Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MN - DOC: Report on Worst Rates of Repeat Offenders is Misleading

Original Article

04/13/2011

By Becky Nahm

A new survey says when it comes to repeat offenders, Minnesota is worst in the nation.

But the state says hold on. Department of Corrections officials say the numbers in the survey are not right. They say the survey counted some offenders twice.

The survey (PDF) was conducted by the Pew Center on the States, a non-partisan research organization.

It shows 61 percent of offenders released in Minnesota in 2004 were sent back to prison by 2007. The rate of 61 percent was the highest rate of recidivism in the nation.

Corrections officials say the numbers are skewed.

Grant Duwe, the Minnesota Department of Corrections Research Director, said, "They reported that Minnesota has a 61 percent return to prison rate when instead it's actually around 51 percent."

Duwe says the Pew Center counted up convicts who returned to prison for committing a new crime. Which totaled about 36 percent. It also counted the number who ended up back behind bars for violating a condition of their release. That number was about 26 percent.

Then the Pew Center added those two groups together, when in some cases one person fell into both groups.

Duwe said, "Instead of those offenders just being counted once, who had both types of recidivism events, they counted them twice."

The other issue is Minnesota's relatively small prison population. With around 9,000 inmates, Minnesota has the second to lowest rate of incarceration in the country.

Duwe said, "We reserve prison beds only for the most serious offenders."

Officials say those high-risk offenders are more likely to re-offend.

The state's own numbers actually show a 5 percent drop in recidivism rates from 2004 to 2007.

The department's Director of Victims Assistance and Restorative Justice Programs Lydia Newlin said, "Today's study will be different from tomorrow's. What I look at is the individual behavior that offenders have."

The Department of Corrections tracks programs designed to prevent prisoners from re-offending, like drug and sex offender treatment programs and employment programs. Officials believe the programs are working.

In a news release, Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy said the department will ask the Pew Center for a correction.

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CA - Bill to require special IDs for sex offenders defeated

Original Article

04/13/2011

Even though it failed to garner enough support, a Riverside County lawmaker says he won't abandon a proposal that would require convicted sex offenders to carry special identification at all times.

AB 885 (PDF), sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Beaumont, failed to garner enough votes in the Assembly Committee on Transportation on Monday.

Eight votes were needed to advance the bill. Four Republicans and two Democrats voted yes, while committee Chair Bonnie Lowenthal and another Democrat opposed the measure. Five Democrats and one Republican abstained.

"I'm disappointed that the bill didn't pass, but I'm not deterred," Cook said. "Requiring the worst sex offenders to carry ID would be of great help to law enforcement in the early hours of an abduction of a child. We have a long way to go in keeping kids safe."

Maurice Dubois of Escondido, whose 14-year-old daughter Amber was raped and murdered by convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III in February 2009, had endorsed AB 885.

Under the bill, any person designated by the California Department of Justice as a "sexually violent predator" -- including those convicted of assaulting a child -- would have been required to carry a driver's license or ID bearing a unique code on the card's magnetic strip. They would have to keep the card in their possession wherever they go.

The code would be immediately recognizable by law enforcement, but not the general public, according to Cook.

He said the state's Megan's Law database listing the last known residences of convicted sex offenders is not always reliable, and AB 885 would bolster law enforcement's ability to quickly track down predators during an investigation.

An analysis by the Committee on Transportation questioned the practicality of trying to enforce the law, noting that some ex-cons may go by aliases or refuse to carry their licenses or ID cards.

The California Public Defenders' Association argued in its opposition letter to the bill that a person "interested in committing a sex offense ... would likely not carry the card identifying them as a (Penal Code section) 290 sex registrant."

The committee analysis also raised concerns about the amount of time the Department of Motor Vehicles would have to spend processing license applications for convicted sex offenders.


UK - Cops put innocent soldier through 'paedo' hell

Original Article

04/13/2011

By ANDY CRICK

An ex-soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder was attacked by vigilantes after bungling cops wrongly branded him a paedophile.

Distraught [name withheld] was ordered to stay away from his partner [name withheld]'s three young children.

But the police, who had been tipped off by a malicious phone call, mixed up innocent [name withheld], 35, with a genuine child sex offender living nearby.

The former Royal Artillery gunner, mentally scarred by his service in war-torn Bosnia, was abused in the street and had bricks thrown at his door in Nuneaton, Warwicks. His pet cat was also found dead in suspicious circumstances.
- So what are the keystone cops doing about all the vigilantism?  By doing nothing, they are endorsing it, IMO.

