Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A registered sex-offender was arrested for violating probation at the Pollard Memorial Library yesterday after a librarian spotted him in the children's section removing a GPS device, but was later ruled not in violation, in Lowell Superior Court.
PA - United States Court of Appeals Holds Registration and Reporting Requirements of SORNA Unconstitutional As Applied to Adjudicated Juveniles
If it's unconstitutional for juveniles, it's also unconstitutional for adults.
By Marc Neff
The Sex Offenders Registration and Notification Act, otherwise known as SORNA, was enacted by Congress in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act; legislation enacted “in order to protect the public from sex offenders and offenders against children”. SORNA establishes a national database of sex offenders, requiring anyone convicted of certain sex offenses to register as an offender and report to law enforcement authorities every ninety (90) days for twenty-five (25) years. The Attorney General was given the authority by Congress, and accordingly chose to apply the registration and reporting requirements of SORNA retroactively to those with prior convictions of certain sex crimes. The Attorney General further applied the SORNA requirements to those convicted as juveniles, regardless of whether they had been adjudicated.
The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act has long been in place in our justice system. It was created with the intention of removing juveniles from the ordinary criminal justice system in hopes of rehabilitation and to assist troubled youths in becoming productive adult members of society. As part of the Act, juvenile offenders generally do not have their names or a picture released to the public when charged with most criminal offenses and further safeguards the record of juvenile proceedings from unauthorized disclosure.
The Constitution of the United States also provides protection against Ex Post Facto laws, or laws which retroactively change the legal consequences of a person’s actions. The Constitution shields citizens from being punished for acts previously committed which did not carry consequence at the time they were committed. However, consequences must be deemed punitive in order for the Constitution’s clause to apply; regulatory or civil application, such as adult registration in a sex offender database, is not considered a violation of the Ex Post Facto clause.
A juvenile who was adjudicated for a sex offenses which he committed between the ages of thirteen (13) and fifteen (15), was required to register in the national sex offender database as per SORNA’s requirements. The juvenile’s offenses constituted aggravated sexual assault due to the young age of the victim. The Juvenile was adjudicated delinquent and sentenced to two (2) years detention in a juvenile facility, to be followed by supervised release; the adjudication occurred one (1) year prior to the passage of SORNA. As per the FJDA, the juvenile’s record was sealed.
On appeal from the District Court’s imposition of the SORNA requirement upon the juvenile, following his adjudication for delinquency, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that applying the SORNA requirements to the appellant violated the Ex Post Facto clause of the Constitution. The Court discussed the difference between applying SORNA retroactively to adults versus adjudicated juveniles. The FJDA seals a juvenile’s criminal record upon adjudication, allowing only authorized personnel to view juvenile offenses of an individual. The FJDA provides this protection in hopes of rehabilitating juveniles so they can become productive adults, rather than burden their early adult lives with a criminal record which would affect employment, credit, home rental and purchase, etc. Contrarily, an adult criminal record is open to the public upon search.
- So, it's okay to ruin an adults life apparently? Here they admit it's punishment, basically, for adults.
Based upon this analysis, the Court held application of SORNA’s registration and reporting requirements unconstitutional as applied to adjudicated juveniles, as the effect would be punitive rather than merely regulatory. The Court also mentioned that an opposite finding could require juvenile offenders, adjudicated decades ago, to register; potentially ruining families, businesses, and the lives of those who have been successfully rehabilitated.
- The same should apply to adults as well, which the Constitution protects as well. If it's unconstitutional and punitive for minors, the same applies to adults.
Sexual Crimes are serious matters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the United States. These crimes carry harsh penalties. In addition to prison sentence, a convicted offender may be subject to “Megan’s Law ”, which is intended by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to “protect the safety and general welfare of the people of this Commonwealth by providing for registration and community notification regarding sexually violent predators who are about to be released from custody and will live in or near their neighborhood”. Further, offenders may also be subject to a national sex offender registration database under the Federal SORNA Act.
Sexual offenses in Pennsylvania are serious crimes which carry many substantial penalties if you are convicted. An experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney can defend you against these charges.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit....
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you're hardest hit....
It's when things go wrong that you mustn't quit.
By SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN
HAMILTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed Congressman Chris Smith’s “International Megan’s Law” to protect kids worldwide from sexual predators.
“We’ve worked with a whole lot of people to try to make sure we get this passed, and it finally did,” Smith, R-Hamilton, told The Trentonian not long after the House approved the bill on a voice vote.
“It’s another attempt to have vulnerable children be protected from a predator, and these people are predators.”
The International Megan’s Law is based on the domestic Megan’s Law, which allows the American public to check if convicted sex offenders live in their neighborhoods.
The international version would require the United States to notify other countries when a high-risk American child molester travels abroad. The international version also is intended to encourage other countries to enact Megan’s Law and notify the United States when foreign sex offenders seek to travel to America.
