Monday, April 20, 2009

FL - ACTION ALERT: Supplies requested for Julia Tuttle Causeway RSO's

This was pulled from elsewhere.  Just imagine if you were in the situation where you had to live under a bridge because the state told you you had to.  Please help where you can, I'm sure if you were in this situation, you'd appreciate the help as well.  Remember, "Do unto others, and you'd have them do unto you!"  DO NOT SEND THIS TO ME, SEE BELOW!

See this article as well

Today, I have been working on the Julia Tuttle Causeway homeless issue and am asking all members to share this wide and far.

They are in need of two important items:

  1. Clothes all sizes (shoes, socks, shorts, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, etc. Many of these former offenders are being released from prison with no clothing but what they wear)
  2. Tents, blankets or other bedding

I ask for all who like to make donations to contact me by email or phone.

Please ask your churches, homeless shelters, homeless organizations, goodwills, salvation army's, neighbors or friends to donate anything which these men/women can use.

A act of kindess is always returned ten fold my mother said.

Thank you,

Mary

Email: rickysmom@rickyslife.com
Web Site: http://www.rickyslife.com/


OH - Joaneen Graham

View the article here

04/20/2009

By Donna J. Miller - Plain Dealer Reporter

The sentencing hearing for Joaneen Graham, a 45-year-old Euclid woman convicted of having sex with a juvenile inmate, has been postponed.

She was scheduled to be sentenced today to up to 5½ years in prison for sexual battery and assault.

She performed oral sex on a teenage boy on March 24, 2008, at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility, where she was a guard.

The sentencing was postponed at her request until April 28, when she'll also be classified a sexual offender who must register her address and place of employment every 90 days with a sheriff's office.


WA - State Senate approves sexual predator bill

View the article here

04/20/2009

The Washington Senate unanimously approved legislation Friday sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler (Contact), R-Richland, to protect all students from sexual predators at school.

Haler's bill, House Bill 1385, closes a loophole that technically allows teachers to have sexual relations with students over 18 years old, the age of consent in Washington.

The bill includes language to protect students up to 21 years of age from sexual predators employed by the school district. The new language would apply to both first- and second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.

"I'm happy the Legislature sees the validity and importance of protecting our students from being preyed upon by school personnel, no matter their age," Haler said in a statement.

Haler introduced the bill after being approached by Richland School District officials after a sexual misconduct charge had to be dismissed last year against a former music teacher because the girl was 18.


What if a state doesn't have a registry or registration? Do I still have to register?

This conversation was started in the "Your Comments" section, started by the user "MOVING!"  I am moving it here for others to see as well.  This is a good question, but, like others have said, I still think you still have to register, due to the Adam Walsh Act.

These are the initial comments, and no more will be added to this blog item, they will be in the comments to this blog item.

I am renaming the existing comments link to "Archived Comments" and am creating a new "Comments" link.  Since we are getting many comments in that one section.



Need advice from anyone in the know.

I am planning a move to Maine from Missouri. Reason for the move, work related.

I was convicted in 1996 and at that time had annual registration. Time moves on and I was up graded to 90 day registration, now with the AWA I am reclassified from tier 1 to tier 3.

I have been reading about the lawsuits in Maine. I am wondering if I should move now or wait to see what happens up there. If I move now would I fall under the new law when it takes effect? If I wait will I miss the boat so to speak.

Can anyone address this. My email is freeme2009@live.com
Moving | 04.11.09 - 12:49 am | #



Moving, I thought the supreme court ruled in a Nevada case that retro reclassificati on was unconstitution al.

"Nevada used a scheme that required only the most dangerous offenders to appear on the public registry. Under the old law, you could only see offenders ranked two or three. After Adam Walsh, virtually all offenders were on the public registry. The Court found that this retrospective change in the law violated due process."Quote from http://WWW.Crimapp.com I would fight like a mad dog to keep from being reclassified with a pen stroke. As far as moving and new laws are concerned. You could have new laws applied to you where you now live so what difference does it make?
bill | 04.15.09 - 12:49 am | #



Moving, even if your state has not implemented the AWA - you can still be charged by the federal government for failure to register. I'm sure by time your requirement is up all states would have implemented the AWA, or something worse.

