Friday, May 7, 2010

OK - U.S. Marshals Help Track Down Adair Co. Sex Offenders

Original Article
See these important notes

05/03/2010

By Russell Jones

Authorities in Oklahoma got some help Monday managing the sex offender population in Adair County.

U. S. Marshals were out at the crack of dawn in Stilwell, visiting sex offenders' homes to make sure they're living where they're supposed to be. These compliance checks are supposed to be done a few times a year, but officials say in many places that job is not getting done.

"Most of these counties have hundreds of offenders that they need to keep track of and the resources are generally not there to do an adequate job," said John Loyd, the Marshal for Oklahoma's Eastern District.

"When you only have one or two deputies on a shift it's difficult to, nearly impossible to conduct compliance checks on top of everything else they have to do," said Adair County Sheriff Austin Young. "We're dependent on these sex offenders to do what he's supposed to do and for the public to notify us when somebody is out of compliance."

Lorry Colburn is the sex offender coordinator and administrative assistant for the Adair County Sheriff's Office, and says her job has mainly been about managing paperwork between the Department of Corrections and the sex offenders that actually comply with the law instead of ignoring it.

"They are required to come in, fill out paperwork with me and then they're fingerprinted, photographed, I take their DNA," she said. "I know where they live, where they're working, all their information."
- Yes, they are required to do this when they are suppose to register, which varies. They do not have to answer the US Marshals (Gestpo) questions, except that yes they live there.

The compliance checks will leave authorities in Adair County armed with better information about their offender population. During the checks officers also make sure the offenders are following certain state guidelines, such as not living near a school or owning a computer. Loyd says some offenders are granted exceptions to the rules on a case-by-case basis, but not often.
- Not owning a computer?  That is total mistake by the reporter reporting this story.  Some who are on parole and/or probation may be required to not own a computer, but those off paper, this doesn't apply to them.

"There's about a ten-percent failure rate, people who are continuing to violate, either by not registering or continuing on with their criminal behavior," he said.

Loyd also said the problem is heightened because of the border between Arkansas and Oklahoma, and that offenders from both states regularly move back and forth.

"The border counties typically have a more difficult time simply because of jumping from one state to another, and we have a tendency to focus on those areas," he said.

The teams of U. S. Marshals and local authorities will go back out again soon for a follow-up sweep, but this time they'll be armed with warrants for sex offenders that aren't in compliance.

 


DC - The DC Conference - June 26-28, 2010 (Please attend if you can)

Click the image to visit the site


Tons of sex offender law suit information on LEAGLE.COM


Below is just a few cases, which I originally was going to post all of them here, but the number is too large.

Go here to see a list of ALL the court cases they have listed.

State Cases:
  1. STATE v. ADAMS (Washington)
  2. STATE v. ADHAHN (Washington)
  3. STATE v. BENNETT (Washington)
  4. STATE v. DENYA (Connecticut)
  5. STATE v. FAVOCCIA (Connecticut)
  6. STATE v. FISHER (Ohio)
  7. STATE v. HAKEEM (Ohio)
  8. STATE v. JOHNS (Ohio)
  9. STATE v. LACEY (Montana)
  10. STATE v. MORRISSEY (New Jersey)
  11. STATE v. NICKELSON (Iowa)
  12. STATE v. ROBERTS (Ohio)
  13. STATE v. ROBISON (Kansas)
  14. STATE v. WILLIAMS (Ohio)
  15. BAILEY v. STATE (Alaska)
  16. DEWALT v. STATE (Texas)
  17. HURST v. STATE (Missouri)
  18. TIMMONS v. STATE (Mississippi)

Other Cases:
  1. DARNELL v. ANDERSON (Texas)
  2. EDWARDS v. GOORD (New York)
  3. JARADAT v. WILLIAMS (Ohio)
  4. PEOPLE v. LEOPOLD (New York)
  5. PEOPLE v. SANCHEZ (California)
  6. SHERMAN v. RONCO (Connecticut)
  7. SHERRATT v. UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE (Utah)
  8. U.S. v. BEASLEY (Federal)
  9. U.S. v. LOVE (Federal)


ME - State Pushing for Federal Sex Registry Changes

Original Article

05/07/2010

The federal law's provision regarding juveniles is troublesome, state officials say.