He said: "It has totally ruined my life. I can't live here any more. I'm having to get rid of my house."

"I used to be a respected member of my community."

Police failed to carry out checks before reporting [name withheld] to social services.

He was banned from the home of his 33-year-old girlfriend of six years, amid fears her daughters aged six and nine and 12-year-old son could be at risk.

[name withheld], who served his country for nine years, became more unwell with stress as a result of the ordeal.

And cops only realised their mistake when he pointed it out.

Detective Inspector Shane Barnes, from the Child Protection Unit, finally wrote to him.

The letter said: "On behalf of Warwickshire Police, I would like to formally apologise to you for the distress and upset this matter has caused you and your family."

"Having checked you out on the Police National Computer, you do not have a criminal record. We certainly do not have any records to suggest you are a risk to children."

"To put that bluntly, we have absolutely nothing to suggest that you are, or ever have been, a paedophile."

But [name withheld], who now plans to move back in with [name withheld] after the slur was removed, is not satisfied with the apology.

He said: "After quite a few months I got a letter saying they had done a check and I had no criminal record. But I'm an ex-soldier and I know you have to follow protocol. It's pathetic."

He continued: "Since I left the Army I've had insomnia and sleep walking and those kind of problems. I got diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been compounded by this."

A spokesman for Warwickshire Police said: "We did receive a complaint from [name withheld]."

"An internal inquiry took place and was investigated and upheld. As a result, training and advice have been provided to staff."

"Mr [name withheld] will be contacted in relation to his allegations of criminality."


MN - Community Concerned about Sex Offender

Original Article

04/12/2011

LONDON - A small Southern Minnesota community is learning more a about a level three sex offender who's moving to town.

The freeborn county sheriff's office held an informational meeting in the town of London Tuesday night.

Like any small community, people living in and around what’s known as London Township are scared.

A Detective from the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Corrections spoke with a standing room only crowd during an informational meeting.

Some of the more than 150 people who showed up listened from outside the door or through cracked windows.

They came to learn a little more about 50-year-old [name withheld]. He's moving into a rental home in London on Third Street and the state classified him as a Level-Three Sex Offender. The designation means he's most likely to reoffend.

Some of the main concerns voiced at the meeting include how law enforcement will be monitoring him, where he's allowed to go, and his criminal history.

Officials say because he's a level three sex offender he will be heavily monitored. Including a GPS tracking bracelet that will tell authorities where he goes 24 hours a day.

One woman we talked with says the meeting helped, but she's still concerned about the danger to herself and her kids.

Others wondered, what made him choose to move to the town of London?

His crimes were committed in the Saint Cloud, Minnesota area. Corrections officials say he's renting the home in London from someone he met during his time behind bars.

If you have any questions about sex offenders moving into your area you can contact your local law enforcement agency.


Church ministry, helping to spread the sex offender moral panic?


Our comment left on the video:
"Did you also know, most sex offender are not predators, child molesters and pedophiles? But, the media and politicians, as well as you, continue to spread the moral panic by posting stuff like this. And you are a Christian? I am all for educating people about the dangers of life, but using it as a fear mongering campaign, I am against. Ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?""

And their response to ours:
"My wife was molested by an uncle, and the reverend who married us was a molester. My first Baptist preacher was a molester and drug user. "What would Jesus do?" And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:42. Ever heard of NAMBLA, which advocates man and boy sex and is represented by the ACLU. Do you have the free gift of God?"

As usual, they did not look up what OFFEND means. See the link above to visit the post on our blog that explains these verses.


FL - Child porn search focuses on top Miami ICE agent (Anthony V. Mangione)

Original Article

True hypocrisy!

04/11/2011

By JAY WEAVER

Federal agents investigating child pornography have searched computers belonging to the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for South Florida.

FBI agents searched the home and office of Anthony V. Mangione, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Florida, over the weekend in a criminal investigation focusing on child pornography allegedly stored on his computer, according to federal sources familiar with the case.

Mangione, 50, has headed ICE’s regional office since 2007. The agency has aggressively targeted child pornography, with Mangione frequently speaking out against “predators’’ who illegally share images through their computers. ICE also investigates migrant smuggling, illegal weapons exports, counterterrorism and drug trafficking.

Mangione, who lives in Parkland, could not be reached for comment regarding the searches at his home and west Miami-Dade office on Saturday. There are no court records indicating that he has been charged with any crime.

