Friday, December 18, 2009

CT - Students mailing flyers about sex offenders

Once again the quote from Hitler is relevant here "If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." And this is exactly what is occurring across the world. In the first video, the girl clearly thinks all sex offenders are child predators, and that is just false.

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VA - Man Convicted of Indecent Exposure

Original Article

If you are going to be naked in your home, close the windows!


_____ was naked in his own home

SPRINGFIELD - A 29-year-old Virginia man has been convicted of indecent exposure after two women said they saw him naked from windows and doorways inside his home.

_____, who lived in Springfield at the time of the October incident, argued Friday that he should be free to be naked inside his home. But the judge agreed with prosecutors who argued that _____'s actions showed he intended to make himself seen.

Police said he made a point of making himself visible to a 7-year-old boy and his mother as they walked to school along a path outside _____'s home.

_____ received only a suspended jail sentence and no fine, but still intends to appeal.

_____'s arrest received national attention and spurred debate about whether a person should be subject to arrest for exposure from inside his own home.

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WI - New Richmond pushes for child safety zones

Original Article


By Jeff Holmquist

New Richmond won’t be following the lead of other area communities that have recently adopted residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders.

During a lengthy debate over the wisdom of such restrictions, the City Council instead directed Police Chief Mark Samelstad to create a new ordinance establishing “child safety zones” in the community.

The discussion about the possibility of limiting where registered sex offenders can live began with a point-counterpoint presentation by two professionals who work in the parole and probation field.

Mike O’Keefe, probation and parole agent for St. Croix County, reported that Hudson and North Hudson have already adopted residency restrictions. Somerset is considering such action as well.

You don’t want to be the last one to adopt this ordinance,” O’Keefe warned. “You don’t want to become a magnet for sex offenders.”

But Jody Voegeli, sex offender registration specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, said the issue isn’t quite that simple.

Approving a residency restriction -- where sex offenders must live a set distance away from schools, day care operations, parks and churches -- can give residents a false sense of security, Voegeli said.

If a sex offender, who is required to disclose where they live, wants to live in a particular location but is prohibited from doing so, often they simply choose not to notify authorities, she explained.

They are still in your community,” she said. “They’re just not going to tell you.”

Voegeli said research indicates that 90 to 95 percent of registered sex offenders comply with the terms of their probation or parole. Of the remaining percentage, often noncompliance is the result of offenders being placed in a no-win situation.

Given a choice between pushing offenders “underground” or knowing where they live, Voegeli said she’d rather be able to track that person’s true whereabouts.

Voegeli also noted that sex offenders who re-offend usually go outside their own community to commit crimes, so there is less of a chance that people will recognize them.
- That is just not true.  Most sex crimes occur by people the victim know, like family or close friends, not some stranger.

Restricting where a person can live usually does little to ensure the safety of community members, she said.

Voegeli suggested that New Richmond reject the push for residency restrictions and instead consider adopting “child safety zones.” By requiring registered sex offenders to stay away from places that children congregate (parks, schools and day care centers), police officers have a tool to use when convicted criminals are found in such places.

That, she said, would be more effective in improving safety than residency restrictions.

Voegeli warned that if New Richmond went ahead with the proposal, there would be a “domino effect” across the county. Other municipalities would scramble to approve similar measures so that they would not attract sex offenders to their communities.

The current system of placing sex offenders works the best, Voegeli said. When an offender leaves the prison system, they must return to the county where they were convicted.

Thus each community is responsible for “taking care of their own” and aren’t inheriting problems from other places, she commented.

As the debate ended, Alderman Ron Volkert recommended that Samelstad continue writing an ordinance to establish residency restrictions for registered sex offenders.

His motion failed on a 2-3 vote, however. Volkert and Alderman Fred Horne voted for the proposal. Jane Hansen, Jim Zajkowski and Kirk Van Blaircom voted no.

I think this is a terrible mistake,” said Volkert, who is a retired law enforcement officer. “I can’t see how this won’t benefit the community. It’s another tool that the police department can use.”

