Saturday, July 4, 2009

Internet vigilantism

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Online Vigilante Cabal (Some of them)

Internet vigilantism (sometimes e-vigilantism or digilantism) is the phenomenon of vigilantic acts taken against the Internet (the communication network or its service providers) or carried out using applications (World Wide Web, e-mail) that depend on the Internet. The term encompasses vigilantism against scams, crimes, and non-Internet related behaviour.

Some have suggested that the Internet's lack of central control has prompted a tendency towards vigilante reactions against certain behaviours in the same way that they have prompted those behaviours to occur in the first place.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (Bill Of Rights)

NY - Woman accused of targeting girl, 9, with Craigslist ad

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By Laurie Segall

(CNN) -- A Long Island, New York, social worker is facing two misdemeanor charges after allegedly posting a sexually suggestive ad on Craigslist that gave interested parties the home phone number of a 9-year-old girl.

According to prosecutors, Margery Tannenbaum posted the ad to get revenge after an argument between her daughter and the girl, who attend the same school in Hauppauge, New York.

On Thursday, Tannenbaum was arraigned on charges of aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a minor. She pleaded not guilty and will appear in court later this month.
- She'll probably get off, just like the recent lady who harassed a girl on MySpace who committed suicide.

Officials told CNN affiliate News 12 in Long Island that the Craigslist ad read "I need a little affection... I'm blond, I'm cute and I'll be waiting."

Interested parties were directed to an e-mail address where they were given the girl's name and home phone number. Callers were unaware they were trying to reach a 9-year-old.

According to Suffolk County authorities, the mother of the girl intercepted calls before her daughter answered. She said she received 22 calls in one day, in all around 40 calls from various men who saw the ad, including some seeking an escort service. After Craigslist was issued a subpoena, authorities said they were able to track the account to Tannenbaum.

In court documents read aloud by Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota, the 9-year-old's mother described one of the phone calls she received from a man responding to the ad.

She said, "This is her mother. Can I help you?" The male replied, "Oh. Hot lady lives with foxy mamma?"

The caller hung up after the girl's mother told him the "hot girl" he was referring to was 9 years old.

When asked about the case, Tannenbaum's attorney, Tad Scharfenberg, said, "I think this has been blown out of proportion to what the actual alleged act was."

He described Tannenbaum as "a well-loved woman by both family and friends," and said she was a classroom mom at her daughter's school.

"She's never been in any trouble for anything before," Scharfenberg said. "She's just really upset by the whole thing. Her biggest concern has always been that this not materially affect the victim or her child. She wants to make sure the way it's being handled doesn't make that worse."

In an interview with News 12, the victim's mother said she was "horrified."

"It's scary to think that someone would take any issue and attack your child."

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (Bill Of Rights)

PA - Ex-guard attests to alleged inmate abuse at Westmoreland County Prison

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By Richard Gazarik

A Westmoreland County Prison inmate was taken out of his cell, punched, choked, kicked and threatened with death as punishment for talking back to a guard, according to a statement given by a corrections officer who said he witnessed the incident.

Part-time guard Christopher Pickard of West Leechburg told investigators that union officials and several other officers concocted a cover story after the assault on _____, 27, and attempted to persuade Pickard to go along with it to derail an internal investigation, according to his written statement.

The inmate's mother, _____ of New Kensington, said the report mirrors the details that her son recounted to her, as well as the injuries listed in the medical report that she obtained.

"That's what he told me," she said. "The details are pretty much the same."

The June 8 incident triggered a criminal investigation and led to the suspension of Casey Mullooly, president of Local 522 of the United Mine Workers of America, which represents corrections officers.

Both Mullooly and District Attorney John Peck declined comment on the incident. Peck said he started a criminal probe after he received a report on the internal investigation.

"I don't want to make any comment on (the report) during the course of the investigation," Peck said.

Pickard resigned June 14.

