Friday, March 20, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS (AP) - The Garfield County Sheriff's Department says an inmate accused of sexually assaulting a child was found dead in his cell.
Officials say 25-year old _____ was found hanging during a routine security in the jail's maximum security unit on Thursday. No other details have been released.
_____ was being held on charges of sexual assault on a child, second-degree kidnapping, child abuse and contempt of court.
Officials say _____ was not under suicide watch.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Tanny M. McGinnis says an autopsy report has not been completed.
The man who spent 27 years in jail and recently released for a crime he did not commit shares his story in his own words.
“Ecstatic” was the one word answer from Robert Hodgson when asked by reporters how he felt after being released from prison after serving a 27 year sentence for a crime he did not commit.
Hodgson, 57, originally from Tow Law, County Durham, UK, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of gas-board clerk Teresa De Simone in 1979 after she was found strangled in Southampton. (Northern Echo)
Following the emergence of new DNA evidence Hodgson’s conviction (which made him one of the longest serving victims of a miscarriage of justice) was deemed by Lord Judge to be unsafe.
The body of Miss De Simone was found, partially clothed in the back of her Ford Escort in the car park of the pub the Tom Tackle where she worked, having been strangled with her gold crucifix necklace. (Guardian)
DNA tests were unavailable at the time of Hodgson’s trial. His conviction was based on prosecuting evidence relating to a matching blood type to samples found at the scene, and various confessions Hodgson made to the police.
At the time of the trial Hodgson’s defence described him as a pathological liar and that his confessions were false.
The Court of Appeal Judge said swabs taken from the dead girl showed that there were sufficient remnants of sperm on them for proper DNA analysis, resulting in the conclusion that the sample on the swabs did not come from the appellant.
Lord Judge said: “ Whoever raped her - on these findings, it can't be the appellant.
"The Crown's case was that whoever raped her also killed her, so the new DNA evidence has demolished the case for the prosecution."
Hodgson’s release came as a result of requests from his legal team to Hampshire Police and the Forensic Science Service who carried out a case review in November 2008.
Adding insult to injury it also emerged today that Hodgson could have been released ten years earlier. His legal team asked the Forensic Science Service to review the case in 1998 but were wrongly told that the exhibits had been destroyed.
Speaking on behalf of his brother outside the court Peter Hodgson said:
"On behalf of my brother, I would like to thank the solicitor a million, million times. I’ve had a dream for 27 years. I know it's a hell of a long time, but it's finally come true." (BBC)
Det Ch Insp Philip McTavish, from Hampshire Police, said: “Hampshire Constabulary has consequently started a reinvestigation into the murder of Teresa De Simone and this is aimed at identifying the owner of the DNA profile.”
Hodgson could be in line for substantial compensation payments running in to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the appeal.
NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley says a man first described as a police impersonator who victimized people in two homes has turned out to be a real officer.
Riley says Darrius Clipps resigned when he was arrested early Friday, and admitted invading two homes. He was on the force about a year.
Clipps was booked with malfeasance, sexual battery, false imprisonment with a weapon, simple and aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling.
Riley says other officers told investigators that a composite sketch of the subject resembled both Clipps and a recruit recently kicked out of the police academy.
He also says a witness gave police a badge number that matched Clipps' badge.
Officer Sabrina Richardson, a police spokeswoman, says the man went into two homes on Saturday, and returned to one on Tuesday.
By Denise M. Champagne, staff writer
East Rochester - East Rochester has decided not to make any changes to its sex offender registry law passed in February.
The topic came up at the March 9 Village Board meeting after concerns were raised in the past month by the local chapter of the New York State Civil Liberties Union and SOhopeful of New York, a group working for effective sex offender laws.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of discussion on that,” said Mayor Jason Koon. “The law is a valid law.
We pretty much, as a board, decided to have it stand as it is. We put this together for a reason and we’re going to stand by it.”
The law applies to convicted Level 2 and 3 sex offenders who the state lists as having a higher risk of repeating an offense. The new village law prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, parks, recreational facilities, community centers or day-care facilities, leaving few places in the one-square-mile village where they can live.
