Friday, December 12, 2008
HELENA (AP) - The Montana Supreme Court says a convicted sex offender's due process rights were violated when the state Corrections Department classified him as a high-risk offender without giving him a chance to argue against the designation.
The department was following current law when it classified _____ as a Class 3 offender, considered the most likely to re-offend. The law gives the department administrative authority to make a classification if the trial judge has not done so at the time of sentencing.
But the Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling Thursday, said the defendant must be given a hearing to oppose the classification. A Class 3 offender must register with authorities every 90 days, while Class 1 and Class 2 offenders must do so only once a year.
Utahns looking at the state's online sex offender registry will soon have a tougher time learning about the type of victim targeted by an offender.
The Utah Supreme Court on Friday ruled the Department of Corrections must remove information published about the gender and age classification of an offender's victims under a "target" section on the registry web site. The justices said part of a state law requiring target information on the site violates an offender's right to due process, implying they are currently dangerous without providing a hearing for them to rebut the claims.
Friday's ruling stems from a 2005 criminal case involving _____' refusal to register as a sex offender after he was released from prison in 2002. He was convicted of not registering and later appealed on the grounds that the registration statute was unconstitutional.
The high court upheld the conviction and legal provisions requiring publication of prior convictions, current address, appearance and other similar information. But the justices also found a flaw in the target information.
"Even if the DOC derives the listed offender's primary target by reference to the offender's past victims, the label is troubling in that it implies that the offender is presently focused on repeating past crimes with similar victims," the court stated. "Anyone reading the registry would likely conclude that the offender's primary target is the DOC's prediction regarding the offender's next victim."
_____' profile lists "female" as the gender of his target victim and "juvenile" as the age classification.
A disclaimer on the sex registry states that posted information does not imply offenders will commit a specific crime in the future. However, "it intimates that the offenders will commit some kind of crime in the future," the high court ruled.
Prosecutor Laura Dupaix said Friday the ruling means the state will have to remove the target information from its Web site and may not post similar information unless the offender is given notice and allowed a hearing to rebut the claims. Since Utah does not offer such hearings the state will ultimately have to look at conducting them in the future or ask the legislature to tweak the statute, she said.
The Attorney General's Office and _____' lawyers have two weeks to file a petition for a rehearing in the case. If no appeals are filed, the ruling will be remitted back to the district court for enforcement, Dupaix said.
This may come as a surprise to some, but let it be known, while the national database of sex offenders does have a sort of “Big Brotherish” undertone, it is not to be used as a means for stalking and/or harassing these individuals. It is a system for allowing concerned members of the community to become aware of who is living in their neighborhoods. It is important to keep in mind however, that over 90% of those whose names appear on this list are not sexually violent and deranged predators as depicted on television shows such as CSI and Law and Order SVU. While some (statistically a small percentage) have committed heinous acts, their is a laundry list of offenses that upon conviction will result in one’s name becoming etched into the pages of the National Sex Offender Registry. While state legislatures are required to make members of the community aware that they will be prosecuted for offenses committed against registrants, currently, at least in the majority of jurisdictions, registrants are granted no greater protection than any non-registrant. This is concerning when one takes into consideration the fact that ANYONE can gain access to personal information of those listed on this registry, many of whom have committed only minor offenses. If your are someone who uses this database, please respect the rights of the men and women listed therein as you would any other member of your community, keeping in mind that the overwhelming majority of these men and women will never re-offend.
I have attached a link below that will take you to a branch of the Department of Justices’ website. It contains information pertaining to restrictions on use, and penalties for misuse, of personal information found on the national registry. This information can be found by searching under ”Conditions of Use” by scrolling down to view your state of interest.
By Linda Thomson - email@example.com
The Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday that a man who was found guilty of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl 22 years ago was properly convicted in a subsequent case for failing to register as a sex offender for two years after he got out of prison.
However, the high court agreed with the man that he has been denied procedural due process under the Utah law regarding registration that requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to identify the man's primary and secondary targets, which suggests he is still dangerous.
Steven Arthur Briggs was convicted of sexually abusing the child in 1986 and spent 15 years in prison. Prior to his release in 2002, Briggs would not sign paperwork to register as a sex offender.
He was later charged with failing to register as a sex offender between 2003 and 2005 and was convicted, which netted a two-year jail term.
