Monday, February 28, 2011

NY - Clean-up from sex offender panic goes on

Original Article

02/27/2011

By Carl Strock

In the past few years the sex-offender residency restrictions passed by Albany County, Schenectady County, Rensselaer County and Rockland County have all been overturned by courts on the grounds that they infringe on the prerogatives of the state, which is the level of government that properly regulates the lives of sex offenders.

Nevertheless, we now have another lawsuit, this one challenging the very similar residency restrictions of Saratoga County.

Why is this necessary? Why, if virtually the same restrictions have already been found invalid three, four, five times, does someone have to go to the trouble of filing yet another lawsuit?

Because the counties that have lost these cases, despite all their bluster, have prudently refrained from appealing the decisions.

If they did appeal, and if the appeal made its way to the highest court and that court ruled the same way, then the ruling would be binding on the entire state and all of the estimated 80 local laws restricting where sex offenders may live would be invalid in one shot. And do you think any county legislature, any county attorney, any county manager wants to risk such a judicial slap-down?

No, none of them do. They fussed and fumed and carried on like people possessed four or five years ago when they were passing these laws, so you would have thought the very future of civilization depended on keeping sex offenders from living near schools and playgrounds, but when the laws started getting overturned, they forwent the obvious legal recourse.

I’m referring now to laws that bar sex offenders from living within a certain distance, like 1,000 or 2,000 feet, of a school, a day care center, a playground, a public swimming pool, a park.

Albany County’s law was overturned in July of 2009. Rensselaer and Rockland counties’ laws were overturned sometime before that. Schenectady County’s law was overturned in March of last year.

There may have been others also. Those are the ones I’m aware of.

No town or county to my knowledge has appealed, and the time limit for doing so has long since expired.

Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner says he didn’t appeal because looking at all the other decisions, “It didn’t appear we would have a reasonable likelihood of success.”

And he says he now believes that electronic monitoring might be preferable to restricting residency. “Ultimately they have to live somewhere,” he says of sex offenders, which is what reasonable people were saying a few years ago when these laws were being passed in an atmosphere of hysteria.

I can’t say that I blame the county governments for not seeking further embarrassment.

But it means that a guy in Clifton Park who had sex with a 15-year-old girl up north in Essex County three years ago (not a forcible rape) and who did 15 months in jail as a result, cannot now move to Ballston Spa, because apparently there is no place in Ballston Spa that is more than 1,000 feet from a school, day care center, park, playground etc., as the Saratoga County law requires.

The guy is classified as a Level 1 sex offender, which means he is at the lowest risk of repeating his offense.

The restriction against him is almost certainly illegal, but it still must be adjudicated.

So the guy, identified in court papers only as John Doe, is suing, with the help of Kathy Manley, the lawyer who successfully sued Schenectady and Albany counties and thus knows how it’s done.

It’s a funny situation, because the rationale for these residency restrictions — that keeping former sex offenders from living close to where children gather will deter further crimes — has not been challenged, even though there is no evidence to support it.
- Yeah, most studies done show that most sex crimes occur in the victims own home or close family/friends, not by some stranger at a bus stop, day care, school, etc.  But politicians don't care about facts, only what make them look better to the sheeple.

In fact the state’s own law, though less restrictive than the laws passed by localities, is based on the same rationale. It forbids sex offenders to enter the grounds of any school or child-care facility, and it defines grounds as embracing a 1,000-foot radius of the building itself.

It doesn’t say anything about residence, but obviously if you can’t enter, you can’t live there.

The law applies, however, only to the highest level of sex offenders, those considered most likely to offend again; it applies to them only if their crimes were committed against children; and it applies to them only while they are on parole or probation.

The local laws typically apply across the board to everyone ever convicted of a sex offense, regardless of the age of the victim, regardless of the seriousness of the offense, regardless of the likelihood of the offense being repeated, and regardless of the person being or not being on parole.

For the most minor offenders, those labeled Level 1, it applies for 20 years, which is the time required for them to be on the state registry of sex offenders. For those labeled Level 2 or 3, it applies for life.

The only thing the courts have said is that state authority preempts local authority. Localities can’t have these laws, because the state already has one and thus “occupies the field.”

They have not said the laws are irrational, so it’s a limited slap-down.

The Saratoga case will be noteworthy if the law is upheld. Otherwise it will be just more legal tidying up after the delirium of make-believe child-protection that we saw four or five years ago.


GA - House passes change to sex offender law

Original Article
See Also

02/28/2011

ATLANTA — A bill that would prohibit registered sex offenders from photographing children without a parent's permission has passed the Georgia House.
- Not exactly true, see highlighted below.

Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon, who sponsored the bill, said the measure will clarify a state law adopted last year. It prohibits any individual from taking a photo of a minor without a parent's consent.

Purcell said the law was intended to be aimed at sex offenders but could be applied to any person as it is now written. For example, she said, a parent at their child's choir performance could be prosecuted for snapping photos of other children.
- So, the average citizen who takes a photo of a child, could be thrown in jail and/or prison, and once again, not all sex offenders have harmed children, so this is once again, making it seem as if all sex offenders are child molesting pedophiles.

The bill passed 165-1 on Monday. It now goes to the Senate for a vote.
- And the above show we have a bunch of idiots running this government.


FL - Landowner Forces Sex Offenders Out Of Campsite

Original Article
See Also

See the video at the link above. This is just another "Bookville" being shut down, where the very laws being passed forces sex offenders inito encampments like this. At least if they are in these camps, police know where they are, now they will be roaming the streets.