Maine officials are pushing Congress to make changes in the federal sex registry law. Attorney General Janet Mills (Contact) says particularly troublesome is the federal requirement that juvenile sex offenders be placed on state registries for life. "All states have a great deal of difficulty imposing the very tough restrictions on juveniles that that act calls for," she says.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins (Contact) hears the concerns. "Those issues do need to be recognized and worked out, but I think it's important to remember that this law serves a very important purpose as far as protecting our children."

Under the current "Adam's Law ," the state has until July 1st to apply for another waiver from the U.S. Justice Department. Mills thinks the waiver will be granted.

But as the law currently stands, the state will face sanctions a year from July if it does not change its sex-offender registry to comply.


OH - DNA Frees Innocent Man, But What About Eyewitnesses?

Original Article

05/07/2010

By Benjamin Radford

Earlier this week, a man named Raymond Towler was released from prison after DNA evidence exonerated him. Towler had been convicted in 1981 of raping an 11-year-old girl in a Cleveland park and given a life sentence; he spent nearly 30 years in prison before a group called The Innocent Project took up his case and requested that DNA evidence be re-evaluated.

Towler’s freedom made national news. The judge in the case, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Eileen Gallagher, did not merely free Towler as a formality but left the bench to congratulate Towler at his defense table and gave him an Irish blessing. Towler was also the guest of honor at a Cleveland Cavaliers NBA playoff game.

It’s a tragic story with a bittersweet ending, but there’s an important element that has been largely ignored in the news surrounding Towler’s exoneration: the victim and witnesses identified him as the rapist from a photo. That is, the 11-year-old girl and other eyewitnesses pointed to a photograph of Raymond Towler and told police, “Yes, that is the man who did this.” But Raymond Towler was not the man who did this.

So what happened? Were they lying? Though false rape accusations do occur (as the Tawana Brawley and the Duke University lacrosse team cases show, to name just two high-profile scandals), it seems doubtful that’s what happened in this case. Instead, most likely the eyewitnesses were not lying, nor stupid, nor malicious. They were simply wrong.

Countless cases prove this point. Recently in the District of Columbia, a police sergeant involved in a chase positively identified a 14-year-old boy as the driver of a vehicle involved in a mass shooting. The boy was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder. As the Washington Post noted, “An arrest based on this identification probably struck most people as reasonable, even laudable. After all, the sergeant is a trained, experienced police officer, and he was certain enough of his identification to commit it to a charging document.” Yet despite his positive identification, the trained police sergeant was wrong; other evidence proved that the boy was innocent.

Then there’s the case of the D.C. snipers who killed ten people and badly injured three others in October 2002. Police were baffled by the killings, though an apparent break in the case came when several eyewitnesses described the shooter: A white man driving a late-model white van or box truck. Based on these multiple eyewitness descriptions, police stopped white vans along the Capital Beltway hoping to stop the killer. Yet when the snipers were caught, it was clear that the sincere, believable eyewitnesses with no reason to lie or exaggerate were completely wrong.

Instead of a single white man driving a white box truck, the murders were committed by two Black men driving a dark blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice. In that case, the eyewitness testimony likely cost human lives: Police had in fact noted the Chevrolet at several of the crime scenes but did not stop or check out the car because the police and public were focused on the non-existent white van reported by eyewitnesses.

Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful conviction in America. Of the more than 200 people exonerated by way of DNA evidence in the US, over 75% were wrongfully convicted because of eyewitness mistakes. Indeed, according to the Innocence Project, “While eyewitness testimony can be persuasive evidence before a judge or jury, 30 years of strong social science research has proven that eyewitness identification is often unreliable. Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound. Instead, witness memory is like any other evidence at a crime scene; it must be preserved carefully and retrieved methodically, or it can be contaminated.”

Often in criminal cases there’s a strong and understandable desire to believe the victim. No one wants to question or challenge a person who has obviously undergone a horrible experience—but it must be done. That eyewitness reports are often very unreliable is not news to psychologists or experienced police detectives, but the general public is often unduly impressed with an eyewitness who says, “I know what I saw, and I saw him do it.” Maybe, maybe not.

And it’s not just in crimes: many people who believe in cryptozoological curiosities such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster also put great faith in eyewitness reports—especially sightings by police officers and others in authority. Yet the evidence is clear and uncontested: people are not good eyewitnesses, and often sincerely claim to see things they did not.

