Wednesday, February 18, 2009
By Helen Clarke - Herald Times Reporter
Committee asks for stronger notification requirements
MANITOWOC — A proposal to keep convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of areas frequented by children in the city of Manitowoc was knocked down tonight by the Public Property and Safety Committee of the City Council.
Committee members voted 4-1 to halt the creation of the ordinance, which would have kept offenders from residing near churches, schools, licensed child care centers, trails and parks. Maps drafted by the city showed that nearly all of Manitowoc would be off-limits to sex offenders with the 2,000-foot setback.
“There is no proof that we’re keeping our kids any safer by doing this,” Alderman Dave Soeldner said of the proposed ordinance. “There is some indication we may be endangering our kids more.”
Alderman Jim Brey cast the lone vote in support of creating the ordinance, while Soeldner and fellow aldermen Rick Sieracki, Eric Sitkiewitz and Tom Frieder voted in opposition. Had the proposal passed, an ordinance would have been drafted and sent on to the full Council for approval.
“I can’t believe anyone would vote for this,” Sieracki said. “All the groups have said the same thing — it’s a bad idea. If we’re creating safe zones, then we’re creating danger zones. Our energy would be better spent on promoting safe behaviors.”
- Am I dreaming? I cannot believe I am hearing this, finally! Finally someone thinking with their head instead of emotions!
Sitkiewitz, chairman of the committee, said he instead would like the city to work on an ordinance with stronger notification requirements for residents when a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
“Having a bubble around your neighborhood doesn’t make it safe,” Sitkiewitz said. “I’m more concerned about notification and communication.”
But after the meeting, Alderman Ray Geigel said he was upset with the committee’s decision and intended to bring an amended version of the residency restriction ordinance to the Committee of the Whole on his own. That would give all 10 aldermen and the mayor a chance to vote on whether the ordinance should be considered further.
- Just another politician trying to make a name for themselves, by using sex offender issues!
“Letting the ordinance die in committee like that was disappointing,” Geigel said. “I don’t know what everybody’s afraid of.”
- Maybe because it's unconstitutional, and would force all offenders into homelessness! Why do you continue to grandstand, instead of making constitutional laws? You are not thinking with your brain, but with emotions and to make yourself look better in the public's eye, IMO.
He said he plans to tweak some aspects of the ordinance in hopes it will gain more support.
“People are still gonna do bad things, whether you like it or not, and whether this is gonna help or not, I don’t know,” Geigel said. “But it’s a step toward helping. If it keeps one child from being offended, it’s worth its weight in gold.”
- Yes, people will do bad things, even if this bubble was 50 miles wide, anyone intent on committing a crime, will do so, so this is protecting nobody, but just making you look and feel better. And I am so sick and tired of hearing "if it saves one child, it's worth it!" Meanwhile, if it punishes and tortures millions of people, you are ok with it? And that includes the offender and their families, which you seem to think they do not matter, because you want to look good to the sheeple!
Officials at the meeting, however, said the belief that a residency restriction will make the community safer is a fallacy.
- Amen! Like I said, a 50 or 100 mile zone would not protect anyone, just make it "seem" like they were protected.
“Sex offenders live amongst us — they always have, and they always will,” Manitowoc County District Attorney Mark Rohrer said. “I don’t think (a residency restriction) is a good idea.”
Rohrer said most sexual offenses take place between people who know each other, and that often means they’re occurring inside homes.
- Thank God, finally people thinking for once!
“The majority isn’t circled by this (ordinance),” Sitkiewitz said. “Any ordinance that we draw will not exclude people from being friends.”
- But it will push them into homelessness, and basically forced exile from friends, family, therapy, and jobs!
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Anyone convicted of flashing their private parts three or more times would land themselves on the state's sex offender registry under a bill the Utah House has approved.
- Why not once?
Rep. Paul Ray (Email), R-Clinton, says his bill is intended to make parents aware that someone might have a problem. Originally, his bill would have placed anyone convicted of the offense only one time on the registry. Ray says it's not his intent to punish someone who makes a mistake and pulls a juvenile prank.
