Thursday, October 23, 2008

GA - Rep Davis HB908 TV Address

TX - New Approach to Avoid Sex Offenders on Halloween

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Wow, a forced therapy session on Halloween, how stupid! What is they show up, but don't care to participate?  Again, this is ONLY for those on parole or probation!


Lubbock County is taking a new approach to preventing sex offenders from having contact with children while Trick-or-Treating.

Sex offenders on community or federal probation will spend Halloween night in a three hour long class.

"We're gonna have some presentations by our community partners with Mike Shipman with the LPD. He's going to be doing a program on sex offender registration and the city ordinance and then we're gonna have Dr. Shapiro with gateways counseling do a presentation for victim empathy. They're gonna watch a video and then have a discussion after the video is presented," says Sex Offender Unit Supervisor Jennifer Mora.

Failure to attend constitutes a probation violation.

Officers will be rounding up the no-shows.

AZ - Sex offenders under strict rules on Halloween

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Restrictions are for those who are on probation or parole only!


by Hanna Scott/KTAR

The Valley is joining cities and states across the country in laying down special rules for sex offenders this Halloween.

Registered sex offenders are always required to stay away from kids, but Mike Goss with the Maricopa County Probation Department said the rules are a little tougher on Halloween.

"They shouldn't participate in any Halloween activities involving children. They should not display decorations on the outside of their home or anything that would attract children to the home. And, obviously, they can't participate in any trick-or-treating activities."

Sex offenders are told to keep their outside lights off and not answer their doors. If they break the rules, it's a probation violation.

Goss said probation officers are doing something new this year.

"We are participating with the U.S. Marshal's office in "Operation Safe Treat" -- just ride around and make sure the offenders are doing what they're supposed to do."

Registered sex offenders are not allowed to go out on Halloween, unless it's for their mandatory counseling session.
- Wrong, it's for those on probation or parole only, not all sex offenders, like they are trying to say!

Goss said parents still should be involved in their children's activities.

"The advice wouild be for parents to accompany kids when they're out trick-or-treating. I don't think they need to be extra vigilant against sex offenders because I think we're doing the job for them."

NH - Mom seeks help for sex offenders: Wants state to help those released from prison adjust

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DURHAM — After spending more than seven years away from each other, Jackie Bennett and her 34-year-old son, Jonathan Perfetto, were reunited on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, this wasn't a joyful reunion between mother and son. Instead it was a reunion filled with anxiety and fear.

Perfetto is a sex offender who was released from State Prison in Berlin on Wednesday and his mother fears that he will re-offend now that he is free.

Bennett thinks her son can once again be a functional member of society under the right structure, which she says the state isn't providing.

"He's basically being released into the lion's den and because of that, I fear he will reoffend," Bennett said.

What Bennett would like to see is a tougher law that would keep non-violent sex offenders on a tighter leash upon their release from prison, making it less likely for them to re-offend. She proposes that all sex offenders be placed on electronic monitoring upon their release. She believes if they're constantly monitored it may be easier for them to find housing and deter them from doing it again.

In addition, Bennett thinks sex offenders should pay for the monitoring device, meaning they would have to hold down a job. They would also be required to stay in a sexual offender program.

Bennett contacted the state Legislature about the possibility of drafting a bill, but has been told to wait until after the election on Nov. 4 so she'll have a better idea about who could help her. Bennett has been in contact with Susan Duncan, a Senate aide, about her idea.

Duncan called Bennett's proposal an "interesting idea" and told her she should pursue it.
- She is going to make her son's life even more of a hell, and yeah, I'm sure the legislature is all up in arms over her plan to further their own plan of punishment and humiliation!

"I thought it was very interesting that a mother of a sex offender would consider this a good mechanism," Duncan said, noting that most relatives of sex offenders are in denial about their loved ones, while Bennett accepts it head-on.

