Good luck with your impossible pledge!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
By Warren Elly
TAMPA - Seven-year veteran Raymond Choy had an exemplary record as a road deputy, but prosecutors say he was leading two lives.
His 2007 arrest went through the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office like a rifle shot, said Chief Deputy Joe Docobo.
"His actions reflect on every other man and woman who wears the uniform," Docobo stated.
Investigators found Choy at least twice had arrested women and traded sex for their freedom. The second victim said she was taken to a dead-end road, and then was driven home and released.
She called police, but waited, prosecutors say, four hours before doing so.
Now, two years after his arrest, Choy was at the courthouse. And instead of facing 60 years, prosecutors offered five, followed by probation.
But why, when his crimes carried up to life sentences?
- Because he's a cop, and we all know, they protect one another.
"I really don't want to second guess them and I was not told a specific reason," Choy's attorney, Normal Cannella Sr., told FOX 13.
Prosecutor Rita Peters explained why in a memo to the judge. She wrote that a second victim who came forward after Choy's arrest had credibility problems as a witness.
Choy was never charged in that case because, among other things, the night she said Choy forced himself on her, she'd been arrested for drinking and smoking crack cocaine.
She'd made statements to prosecutors about how she thought Choy was a nice guy, an innocent guy just looking for sex. And she wasn't clear on when she was in handcuffs, or who suggested the sex.
Complicating matters, both victims, Peters says, hired the same prominent Tampa attorney to help them sue the sheriff, giving the defense the chance to claim to the jury the women were in the case for the money, and had fabricated their stories.
Choy's attorney said he gladly took the big break. The former deputy showed no emotion as the victim known as "L.P." told the judge, "I think that he's ruined my life and I think as a deputy he's there to protect and serve and he did not do that."
Choy was sentenced to five years, and 10 years of probation as a sex offender. And as an ex-deputy it's likely, corrections officials say, he'll serve his time in solitary confinement for his own protection.
NEW YORK — A construction worker imprisoned for nearly three years was cleared by an apologetic judge on Thursday after his accuser admitted she lied about being gang raped to make her friends feel sorry for her.
_____ hugged his lawyer when state Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers — who'd also presided over _____'s rape and kidnapping trial — threw out the conviction and dismissed the initial charges. DNA tests also had called the conviction into doubt.
- If DNA is so good, why do they never use it?
"I've been waiting for this for a long time," the soft-spoken _____ said outside court. "I'm just glad it's over."
_____, 32, has been free on $5,000 bail since September.
She testified at his trial and said at his 2006 sentencing that the "tragedy changed my life forever." He got a 20-year prison term.
Defense lawyer Glenn A. Garber later persuaded prosecutors to use new technology to retest DNA samples from an apparent bite mark on Peguero's arm.
The initial tests were inconclusive. The new ones showed the genetic material not only wasn't _____'s but came from at least two women, apparently friends of Peguero's who fought with her.
Peguero confessed her lie to a priest and then to authorities this year. She claimed she was raped because she wanted her friends "to feel badly" for her, and then was afraid to back down from her story as the case continued, prosecutors said in court filings this fall.
Peguero, who now uses the name Biurny Gonzalez, pleaded guilty Monday to perjury. The 27-year-old faces up to seven years in prison at her sentencing, set for February.
- How much you want to bet she will get basically a slap on the wrist?
Carruthers apologized, calling the case "a catastrophe" for both _____ and the criminal justice system.
"I convey to you my personal regrets for having participated, though unknowingly, in the injustice," said Carruthers, who had called the supposed attack "disgusting" during _____'s 2006 sentencing.
"Given the startling turn of events, I now retract what I said about you," Carruthers said, later adding, "I wish you well."
Also see this , this, and this.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (Contact) announced this afternoon that 13 more social-networking sites, including ones owned by Google, Yahoo! and AOL, have agreed to remove New York registered sex offenders from their sites. Cuomo said last week that Facebook and MySpace—the two largest social-networking sites— had removed more than 3,500 sex offenders using data provided to them under the state’s e-STOP law.
- Simply due to a label, and not due to a crime!
The Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) requires all sex offenders to register their e-mails, screen names and other Internet identifiers with the state, which then makes the information available to social-networking companies. Some social-networking sites have not made use of the database, said Cuomo, who sent a letter to 13 of these Web sites last week.
“The country’s most popular social networking sites have taken an important step in making the Internet safer by using e-STOP to purge sex offenders from their sites,” Cuomo said in a statement. “That some companies are continuing to ignore the e-STOP database is not only inexcusable, it is potentially dangerous.”
- Cuomo sees sex offenders behind every door, and apparently thinks all are dangerous, when that is just not true. He's trying to make a name for himself, and I'm willing to bet he will be running for some higher office in the near future.
Twelve of the 17 have agreed to use the e-stop data—AOL’s Bebo.com; Google’s Orkut.com; Yahoo!’s Flickr.com; BlackPlanet.com; Classmates.com; Flixster.com; Fotolog.com; hi5.com; MyLife.com, Stickam.com, Tagged.com and Imeem.com, which was recently purchased by MySpace. Multiply.com, which didn’t receive a letter, has asked for the database.
The remaining sites are Friendster.com; Buzznet.com; eSpin.com; Habbo.com and LiveJournal.com.
E-stop, which took effect last year, requires as a condition of parole or probation that sex offenders’ Internet access be restricted if the victim was a minor, the Internet was used to commit the offense, or the offender was convicted as a level 3 (the highest level) sexual predator.
- You see here, is shows that the law was meant for those on probation or parole, and those with child victims, yet they are kicking everyone off, simple due to a label!
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - A former corrections officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque has been indicted on charges that she had a sexual relationship with an inmate who was under her authority.
The district attorney's office says 29-year-old Reyna Lujan faces three counts of criminal sexual penetration.
The indictment charges that Lujan caused the inmate to engage in sexual intercourse on two separate occasions in November and December 2008 and once in January 2009.
The district attorney says each count carries a potential sentence of nine years in prison.
The court has yet to schedule an arraignment for Lujan.
Why is consensual sex "gross?" Maybe unethical, based on the rules of the school, but gross? Both were willing participants, nothing illegal!
By Christian Boone
A Cobb County judge used a rare procedure to rule that a former Marietta High teacher was not guilty of sexual assault charges stemming from an affair with a 17-year-old student.
- The age of consent in Georgia is 16, so why was this even in court in the first place?
Judge Robert Flournoy bypassed the jury and issued a directed verdict Wednesday afternoon in the case against 36-year-old _____, who admitted to having a sexual relationship with the girl.
"It's gross, it's awful, but it ain't illegal," said Flournoy. "This was a consensual relationship."
In June, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, when the student is a willing participant and is 16 or older, the student’s consent can be a defense for teachers facing a sexual assault charge. The judge referenced that decision in his ruling.
“I have a feeling the Georgia Legislature is going to amend this law,” Flournoy said.
Defense attorney Scott Semrau said it wouldn’t be surprising if this case were used by legislators as a reason to change the consent defense. Semrau doesn’t know of any similar case that’s been prosecuted since the state Supreme Court ruling.
“That ruling really guts the prosecution,” Semrau said.
The judge’s decision followed Wednesday morning testimony from the girl, who as a state witness testified the affair was consensual.
Asked by Semrau if she ever felt intimidated or coerced by _____, the girl responded, “Absolutely not.”
"Have you ever wavered on that point?" Semrau asked. "No," the girl said.
The girl looked in _____'s direction several times during her testimony, smiling nervously. Though she admitted to jitters, her answers were resolute.
If he had been convicted of sexual assault, _____ faced 10 to 30 years in prison.
"[The student] was obviously persuasive, " said Semrau. "She was thoroughly knowledgeable about what she wanted."
Semrau said his client, who is now a salesman, would like to resume his relationship with the girl.
"I know he cares very deeply about her, but at this point the ball's in her court," he said. As for teaching again, Semrau said, "Realistically, [_____]'s put [that] behind him."
The girl's testimony revealed that _____ began personal correspondences in the fall of 2008, soon after they first met as student and teacher. "He called about a Steelers game," the student said.
Her father, who testified Tuesday, said he was concerned that a teacher was contacting his daughter at home about an issue not related to school.
