Tuesday, July 7, 2009

FL - City wants sex offenders living under Miami bridge to be removed

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I don't agree with even a 1,000 foot limit, but, the counties should be forced to go back to the STATE limit, which is 1,000 feet, then many of these people could find a place to stay, that is, if they are not flat broke.

06/03/2009

About seventy people live in a homeless camp underneath a Miami bridge. Many of them have been released from prison after serving time for sex offenses and have nowhere else to live because of residency restrictions. But Miami’s City Manager sent a letter this week asking Governor Charlie Crist (Contact) to relocate the people who live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, blames both the Governor and local elected officials for taking advantage of the public’s fear of where released sex offenders reside.

And they exploited that public concern by enacting a patchwork quilt of residency requirements that exceeded the state requirements. … In many places this was in effect banishment from the community.”

Released sex offenders in Florida may not live within 1000 feet of schools, parks, and other areas where children gather. But like many other communities, Miami has increased that restriction to 2500 feet. That excludes almost the entire Miami-Dade County except for Everglades wilderness and a state-owned patch underneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Ron Book is board chair of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust and describes himself as an advocate for victims’ rights and for the 2500 foot residency restriction.

When offenders have been leaving the prison system, the Department of Corrections, when they couldn’t find housing for these folks, have been actually assigning these folks to a residence under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. They’ve actually, in many instances, have driver licenses with “under the Julia Tuttle Causeway” as their listed address.”
- Well Ron, you helped lobby for these very laws, now you are feeling the heat of your acting on emotions and not reality!

Book blames the state’s Department of Corrections, who he says the Homeless Trust has been communicating with for over a year “for a better way to discharge these folks from the prison system, so that they weren’t discharging people into a state of homelessness. Frankly, we find the department’s position to be reprehensible. They have, in effect, decided they were going to just discharge people into homelessness, which is just wrong. We negotiated an agreement a year ago with a number of people in the community to discharge people from facilities and institutions – and one of them was the Department of Corrections. We made changes to our agreement; the department refused to sign it. … It is unsanitary, it is terrible, it is a blight on the community. And we have no one but the Department of Corrections to thank for this situation.”
- He's blaming others, but he is the one who lobbied for these very laws, so he should also be blaming himself!

Gretl Plessinger is a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections. She says that as of Tuesday, only 41 of the people living under the bridge are sex offenders on probation under state jurisdiction.

We’ll do anything that it takes, and if he [Book] has any ideas, we would love to know them. … The residency restrictions make it, first of all, very difficult for them to find a place to live.”

In a letter this week to Governor Charlie Crist, Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez demanded that the state relocate the people living under the bridge because of its proximity to a spoil island. The island is known as Picnic Island #4, and is less than the local limit of 2,500 feet, but more than the state limit of 1,000 feet from the encampment. WMNF attempted to speak with Hernandez, but he was not available by airtime. Miami-Dade Homeless Trust’s Ron Book says the island is considered a public park.

The fact is the Julia Tuttle Causeway is 1200 feet from this island. The island is a park. It is designated in the City’s master plan as park.”

But the state Department of Corrections’ Gretl Plessinger disagrees with the city’s designation of the island as a park.

That island is someplace where boaters go … it’s not considered a park.”

The ACLU of Florida’s Howard Simon says that officials have created a statewide homelessness, public health, and public safety crisis.

Through the exploitation of this issue by local politicians and the inattention of state officials, we now have a crisis where each party is pointing the finger at the other party. … There’s plenty of blame to go around.”

Simon claims that Governor Charlie Crist, has, quote, “looked the other way” in the hopes that this issue would not get attention. Simon recommends a statewide task force to determine solutions.

Certainly it would address creating housing for people who are ultimately going to be released from our correction system and also addressing the patchwork of laws and local ordinances that have created this crisis.”

The ACLU is “preparing to seek a solution through the courts” to address the patchwork of local ordinances, according to Simon. But he hopes that won’t be necessary if Governor Charlie Crist takes the lead in fixing the issue. The Governor’s office did not respond by air time to our request for comment.




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


FL - Sex Offender Camp Might Impact Tourism

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07/07/2009

BBC Profiles Shantytown Under Julia Tuttle

MIAMI BEACH - The shantytown of paroled sex offenders living under and along the Julia Tuttle Causeway is getting international publicity, which could hurt South Florida's tourism industry.

Tourists to Miami Beach who travel to and from the airport using the Julia Tuttle Causeway now see a community of tents, which they might not know is part of the sex offenders' encampment.

Local laws keep paroled sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of places where children congregate, and many say they have no alternative but to live under the bridge.

"I wouldn't want to be around that. I wouldn't want them around my children," said a man named Danny who is visiting from New York.

Some locals might not even understand what the town of tents is. On Tuesday, some fathers brought their children to fish near the bridge and let the children run around unsupervised, Local 10's Glenna Milberg reported.
- Wow, imagine that, kids unsupervised, running around, and none are harmed!

As the tent city grows, so might a public relations nightmare on an international tourism scale.
- And I believe, this is their motivation for shutting down the camp, they helped create, money!

The British Broadcasting Corp. profiled the camp, describing it as a "human dumping ground." Newsweek magazine is just one publication reporting on the settlement, and several documentaries are in the works.
- And again, the heat is being turned up, so now, they are scrambling to do something about it.  I can't wait to see these documentaries.  Hopefully they will expose the cruel & unusual punishment!

"We're kind of watching and waiting," said Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez.