_____ was returned to a Texas prison June 17. He is in a medical unit and could not be contacted for comment.

The investigation is the latest in a series of alleged misconduct by corrections officers and suicide attempts by inmates there at county jail.

Pickard confirmed the authenticity of the seven-page statement obtained by the Tribune-Review, but he refused to comment on it Thursday. The document was signed by Pickard and Deputy Warden Steve Cmar.

_____ had been paroled from a Texas prison in June. He was arrested June 3 for an alleged parole violation while visiting his mother in New Kensington and was taken to the county jail.

The incident was triggered by remarks that _____ made to Pickard after all inmates were ordered into their cells because some were smoking, Pickard said in the statement. All forms of tobacco are banned at the jail.

After _____ complained to Pickard that he should not be punished, Pickard notified a sergeant who went to the cell along with two other guards. _____ was taken to a nearby counselor's office, out of range of video cameras.

In his statement, Pickard described the assault:

An officer grabbed _____ by the neck, slammed him into a filing cabinet, then pushed his head against the wall.

"I'll kill you right now," the guard said.

_____ slid to the floor as the guard struck him in the mid-section with his knee and then punched him in the head. Pickard said as _____ tried to stand, the guard punched him in the mid-section.

A sergeant and another guard witnessed the assault, according to Pickard.

Afterward, _____ was taken to the prison's medical unit, where he was examined. The nurse said _____ "complained of injuries he stated he received from a beating," the medical report states. _____ also had a "small knot" on the back of his head and red marks on his neck, and he complained of sore ribs. He was given 400 milligrams of Motrin for the pain, according to the medical report.

A follow-up medical report June 10 states _____ had "multiple injuries to the neck and head area, also ribs and back." He also had a quarter-size contusion near his eye.

In his statement, Pickard said he was advised by other guards "to go along with the story told by everyone else, that nothing happened, nothing occurred. The inmate was never struck, you can't crack. You have to stick to the story," he wrote in the statement.

The guards played for Pickard a tape of a telephone conversation _____ had with a relative in which he identified the guard who beat him. The prison monitors all inmates' phone calls.

Pickard said Mullooly telephoned him to ask him what had happened.

"I asked: 'If I tell the truth, what's going to happen? He said: 'I'm not going to lie to you. If you tell the truth, nothing will happen.' "

After Pickard was notified that he was under investigation, "Mullooly said to me when questioned to stick with the story everyone else was going with." Mullooly later told Pickard what to say to prison investigators, according to his statement.

"That the story we are going with is that inmate _____ had his hands in his pants, (a guard) pulled his hands out and sat him in the chair, nothing else happened," Pickard wrote.

The Westmoreland County Prison Board meets Monday and likely will discuss the incident either publicly or in closed session. Members of the union are expected to attend.

Other investigations of prisoner-abuse claims at the lockup include:
  • In February, a former guard was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to humiliating prisoners by forcing them to sing nursery rhymes and get on their knees and bark like dogs.
  • A guard was fired for sexual misconduct after an internal investigation revealed he had sex with a female inmate.
  • Earlier this year, an inmate sued in federal court alleging that he was beaten and choked by guards until he passed out. The case is pending.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (Bill Of Rights)

IN - Indiana court limits sex offender residency law

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Court Decision (PDF)

Now here is a state, which is upholding the constitutions rules against ex post facto laws. Good Job Indiana!



INDIANAPOLIS - Convicted sex offenders who lived near schools or other places frequented by children before a state law restricting their residency was enacted in 2006 would not have to move under a ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court.

The court ruled this week that the residency law violated the Indiana constitution by retroactively punishing _____, a Blackford County sex offender who died in December.

_____ had owned his home in northeastern Indiana for about 10 years when he was convicted of a sex offense against a child in 1997. He was then charged in January 2007 with violating the 2006 law that prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, public park or youth program center.

Blackford Superior Court Judge John Forcum dismissed the charge as unconstitutional, and the state appealed.

The Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court both upheld Forcum's decision.

The state Supreme Court decision said the residency law prevents a sex offender from living in his home even if he bought it before the law took effect and even if a school or youth center moved within 1,000 feet of a home where he already lived.

"Although the statute does not affect ownership of property, it does affect one's freedom to live on one's own property," Justice Robert Rucker wrote. "A sex offender is subject to constant eviction because there is no way for him or her to find a permanent home in that there are no guarantees a school or youth program center will not open within 1,000 feet of any given location."

Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, which handled the appeal, said a staff attorney interpreted the ruling to apply only to offenders who were charged, convicted and sentenced before the residency law was enacted.

Attorneys for the state Supreme Court declined comment because they are prohibited from interpreting the court's rulings.

The decision was the latest by the state Supreme Court to find that certain laws regarding state oversight of sex offenders violate the Indiana constitution's ban on laws punishing people for acts that were legal when they were committed.

In April, the court overturned a man's conviction for not registering as a sex offender because he had already completed a sentence for child molestation before the state's Sex Offender Registration Act was passed.

In light of that ruling, the _____ decision "was not surprising," said Steve Johnson, executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council.

However, he said the ruling might be interpreted differently depending on the circumstances.

"For example, I would hope that the residency restriction law would apply to a person convicted of child molesting in 2005 and who then intentionally moved across the street from an elementary school in 2009," Johnson said in an e-mail.

Corbin said the attorney general's staff doubted the ruling would have a wide effect.

"We doubt that this will impact a significant number of cases," he said.
- Well, is this going to affect all those convicted before these laws went into effect?

VT - State sex registry change spurs objections

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MONTPELIER — Some Vermont sex offenders who thought they had paid their debt to society years ago are expected soon to face a new one — inclusion on the state's online sex offender registry.
- And this is an ex post facto law, which the Constitution strickly forbids!

A law passed this year expands from about 400 to about 1,600 the number of people included in the registry available for public viewing. Some 740 of the newly listed people will have already completed their terms of probation and parole.

Is it fair?
- No, of course it's not fair.  Why don't we do the same for all other crimes?  Put them on a registry and continually punish them over and over and over again!

The change is raising questions about whether it's fair for the state effectively to change the terms of a plea deal a criminal defendant entered into years before Vermont considered creating such a registry.
- No, like I said, it's ex post facto, and they are also tearing up the contract signed by the offender and state at the time of the conviction!

"The individuals aren't getting the benefit of the bargain that they entered into years ago," said Defender General Matthew Valerio, whose office represents defendants in criminal cases.

"Some of these folks have not had recent contact with the DOC (Department of Corrections) but are subject to an electronic registry that didn't even exist at the time," Valerio said.

Georgia Cumming, director of sex offender treatment programs for the department, said some crimes for which people will be placed on the registry likely date from the 1980s. She could not provide exact dates.

High court ruling

Both Valerio and Allen Gilbert, director of the Vermont office of the American Civil Liberties Union, acknowledged that courts in other states and the U.S. Supreme Court have ruled that inclusion on a sex offender registry isn't considered punishment and therefore doesn't violate the constitutional ban on changing the punishment after the crime.
- Well, that is a load of BS as well.  Why don't you live with the registry and rules, then tell me it's not punishment.  It makes people lose their jobs, homes and have to continually move.  That is punishment, plain and simple, and I do not care how you word it or what you call it, it's punishment.

Rather, registries are considered a public-safety tool that enables members of the public to know when a person with a sex-crimes record moves into the neighborhood.
- So if it's about public safety, then why aren't murderers, drug dealers/users, gang members, DUI offenders, thieves, abusive parents/husbands/wives, and all other criminals on a registry and have similar residency restrictions?  Because it's not about public safety, that is a smoke screen.

