Sunday, March 15, 2009

CT - Ridgefield sex offender ordinance goes before voters March 18

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For those registered sex offenders in Connecticut, you should attend this, and let your voice be heard, also your family and children as well!



RIDGEFIELD -- After a year of work, Ridgefield's proposed sex offender ordinance will go a town meeting for approval Wednesday.

The ordinance sets up 50 child safety zones where sex offenders cannot go. They include parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, beaches and sports fields.

A convicted sex offender found in these areas would be required to leave and could get a $250 fine.

The complete text of the ordinance can be read at the First Selectman's Office in Town Hall, 400 Main St.
- Why not tell us which bill it is, so we can view it online?

Work began on the ordinance in November 2007, after convicted sex offender _____ moved to the Branchville section of town.

Parents were alarmed that _____ had moved within a mile of the Branchville Elementary School and they were not informed. Fisher has since left Ridgefield.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi, past police chief Richard Ligi, and present police chief John Roche worked with town attorney David Grogins to prepare the document, then passed it on to State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III at Danbury Superior Court for a final review.

Sedensky returned the ordinance to Roche with a Nov. 17, 2008, letter, noting he was concerned the ordinance may create an "unwarranted sense of safety among residents" and that "the vast majority of children who are sexually assaulted are victimized by someone they know, not a stranger."

Roche sees a need for the ordinance as "another tool in our officers' arsenal to protect our children."

A public hearing on the proposed ordinance in January was attended by a handful of residents.

A town meeting on the proposed sex offender ordinance is set for March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the lower level conference room of Ridgefield Town Hall, 400 Main St., Ridgefield.

GA - SCHR Legislative Report - Crossover Day

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Thursday March 12, 2009 marked the 30th day of the 2009 Georgia General Assembly. The 30th Day is also known as Crossover Day, the deadline for bills to pass favorably (“cross over”) from the chamber they originated in them. Bills that are not successfully passed by the end of Crossover Day are no longer eligible for further consideration during the current legislative session. However, the content of these bills may pop up as amendments or substitutes to bills that have crossed-over.

Legislation that did successfully crossover will be vetted in the coming three weeks. The General Assembly is currently scheduled to close on Friday April 3rd. In order to become eligible to be signed by the Governor and then become law, these bills must pass prior to the final day.

Here is the report of legislation monitored by the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) during the 2009 session so far broken down by bills we will strongly advocate for and against, bills we will continue to monitor and bad bills that were successfully stopped from crossing over.

SCHR’s priority bills to SUPPORT for passage in 2009:

SB 64: This bill requires (subject to funding) that the Department of Corrections test people in prison for HIV between 60 and 120 days prior to release (currently they only test at the beginning of incarceration). If the person tests positive, the GDC must provide pre-release planning to prepare the person with resources for living with HIV in the community. We believe this legislation is a strong public health measure that will protect both the individuals coming in prison as well as their families at home waiting for them (Prison, Medical Care).

SB 157: This legislation “fixes” many of the problems with Georgia’s sex offender registration statute including clarifying restrictions on volunteering at churches, creating a process that allows for disabled and elderly persons to be relieved of residency restrictions, addressing reporting requirements for people on the registry who are homeless. It also creates new rules for appeals of decisions by the Sexual Offender Registration Board, sentencing changes that explore the likelihood of re-offense in determining the level of risk classification, new and more-sensible limitations on sex offender registration requirements for certain offenses including kidnapping, misdemeanors, and proceedings in juvenile court., changes in reporting requirements for release and renewal and allowing sex offenders to seek an order releasing them from the registration requirements after completing their sentence (including parole and probation). We believe this legislation takes significant strides in fixing the problems created by Georgia’s 2006 and subsequent sex offender legislation that has been under continuous scrutiny by the Courts. (Criminal, Sex Offender)

SB 193: This legislation will apply to people with mandatory minimum sentences. Currently, these individuals are required to serve every day of their sentence in a hard prison bed and then upon sentence completion be released directly into the community. SB 193 allows for these individuals to serve their last year of incarceration in a transitional or work release center. We believe this legislation will dramatically help reduce recidivism for people who have completed mandatory minimum sentences by providing them with much needed life and career skills to prepare them for living in the community after such long periods of incarceration. (Criminal, Prison)

SCHR’s priority bill to OPPOSE:

SB 42: this legislation relegates the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to an advisory body and place all responsibility for the public defender program in the hands of one person, the executive director of GPDSC, who serves at the pleasure of the governor. The current members of the Council are appointees who have accepted a thankless task and devoted substantial time – without any compensation – to successfully implementing a new statewide public defender system in just a few years. This legislation is a large step backwards for Georgia’s ability to provide lawyers for people accused of crimes who cannot afford lawyers. We must preserve the accountability in our public defender system. We must not give all responsibility to a single individual who has seriously mismanaged it during the last two years.