The ICE office in Washington, D.C., declined to comment and referred questions to the Department of Justice. Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment, as did Miami FBI spokesman Mike Leverock.
- Of course, when it's one of their own, they are silent, but when it's an average citizen, they are all eager to talk.

As special agent in charge of ICE’s South Florida office, Mangione’s name often graced press releases lauding the agency’s efforts to fight child pornography, in both the cyber and real worlds. In statements, he talked about using technology to combat child pornography and his agency’s resolve to combat the crime.

Too many children are victimized by predators that target the most vulnerable among us -- our children," Mangione said in a 2009 press release announcing that a 20-year-old Palm Beach County man was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on child porn charges.

Mangione was planning to retire this summer. He has served his entire federal career with ICE and its predecessor, the U.S. Customs Service.

Federal officials, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to comment on the record, expressed shock over the allegations.

Mangione grew up in an Italian-Portuguese family from Rhode Island, graduated from the University of Maine and started his career as a clerk typist at Customs 27 years ago. He is known as a likable team player whose agency’s profile rose dramatically in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
- Have you all noticed this?  When it's a politician, cop, or other government worker, they go into the person's career, how "nice" they are, etc, etc.  But when it's Joe/Jane public, they rake them through the fire!

Mangione manages a department stretching from Fort Pierce to Key West that investigates both immigration and customs cases, a hybrid mission resulting from the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of 9/11.

In a 2007 interview, Mangione told The Miami Herald that he didn’t initially envision a career in law enforcement. A friend told Mangione, who had a master’s degree in public administration, that he ought to check out jobs in Washington. And so he did, taking a typing test that landed him a clerical job at the Customs Service in 1984.

Mangione soon yearned to be an agent and started his Customs career hunting down dope smugglers in South Florida’s waters in 1986.

He was later transferred to the Washington field office. Among his prized cases: cracking a heroin trade route from Afghanistan and West Africa in the early ‘90s. He had a hand in dozens of convictions and seizures. Mangione’s biggest case, during a tour of duty in Customs’ headquarters, came in the mid-‘90s. As the head of financial investigations, he supervised a team of Customs agents in Los Angeles that dismantled a Colombian-Mexican narcotics money-laundering network run by cartels and bankers.

Mangione tapped that experience to develop more complex investigations in his new Customs post: head of the Fort Lauderdale office, in 2001.

Six years later, he was promoted to the top ICE job in command of all South Florida.


AL - Sexton concerned by possible changes to sex offender registration process

Original Article

04/12/2011

By Stephanie Taylor

A proposed bill that would give the Alabama Department of Public Safety director control of how the public is notified about sex offenders could seriously delay the time it takes that information to reach the public, Sheriff Ted Sexton said.

A 95-page bill expected to go before the House of Representatives judiciary committee Wednesday would make numerous changes to the sex offender registration process – most of them a fine-tuning of the existing 15-year-old law.

But one change would shift some responsibility from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center to the Department of Public Safety. It's a seemingly minor change, but it's one that Sexton said could cause a “public safety disaster” and is a major shortcoming of an otherwise good bill.

Sexton said that the Department of Public Safety does not currently accept information transmitted electronically via e-mail or online programs. ACJIS does -- and disseminates that information to the public and to law enforcement databases as soon as it is submitted by local agencies.

Stuffing an envelope and waiting for the postal service to deliver sex offender registrations to Montgomery the old-fashioned way would substantially delay the time it takes for that information to reach the public, he said.

It is absolutely insane not to use the electronic means of reporting that we've been using,” Sexton said. “Every person in this state ought to demand that this information be available immediately. It's insane that they want to have a system that's paper when we have the capability to use the technology of the Internet, and have been for 15 years.”


OR - Bill would allow state to list low-level sex offenders online

Original Article

04/12/2011

By Margy Lynch

PORTLAND – In almost every state you can search the Internet for sex offenders in your neighborhood but in Oregon you can only search for about 700 of the most serious.

That could change if a Senate bill becomes law. Then information on 14,000 to 15,000 sex offenders could be available instantly online.
- More for the fear-mongering businesses and media I guess.

Currently, if you want information on a sex offender convicted of a minor sex crime, you have to request it, and it takes a week to get a list.
- That is the way it should be.  Otherwise, why don't we just put all criminal records online for all to see?

Under Oregon law we can post persons who are designated predatory, who present the highest risk of reoffending and require the widest range of community notification,” said Vi Beaty, who manages Oregon’s online sex offender registry.

