Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NJ - Sex offender residency ban revoked in Millstone Twp.

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07/21/2009

By JANE MEGGITT

MILLSTONE — By a 3-0 vote, the Township Committee repealed the municipality's sex offender residency ordinance at the July 1 meeting. By the same 3-0 vote, the governing body approved a resolution supporting state Senate Bill S-2805, the Jessica Lundsford Act.

On May 7, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously upheld the July 15, 2008, Appellate Division of the Superior Court ruling that municipalities are not empowered to enact sex offender residency ordinances because the state has pre-empted this area of regulation by virtue of the adoption of Megan's Law.

Megan's Law, named for 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl raped and murdered by a neighbor who was a convicted sex offender, took effect in 1994 and mandates that offenders register with police and notify officers when changing addresses.

The resolution supporting the Jessica Lunsford Act states that 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford was abducted, raped and brutally murdered in February 2005. On May 2, 2005, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed the Jessica Lunsford Act into law.

On May 7, 2009, N.J. Senate Bill S- 2805 was introduced, which amends state statutes to provide for a mandatory term of imprisonment for certain sex offenders. If the bill becomes law, a person convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a minor under 18 or the new crime of first-degree sexual assault of a minor under 18 would be sentenced to a specific term of years fixed by the court, which would be between 25 years to life imprisonment, of which the person must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.

The bill also amends state statutes prohibiting hindering apprehension or prosecution. The bill provides for the mandatory term of imprisonment of three years without eligibility for parole if a person harbored or concealed a person who is subject to the registration requirements of Megan's Law and who the person has reason to believe is not complying or has not complied with the Megan's Law registration provisions.

Copies of the resolution were forwarded to Gov. Jon Corzine, Senate President Richard Codey, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, Sen. Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande.

Millstone Mayor Nancy Grbelja said the court has overturned municipal sex offender ordinances and said the township must follow the law, as advised by its legal counsel. She said she felt the Jessica Lunsford Act would protect children from sexual predators both in Millstone and throughout the state.

"This is what we want to do to protect our children from any sexual predators in the area or who may come into this area," she said.
- No, this is what you do to grandstand and boast, so you look like you are actually doing something, other than ruining this country!

Neighboring Upper Freehold Township has declined to repeal its sex offender residency law at this time.

According to the New Jersey State Police sex offender registry, Millstone has two residents living in town who are convicted sex offenders. Upper Freehold has no sex offenders registered.


"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 (United States Constitution)


FL - Bridge Still Home For Miami Sex Offenders

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07/21/2009

State judges in Miami are being asked to mediate a dispute that involves the city, the state and a growing colony of sex offenders.

The colony is an encampment of tents and shacks under a Miami bridge that began when corrections officers began ordering offenders there a few years ago. The shantytown was created in response to local laws that restrict where sex offenders can live.

Now, local and state officials are trading charges about who's to blame for creating the situation and who should fix it.

Village Of Tents

It started more than two years ago — a few tents pitched under a bridge on Miami's Julia Tuttle Causeway. Today, it's a well-established shantytown. More than 80 people make their home under the bridge.

There are half a dozen wooden shacks, some with cooking and toilet facilities. It's a village of tents, campers and cars — also a dock with a few small rowboats. Shared generators provide power for a CD player — also to recharge cell phones and electronic monitoring units required for sex offenders on supervised release.

Homer Barclay came to live here a year and a half ago. Barclay was convicted of attempted sexual battery in 1992. Last year, after a parole violation, he says probation officers gave him just one option.

"They told me that I had to live up under the Julia Tuttle Causeway," says Barclay. "I said, 'How come I have to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway?' They said, 'If you want to go home, this is where you got to go.' "

Barclay has a driver's license issued to him at the time of his release. His address is listed as Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Like many of the sex offenders on supervised release, Barclay is required to be here between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. During the day, many of the felons leave for jobs or to visit their families.

On this day, Barclay was fishing.