The tourist dependent city of Miami Beach has no control over the state property in the city of Miami where the sex offenders are living. However, a past mayor of Miami Beach started the charge to increase the buffer zones for sex offenders.

"From a public safety perspective, the more that are there, the more we need to make sure we monitor who is there and what are they doing when they're not there," Gonzalez said. "From our economics and our economy of tourism, we're trying to make sure that we're not seeing an adverse impact to our visitors and our tourists that are coming here."

Even with all the unintended consequences, there is no local politician who wants to be the first person to suggest reconsidering the buffer zones.
- Yeah, they don't want to treat people as human beings and do what is morally right, they want to save their own careers and butts!

The city of Miami is considering a lawsuit over the camp and plans to discuss it at the next commission meeting.

Previous Stories:


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


FL - Sex offenders could live in industrial zones, Broward County task force suggests

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So I guess they are just going to try to create sex offender ghettos, much like Hitler did with the Jews.

07/07/2009

By JOHN LANTIGUA

FORT LAUDERDALE — A Broward task force studying the problem of where convicted sex offenders can live once they are released from prison has recommended that the county study the possibility of establishing special residential exceptions in industrial zones.

The task force was formed by the Broward County Commission to study the problem after many municipalities in the county created special buffer zones stipulating that convicted sexual offenders and sexual predators could not live 2,500 feet from a school, playground, daycare center or, in some cases, school bus stops.

The commission passed a similar, temporary ordinance in April for the entire county, but asked the task force to study the problem before it became permanent.

The task force report released Monday raises serious questions about the expanded buffer zones.

Many municipalities in Florida - including in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast - have also expanded their buffer zones making it difficult for such offenders to find a place to live.

It is believed the Broward report may influence policy around the state.

"Despite their best intentions, these laws have resulted in an array of unintended consequences," reads the report. "The restrictions limit housing availability to a point where the number of homeless sex offenders is increasing."

"This raises concerns because if sex offenders cannot find housing, they may be forced to register as 'transient,' " making them more difficult to track and supervise or less likely to register with authorities," the report continues.

"Research indicates that housing instability is a consistent and robust predictor of absconding, probation violation, and recidivism for criminal offenders in general and sex offenders specifically," the authors conclude.

The expansion of buffer zones began in 2005, after the rape and murder of Jessica Lunsford, 9, by convicted sexual predator John Couey, in Citrus County.

Before then, almost all Florida cities adhered to the 1,000-foot buffer zone prescribed by state law. Critics of the expanded zones say local officials have over-reacted and created even larger problems in tracking offenders.

Convicted sexual offenders must register with local authorities and check in regularly. The task force tracked those sexual offenders in Broward before and since the expansion of the buffer zones.

According to the data obtained from the Broward Public Defender's Office, that office handled 16 "failure to register" cases in 2004, 50 cases in 2005, and 70 cases in 2009.

"Thus, since local residence restrictions were first enacted in 2005, the number of failure to register cases has increased more than four-fold," the task force said.

The report states that there are more than 640,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, and research indicates that anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent of them will be rearrested for committing a new sex crime in the future.

But the authors state that the distance an offender lives from schools, playgrounds or daycare centers does not appear to be a factor.

"Researchers in Florida compared the number of recidivists who lived within 1,000, 1,500, or 2,500 feet of schools or daycare centers," the authors say. "Sex offenders who lived closer to schools and daycares were not more likely to re-offend, and living farther from schools and daycares did not diminish the probability of sexual re-offending."

The report cites a Minnesota study, which found that in less than 4 percent of cases was the sex offender a neighbor of the victim.

Initial contact with victims was usually established more than one mile from the offender's home.

"Though relationships with minor victims were sometimes cultivated within 2,500 feet of the offender's home, none took place in or near a school, daycare center, or park," the report states. "An offender's social relationship with a child victim is much more likely to facilitate sexual abuse than residential proximity."

The report cites Palm Beach County as a place where municipalities have increased their buffer zones, but often not as much as cities in Broward and Miami-Dade.

Out of 20 ordinances in Palm Beach County, 14 have set their buffer zones at 1,500 feet or less, the report says. Of the ordinances in Miami-Dade County, including a countywide zone, all set the distance at 2,500 feet or more.

"It is interesting to note that there are 175 registered sexual offenders (listed) as transient in Miami-Dade County, and 21 registered as transient in Palm Beach County, suggesting that larger buffer zones result in larger numbers of transient sex offenders," the report says.

In addition to the possibility of establishing housing for sexual offenders in industrial zones, the task force made other recommendations.

The authors recommended that buffer zones be established that would prohibit sex offenders from loitering within a certain distance of schools, playgrounds and daycare centers during daytime hours. At the moment, ordinances only regulate where sex offenders can be between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

It also recommends that living restrictions distinguish between repeat offenders who are considered potentially dangerous sexual predators, and one-time offenders who are considered much less likely to relapse.

The authors also recommended that cities in Broward County make their buffer zones uniform and that local officials urge state legislators to address the problem for all of Florida.


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


Should Minors Ever Face Life Without Parole?

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07/07/2009

By Lewis Beale

Four years ago the high court decided no minor should face the death penalty. Now it's poised to determine if youths should face life without a chance of parole.

The Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Roper v. Simmons struck down the death penalty for juveniles, citing the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. But that left another possible Eighth Amendment issue on the table: whether sentences of life without parole for juveniles are constitutional.