Briggs then appealed his case and argued that Utah's sex offender registry unfairly labels all sex offenders as predators even when they have had no history of repeat crimes — which subjects them to such things as public humiliation, possible physical danger and discrimination in housing and employment. Briggs said publishing this information on the Internet-linked registry without a hearing before a judge to prove he is not a continuing danger who is likely to commit another similar crime violates Briggs' constitutional right to due process.
The Supreme Court rejected Briggs' claim that his constitutional rights would be violated if he is required to register without a judicial hearing and the information published included his address, how he looks and any prior convictions.
But the high court said the parts of Utah law that require publication of Briggs' primary and secondary targets — which suggests he remains a danger to the community — do violate his right to due process if it is done without providing him with a court hearing where he can show otherwise.
"However, we hold that the section (of the Utah law) requiring the DOC to publish Briggs' primary and secondary targets and thereby implying that he is currently dangerous violates his right to procedural due process unless he is given a hearing as to whether he is currently dangerous," the ruling states.
The Supreme Court reversed portions of a ruling by a trial court and sent that part of Briggs' case back to the lower court.
By Joe Crankshaw (Contact)
STUART — A 20-year-old Stuart man who spent four years in jail for the 2003 rape of a 15-year-old girl, was found not guilty during his retrial on the charges.
The six-member circuit jury unanimously found _____ not guilty of the rape for which he had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2004. The retrial was ordered by the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
The jury deliberated for about 1 ½ hours before delivering their verdict to Circuit Judge Steven Levin.
_____, standing with his lawyer Jerome Stone, took the verdict with a smile. The young woman in the case burst into tears and she and her family left the courtroom.
“He’s very happy,” said Stone after the trial ended. “He didn’t want to make too much fuss, because the judge had cautioned everyone not to create any disturbance.”
_____ was returned to the Martin County Jail and then later released.
_____ was convicted of sexual assault in 2004, but the Fourth District Court of Appeals overturned that conviction on the basis of a tape recording between the victim and a witness and ordered a new trial.
Stone said the second jury heard a controlled call made by investigators between the victim and _____. “In that call, which he did not know was being recorded, he always maintained his innocence. I think that had an effect on the jury.”
Prosecutor Linda Baldree told the jury that _____ and _____, then 18, took turns raping the girl at the pool area of a Stuart apartment complex during a party involving several youths, all of whom were drinking, in September 2003. _____ was sentenced to six years in prison, but has been released on probation as a sex offender.
Stone said _____ faces a difficult immediate future because of his four years behind bars. He is not a felon, Stone said, but he is coming out in difficult economic times and will have to find an employer who will give him a chance. He said _____ may go to North Carolina, where his family has moved.
It is thought that a man found stabbed to death in Wandsworth was a convicted child sex offender.
_____, 52, was found dead in his caravan at a business park on Riverside Road, Wandsworth, on Wednesday. There are reports that the man was lynched by a mob of vigilantes.
A post-mortem examination said the cause of death was multiple wounds to the head, neck and chest.
According to the Sun he also suffered wounds to his genitals. Police confirmed the victim had suffered "non-fatal injuries" to parts of his body and were "not discussing these further for operational reasons."
Was taken off the registrar
Police have made no arrests and do not know how many people may have been involved in the attack.
Sources indicate that the victim was a convicted sex offender who had just been taken off the offenders' register - it is believed he had been targeted by vigilantes in the past.
Det Chief Insp Nick Scola, leading the investigation, said:
"We're currently at an early stage in our inquiries and are keeping an open mind about the circumstances of this man's death."
He appealed for anyone in the area on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning to contact police.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to assist in man's defense
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has announced on Thursday that it is serving as a special consultant to the defense of Christopher Handley, an Iowa collector charged with the alleged possession of obscene manga. Handley faces up to 20 years in prison. Handley had received a package of seven manga that the Postal Inspector intercepted and determined to contain objectionable images. With a search warrant, the agents from the Postal Inspector's office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, Special Agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and officers from the Glenwood Police Department followed Handley home from the post office and seized his collection of over 1,200 manga volumes; hundreds of DVDs, VHS tapes, and laser discs; seven computers; and other materials. However, Handley is being charged for only part of his collection.