"I'm not working because it's difficult to find a job. I went everywhere looking for a job. Woo, it's rough," Barclay says. "Right now, I'm hungry, you know what I'm saying? I need a bath. I'm fishing, as you see, to try to survive. We just want to do what they want us to do. We just want our life back. That's all we want."

Whose Problem?

Miami is one of several communities in South Florida that, along with Miami-Dade County, adopted ordinances banning sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, bus stops and anywhere that children congregate.

State corrections officials say that made it impossible for many sex offenders to go back home because their old residences were within the restricted area. Even homeless shelters are off-limits. Corrections officials settled on the state-owned land under the bridge as their only recourse.

Until recently, the sex offender colony was mostly out of sight to motorists passing overhead on the interstate that links Miami Beach to the mainland. But the growing population has now spread out from under the bridge to the grassy areas alongside the road.

That's gotten the attention of Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

"This is probably not the message the city of Miami and, I suspect, certainly Miami Beach [wants] to send to its visitors that, 'Welcome to our neighborhood. We put all our predators right out here,' " Sarnoff said.

In a letter to the city of Miami last month, a state lawyer said the corrections department is just following local laws and that the growing colony of sex offenders is, in effect, Miami's problem.

That letter infuriated Sarnoff.

"Well, it's not our problem. The problem is the state's problem," Sarnoff says. "The state is the one that is placing them under the bridge. The state is the one that is issuing them identification cards that actually say 'Under the Julia Tuttle Causeway Bridge.' "

Sarnoff says he and others want the state to convene a task force to look for a solution to the problem. So far, they've seen no results.

Out of frustration, Miami sued the state of Florida saying it had created a public nuisance that was a threat to health and safety. The city also maintains that the shantytown on the causeway violates the sex offender ordinance because it's within 2,500 feet of an island in Biscayne Bay that's designated as a city park.

Gretl Plessinger with Florida's Department of Corrections disagrees.

While she says the corrections department shares the concerns about the growing population under the bridge, Plessinger says she doesn't believe the nearby island presents them with a legal problem requiring them to relocate the sex offenders.

"It's my belief that that is just a barrier island that occasionally boaters will go to to picnic," she says. "There's no playground equipment. It's not someplace where we would consider children to be congregating."

A Single Standard

Recently, the ACLU also entered the melee with a lawsuit that targets Miami-Dade County and its 2,500-foot residency restriction.

Maria Kayanan of the ACLU says Miami-Dade's law should be pre-empted by a state ordinance that sets a 1,000-foot residency restriction on sex offenders. That would expand greatly the places in Miami where they could live. It would also create a single, statewide standard.

"There seems to be a growing recognition, not just in South Florida but throughout the state and across the country, that state legislative schemes are the better way to go rather than a patchwork of local ordinances," Kayanan says.

All parties seem to agree that there should be a single statewide residency standard for sex offenders, but the question is how to get there. With state and local officials at an impasse, the future of the growing colony of sex offenders living under the bridge would now appear to rest with Florida's courts.




"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 (United States Constitution)


FL - Man Offers Housing For Sex Offenders

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See the video at the site above.

07/21/2009

CENTRAL FLORIDA -- A Central Florida man is making money providing a controversial service, housing for convicted sex offenders.

_____, who's a sex offender himself, started a business called Habitat For Sex Offenders. He buys houses and rents them to sex offenders in Central Florida and across the state.

Young oversees seven properties and has plans to take on 24 more.

"I think I'm making the community safer," Young said.

"What do people around have to say about that?" a WFTV reporter asked.

"They usually don't have anything to say," Young responded.

"I think he's scum. He has no right to make a living off of this," neighbor Sheryl Edwards said.
- Yes he does.  He has as much a right as you!

However, his business is legal as long as the homes are at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks and playgrounds. Young says there's such a need for housing that he gets around 50 calls from sex offenders every day.