Village Administrator Martin D’Ambrose said there are four people living in the village who will have to move by Feb. 9 of next year to comply with the local law.
He said a couple of challenges to similar laws downstate are being looked at by an appellate court, so the state may amend its own law which prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools.
D’Ambrose said even though East Rochester’s registry law may be prohibitive instead of restricting residency as intended, it wouldn’t be prudent to spend a lot of money and time to change it when state law may supersede it.
“We’re going to wait and see what the state is going to do,” D’Ambrose said. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback and it’s been completely 100 percent in favor.”
However, some people have questioned the fairness of the law, if it’s legal and if it’s needed, saying 95 percent of those arrested for sexual offenses in the state are first-time offenders who wouldn’t be listed on a registry, and 93 percent of those who molest children are family member and acquaintances, not strangers.
View the article here
And watch, he will get a slap on the wrist, like they all do!
By JULIE CARR SMYTH - AP Statehouse Correspondent
COLUMBUS - A divided Ohio Elections Commission found Thursday that former Attorney General Marc Dann twice violated state elections law by using campaign funds to pay for an expensive in-home security system and a cell phone often used for personal calls.
The panel fined both Dann and his campaign committee $1,000 each in the security system matter, and issued him a public reprimand over the handling of his cell phone expenses. The campaign's then-deputy treasurer, Mary Beth Snyder, received a $250 fine for signing off on the security system expenses.
Commission members stopped short of referring any of the matters for criminal prosecution, however.
The former consumer bulldog sat pensively throughout the hours of legal wrangling, only occasionally becoming agitated over having to funnel answers to commissioners' questions through his lawyer rather than answering them himself.
The commission ended the day with only one of two cases resolved against Dann. He still faces a future hearing over a wide-ranging set of allegations brought by the state watchdog, Inspector General Tom Charles, after a four-month investigation.
Dann's lawyer, Donald McTigue, fought unsuccessfully Thursday to have the second case dismissed on grounds that Charles was acting outside his jurisdiction.
After the proceedings, Dann said he was disappointed that violations were found, but gratified no criminal charges were sought. He said he will decide whether to appeal.
"I made a choice over whether to use taxpayer dollars - what would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of time I was serving as attorney general - to protect myself and my family, or to use campaign funds," he said. "I think I made the right decision at the time."
Elections commissioner Yvette McGee Brown said during the hearing that evidence didn't bear out that Dann made the decision to be magnanimous. She noted that documents submitted in the case indicated Dann did not decide to use campaign funds until he learned the executive budget could not cover the expense, and because having police officers around was interfering with his family's privacy.
Assistant Attorney General Melinda Osgood, representing the state, said an in-home security system is not a normal way to handle such threats. She said Ohio has a history of providing law enforcement protection to officeholders who face danger, and that Dann had been provided with such protection.
Dann, who turned 47 last week, resigned in May amid a sexual harassment scandal in his office and after admitting to an extramarital affair with an employee.
The Youngstown Democrat was part of a near-sweep of statewide offices by Ohio Democrats in 2006 after a scandal over state investments sullied the reputation of the Ohio Republican Party.
Despite the public furor surrounding the Dann scandal, Osgood said, the issue was very simple.
"Campaign money simply can't be converted for personal use," she said.
The security system and cell phone complaints were brought by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a fellow Democrat, after an audit of Dann's campaign finance reports through 2007. Osgood said Brunner is auditing his 2008 reports.
Charles' complaint accuses Dann of misusing campaign funds to give gifts to family and friends, pay for unauthorized trips for his family, and to cover everyday expenses such as coffee, meals and newspapers. Charles also alleges Dann provided incomplete, inaccurate and false information on his state campaign finance filings.
McTigue told the commission that Charles' investigation went further than what was allowed by the Legislature.
"We believe this is an instance of a government official overreaching his authority," he said.
McTigue argued Thursday that the $27,000 security system was a legitimate expense under Ohio campaign finance laws because it was made necessary in the course of Dann's official duties as a result of threats to Dann and his daughter. McTigue said the girl was being observed by a man with a teardrop tattoo, which can mean a person is a past sexual offender.
