Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WI - Judge to Child Molester 'I Think You Were Born Gayer Than a Sweet-Smelling Jockstrap'

Judges are suppose to be neutral, not injecting their own person feelings and hate into a trial. If anybody in the general public said what this man said to someone who is gay, it would be considered a hate crime. He should be fired, IMO!


NY - Lawmakers mull online registry for sex offenders

Original Article

05/10/2011

By Jim Planck

CATSKILL — The Greene County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee was given a presentation on the sex offenders registration process Monday night by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, and one of the possibilities raised by committee members was whether the county could develop its own web-based registry.

The issue came up as a result of apparent concerns by legislators over the adequacy of the state’s registry and notification procedures, and also included discussion of whether the county has the legal ability to take a hand in the matter.

Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Richards, who oversees and handles all sex registry matters for the Sheriff’s Office, said that while it may be possible, cautioned wariness in how it might be done, as the courts have held that sex offenders are essentially free citizens, with the concordant rights.

Richards’ presentation was a thorough overview of the subject and — fielding questions throughout — gave legislators much food for thought, beginning with the opening one of Legislature Chairman Wayne Speenburgh (R-Coxsackie).

Have we experienced a large influx of sex offenders in Greene County?” Speenburgh said, “because I’m getting a serious amount of calls.”

Richards said no to a large influx, but that he has been seeing a change in the level, meaning their risk of reoffense, of those coming to the county.

He explained that given the number of years since the original passage of sex registry legislation, the “more violent” who were sentenced to 25 years are now, 16 years later, eligible for earlier release, with a number getting it.

According to the website of the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which maintains the state’s sex offender registry, a Level 1 sex offender is defined as having a “low risk of repeat offense,” while Level 2 is a “moderate risk,” and Level 3 is a “high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists.”

Richards said that at the county level, he maintains the registry for all communities in Greene County except the Village of Catskill, which maintains its own, and that there are 78 on the county’s and 10 or 12 on the village’s.

Richards said Level 1 offenders comprise “maybe just less than half” of the 78 in the county.

Legislator Harry Lennon (D-Cairo) asked if every sex offender in Greene County is listed on the state’s DCJS website, and Richards said only Level 2’s and 3’s, not Level 1’s.

Speenburgh asked whether there have been instances of repeat offenders, and Richards replied, “In the last three years there have been two, both Level 3.”
- You hear that?  In three years, only 2 people have re-offended, yet the media and politicians continue to say recidivism (another sex crime) is high, when in fact, it's the opposite.

Speenburgh also asked whether sex offenders are congregated at certain locations, and Richards said he has received numerous calls on one specific motel.

Are we placing them there?” asked Speenburgh.

Richards said he could not say, as that was not within the purview of his duties, but noted he believes that “some are being placed there by public assistance.”

Speenburgh said Public Safety Committee Chairman William Lawrence (R-Cairo) will check into the county’s policy of placing them, adding that he would like to “make sure we’re not placing them where there’s a lot of children.”

Speenburgh asked whether the five at the motel were residents of Greene County before their incarceration, and Richards said that four were, but the fifth one was not.

Speenburgh also asked Richards whether he had any reason to believe sex offenders were choosing to relocate to Greene County for any ease of procedural purpose, and Richards said he does not believe they are.
- Maybe the residency restrictions are what is causing offenders to live in certain areas.  Did you ever think of that?  They force offenders into pockets, because they cannot live where they want, like they should be able to.

Noting that Columbia County has more than 100, and Albany County more than 500, Richards said, “Our number is considerably lower, considering the counties around us.”

Most of them were Greene County residents prior to conviction,” he said.

Speenburgh also asked about the registration process for sex offenders who relocate, and Richards said they are required to register within 10 day of moving.

Speenburgh asked if any had been arrested for non-registration, and Richards said he believes four were in the past year.

Speenburgh also asked what the law requires for distance separations between a sex offender’s residence and schools or day care centers, and Richards explained, “There is no law.”