That question is now being considered on both the judicial and legislative levels. In the term beginning this October, the Supremes will hear two cases — one involving a 13-year-old sex offender, the other a 17-year-old probation violator present when a felony murder occurred — both aiming to challenge life-without-parole sentences for juveniles (known by the unwieldy acronym JLWOP). Concurrently, the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security has been gathering testimony on a bill that would mandate parole hearings for JLWOP prisoners. The bill covers federal cases and gives states a financial incentive to comply with its terms.

"There is so much attention on this issue right now," says Baylor Law School professor Mark Osler, who has testified in favor of the proposed House bill, H.R. 2289. "I think in part it's because you have groups doing a good job advocating on it, and the idea is becoming more and more prevalent — that instead of wholesale change, we are smoothing off the rougher edges of the justice system, and that includes a focus on children."

Opponents to a change suggest that a focus on the prisoners as children, and not offenders, is wrong-headed and ahistorical. In its brief before the Supreme Court in the 13-year-old sex offender case, the State of Florida Attorney General's Office wrote, "Outside the context of the death penalty, this Court has always examined whether a sentence is grossly disproportionate under the Eighth Amendment by examining the sentence in relation to the offender's instant offense and prior offenses, not the individual characteristics of offender, such as age or mental capacity."

But the historical precedence is under assault.

"Juvenile crime has been going down, so people are starting to use that as political cover to raise the issue of why we have these overly punitive juvenile justice policies in place," said Ashley Nellis of the Sentencing Project. "And it's just a good time to be re-examining policies fiscally because incarceration is expensive, and life sentences are the most expensive."

The United States is one of the few countries that hand out JLWOP sentences. A 2005 Amnesty International study found that life without parole for juveniles is theoretically available in a dozen countries, but besides the U.S., only three others actually had teens serving such sentences — Israel with seven, South Africa with four and Tanzania with one.

In contrast, Sentencing Project Executive Director Mark Maurer noted in his testimony before the House subcommittee that 2,500 U.S. teenagers are incarcerated with no hope of release, most of them people of color. A majority of these — as many as 60 percent — are first-time offenders, and more than one quarter were convicted of felony murder, meaning they were participating in a crime when a murder occurred, but didn't do the actual killing.

"That's typical in a juvenile case where they are hanging out with older kids," Nellis says. "They don't realize they will do something bad, someone dies, and they wind up with life without parole."

An example of this is the case of Rebecca Falcon, a Florida 15-year-old who in 1997 hailed a cab with a gun-toting 18-year-old friend. The driver was shot in the head and died. Although it was never established in court who pulled the trigger — the teens accused each other — because Falcon was on the scene, she was sentenced to life without parole.

JLWOP sentences contravene several international treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (which has been ratified by every country except the U.S. and Somalia), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which the U.S. has signed) and a 2007 U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on all nations to abolish the juvenile death penalty and JLWOP (the vote was 176-1, the U.S. dissenting).

Despite the international momentum, the U.S. is just beginning to discuss the issue. One reason, says Nellis, is the ongoing fear the public has about so-called "bad seed" children in their midst.

"There was this tough-on-crime perspective that dominated in the '90s," she says, "and you can see this in laws that moved juveniles into the adult system. There was also this public outcry promoted by politicians that there was this super predator, that laws needed to be toughened to deal with this kind of juvenile."

Professor Osler adds that because many of these JLWOP sentences are "concentrated in a few states — California, Pennsylvania, Michigan — and they're not the states you'd expect [meaning places like Texas, with its high adult execution rate] ... my suspicion is that there was a political moment where that seemed like the answer to a problem, whether it was youth violence or gangs."

The trouble here is that these sentences send a message that the juvenile, no matter how young, is irredeemable, and that, Osler says, "is the argument you hear over and over, that there's no hope for change based on what we saw them do."

Yet this kind of thinking is contradicted by research, which has found that adolescent brains are undeveloped in areas associated with impulse control, emotional response, risk assessment and moral reasoning. Which means, says Bryan A. Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, who testified on hearings about H.R. 2289, that "young teens experience widely fluctuating emotions and vulnerability to stress and peer pressure without the adult ability to resist impulses and risk-taking behavior or the adult capacity to control their emotions."

In fact, some social scientists believe full emotional and moral maturity doesn't occur until people are in their 20s, which means an incarcerated teenager, given the proper counseling and rehabilitation (a big if), could conceivably mature into a responsible adult.

This is what H.R. 2289 is trying to take into account. The bill would mandate that every JLWOP prisoner "receives, not less than once during the first 15 years of incarceration, and not less than every three years thereafter, a meaningful opportunity for parole or other form of supervised release." States in noncompliance of this mandate would be penalized by a 10 percent cut in the anticrime funding they would normally receive under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

While a number of high-profile organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and The Center for Law and Global Justice at the University of San Francisco School of Law have produced reports castigating the U.S. for its policies on JLWOP, and PBS's Frontline documentary series produced a 2007 piece, "When Kids Get Life," widely viewed as sympathetic to the cause, opponents of loosening sentences have stood their ground. Critics of the act, which include the National District Attorneys Association, claim it is yet another example of the federal government butting into state issues and lumps all JLWOP offenders into the same eligible-for-parole category no matter how heinous the offense.

"That [last argument] would make a lot more sense if you required a mandatory release date," Osler says. "This bill is just about parole, and a lot of people up for parole never get parole. If you have a kid in for 15 years, and he still has a lot of problems, that kid will not be released."

But as Santa Mateo County, Calif., District Attorney James P. Fox noted in his testimony, the mere fact that a juvenile was prosecuted as an adult suggests he or she already has a lot of problems.