"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 (United States Constitution)


TX - Former juvenile officer going to prison for 5 years, and not required to registers as a sex offender, after having sex with a 16 year old 10 times! Can you say "double standard?"

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Double standards, alive and well. So much for holding people in positions of authority, to a higher standard, and on top of that, she is a woman! PLUS, PLUS!!! I hate to sound sexist, but, maybe we should all get vaginas? That seems to be what it takes to get a slap on the wrist these days, or be a cop! The title was "Former juvenile officer going to prison," but I changed it. If this were the average male, they would've put a different title up there, but this is a female probation officer, so they have to soften it up.

07/21/2009

By MATTHEW WATKINS

A former Brazos County juvenile probation officer awaiting trial for sexual assault of a child was sentenced to five years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to a lesser offense.

Sarah Celeste Farmer, 30, admitted to enticing a child to commit a felony, which is a third-degree felony charge, just minutes before jury selection began in her case. With that conviction, she will not be required to register as a sex offender once she is released from prison.

The charge she initially faced was a second-degree felony. If found guilty, she could have received up to 20 years in prison or probation, and would have been required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

"I truly felt that a jury would give Sarah probation, however, she would have had to register as a sex offender and so she made a decision that she would rather go to prison than have to register as a sex offender," said her attorney, Jim James III.
- So how many men who are not working for the government, have had this chance?  None!

He said his client spent the past 18 months undergoing therapy and had the "utmost remorse" for her crime.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Price, who prosecuted the case, said that ensuring Farmer went to prison was the most important consideration in the case.

"A conviction for enticing a child does not require registration as a sex offender, but a prison sentence identifies Sarah Farmer as a person who has no business in either law enforcement or the judicial fields," he said. "Sexual assault prosecutions based solely on the difference in age of the parties involved receive varying sentences from each jury that hears them. Under similar fact patterns, juries have assessed punishment as probation, as well as prison."

Farmer was arrested in October 2007 after she admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy on probation. According to court documents, the victim was arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and met Farmer at the Brazos County Juvenile Detention Center.
- You see, above they state "enticement," but here it says she had a "sexual relationship" with a 16 year old child, who was on probation, so instead of holder this person, who is in a position of authority, to a higher standard, they basically slap her on the wrist!  I am sure almost 100% of those on the registry would've taken prison time if they did not have to be on the sex offender registry, but, they don't get that chance, because they do not work for big brother.

At a juvenile court hearing, a friend of the victim noticed Farmer and told a parent that he snuck into the victim's bedroom window one night and found Farmer naked with the victim in his bed, court documents state.

The friend's mother notified police and Farmer was arrested the next day after admitting to her boss that she had sex with the teenager, documents stated.

Later, the teenager told investigators that they had intercourse about 10 times, according to documents.

Juvenile services officials said at the time of her arrest that Farmer had worked as a juvenile probation officer for about a year. She was fired after the incident.

No sexual contact was alleged to have occurred on Brazos County property, officials said.

"This incident was not any indication of a problem within the agency at all," said Doug Vance, executive director of the Brazos County Juvenile Services Department. "It was the action of a lone officer who made the decision to take the action she did fully knowing that it was wrong, unacceptable and illegal."

Vance stressed that his staff is "very professional, ethical and very dedicated to helping the families they serve." Each staff member receives extensive background checks and is given training on safety, abuse and neglect issues.

"We are very comfortable about the way we do things," he said. "The procedures are in place to keep kids safe. It's just that when officers are off duty and on their own, you cannot watch them 24 hours a day and seven days a week."
- Why not?  You can watch ex-sex offenders with GPS?  So why not slap GPS on the police?  They seem to be committing a lot of sex crimes, so do you want to protect the children and citizens or not?

Farmer must serve at least half of her sentence before she is eligible for parole consideration. She had been free on $5,000 bail since her arrest and was taken into custody, then prepared for transport to prison immediately after the hearing.
- And watch, she has a 5 year sentence, and she will do 2 1/2 and be released, I am willing to bet on that!