"My dad overreacts to everything," she said. "He has very high moral standards. He's never gotten a speeding ticket."
Since the romance with _____ became public her relationship with her father has suffered, she said.
Her involvement with _____ was much more relaxed, she said.
"We'd go shopping, we'd go out to dinner, we'd go to movies ... things dating couples do," she said. "Piedmont Park, that was like our place."
_____ was in the process of divorcing his wife, with whom he has two small children, when they began dating, she said.
"He was unhappy in his marriage," she said.
She confirmed details that were revealed in court Tuesday about when their relationship became sexual.Their first tryst took place at a hotel on Barrett Parkway, she said.
"It evolved the way I assume any sexual encounter does," she said.
She said when the relationship became public after _____'s arrest she lost some friendships and transferred to a college preparatory program at Kennesaw State from Marietta High.
On Tuesday, Semrau acknowledged that his client was engaged in a sexual relationship with the girl.
"They were in love," Semrau told jurors. "This may be a bad idea, it may be taboo, but it's not illegal."
Cobb County prosecutor Maurice Brown unsuccessfully argued that _____ used his position to take advantage of a romantically naive teenager. "He led her to believe he was in love with her," Brown said in his opening statement. "He led her to believe she was in love with him."
- So, all the prosecutors, lawyers, politicians and others who use their position to make advances toward a male/female for sex, who are 17 or older, should they be arrested as well? No, of course not, and this is no different.
Brown refused comment following the verdict.
_____'s relationship with his student turned physical last March, when the two met for a hike at Kennesaw Mountain. There, they shared their first kiss, and within a month they were having sexual intercourse, facts neither side disputes.
"The only thing that ended this relationship was Mr. _____'s arrest (on May 27)," Semrau said.
OH - Ohio first state to adopt sex offender rules (26,000 sex offenders in one state, how many in the USA?)
26,000 sex offenders are challenging the state laws, in one state. How many for the entire USA? This is another example of why ANYBODY faced with these draconian unconstitutional laws, should think about contacting the state ACLU or a lawyer, and fight this in court. Imagine all the money being wasted by the state, defending their unconstitutional laws?
(WTOL) - Ohio is the first and only state in the country to adopt new federal requirements for sex offenders.
- That is not exactly true. They are in substantial compliance, but not 100%.
State Attorney General Richard Cordray (Contact) says implementing the Adam Walsh Act is a double win: It makes communities safer and gets federal dollars for Ohio.
- This man is apparently not thinking it through. Yes they will get some grant money, but in the long run, it will cost more to implement and maintain the laws than if they did nothing. So they would not be losing anything. The government is not funding it anyway!
Now, the worst offenders have to register their whereabouts with the State every 90 days for the rest of their lives.
"We simply feel that registering and providing that information so that we can notify the community is not onerous on them," Cordray said.
- That is your opinion. Live with the same laws and regulations for a couple years, then tell me that! Plus, you took an oath to uphold the constitution, and the constitution forbids ex post facto laws, so did you lie when taking that oath? It appears that you did.
Non-offenders think the tracking system makes sense as an extra step to keep people safe. But 26,000 Ohio sex offenders are now challenging the rules.
- Well, let the non-offenders pay for the GPS, police, and everything else, and then see if they think it's ok. Tax them to pay for it. It's easy to want something, when if doesn't affect your pocket book, but when it affects you, then it's a different story.
This is pure fear-mongering to try to further get the AWA funded, IMO. Out of all the states in the US, only one, Ohio, has come to substantial compliance. That should tell you something. So now, out come the fear-mongers to scare people to hopefully scare them into pulling more money out of their pockets. If the government wanted to fund it, they could. They could have used some of the stimulus money, but did they? The laws are unconstitutional on many levels, and all in office took oaths to uphold the constitution, which they apparently lied, and are not doing. From the NCMEC page here:
They "claim" there is a total of 686,515 total sex offenders in the US. So now they are saying that 500,000 are non-complaint? Come on, that's a load of BS. Show me the FACTS to back up this ridiculous statement. It's fear mongering, for money, nothing more. I have not once seen where the NCMEC said this, so it appears to me like this "reporter" is making stuff up. I could be wrong, but that is what it appears to be to me.