"The courts long ago determined that being on a sex offender registry is not necessarily punishment, and I don't see it as that," said Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington. Sears chairs the Judiciary Committee in the Vermont Senate, which wrote two broad new sex-offender bills passed during the recent legislative session.
- You don't see it as punishment, because you are lying to yourself, and why don't you live with these laws for a year or so, then tell me it's not punishment?  When you lose your job, cannot find another job, lose your home, cannot find another home, become homeless, being harassed by neighbors, etc, then yes, that is punishment, period!

Sears said the new law has a provision allowing those soon to be included on the registry to petition for waivers.
- Yeah, it may have that, but it's still unconstitutional, and let's see how many successfully get off the registry, I am willing to bet, zero!

Lisa Menard, deputy corrections commissioner, said nearly one-fifth of the 740 people who are no longer under her department's supervision but are eligible for inclusion had asked for the paperwork by Thursday, the second day the law was in effect. She expects the number to grow by Oct. 1, when the expanded registry is set to "go live" online.

Both Sears and Gilbert said they expect the fairness issue to end up in court. Gilbert said the legal question likely would be not whether the constitutional ban on ex post facto punishments was being violated, but whether the state was violating contracts struck in plea agreements. He said more than 90 percent of sex-crime cases are resolved by plea agreement.
- Why do they expect it in court?  Because they know it's not fair, that is why!

"Each side is supposed to honor the terms of a contract," Gilbert said.
- Amen!  And they are just tearing up those contracts, which is also another violation of the Constitutional rights of people, based on the contracts clause.

Sears said he wasn't worried about a lawsuit. He said "54,000 Vermonters signed petitions asking for this kind of public policy. I think the Legislature responded to that cry."
- So what, even if 10 million signed a petition, it's still unconstitutional.  Just because everyone joins the bandwagon, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do!  So let's make a criminal registry, and go back in time to get all the DUI offenders, murderers, gang members, etc, and put them on a similar registry and residency restrictions.  Why not?  If it's good for one group, why not all criminals?

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (Bill Of Rights)

SD - Sex offenses get new look

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By Jonathan Ellis

Some cases shouldn't force person to register for life, state senator says

A committee of state lawmakers this week will review laws governing the South Dakota sex offender registry to see whether changes should be proposed in the next legislative session.

The seven lawmakers are expected to hear testimony from national experts on the registries, including requirements imposed by the federal government.

Sen. Gene Abdallah (Contact), R-Sioux Falls, is chairing the committee. Abdallah has been a leading proponent of strengthening state laws regarding sex offenders, including restrictions on where they live.

But Abdallah also said that some people convicted of minor crimes should be allowed to get off the registry after a certain amount of time. With a few exceptions, convicted sex offenders in South Dakota are on the registry for life.

If a young man is convicted of having sex with a girlfriend, for example, Abdallah said the man shouldn't be required to register for life.
- He shouldn't be required to register at all, if it's within a certain age range.

"He becomes a registered sex offender for life," Abdallah said. "There should be some ways to get off the list."

South Dakota's age of consent is 16. Sex with someone younger than 13 is considered aggravated rape, Attorney General Larry Long said, and it carries a stronger penalty.

"There is a difference in public perception if the perpetrator is 20, or 30, or 40 or 50," he said. "But, in terms of how the law is stated, the important legal principle is that the girl is under 16."

There are two models for sex offender registries, Long said. South Dakota puts all offenders on the registry for life.

Other states have tiered systems: Offenders who commit serious offenses are on for life; other offenses carry a medium term on the registry; and minor offenders are allowed off the registry after a shorter time period, sometimes in the range of 10 years.

A tiered system carries additional expenses: Each offender must be analyzed by a psychologist to determine whether a lower tier is appropriate, Long said.

"South Dakota has determined there's a cleaner way to do it: That is register everybody," he said.
- Yep, always taking the easy way out, just like lumping all into one level and treating them all as if they are predators.

State law allows for a person convicted of statutory rape to petition a judge after 10 years to be removed from the registry, Long said.