Because we (legally) can’t?” asked Speenburgh, “or because we haven’t done it (passed one)?

New York State does not dictate where a sex offender can live,” explained Richards.

Do we have the capability to pass a law?” asked Speenburgh.
- If going by the Constitution and not bypassing it, no.  It would be unconstitutional and illegal.

Yes,” said Richards, but also clarified that about 36 communities across the state have done so, and of those whose law has been challenged in the courts, a finding of unconstitutionality has uniformly been determined.

Richards said the courts essentially view released sex offenders as “free citizens,” and that both Albany and Rensselaer counties have lost such cases.

Legislator Forest Cotten (D-Catskill) suggested the county could “see which (laws) have survived the constitutional challenge and try to model a law after that.”

Lennon asked whether school districts can inform parents of the presence of a sex offender if they are made aware of it, and Richards said they can if there is a “vulnerable population related to the nature of the offense,” and that he regularly works with districts to keep them informed, especially with newly released Level 3’s.

Richards noted that did not always result in prompt notice, however, citing one district that he said took two and a half months to disseminate the information to parents.

Speenburgh asked whether school policies or state law require districts to notify parents, and Richards said there is no law directing them to do so.

Speenburgh said contacting the school districts to see what policies they have in place would be a good idea.

Legislator Joseph Izzo (R-Catskill) asked about day care notification, and Richards said it was on a case by case basis, again using the required vulnerable population criteria.

Izzo said he would prefer to see all day care centers notified about any sex offender in Greene County.

Richards indicated it would depend on the level and the circumstances, again noting that it could not be done for Level 1’s.

He also explained that even for Level 2’s he is prohibited from giving out the specific address, but that the information is available on the state’s website, to which he can direct people.

Speenburgh said one of the main complaints he hears is not being made aware of a sex offender’s presence.

Richards explained there is a 17-chapter guideline that sets the rules and process for notification.

He said one occurrence of an inability to release notification is that when a sex offender moves to New York State from another state, the state has to issue a reclassification using its own criteria for assigning a level.

That can take up to a year and half,” said Richards.

That’s the state,” he said, adding that until the process is complete, he is prohibited from informing anyone of their presence.

Is there any liability if someone takes a picture and walks the neighborhood and hands them out?” asked Speenburgh.

Yes,” explained Richards, noting that under law, “The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t condone harassment of sex offenders.”

Richards explained that anyone doing what Speenburgh described would essentially “be criminally liable for that.”

Committee member Joseph Izzo asked, “Are we allowed to develop our own notification website?

Richards said that many localities do it with a direct link to the state’s registry, noting that the cost can otherwise be a factor for separate sites he has seen.

Speenburgh said the county has its own website, indicating it would ostensibly negate much of the cost.

Lawrence asked how the county can help, and Richards replied, “Manpower is a huge issue.”

There’s 78 sex offenders to keep track of,” he said.

Speenburgh said he would like Richards to set up a meeting with Lawrence “for suggestions, and for what the Greene County Legislature can do.”

Lawrence said he will accordingly follow up with Richards and Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley, who was also in attendance.

We’ll get some ideas and present them to the (county) administrator,” Lawrence said, “and see what we can do as a county.”

We’ll come back with some ideas at the next public safety committee meeting,” he said.


PA - Haverford discusses sex offender residency rules

Original Article
Commissioners Discuss Sex Offender Ordinance

05/10/2011

By LOIS PUGLIONESI

HAVERFORD — Commissioner Mario Oliva recently expressed interest in reviving attempts to place residency restrictions on convicted sex offenders in the township.

We have a convicted offender living 90 feet from a school,” Oliva said. “I don’t have anything against anyone, but the fact is the temptation is there.”

Assistant Township Manager Lori Hanlon-Widdop said such an ordinance was presented to the board five or six years ago, but failed to pass a second reading.

That ordinance prohibited convicted sex offenders from establishing a permanent or temporary residence within 2,000 feet of any school, child care facility, common open space, community center, public park or recreation facility. Exceptions were included for those with pre-existing residences.