- Juvenile prank? Anybody flashing themselves, even the women at Mardi Gras or Spring Break, should be charged and put on the registry, IMO.
His bill would also place someone convicted of sexual battery on the registry.
- Did you really need this? I thought there was already a bill for this. Guess not!
House Bill 136 passed 66-2 in the House on Wednesday. It will now be debated in the Senate.
- I can see we will have a lot more people on the registry soon.
On the Net: http://le.utah.gov/~2009/htmdoc/hbillhtm/hb0136.htm
View the article here
Updated article (05/14/2009)
A former police officer has been charged in a case involving child pornography. Charles Staso was arrested today on three counts of sexual abuse of children. Until his resignation yesterday, Staso had served as a sergeant for the Colebrookdale Township Police Department near Boyertown. State Police say they found pornographic video and pictures on Staso's home computer. He's now free on $50,000 bail. "I first learned of the investigation by PA State Police on January 16, 2009," said Chief Christopher Schott, in a written statement.
"Police officers are and have to be held to a higher standard in conducting their everyday affairs. They cannot be doing drugs, stealing or committing other crimes that we investigate and prosecute people for."
- Amen! And are you going to hold them to that standard? Probably not!
"This sort of thing puts a black mark on law enforcement, particularly Colebrookdale Township. The public should be able to trust its police officers and law enforcement personnel. As in other professions, there are a small percentage of police officers that participate in criminal activity. I ask that not all police officers be judged by the actions of a few.
- Why not? Everyone judges all sex offenders based on the actions of a few!
"The department has been shocked by these happenings. One never knows what goes on in the privacy of another person's home. There is a good group of people working in this department that are doing their jobs in a professional manner. Colebrookdale Township Police Department will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Colebrookdale Township and the Borough of Bechtelsville."
A group of House Republicans filed a brief Wednesday challenging a federal District Court's ruling that a 30-year mandatory minimum prison sentence was a cruel and unusual punishment for a man convicted of crossing state lines to have sex with a minor.
That automatic mandatory minimum prison sentence was included in the Adam Walsh Act passed by Congress to combat child sex abuse. But in September 2008, Judge Beverly B. Martin of the Northern District of Georgia ruled that penalty was unconstitutional as applied to Kelly Farley, a 39-year-old Texas man convicted of making plans to molest a 10-year-old girl.
In the brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the GOP lawmakers say they "are particularly concerned with the lack of respect and improper deference afforded to Congress by the district court in the case" and suggest the lower court's ruling "threatens to abridge Congress' authority to impose punishment that it deems appropriate to the corresponding offense."
The brief was signed by seven Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee as well as Mike Pence, a former committee member who is now the chairman of the Republican Conference, and Eric Cantor, the Minority Whip.
This was not the first provision of the Adam Walsh Act that's been knocked down by a federal judge. Last year, a District Court judge in Florida ruled the federally-mandated sex offender registry database was an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause.
Read the Republican lawmakers' brief here: U S v Farley Amicus Brief.pdf
Another article with video
Politics as usual. Election time, bust out the sex offender (scapegoat) issues. This is why I hate politics. Exploit someone or something for political gain, without any remorse to how the offender, husband/wife or child may feel, just so you can get elected. Riding the backs of sex offenders for votes!
Brown, Vokal Claim Dirty Politics
Omaha’s police union continues to get involved in the upcoming city elections.
For the second time in a week, the union has sent out a mailing dealing with sex offenders.
The mailing, which has the pictures of 15 sex offenders on it, criticizes city council members Jim Vokal and Frank Brown for their votes on how police monitor sex offenders.
Vokal is running for mayor, while Brown is running for re-election to his council seat.
Both candidates said the mailings are a nasty attack on their campaigns.
“This was an ill-conceived, not very well calculated effort for negative attacks against the only mayoral candidate that comes out with a (police) pension plan to rein in benefits,” Vokal said.
Brown agreed with Vokal and said, “The timing is really suspicious. This happened three years ago, now all of a sudden I’m in a campaign and they’re trying to bring this up.”