Right now users of the state’s website can only get information on predatory sex offenders living in their neighborhood.

Once on the site they can search by name, city or zip code. The site displays pictures of the offenders and their method of offending, and it lists their height, weight, age and other physical descriptors like tattoos.

If Senate Bill 67 passes, state police would be able to make the same information available online for lower-level offenders, as well.

That would include people convicted of things like sexual misconduct, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor and even public indecency.

It will be instant access to information that some may see as trivial but others have been pushing to have for years “in order to provide a tool for parents to better supervise and provide safety for their children,” Beaty said.

Oregon has been slow to add this information to the Web. Almost every other state, including Washington, already lists information of lower-level sex offenders online.

The bill has passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the House.


UK - Man falsely accused says the system let him down

Original Article

04/13/2011

By Nina Morgan

A teenager falsely accused of rape is angry he was named in press reports of his trial, while his female accuser’s anonymity remains protected by the law.

[name withheld], 18, wants the law changed so others in his position don’t have their lives turned upside down as his was.

Mr [name withheld] and his family were overcome with relief when he was cleared after a five-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

But after spending 13 agonising months waiting for a chance to clear his name, he feels ill-served by the system.

He said: “I felt I was regarded as guilty until I was proven not guilty.”

The law protects the identities of people who complain of being raped – even after their alleged attackers are cleared, while the accused are usually named in the media. The identity of defendants in rape cases were also protected until the law was changed in the late Seventies.

The Cameron Government originally promised to restore this measure, but has since ruled it out.

Mr [name withheld] said: “As it is, the system is unfair. I think both names should go in the paper.”

After being charged, Mr [name withheld] was freed on bail on an electronic tag – but told he could no longer live in Witham.

It meant he lost his housing association flat and had to sleep on a friend’s sofa in Halstead.

Other bail conditions prevented him visiting his family, playing football in Witham, or continuing his studies at New Rickstones Academy. He was forced to go to classes in Chelmsford instead.

Mr [name withheld] was cleared of raping a 21-year-old woman in Witham, after the jury accepted his testimony she had consented to sex.

Mr [name withheld] said: “It was nerve-racking and scary, standing up and waiting to see what the jury was going to say."

I would rather jump out of a plane than go through that again."

Now I feel I can go out with my head held high and I’m rebuilding my life.”

Mr [name withheld]’s mother, [name withheld], 39, said: “It is so unfair someone can make an allegation and it can go on for so long."

[name withheld] has had 13 months of his life taken away."

The night he was arrested, I was also concerned about the backlash it would have on our home. I just had visions of windows being smashed, but we have had so much support from everyone around here.”


OH - Woman (Melinda Denham) gets prison for false rape claim

Original Article

04/13/2011

By Kimball Perry

When Melinda Denham lied about being raped, it resulted in two people being placed behind bars.

First, the man she accused, [name withheld], was jailed for two months last year before Denham admitted she lied.

On Wednesday, a judge threw Denham into prison for six months, a rarity on a conviction for Ohio’s lowest-level felony, which usually results in probation.

What you did in this case is, you caused a man to be incarcerated and he had done nothing and the worst part about that was you knew from the very start that he had done nothing,” Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin told Denham. “What you did was terrible beyond any words.”

Denham, 25, told police she was sleeping at her father’s Blue Ash home Aug. 13 when [name withheld], her former boyfriend, came into the bedroom and raped her. Later, though, she wrote a letter to the judge presiding over [name withheld]’s rape case stating the sex was consensual, that she’d not been raped and wouldn’t testify against [name withheld]. [name withheld] could have gone to prison for 30 years on those charges.

She said in the Sept. 15 letter that she loved [name withheld], 36, and wanted to be with him.

Denham is now six months pregnant and [name withheld] isn’t the father, she previously told the judge.

I don’t want to get in trouble no more,” Denham told Martin.

Prosecutors charged Denham with making false alarms and perjury for swearing to tell the truth before the grand jury and then lying.

In a plea deal, Denham pleaded guilty to making false alarms in exchange for prosecutors dropping the more serious perjury charge.

This was one of two instances in the last five years where Hamilton County prosecutors have charged women who recanted rape allegations.

I think it’s kind of obvious that Ms. Denham is not the most sophisticated young woman,” her attorney, Roxann Dieffenbach, told the judge.

[name withheld] spent two months in jail before Denham recanted.

He’s now got a rape allegation against him that is completely unfounded, completely untrue,” the judge told Denham, “but other people are still going to think ill of him because of that.”