Bennett also hopes to reach out to a group currently working on legislation proposing more structured housing for prisoners upon their release from prison, in hopes of getting this for sex offenders as well.

Perfetto's future is currently unclear and that scares Bennett. Perfetto spent Wednesday night at his mother's apartment and is scheduled to get on a bus today, with a ticket provided by the town's welfare office, and travel to Boston, where he will live at a shelter.

Bennett said the prison recommended the shelter in Boston because of the lack of housing for sex offenders in the state, but she has her doubts.

"Why are we passing the buck to another state. They (sex offenders) have a right to live," she said. "He (Perfetto) has a lot of anxiety about getting out because for sex offenders there's no shelters or places to go when you get out of prison."

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Perfetto said his stay at the shelter is expected to be temporary, while a counselor searches for housing for him in New Hampshire.

"I'm only going to be there temporarily," Perfetto said. "The problem is there's no shelters in the State of New Hampshire that will take a sex offender."

Perfetto was charged in 2000 with 50 counts of possession of child porn on the Internet after a friend discovered the images while borrowing Perfetto's laptop. He was sentenced to 71⁄2 years in prison.

Before his 2000 charges, Perfetto experienced a troubled past that included molesting the children of a family friend and was kicked out of group home for trying to assault a girl who was staying there, his mother said.

He was in and out of jail for those incidents and attempted to assault another girl when he was out of jail. He was on probation when he was arrested in 2000.

Bennett attributes her son's problems to him being a victim of sexual assault as a child, when a relative molested him. He was not living with her at the time and Bennett says she didn't know about it.

Perfetto, who said he is bipolar, swears he won't reoffend again.

"But I do need treatment because I didn't get treatment in prison," he admitted.
- You see, people almost never get help in prison, which is where they should be getting help, not once they are on the outside, that makes no sense whatsoever!

He said he was off his medication when he was arrested in 2000.

If Perfetto remains on his medication, gets treatment and is monitored, Bennett believes he can readjust to society. If not, she said she would be afraid.

"I'm concerned for the community as well as Jonathan," she said.

UT - Man kills himself inside Utah police station

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The picture (at the article above, and posted below) the reporter felt obligated to show on this news article about a sex offender, is about a murderer who murdered a cop, and the cops beat him so badly, in the court room, he has to wear this mask. This is more F'ing fear-monger, demonizing, etc. The actual video about the picture, is below.  Well, I thought this was an old case, but it turns out it's not.  There is a VERY similar article from Maine, see here.


By Ben Winslow - Deseret Moring News

OGDEN - A suspected sex offender shot and killed himself inside a restroom in the lobby of the police department here.

The 71-year-old man walked into the lobby about 8:16 a.m. Tuesday, police said, and sat down on a couch. An officer manning the front desk asked if he could help him.

"The officer asked if he needed assistance or needed to make a report. He said, 'No, I just need to catch my breath for a minute,' and then he got up and went into the restroom," Assistant Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt said during a news conference in the lobby on Tuesday.

A KSL-TV photographer who had been working in the area was also going into the restroom, police said, and the man asked him to get the police. The photographer went to the front desk and by the time they returned, the man had shot himself in the head with a .38-caliber handgun, Watt said.

A note was found on the man, who was a concealed weapons permit holder, police said.

"He didn't confess to anything in the note, he just left a note actually apologizing to the police department for the bother, in his words, but that he wanted to avoid a large response by the fire department and ambulance personnel," Watt said.

The man was a suspect in a sexual assault case involving a juvenile family member, police confirmed. He has no prior arrest record or other involvement with police.

"Other than this case, no," Ogden Police detective John Thomas said Tuesday.

When police contacted the man's family, they were not surprised by the suicide. They said he had recently indicated he may take his own life and had begun settling his affairs.

The doorway leading to the public restrooms in the lobby was closed on Tuesday, with yellow crime scene tape blocking off the men's room. A pair of police officers stood sentry outside.