"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 (United States Constitution)


FL - Banished Miami Sex Offenders Live Under Bridge

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07/20/2009

Registered sex offenders in Miami are living under a public bridge. A zoning law prohibits convicted sex offenders from residing within 2,500 feet of where children gather, which makes finding a home almost impossible. Community outrage over the cluster of ex-convicts has already spurred lawsuits.




"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 (United States Constitution)


FL - Housing for sex offenders

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07/21/2009

By HOLLY BRISTOW

BREVARD COUNTY (WOFL FOX 35) - At first glance, you might think it’s the trailer on blocks and the overgrown lawn that makes neighbors mad. But it’s not.

Registered sex offender Randy Young bought the single wide mobile home at 382 Akorn Street when it went into foreclosure. He lives there and rents rooms to two other registered sex offenders.

"I get nervous about the children. I get nervous when we have the grandchild staying over and I get nervous about the girl across the street,” said Bill Hammel, who has owned the home next door for 15 years. "I still haven't found out who owns the place," Hammel added.

When FOX 35 told Hammel that a man named Randy Young, a registered sex offender, was the owner, he couldn't believe it. "That surprises me,” he said. “Shocks me actually."

FOX 35 discovered that Young has made a business out of finding homes for sex offenders. Just check his website, HousingForSexOffenders.com . We watched as Brevard County Sheriff's Lt. Tod Goodyear saw the website for the first time.

"Our biggest concern is he's bringing offenders in from out of county," said Lt. Goodyear, adding to the 700 registered sex offenders already living in Brevard County.

In a phone interview, Young told FOX 35 that he has more than forty homes which he either owns or is leasing, subletting rooms to registered sex offenders. In some of those homes, as many as four registered sex offenders are living under one roof. He considers these homes "safe havens for sex offenders."

"It’s a service that's needed. Just got a call from a lady living in a car," said Young. He also told FOX 35 that when he was released from prison after serving his sentence, his mother had a hard time finding him a place to live. He added that what was available was substandard.

"He's a registered sex offender. He knows what’s out there and knows what's available and the restrictions. He's using that as an advantage," said Lt. Tod Goodyear as he continued looking through Young's website.

Young said, on average, he profits $400 per home. Multiply that by the forty homes which Young owns or is subletting, and that could bring an average of $16,000 profit each month. These homes are in counties across Florida, including Brevard and Orange.

Lt. Goodyear said that as long as Young does not exceed a total of three residents living in the home on Akorn, he's not breaking any laws. Code enforcement has been by the house a few times. Lt. Goodyear said that he instructs deputies to pay extra attention to that neighborhood.

Aside from the three sex offenders living at 282 Akorn, there are two other registered sex offenders living on the same street. Deputies do extra patrols along that stretch.

Young tells FOX 35 that he plans to expand his business to offer more potential home rentals to registered sex offenders across Central Florida.



Rebuttal Video by SOClear Media



"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 (United States Constitution)


UK - Help needed for teenage sex offenders

A BBC investigation has uncovered figures showing that one in three sex offenders is under the age of 18.

Charities are calling for increased support for offenders and for more treatment to break the cycle of abuse.

Fiona Walker has been to meet one young man who was both victim and offender.

YouTube Video



"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 (United States Constitution)


UK - Compensation for rape slur is cast into doubt

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07/21/2009

A father's hopes for justice and compensation after he was falsely accused of rape could be shattered by yet another court battle.

Clive Bishop was on the brink of making legal history earlier this year when he managed to win the right to compensation for the trauma he suffered when a drunken woman made up an allegation of rape against him.

His life was left in tatters when police made a pre-dawn call to his house in the village of Walton, near Street, Somerset, in February 2007 and, in front of his wife, arrested him on allegations of rape.

After a series of court battles and appeals Mr Bishop finally won the right to compensation.

But now the Government wants to challenge that right in the High Court because the crime against him was not a "crime of violence".

