Monday, September 14, 2009

CA - One Dead After Gun Pulled At Local Government Center

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09/14/2009

Ventura - A registered sex offender took his own life in a public parking lot before a court appearance Monday morning.

It happened in parking lot "B" at the Ventura County's Hall of Justice.

Investigators say, the 39 year old Oxnard man was released just last month after serving almost a year on child porn charges. A Spanish language translator helped investigators learn, that his ex-wife had a restraining order against him.

She was headed to court for a divorce settlement hearing.

According to witnesses, the man approached his wife in the parking lot, an argument ensued, that's when witnesses say he pulled a gun out and shot himself.

Investigators say the man died from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Ventura Police and Ventura County Sheriff Deputies secured the scene immediately after the shooting took place.


"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


WI - Sex-offender registry not a cure-all, expert says

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09/13/2009

By Paul Srubas

State system has success, but offers no guarantees

Local and state laws may offer people some measure of protection from sexual predators, but the high-profile kidnapping case of Jaycee Dugard is a reminder that safety can't be guaranteed, local experts say.

Dugard was the victim of a kidnapping in 1991 and was imprisoned for 18 years in a compound in California, where she gave birth to two children fathered by her kidnapper, authorities say.

The suspect, Phillip Garrido, 58, is a registered sex offender who managed to maintain his secret even from a police officer sent to his home to investigate a report of a compound of occupied tents in Garrido's backyard.

Local officials only can speculate about what kind of breakdown in the judicial system failed to uncover Garrido's alleged crime.

But it's just one case and doesn't prove that the sex-offender registry isn't effective, said Tom Smith, sex offender registration specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

"When the registry was created, it was to provide an awareness to the public about who the sex offenders are in their communities, as well as allowing for community notification for specific offenders," Smith said. "An aware community is a safer community."

"Is it a cure-all? Absolutely not. But at least you know who the sex offenders are and where they are," Smith said.

But the registry system's effectiveness is limited by the degree of compliance. Wisconsin has one of the highest compliance rates in the nation at about 90 percent, Smith said. But that still means 10 percent of the state's sex offenders are failing to keep up on notifying the state of their whereabouts.

The state's combination of sex-offender counseling, parole and the registry help it achieve a less than 1 percent recidivism rate, which means fewer than 1 percent of convicted sex offenders commit another sexual assault while on probation, Smith said.

"That speaks volumes," he said.

Yet, among people already convicted of a sex offense, that still means nearly 1 percent offend again.

The registry focuses its attention on convicted sex offenders and can do nothing to protect citizens from first-time offenders.


"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


FL - Recent Florida Court Decision Limits Removal From Sex Offender Registry

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09/14/2009

By Stella Law Firm, P.A.

Florida law requires those convicted of sex offenses to register for life as either a sexual predator or sexual offender, depending on the severity of their violation. In certain circumstances, some offenders who meet statutory requirements may be able to have their information removed from the registry. However, a recent Florida court ruling has made it more difficult for sex offenders to have their names removed from the state's registry.

Florida Requirements for Sex Offender Registry Removal

Under Florida law, only a limited group of sex offenders can file a motion with the court to request that they be removed from the state's sex offender registry. The requirements for eligibility are set out in FSA §943.04354 and include:

  1. The offender must have been or will be convicted, found delinquent or had the adjudication of guilt withheld for committing one of these crimes:
  2.    
  3. The offender must have been required to register as a sex offender based solely on one of those convictions
  4.  
  5. The victim must have been between 14 and 17 years old and the offender must not have been more than 4 years older than the victim at the time of the violation
  6.  
  7. Removal from the registry does not violate federal law

In addition, offenders who have had their sentences fully pardoned or who have had their convictions set aside are also entitled to have their information removed from the sex offender registry.

If an offender meets these requirements, then he or she may file a motion with the court. The state also has the right to challenge the motion and request the offender not be removed from the registry. The court then may grant or deny the motion.

If the court grants the motion, then the offender must file a petition with the court requesting removal. If the court then approves the petition, it will issue a court order that then must be provided to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (DLE). The DLE will then facilitate the removal of the offender's name from the registry.

Miller v State: Sex Act Must Have Been Consensual

A recent decision by the Fifth District Florida Court of Appeal has added a new eligibility requirement that must be met before the court may order information removed from the sex offender registry: the sexual conduct must have been consensual.

In Miller v State, Brian Miller filed a motion requesting his information be removed from the state's sex offender registry. Miller met the statutory requirements for removal: he was convicted of two violations of FSA §800.04, the violations resulted is his mandatory registration and he was less than 4 years older than the 15-year-old victim at the time of the offense.

However, the trial court denied his motion on the grounds that removing his name from the registry would be a violation of federal law because the sexual conduct was not consensual. The appellate court agreed with the trial court's decision and stated that Florida law must be read in conjunction with the federal law, specifically the Adam Walsh Act.

