Thursday, January 21, 2010
By Michelle Dupler
OLYMPIA -- Rep. Brad Klippert (Contact), R-Kennewick, thinks sex offenders should share some of the costs of keeping track of their location.
- So isn't that extortion?
Klippert in-troduced House Bill 2883, which, if passed by the state Legislature, would require sex offenders to pay a $65 fee when they register with the sheriff's department in the county where they live and each time they move to a new county within the state.
- Just more ex post facto punishment!
The money would go directly to sheriff's departments to pay for the costs of deputies knocking on doors to make sure sex offenders are where they say they'll be.
"With the budget crisis we're facing this year, this is one attempt on our part to actually put the burden for the cost of public safety on the offender's back and not on the public's back," said Klippert, who works as a Benton County sheriff's deputy when not making laws in Olympia.
The idea came from Benton County Undersheriff Paul Hart, who saw that other states have a similar fee requirement for sex offenders.
Right now, sheriff's departments in Washington are responsible for checking up on sex offenders and verifying their addresses and locations. A federal grant helps pay for the staff to do that, but Hart said he wants to make sure counties aren't left high and dry when the federal money someday goes away.
"This is an effective tool. I'd hate to see it go away if the federal money dries up," Hart said.
Information about sex offenders goes into a statewide database that Hart said helps law enforcement officers track an offender's movements and history of offenses in the state.
Sometimes that helps not only keep tabs on where a sex offender is living, but also to solve crimes, he said.
Klippert said he has bipartisan support for the bill, which he considers important for public safety.
"It is a high priority in my mind as a state legislator to ensure the safety of our citizens," he said. "No one should have to suffer as the victim of a sexual offender."
- You are right, nobody should suffer, but they do and will. No amount of unconstitutional punishment will prevent that. This is basically extortion, IMO.
House Bill 2883 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Watch here (Skip forward to around 4:03)
See the PDF amendment here.
By JULIE BROWN
Miami-Dade County has taken the first steps to help convicted sex offenders find places to live that aren't tucked in alleyways and shacks under overpasses like the Julia Tuttle Causeway.
County Commissioners on Thursday passed, 10-1, a sex offender ordinance that repeals all 24 different sex offender ordinances enacted by municipalities within county borders. The new law creates one standard that it hopes will balance the need to protect children while still giving housing options to sexual offenders.
The ordinance also creates a new provision that supporters say is a more workable and realistic solution to protecting children: child-safety zones.
"Almost all the municipal ordinances enacted to date tend to create zones in which sexual offenders are completely excluded from available housing," according to the ordinance, sponsored by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz.
Under the child-safety zones, sex offenders are prohibited from loitering within 300 feet of where children congregate. In other words, it restricts sex offenders from being near children, but doesn't leave them homeless.
Unlike the county, which bans sex offenders from living within a certain distance of schools only, other municipalities' laws go further, banning them from living within 2,500 feet of daycare centers, parks, playgrounds and a myriad of other places where children congregate.
Now, municipalities, like the county, must allow sex offenders to live within 1,000 feet of all places except schools. The 1,000-foot rule is the minimum set by state law.
The change has met with mixed reaction among city officials and civil libertarians.
"I haven't been totally satisfied that the county has the authority to do this," said Miami Beach City Solicitor Jose Smith, adding that it "waters down," their city's stricter law.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (Contact) has argued for years that ordinances across the state are often so strict that they create homelessness, making dangerous offenders more difficult to monitor and more likely to re-offend.
- Prohibits convicted sex offenders and predators from living within 2,500 feet of a school -- only. As for parks, daycare centers and other places children congregate, cities, like the county, can only restrict them from living within 1,000 feet.
- Under a new "child-safety zone" amendment, sex offenders are banned from loitering or prowling within 300 feet of a school, municipal or county park or day-care facility.
- A sexual offender and predator is permitted in the park or day-care facility if he or she is a parent or guardian of the child.
- Unless the suspected sexual offender flees, a law enforcement officer must give the offender or predator an opportunity to explain his or her presence and conduct before arrest.
- It is unlawful for anyone to rent a dwelling to a sexual offender or predator when the structure is within 2,500 feet of a school.
By Mike Limrick
The Indiana Supreme Court opened the first two weeks of January with three opinions.
In Hevner v. State, the Court addressed the claim “that the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act . . . constitutes retroactive punishment forbidden by the Ex Post Facto Clause contained in the Indiana Constitution because it requires the defendant to register as a sex offender, when the Act contained no such requirement at the time the defendant committed the triggering offense.”
In this case, the defendant was convicted with possessing child pornography as a Class D felony, his first offense. At the time Hevner committed his crime, a person convicted for the first time of possessing child pornography was not considered a sex offender who had to register as such. By the time he was convicted, though, the law had changed and, at sentencing, Hevner was ordered to register as a sex offender.
The analysis in this case built on the Indiana Supreme Court’s opinion last year in Wallace v. State. There, the Court held that the Registration Act violated the Indiana Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause as applied to a defendant who committed his offense before the statute was enacted. The same analysis, the Court concluded, applied to Hevner’s situation because “[a]s a general rule, a court must sentence a defendant under the statute in effect on the date the defendant committed the offense.”
In Matter of N.E., the issue was whether a trial court’s adjudication that a child was a “Child In Need Of Services” (“CHINS”) applied to the child’s father, when the adjudication did not specifically allege fault on the part of the father. The Indiana Supreme Court concluded that the court was not required to make such a determination for each parent. Rather, “[t]he question in a CHINS adjudication is not parental fault, but whether the child needs services. Because a CHINS determination regards the status of the child, the juvenile court is not required to determine whether a child is a CHINS as to each parent, only whether the statutory elements have been established.”
In N.E., the Court distinguished a CHINS adjudication, which does not address parental fault, from proceedings to terminate a parent’s rights, which does. On appeal, the father was successful in having N.E. returned to his home from foster care, because the trial court’s findings were not sufficient to show why placement in his home was not appropriate.
Finally, in the consolidated cases of State v. Haldeman and State v. Lawson, the Indiana Supreme Court addressed a peculiar situation. In 1990, the legislature adopted Indiana Code § 35-33.5-3-3(a), which required a prosecuting attorney to apply to the Indiana Court of Appeals “for an ex parte de novo review” of a trial court’s issuance of a wiretap warrant under rules adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court. The Court adopted Criminal Rule 25 for that purpose. In 2007, the legislature repealed the statue; however, Criminal Rule 25 remained.
The Court concluded that the repeal of the statute did not wipe away the obligations set forth in Criminal Rule 25, and that the State failed to follow those procedures in these cases. However, the Court found that the defendants in both cases failed to demonstrate that the State’s failure to comply affected their substantial rights. Thus, the Court reversed the trial court’s ruling granting the defendants’ motions to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the police wiretapping.
By WAYNE ORTMAN
A Senate committee took its first look Thursday at a package of bills meant to fine-tune the state's sex offender registry law and offer some people the hope of getting off the list and its accompanying restrictions.
Chief among the eight bills is one that would place offenders in one of three categories based on the seriousness of the crime. Those in Tier 3 would be on the list forever. Tier 2 and Tier 1 offenders who meet qualifications could apply to a judge for removal after 25 or 10 years, respectively.
The Senate Judiciary Committee spent nearly two hours reviewing the bills and heard some testimony but took no votes on the bills, which are the product of a summer study by a special legislative committee.
Convicted sex offenders are required to register with local law enforcement. Their name, address and crime are available on a state Internet site.
Sen. Craig Tieszen (Contact), R-Rapid City.
"I think the interim committee that was formed rightly decided to look at that net and see if perhaps every one that we caught in that net should stay there forever, or whether they should have an opportunity to release themselves from the net and whether we still had adequate protection for our citizens," he said.
Offenders who would qualify for removal would have to meet all conditions and laws during their 10- or 25-year registration period, said Sen. Gene Abdallah, R-Sioux Falls, chair of the Judiciary Committee and a member of the study committee.
He said there would be no leniency for crimes against children.
One of the challenges for the seven-member committee is how to deal with those convicted before the tier system would be implemented.
The bill's current language would place everyone in Tier 3 - the most serious level - and they could petition a court at their own cost to be placed in a different tier. Tieszen suggested it would be better to immediately assign them to a tier based on their crime rather than have a "free for all" of everyone petitioning their assignment.
Amendments addressing that issue and making other proposed changes are already circulating for the committee's next scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
Some of the proposed changes align with requirements of the federal Adam Walsh Act, passed in 2006 to coordinate and expand sex-offender registration nationwide and penalize states for noncompliance.
"It was not the intent of the committee to follow the Adam Walsh Act to the letter of the law. It was not worth the loss of the dollars to comply in some cases," Abdallah said.
Another bill addresses the oversight of offenders moving from a different state to South Dakota. There's also a bill that allows offenders who are homeless or on parole to live within so-called community safe zones near a school, park or playground if it's in a shelter or halfway house.
BALTIMORE (AP) ― An Anne Arundel County police lieutenant is facing a federal child pornography charge.
According to court documents, 47-year-old James Cifala exchanged sexually explicit picture messages — a practice known as "sexting" — with an underage girl. Cifala allegedly asked the girl via text message to send the photos, and prosecutors say the images constitute child porn.
Cifala is a 27-year veteran of the department and lives in Edgewater. Police say he has been suspended without pay.
He appeared in federal court in Baltimore Thursday afternoon, and a detention hearing was tentatively scheduled for Friday. His attorney declined to comment.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein says the case should serve as a wake-up call to parents to monitor their children's cell phone use.
We have recently received many requests for information on the Whitaker v. Perdue lawsuit and the 2010 Georgia Legislative Session. We write today to answer some of your questions.
Whitaker v. Perdue
In late September 2009, SCHR filed five motions and briefs for summary judgment in Whitaker v. Perdue. In these briefs, SCHR asked the Court to strike down as unconstitutional various parts of Georgia’s sex offender law, including the prohibition against living within 1,000 feet of churches, school bus stops, and swimming pools; the employment provision; and the volunteer provision of the law. On October 30, 2009, the State filed its response to SCHR’s summary judgment motions, and on November 9, SCHR filed its reply brief.
We have not yet received a ruling from the Court. We do not know when we will receive a ruling; it could be many months from now. We appreciate your patience as we await the Court’s ruling. Please rest assured that we will send an email to the listserv as soon as we have a case update.
Georgia Legislative Session
The 2010 Georgia legislative session commenced in early January. We anticipate that some of the 2009 legislation regarding the sex offender law will be back up for discussion amongst legislators and that new proposals may be introduced as the session progresses. Legislation can take on many different forms during a legislative session and it is impossible to predict what will unfold at the legislature this early on in the session. We will be keeping a close watch on any legislative activity regarding the sex offender law.
Please know that we will be sure to send out legislative updates to the listserv as they become available.
We wish you all a healthy, happy new year.
All the best,
Sara, Sarah, Gerry and Mica
Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar St.
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 688-1202 -phone
(404) 688-9440- fax
Episode Notes: Please join us Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm Eastern, as we here at Americans Reality Check (ARC) Welcome James of the video not a sex offender-please help. Young James was 18 when he and a friend were at a party and met a couple girls who they had consensual sex with. These girls told the youths they were 16 and 17 and led both young men to be misled.. James fought his case in the courts for two years and the young lady's family supported him acknowledging their daughter lied to him the night they met. Read article here. Recently, James created a video in desperation to get his newborn daughter back who was taken from him and his ex-girlfriend due to a child abuse case and his status as a Registered Sex Offender. Under the current law James has five years left to register but has shown great courage and strength to go public in hopes to seek help in regards to getting his baby girl back. View video. Please show your support and encouragement by attending the ARC show and sharing James story across the world. This young mans cries for help must be heard!
Episode Notes: Please join us TONIGHT as we welcome to the show some Illinois residents who have been effected by the sex offender registry laws and the collateral damage to their own families lives. As they deal with the laws, many former offender lives and their families future's are watching the dark cloud looming overhead known as the Adam Walsh child Protection Act, which can take their current term of registration requirements and require them to register for life based on offense. This law, if passed in Illinois could cause more harm then good as Illinois families take a pro-active approach into stopping AWA from becoming law! Please join us and show your support to these men and women who will join us from Illinois and discuss their situations and issues and how this has effected their family and increased punishment beyond the original plea.
Episode Notes: Please join us this Wednesday as we here at ARC Talk Radio welcome John doe and his wife from Nebraska. On January 1, 2010 LB-285 became law which had many new requirements for all registered sex offenders. One of the most harmful and damaging requirements is all Tier 1 and 2, who were previously on a non-public registry in hands of police only, are now subjected to the Megan's law website which will include such information as their current photo, address, criminal charge etc. Our guest John doe, Nevada has been openly speaking out against this detrimental law which will not only effect his life but that of his family and thousands of other Nebraska former offenders. In recent weeks he has been on the radio discussing this new law and its issues regarding the constitution as Nebraska Attorney General fights back stating this will protect Nebraska's children and does not violate the state and federal constitution. Here on ARC we will give John Doe the opportunity to respond to AG Brunings statements and discuss the issues which he feels are vital to himself and others. If you would like to listen to these interviews please visit the link at the top for ARC Talk Radios archive to download. Hope you will join us in support of John Does fight as he has took a pro-active stand to overturn LB-285, educate the public and stand by our Constitution. To learn more on Nebraska and John does fight visit: http://constitutionaldefense.org.
Episode Notes: Please join us this Wednesday as we here at ARC Talk Radio welcome Sara to the show. Sara, has found herself as the mother of a former offender when her young son got tangled up in a internet sting and was forced to register, which in turn destroyed his life and that of her family. This family has a unique story as Sara comes from another country, as a child, and believed in the American dream of freedom and constitutional rights. Now, she finds herself angry, bitter and disfranchised by our government. Not only will Sara discuss the registry laws, how it effects her son, but she wants to respond to Attorney General of Nebraska's radio interview. It takes much courage to come forth and share ones story and pain so please join us in support of Sara as she discusses her own family's plight. ARC Hosts, Kevin and Mary
Don't forget all the unknown sex offenders who may be living in your own home. Statistics show that 90% or more of all sexual crimes being committed today, are from people not caught yet, and 95% or more of all sexual crimes are committed by someone the victim knows, like mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, etc.
By Emily Florez
BONNEVILLE COUNTY - Sex offenders are likely among your kids at school and administrators may not even know it.
When you go to the public sex offender registry you will find hundreds of local sex offenders in Bonneville County. You can see their name, address and offense. But this gives no comfort to parents who send their children off to school knowing that laws don't stop some from getting on campus.
There are over 250 sex offenders in Bonneville County. Guy Bliesner, Health and Safety Coordinator for District 93, said, "I can guarantee you that there are unknown sex offenders visiting schools all across Idaho."
- I can to, many have not been caught yet, or live with the child!
Idaho law states sex offenders are not allowed on school property, but in that same statute there are some exceptions. If the sex offender is a student at the school; if the offender is attending their child's scheduled event; or if they are dropping off or picking up their child; or has written permission from the principal.
The problem is with more than 250 sex offenders in the County and over 10,000 students in the school system, it is impossible to match which sex offenders are legally on your school property and which are not.
Bliesner tells how they realized they had this problem, "We were at one of my elementary schools and another patron came up to my principal and said, 'Are you aware that that individual, and that individual are registered sex offenders?' And we were not aware."
Dr. Chuck Shackett, District 93 Superintendent said, "I believe that every individual makes mistakes and that we can amend for those and completely change our behavior but I don’t feel that we are doing all that we can do to assure that protection, unless we go through this identification process."
District 93 requested a system be made to match the county sex offenders addresses with student addresses to find out what offenders have any legal rights to be on campus. Their request was granted.
Creg Fielding, President of Txtwire created the system. He explains what the system can do. "We realized that we could compare those two data sets together and get firm results on which of those are firm matches. In a matter of seconds you can run a report for the entire district of 10,000 students and find which students match and have the same address as these registered sex offenders."
- Cha-ching! Another company making money exploiting fear!
The district now has instant updates of who is allowed at their schools and who is not. There are a total of 18 legal sex offenders within Bonneville County.
But this new sex offender detecting system is not where their precaution stops. Superintendent Shackett said, "we are excited that our local legislators are seeing this potential and seeing this problem that we have, and so both Jeff Thompson and Eric Simpson are taking that step to write the Legislation for us and we are just really happy to see that happen."
The legislation that's being considered would require a registered sex offender who is the legal parent or guardian of a student to notify the school annually or to notify the school before their first visit to their child's school. This would allow administrators to be aware of those offenders who have legal right ahead of time. The bill will be introduced to the Legislature within the next week to 10 days. The way it looks though, new laws could be in place by the beginning of next school year.
He's young and needs to make a name for himself, so what better way to do it? Go after sex offenders!
By Abbie Alford
Child sex offenders could spend more time in prison for sex abuse.
Wednesday, Oklahoma State Representative Mike Sanders (Email), R-Kingfisher, introduced HB 2968 that would increase the minimum prison sentence from 25 years to 50 years for those who are convicted of sexually abusing a child under the age of 12.
FOX23’s Abbie Alford takes a deeper look into protecting your kids from predators.
On the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website you can search for child crimes and the offenders.
We found one woman in Tulsa who was convicted of Cause, Procure, Or Permit-Injury/Sex Abuse in 2005. She was sentenced to six years in prison but served two years. The mother will have to register for life as a sex offender.
Now one lawmaker and police say parents who allow sex abuse and those who commit the sex act should be locked up longer.
"'Yeah he is abusing my kid but I had free rent and groceries is what it amounts to so I am going to prostitute my kid out so that we have a place to live," says The Tulsa Police Exploitation Sgt. John Adams. "You didn't protect your child as your parent. That is your biggest responsibility as a parent is to protect your child and make sure that your child is safe and provided for not to use your child for rent."
Currently in Oklahoma, the minimum sentence is 25 years to life in prison but in a lifetime of pain for abused child.
So Representative Sanders says if abusers or those who allow it to happen don’t get a life sentence they need to spend at least 50 years in prison.
"He's not going to the total deep end and saying castration or death he's actually. This is livable punishment," says Adams. "It will make sure that they don't get out in 20 year, they don't get out in 15. The 85 percent of 50 years they will at least be in there for thirty, thirty-five, forty years before they are able to touch parole."
This law would also require sex offenders to register with a valid and map-able address.
P.O. Boxes would be prohibited and valid zip code matching the city the offender registers in will be required.
Tulsa Police already require a map-able address.
If there is not a map-able address sex offenders would need to register with local law enforcement every seven days.
Representative Sanders says he also wants to shorten the time it takes to register once released from prison from 45 days to 10 days.
Sanders plans to meet with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on Friday.
Tulsa Police have added a delinquent sex offender list to its website.