- I'm sure this jerk will be running for something soon!
“Every single one of these (sex offenders’) faces represents a victim in the past and potentially in the future,” Hanson said.
- Once again, someone spreading lies. Not all sex offenders had a victim, some were arrested for urinating on the side of the road, and some are even innocent, but labeled due to a divorce dispute, etc.
The flier said the 15 sex offenders are in hiding. But, KETV NewsWatch 7 was able to locate five of them.
- So why don't you and the other jerk cops get off your butts, quit eating donuts, and go find them. DO YOUR JOB AND STOP PASSING THE BLAME TO SOMEONE ELSE!
_____ has been in federal custody since October. _____, is currently in the Nebraska state prison system. _____ and _____ are in the Douglas County jail.
- So you see, police cannot even find people in their own system! Yet they are quick to blame someone else. Yep, politics as usual!
The fifth man, _____, was arrested Feb. 5, the day the fliers were printed.
- So you see, five of the so called 15 missing, are NOT missing, they are in jail or prison!
John Nimmer, _____’s attorney, said _____ had no intention of evading the law.
“Maybe they should have checked each one (sex offender) before they put his name on a flier and mailed it out,” Nimmer said.
- But then they could not exploit sex offenders for their own selfish needs!
But Hanson said they did that. He said all the convicted sex offenders were checked out before the mailing was printed.
- Well apparently you did not do a very good job, and apparently the News should be doing the police work!
Hanson said the mailings are all part of the election process and the union is getting out the voting records of those running for office.
But Vokal and Brown think Omahans expect more.
“People are disgusted that they go to their mailbox and see this kind of negative attack in Omaha,” Vokal said.
Citizens for Change - America
By Natalie O'Neill
Will the state help with the growing sex offender colony under the Julia Tuttle Causeway?
Miami's colony of sex offenders is a lot like a big, stubborn pimple on the nose of the city: Nobody likes it, yet it just keeps growing.
So it's no surprise that after nearly two years of policymakers ignoring the problem, it has gotten uglier. The number of men living in a state-sanctioned tent settlement under the Julia Tuttle Causeway has more than doubled to 40 since New Times first broke the story in March 2007.
In response, Miami city commissioners passed some better-late-than-never legislation last week, designed to put pressure on the governor's office.
To sum up the good-intentioned, if somewhat toothless, resolution: The city will ask the state to form a task force to study and solve the public-safety-meets-human-rights nightmare. The group will consist of law enforcement officers, researchers, lawmakers, and social justice advocates.
"Until we put the governor on the spot, he will do nothing," Commissioner Marc Sarnoff told a late-morning city hall crowd of about 20. "Until you put a politician on the spot, he will do nothing."
In the audience, a slim fellow with a cleanly shaved head nodded and gave an ironic little smirk. A poised, well-dressed woman from the ACLU scribbled something onto a notebook. And Commissioner Tomas Regalado took a call on his cell phone.
Afterward, Miami Police Chief John Timoney complained the encampment has "caused a great deal of strain on police recourses."
On a recent visit to the bridge, Riptide counted 15 tents, three mobile homes, two shanties, and a van crammed under the causeway. That didn't include men who have spread out into nearby bushes to get some privacy.
Residents seem collectively unconvinced the city's new motion will do much. They have watched the elderly, the clinically insane, and the tremendously violent set up camp and flee the close quarters over the past two years.
Says 31-year-old Juan Martin, who was convicted of exposing himself to a teenage girl: "Come on — nothing ever changes. I'm gonna be under here for the rest of my natural motherf_____g life."
Related article here
By Ruth Liao - Statesman Journal
An ex-Salem police officer convicted of sex abuse was found not guilty Tuesday of failing to re-register as a sex offender.
Sterling Van Ness Alexander, 41, was found in violation of his probation.
Alexander, 41, was accused of failing to register as a sex offender after he did not re-register with law enforcement on his birthday last July.
Alexander, a former Salem police officer, was convicted in October 2007 of second-degree sexual abuse. A jury convicted Alexander of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl he met on duty in 2003.
