personal day, or other perk. We've also seen situations where a business or employees acting on its behalf (with or without approval) have targeted a competitor or its employees. These are typically treated as commercial crimes and are often the subject of litigation between the competitors. It may also become the basis for regulatory agency actions such as securities market regulators and trade or consumer commissions like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, or state consumer protection agencies in the United States.

Are there different types of cyberstalking or harassment situations?
There are three different kinds of cyberstalking situations:

  • Online cyberstalking and harassment that stays online;
  • Online harassment and stalking that ventures offline or encourages offline actions; and
  • Offline stalking or harassment that moves online.

It doesn't make any difference whether or not the victim has even used the Internet. The distinction between online and offline is dependent on the medium used by the perpetrator.

For example, online stalking or harassing is usually defined as "repeated, unsolicited contact by electronic means" with the intent to "terrify, intimidate, or harass" another. The medium in this instance can include computers, fax machines, telephones, etc. Offline stalking or harassment involves the same type of behavior, but in real life. This includes everything from repeatedly following a victim to actual physical contact between a stalker and his or her victim. Although each of the three situations above include some form of online attack, and can be terrifying for a victim, only those that have an offline component are physically dangerous. Note that the laws in your jurisdiction may only cover offline stalking and harassment, or those with an offline component.

What's the profile of a typical cyberstalking or harassment victim?
Cyberstalking occurs more often with women as the victim, although that's gradually changing. Our most recent surveys at WiredSafety.org disclose that men are being cyberstalked and harassed more frequently by women than ever before.

What can someone do to avoid becoming a victim of cyberstalking or harassment?
Typically, the cyberharasser feels empowered by the perceived anonymity online. They feel they can hide behind their monitor. But most people leave a trail of cyberbreadcrumbs behind them online. Learning how to read an E-mail header is a good place to start stripping your stalker or harasser of their perceived anonymity. (WiredSafety.org's classes include one on reading a header, which can be found at WiredEd .)

Ignoring the communications sent to you is the best first step to stopping most cyberstalking or harassment. Unless your situation involves a truly obsessed or depraved harasser, most will lose interest quickly if they don't get the reaction they seek. Our cyber-self-defense tips can help you avoid cyberstalking or harassment entirely and stop it before it gets out-of-hand. Flaming wars (where insults and verbal attacks are traded online) can often lead to cyberstalking and harassment. Flaming can get out of control quickly and often escalates into serious threats, offline and online.

Cyberstalking can have a substantial offline aspect, either by way of the victim and stalker working together, being romantically involved, or having prior or current communications of some kind. Some are intent on targeting victims of sexual abuse, cancer patients, and members of certain minority groups. Protecting your privacy is key to protecting yourself from credible offline threats.

Who is your typical cyberstalker?
Most cyberstalking victims know their stalkers in real life. They may be co-workers, former spouses, or frustrated suitors whose advances were ignored or rejected. They also could be fans or groupies, especially when a cyber-celebrity or well-known chat room or discussion board leader is involved. Cyberdating and online flirtations can be fertile grounds for cyberstalking, and are often a catalyst, especially when the relationship doesn't progress as anticipated by the stalker.

Sometimes, the current boyfriend, girlfriend, or ex-spouse of a victim's former partner will resort to cyberstalking if they believe that the victim is interfering with their new relationship. Radical religious sects and racial supremacy groups often use cyberstalking as a method for persecuting those that don't share their particular beliefs.

Money, politics, religious beliefs, revenge, hate, and romance are the most frequent motives for cyberstalking. In fact, any situation that evolved from an emotionally packed incident is likely to include an offline component that can pose a real physical danger.

Cyberstalkers with a special grudge against the victim may be extremely difficult to stop. Their anger, jealousy, and obsession may foil the common cyberstalking self-defense tips, and ignoring their contact may enflame them even more. No one should attempt to tackle a cyberstalker alone. The stakes are too high.

If you get the sense that the person may try to stalk you offline, call your local police immediately!


IL - Former police officer gets 440-year sentence for rapes

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08/13/2008

BLOOMINGTON (AP) - Jeff Pelo's (PEE'-lohs) wife says the former Bloomington, Illinois, police sergeant convicted of raping four women is her best friend.

Rickilee Pelo offered a four-page handwritten letter to the court before her husband was sentenced Tuesday.

In the letter, she called him, "the most loving, caring, responsible, respectable and most decent person" she's ever known.

Neither Rickilee Pelo nor the couple's three teenage children were in court for the sentencing. The oldest daughter, Shayla, appeared briefly in the hallway outside the courtroom but didn't enter.

Two victims and their families clapped as Jeff Pelo was sentenced to 440 years in prison.

He insists he is innocent.


The High Weirdness Project - Articles About Perverted-Justice

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