- No, a tear drop tattoo means the person killed someone, or that the person wearing it, lost a friend, not a sexual predator. Seems like this reporter should open Google and search before making idiotic statements like this. It took me a couple seconds to find the meaning, but I already knew what it meant.
McTigue used Gov. Ted Strickland's (Contact) decision to approve some enhanced security for Dann before the security system was installed as evidence that there was a legitimate need.
Strickland, who led the push last spring for Dann to resign, said Thursday he may have approved State Highway Patrol protection for Dann for a brief period.
"Any special protection would have come from the State Highway Patrol and would have been handled as other Highway Patrol executive protection is handled, which would not involve the purchase of vehicles, equipment or anything like that," he said. "I'd never authorize anything of that nature."
Brown expressed regret that the panel could not impose more than a $1,000 fine, initially suggesting they fine Dann $5,000.
"I'm trying to find something that's fair and that sends a message as to how serious we find the violation," she said.
The seven-member elections commission includes three Republicans, three Democrats and one independent.
CINCINNATI - A man accused of killing three women and burning their bodies collapsed in court Thursday.
Anthony Kirkland was being arraigned when he collapsed and hit his head on the podium as the judge read the third charge against him.
Kirkland was arrested in connection with the death of _____, 13, earlier this month. He has been charged with murder, attempted rape and gross abuse of a corpse in that case.
He was in court Thursday on charges that he killed and burned two other women in 2006, _____, 14, and _____, 45.
After Kirkland's collapse, as deputies and lawyers examined him, the judge continued to read the charges against him.
Kirkland will face the death penalty for _____ and _____'s deaths. His attorney pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Kirkland is being held without bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 1.
Outside the courtroom, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters was asked about Kirkland's collapse. He responded, "I didn't see many people running to catch him."
Also present at Thursday's hearing was the grandmother of _____, one of the young women Kirkland is accused of killing.
_____ believes Kirkland faked his fall in court.
"He didn't collapse," she said. "I don't know if he wanted attention. I don't know what type of attention he thought he was gonna get."
_____ said she plans to be present throughout Kirkland's court proceedings and beyond.
"When he goes to the death penalty, when he goes to the death chamber, I'm gonna be there," she said.
Like eAdvocate says, this may be a good thing, because then we have more time to convince them the laws are wrong! Hint, Hint!
WASHINGTON – Senator Patrick Leahy (Contact), D-Vt.,Thursday asked the Justice Department to provide an extension to states and jurisdictions struggling to comply with the provisions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Leahy made the request via a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Contact).
Under the provisions of the act, states and other jurisdictions are required to comply with certain sex offender registry provisions within three years of the passage of the Adam Walsh Act.
The act was included as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was signed into law in 2006.
The deadline for compliance is July 2009, and no state or jurisdiction has yet met the requirements mandated in SORNA. The registry and notification program is costly to states that are facing mounting funding concerns amid the economic downturn. The Vermont State Senate is considering a resolution in support of the establishment of the registry and notification system in Vermont, and urging an extension to allow the state to come into compliance with the federal law.
By JENNIFER JACOBS
The 2,000-foot rule dealing with where sex offenders can live will be the topic of a conversation Monday between Gov. Chet Culver (Contact) and Republican lawmakers.
The law bans registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and child-care centers. There’s a loud cry from law enforcement officials to replace the rule with new restrictions banning sex offenders from working or dwelling in places that children frequent.
Republican leaders today stopped short of promising not to attack Democratic lawmakers during the next election cycle for voting in favor of revising the law, but seem open to the idea.
“If at the end of the day we’ve made it tougher on sex offenders in the state of Iowa, then there will be nothing to beat up on them about,” said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen. “There are changes that probably could be made and that’s what we’re going to talk about.”
- So if that first statement doesn't say "punishment," then I do not know what does!
Sheriffs and county attorneys say the law is ineffective because it only governs where offenders sleep and takes too much time and money to enforce.