Alexander served about 60 days in the Marion County work center and was placed on five years of probation.
In September, Alexander was cited for failing to register as a sex offender. Under Oregon law, sex offenders are required to register within 10 days of their release from jail or prison, within 10 days of their birthday and within 10 days of changing residences.
Alexander's attorney, Kevin Lafky, said Alexander was in compliance with his probation and thought he had fulfilled his registration requirement when he registered upon release from the work center.
Authorities were notified that Alexander failed to register when a Linn County jail sergeant called the Marion County parole and probation office in late July.
Alexander went to the jail to visit former Silverton police officer Tony Gonzalez, Bureta said. Gonzalez was then awaiting sex-abuse charges amid a separate fatal officer-involved shooting investigation of a 20-year-old Irish citizen Andrew Hanlon.
When the jail sergeant ran Alexander's name through the criminal database, he found that Alexander was not in compliance and called parole and probation officials, Deputy Sophie Polonsky testified.
The state's evidence included three forms that Alexander signed, stating that he understood the sex offender registration compliance laws, said Marion County Deputy District Attorney Jodie Bureta.
Alexander also should have understood the laws based on his experience as a police officer in having contact with registered sex offenders and issuing citations if they were out of compliance, Bureta said.
On Tuesday, Marion County Circuit Judge John Wilson ruled that Alexander was not guilty of failing to register as a sex offender, because it did not appear Alexander knowingly failed to register. But Wilson did find that Alexander was in violation of his probation for not complying with the parole and probation office guidelines. Alexander was ordered to continue with his probation.
- Yeah, try that on the average citizen!
Bureta recommended that Alexander do an additional 80 hours of community service, but Judge Wilson did not follow that recommendation.
"I think it's sad that we're not holding a police officer and a sex offender more accountable," she said.
By PATRICIA DOXSEY - Freeman staff
KINGSTON — Acting on the recommendation of the county attorney, Ulster County Legislature Chairman David Donaldson has pulled the plug on an effort to restrict where in the county registered sex offenders may live.
During a meeting last week, Donaldson, D-Kingston, ruled out of order a resolution to schedule a public hearing on a proposed local law to prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day-care center. He said a ruling in Rockland County that an almost identical law there is unconstitutional calls into question the legitimacy of Ulster’s proposed law.
“When we compared what their law was against what was being proposed, it was determined that our law would likewise be declared unconstitutional under the same facts and circumstances as in Rockland County,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson added that county law-enforcement and mental health officials have said such a law would be impossible to enforce and could be counterproductive because it could force sex offenders to choose not to register, making it impossible to monitor their movements.
But Legislature Minority Leader Glenn Noonan, who for the past several years has been pushing for such residency rules, blasted Donaldson’s decision, saying it was done to avoid voting against a measure that probably would have great community support (Just because something has a large public support, doesn't mean it's constitutional and right!).
“The Democrats did not want to vote on it,” said Noonan, R-Gardiner. “They believe in the ‘hug-a-thug’ theory of the state Assembly.” (Yeah, typical attack!)
Noonan introduced the latest version of the sex offender residency law in early January after receiving complaints from people that a Level 3 sex offender had been moved to a Kerhonkson motel by the Rockland County Department of Social Services (They got to live somewhere!).
The offender, _____, had been living in Rockland but was forced to move when that county adopted a law prohibiting sex offenders from living near elementary schools (Show many any study, which says that a sex offender living near a school, day care or park, causes more sex crimes? It has nothing to do with it, NONE!).
In a court decision dated Jan. 22, state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly struck down the Rockland County law, saying it “impermissibly conflicts with the state enactments.” The lawsuit was brought by a sex offender who is an orthodox Jew and said he must live within walking distance of a synagogue.
Similar laws have been adopted elsewhere in the state, but many of those — including laws in Albany, Washington and Rensselaer counties — now are facing court challenges (And they will continue to face challenges, until you pass constitutional laws, which do not stomp on peoples rights!).