Bills Opposed by SCHR that DID NOT CROSSOVER:

Though these bills did not make it past the Crossover Day threshold in their independent form, they may return in the form of amendments or substitutes to other bills:

HB 32: This legislation allows for judges in capital trials to impose death if the jury is not unanimous. SCHR strongly opposes this legislation because it lowers the standard for imposing the death penalty and devalues the contribution of jurors who may not support imposing death in certain cases. (Death Penalty)

HB 263: This legislation prohibits people with felony convictions from working in any job that requires service in homes such as plumbing, carpentry, personal care and much more. SCHR strongly opposed this legislation because it negatively impacts people coming out of prison from successful re-entry by dramatically limiting employment opportunities. (Re-Entry)

HB 295: The “Jail and Prison Reimbursement Act”. This legislation allows for the Department of Corrections to charge people in prison for costs associated with their incarceration, including room and board and medical care. SCHR strongly opposed this legislation because the gross majority of people in Georgia prisons cannot earn money do this burden will fall on the backs of their families. We also oppose this bill because requiring medical reimbursement fees is dangerous for the whole prison population and is hugely counterproductive to public health. Requiring medical reimbursement and daily per diem fees is counterproductive to effective reentry after incarceration. (Prison, Fines and Fees)

HB 372: This legislation provides time frames for filing briefs and orders in petitions challenging for the first time state court proceedings that result in a death sentence. SCHR strongly opposed this legislation because it is particularly bad for Georgia’s handful of lawyers representing people with death sentences because they already carry large caseloads and are under very strict timelines on all their cases. This will only be exacerbated by pending budget cuts to the Georgia Appellate Resource Center, the office responsible for all of these cases. (Death Penalty)

HB 571: This legislation is the House version of the sex offender registration “fixes”. The language in this is quite bad compared to that in SB 157, including bad language on loitering, homelessness and does not address the issue of elderly or infirmed people on the registry. This bill never received a hearing so did not pass, however SCHR will continue to monitor it as it could be amended to the content of SB 157 when that bill is considered in House Committee.

HB 619 and 622: These bills, introduced by a legislator who is also the CEO of Professional Probation Services, a private probation company eviscerate the power and authority of the County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council. CMPAC is the body that regulates Georgia's private probation industry. HB 622 limits the ability of CMPAC to void contracts of errant private probation companies or seize their records; HB 619 abolishes CMPAC altogether. SCHR strongly opposed this legislation because of private probation industry needs far more regulation not less, and because of the inherent conflict of interest held by the sponsor of the bill and private probation company CEO. (Private Probation)

Bills that SCHR will continue to monitor as they progress:

HB 123: This bill redefines child molestation to include "in the presence of a child" to include indirect communication such as on the phone or internet. (Criminal, Sex Offender)

HB 226: Gives credit for time served in Probation Detention Centers while waiting for placement in a state prison. GDC Bill. Companion bill to SB 65. (Prison, Probation)

HB 323: Requires in death penalty cases for the Supreme Court to issue an order granting review of the pretrial proceedings, or portions thereof, or denying review within 45 days (currently 20) of the date on which the case was received. (Death Penalty)

HB 350: says that private medical facilities will be reimbursed no more than the Medicare rate to the GDC for emergency medical care of people in prison. (Prison, Medical Care)

HB 464: allows for deductions from an inmate account for the payment of certain medication, does not apply to those with chronic conditions, pregnancy, or mental illness. (Prison, Medical Care)

HB 575: redefines kidnapping in response to Garza decision. (Criminal)

SB 13: Allows for the imposition of a Life Without Parole sentence for a person convicted of murder independently of a death penalty prosecution. (Death Penalty)

SB 14: Prohibits anyone on the sex offender registry from being eligible to run in a local school board election. (Sex Offender)

SB 21: Probation Management Act- creates levels and probation options for cvarios probation violations (Probation)

SB 65: Gives credit for time served in Probation Detention Centers while waiting for placement in a state prison. GDC Bill. Companion bill to HB 226. (Prisons, Jails, Probation)

SB 112: Creates a "County Drug Abuse Treatment and Education Fund" that is funded by additional penalty of a sum equal to 50 percent of the original fine. (Fines and Fees).

SB 136: Require the Department of Corrections and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to participate in the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Rapid Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer (REPAT) Program. (Immigration, Prison, Parole)

SB 151: allows for Victim Impact Statements to be in the form of a written statement, an audiotaped or videotaped statement, a teleconference, or a statement made via speakerphone with an attorney's verification of the speaker's identity. Photographs of the victim may also be included with any evidence presented. (Criminal, Death Penalty)

Sara J. Totonchi
Public Policy Director
Law Offices of the Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404/688-1202 ext. 219 voice
404/688-9440 fax

UK - Sex text teacher jailed for 12 months

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By Paul Stokes

A primary school teacher who sent sexually explicit text messages to a 14-year-old boy she befriended through an online game has been jailed for 12 months.