Say your state says you must register for ten years; and after that you stop registering. Problem is you have to register for 5 more years, or request early out in federal court, in order to keep the feds off your back...
JohnDoe | 04.15.09 - 2:19 am | #



I understand much of this. However Maine is considering turning the clock back to 1999. If they do, then only registering offenders who have a second offense with be required to register.

I also know that if a person moves to another state they fall under the laws of that state. My question was more of one regarding time frame. I know that if I lived in Maine last year, then when the new laws take effect I would fall under that new law. I only have one offense. Up until 2004 I had 10 year registration, after that the law changed and I have to register every 90 days for life (in Missouri). I was a level 1 but now with the AWA I am level 3 (in Missouri).

I have contacted a lawyer in Maine to get his input. There is a lot happening there. If it were not for the fact that I am was born in Maine, I would not be considering this. But all my family is there and I have a job waiting. I just need to know when to move to help me most with these foolish laws. And yes I will still go to the SO and register, it is up to them to remove me or not. I am hiring the same lawyer who is fighting for the Maine, John Does, so I know he will have the answers.

I will let you know how it works out.
Moving | 04.15.09 - 3:06 am | #



Then if you are required to register under the AWA for life, moving to Maine will do nothing to change that. You will still have to register for life because the federal government says you have too.
JohnDoe | 04.15.09 - 8:29 pm | #



That remains to be seen, there is a case similar to mine in the Maine Supreme Court and so far the case is going well.

I have spoken with a lawyer. There is a chance. Maine has not enacted the AWA and probably will not due to costs and concerns on the state level. What the state is planning, at this time, is to scale back the registry so that it will only include violent and repeat offenders convicted after 1999. All others will be removed from the registry. Oh you know that the state will know where they are, but no longer on-line and no need to register every 90 days.

I don’t buy into this the Federal Gov. won’t allow it. The states can choose who is on this registry; they do it all the time. If you research court cases, there have been many RSO’s who have moved from one state to another and because of some technicality they have been removed from the SOR. However it is more often that the person moving may not have been on the SOR in their state and now must register in the new state they are moving too. So always check the laws.

Besides, if a state says, you no longer have to register, if the feds require it or you go to jail, what do you do? You can’t keep going in to registration after they have said don’t come back anymore. If you do they may throw you in a nut ward!

Besides, if you are an RSO, you tell me that if you are released from the SOR at the state level, that you are going to be so upset that you are going to demand to be put back on SOR to please the Feds! I think not!

Time will tell on this. But hey, hope is all I have; the Gov. has taken everything else away.
Moving | 04.18.09 - 1:32 pm | #



Moving, again I will say this. The Adam Walsh Act requires that you register as a sex offender. The Federal Government has direct jurisdiction over you as a citizen, and they will prosecute you for failure to register if you move.

Check here:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/smart/caselaw/2250_case_squibs.pdf

These guy attempted to say because the states had not implemented the AWA, they were not required to register; however, the federal government laughed at their ignorance as they sent them all to jail and refused that defense. It's your choice man, your life - see the truth of the federal governments power over you and the states, or go to jail.

Additionally, under the Adam Walsh Act the states have been order by the federal government to register you, and therefore they must. You guys seem not to understand that what the states say doesn't matter since the AWA was passed - all states must comply with the "supreme law of the land" by 27 July 2009, unless granted an extension.
JohnDoe | 04.18.09 - 10:45 pm | #



I don't think I missed your point at all, you missed mine. If an RSO is released legally from the SOR by a state. The feds will not bother them since they are no longer required to register. After all, if the Former RSO has been told they no longer have to register, what are they to do? Case in point. Under SORNA anyone who is required to register here in Missouri must do so. However, the Missouri Supreme Court removed about 5000 RSO’s from the registry a couple of years ago. The feds did not throw a fit with those former RSO’s and start arresting them for not registering. Other states have done similar things. Who must register is generally decided on the state level. Whether or not they do register can become a crime under SORNA. So all I am saying is that if a state changes their laws and thus removes some RSO from the list, the feds will not punish the former RSO’s if they are following state laws. In each case you sited the RSO’s had failed in some way to register. I am not talking about flouting the law. I am talking about working within the law and taking every legal advantage to get off of the SOR.