"The unwritten but clear implication of this proposed legislation is that too many juvenile offenders are prosecuted and sentenced as adults in our country," he testified. "The reality is, in fact, quite the opposite. Very few juveniles are prosecuted and sentenced as adults in America, contrary to the unwritten implication of this proposed legislation and a public misperception driven in large part by sensationalistic media coverage of certain high-profile cases. Few jurisdictions in America prosecute more than 1 to 2 percent of juvenile criminal offenders as adults, and in some jurisdictions, this percentage is even lower. In those cases where adult-court prosecution does occur, the simple fact of the matter is that adult-court prosecution is clearly warranted in these instances."

No one knows if H.R. 2289 will become law (it has yet to be voted out of committee), but with the Democratic majority in Congress, it probably has a decent shot. In the meantime, the two cases coming before the Supreme Court will go a long way toward determining how this country deals with its juvenile criminals. Yet because of the significant differences between them, people like Nellis are predicting a split decision.

"My expectation is that they will answer two different questions," she says. "They may talk about juvenile life for very young ages in the Sullivan case [the 13-year-old sex offender], and they might deal with probation violations in the second case. We're hopeful that at the very least life without parole cannot be used in non-homicide cases."


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


Bill Gives Attorney General Power To Designate Gun Owners, Tax Protesters As Terrorists

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I guess we will all be terrorists one day, if we oppose the "government!" I think PJ/AZU should be added to this list, personally.  I am not saying I believe all this, but it would not surprise me one bit.

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Monday, July 6, 2009

Amendments to H.R. 2647 empower Holder to demonize law-abiding American citizens as “extremists” under definitions already established by Homeland Security

Amendments to the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which has already been passed by the House, would empower the Attorney General Eric Holder to define gun owners, anti-abortion activists and tax protesters as domestic terrorists in light of recent federal reports that classify millions of Americans as “extremists”.

Former impeached Florida judge and now Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings has introduced amendments to H.R. 2647: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which would give Holder dictator powers to demonize legitimate protest groups as being affiliated with violent race hate organizations.

The bill is ostensibly aimed at preventing race “extremists” and gang members from joining the Army, but since the Army already hires felons, criminals, racists and gang members, the real purpose behind the legislation is to codify the move to label gun owners, “anti-government” activists and tax protesters as domestic terrorists, a process that has been ongoing since at least the start of the decade.

The bill’s definition of “people associated or affiliated with hate groups” include, “Groups or organizations that espouse an intention or expectation of armed revolutionary activity against the United States Government,” or “Other groups or organizations that are determined by the Attorney General to be of a violent, extremist nature.”

The evidence required to show that such an organization is affiliated with a violent hate group includes people possessing tattoos identifying them with the group, individuals who attend conferences or rallies sponsored by a “hate group,” people who engage in online discussion forums of an “extremist” nature, people who possess documents, books or photographs or simply “related materials as defined by the Attorney General” that represent “hate propaganda.”

The amendments introduced by Hastings were passed by the House and the bill now moves on to the Senate for approval before it is signed by the President.

Since the definition of an “extremist” has already been established by numerous federal documents over the last few years that list law-abiding citizens as domestic terrorists, Hastings’ amendments are simply an attempt to centralize the power to demonize such groups into the hands of the Obama administration.

This is arguably one of the worst pieces of legislation to come down the pike in a long, long time. In essence Attorney General Eric Holder — a Bill Clinton retread — will have the discretion to label Americans terrorists. Hastings is a dangerous man and should be forced to resign from congress. This amendment is part and parcel of the trend in this country to suppress dissent by patriots by calling them domestic terrorists,” warns writer Mike Baker.

Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) expressed his concern about the amendment on the house floor, noting that under Homeland Security’s very definition of what constitutes an “extremist”, the majority of Americans will be characterized as hate criminals.

“While the amendment seeks to keep gang members and members of violent groups out of the military, the amendment by its language is much more broad. Specifically, it confers upon the Attorney General the ability to categorize groups as hate groups, and this sounds an alarm for many of us because of the recent shocking and offensive report released by the Department of Homeland Security which labeled, arguably, a majority of Americans as “extremists,” warned Franks.


“I take extreme offense that the federal government — through a report issued under the authority of a Cabinet-level official — would dare to categorize people who are “dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition or abortion or immigration” as “right-wing extremists” and it begs the question of whether the Attorney General, under Mr. Hastings’ Amendment, can look to the Napolitano report to decide who is an extremist, or can make the same categorization of the majority of Americans as extremists who may then be kept from joining the military, or who may be discharged,” said Rep. Franks.

As we reported in April, a recent Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment equates gun owners with violent terrorists and states that radical extremists are “stockpiling” weapons in fear of an Obama administration gun ban.

The document, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, states;

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

A similar report was also issued by the DHS at the end of March which listed the “alternative media” with other radical extremist groups and implies that people who disagree with the mass media’s version of events are potential domestic terrorists.

Both documents were just the latest in a long sordid line of training manuals in which the federal government characterizes millions of American citizens as potentially violent terrorists who are a threat to law enforcement, and designates them under the umbrella term of “extremists,” in the same context cited in Hastings’ amendments.

As we have exhaustively documented with the MIAC report and a whole host of others, the federal government apparently has very little concern for any perceived terrorist threat to America coming from the MIddle East or Al-Qaeda cells within the country, and indeed if any such threat existed we are only in more danger, because the feds have been busy training law enforcement that law-abiding American citizens who exercise their legal right to purchase firearms or who exercise their first amendment right to discuss politics or run websites, are potential terrorists who want to instigate a violent revolution.

