Thursday, January 14, 2010
Adam Walsh was 6 when he was abducted from a Florida department store and killed in 1981. Years later, police concluded that a convicted pedophile was the culprit. The boy’s father, John Walsh, became a high-profile advocate for children and crime victims and host of TV’s America’s Most Wanted.
- The highlighted statement is not true. Ottis Toole was NOT a convicted pedophile, but a psychopathic serial killer.
So it’s understandable that the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act would be seen as an important crime prevention tool.
The 2006 law created a national sex offender registry, increased penalties for federal crimes against children and got tougher on child pornography. But it also gave the federal government unprecedented power to keep convicted criminals imprisoned after they served their sentences.
And that’s why the Supreme Court is considering whether the law unconstitutionally expands congressional power.
A basic principle of criminal law is that someone who commits an offense against society must pay a penalty. Elected legislators set parameters for punishment, based on the severity of the crime. Juries and judges then decide actual punishment warranted in individual cases. Once a fine is paid or a sentence is served, those who committed the crimes are allowed to go on with their lives, having paid their debt to society.
When prisoners are released, the government can attach reasonable conditions of probation or parole. But the government can’t add punishment once a sentence is served. The Constitution — and justice — don’t allow that.
- Well, when we have a bunch of corrupt hypocrites in office, who swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and are not doing that, then it's obvious they can do anything they wish.
But that’s essentially what the Adam Walsh Act allows. When prisoners convicted of sex-related crimes were finishing their federal sentences, the attorney general designated them as "sexually dangerous" and kept them in prison, some now years beyond the length of their original sentences.
The Justice Department argues that the Constitution allows this under Congress’ power to take "necessary and proper" action to enforce the law, including running a criminal justice system.
- Show me in the Constitution, where is allows for this?
But inmates challenging the law counter that this is federal intrusion into traditional power of the states to police sex-related violence, most of which doesn’t involve interstate commerce. Besides that, if the federal government can hold people to prevent them from committing future sex crimes, it could continue holding any inmates it wants to prevent them from doing other unlawful things.
But the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government power to imprison people for crimes they haven’t been convicted of, or just to protect society, no matter how worthy that goal.
That doesn’t mean clearly dangerous people must be let out into society. To protect their residents, states can take civil custody of individuals who pose a serious public safety risk — based on evidence presented in a procedure that provides due process protections.
But if existing punishments aren’t enough to keep dangerous people from causing more harm, elected officials should reconsider whether sentences for certain crimes should be revised. If a civil commitment component should be added to prison time for some offenses, that should be put into the law upfront, not done after the fact.
- Civil Commitment is a waste of tax payer dollars. If someone is so dangerous, they should be in prison for longer and stop wasting our hard earned money!
Society has a vested interest in keeping people safe from sexual violence and sex crimes against children. But not all means can be used to serve a noble end.
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Former chief United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter was arrested in a Pennsylvania sex sting in November on a litany of charges involving a lewd Internet conversation with a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl.
Ritter, 48, allegedly masturbated in front of a Web camera while he was engaged in conversation in an Internet chat room with an undercover cop posing as the teenage girl. He declined to discuss the charges Thursday when reporters visited his New York residence.
"I said there would be no comment," Ritter said, according to the Albany Times Union. "Why don't you guys just go away?"
The chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98 and harsh critic of the war in Iraq, Ritter is accused of contacting the "girl" while using the handle "delmarm4fun" last February.
Ritter, of Delmar, N.Y., allegedly told the girl, "Emily," that he was a 44-year-old man from Albany, N.Y., according to an affidavit of probable cause.
The undercover officer then told Ritter he was a 15-year-old girl from the Poconos region of Pennsylvania, at which point Ritter asked for a picture in addition to one "Emily" had posted on her account, according to the affidavit prepared by Barrett Township Police Det. Ryan Venneman.
Ritter then sent a link to his Web camera and began to masturbate while it was focused on his genitals, according to the affidavit. The former U.N. official then allegedly provided his cell phone number.
"He then continued to masturbate on web cam and he again asked how old I was," the affidavit continued. "He was advised again that I was 15 years old. He said he didn't realize that I was 15 years old and turned off his web camera. He stated that he didn't want to get in trouble."