“Megan’s Law” and Smith’s international version are named after Megan Kanka, a Hamilton 7-year-old who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1994 by a notorious sex offender, Jesse Timmendequas, who lived across the street, unbeknownst to residents in the neighborhood.
Congressman Smith, who has represented the Central Jersey area since 1981, has been a longtime champion of human rights, having pioneered the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000 to clamp down on what he refers to as “modern-day slavery” — children forced into prostitution.
- Really? A "champion" of Human Rights? I beg to differ!
“This law, when it’s enacted, and I do believe it will be enacted, will be the first of its kind in the entire world,” said Smith, adding he hopes the U.S. Senate passes the measure and that President Barack Obama signs it into law “very soon.”
“We’re trying to make it global in terms of Megan’s Law,” Smith said, “but that also protects our kids, because we have sex tourism visitors coming to our country from Germany — a whole slew of countries — to abuse little children, and our Immigration and Customs Enforcement people don’t have a clue what their M.O. is when they arrive at JFK or Newark International or wherever it might be."
“This would encourage a whole global movement to enact Megan’s Laws domestically and then share that information internationally.”
“Frankly,” Smith added, “we’ve all been inspired by Megan Kanka’s parents, Richard and Maureen, who I’ve worked with since the terrible atrocity in 1994. They are very happy with the International Megan’s Law.”
In remarks Smith made on the floor of the House, he said, “The goals of this legislation do not stop at protecting children overseas from U.S. predators. Sex offenders around the world are now able to cross borders and oceans to carry out their nefarious activity under the cloak of anonymity and disappear before a child is able or willing to reveal the crime."
“The International Megan’s Law would establish the model needed for our administration to pressure other countries to take action to stop child sex tourism originating within their borders and threatening children in the United States and elsewhere.”
Today Scott Greenfeld reprints a depressing e-mail from a person who is a registered sex offender. The person's life on Earth is more-or-less over:
I wake up and cant believe whats happen . this has been going on now for 8 1/2 years i have no job i am broke i have nothing i am going to lose my home my parents pay for my bills but when you havnt been to a medical Doctor in 7 years or a dentist my teeth are rotting . I lost my medical insurance when i was fired from my job. my savings are gone.
I cant form a relationship because who wants to be with a felon and a registered sex offender ?? I have lost friends i had . Now they changed how you have to register so you have to pay for a drivers license every year and on top of that they charged $75 a year just for the privilege of being a registered sex offender which they raised to $ 125 which i don't have the money to pay for i don't have any money because i was fired from my job and am now unemployable I live off my parents who can not afford it. my life is a pure hell. i am 10 years older now and unemployed. all my savings which i had saved for retirement is GONE! but i want people to know ...
The e-mail is depressing because it's common. The sex offender registry is not filled with large angry men waiting to ambush you, your wives, sisters, or daughters when they walk down dark alleys. It's filled with people convicted of trivial sexual offenses.
In California, you can be put on the sex offender registry for sexual harassment:
A guy walks into a sauna at a 24-hour fitness where another guy's in there talking on a cell phone. They're both in towels. The guy who walks in takes a seat and, looking and smiling at the guy on the cell phone, drops his towel and starts quasi-masturbating. It's clear the guy's asking the other guy if he wants a little action. But the other guy's not interested.
Crude, sure, and not something I would want to see at the gym. Yet there was no touching; no approach; no threat. No children were present. No one was in any danger of being raped.
Heterosexual thought I may be, I have seen many penises. It's part of being in any locker room. And yet a man who shows me his penis too provocatively will be required to tell his neighbors that he's a danger to society. The person's life is over. How is that sane?
And a few years ago, a man named John the Guitarist posted a tragic account of finding himself on the sex offender registration. I verified his story through court records. What he said was true:
In December of 2001, I was in my senior year at a Georgia state university, majoring in Business Management. I was 25, and had already earned an associates degree in music at this point, as well....
I went to a party during that Christmas break, and there was a girl there. The fact that she was drinking beer and smoking cigarettes led me to believe that she was of legal age. I have never been a promiscuous person, but she came on to me, and we ended up sleeping together that night. I told the hosts of the party, a couple with whom I was good friends that I had hooked up with the girl at the party. They told me that she was the host's younger sister, and that she was 14 years old. They also told the father, who was a police officer.