NOTE: The following is the picture posted at the above article, and the video about that picture.

SC - South Congaree enacts limits for sex offenders

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South Congaree has become the third Lexington County town to adopt restrictions on where registered sex offenders may live.

As in the cities of Lexington and Cayce, offenders in South Congaree must live farther than 2,000 feet from schools, parks, day cares and other places where children congregate.

The law took effect Monday, but it does not force an offender already living inside the new boundaries to move. That provision mirrors ordinances in other towns as well as in a new state residency law that imposes up to a 30-day jail sentence and a $500 fine.

But an offender who moves must abide by the 2,000-foot standard in South Congaree, Cayce and Lexington.

South Congaree’s municipal limits form a circle 2.3 miles across. That means it is about 12,100 feet from one end of town to the other.

A 2,000-foot standard would greatly limit locations where offenders could live, but does not ban them outright, town administrator Melisha Shumpert said.

Convicted sex offenders are required by state law to report their addresses to police.

Critics of residency restrictions, which have been enacted in many states, counties and cities, say those laws will result in offenders deciding not to register.

As a criminal attorney, I can tell you that one of the things you don’t want is having sexual offenders going underground and you don’t know where they are,” said Rep. Todd Rutherford, a member of one of the legislative committees that wrote the law.

Irmo considered a residency restriction during the spring but did not enact its own after the state’s limitations took effect in mid June.

West Columbia City Council has not discussed its own law.

Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.

Making Punishments Fit the Most Offensive Crimes

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Societal Revulsion at Child-Pornography Consumers Has Led to Stiff Prison Sentences -- and Caused Some Judges to Rebel

Are people who download and view child pornography -- but aren't themselves molesters -- as much of a threat to society as rapists or murderers?

The question, being raised by federal judges in response to tough sentences meted out to consumers of child pornography, goes to society's view of repugnant behavior and the legislative response to it.

The average federal prison sentence for individuals who possess, receive or share child pornography jumped to roughly seven years in fiscal 2006 from about three years in 1994, according to Justice Department data. In federal cases, the mandatory minimum for downloading images is five years in prison without parole. Defendants who download particularly lewd images, possess a large number of images or share some of them with others often get sentences of 15 or even 20 years.

In Arizona, the minimum mandatory sentence for one count of possessing child pornography is 10 years. Several years ago, a former teacher with no prior criminal record who was convicted on 20 counts of possession was sentenced to 200 years in prison.

These acts alone are disgusting to most people. But not everyone buys into the idea that they warrant two decades or more in prison. Federal judges around the country are speaking out against what they view as harsh mandatory and recommended sentences, spurred by Congress in recent years.

The sentencing guidelines for child pornography crimes "do not appear to be based on any sort of [science] and the Court has been unable to locate any particular rationale for them beyond the general revulsion that is associated with child exploitation-related offenses," wrote Robert W. Pratt, a U.S. district judge in Des Moines, Iowa, in a case earlier this year. In that case, he gave a seven-year sentence to one defendant, even though the advisory guidelines called for a minimum of roughly 18 years.

Some judges and other critics of the sentences say they stem from lawmakers' exaggerated reactions to societal alarm over very real problems. The crack-cocaine epidemic of the mid-1980s led Congress to pass much tougher sentencing laws for possession of crack, dwarfing the sentences for possession of the cocaine powder from which crack is derived, says Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes an influential sentencing blog.

Last year the Supreme Court said it was permissible for federal judges, who had complained for years about the disparity in sentences for the two types of cocaine, to give "reasonably" shorter prison terms for crack.

Similarly, the critics argue, concern over sex offenders is being stoked by television shows like "To Catch a Predator," which followed authorities as they captured individuals attempting to have sex with undercover agents posing as minors, whom they met online.

In possession cases where there is no evidence that defendants sought to abuse minors, several judges are giving much lower sentences than the guidelines intend, which they are allowed to do if they believe the recommended punishment doesn't fit the crime. They cannot go below a mandatory minimum.