Ritter then allegedly told the "girl" that he fantasized about having sex with her, to which the officer replied, "guess u turned it off [no problem]."
Ritter then asked the girl if she "want[ed] to see it finish" before reactivating his Web camera and ejaculating, the affidavit read.
The conversation with the girl allegedly took place on Feb. 7, 2009, but the police investigation investigation lasted until November. Ritter was arrested on Nov. 9 and charged with unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communications facility, corruption of minors, indecent exposure, possessing instruments of crime, criminal attempt and criminal solicitation.
Ritter appeared for his preliminary hearing on Dec. 17 and waived the felony charge of unlawful contact with a minor. He remains free on $25,000 bail.
Ritter's attorney, Todd Henry, of Philadelphia, did not return several calls seeking comment Thursday.
Ritter — born William Scott Ritter Jr. — is a former Marine who reportedly met his second wife, Marina, while working as a counterintelligence officer in the former Soviet Union.
"I came to Delmar ... to put roots down, to raise a family and live a normal middle-class American life," Ritter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2002.
A press conference on the matter to be held by the Barrett Township Police Department is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski will prosecute the case.
A press release issued in November by the Barrett Township police noted that the incident wasn't the first time Ritter had been arrested on similar charges, but that he had not been formally charged.
Ritter was reportedly charged in a June 2001 sex sting in New York, but the case was dismissed. He had been charged with attempted child endangerment after arranging to meet a person he thought was a 16-year-old girl at a fast-food restaurant. The girl was actually an undercover police officer.
The New York Post reported Ritter was caught in a similar case in April 2001 involving a 14-year-old girl, but he was never charged.
Civil commitment is just prison outside of prison and cost a ton more than just keeping them in prison, but, got to make those new jobs available while exploiting sex offenders and appearing tough on crime. If they are so dangerous, why not sentence them to longer time in prison instead of wasting millions of tax payer dollars? Civil commitment, regardless of what the "injustice" system says, is unconstitutional, it's an ex post facto law, which is forbidden by the Constitution, but, since the constitution is not worth the paper and ink it's written with, the government is corrupt and ignoring their oath of office, anything is possible. This is just a test bed, eventually normal citizens rights will be eradicated as well, mark my words on that.
I am not sure who this man is, nor if this article is about the same man, but here is the video anyway.
Attorney Robert L Miller speaks about registration requirements for people convicted of a registreable offense in California - what is required, the stigma of registering as a sex offender for life, and how to avoid having to register as a sex offender.
ATLANTA - An Atlanta jury convicted a former sheriff's deputy from Bibb County, Ga., of trying to take part in a threesome with a woman and her 7-year-old daughter.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said former Bibb County deputy Gregory Todd Bowden was found guilty Wednesday of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sex and will be sentenced March 16.
Prosecutors maintain Bowden, 43, arranged a threesome with what he thought was an adult female with a 7-year-old daughter.
The woman who Bowden communicated with online was really an undercover FBI agent and Bowden was arrested after arriving for the planned rendezvous on Feb. 11, 2009.
Prosecutors insist before his arrest, Bowden took part in role-playing activities online that involved incest and child sex acts.
Child pornography was also found on the former deputy's personal computer, prosecutors allege.
The Journal-Constitution said Bowden is facing as much as life in prison.
By DAVID GAMBACORTA
Tyrone Wiggins is undoubtedly familiar with the inside of the Criminal Justice Center.
During his 23 years as a Philadelphia police officer, Wiggins likely made numerous court appearances as one of the good guys, on the side of the law.
He'll enter the same building today for a preliminary hearing, but with a decidely different role - that of a disgraced former cop who's accused of sexually and physically abusing a young girl over the course of eight years.
Wiggins, 50, was arrested on Nov. 19, a day after he retired, and two years after the police Internal Affairs Bureau began investigating the claims of a young woman who said Wiggins started raping her in 1997, when she was 12.
The arrest was never made public until the Daily News reported on the case last month.
The Police Department's perceived silence on the case outraged elected officials, average citizens and Wiggins' former brothers and sisters in blue.