In addition, current Department of Defense anti-terrorism training course material states that the exercise of First Amendment rights in the U.S. constitutes terrorist activity.

Over the last few years we have documented countless examples of security assessment reports from the likes of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, as well as police training manuals, which state that anti-war protesters, gun owners, veterans, Ron Paul supporters and those who merely cite the Constitution should be equated with extremists and domestic terrorists.

The fact that the government is now treating people who merely criticize its conduct as domestic terrorists is the clearest signal possible that the United States has entered a period in history similar to Germany in the early 1930’s and that it can only be a matter of time before the right “emergency” provides the justification for dissidents to be targeted for round-ups and mass imprisonment.

No one can claim now that this is merely a paranoid delusion – the government itself is training its law enforcement and military arms that protesters and people who use their First Amendment rights are domestic terrorists.

The facilities for round-ups of “extremists” who dare to exercise their First or Second Amendment rights are already being prepared, again with the help of Hastings, who sponsored (HR 645) – the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act.

The bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to set up a network of FEMA camp facilities to be used to house U.S. citizens in the event of a national emergency.

Ominously, the bill also states that the camps can be used to “meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security,” an open ended mandate which many fear could mean the forced detention of American citizens in the event of widespread rioting after a national emergency or total economic collapse.

The bill mandates that six separate facilities be established in different Federal Emergency Management Agency Regions (FEMA) throughout the country.

The camps will double up as “command and control” centers that will also house a “24/7 operations watch center” as well as training facilities for Federal, State, and local first responders.

The bill also contains language that will authorize camps to be established within closed or already operating military bases around the country.

As we have previously highlighted, in early 2006 Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root was awarded a $385 million dollar contract by Homeland Security to construct detention and processing facilities in the event of a national emergency.

The language of the preamble to the agreement veils the program with talk of temporary migrant holding centers, but it is made clear that the camps would also be used “as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency.”

As far back as 2002, FEMA sought bids from major real estate and engineering firms to construct giant internment facilities in the case of a chemical, biological or nuclear attack or a natural disaster.

A much discussed and circulated report, the Pentagon’s Civilian Inmate Labor Program, was more recently updated and the revision details a “template for developing agreements” between the Army and corrections facilities for the use of civilian inmate labor on Army installations.”

Alex Jones has attended numerous military urban warfare training drills across the US where role players were used to simulate arresting American citizens and taking them to internment camps.

Hastings’ efforts to have millions of law-abiding American citizens lumped in with racist gangs and designated as “extremists” arrives on the back of Federal hate crimes legislation, which in reality would criminalize “thought crimes,” that has cleared the House and now faces the Senate as S.909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (officially, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act).

S.909 is a direct violation of the First Amendment. It allows the federal government to prosecute people involved in “hate speech” transmitted over television, radio, and the internet. The House version of the bill states:

Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce [radio, TV, internet] any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. (HR 1966, SEC 3, Sec. 881a)

In other words, if a talk show host engages in “hostile” speech against a person or persons of the above mentioned federally protected group that talk show host will face federal prosecution and the prospect of a two year prison term.

The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act would similarly criminalize free speech on the Internet if it can be deemed in any way to have been “harmful” to an individual. This represents the end of political blogging and free speech on the world wide web.

If both bills are not opposed and thrown out then the First Amendment will become nothing more than a relic of a bygone age.

All of these coordinated moves to demonize informed, armed and pissed off Americans as extremists, terrorists and hate criminals represents the federal government’s final push to brainwash the population into accepting the notion that some Americans are dangerous, that they are enemies of the state, and that they can be targeted in the same way that victims of the “war on terror” are now being targeted across the world – through misappropriation of guilt, torture and indefinite imprisonment.


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


IL - Teens say ‘sexting’ is going on all over - And they don’t think legislation will make a difference

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07/07/2009

By CHRISTINE S. MOYER

With pink nails matching the pink stripes on her beach towel, 15-year-old _____ typed a text message poolside at Naperville's Centennial Beach on Monday. Her girlfriends did the same, each of them frantically tapping away on their phone keypads.

So, do they know about "sexting"? "Yeaaaah," they quickly replied.

For those out of the loop, "sexting" is a term used to describe sending text-messaging of sexual pictures.

And no, the girls never send those kinds of messages.

But they each have a friend, or know a girl, who has.

"There was this girl," started _____, 15, a sophomore at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. "She sent a picture of herself to her boyfriend and he sent it around school."

Long story short, the girl switched schools, _____ said with an air of finality.

Should it be illegal?

The girls thought for a moment.

"It is bad," _____ decided. "But I don't think (the punishment) should go too far."

Bill targets minors

State Rep. Darlene Senger (Email), who represents Naperville and the far East Side of Aurora, filed legislation last month aimed at preventing minors from sexting.

This legislation, House Bill 4583, would make it illegal for a minor under the age of 17 to knowingly disseminate any material that depicts nudity or other sexual conduct.

Those caught would meet with a juvenile officer and receive consequences such as community service, writing term papers, apology letters, curfew regulations and allowing parents to install software on their cell phones to closely monitor their child.
- Allowing parents to install software?  They can do that now!  You are not "allowing" them to do anything!

Under current law, sending a naked or lewd display of genitalia of a minor is a felony, as is requesting that someone else take, receive or distribute such an image, said Richard Wistocki of the Naperville Police Department Computer Crimes Unit.