02/28/2011

ORLANDO - It's moving day for an Orlando campsite where at least two dozen sex offenders live. Last month, the property owners gave everyone until Monday to get out.

At least two dozen sex offenders have lived at the homeless camp off West Princeton Street near John Young Parkway (see map) for years.

There's four owners and one of the owners wants us out yesterday. I can respect that this is his land,” camp resident [name withheld] told WFTV.

But the state actually approved the land as a residence for sex offenders. The Department of Corrections said it's difficult for them to find homes.

An agency spokeswoman said they recommend homeless camps as a last resort, although sex offenders are more likely to re-offend without a real place to live.

You have a lot of people out who really shouldn't be in society,” camp resident George Oliver said.

Law enforcement officials are expected to be there sometime Monday.

Photos of encampment


NJ - 'Joan's Law' mom and 'Jessica's Law' dad seek harsher sex offender restrictions in New Jersey

Original Article
Was child porn on Marks' computer?
Joshua Lunsford - Convicted of molesting a child

Watch the video below, and remember, child porn was found on Mark's computer when Jessica went missing, yet it was dismissed because he had suffered enough, but a crime is a crime, right? Apparently not. Also, his own son, Joshua, molested a child and received only 10 days in jail and is not on the sex offender registry.

02/28/2011

By Jerry DeMarco

Nationally acclaimed childrens’ advocate Mark Lunsford is coming to Bergen County tomorrow to try and convince state officials to overcome their reluctance to adopt a version of “Jessica’s Law” -- named after his slain daughter -- which aims to keep sex offenders away from children after they’ve been released from prison.

Lunsford will be in Hillsdale, meeting with Rosemarie D‘Alessandro -- whose daughter was raped and murdered by a neighbor in 1973, eventually leading to “Joan’s Law” -- and members of the Joan Angela Foundation.

The goal of the group, created in Joan's name to help homeless, runaway and abused youngsters, is to finally get a version of “Jessica‘s Law” enacted in New Jersey, one of only six states that doesn’t have one.

We can work together to pass this important child safety legislation in New Jersey,” said D‘Alessandro, who has not slowed her fight to protect children ever since she convinced lawmakers in Trenton 33 years ago to establish the anti-sex offender measure known as “Joan‘s Law.”

The “Jessica’s Law” bill, which has languished in Trenton more than five years, would require lower-tier sex offenders to wear GPS devices on their ankles for five years after they’re freed, and for those deemed more dangerous to wear them for life.

This, D’Alessandro said, would help law enforcement track them.

New Jersey also would be required to mail sex offender registration forms at least twice per year, at random times, to verify registrants' addresses. Any registrants who did not respond within 10 days would have to be considered non-compliant.
- So what is a person is out of town on vacation for longer than 10 days?

Those who commit sex crimes against children under 12 would receive mandatory prison sentences of 25 years to life without parole, along with lifetime monitoring, under the proposal.

What’s more, those who knowingly harbor child sex offenders from the law would face stricter penalties, and municipalities would be enabled to establish “child protection zones" where sex offenders cannot cause danger to children.

Jessica’s Law” is named for Lunsford’s 9-year-old daughter, who was raped, tortured and then murdered by a child molester and rapist in Florida.

Lunsford, a single father, had raised Jessica since she was 1. Her February 2005 disappearance unleashed a nationwide manhunt for the youngster who became known as "the girl in the pink hat."

More than three weeks later, searchers found her remains -- 150 yards from home. She had been raped and buried alive.

Her killer, John Couey, was a registered sex offender who had flown under the radar.

Since Couey’s conviction, and subsequent death sentence, Mark Lunsford has become a nationally recognized spokesman for tougher laws governing regarding those who prey on, and harm, children. He has worked with the U.S. Marshals Service tracking down absconded sexual predators/offenders, and in 2005 won the "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award" for outstanding public service.

Rosemarie D’Alessandro has been equally active, but on more of a local level. Her daughter, a vivacious, 7-year-old Brownie Scout, was going door-to-door selling Girl Scout cookies on April 19, 1973 (Holy Thursday) when a high school chemistry teacher who lived in the neighborhood sexually assaulted and murdered her.

Her body was found on Easter in Harriman State Park.

When [name withheld] became eligible for parole 20 years later, D'Alessandro organized a letter writing, green ribbon campaign that led officials to deny [name withheld] parole. But she didn’t stop there.

The very idea that a child murderer could be released from prison created the idea of “Joan’s Law,” which the state Legislature adopted in 1997 -- denying the possibility of parole to offenders who murder while committing a sex crime.
- So, why wasn't the person sentenced to life in prison in the first place?  If you murder someone, anyone, you should be in prison until the day you die.

A federal version of the law followed in 1998. New York State adopted its own in 2004.

D’Alessando also convinced New Jersey lawmakers to eliminate what had been a two-year statute of limitations on suing murderers.

[name withheld]’s sentence made him parole-eligible after serving 14 years. Because "Joan's Law" is not retroactive, he came up for parole -- and was denied -- four times.

So D’Alessandro’s group gathered 80,000 signatures, along with 7,000 letters, and held two rallies at the State House in Trenton in 2009, after which the Parole Board added 18 years before [name withheld] (now 64) will again be eligible for release.

What strikes you most about D’Alessandro -- who received the Attorney General's Special Courage Award in 2004 -- is her tireless dedication to helping others.

It’s why she’s invited Lundsford to her home tomorrow night.