Supporters say any regular contact between authorities and convicted sex offenders is a good thing.
Department of Public Safety Officials say now is an ideal time to revise the law because Iowa is under a deadline to update its sex offender laws anyway so that they match a stricter federal law.
Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, sex offenders, including some as young as 14, would have to stay on the online public registry at least five years longer, reveal more personal information about where they work and go to school, and face more supervision from law enforcement.
Paulsen said leaders were invited to sit down around a table and discuss the matter. “I don’t want to make this a partisan statement because that’s not helpful to this particular discussion,” he said. “I’ll just say this: Republicans aren’t going to do anything that weakens protections from sex offenders. I don’t believe that’s what Democrats want to do.”
Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley said: “Iowans will make their own judgment of what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate.”
Bill of Rights
United States Constitution
By John W. Whitehead
"What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?"--Thomas Jefferson
Over the past few months, I've heard from many Americans who feel they've lost the power to be heard by their government. From the repeated assaults on our civil liberties to the financial ruin brought about by irresponsible corporations and government officials, Americans feel helpless and beaten down.
Faced with a government that is not heeding their demands, many are simply giving up. But we are far from helpless, and this is not the time to surrender our rights.
Too often, we forget that America began with a revolution. America was born out of the sheer grit and determination of a rebellious group of colonists. These freedom fighters stood their ground. They knew they had rights. And when those rights were systematically violated, they resisted.
Thankfully, there are a growing number of Americans--what I like to refer to as "teaspoons of resistance"--who have not given up the fight and are choosing to exercise their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and "petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
There are many examples. Let me cite a few. In more than 40 cities across the country, growing numbers of Americans have been taking to the streets and staging "tea party protests" to voice their objections to the government's out-of-control spending and its bailout of mega-corporations and bad mortgages. Although no tea is being tossed at these protests, they are gaining in popularity as a way for citizens to express their discontent with government spending gone haywire. In fact, organizers are planning a nationwide Tax-Day Tea Party protest.
Mindy McAlindon of Franklin, Tennessee, is taking a slightly different approach in voicing her discontent about the economy. She plans to bombard the White House with actual tea bags and protest notes. Protesters in other cities are planning to do the same for members of Congress.
More than 10,000 demonstrators in 100 locations across the country recently gathered at the offices of major banks whose behavior both before and since the government bailout "epitomize an era of CEO and corporate excess at the expense of broader prosperity that has weakened the economy."
Thousands will soon travel to Washington, DC to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The rally, which will take place the day after the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, will reportedly be the first national antiwar demonstration in the United States since President Barack Obama took office.
And then there is Concepcion Picciotto, a small woman in her late 60s who has carried on the longest continuous act of protest in the United States. Since 1981, Picciotto has staged a round-the-clock peace vigil across from the White House in Lafayette Park in the hopes of ending U.S. interventionist wars and banning nuclear weapons. She has thus far managed to outlast four presidents--Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush--and she's planning to outlast Barack Obama.
To fellow activists, Picciotto is a living symbol of resistance and an amazing example of grassroots democracy who understands that power is with the people. Unfortunately, her vigil has not been without its trials. Over the course of the past 28 years, Picciotto says she has been cursed at, spat on and beaten up, arrested and issued $50 citations for illegal "camping" in the park. Nevertheless, she persists in her solitary vigil.
We could use more tireless freedom fighters such as Concepcion Picciotto today. Yet she is merely one of a long and historic line of Americans to stage populist protests in the form of sleep-ins, sit-ins and marches to oppose government policies, counter injustice and bring about change.
For example, in May of 1932, more than 43,000 people--World War I veterans and their families-- marched on Washington. Out of work, destitute and with families to feed, the veterans set up tent cities in the nation's capital and refused to leave until the government agreed to pay the bonuses they had been promised as a reward for their services. The Senate voted against paying them immediately, but the protesters didn't budge. Congress adjourned for the summer, and still the protesters remained encamped. Finally, on July 28, under orders from President Herbert Hoover, the Army descended with tanks and cavalry and drove them out, setting their makeshift camps on fire. Still, the protesters returned the following year, and eventually their efforts not only succeeded in securing payment of the bonuses but contributed to the passage of the G.I. Bill of Rights.