"If you receive (an obscene image) and post it on a Web site for 24 hours or more, that's a Class 4 felony," Wistocki said.

Senger's legislation proposes that a youth found guilty of doing that two or more times be tried in court and, if convicted, be required to register as a sex offender, he said.

It also grants juvenile officers the discretion of either sending a first-time offender into the court system or completing what Wistocki termed "a station adjustment."

Send to one, send to all

Back at Centennial Beach, _____ considered the more lenient repercussions for first-time offenders.

"Community service won't stop it," she assured, her girlfriends nodding in agreement.

"Jail," she said, "that would stop people."

A beach towel away, 15-year-old _____ sun-bathed with a group of friends.

"It's definitely going on," _____, a Naperville Central High School sophomore, confirmed.

And these pictures, some of them, _____ confided, are totally naked.

Her twin, _____, described how it works.

One girl, she said, will send it to one guy, and then he will send it to everyone.

The lone guy in the group at the beach, 15-year-old _____, confirmed the theory.

He has received multiple "sext" messages, he said, but never passed any on to other people.

"Because I know they'd be pissed if they found out," _____ said, a little embarrassed.

Harmful material

_____, 16, of Aurora, has heard her Waubonsie Valley High School classmates make fun of girls in the "sexting" pictures they received, or saw on other people's cell phones.

"They say, 'Have you seen what she looks like?'" _____ said, taking a break from studying drivers education with a friend at an Aurora cafe.

Naperville police see around one "sexting" case each week, Wistocki estimated.

Those teens caught engaging in the act are charged with harmful material — a misdemeanor — and receive 90 days of police supervision.

While _____ and her friends insist there's a lot of sexting going on, the girls stressed they would never participate in it.

"My parents would kill me," _____ said. And then she cringed, ending the conversation.


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


DC - States struggle to comply with sex offender database

View the article here

07/07/2009

By Kristi Jourdan

Congress found it easy enough to pass guidelines for a national Internet database of sex offenders. Individual states are finding it far more difficult to comply with those guidelines.

Not a single state was ready to meet a deadline set for this month, prompting Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. (Contact) to grant an extension. With a year's reprieve, states are now wrestling with what they can and will do to satisfy the guidelines when they take effect in July 2010.

States that fail to comply will lose a portion of their annual federal justice grant, but California and Vermont are considering whether that would cost them less than implementing the program.
- This is basically extortion, IMO.  If you do this, we let you keep or give you money, otherwise, we will take money a way from you.

Maryland and other states will have to enact new laws, but some legislators oppose aspects of the federal guidelines involving the registration of juveniles and unlimited retroactivity. Virginia has legislation pending that would make it impossible to comply. D.C. officials say they are close to compliance but are awaiting further adjustments by Congress.

Under the guidelines created by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, states and other jurisdictions must feed a national Internet database with information about where the nation's estimated 674,000 registered sex offenders live and work. A jurisdiction that fails to do so faces the mandatory 10 percent of its Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, which supports crime control and prevention and funds victim programs as well as public defenders.

All juvenile offenders, whether they were tried in adult or juvenile court, will have to be registered under the law. The U.S. attorney general will have the authority to apply the law retroactively, meaning it may be applied to those who have served their time.
- But the constitution FORBIDS ex post facto (retroactive) laws, period, so the AG, based on the constitution, has no authority to do so, period!

Offenders would be classified in three tiers. Tier 3 offenders would be required to update their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements; tier 2 would update every six months with 25 years of registration; and tier 1 offenders would update every year for 15 years.

While some states are having problems with individual issues involving the new guidelines, others see an overall picture of dollars and cents. These states may ignore the guidelines entirely because implementation is too costly.

The California Sex Offender Management Board is urging the state not to comply with the act, which will involve "substantial and unreimbursed costs." To offset the $2.1 million that would be lost in federal funding, the agency suggests using other resources to ensure local law enforcement and other programs are not affected. The board says the state's current registry is sufficient.

Vermont has only one person updating its registry. Officials estimate the costs to implement the law would run into millions of dollars for new technology and staffing.

"It would require a lot more money than we would actually be losing," said Sheri Englert, the state's sex offender registry coordinator.

Vermont would lose about $500,000 for failing to comply.

With a little more than 2,400 registered sex offenders in Vermont, and about 400 of those online, it can get overwhelming for jurisdictions to keep track of offenders and for offenders to understand the law, Ms. Englert added.

"Most of the time, it's a generalization, they're going to fail from the onset," she said. "Rather than throw laws at them that are going to further frustrate them, forcing them to go under the radar, we need consistency across the board for every state. That's where most issues come up, [offenders who move] don't understand rules from the state they've just left."

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, about 674,000 people are registered as sex offenders in the U.S. But these numbers are constantly fluctuating as offenders move to new locations, die or are taken off the registry because their terms expire.
- And Florida, keeps dead offenders on the registry, why?  To further tarnish the family?

There are about 6,000 registered sex offenders in Maryland, which officials said was not ready for the deadline.

Maryland stands to lose about $1.9 million in Byrne funding in fiscal 2011 if found in noncompliance. The state requires only those juveniles convicted as adults to register. Those tried in the juvenile court system would have to be added. Maryland has been unable to pass compliance legislation regarding juvenile registration and retroactivity issues.

"It's not as easy as, 'We'd like to do this, and we're going to do it,' " said Dave Wolinski, of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. "We've got people on both sides of the fence saying they have different feelings about juvenile registration and registration terms."