In sentencing a defendant in July to five years in prison rather than the minimum recommended sentence of eight years, William Griesback, a federal judge in Green Bay, Wis., wrote: "The fact that a person was stimulated by digital depictions of child pornography does not mean that he has or will in the future seek to assault a child."

Some judges are making even more noise. In April, Jack Weinstein, a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., threw out a conviction in a highly unusual manner. He made the argument that he himself had infringed on the defendant's constitutional rights by not informing the jury of the "harsh" five-year mandatory minimum sentence for receiving child pornography.

It is unclear whether most viewers of child pornography are likely to commit acts of physical abuse, some psychologists who treat sexual deviants say. Fred Berlin (Email), founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, says many of his patients have a "voyeuristic" interest in child pornography. "Absent any evidence that they have done something other than view child porn, I'm not prepared to conclude they are at a heightened risk of physically abusing a child," he says.

But Ernie Allen, who heads the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, argues the sentences are simply "catching up to reality." Hundreds of thousands of Americans currently possess illegal images and may be tempted to generate child pornography themselves -- by molesting children and taping the acts -- to gain acceptance in Internet groups whose members share images, he says.
- Well, you have a business, and an agenda, Dr. Berlin is an EXPERT in the field of sexual crimes, so I'd take his word over what you say, any day!

The Justice Department, which launched an initiative in 2006, argues that this heightened acceptance is leading to "an escalation in the severity of the abuse depicted" and has made child pornography prosecutions a priority. Many such prosecutions in the U.S. now occur in federal court.

In fiscal 2008, U.S. attorneys' offices brought 2,211 computer-based child exploitation cases, the vast majority against child pornography viewers, who mostly pleaded guilty. That was more than double the number five years earlier.

Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the Justice Department's child exploitation and obscenity section, says that even if they haven't committed child abuse, some individuals who view child pornography undoubtedly "pose a threat against children." Mr. Oosterbaan says the Internet has led to an explosion of new child pornography images and cites studies showing that viewing them may empower people to act on their sexual interest in children. There is no consensus on how many of the viewers will pursue physical abuse, Mr. Oosterbaan says, but "if your daughter's camp counselor is using child porn, common sense dictates there is a threat to your daughter."

This perspective, of a potential for danger, troubles Troy Stabenow, a public defender in Jefferson City, Mo., whose critique of child pornography sentences has been cited by judges. "You shouldn't punish someone for something they haven't done -- it's not American," he says.

He compares the long child pornography sentences with those given to online predators who drive hundreds of miles to engage in sex with minors they met in online chat groups. The mandatory minimum federal sentence for those offenders is 10 years, while receiving child porn carries a five-year mandatory sentence.But under the guidelines set by the U.S. Sentencing Commission -- a federal agency tasked with turning legislation into rules that guide judges on sentencing -- child pornography viewers often accumulate penalties, known as "enhancements," that magnify recommended sentences for individuals who use a computer, have a large number of images or possess images of prepubescent children, among other things. As a result, the recommended sentences for viewers can easily be higher than those for predators.

In 1990, Congress criminalized the possession of child pornography, and later passed legislation to significantly increase penalties for these offenses. In 1991, a person with no criminal history who possessed violent child pornography images and movies and shared them with others would face a maximum of two years in prison in federal cases. Today, that same person could face more than 20 years, Mr. Stabenow notes.

"Imprisonment of at least five years for this defendant is cruel," wrote Judge Weinstein, the Brooklyn judge who argued he had infringed on the defendant's rights himself, in his April opinion. "Few jurors or others would send a psychologically stunted man who: had suffered vicious sexual abuse as a child ... had established a home and family with a loving wife and children ... to prison for five years because he repaired to a locked room in his garage to watch child pornography received on his computer."

The Justice Department is appealing the judge's decision.

Write to Amir Efrati at