Thus, while protests and acts of resistance may not always achieve immediate results, they're a good place to start. Time and again throughout our nation's history, real change has come at the urging of the people. After all, governments aren't proactive, they're reactive. They only move when you urge them to move. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s is a perfect example. Just imagine how much longer it would have taken to gain equality for African-Americans without the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and so many other fearless black Americans.
Clearly, this is no time to stand silently on the sidelines. It's a time for anger and reform. Most importantly, it's a time for making ourselves heard. And there is no better time to act than the present. As Robert F. Kennedy reminded his listeners in a speech delivered at the University of Cape Town in 1966, "Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men's lives. Everything that makes man's life worthwhile--family, work, education, a place to rear one's children and a place to rest one's head--all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people."
What can ordinary citizens do? Instead of sitting around and waiting for someone else to change things, take charge. Never discount the part that everyday citizens play in our nation's future. You can change things, but there can be no action without education. Get educated about your rights and exercise them. Start by reading the Bill of Rights. You can do so online at www.rutherford.org. Or, if you want a copy to keep with you, email me at email@example.com and I'll send you a free one.
Most important of all, just get out there and do your part to make sure that your government officials hear you. The best way to ensure that happens is by never giving up, never backing down, and never remaining silent. To quote Dr. King, "If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; if you can't walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving."
It doesn't matter whether you're protesting the economy, the war, the environment or something else altogether. What matters is that you do your part. As that great revolutionary firebrand Samuel Adams pointed out, "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds."
Take some time right now and start your own brushfire for freedom. In the words of one Tea Party organizer, become "10-minute citizens. Take 10 minutes, six days a week and learn about the issues, and then call politicians, or email them, or call talk radio, or write letters to the editor and make your voice heard."
It's midnight in America right now. But the real question is, will there be a dawn? That's up to you and me. The future is in our hands.
View the article here
Contact: George Raudenbush, Christian Citizens against Corruption, 423-337-1896
TELLICO PLAINS - According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, "There is a growing intolerance by the American people of public corruption, intolerance reflected in the willingness to come forward and report abuse of public office."
The Tennessee Constitution, Article X, Section 1, provides that every person chosen for any office of trust must take an oath to "support the Constitution of this State and of the United States, and an oath of office." Article1. Declaration of Rights http://www.tncrimlaw.com/law/constit/I.html#1.
The Monroe County Sheriffs Department intentionally disseminated false and misleading information when it falsely listed a sexual offender at the residence of a citizen that had filed complaints against the Sheriffs Department. FBI and TBI officials removed the false and misleading listings from their nationwide web sites after they were notified by certified mail that no permission had ever been given to the offender to send mail to that address. MCSD Officials have and are now facing multi million dollar law suites, investigations and charges by local citizens and out of state tourists for sexual misconduct, rape, perjury, embezzlement, theft, falsifying and altering documents, attempted murder, abduction and torture among numerous other complaints about MCSD officials.
Tennessee citizens are holding members of the judiciary accountable by ensuring that all U.S. certified mail addressed to the grand jury foreman/person is to be presented to the grand jury foreman unopened. This did not happen recently when evidence was sent U.S. certified mail to the grand jury foreman in care of the Jury clerk at the U.S. Court Building in Knoxville, Tennessee. The evidence exposing corrupt members of the judiciary was forwarded by the clerk to other judicial members instead of going directly to the grand jury foreman. This seems to be standard operating procedure when members of the judiciary are involved in corruption and evidence is forwarded to the grand jury. Jury members need to understand their rights; an uneducated jury can be easily controlled and manipulated by members of the judiciary. www.fija.org
"Public officials under investigation and charges often use their public positions of trust to retaliate, disseminating false and misleading information against citizens who bring complaints to discredit the citizen's testimony and character" states, a political analyst.
Every American citizen is endowed with an inherent right and responsibility to hold public officials accountable. For further information visit: www.tnccc.com.