“’Not in my back yard’ residency restrictions are spreading unchecked through county, town and village ordinance books,” Kelly wrote. “Even without vigorous enforcement, the ordinances interfere with parole and probation officers’ efforts to find suitable housing for offenders.” (If not in your backyard, then who's?)
Currently, New York state law prohibits Level 3 (high-risk) sex offenders and offenders whose victims were under 18 and who are on parole or probation from living or going near “any school grounds … or any other facility or institution primarily used for the care or treatment of persons under the age of 18 while one or more … are present.” (So going near these zones, I can understand, but not being able to live XXXX feet near them, does nothing, except FORCED EXILE!)
According to the state Sex Offender Registry, there are 118 Level 2 and Level 3 registered sex offenders living in Ulster County. (So why don't you break that down further, how many are level 3? Hell, it doesn't even matter, studies show the residency restrictions has nothing to do with preventing crime or reducing recidivism. Only prevention and therapy will do that, yet you continue to ignore this aspect, why?)
What is Pro Bono?
By Edward A. Adams
More lawyers are donating more time to representing the poor for free, a study by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service has found. The report was issued today at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Boston.
The study found that 73 percent of attorneys provided some pro bono representation to persons of limited means, or organizations that represent such people, during the prior year. That’s up from 66 percent in a 2005 study conducted by the group.
Attorneys provided an average of 41 hours of pro bono work over the past year, up from 39 hours in 2005.
The study was based on interviews with a representative sample of 1,100 lawyers nationwide conducted in 2008. It has a statistical accuracy of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The study found that 81 percent of lawyers in private practice provide some pro bono services, compared to just 43 percent of corporate counsel and 30 percent of lawyers working for government.
Approximately 84 percent of solo practitioners and lawyers in firms of 2 to 10 attorneys reported doing pro bono, compared to 76 percent of lawyers in firms of 101 or more lawyers. More minority lawyers in private practice volunteered their time (90 percent) than did white lawyers in law firms (80 percent).
The committee is encouraging legal groups nationwide to honor lawyers who donate pro bono time. The National Pro Bono Celebration is scheduled for Oct. 25-31.
By Mark Bowes
The former police chief of Defense Supply Center Richmond has been charged with assaulting a mentally handicapped cleaning woman while he was working at the base as its physical security manager.
Otis Lacy, 56, was charged by federal authorities Jan. 22 with assaulting a woman employed to do janitorial work at the center through a program with the Greater Richmond ARC, a nonprofit agency that helps people with developmental disabilities.
Lacy is accused of improperly touching the woman, 41, on May 2. The charge is listed as a misdemeanor.
Contacted Monday by phone, Lacy said he wasn't at liberty to talk about the case. His attorney, Jay Levit, also declined to comment.
Lacy served as base police chief from October 2003 to March 20, 2008, when he was placed in charge of managing all aspects of the physical security program for the 600-acre military installation off Jefferson Davis Highway in Chesterfield County, center spokeswoman Debra R. Bingham said.
Bingham said the physical security programs for which Lacy was responsible included the base's monitoring equipment, barriers, electronic-detection devices and personnel-access controls. He also was responsible for policy, regulatory guidance and planning within that unit.
Lacy retired Dec. 31 after 31 years of government service, she said.
Bingham said Lacy's transfer from chief to physical security manager was a lateral move; she declined to say why he was transferred, citing personnel privacy concerns.
As police chief, he led a department of about 40 officers. Lacy supervised no employees as security manager, which is classified as a nonsupervisory position, said center spokesman Will Daniel.
According to the one-page federal criminal complaint, Lacy "touched [the victim] on her buttocks without permission."
Court records show that Lacy was to have entered a plea on Feb. 9 and sentenced that same day, but the hearing was continued until next Monday.
The woman said in an interview this week that the incident occurred in the DSCR police station May 2 at about 9:30 a.m. as she was standing inside a janitorial closet putting water in a mop bucket. The woman said she shoved Lacy away after the assault, and then immediately reported the incident to her crew leader, and later to the janitorial supervisor.
An ARC human resources officer interviewed her the next day, she said.