City Councilwoman Marian Tasco was among those who lambasted police officials for not notifying the Recreation Department of Wiggins' arrest.
An eighth-degree black belt, Wiggins gave weekly karate lessons at the Olney Recreation Center, where he met his alleged victim when she was 10.
Recreation Department Commissioner Sue Slawson said she was unaware of his arrest until a Daily News reporter informed her last month; Wiggins last gave a lesson at the center on Dec. 14, although his class included no children.
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey described the failure to disclose the arrest as "an oversight," and said even he was unaware that Wiggins volunteered at the rec center.
Tasco, whose 9th Councilmanic District includes the Olney Rec Center, sent a charged letter to Ramsey and demanded a more detailed explanation of the investigation and the department's lack of disclosure about the case.
A spokeswoman for Tasco said Ramsey sent a lengthy, detailed response that did not address all of the councilwoman's concerns.
Tasco, who could not be reached for comment, wants to meet with Ramsey in person to further discuss the case.
Concerns were also raised about whether Wiggins' abrupt retirement was designed to protect his pension benefits.
James Kidwell, the deputy director of the city's Board of Pensions and Retirement, noted that the city's code would allow Wiggins to keep his pension, even if he is convicted of the charges he faces - rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and statutory sexual assault.
Chapter 22-1300 of the code states that a city employee could lose retirement benefits only if he or she pleads or is found guilty of perjury; accepting or offering a bribe; engaging in graft or corruption; theft, embezzlement or willful misapplication of city funds; malfeasance in office or engaging in conspiracy to commit any of the above.
By Megan Luther
AG's criticism of tiered sex offender plan stuns committee
The committee of legislators proposing to change the sex offender registry were caught off guard by objections from Attorney General Marty Jackley (Contact) on Wednesday, the second day of the session.
At issue are eight bills unanimously approved by the legislative committee that would change several aspects of sex offender registration laws. Jackley said he is on board with six of the eight, with his biggest concern being the proposed three-tier system. The committee's proposal has some areas that don't strengthen the sex offender registry, he said.
"We just need to figure out how to get there without having unintended consequences of weakening our sex offender registry," Jackley said.
The system would have three tiers and allow some to petition to be taken off the registry, while others would remain on it forever.
Jackley said he has an issue with the offenders allowed on the second tier, who can petition to be taken off after 25 years. He favors keeping them on Tier III, without the opportunity for removal.
- Of course he does, got to "look tough" on crime, while doing nothing but boasting and grandstanding!
Jackley is working on an amendment to be introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee that would strike the tier language in Senate Bill 12 and instead allow the opportunity for removal of offenders convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure cases and "Romeo and Juliet" sexual contact cases - which generally involve relationships between boyfriends and girlfriends.
Jackley has said there might be fairness issues for some instances of "Romeo and Juliet" cases, but not for those proposed for Tier II and "particularly in relation to violent crimes against children," he said.
"Why weren't these objections brought earlier? This is rather late," said Sen. Sandy Jerstad, D-Sioux Falls.
There have been four committee meetings since July, and the attorney general's office has been a part of those meetings.
Jackley started his job as attorney general Sept. 4.
"Concerns throughout the process had been raised, and perhaps they were more general and had become more specific now that there is actual proposed language that we can work through what potential consequences those are," Jackley said.
Rep. Peggy Gibson of Huron said the committee spent a lot of time researching the issue.
"Lots of hours, lots of hours. And we thought the attorney general was on board with this," she said.
Gibson said Jackley appeared upset during the meeting.
"I think he's trying to make it a political issue, and it should be just a fair and equitable law issue to benefit the citizens of South Dakota," she said.
- I'm willing to bet that as well.
Jackley doesn't think he's being political.
"I may have been passionate on some of the things I said on behalf of victims," he said.
- What about being passionate about the oath of office to defend the constitution and the rights of all citizens?
Toward the end of the 90-minute meeting, the committee unanimously agreed to maintain support of the three-tier system.
"The committee obviously didn't agree with the attorney general's office. We prefer the work we have already done," said Rep. Richard Engels, D-Hartford.