The law states that the offender must have been 21 or younger at the time the crime occurred.

Long said such petitions have occurred in the past, but the data wasn't immediately available on how often it's happened.

In addition to studying the registry, lawmakers also will determine whether state laws regarding sex offenders comply with federal requirements. Lawmakers might have to make changes in the next session, Abdallah said.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (Bill Of Rights)

FL - Ron Book Quotes and Comments


Ron Book Blog items
Ron Book Delicious Articles

The following is a list of quotes and comments made by Ron Book, head of the Homeless Trust in Florida, and lobbyist. Below each set of quotes, is a link to the article from which the quote came from, as well as our comments.

If anybody else has any other quotes, please leave a comment on this blog item, with a link to the article or web site where the quote appears.

The following is what someone under the bridge said, Ron said, about the female sex offender under the bridge. Ron, are you trying to say she is running a prostitution business or something, you idiot! I think Ron owes this lady an apology for saying this, but do I expect him to actually do this? No!

You know what this guy had to say about Voncel??? Ron Book said that the only reason she does not leave the bridge. Is because she is running a business from down there.

Myself and 3 of the other guys overheard him saying it to the senator....

Audio Sound Bites

They are monsters, that's what they are!

I don't want them living across the street from the park where my children are playing on the play ground. I'm sorry, and you know what, I'm not really sorry. Because it does not bother me at all. I have nothing to apologize for, for advocating for the adoption of these ordinances and these laws, to protect our kids.

The ACLU is wrong on this one, they know they are wrong on this one. And some of these cases are winding their way through our courts, here in the United States. And the courts so far have said, the public' right to have their health, safety and welfare protected, is as fundamental right as anybody has. And those rights, I'm sorry, come ahead of the criminals right, in this particular set of circumstances. You just don't get all your rights back, over night, or sometimes ever, when you've broken the law, you chose to break the law.

There are some unfortunate circumstance that get swept up in any law, in any law.

My daughter was 12 years old, when this pig, ah that's right, let me rephrase it, the monster, began to brainwash her. Um, nobody gave my daughter a vote on that. It's my own personal crusade, ah, on behalf of my daughter and family, um, to help, because I have access to the system, it's what I do for a living, I pass laws, I advocate for the passage and defeat of laws, that's what I do.

Are they monsters? You bet they are, you bet they are. And it only takes one unfortunate bad circumstance that affects your family to realize what monsters they are. They are monsters!

I have visited with many of the predators and offenders, whose conduct I find reprehensible, but I do not sanction homelessness, and the department of corrections has created a homeless village under that bridge.

We're not saying "solve it by yourself," we're saying "we're prepared to help you solve it, but don't give us ownership of your issue!"

Every single one of the predators and offenders, living under that bridge, was charged and convicted of a crime against a child!
- Which is a flat out lie!

Other Quotes and Comments:

"That population is growing largely because the Department of Corrections continues to approve people to live under the bridge. That, ladies and gentlemen, is just fundamentally wrong,"


"They are homeless, and we take the problem under the Tuttle very seriously. The Department of Corrections continues to give people an address to live under the bridge. Their actions are irresponsible. Their conduct is reprehensible,"


Ron Book, who is a Miami attorney and lobbyist, wants a child-safety zone implemented that would keep sex offenders within 300 feet of parks, day cares and YMCAs, among other facilities.

"Hug your children. Ask them what they're doing. Pay attention. Pay attention all the time, not just five minutes after this broadcast"


Ron Book, who chairs the David Raymond Homeless Trust, said his staff has removed some people living under bridge who are not registered sex offenders. Book said the trust found a man and his pitbull a place to live in Homestead.

Book believes the people living under the bridge are the state's responsibility.

"They want somebody else to pay for the problem"


"Book-Lin was molested by her nanny in a widely publicized case several years ago."