It was months before the so-called victim, teenage mum Kirsty Palmer, of Pilton, admitted she had made the whole story up, in the face of overwhelming evidence collated by Mr Bishop.

In the months that followed the strain on Mr Bishop was so immense – including keeping the case a secret from work colleagues, family and friends so as not to prejudice police action against his false accuser – that he had to have counselling.

The case has cost him thousands of pounds, including police impounding his car and keeping the rear seats, and the loss of his second income.

But earlier this year Mr Bishop was delighted when he was told the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) decided, on appeal, that he did deserve financial compensation after his life was left in tatters by the allegations. At first CICA had rejected Mr Palmer's application, stating that he had not suffered from an actual physical attack.

But Mr Bishop was determined not to give up and took the case to appeal in May this year.

"The mental anguish that has been caused to me, and my wife, has been horrific and our lives will never be the same again," he said.

After CICA denied Mr Bishop compensation, he was helped by Victim Support to make another application, but that was also rejected.

"I went along to Street Citizen's Advice Bureau who were great and helped me to find a solicitor who was willing to make an appeal on my behalf to an appeal tribunal." The tribunal, held on the eve of Mr Bishop's 50th birthday, was hugely traumatic, said Mr Bishop, as he had to relive the circumstances again.

"I was shaking like a leaf throughout, just trembling," he said. But after hearing evidence, including from the leading detective on the case, the tribunal panel returned with the verdict they hoped would help Mr Bishop celebrate his birthday: that he was eligible for compensation.

But now Mr Bishop has been told by letter the Government is to fight that ruling.

"They are to apply for a Quashing Order in the High Court in London, to have my ruling overturned," he said.

"Among the claims they are making is that the crime against me was not a crime of violence and I was not in fear of any immediate danger."

"I wasn't expecting this. I thought the appeal in May would be it and I would eventually hear what compensation I would receive. Now it looks like we have to go through it all again. I suspect though this time I won't be asked to give evidence, that it will be more about the legal argument."

"Unfortunately this does prolong the whole case."


"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 (United States Constitution)


OH - Sex offender law ruled unconstitutional Ruling made in appeals court Monday; Supreme Court decision awaited

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07/21/2009

By Mike Sever

An opinion by the 11th District Court of Appeals in Warren may rekindle the debate over whether Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act sex offender law is constitutional.

It may be a brief debate, since the Ohio Supreme Court is expected to render its decision on the constitutionality sometime this fall.

A three-judge panel of the district court, which covers Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull, handed down the opinion Monday in a Lake County case in which a convicted sex offender is contesting his reclassification as a Tier III offender.

In a 2-1 decision, the court found the new law that resulted in his reclassification unconstitutional.

Under his original 2002 sentence, Jason Ettenger was required to register annually at the sheriff’s department wherever he lived for 10 years.

Under Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act, Ettenger was reclassified and required to register personally with the sheriff’s office once every 90 days for life. The new law stiffened the penalties for failure to register as a sex offender as well as re-classifying nearly every offender convicted in the past 10 years.

Classification of offenders is now determined by the crime they were convicted of. No evidence is weighed on whether the defendant is likely to re-offend.

When the new law took effect Jan. 1, 2008, hundreds of cases were filed across Ohio, challenging the reclassifications as double jeopardy since they already had been sentenced and classified.

In Portage County, more than 80 cases were headed for reclassification when local judges issued a blanket stay “pending a final decision by the Ohio Supreme Court or the federal district court.”

Judges Timothy P. Cannon and Diane V. Grendell found the new law unconstitutional, but for different reasons. They reversed the Lake County court’s decision and sent the case back for reconsideration.

Judge Mary Jane Trapp, dissented from the judgment and other points by Cannon and Grendell, but concurred on their analysis of the separation between legislative and judicial powers, and due process issues brought up in the appeal.


"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 (United States Constitution)


21st century traitors

Bill of Rights | US Constitution | Federalist Papers



When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

Then they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me.




"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 (United States Constitution)