Think of how horrible the rape victim who accused Towler must feel, knowing her mistake took 30 years of an innocent man’s life. Those who offer eyewitness evidence against others should heed Oliver Cromwell’s famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."


Harvard Online Event - Discussion of online abuse (06/19/2008)

Playlist Link


MD - Sex offender laws signed

Original Article

05/07/2010

By ALAN BRODY

Murder of girl on Eastern Shore spurs measures

ANNAPOLISGov. Martin O'Malley (Contact) and the General Assembly's presiding officers on Tuesday signed more than 300 bills into law, including several that impose closer monitoring and longer jail sentences for sex offenders.

Lawmakers weighed dozens of proposals during the 90-day legislative session that aimed to crack down on child sex predators, an issue that long has been discussed in Annapolis. The effort took on renewed urgency this year following the abduction and slaying of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell, whose body was found Christmas Day not far from her Salisbury home. A registered sex offender, Thomas James Leggs, has been charged with her murder.

"We hope that the legislation we sign today will be some small consolation and comfort to you to know that some good is coming out of that horrible tragedy as we fight to protect our children from dangerous predators and keep them off our streets," Gov. Martin O'Malley said at the beginning of the ceremony that was attended by Jennifer Foxwell, Sarah's mother, and other family members.

The new laws, which take effect Oct. 1, require lifetime supervision for violent and repeat offenders, institute a mandatory 15-year sentence for second-degree child sex crimes, eliminate good-behavior credits that shorten jail sentences and establish a system to track sex offenders online and sort them based on the seriousness of their crimes, which complies with federal guidelines.

"It brings peace to Sarah's death for myself, my family and our community because now we that no other child will have to endure what she had to endure," Jennifer Foxwell told reporters.
- These laws are not going to prevent another tragedy like this. If someone is hell bent on harming a child, they will do so.

O'Malley touted the bipartisan effort to pass the package of sex offender laws. Republicans have advocated such measures for years and complained that some previously enacted laws that might have prevented Foxwell's death were not implemented.

Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (Email) (R-Upper Shore) hopes Maryland's new laws show that child sex crimes will not stand.

"This sends a message to sexual offenders of children that Maryland is not a place where they want to come," he said.

O'Malley and legislative leaders also signed into law a bill that aims to address gang violence in schools by improving communication between law enforcement and school officials. The issue gained publicity after the beating death last May of 14-year-old Christopher Jones of Crofton. His mother, Jennifer Adkins, who attended Tuesday's bill signing ceremony, said she was appreciative of the legislature's actions, but said it was too little, too late.

"My son should have never had to lose his life because the schools [couldn't] protect him," she said.
- And why do we not have a gang registry, and those gang members denied access to schools, day cares, parks and other places kids congregate?

Parents should feel comfortable sending their children to school, said House Speaker Michael E. Busch (Email) (D-Anne Arundel), who sponsored the legislation.

"These are supposed to be safe zones and nurturing environments for kids to learn in," he said.
- As long as people walks this Earth, nothing will be a "safe zone!"

Another bill signed Tuesday allows judges to hand out tougher sentences against gang members and adds new crimes, such as witness intimidation, to a gang bill passed in 2007.
- So where is the gang registry, and laws restricting where they can and cannot live?

Another measure that became law on Tuesday requires public school teachers to work three years before receiving tenure — it's currently two years — and ties teacher evaluation to student achievement. The education reforms make the state eligible for $250 million in federal Race to the Top education funds.

Other bills signed into law Tuesday will:

Increase monthly insurance premiums for thousands of vehicle owners in Maryland.

Force motorists who receive a traffic citation to request a court hearing, rather than automatically be assigned one, which costs millions of dollars in overtime every year and takes officers off the street.

Create a dedicated fund to stabilize tuition for in-state students to avoid steep spikes in costs during periods of economic instability.

Revise child support guidelines to reflect present-day economic realities.

The guidelines, which judges use to help set monthly payments, have not been updated since 1988.


GA - FOX 5 Special: Mug Shot Magazine

Original Article

Funny how everyone is okay with doing this for sex offenders, but when they are humiliated and embarrassed, then it's a different story! There is also a Facebook page (not sure if it's the same people) This is along the same lines as Jerry Springer, and other trashy shows.