Also many states may not implement the AWA. What that will mean is still up in the air.
Moving | 04.19.09 - 7:37 pm | #



Moving,

JohnDoe is 100% correct in his assertions that you are guilty of breaking federal law if you fail to register. This is irrespective of what the current state law is. The only difference to you is that if the state does not require you to register it will not be a state court that would be hearing your case. It would be, instead, a federal court you would be defending yourself in and a federal prison you would be doing time in. (I've herd they are better than state prisons) I do not want to be in either. Also to answer your questions about what happens to states who do not comply with the federally mandated AWA. The answer is they loose all federal funding. That my friend is a lot of leverage. I argued with john on this point and lost. I looked deeper into what he was saying and found that he is right. So my suggestion is move where ever you want while you can. It makes little to no difference until the AWA is repealed. I say while you can because there could become a time when we cant move. The next step is to round us all up for concentration camps. I bet you can guess what the next step is!
Bill | 04.20.09 - 11:42 am | #


TX - HB-4411 - Looks like a drug dealer registry is in the works

But who cares about all the other violent crimes, like murderers, gang members, drug users, DUI offenders, etc. They should just create one bill, to include ALL criminals on one large registry for all to see, IMO! And hey, now those in Texas will know where to find some drugs!

04/20/2009

Click the image below to view the bill


OR - City may spend $75,000 to settle sex-abuse lawsuit

View the article here

04/20/2009

By Thelma Guerrero-Huston

Salem City Councilors today will attempt to put a financial end to the city's legal entanglements involving a former police officer convicted of sex abuse.

Councilors are expected to approve a $75,000 settlement in a civil lawsuit filed against the city and Sterling Alexander.

The July 2008 lawsuit was brought by a woman who alleged she had suffered lasting physical and emotional pain after being sexually abused by Alexander while he was on duty in 2003. She was 17 years old at the time.

The woman named the city as a co-defendant, accusing it of negligence for hiring Alexander.

In October 2007, Alexander was convicted of second-degree sex abuse and official misconduct. A Marion County Circuit Judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail and five years probation.

After an investigation, Salem officials determined it was in the best interest of the city to settle the case out of court.

In her lawsuit, the woman demanded $2 million for non-economic damages and $100,000 in economic damages.

The council also will consider proposed changes to the way persons may identify themselves through public testimony and documents submitted at public hearings. At issue is whether a person should have a choice to keep their home address confidential.

Currently, persons who testify in front of the council must state their name and home address for the record.


Major report from The Constitution Project on right to counsel



04/19/2009

Last week, the folks at The Constitution Project released a massive report on the state of indigent defense titled "Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel." The work is available here, and it is an impressive and important contribution. This page describes the report's background:

The National Right to Counsel Committee was created in 2004 to examine the ability of the American justice system to provide adequate counsel to individuals in criminal and juvenile delinquency cases who cannot afford lawyers. Decades after the United States Supreme Court ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright and other landmark Supreme Court decisions, which recognized the right to lawyers for those who cannot afford them, there was disturbing evidence that states and localities were not providing competent counsel, despite the constitutional requirement that they do so.

The Committee’s charge was to assess the extent of the problem, the various ways that states and localities provide legal representation to those who cannot hire their own lawyers, and to formulate recommendations about how to improve systems of indigent defense to ensure fairness for all Americans. The result is Justice Denied: America’s Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.

Justice Denied is not just for those who provide indigent defense services, although everyone in the business of providing such services will surely find it of interest. Instead, the report should be required reading for legislators, executive branch officials, judges, researchers, bar leaders, and everyone else who possesses the power to remedy or influence the problems that this report vividly documents. Justice Denied is the handbook that lights the way toward genuine and lasting improvement in the delivery of indigent defense services in America, thus enhancing the quality of justice for all. Its findings and recommendations must — at long last — be heeded.

This post at The BLT provides follow-up info:

[P]roject president Virginia Sloan is determined not to let the 213-page report, full of recommendations, gather dust on a shelf. "We went right from the press conference to David Ogden's office," she said, referring to the new deputy attorney general. "And we are talking to folks on the Hill and policymakers at the state level as well."...

The federal government will need to play a key role in remedying the problem through increased grant funding, the report states. It even urges individual defenders to refuse new cases if their current workload leaves them unable to meet their professional obligations.

"We've already heard from people that this is the most comprehensive look at indigent defense in 30 years," says Sloan. "And it wasn't done by the defense community or the ABA. It is completely bipartisan."