CBLDF's United Defense Group team, led by Eric Chase, has successfully petitioned District Judge Gritzner to drop some of Handley's charges and rule parts of a controversial law unconstitutional. Handley was initially charged under the United States Code, which was amended by section 504 of the PROTECT Act to prohibit distribution or possession of "a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting," that —
• ‘(1)(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and
• ’(B) is obscene; or
• '(2)(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and
• '(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;
Gritzner ruled that the last two clauses were unconstitutional as they restricted protected speech. Handley still faces charges under the obscenity clause, if the court determines that the material meets the Supreme Court's Miller Test. The Miller Test dictates that material is only obscene if a jury determines that it meets all of the following three criteria:
- whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest
- whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law
- whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein notes, "In the past, CBLDF has had to defend the First Amendment rights of retailers and artists, but never before have we experienced the Federal Government attempting to strip a citizen of his freedom because he owned comic books."
Update: In July, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa posted the ruling that struck down some of charges against Handley. Handley was originally charged on May 8, 2007. Thanks, hikaru004.
Update 2: According to CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein, the start of this case has now been pushed back to February 2, 2009. Thank you Carl Horn for this information. Eric Chase, the lead defense lawyer on the case, provided a few more details about the manga in question in November, while award-winning comic book writer and Princess Mononoke adapter Neil Gaiman voiced his support for the defense.
This is no doubt child abuse, but does Fox News think they are the world police, and above the law? They are thinking about sending the man who leaked the video to prison for 15 years, and not the man in the video. Also, what about Fox News? They are doing the same thing as the leaker did. So what gives?
Murdered in cold blood, even before going to court to see if he is actually guilty or not.
By Ian Herbert, Northern Correspondent
An accused paedophile killed himself days after a vigilante mob attacked his house and forced him to flee with his family. _____, aged 54, was named in a 100-word local newspaper report detailing his appearance before magistrates on seven charges of indecently assaulting young girls.
Soon after, a mob of 70 men attacked his semi-detached council house in Oldham, Greater Manchester, and threatened to firebomb it. The _____ left under police guard.
Last Sunday, the day before he was to face two further charges, Mr _____ died from an overdose of tablets. His solicitor, Milton Firman, said Mr _____ had been "literally scared to death". As he lay dying in hospital he told his wife: "I did it to protect you".
Mr _____ had no previous convictions and his name had not appeared in the News of the World. A friend of the family said: "No one is condoning what he did. It was wrong, but his [family] are not the ones to suffer and blame. This man was their husband, father and grandfather and he never did anything to cause them concern."
- My lord, even the family friend has convicted him, before even going to court!
But one father in Mr _____'s street said yesterday: "We have a right to know who lives in our street so we can protect our children. This man knew the possible consequences when he did these horrible things. As parents we could not stand back and do nothing."
- Protect your kids by murdering someone? He has not even been to court to prove he is guilty, yet everyone is assuming he is guilty! So much for innocent until proven guilty! Next we'll have neighbor accusing each other of being a pedophile, and killing each other, over hearsay! Well, that is already occurring, apparently!
Two weeks ago, in the same area of Greater Manchester, _____, a 49-year-old with three children, who has viral meningitis and a spinal disorder, was attacked by locals mistaking him for a paedophile.
In Anglesey, a 34-year-old man has been forced to flee the village of Llanerchymedd, though he had not been listed by the News of the World. A police investigation into claims that he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl has not led to charges.
Yesterday, a convicted paedophile named by the News of the World challenged the paper's research. _____, 50, an electrician and former care worker in Congleton who was jailed for four years in 1995 for sexual assaults at a children's home in Cheshire, is appealing against his convictions. He said: "With all the high-risk offenders in Cheshire the odds were against me ever appearing in the News of the World ... and [my] case is under appeal. I was released early by the Home Office because I am so low risk. The paper listed me as being part of a paedophile ring and the police disproved this.
"They said it never existed. The News of the World never researched or picked up on my appeal."
- The media is what creates and perpetuates these hysteria's. The WITCH HUNT begins, apparently! And you never see it on national TV either. I wonder why?
Murdered in cold blood, even before going to court to see if he is actually guilty or not.
A suspected paedophile awaiting trial for indecency offenses against two young boys has been found battered to death in his own home.
_____ was dead at his home in the Kirkholt area of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Friday evening.
The 64-year-old was due to appear before Manchester Crown Court next month charged with 10 indecency offences. He was pleading not guilty.
Post mortem tests revealed he died from massive head injuries, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said.
He said it was too early to know whether Mr _____'s murder is linked to the trial.
The indecency offences were alleged to have taken place in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The spokesman said: "We have to remain open-minded as to the reasons behind his death at this early stage."
Detectives are appealing for information.
Sentencing is delayed for a former Atlantic Beach cop who says he's fighting an addiction to child pornography.