05/06/2010

By Denise Dillon

ATLANTA - A new Metro Atlanta publication lists the mug shots of everyone who has been arrested the previous week, no matter how big or how small the crime. But is it legal to print these mug shots of people who have not yet been proven guilty in a court of law?

Mug shots are the one photo most people would never want anyone to see. However, the "Just Busted" magazine publishes the mug shots of everyone who was arrested the previous week. Anyone can pick up the publication at their local convenience store.

The crimes listed range from open container violations to homicides. If you've been arrested in the north Georgia and Chattanooga areas, your mug shot is most likely in there.

April Ellis was featured on page two of a recent edition of the magazine. "I don't like it, I don't like it. It's embarrassing," Ellis said. "I had lied about a girlfriend, said she hit me, but she didn't."

Wanda Gillem started "Just Busted" in Chattanooga, Tennessee after she became a victim of a crime.

Gillem said she thought she knew her neighbor until her car ended up missing.

"Turns out, he stole my car and sold it for crack cocaine," Gillem said.

Gillem later learned her neighbor had stolen other cars in the past, so she started "Just Busted" to help others learn more about their neighbors.

In one year, distribution of the magazine has grown rapidly. The publication has gone from serving two counties to more than 50, including north Georgia.

"Its good to know the things going on around you, know your neighbors, know what's going on in your community, know the criminals around you," said editor Matthew Deglopper.

Deglopper said he truly believes more people were behaving themselves just to keep their names out of the "Just Busted."
- So, if any of you who make this magazine get busted, will we see your photo as well?  I doubt it!

"It's cutting back on DUIs and other crime. It's acting as a deterrent," Deglopper said.
- Where is your proof?

Major Doug Duncan of the Bartow County Sheriff's Office said he wasn't sure if the magazine was acting as a deterrent, but he did say the paper can help keep track of criminals in neighboring counties.

The magazine has a most wanted section, a page for missing persons and it lists sex offenders.

"Anytime we can get sex offender information out, it's a good idea. People hear there's a sex offender in their neighborhood but they don't know what they look like," said Maj. Duncan.

Not everyone is a friend of the paper. There's already an anti-"Just Busted" Facebook page and there are others who say by charging $1.00 per issue, the paper is profiting off the misfortune of others.

Everything in the magazine including faces, names and charges is a matter of public record. The words "innocent until proven guilty" are written on every page.

Still, defense attorney Cory Yager called it sensationalism.

"Whether legal or not, this is over the line of ethical," Yager said.

The attorney said the paper put people in a false light. "Some of these crimes, public indecency could be something like urinating in public after having too much to drink, not exposes yourself in public for indecent purposes," Yager said.

Yager said there was also the question of those who were listed in the magazine but were later found not guilty. "These papers don't come back and say, 'Yes, Johnny was exonerated. Johnny didn't do the crime.' Johnny's picture is now out there forever," said Yager.

Then again, for those like April Ellis who find themselves in print there may be an upside.

"It taught me a lesson," Ellis said. "To not lie to the police."

There are similar papers in other parts of the country. A lawsuit has been filed against one publication in Nebraska for invasion of privacy for commercial purposes.


SD - Former sheriff's deputy (Roy Laverne Shilanek) indicted on child pornography charges

Original Article

05/06/2010

By John Hult

A former Faulk County Sheriff’s deputy who resigned after taking property from a Seneca farm in 1999 has been indicted in federal court on child pornography charges.

Now a Sioux Falls resident, 44-year-old Roy Laverne Shilanek appeared today before judge John Simko on the pornography charges and pleaded not guilty.

He was arrested at his home this morning. Simko signed a release order for him on the condition that the defendant have no access to the Internet.

Shilanek faces charges relating to files found on his computer in March.

In 1997, the former deputy took a tent, silverware, a battery charger and a wrench during a call about a suspected underage drinking party. He took the call with former Faulk County Sheriff Mike Demery.

Both men resigned in 1999 when Demery revealed that they’d taken the items.


NM - City, ACLU spar again over library policy on sex offenders

Video Link


CA - California parole agency breaks up sex-offender encampment in Anaheim

Original Article

The homeless issue is due to the draconian nature of the laws, and it's sweeping the nation. As in Florida and Georgia. Hell, even California has been shuffling them around for many years now.