But among those asking for an appointment to the task force was Ron Book, South Florida's most powerful lobbyist and the state's most vocal champion of the draconian residency restrictions.


Book argued that the trust has found areas in Miami-Dade where sex offenders could live but "landlords simply refuse to rent to people with this type of criminal history."

Book claimed that the homeless trust has spent "thousands of dollars" on a program designed to place people emerging from institutional settings.

Some 30 sex offenders under the Tuttle have been evaluated, he said. But so far, according to his letter, the Trust has managed to find accommodations for only one.


Book's daughter Lauren was sexually abused years ago by a live-in nanny, and though the perpetrator is now in jail, the crime will never be erased. Book knows this, but through his profession he also knows a good deal about laws and that laws against sexual offenders can change.

One change Book and his daughter are currently pushing hard has taken them on car trips around Miami-Dade and Broward counties, from one city hall to another. Miami Beach, Pembroke Pines, Miami and Dania Beach have already heard Book's emotional pleas -- asking that sexual offenders be required to live 2,500 feet away from places like parks and schools.

"Don't let them live where your children are,"

"After having gone through this horrible, tragic experience, I can tell you there is no lower form of life than a convicted sexual predator."

Ron Book has heard these arguments before, but is steadfast in support of the new laws, saying that if state law permits local governments to keep porn shops 2,500 feet from schools and parks, surely sexual predators should be similarly banned.

With virtually no politician challenging it, the current 2,500-foot-guideline will likely face its toughest test in the courts. Ron Book vows to advocate for it there, too.


"If those people aren't employable, if they don't have financial resources, that's an issue of their criminal convictions. There are people convicted for other offenses who have similar difficulty finding housing."


"When an individual gets convicted for sexually deviant behavior, at the end of the day nobody wants them living in their apartments,"


Ron Book, who chaired the task force, dismisses the idea that the 2,500-foot ordinance has failed the county. As for the men under the bridge, he answers, "I would say to you that is not the ideal solution, but ... I'm not sure that 20 is any demonstration of failure at all."

Asked if the 2,500-foot ordinance is pushing sex offenders into poor communities, Book pauses. "I don't have to like it," he says. "Look, I don't have all the solutions."


However, prominent lobbyist Ron Book -- who was instrumental in the passage of the local laws -- said he was skeptical they were to blame for forcing people to live under a bridge. He suggested there might be ways to solve the problem while keeping current rules in place.

Book acknowledged those current laws leave a lot of housing options off-limits to offenders, but added, "the last time I checked, nobody had a guaranteed right to live in Miami-Dade County."


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (Bill Of Rights)

NE - Posters Hung Falsely Identifying Man as Sex Offender

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By Todd Unger

Omaha (KPTM) - Some Papillion residents woke up to some bizarre postings Friday morning.

Flyers claiming an area man was a sex offender were posted on numerous street and school signs.

"I was shocked. I was shocked in a way," says Janet Amfinson. "It's a defamation of character. I think it's nasty thing to do to someone."

The woman lives nearby the man whose picture is posted on the flyers.

They're family friends, and she says the phrases plastered on the poster saying 'pedophile' and 'Level 3 Sex Offender' aren't true.

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not," she says.

FOX 42 isn't releasing the man's full name or address because it looks like Amfinson is right.

A quick check of the Nebraska State Patrol's online registry of sex offenders doesn't list the man, which it would have to if he were a level three offender, as the poster claims.

FOX 42 talked with 'Erik' by phone Friday.

He said the posters were a lie and that he has police looking into it.

A Papillion police officer would only confirm off camera they're investigating, but need witnesses who may have seen someone hanging the flyers to step forward.

Amfinson says someone needs to be held accountable for publicly damaging the reputation of a man who has a family himself.

"I was angry that somebody would do that to somebody when he's trying to raise this child," she says.

A look at the online inmate search for Nebraska Department of Corrections also has no record for the man.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (Bill Of Rights)