By Graeme Moore
When the federal government decided it wanted states to toughen laws against sex offenders who fail to register, it set a deadline of July 2009.
When that deadline passed, only one state had complied, and it wasn't South Carolina. It was Ohio.
Now, states have until this summer to become compliant or face the possibility of losing certain federal funding.
- They stand to lose 10% of their Bryne Grant money, but, it will cost them even more to implement the laws to come into compliance, then the years after that, and you can bet, the tax payers will be footing the bill.
"The federal government has told the states 'you're required to comply with this,' but the federal government hasn't granted any money to help do that," said Deputy US Marshal Lori McKelvey who supports the federal mandates.
- Well, the Federal Government cannot tell the states what to do either! This is just bribery.
McKelvey is one of two coordinators over sex offender investigations for the US Marshals Service in South Carolina. While she understands the federal government didn't provide a funding source, McKelvey says it's vital that states comply.
- Why is it vital? And do you expect them to pull money out of thin air?
"The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there's probably 500,000 non-compliant sex offenders in the country," McKelvey said.
- And this is total BS! I have not seen the NCMEC say this, not until now.
If any one of those 500,000 are caught, the likelihood they'll face stiff punishment is unlikely. For example, someone in South Carolina convicted of failing to register as a sex offender on a first offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and is sentenced to 90 days in jail.
- This article is so full of BS! If you have been reading the news, like posted here, you will know this is BS!
However, if South Carolina were to adopt the new federal regulations, such an offense would be a felony and punishable by up to ten years in prison McKelvey said.
McKelvey said the US Marshals Service is the agency tasked with helping states become compliant and helping track down these offenders.
She said the intent of the law is not to scare offenders, but rather to just make sure the system works, though she acknowledges it's still up to the offender.
- The system will never work, period. No matter how many laws or restrictions you make, if an offender is really wanting to commit another crime, they will. This is just pure fear-mongering!
By Kelly Davis
Despite error, the Union-Tribune's nonprofit news outfit stands by its story
Earlier this year, The San Diego Union-Tribune launched the Watchdog Institute (Email), a nonprofit news organization with a mission to “produce in-depth investigative reports based on government databases.” And, for its first investigation, published on Sunday, Nov. 29, in the U-T, the institute did just that. Reporters Denise Zapata and Kevin Crowe looked at the California Attorney General’s (Contact) public list of registered sex offenders and mapped out how many sex offenders in San Diego County currently live within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
The results, summed up in the story’s lead, were rather surprising: “More than 70 percent of registered sex offenders in San Diego County are violating a state law by living too close to schools and parks.” In some cities, Zapata and Crowe reported, noncompliance is 100 percent. In the city of San Diego, 85 percent of sex offenders are breaking the law, according to the story.
- So, how many of those sex offenders, have been told the rules? And when you read below, they say the law is not retroactive, but, when someone commits another crime (i.e. technical violation), then they must register. So, do they then go arrest these folks, just so they can get them onto the registry, by not telling them the laws they must obey, and so they can make it appear sex offenders are committing more crimes than they actually are?
But none of that is true. The Watchdog Institute’s findings are based on a flawed interpretation of Jessica’s Law, the 2006 referendum that, among other things, placed lifetime residence restrictions on California’s sex offenders. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Contact) (CDCR) applies Jessica’s Law only to sex offenders who were released from prison—and have stayed out of prison—since the law passed on Nov. 7, 2006. Zapata and Crowe, however, applied the law to all registered sex offenders in San Diego County—1,731 people as of mid-November, when they reported their story. Even the law’s authors, California legislators George (Contact) and Sharon Runner, have said publicly that the law was never intended to be applied retroactively.
“Senator Runner continues to argue, consistent with general rules of statutory construction, that Jessica’s Law is not retroactive,” Will Smith, Sen. George Runner’s chief of staff, wrote in an e-mail to CityBeat.
The exact number of county sex offenders subject to the law changes almost daily, but on Dec. 3—when CityBeat asked for a count—that number was 434 (1,297 fewer than the Watchdog Institute reported). Jerome Marsh, a spokesperson with adult parole operations, the arm of CDCR responsible for enforcing Jessica’s Law, said that all 434 are monitored by GPS devices—another provision of Jessica’s Law—and are in compliance with the law.