Van Blaircom said the community would never benefit by putting returning sex offenders into a “no-win situation.” That would only lead to frustration on the part of offenders and bring about a greater likelihood that they will re-offend.

A subsequent motion to direct Samelstad to draft an ordinance establishing “child safety zones” was approved on a 5-0 vote.

NE - Huge Lawsuit in Nebraska on the constitutionality of the sex offender laws



2nd Circuit: Sex Offender Registration Rule Doesn't Violate Due Process

Original Article


By Mark Hamblett

Federal prosecution for failure to register as a sex offender does not violate the right to due process of law, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Addressing an issue of first impression, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. Constitution is not offended by the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 18 U.S.C. §2250(a).

Judges Ralph K. Winter, Jose A. Cabranes and Peter W. Hall decided the issue by per curiam opinion in United States v Hester, 08-4665-cr.

_____ pleaded guilty in 2006 in New York's Schenectady City Court to third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching. He was sentenced to 150 days in jail and forced to register as a sex offender.

_____ initially complied with the registration requirement. He signed the state registration form and, each of the four times he moved to a new address in 2007, he filed change-of-address forms.

By April 12, 2007, probation officials believed he had left for Florida. A warrant was issued for his arrest and, when _____ was apprehended on a gun charge in Florida in July 2007, he was indicted on two charges under the federal registration statute -- the first for failing to update his registration in New York and the second for failure to register in Florida.

He moved to dismiss the indictment based on the fact that the statute was enacted on July 27, 2006, which was three months before he entered his guilty plea in Schenectady. He also argued that neither New York nor Florida had a registry in place that was compliant with the act.

Northern District of New York Judge Gary L. Sharpe denied the motion and _____ pleaded guilty to both counts as well as the gun charge. He was sentenced to three years and one month in prison and challenged the registration requirement in his appeal to the circuit.

In addition to setting criminal penalties, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 18 U.S.C. §2250(a), also required that each jurisdiction implement the standards set forth in the act by July 27, 2009, three years after its enactment.
- It does not "require" it, they are simply guidelines.

The 2nd Circuit explained that "Although neither New York nor Florida had implemented the specific requirements set forth in SORNA during the time period charged in the indictment, both states had sex offender registration programs that complied with the federal Jacob Wetterling Act, 42 U.S.C. §14071, et seq., which was the statutory precursor to SORNA."

_____ had argued he had no actual knowledge of the registration requirement and that neither state had implemented the program requirements, so compliance with SORNA was "impossible for him."

The circuit disagreed, saying, "It is well-established that ignorance of the law is not a valid defense to a criminal prosecution."

A narrow exception to this rule was carved out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lambert v. California, 355 U.S. 225 (1957). In _____, the Court held that due process was violated by a Los Angeles ordinance that made it a crime for a convicted felon to remain in the city for five days without registering with the chief of police.

The Court said, "Registration laws are common and their range is wide ... But the present ordinance is entirely different. Violations of its provisions is unaccompanied by any activity whatever, mere presence in the city being the test. Moreover, circumstances which might move one to inquire as to the necessity of registration are completely lacking."

But in _____'s case, his "failure to comply with SORNA's registration requirement is beyond that exception," the circuit concluded.

The court said several other circuits had considered and rejected the same arguments made by _____, and it was adopting the reasoning of those circuits.

"Here, as distinguished from _____, _____ knew he had to update his registration in New York and that he had to register as a sex offender in a new state if he moved," the circuit said.

Moreover, the panel said, _____ had already complied with the requirements on four separate occasions when he left for Florida.

"The fact that _____ did not receive notice of SORNA is not sufficient to render his prosecution for failure to register as a sex offender under 18 U.S.C. §2250(a) a violation of his due process rights," the circuit said.

And _____ could hardly argue it was "impossible" to comply with SORNA, the panel said, "in light of the fact that the states at issue had a registration program."

Assistant Federal Public Defenders Timothy E. Austin and Molly Corbett represented _____.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brenda K. Sannes and Thomas Spina Jr. represented the government.