Allison Turkel, policy adviser for the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office, which was created from the Walsh Act, said the law aims to classify offenders using a three-tiered system based on the severity of the offense for which they were convicted.

"[The law] sets a floor, not a ceiling, for registration," Ms. Turkel said.

The law also strengthens child pornography protections, requires violent sex offenders to register with local authorities and increases communication among states to know when an offender moves across state lines.

However, some critics have argued the law entraps homeless offenders, who are without a permanent residency. As long as offenders provide information about where they "habitually live," they are within the law.

As of May 29, the District had 869 registered offenders, but only 818 of those were listed online in June. The District breaks down offenders into three classes: A, B and C under the Sex Offender Registry Act of 1999, which authorizes the Metropolitan Police Department to release offender information to the public. The online list does not include class C offenders, which would change under the law.

However, Sgt. Robert Panizari, unit supervisor for the department's Sex Offender Registry Unit, said the city is close to meeting federal law but that could change as the law adapts.

"Congress is going to go back and look at [the act]," Mr. Panizari said. "We do have some more work to do, and now we have time on that."

Virginia had 15,893 registered sex offenders as of June 30. The state's crime commission is studying Byrne funding and compliance to the act because of budgetary issues and anticipating implementation costs. Virginia would lose an estimated $400,000 to $600,000 in funding if found in noncompliance, based on fiscal 2009 numbers. The state has pending legislation also regarding juvenile registration and retroactivity that would make it unable to comply with federal guidelines.

Although the state has not fully complied with the act, measures have been taken to require offenders to provide information about themselves online, with increased punishments for failing to register as a class 6 felony. Much of this legislation has failed to get the support needed to pass, while others float through legislative limbo.

_____, who was released from prison in 2004 after serving 4 1/2 years for a third-degree sexual abuse conviction in Iowa, said the federal government needs to stay out of what should be a state's business in deciding its own sex offender laws. Under the act, _____ is considered at least a tier 2 offender. The two-time offender could still be held accountable for his first conviction in the late 1980s because of unlimited retroactivity.

"[States] should not allow themselves to be federalized in a way that trashes the Constitution," _____ said. "There has to be a more realistic and productive way to solve the sex abuse problem. ... The consequences for noncompliance don't make any real sense. The feds are saying, in effect, if you don't comply with this mandate, we are going to make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to fight crime in your state at all."

Steve Roddel of _____ said the federal government needs to do more to protect communities from sex offenders.
- Who gives a crap what this man thinks?

Mr. Roddel is president of the company, which is a free national Internet search for registered offenders that he created after the 2005 Jessica Lunsford case. The site averages 5 million visitors per month.

"It's politics. States believe they have the right to decide," Mr. Roddel said. "Now, they'll all tell you, 'We're working to do our best to balance privacy rights with the public safety requirements that we have.' ... People are not looking for strangers, they're looking for people they know. Having access to that information is literally lifesaving."
- And having access to that info, would keep you in business!


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


FL - Broward's Solution To The Tuttle Causeway Condundrum

View the article here

07/06/2009

The task force assigned to sort through the difficulties associated with the myriad of sex offender residence restrictions and offer up recommendations for the Broward County Commission has released a draft of its findings. It's a thoughtful compilation that ought to resonate beyond Broward and into Miami-Dade County, where overreaching statutes have created the homeless mess under the Julie Tuttle Causeway.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on our review of the available evidence, we respectfully submit the following recommendations for policy which reflects criminal justice research and "best practices."

While some of our recommendations were unanimously agreed upon, others were not. Our recommendations reflect the consensus of the task force based on majority vote.

  1. It is clear that bus stops diminish housing availability within buffer zones to a literal point of non-existence. We recommend that if a residential exclusion zone is passed, it should not include school bus stops as a prohibited venue.
  2. Based on data provided by the county's Planning and Redevelopment Division (p.22), it is also exceedingly clear that a 2,500 foot zone as described in the existing ordinance will exclude sex offenders from residing in the unincorporated areas of the county. Because 24 municipalities have also passed 2,500 foot exclusion zones, few options exist for sex offender housing throughout the county. This raises concerns, not due to sympathy for sex offenders, but because research indicates that housing instability is a consistent and robust predictor of absconding, probation violation, and recidivism for criminal offenders in general and sex offenders specifically.

    Reports from FDLE indicate a growing number of "sex offender transients" in Broward, and many more in Miami-Dade County where homelessness resulting from residential restrictions has caught national attention.
  3. Residence restrictions regulate only where sex offenders sleep at night and do nothing to prevent pedophilic or predatory offenders from frequenting places during the day where they can cultivate relationships with children and access opportunities for sexual abuse. Therefore, we recommend that the commissioners consider enacting a child safety zone preventing sex offenders from loitering without a legitimate reason in areas where children are present.
  4. We recommend that in any ordinance that is passed, an exception be made for offenders who established their residence prior to the passage of the ordinance (a "grandfather" clause). Such clauses are commonly found in other municipal ordinances. Because housing throughout the county is so limited, such a clause will reduce the probability of homelessness and transience for RSOs who are already living in unincorporated areas. The proposed end-of-lease grandfather clause simply delays housing instability rather than prevents it. Grandfathering homeowners but not lease holders represents differential treatment based on financial resources.