“The ones that go out of compliance, we arrest,” he said.
Sex offenders are a hot topic, and the Watchdog story got national attention. But, as far as CityBeat’s been able to tell, no major news outlets questioned the veracity of the report. CDCR spokesperson Gordon Hinkle told CityBeat on Tuesday that he was checking to see if anyone from parole operations had contacted the Watchdog Institute or the Union-Tribune to point out the error.
“I can assure you that if they have not already, we definitely will,” he said.
Watchdog Institute editor Lorie Hearn, most recently a senior editor at the Union-Tribune before leaving to start the nonprofit, told CityBeat in an e-mail that she’s standing by the story and referred a reporter to a comment she submitted last week on CityBeat’s blog, Lastblogonearth.com, in response to a post questioning the story’s accuracy.
“A key question before the California Supreme Court is who is subject to the residence restrictions of this law,” Hearn wrote in her comment.
Her comment misses the point: How is the law, right now, being enforced? The state Supreme Court is currently considering whether Jessica’s Law should apply to a certain class of re-offenders—those released to parole prior to Jessica’s Law but who then committed a new, non-sexual offense, and were re-incarcerated after the law was passed. The plaintiffs, four offenders, are arguing that Jessica’s Law’s various provisions, including the residence restrictions, shouldn’t apply to them. CDCR attorneys, meanwhile, have countered that any registered sex offender released from custody after Nov. 7, 2006—regardless of offense—should be subject to Jessica’s Law. Or, as Hinkle explains:
- You see, if you committed a sex crime before the law came into being, and later, are arrested for any non-sexual crime, be it DUI, theft, etc, you will then have to register, from what this is saying.
“A sex offender that had been released in September 2006 to parole would not be required to meet Jessica’s Law requirements according to the law. But, say this same guy committed a new offense for any reason and came back out on Nov. 24, 2009. Because he has a previous sex offense, he would be subject to Jessica’s Law requirements completely per CDCR’s interpretation.”
On CityBeat’s blog, Hearn went on to argue that CDCR’s position is “that Jessica’s Law was intended to create ‘predator-free zones,’ which would require all registered sex offenders to abide by the residency restrictions. Jessica’s Law simply states that registered sex offenders can’t live within 2,000 feet of a school or park.”
When Jessica’s Law’s residence restrictions were challenged in the past—particularly a non-binding 2007 federal court case in which a judge found, among other things, that language like “predator-free zones,” wasn’t sufficient to warrant retroactive application of the law—CDCR was consistent in its position: The law applies only to registered sex offenders released from custody after Jessica’s Law was passed. In the case currently before the state Supreme Court, that position’s not changed, Hinkle said.
“Our argument has always been that if someone was incarcerated on or after Nov. 8, 2006… then the residency restrictions apply to them.... If the Supreme Court goes with our specific argument, any [registered sex offender] who was not incarcerated on or after Nov. 8, 2006, would not be subject to the Jessica’s Law residency restrictions.”
Ernest Galvan, the plaintiffs’ attorney, described Jessica’s Law as “poorly drafted” and, barring clarity from the court, too open to interpretation. Galvan said that his take on CDCR’s argument to the court is that the law should be applied retroactively (Hinkle insisted that this is incorrect). Galvan said he’s asking that the court clarify to whom the law applies once and for all. CDCR’s attorneys, meanwhile, are asking that no such language be added to the law.
Even though CDCR has asked the judges to rule only on the law’s application to the four plaintiffs, Galvan told CityBeat it’s conceivable that the court could decide that the law should apply to all registered sex offenders. In that case, the Watchdog Institute’s story would be accurate—sort of. It wouldn’t mean that the next day, the 70 percent whom the Watchdog Institute found to be living too close to a school or park would be subject to arrest.
“There would always be a time period to implement and comply with the court decision,” said Marsh, of adult parole operations, adding that even as it’s currently applied, “Jessica’s Law is a great burden for law-enforcement agencies. Certainly our elected representatives were aware of that when they passed it.”