05/07/2010

By Christopher Goffard

On Wednesday, officials with the Parole Department relocated 30 to 40 paroled offenders who had been living in cars and RVs outside its office on Coronado Street, police say.

The beat-up station wagons and peeling RVs had been turning up outside the Coronado Street parole office in Anaheim for months, parked through the night. But in recent weeks it seemed they filled the whole block.

In Orange County, where more than a third of the paroled sex offenders are homeless, police estimated that 30 or 40 had taken to camping on the streets in this industrial stretch.

The situation appeared to stem from Jessica's Law (Proposition 83 PDF), the 2006 statute that forbids sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or other places where children gather, severely limiting lodging options in densely populated cities.

"These people have difficulty finding residence, so they make do," said Anaheim police Lt. Julian Harvey.

The sex offenders are required to meet regularly with their parole officers, and those without a power source use the office to charge up the electronic ankle bracelets that monitor their whereabouts.

After media inquiries and business complaints, however, the state Parole Department cleared the block Wednesday night, moving the sex offenders to another location. Anaheim police Sgt. Tim Schmidt said the parole agency did not inform the Anaheim police where the offenders had been relocated.
- Just shuffling them around will not resolve the homeless issue.

"We had no clue they were doing that," Schmidt said Thursday. "Somebody made a quick, abrupt decision that we didn't know anything about."
- If they are living outside the parole office, how did you "not know?"

The Parole Department did not return calls seeking comment.

On Wednesday afternoon, hours before the streets were cleared, a convicted 41-year-old child molester was sitting near the parole office in his vehicle, his belongings filling the back seat. He said he lost his lodging nearby after a Boys & Girls Club moved in down the block, putting him in violation of Jessica's Law. After four years in prison, he said he has been living in his vehicle for months and that nobody has hassled him.

The California Department of Corrections, which runs the Parole Department, "has been very good to us," he said. "They know we can't go anywhere." He said the sex offenders who camped there did not associate with each other because the law forbade it. He said he felt a measure of protection living near the parole office.

"All of us are safer than in the streets," he said. Still, he did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation. He said he had heard a rumor that there might be a drive-by shooting targeting the campers.

According to the Parole Department, California has about 8,580 registered sex offenders on parole, about 2,000 of whom are classified as transient. Of Orange County's 302 registered sex offenders on parole, 119 are transient, and in Los Angeles County, the homeless represent 421 of 1,896 offenders.

"The bottom line is, they're going to be in the city some place," Kenneth Ford, the Parole Department's chief deputy regional administrator, said in an interview earlier this week. "We're trying to make them be compliant with the law. You're not going to find a lot of compliant housing for them."

Ford said the Parole Department had reached an understanding with the Anaheim Police Department that there were advantages to having the parolees at a specific location.

"If they were going to be transient, they wanted them to be transient in an area where they know they are," Ford said. "My understanding now is the area is not acceptable to the chief of police."
- You see, most ex-offenders try, to the best of their capability, to remain compliant, but the laws make it almost impossible.  Like the man above being arrested simply due to a Boys & Girls club opening up that he did not know about.

The Police Department insists it never had such an understanding with the parole agency. "We do not have any formal or informal agreement," Schmidt said. He added that although camping on a city street violates an Anaheim ordinance, police had refrained from citing the sex offenders in hope that a solution could be reached with the Parole Department.

Jerry Grinstead, who co-owns an emergency-vehicle business near the parole office, has watched warily as the overnight campers proliferated in recent weeks.

When a television news report identified the transients as sex offenders last week, however, his worries grew, especially because his granddaughter and daughter-in-law sometimes visit his office. On Monday, he said, he met with Anaheim police Chief John Welter and Mayor Pro-Tem Harry Sidhu to express his concerns.

Though the sex offenders have been dispersed, the company's co-owner, Travis Grinstead, said that he has seen some of them camped on the surrounding blocks in their vehicles.

The sex offenders are a shunned and hated fraction of the traffic at the parole office. On Wednesday afternoon, milling around the street in front of the office, a group of thickly tattooed ex-convicts were taking a break from mandatory drug rehabilitation class. They said they did not know where the sex offenders were, but it was best for them to keep out of sight.

"This is probably the safest block they could be on," said Richard Velasquez, 33, of Anaheim. But he added: "Don't get me wrong. If I find out there's one, I'm punching him in the face."
- And then you will be arrested for assault!