Solicitor Jim Byrne said a number of municipalities have established local residency restrictions, but to date there have not been any cases where state courts have issued an opinion.

Oliva requested that a new ordinance be drafted for consideration at the June work session based on additional research and input from the solicitor and commissioners.


MN - TruthToTell with Andy Driscoll - Sex Offender Treatment

Original Article

Listen to the full show below.

05/09/2011

By Andy Driscoll
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Minnesota’s Sex Offender policy has mushroomed into a full-fledged Constitutional crisis, if recent developments and about twenty years or more of political ping-pong are any indication. No crime – even murder without sex attached – strikes as heavy a cord in the dissonant upheaval over just what society should do about sex offenders – especially AFTER they’ve served their sentences.

There’s something extra violative and victimizing about sex offenses, it seems, and, if a killing occurs in connection with a sex violation, ripples of revenge often dictate the fate of the offender and the victim’s family understandably wants every book published thrown at that offender and every other offender who has ever been dragged through a courtroom.

Currently, Minnesota’s approach to all this is to find some way to hide these men – mostly men , of course, and labeled Level Three offenders meaning at highest risk among others to re-offend – away in some dark hole of obscurity – by instituting civil commitment procedures – almost always successful and with little or no legal representation accorded the offender – to put them back into a prison-like setting, either up north at Moose Lake Correctional Facility or south in St. Peter State Hospital’s Criminal Wing.

But, if these offenders have served their prison time, where in the Constitution does it allow that their further incarceration or imprisonment is actually anything but double jeopardy – forbidden by this nation’s rule of law. Our system of laws does not allow imprisonment based on a presumption that crime may be committed in the future. That’s because we have no assurance, no evidence whatsoever, that a US resident is going to commit a crime. Any assumption along that line is pure speculation and taking a person’s freedom away is Constitutionally verboten.

But, it’s happening anyway, and some courts have upheld what blatantly appears to be unconstitutional incarceration. Besides – this paranoia over sex offenses was born of just a few, highly visible and highly volatile sex crimes that led to the victims’ deaths, not at all based on the real numbers or the real facts surrounding most sex offenses, disgusting though they may be for all of us. Remember all the priests who, for generations and hundreds of years have been offending without real justice meted out. And, yet, even those offenses are not among the vast majority of sex crimes committed, admitted, punished and forgotten. In other words – most sex offenders know their victims and most offenders do not re-offend after serving their time behind bars or on probation.

And, yet, the treatment of sex offenders has become political blood sport for some segments of society and the legislature.

For those working within the system it’s a conundrum of major proportions. What to do with these guys? Can they ever be free? Do they deserve to be? What person who has served their time or paid their debt to society after conviction and imprisonment deserves to be automatically returned to custody simply because someone is afraid of the possibility of future behavior? You’ve heard of the police state? One of our guests calls this the Preventive State when we put people away anticipating bad behavior that may never occur. And how do victims and victim representatives look at this? What about those forced by law to sit in judgment and decide such fates?

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we cover most of those bases and more in exploring the raging ethical dilemma and Constitutional questions around post-incarceration civil commitment of sex offenders – and only sex offenders. We talk with five of those players who confront the reality of Minnesota’s system and the dicey descriptions and dispositions Minnesota law levels against offenders who have been released.

On-air guests

DENNIS BENSON – CEO, MN Sex Offender Program (MSOP) (PDF), MN Department of Human Services

JOSEFINA COLOND, PhD – Psychologist and Chair, MSOP Review Board

DONNA DUNN – Executive Director, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA)

MIKE FREEMAN - Hennepin County Attorney

ERIC JANUS – President and Dean, William Mitchell College of Law; Civil Commitment scholar; Author, “The Preventive State, Terrorists and Sexual Predators”; "Closing Pandora's Box: Sexual Predators and the Politics of Sexual Violence"; Many others

FULL SHOW (OVER 1 HOUR)