In 2006, the federal government passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (or "Adam Walsh Act"), which sets out requirements for state sex offender registries, including who must be included and length of registration. This federal law includes one exception for whom must be included on the registries. Referred to as the "Romeo and Juliet" exception, the only people eligible for exclusion from the registry are those convicted of an offense that included a consensual sex act where:

  • The victim was an adult not under the custodial care of the offender OR
  • The victim was at least 13 years old and the offender was not more than 4 years older than the victim

In Miller, the Florida courts interpreted the Adam Walsh Act to add a requirement to Florida's list of conditions sex offenders must meet to be removed from the registry — even though the state statute does not expressly state that the sex act must have been consensual.

Conclusion

The result of the Miller case is that it has become almost impossible for an individual convicted of a sex offense in Florida to be excluded from lifetime sex offender registration. Given that sex offenses are defined liberally under state law, it is more important now than ever before to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a sex crime.


"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


UK - Parents who ferry children must have anti-paedophile checks

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Why not just move all kids to an island out in the pacific ocean so they won't be harmed?  This is going to cause some major damage, but, more ways for Big Brother to run and ruin your life!

09/11/2009

By Tom Whitehead

Parents who give lifts to other children from sports and social clubs face prosecution if they fail to register with the Government’s new anti-paedophile database.

Any formal agreement to ferry youngsters to and from the likes of Scouts, dance classes or local football matches, even if only once a month, will fall under the Government’s new Vetting and Barring Scheme.

It means anyone who fails to register and have their backgrounds checked faces a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record.

Parents who help children read in class or those who host foreign pupils as part of school exchange trips will also have to be vetted by the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and undergo criminal record checks.

School governors, dentists, pharmacists, prison officers and even dinner ladies are among the huge list of people who will now fall under the scheme, which starts to be rolled out next month and will eventually cover 11.3 million people.

Anyone who is paid for their efforts will also be charged a £64 fee to register, although unpaid volunteers are exempt from paying.

Critics warned the system, the largest database of its kind in the world, is disproportionate and will put people off volunteering or carrying out public duties.

It has been set up in the wake of the Soham murders and is aimed at stopping paedophiles getting access to children or inappropriate people working with vulnerable adults.

It is the first time the true scope has been revealed and will cover even those with the briefest of contact with children.

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the data watchdog, fears such a large database will present a security risk to people’s personal details.

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “Children’s safety is paramount but we are in danger of creating a world in which we think every adult who approaches children means to do them harm."

The creation of the world’s biggest checking system is a disproportionate response to the problem it is trying to solve.”

Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, added: "We all understand the need for proper protection of our children but this new regime has the potential to be a real disaster for activities involving young people in the UK."

We are going to drive away volunteers, we'll see clubs and activities close down and we'll end up with more bored young people on our streets.”

Under the scheme anyone in regular contact with children or vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to register with the ISA, a Home Office sponsored body, and have a criminal records check.

It will also cover anyone who can influence those working in such posts, such as the country’s 300,000 school governors.

Parents who make informal agreements among themselves will not have to register.

The Daily Telegraph told earlier this week how the scheme will even take into account lifestyles, relationships and beliefs when assessing an individual’s background.

There is also concern that so-called “soft intelligence” such as unproven allegations will be used in assessments.

Two hundred case workers based at the ISA in Darlington will collect information passed to them by the police, professional bodies and employers and rule on who is barred.

The Home Office anticipates up to 45,000 people will be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults, including some currently in jobs, once the scheme is fully rolled out – compared with around 25,000 currently.

Anyone barred who then tries to work in a sensitive job faces up to five years in prison. Employers knowingly hiring a barred individual face up to six months jail.

The move has already been subject to criticism, including from Philip Pullman, the author, who said the database was "corrosive to healthy social interaction" and has pledged to stop visiting schools to carry out readings in protest.

David Green, director of the think-tank Civitas, warned it may even make employers complacent and rely too much on the system instead doing their own “due diligence”.

A Home Office spokesman said the rules for parents were "a commonsense approach", adding: "The UK already has one of the most advanced systems in the world for carrying out checks on all those who work in positions of trust with children and vulnerable adults."

"Set up in the wake of the Soham murders, the new Vetting and Barring Scheme will, from October this year, ensure these regulations are even more rigorous."


"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


WA - Sex offender removed from shelter

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09/14/2009

By Geeky Swedes

A sex offender who has been living at the Calvary Lutheran homeless shelter in Loyal Heights has been removed, SHARE confirmed to My Ballard today.

This weekend a My Ballard reader posted a notice in the forum claiming that a Level III sex offender was living at the church for a few weeks. We spoke with Alan at SHARE this morning, and he confirmed a sex offender moved into the shelter on August 21st. Alan said they discovered the man’s background on Saturday, and SHARE members removed him on Saturday night.

Neighborhood members of the task force set up to monitor the shelter reacted in an email this morning. “We have communicated to [Our Redeemer's Pastor] Steve Grumm our extreme disappointment, concern, and frankly, anger that this situation was allowed to occur,” they wrote. “We have demanded that rigorous screening for sex offenses be immediately implemented for each prospective shelter resident before he is allowed to use the shelter.”