The plea agreement did not seem all that bad at the time. I knew that, as the adult, I should have had the foresight not to have slept with that girl. I knew that the responsibility for the entire situation rested upon my shoulders. I took all the blame and felt genuinely remorseful for making such a stupid decision. They offered me a "First Offender" sentence. They would drop the Child Molestation charge, and leave the Statutory Rape. I was offered 10 years of probation, no jail time, and ordered to attend counseling, or "Sex Offender Treatment".... According to Georgia's First Offender Act, the case would also be shielded from the public and removed from my record if I was able to stay out of trouble for the duration of my probation. The most significant part of the plea agreement was that I would NOT have to register and have my name, address, and picture plastered across the Internet. The DA and Judge had decided that I did not deserve to have my life wrecked because of this. I took the plea, was grateful for what I had received, and attempted to become a contributing member of society. When I took the plea, the state also dropped all charges against the hosts of the party (Contributing to the delinquency of a Minor).
Being placed on the Sex Offender Registry is one of the most horrible things that our society has ever known. It is a cruel experiment by our government that has already been proven to do absolutely no good towards protecting society from dangerous people. The lawmakers had no idea what they were doing when they passed (and continue to pass) all these laws. I know this for a fact because my uncle, a member of the (GA) house of congress, even said so himself when I told him that my entire life had been ruined by a law that he didn't even remember voting on last year. It is absolutely mind blowing to myself and everyone that I have told (and I've told a lot of people at this point), but nobody seems to be able to do anything about it...nobody wants to touch it because it's such a "hot button" issue right now. Nobody would want to be accused of "Not wanting to protect the children..."
The biggest problem with all of this, through my eyes, is that I have done so much over the last 2 years. I have based and built my life around the guidelines that were set out for me. I am being forced to undo the successes that I have accomplished under these guidelines. To go back and change the rules 2 years later just seems unconscionable to me. The worst part is that forcing people to register has already been challenged at the Supreme Court level, and the verdict has been returned that it is not considered additional punishment to be placed on the Registry. If it were considered additional punishment, it would violate the constitutional laws of due process and against double jeopardy and ex post facto laws. The problem is that it IS additional punishment. Being placed on the sex offender website is probably one of the most horrible things that can happen to a person in today's society. The registry does not state the conditions of my probation. I'm sure that the lady who called the store did not realize that I was not violating any laws by teaching there. She, like most other people who check the registry, probably assumed that I was a child rapist/molester/kidnapper who deserves to burn in Hell forever. That is one of the biggest problems with the registry. People who are on it are automatically assumed to be the worst of the worst through society's eyes. I am not a rapist. I do not hurt children. I do not want to sleep with children.
Lives are being ruined. And for what? How does society benefit by requiring those men to register as sex offenders?
ARC TALK RADIO
When: July 28th, 2010 at 8:00 PM Est
Dial: 1-724-444-7444ID #29521#
Please join us for a special show with Co-host of ARC Mary Duval on her recent Trip to New York to Be on the FOX business show with John Stossel. Mary was Contacted by The Stossel Program this past weekend to appear on his show the week of July 26th to talk more in detail about the Sex Offenders laws and Further Issues concerning the Laws.
Mary will also talk with John about her being the CEO of SOSEN. Please Join us to hear what happened while Mary was there. Mary will be fresh off the airplane when she joins us on the show. Don't miss this!!
By Norm Pattis
I ought to be grateful that Fox News even hosted a debate. Normally, the mere mention of the topic has folks running for the doors. Acknowledging that the issues are complex is progress. When it comes to reform of sex offender legislation, there is too often too little time given to debate. So thank you to Fox News for the four minutes devoted to the topic on Monday's "Fox and Friends." It was a good first step.
The discussion pitted the father of a child abducted and killed by a sex offender against a man convicted of the possession of child pornography. On the one side, the inconsolable rage of a victim's family; on the other, a demon man who had never hurt anyone so much as himself. It was a debate pitting two forms of pain against one another. But tell me, Fox? Did you really expect meaningful public policy debate by offering a seat on the forum to a man undone by his tragic sorrow?
Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, plead from his heart. He told viewers that no one in the history of the mankind had ever been reformed by sex offender treatment. This is, of course, categorical nonsense. Liberally translated his statement comes down to this: Nothing we do will ever bring his daughter Jessica back to us. His is the infinite sorrow of a man whose loss can never be made good. Jessica was murdered in 2005 at the age of nine by a violent sexual predator.
- Yeah, Mark is just repeating the same BS all those in the same position as him do, except Patty Wetterling. Maybe he should read the many studies, here, which prove he doesn't know what he's talking about?
Of course, Mr. Lunsford was unaware of the numerous studies, including one by Human Rights Watch, that find America's amalgam of sex offender laws to be little more than an obscene mockery of justice. We've created a body of law devoted to combating stranger danger. Never again, we hope, will a stranger abduct and kill a child, we utter. But the sad fact remains that we know there will be other abductions. The human psyche is perverse, and we cannot police desire at the very same time we appeal to sex to sell everything from toothpaste to cars. The laws passed in the wake of Jessica's murder requiring ramped up sex offender registration and harsher treatment of a sex offenders of all types satisfy the need to act, but do so at the cost of social justice.