She is one of about 70 mentally and physically handicapped employees who work at DSCR under federal contract with ARC. ARC spokesman Doug Payne said strict confidentiality rules prohibited him from discussing information about any worker or even confirming their employment.
The charge against Lacy came within days of the arrests of two other Richmond-area law-enforcement officials accused of sex-related crimes.
On Jan. 26, Virginia State Police Capt. Edward L. Hope Jr. was arrested on a charge of forcibly sodomizing a girl over three years beginning when she was 8. He since has retired from the department, effective Feb. 1. His preliminary hearing has been set for March 24, but Chesterfield prosecutors say they plan to seek additional charges against him when the grand jury meets March 16.
On Jan. 28, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief Willie B. Fuller was arrested on a charge of using a home computer to solicit a chat-room contact he believed was a 14-year-old girl. The "girl" was a Chesterfield police detective. Fuller's preliminary hearing is set for April 2. He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case.
Rights balancing is a tricky business, and sometimes it’s just easier to look the other way. That’s what happened when a Boston court sentenced _____ to civil detention last week as a sexually dangerous person. In this case, the court pulled a trick straight from “Minority Report” and locked up _____, an ex-felon, to prevent him from committing future offenses.
For starters, the civil detention of past criminals comes eerily close to a double jeopardy violation because the state is inferring future crimes from past behavior. In essence, a person goes to jail for a crime, gets released and gets sent to a high-security civil detention center. The only reason it’s not legally double jeopardy is that it’s a civil rather than a criminal sanction, but that distinction is dubious at best. Whether they are in a prison or a detention center, the people in question are still behind bars.
In most cases, the state is merely using the guise of civil detention to unethically tack on years to a sentence beyond what the initial criminal court had determined fair. In particular, this toys with the idea that there is a just punishment for each crime. If, as a society, we feel that sex offenders are not serving enough time in prison, we should raise sentences, but instead we are looking for back doors.
The simple fact is that we do not lock sex offenders up for life, and there’s probably a good reason for that. As hard as it is to come to terms with when staring evil in the eyes, we are a society that fundamentally believes in the idea of just desert (we were). We believe that prisoners pay their debt to society and then start again with a clean slate (we did). That’s what helps us cope with crimes and believe that human beings, no matter what they’ve done in the past, are capable of redemption. It’s also why our prison system has so long incorporated the idea of rehabilitation (rehabilitation? Yeah right!).
Nevertheless, society has given up on sex offenders, deeming them incapable of recovery. While _____ was the first person sentenced to civil commitment under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, thousands have been put in civil detention facilities since the 1997 Supreme Court decision in Kansas v. Hendricks, which allows for the indefinite civil incarceration of sex offenders.
The purpose of these detentions is nominally to rehabilitate mentally ill sex offenders (which they don't, nobody has gotten out yet, it's just prison outside of prison). But the problem is that these ex-prisoners are being detained because the state has deemed them incapable of recovery. Basically, in order to leave civil detention, _____ and others will need to prove that they have recovered (and how are you suppose to do this?) even though the state has already give up hope. That’s quite the catch-22.
If we truly believe that certain sex offenders are incurable (there is no cure for anything, but you can give them tools and training (i.e. therapy) to change), then we are in some need of serious reform. But if we do believe there is hope, we should get them the help they need while they are in prison (which they rarely get). The problem with civil detention is that it makes it all the more tempting to ignore sex offenders during their time in prison and wait to cure them afterwords. But when offenders see that even after they have done their time, they are still looking at indefinite detention, they have no reason to reform themselves. And the state has no reason to help (and this is what they want!).
As a society, we tend to have little sympathy across the board for criminals, but we hold a special wrath against sex offenders. That’s understandable, particularly since they thrive on robbing their victims of their innocence and have astonishingly high rates of recidivism (once again, lies! Not all sex offenders harm children, which you are leading people to believe, and the recidivism rates are lower than any other criminal, see here). We even have special provisions for them after they leave prison. We make them register as sex offenders and sometimes even inform their neighbors of their past convictions (thus opening the door for vigilantism, which is occurring, and on the rise).