Despite the neighborhood’s repeated requests, SHARE refused to conduct sex offender checks, even calling them “un-American.” Alan says that the discovery of this sex offender does not change their stance. “We’ve never had a problem,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything.” We spoke with one neighbor who lives near the church. “This is what we were concerned about,” he tells us. “They are no longer welcome in my neighborhood.”

The neighborhood task force said it will be meeting with Pastor Grumm soon to discuss how the screening will be implemented. We have contacted Pastor Grumm for a comment, and will post it as soon as we hear back.


"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


FL - Town of Palm Beach is Sex Offender Ghetto

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09/14/2009

By Gail Shepherd

Look at a map of zones where sex offenders are allowed to live in Palm Beach and Broward counties, and the picture bears a creepy resemblance to old-style European ghettos. A Broward task force took up the problem in July and found that a new proposal to prohibit sex offenders from living within 2500 feet of a school, park, playground, daycare center, or school bus stop would effectively eliminate anyplace for sex offenders to live in unincorporated Broward County. Similar ordinances have created enclaves of homeless sex offenders living under bridges like the one under Miami's Julia Tuttle Causeway.

But if you happen to be a fabulously rich sex offender, like billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (Epstein was given a slap on the wrist for his assignations with 14-year-old "prostitutes" -- his plea deal will be unsealed and released next week), you'll have no problem moving into a manse with an ocean view just about anywhere on the island of Palm Beach. That long strip of insanely valuable land separated from the rest of us by the intracostal is a predator's playground.

Maps like this one published in the Sun-Sentinel show Palm Beach as an almost uniformly red zone, meaning offenders can live there legally. Just about the only area closed to predators on the island is at the very tip of the north end, the heel of the boot, and in the downtown commercial district.

Sex offenders on tighter budgets have less room to romp. They're crammed together in neighborhoods like this one in Pahokee, where more than 30 offenders have moved -- so many that school bus routes have had to be diverted.




"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


NY - Thousands Of Sex Offenders Live In Public Housing (Where else are they suppose to live?)

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09/14/2009

Senator Charles Schumer (Contact) is calling on the federal government to make sure sex offenders are not living in public housing.

Citing a report by the Office of the Inspector General, Schumer says there are more than 5,800 registered sex offenders living in federally-subsidized housing in the city, despite a 1997 law banning sex offenders from living in public housing.

At a news conference yesterday, Schumer proposed sweeping changes.

"The legislation had two purposes, first and foremost to protect New Yorkers and Americans from the sex offenders, and from the fact that their children might be subject to them," he said. "But second, there was also the salt in the wound of the federal government subsidizing people who committed these horrible crimes."

In a statement, a Housing and Urban Development spokesman says the agency is concerned that even one sex offender may live in government-subsidized housing.

The agency says it's considering regulatory changes and resending guidance to local housing authorities to make sure families are living in the safest environments possible.

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"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


TX - HB-2003 - Relating to the creation of the offense of online harassment


Effective: 09/01/2009

Click the image to view it, or use the links above



"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


IN - City Weighs Sex Offender Park Ban

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09/14/2009

Parents Mixed On Proposal

LEBANON - More Indiana communities are considering the implementation of bans on convicted sex offenders in city parks because of a recent Court of Appeals ruling.

Lebanon officials will consider such a ban Monday night, 6News' Rick Hightower reported.

Law enforcement agencies and some parents worry that parks are a magnet for sex offenders, but others contend the ban infringes on rights and is unnecessary.
- A magnet for sex offenders?  Come on.  How many sex offenders have you seen in the park lately?  How many sex related crimes can you tell me about, occurred in a park?  It's nothing more than a moral panic spread by the media and politicians. Why not be a responsible parent and go to the park with your kids, and watch them, like any decent parent should do?  Maybe we should put the responsibility back where it belongs, in the parents hands! And yes, it does infringe on people's rights.  If they cannot go to the parks, are they going to get a tax break, since they are paying taxes for something they cannot use?

"I know there's a lot of controversy over who's on the sex offender list and who's not, but I'd prefer my kids be safe when they're out here," said parent Johnetta Wills.
- Then be a parent and go with them!  Help me Big Brother, I need you to baby sit my kids while I do other things!

Lebanon officials said their ordinance might have an exclusion to allow sex offenders to be in city parks with their families.

"We're restricting people's basic rights. Everybody has the opportunity for a second chance. I thought that's what this country is all about," said parent Anthony Spencer. "Just to say because someone made a mistake, banning them from being able to enjoy a park is kind of tough."

Others think a park sex offender ban is too narrow and may target the wrong people.

"I think it's something to worry about not only in the parks, but where you live, as well," said parent Angela Summers. "Somebody may be convicted as a sex offender and really not be a sex offender."
- I am shocked!  Finally people are seeing through the BS by the likes of Nancy Grace, John Walsh and many politicians!  Thank God!

The Indiana Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Plainfield's park ban on sex offenders, in effect letting the ordinance upheld by the appeals court stand. Greenwood has a similar ban.

Lebanon is expected to consider the matter at Monday night's City Council meeting.

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"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)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved