Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sex Offender Laws & Myths Induced by the Willfully Ignorant; Pt 1 of 4

Original Article

04/30/2010

By pachrismith

Sex Offenders and the Willfully Ignorant, part 1

Residency Restrictions

I am exasperated beyond expression at the willfully ignorant. They reject empirical evidence (based on observed results rather than theory) contradicting their opinion and the end result of their obstinacy is that children and society are less secure. Emotionally generated perceptions originated by poor science and reinforced by media catering to our emotions rather than informing with fact, impel legislators to make decisions with incomplete or biased information. Their reactionary efforts may provide a vent for outrage; but the sexual abuse, abduction, rape and murder of children always continue. Many declare that if a law saves one child, it was just. But what if, in saving one, another or many are endangered?

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles found that each time an offender moves, the likelihood that they will reoffend increases 25%.[1] Just this month; Matthew Cate, Secretary of California's Board of Corrections and Rehabilitation, reported that more than 2100 sex-offender parolee/probationers are transient and another 900 are "at large". Prior to enacting residency restrictions in California, fewer than 100 sex offenders were homeless state-wide.[2] In a paper issued by the Iowa County Attorneys Association (prosecutors), it was reported that the number of "missing" sex offenders nearly tripled after state-wide residency restrictions were implemented. Additionally, the same report revealed a "significant" decrease in the number of sex offenders who confess or agree to plea bargain and, consequently, fewer being held accountable for their crimes.[3] Other states, among which were Florida, Indiana, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Kansas and Kentucky are finding similar unintended consequences

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center issued a statement that concluded with "Because residency restrictions have been shown to be ineffective at preventing harm to children, and may indeed actually increase the risks to kids, JWRC does not support residency restriction laws."[4] Minnesota found that " . . . over the last 16 years, not one sex offender released from a MCF (Minnesota Correctional Facility) has been reincarcerated for a sex offense in which he made contact with a juvenile victim near a school, park, or daycare center close to his home."[5] The Colorado Department of Public Safety in 2004 found that sex offenders who committed subsequent sex crimes did not reside closer to venues frequented by children than those sex offenders who were not repeat offenders.[6]

There are a multitude of state and independent empirical studies clearly and conclusively identifying instability in housing, employment and/or social support as foremost predictors for repetitive criminal activity. The vast majority of sex-offender legislation destabilizes one or more of those areas, increasing the likelihood that a sex-offender will repeat their crime. These laws endanger as many or more children than could be argued, against evidence, they might protect.

References:
  1. Applied Research Services, Submitted to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Enhancing Parole Decision Making Through the Automation of Risk Assesment, April 29, 2003
  2. John Simerman, Contra Costa Times, Sex Offender Agency Faults Megans Law Drawbacks, Copyright © 2010 - San Jose Mercury News
  3. Iowa County Attorneys Association, Statement on Sex Offender Residency Restrictions in Iowa, December 11, 2006.
  4. Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, Does JWRC support laws that prohibit sex offenders from living within a certain distance from schools, parks, or daycare centers?
  5. Minnesota Department of Corrections, Residential Proximity and Sex Offense Recidivism in Minnesota, April 2007.
  6. Colorado Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Justice Sex Offender Management Board, REPORT ON SAFETY ISSUES RAISED BY LIVING ARRANGEMENTS FOR AND LOCATION OF SEX OFFENDERS IN THE COMMUNITY


UK - Facebook Vigilante Posts 6,000-Strong Pedophile Register

Original Article
Related Article
Chris' Facebook | Shaming Facebook Page

05/01/2010

(NewsCore) - A vigilante completed his own U.K. sex offenders register on Facebook by posting the names and pictures of nearly 6,000 sex offenders, The Sun reported Saturday.

Determined campaigner Chris Wittwer believes everyone should have a right to access information on sex offenders in their area, so he set about scouring newspaper reports and cross-referencing them with court records to produce a nationwide list.
- They do, it's called the online registry!

Wittwer, 34, said he spent "every waking hour" gathering the thousands of pieces of information needed to make what he said is the largest photographic gallery in the world.
- And wait until he posts the wrong information, then he will be sued!

It includes mugshots, and he said it allows parents to look out for sex offenders near them in case they decide to re-offend.
- So, when they move, are you going to constantly update it?  If not, then you could be posting bogus information.  It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt from this, and you wind up in prison!

The list already attracted thousands of followers and is similar to the database recently made available to U.K. parents in four pilot areas in response to calls for Sarah's Law, named for an eight-year-old girl who was murdered by a known sex offender.

"I am effectively doing Sarah's Law for the police," Wittwer said. "But it's not a question of being a hate mob ... Because of the repeat nature of many child sex offenses, it is an invaluable tool for parents who want to keep a watching eye over their kids."
- It's about vigilantism.  If you want this done, then talk to the legislature to enact laws!

Police closed down his first group focusing on his native Devon, southern England, two years ago -- but had to leave him alone when he proved he was doing nothing illegal.

All the information Wittwer uses is already in the public domain.


PA - Tougher Pennsylvania Megan's Law act may hit snag because of costs

Original Article

04/18/2010

By Chuck Biedka

Major changes could be coming to Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law, the statute designed to track sex offenders.

The proposed change, based on a 2006 federal law, would place more stringent restrictions on Pennsylvania's Megan's Law offenders, including:
  • setting up a three-tier offender system based on the severity of the crime to replace a two-tier system;
  • higher standards for law enforcement regarding the verification of information about offenders on the list;
  • greater community notification.
  • participation in a national Megan's List registry.

There is no guarantee Pennsylvania will change its law. The state faces, however, a cut in its federal funding for law enforcement if it doesn't.

The law is named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who moved across the street from her family.

Although most states passed so-called Megan's laws, their terms vary widely.

The federal government is implementing the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. It requires all states to meet various standards or sustain a 10-percent reduction in federal criminal justice grants.
- It's basically a bribe, and it will cost more to implement everything, than to not do so, and the tax payers will be paying for it as well.

Pennsylvania has asked the Justice Department to delay implementation until July 2011.

In Fiscal Year 2009-10, Pennsylvania received $45.4 million from the federal Justice Assistance Grant program. The state's Commission on Crime and Delinquency got about $12 million to operate and give local grants, according to federal reports.

A 10-percent penalty would withhold $4.5 million in a state strapped with decreased revenue.

Even so, some states are opting to take the penalty.

California, which received $135.6 million in its 2009-10 federal allocation, decided the changes were more costly than the loss of grant money.

Gov. Ed Rendell's (Contact) spokesman, Gary Tuma, said the state will soon study what it needs to do to comply, including the cost.

New Jersey and three other states are using a federal grant to analyze the ramifications of the Walsh Act, said Kristen M. Zgoba of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Tuma said he doesn't know why such an analysis didn't happen before Congress voted to enact the act.
- Because they pass laws to help themselves, and ask questions later!

"We're interested in the results of the (New Jersey) analysis when its ready," Tuma said.

Tuma said the Rendell administration is looking at a number of changes in Pennsylvania's Megan's Law.

He declined to say whether the state is reviewing the section of the law requiring sex offenders to take responsibility for reporting to state police -- probably the law's most controversial provision.

Zgoba, a former Rutgers University professor, dislikes the "self-report" feature.

"That's the biggest loophole in Megan's Law," she said.

She said the media usually focuses on sex offenses committed against children by strangers. Those crimes are rare, she said.

"People need to be aware that most sexual assaults -- more than 90 percent -- are done by people they are familiar with -- their acquaintances and family -- not a stranger," she said.

Three-tier reporting

Among other changes, the Walsh Act requires a three-tier reporting system rather than Pennsylvania's two-tier system for sexual offenders and predators.

The two-tier system requires offenders to report annually for 10 years, while those determined to be sexual predators must report every three months for the rest of their lives.

Unless the person is on probation, the law relies on the offender to comply with Megan's Law reports.

Most states do the same. In New York, for example, only about 5,000 of the 30,000 registered sexual offenders are on probation. That means that 25,000 must self-report, according to a New York state Web page.

Under the new federal rules:
  • Low-level, "Tier I" offenders must report their home address and job site annually for 15 years.
  • More serious Tier II offenders must report every six months for 25 years.
  • Tier III offenders -- those convicted of the most serious sexual crimes, such as rapists and those deemed sexual predators -- have a lifetime three-month reporting requirement.

Ohio is the only state to fully comply with the Act.
- They have not "fully" complied either, they have implemented a great deal of it, but not everything.

It may not be easy for Pennsylvania to do so.

The Walsh Act would require Pennsylvania offenders to register before they complete prison sentences. That would add about 10,000 names, said state police Lt. Doug Grimes, who manages the state's Megan's Law office. The list now has about 9,900 names.

Also, state police would also have to list map coordinates for all sexual offenders on its Megan's site and make other changes.

All of that will hike the price tag for taxpayers.
- So, they are the sheeple who are wanting these laws, based on emotions and disinformation.


CA - Attorney gets six months for child porn when the average citizen gets many years!

Original Article

05/01/2010

By Jason Wells

A 58-year-old Glendale man was sentenced Friday to six months in jail and up to three years of probation for having child pornography on his home computer and for possessing an assault rifle, officials said.

Walter Loustari, an attorney based in La Cañada Flintridge, must surrender to authorities July 15 to begin his jail term and must also register as a sex offender, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan also restricted Loustari’s access to the Internet and interaction with minors, she said.

Loustari pleaded no contest in January to one felony count each of child porn possession and having an illegal assault rifle, setting the stage for his sentencing in March. That hearing was delayed.

He must also surrender all firearms and undergo one year of counseling under the sentence, Gibbons said.

Loustari was arrested in October following a federal investigation that began three years earlier.

At the time, he was the third Glendale man to be arrested in connection with the child porn investigation.

His attorney, Michael Shannon, could not be reached for comment.

Due to the felony charges, Loustari’s license to practice law will likely be suspended until a disciplinary panel with the California State Bar reviews the case, spokeswoman Kathleen Beitiks said.


GA - HB-571 Information

Video Link | HB-571


FL - Florida Senate votes to ban sex offenders from loitering near schools, parks

Original Article

04/30/2010

By Tonya Alanez

TALLAHASSEE - State senators voted 39-0 on Friday to ban convicted sex offenders and predators from loitering or prowling within 300 feet of places where children congregate, such as schools, parks and playgrounds.

The bill, HB 119, sponsored by Rep. Richard Glorioso (Contact), R-Plant City, would be enforceable 24 hours a day statewide.

"What this bill does is set up the circle of safety," said Sen. Victor Crist (Email), R-Tampa, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

It now goes to Gov. Charlie Crist (Contact) for his signature or veto. House members passed the bill 115-0 earlier in the session.

A convicted sex offender or predator caught within the buffer zone would be subject to a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.
- Caught and Loitering do not mean the same thing.  As long as someone is there with a purpose, then that is not loitering.

On Tuesday, Broward County commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance creating the 300-foot child-safety zones around the same locations. The county ordinance is punishable by 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

Miami-Dade County approved the same 300-foot zones earlier this year.

In Broward, there was outrage earlier this year over news that a confessed child killer was spending his days in Stranahan Park next to the main library in downtown Fort Lauderdale. _____, who served 15 years for the abduction, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Illinois, eventually was picked up by Fort Lauderdale police and placed in a court-ordered treatment program.

The Broward ordinance would apply countywide, though cities could opt out.

Sen. Dave Aronberg (Email), D-Greenacres, had sought to include a provision in his version of the bill (SB 1284) that would repeal some of the restrictive residency requirements that make it difficult for convicted sex offenders and predators to find legal places to live.

State law does not allow convicted sex offenders and predators to live within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and parks.

Many cities and counties have gone further, extending the areas to within 2,500 feet. The result has created a statewide patchwork of restrictive zones.

Two dozen Broward County cities have passed their own residency ordinances.

Aronberg reluctantly withdrew his residency provision, which would have estabished a statewide 2,500-foot residency ban around schools and and day-care centers. The goal was to set a consistent standard and stop municipalities from expanding the restrictions even more.

When severely limited, sex offenders and predators are unable to find legal places to live, move onto the streets and fail to report their whereabouts to state authorities, Aronberg has said.
- And it's the existing 2,500 foot law which is causing that, and you told us earlier you were working on helping to eliminate some of the burdens, so how is making the 2,500 foot statewide going to help anything?  You are doing nothing really! Here is what you sent to us via Twitter.


"Sex offenders have been pushed underground. They go homeless, don't report, and they roam our streets." Aronberg said. "It will continue unabated and our streets are less safe because of it."
- So unless I am missing something, how would the law you were pushing have helped anything?

Florida's problem gained notoriety when more than 100 offenders who could not find legal places to live set up a shantytown under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami-Dade County.


CA - State Board Recommends Sex Offender Exclusion Zones

Original Article

04/30/2010

The establishment of sex offender exclusion zones in California was one of the recommendations made today by a state board that reviewed the case surrounding the killer of San Diego-area teens Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.

In March, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Contact) directed the state Sex Offender Management Board to conduct the review to determine whether systemic changes or improvements can be made to better protect the public.

The results of that review were delivered today to the governor's office.

The board called on lawmakers to examine and update policies related to the management, treatment and housing of sex offenders.

Specifically, it recommended that California focus resources on the treatment of sex offenders; rethink the effectiveness of residency restrictions; implement better tools to assess sexual predators' risk to re- offend; retain records involving sex offenders for 75 years; and combine GPS tracking with lifetime supervision for exceptionally high-risk offenders.

The panel also urged the establishment of sex offender exclusion zones rather than residence restrictions.

John Albert Gardner III, a convicted sex offender, pleaded guilty April 16 to murdering and raping the San Diego-area teens. He is scheduled to be sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole on May 14.

Chelsea, a 17-year-old, straight-A senior at Poway High School, disappeared Feb. 25 after going for a run at Rancho Bernardo Community Park. Her body was discovered five days later in a shallow grave near Lake Hodges.

Amber vanished while walking to Escondido High School in February 2009. The 14-year-old's skeletal remains were found last month in Pala.

Gardner was not on parole when he committed the crimes. The Sex Offender Management Board found that it was unlikely that a parole revocation for living near a school would have changed the outcomes of the crimes.