I am not optimistic that, at a time when states are pinching every penny, more money will be spent on defense systems. But I sincerely hope that this report and the folks at The Constitution Project can succeed on this very important issue.


PA - Man jailed for trying to torch home

View the article here

He could have killed three people, and he gets 1 to 2 years in prison?

04/20/2009

By BRETT HAMBRIGHT

George Sheets Jr. claimed he targeted a convicted sex offender when he tried to set fire to a Fulton Township mobile home while three people slept inside.

Prosecutors argued Sheets was a jilted ex-lover when he committed the attempted arson in April 2007.

A Lancaster County judge last week tried to make sense of the circumstances surrounding what he called a difficult case.

In the end, Judge Joseph C. Madenspacher granted the 51-year-old Oxford man "one chance only" by sparing him state prison.

He sentenced Sheets to 1 to 2 years, minus one day, in prison so he can serve his time at Lancaster County Prison.

"I'm taking a chance here. No one's going to be happy with this sentence," Madenspacher said. "I'm going to give you that break, Mr. Sheets."
- How come, when it doesn't involve sex offenders, the judges can "give breaks," but if a sex offender is involved, then "their hands are tied?"

Madenspacher said state guidelines calling for a maximum sentence of 24 months in prison are perhaps too low.

"I'm really surprised the guidelines are only 24 (months), but they are what they are," he said.

Defense attorney Alan Goldberg told Madenspacher his client is a "completely law-abiding, normal guy" who made an isolated mistake.
- Yeah, except when he decides to torch someone's home, while three people are inside!  That's attempted murder and arson.  Many on the sex offender registry made an isolated mistake as well, yet you see them getting no breaks, do you?

"This is a very abnormal case, a law-abiding citizen with an incredible work history," Goldberg told the judge.

Madenspacher agreed that Sheets' credentials aren't common for criminals.

"These are the worst kinds of cases for me to deal with," Madenspacher said. "A pristine record, except this and other harassing incidents which he probably did."
- So, he also has harassing incidents.  Doesn't sound like a "pristine" record to me!

The judge was referring to a series of fires and vandalism at the Warfel Road mobile home prior to the attempted arson. Sheets was not charged with those crimes.
- Of course he wasn't, because it was supposedly against a sex offender.

Prosecutors allege all the offenses were committed by Sheets, a jealous ex-boyfriend. For eight years, Sheets dated a woman who moved to the mobile home after a February 2007 breakup, state police said. She lived in the mobile home with her new boyfriend and his adult son.

Sheets claimed in court that his problem was with the new boyfriend, who was convicted of indecent assault in 2004, according to police records.

"I'm sorry I have a problem with sex offenders who rape young kids," Sheets said at his sentencing.
- And I have a problem with vigilantes who decide to attempt to kill one or more people!

The three people who were in the mobile home when Sheets tried to set it ablaze did not react as they sat in the courtroom's gallery.

First Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen said Sheets could have killed all three of them when he vented a flammable gas into the mobile home in the 100 block of Warfel Road.

A man inside who woke up and caught Sheets in the act might have saved all their lives, Larsen said.

"If not for the fact that (he) awakened ... the defendant could be standing here charged with three murders — had he finished the job," Larsen said.
- So, a person on the Internet who sets up a meeting with a cop, pretending to be a child, can be charged with said crime, but when a vigilante attempts to kill someone, they are not charged with attempted murder.  Something sounds wrong here to me!

Investigators allege Sheets drilled a hole in a wall, then vented the fuel into the kitchen. A lighter or lit match could have ignited the low-lying gas, according to testimony.

Two of the occupants are smokers.

The occupants eventually chased the prowler off their property. Sheets left a power drill and the fuel container behind, police said.

At the hearing, Sheets claimed his grudge with sex offenders stems from instances of sexual abuse when he was in grade school.

Whether those allegations are true, Larsen said, is really a moot point.

"(Alleged sexual) abuse is in no way mitigation," Larsen said.

In the end, Madenspacher said he wanted to keep Sheets under his rule, rather than sending him to state prison. He granted Sheets work release, but warned the defendant to steer clear of his victims.
- Wow, what a break!  He attempts to kill three people by burning down the house, and gets a slap on the wrist.  What if these people were not family and friends of a sex offender?

"If you so much as blink at them, I will send you to state prison for 10 to 20 years," Madenspacher said. "This is one and one chance only here, Mr. Sheets."