    Since there is no reason to believe that current lease holders present a greater Broward Sex Offender & Sexual Predator Residence Task Force Report Page 27 July 2, 2009 threat to the safety of children than homeowners, this differential treatment seems not only unfair, but illogical.
  5. We recommend that an exception be made (referred to as a Romeo & Juliet clause in Florida statutes) for young adults with a single victim and who, at the time of the offense, were under the age of 22 and committed a "statutory" offense with a teenage victim no more than 4 years younger than the offender. While we recognize that such behavior is unlawful, and that minors cannot legally consent to sexual activity with an adult, we also recognize that such offenders are not typically diagnosed as pedophiles and probably do not pose a significant danger to commit future sexually violent crimes.
  6. We recommend that commissioners strongly urge our elected state senators and representatives to enact a statewide solution to sex offender management. The problem of clustering is a direct result of the multiplicity of ordinances throughout the state (at least156) which push offenders into areas with less restrictive buffer zones.

    The best solution is for the Florida legislature to enact a uniform statewide residential policy for sex offenders. We recommend that the county commissioners adopt a resolution asking the legislature to create a statewide residence solution, which should include a Romeo & Juliet clause as well as a grandfather clause. The recommendation to the legislature should also urge the adoption of a uniform statewide child safety zone provision preventing RSOs from loitering within 300-500 feet of a school, park, daycare, designated school bus stop, or other place where children regularly congregate. We also recommend that the legislature review the crimes that require registration and that Florida create a more refined, risk-based classification and tier system of offenders that might, in some circumstances, lead to individuals eventually being deleted from the registry but only upon meeting criteria established by statute and requiring judicial review.
  7. We recommend that commissioners strongly urge leaders from the League of Cities to endorse a uniform county-wide ordinance. The problem of clustering is a direct result of the multiplicity of differing ordinances throughout the county (24) which push offenders into areas with less restrictive buffer zones. In the absence of legislative reform, the best immediate solution is for city councils to agree to enforce uniform residential policies for sex offenders throughout this county.
  8. We urge leaders from the League of Cities to undertake an analysis of potentially compliant housing in each municipality and amend ordinances to allow for reasonable housing availability to alleviate clustering. Information designating compliant residential locations should be provided to DOC probation, law Broward Sex Offender & Sexual Predator Residence Task Force Report Page 28 July 2, 2009 enforcement agencies, and other case managers to assist RSOs in securing housing.
  9. We recommend that commissioners consider text amendments to land use plans to allow residential units in industrial areas as a permitted use. The feasibility of alternative housing options for sex offenders needs to be more fully investigated, as any alternative housing would be subject to zoning variances and practical considerations such as affordability and access to residential infrastructure (public transportation, shopping, services, etc.). Innovative housing options are recognized as a possible long-term solution requiring complex planning and development, and therefore should not be considered as a singular alternative to our other recommendations.
  10. We support Mayor Ritter's letter to Governor Crist asking for leadership and assistance in addressing the matter and suggesting a statewide or regional task force to allow for uniformity of residence requirements.
  11. Based upon concerns raised by the Broward Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office, we recommend that commissioners and the county attorney review the language defining "temporary" and "permanent" residence in Ordinance 2009-22 as "a 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 - Congressman Peter King calling Michael Jackson a pedophile, without any proof, and after he was aquitted of such.

Like I've said before, yes, Michael was weird, but he was aquitted of child molestation. But, it does show, that no matter what occurs in a court of law and a jury says, people will always believe what they want to believe. I personally do not think he was a pedophile or child molester, but, that is my opinion. This man comes across as the "homophobe" type to me.

Peter King Web Site | YouTube Channel



"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 SUPREME COURT: Sex Offender Residency Restriction Invalid, As Applied to Defendant

View the article here

07/06/2009

By Patrick Ziepolt

In State v. Pollard, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the sex offender residency restriction violated the ex post facto prohibition of the Indiana State Constitution as applied to the defendant.

The residency restriction statute, Indiana Code section 35-42-4-11, went into effect in 2006. The statute provides that certain persons convicted of sex crimes are “offenders against children.” An offender who lives within 1,000 feet of school property, a youth center, or a public park is guilty of a Class D felony. Article I, section 24 of the Indiana Constitution forbids ex post facto laws: specifically, the State may not impose a punishment that was unavailable at the time of conviction.
- And so does every other states Constitution.  These laws are unconstitutional, period!

Anthony Pollard was convicted of a sex-related offense in 1997. He owned the residence at issue for roughly 20 years. The State charged him with a violation of the residency restriction in 2007. The trial court dismissed the charges against Pollard, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision. Pollard died while the case was pending on transfer.
- So therefore, they deemed it unconstitutional, but he's dead now, so it doesn't change anything!

The Indiana Supreme Court focused its inquiry on whether the statute was “so punitive in effect” as to negate its civil, regulatory purpose. It determined in part that a “sex offender is subject to constant eviction because . . . there are no guarantees a school or youth program center will not open within 1,000 feet of any given location.” The Court noted that while the statute served a legitimate public safety purpose, it also advanced the goals of criminal deterrence.

Most importantly, the Court concluded that the statute is excessive in relation to its safety purpose. Although it ostensibly applies to “offenders against children,” the statute’s definition includes a whole range of felonies that does not necessary relate to children (e.g. vicarious sexual gratification and promoting prostitution). Thus, the statute “exceeds its non-punitive purpose” because it bars residence “based on conduct that may have nothing to do with crimes against children.” Finding that the statute had a significant punitive effect, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the statute was void as applied to Pollard and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
- They are applying the laws and rules to ALL sex offenders, not just those who have harmed children.  Just ask any sex offender who was not convicted of a sex crime against a child.

Patrick Ziepolt is a student at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington, and a summer associate with Bingham McHale.


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