There are certainly privacy concerns at play, but these punishments (but they say the laws are not punishment, but restrictive, which is another lie! Even an idiot can tell the laws are about punishment!) are acceptable because they are reasonable (um, no they are not, they violate many rights, like you mentioned above, so they are NOT reasonable!). When the rights of past felons come in conflict with the safety of society, it makes sense to err on the side of protecting innocent people (if that is the case, and since studies show that 90% or more of all sex crimes are committed by family or close friends, and 90% or more of all new sex crimes, are by those not already sex offenders, then we should err on the side of safety, and put you on the same restrictions!). But in doing so, we can’t escape from the uncomfortable reality that even sex offenders have rights (every human being has rights, regardless of what you think. If we trample on anyone's rights, then you should be made to life without those same rights).
Locking them up indefinitely for crimes they have not committed is undoubtedly convenient (not to mention unconstitutional, cruel & unusual punishment, to name a few), and determining rights is complicated (why is it complicated? Read the constitution, which guarantees rights to ALL people!). But we have constructed a justice system that cares about these complications and that places individual protections above expediency. Expediency, for example, would dictate skipping the trials of those we know are guilty. It would allow us to go into dangerous neighborhoods and just start arresting (hell, they do this now, and more and more every day! The public needs to wake the hell up and see what is going on around them, and stop watching American Idol, Jerry Springer and Oprah! You cannot even hold a peaceful protest anymore without being arrested, which is also a violation of constitutional rights, yet nobody cares! When they come for you, it will be too late!). In both cases, crime rates would drop (so you can predict the future now? How can you know that crime would drop? That is an assumption on your part!), but at what cost?
Sex offenders are some of the most repugnant members of society (not all of them should be though, that is the problem. Not all have harmed a child, and not all have touched an adult. Educate yourself before making idiotic statements like this!), and we certainly need protection against them (And who is going to protect you? Nobody can! The government cannot protect anybody, 09/11 should come to mind, along with the many hackers who have hacked into their systems, and why crime continues). We just can’t let that protection come at the cost of our ideals (I agree, because everyone's rights are basically being eradicates as well).
That’s not to say that we can never civilly detain them (Holding someone against their will, after they have done their prison time, is wrong, period. And why isn't a evaluation done before they are sentenced, then their sentence made longer, if they are so dangerous?). But we cannot be trigger happy, nor can we use these detentions as an unethical lengthening of a prison sentence they have already served (yet we are). And when we do detain them, we must do so without creating impossible preconditions for release (yet we are).
After all, it is fine to detain somebody with a specific plan to commit a sex offense, but the indefinite incarceration of somebody with tendencies they are working to control only assumes that the state has the ability to predict the future (Amen! And nobody, except God, can do that!).
Ultimately, it’s a balancing act, but in cases like that of _____, our justice system has leaned too far to one side (and continues to lean further and further, eventually it will start affecting you as well, mark my words on that!). It’s time to move back toward the center (Amen! Repeal the unconstitutional, draconian laws, and get back to obeying the constitution!).
So ask yourself this question, "Why are they homeless?" Because maybe the laws you made and passed?
BY TARA FASOL, The Southern
MURPHYSBORO — Sex offenders in Illinois are supposed to register their whereabouts, but police have a hard time keeping track of the homeless ones.
Recently, one sex offender in Murphysboro had registered his address with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department as a bridge over Illinois 13.
The man was arrested after exposing himself to walkers on Lake Murphysboro Road. For now, he is residing in the Jackson County Jail in Murphysboro.
“We can’t really keep good track of them,” said Sgt. Dave Nichols with the sheriff’s department. “This guy was under a bridge and then in a restroom at a park. We then had reports he was in the woods. If they are wandering around from place to place, we can’t keep track of them very well.”
- Yep, and these very laws you continue to pass, are the cause of this. Everybody knows that a stable house, job and income, will help reduce recidivism, yet you continue to make absurd laws, thus putting people in potentially more danger. When will you wise up, and become SMART ON CRIME, instead of grandstanding and pretending to be "tough on crime," when we all know, it's not and will not work? I guess when the entire state is bankrupt?