26-year-old Christopher Crews walked from a Duval County courtroom on Thursday with his fate still unknown for storing and sharing 19 sexual images of young children on his home computer. Crews was arrested in November 2007 when a Brevard County investigator found the images of boys and girls between the ages of two and nine.
The former cop was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, but that's being delayed because of the judge's concerns for Crews' well-being. Judge Charles Arnold wonders how safe a former cop would be behind bars with other, more violent criminals - fearing they may target Crews because he was an officer.
- Of course they will, and why sex offenders should be segregated from normal prisoners. But it's funny when it's the average Joe, this is never considered, but when it's a cop?
Crews could spend between ten years to life in prison, but Arnold is delaying Crews' sentencing until December 29th. He wants to hear about special accomodations that would be made at the prison for a former officer and if it would be legally possible to allow Crews to serve a prison sentence that's shorter than the minimum ten years.
Crews was sworn into the Atlantic Beach Police Department in December 2003.
There is a video here
How come when a person is arrested for a sex crime, it's all over the news, but when one is killed in cold blood, like this one and the many others, you hardly see anything on it? Keep it up folks, you will help us repeal these laws, because you cannot handle the information in a civilized manner.
A murder hunt is under way after a former child sex offender was found brutally stabbed to death.
The victim, thought to be _____, 52, who had been convicted of raping a schoolgirl, died from multiple knife wounds to the head, neck and chest.
He also suffered ‘non-fatal injuries’, according to the police, which was said to include damage to his genitals.
The truck driver was found in blood in his caravan where he worked at the Riverside Haulage company in Wandsworth, South West London.
The Metropolitan Police said the gruesome discovery was made at 8am on Wednesday.
_____’s employer, who would not give his name, found the body and said there was no sign of forced entry.
He added: 'He had a stab wound in his neck and there was blood everywhere. The bed was soaked with it and his head was lying in it.'
‘The post-mortem revealed non-fatal injuries to other parts of his body but we are not discussing these further for operational reasons,’ a police spokesman said.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola, leading the investigation, said: ‘We’re currently at an early stage in our inquiries and are keeping an open mind about the circumstances of this man’s death.
‘I would ask anyone who was in the area last night or in the early hours of this morning and saw or heard anything suspicious to get in touch with us.’
_____ had been targeted by hate mobs who had yelled ‘Die, paedo, die’ at him, according to The Sun.
A police source told the paper: ‘He was loathed by a large number of people so we have a lot of potential suspects.’
_____, a father of five estranged from a former partner, spent four months in prison in 2001 for raping a schoolgirl under 13.
He was arrested again in 2003 but no charges were pressed.
Soon afterwards vigilantes set fire to his former home in a Wandsworth street after it was claimed he was grooming children.
And drinkers at a pub recently accused him of fondling a barmaid’s two-year-old daughter.
The police source said his murder was ‘almost certainly connected to new offences rather than those that took place in 2001’.
- This is just speculation, and the police should not speculate about stuff like this. If it's been proven in court, that is a different story.
Detectives, who believe more than one person was involved in the killing, reportedly had to identify him using fingerprints because none of his relatives would go to the morgue.
Officers are studying CCTV film from around the murder scene. And they appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Incident Room on 020 8721 4138 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
View the article here
Cops almost always get slapped on the wrist, as in this case.
By Gary White - THE LEDGER
BARTOW - A former Polk County Jail detention deputy will serve no further time for having sex with an inmate.
Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen adjudicated Donald Kurns Jr. guilty Thursday morning and sentenced him to five years of probation. Prosecutor Brad Copley had sought a three-year prison sentence.
Kurns, 40, also must surrender his law-enforcement certification. The crime does not require him to register as a sex offender.
Kurns was arrested May 2 on charges that he had a one-time sexual encounter with a 30-year-old female inmate in a bathroom at the Polk County Jail. He resigned in May after 14 years as a detention deputy.
Prosecutors originally charged Kurns with sexual battery, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Kurns accepted a plea deal in October, pleading no contest to a reduced charge of sexual misconduct, a third-degree felony.
Jacobsen could have sentenced Kurns to as much as five years in prison.
The sexual incident occurred in April, according to an arrest report. Kurns told investigators that the sex was consensual, the report said, but the inmate said she felt pressured to have sex in order to retain "trusty" status. That status, available to inmates charged with misdemeanors who exhibit good behavior, can lead to early release.
Even consensual sex with an inmate would violate Polk County Sheriff's Office guidelines.