Lynn Walls, 42, obtained the juvenile's number through the interactive World of Warcraft site before she began to rely on him emotionally and falsely claimed to him that she had breast cancer.

Newcastle Crown Court heard her behaviour had caused lasting damage to the schoolboy became withdrawn, guilty, abusive and had suicidal thoughts.

Walls, who is plump, invented a "thin, attractive and blonde" character to chat online with teenager from London who told her his age.

Penny Moreland, prosecuting, said Walls sent texts which were "crude and explicit in the extreme", inviting the boy to commit sexual acts and have sex with her.

In others, Walls confided childhood and other problems and confessed she loved him. Walls, from Penshaw, Sunderland, who had a son herself, was a primary school teacher in County Durham at the time and of previous good character.

Nick Peacock, defending, said she had been married for 20 years until she discovered her husband was having an affair.

She became a recluse and spent hours playing World of Warcraft, described in court as highly addictive, in which players create virtual characters.

He said she designed someone who was thin, attractive and blonde and had told police: "That character was everything I was not."

The case had "destroyed her days and haunted her nights" and she accepted she was virtually unemployable.

Jailing her, Judge Richard Lowden also banned her from working with children for life, and put her on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

He told Walls: "It is not just the grossly inappropriate sexual conduct of the message that has done the damage, but to my mind, more damaging was the emotional burden that you put upon that boy, so that in the end he felt responsible for you."

MA - Tour - Sex Offenders

It appears Massachusetts displays only Level 3 offenders on their public registry, which is what all states should do. They also have the following notice on their registry.

User Acknowledgement and Acceptance

Information shall not be used to commit a crime or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassments of an offender. Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to M.G.L. C. 6 §§ 178C - 178P for such purposes shall be punished by not more than two and one half (2 ½) years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1000.00) or both (M.G.L. C.6, § 178N). In addition, any person who uses Registry information to threaten to commit a crime may be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months (M.G.L. C. 275 § 4).

Pursuant to M.G.L. C. 6, §§ 178C - 178P, the individuals who appear on the following notifications have been designated a Level 3 Sex Offenders by the Sex Offender Registry Board. The Board has determined that these individuals have a high risk to reoffend and that the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active community notification.

By proceeding you are agreeing that you are a person who is 18 years of age or older, that you have read and understand the statements above, that you acknowledge that you are requesting this information for your own protection or for the protection of a child or another person for whom you have responsibility, care, custody, and that you believe you are likely to encounter an offender who may be posted on this website. If you do not agree, please select, I do not accept.

WA - Bill would give some inmates free rent after release

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OLYMPIA - The Senate has passed a bill that would provide rent vouchers to offenders who earn an early release date from state institutions.

Under SB 5525, offenders would be eligible for up to $500 per month for three months following their release.

John Rabaca is pleased by the passage of the bill. Good behavior earned Rabaca an early release date from the state's Larch Corrections Center.

Rabaca was cleared to be released last November, but there was one problem -- he had no place else to live. As a result, his early release date was canceled, leaving him to feel like all his efforts have been all for naught.

"I've behaved. You know what I'm saying?" he said. "My ERD (early release date) comes, I've got no infractions, no write-ups, no incident reports, nothing. And they still take the good time due to (the fact) that I don't have an address."

And Rabaca isn't alone. Some 1,200 other inmates in the state's prisons must forego early release and serve their full sentence at the taxpayers' expense because they have nowhere else to go.

Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, has an idea for a fix. He is a sponsor of the bill which instructs the state to pay up to $500 per month in rent vouchers for three months to help inmates take advantage of their ERD and get back on their feet.

Carrell says in the long run, his idea would save taxpayers $1.4 million a year.

"It's an incredible savings to the state of Washington and also is going to reduce the possibility (of) these individuals re-offending," he said.

Inmate Curtis Karlsen ran the numbers himself to see the dollar difference between taking his early release date and staying behind.

"It would cost the taxpayers about $55,150 just paying for me to stay here. So compare that to $500 a month, $1,500 (in all), that's a lot cheaper," he said.

The idea appealed to state Senators on both sides of the aisle. Cash-strapped lawmakers passed the measure 42 to 2.

The bill is now being considered in the state House.

Hal Lindsey Report

I hardly ever read or listen to this man, but I found this one video rather interesting, since he talks about the government creating problems, exacerbating them, blowing them out of proportion, and stirring up the public. Check it out, when you can.

Click the image to view the video