Nichols said the reason for having sex offenders register their address is to keep closer tabs on their whereabouts for public safety purposes.
Having offenders living in public places, he noted, makes keeping the public safe and keeping offenders tracked all the more difficult.
In 1986, a law was passed that stated only a person who had been convicted more than once of a sex crime could be considered a sex offender. That law was amended in 1993 to include anyone convicted of a sexual crime.
Several other amendments were made to the law before 1997, when provisions were added to spell out the process for proper sex offender registration. Those procedures include the requirement for sex offenders to register their current address within 10 days of release from law enforcement custody.
In July 1999, the law was amended again to require offenders to continue registration of current addresses for the remainder of their lives.
Nichols said the problem comes with sex offenders who are required to register but no do have a permanent address or are homeless.
The law requires offenders who have no fixed address to register every 7 days for each location they have stayed. In many cases, police said these locations include public parks, wooded areas, and bridge underpasses.
- How do you expect a homeless person, without a car, or job, to registry this many times a year? That is just insane!
Out of about fifteen Southern Illinois counties surveyed, only three showed sex offenders registered as homeless.
Six offenders in Jackson County are tagged as homeless, one in Saline County, and one in Jefferson County. Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch said he hasn’t experienced any problems with homeless offenders providing public locations as residency.
He sees a greater problem in dealing with transient offenders who don’t re-register.
“We have issues with people who are transient and try and list this area as their home address and it is not,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we’ve followed the sex offenders to Florida and Texas and put those authorities on alert and been successful in making arrests.”
BY DAVID TEWES
Armstrong points finger at DA; Tyler says the mayor is 'blathering'
Victoria's taxpayers have spent about $137,000 so far for the legal defense of indicted city officials.
That's money Mayor Will Armstrong, one of the four people indicted, said could have been spent on something more useful.
"It is regrettable that this large sum of money had to be spent this way rather than our using it to improve a neighborhood or provide better law enforcement services to the citizens of Victoria," he said.
Steve Tyler, the criminal district attorney, said Armstrong's comments are hardly worth getting excited about. The mayor is probably inappropriately using the city council as a political forum, he said.
- Ya think?
"I wonder how many of the city council members or the public as a whole believe that he's doing the city business when he's just blathering," Tyler said.
Armstrong, Police Chief Bruce Ure, police Lt. Ralph Buentello and former City Attorney David Smith were indicted and arrested in May. They were accused of interfering with the investigation of former Sheriff Mike Ratcliff, who was working for the district attorney at the time.
All four have pleaded not guilty.
The council voted to pay for the legal defense of the four officials up to $50,000 each. They would have to repay the money if they are found guilty.
Only Council Member David Hagan opposed the measure.
Armstrong said the city got involved because the police department received a tip about a sexual assault investigation from Hope of South Texas that seemed to be stalled. The subsequent investigation led police to the chief of staff for Tyler.
"Months passed with this person still in the position of chief of staff in Tyler's office," Armstrong said. "Frustrated with what seemed like a stalled investigation, I contacted the Victoria Advocate and told their staff what I knew about the situation."
Tyler was embarrassed because one of his employees was a suspected sex offender, Armstrong said.
Twenty counts have been filed against city officials and all but three have been thrown out by a district judge. Armstrong said he's confident the remaining three will also fail for lack of evidence to support them.
- Protecting the "good ole' boys!"
"I have said from the start that the DA's indictments were political," Armstrong said. "I'm sticking by that statement and it appears that by his request for old court records, it isn't over yet."
Tyler said Armstrong doesn't know the law, doesn't listen to his attorney and doesn't check facts before making public statements.
"Every couple of months he mouths off about something like this," he said.
Tyler said he's not embarrassed by the investigation that was being conducted by the Department of Public Safety. He also said Armstrong should review the police department's protocols before claiming to be knowledgeable about them.
"I think most of his claims are specious," Tyler said. "The only one that has a political motive is, of course, the mayor."