Thursday, June 30, 2011

CO - Bill Newmiller - ACLU Summer Forum

Video Description:
Bill Newmiller, AFA Instructor and member of CURE coalition, speaks on sex offender sentencing guidelines at ACLU Summer Forum, Penrose Public Library, Colorado Springs, CO, June 27, 2011

WI - More sex offenders go 'underground'

Original Article


By Robert Hornacek

GREEN BAY - Since 2007, the city of Green Bay has had restrictions on where sex offenders can live. Some say those restrictions are causing a rise in the number of sex offenders going underground by not reporting where they live.

The ordinance bans violent and child sex offenders from living 2,000 feet from places likes parks and schools. In order to live in the city, sex offenders must get permission from the city's Sex Offender Residency Board.

FOX 11 On Special Assignment reporter Robert Hornacek spent hours poring over data on the state's sex offender registry to find out how well Green Bay's sex offender ordinance is working. The numbers show that fewer sex offenders are living in Green Bay, at least officially. In reality, no one really knows how many are in the city.

According to FOX 11's analysis of the registry, in 2007, 68 percent of the sex offenders in Brown County lived in the city. This year, that percentage has dropped to 62 percent.

But that's not the whole story. The ordinance has also had some unintended consequences; for example, more sex offenders are not telling the state where they live.
- If you make the laws so harsh, it's only a matter of time before people stop reporting, vanishing, or becoming homeless due to the draconian laws.  The politicians took an oath to uphold the Constitution and the rights of all people, and they are not doing it, so they should be fired.  Residency restrictions (where someone sleeps at night) will do nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody, it only turns people into homeless lepers, which potentially puts them in a situation where they will do anything to survive.  So these laws put people in potentially more danger, not less.

According to the state Department of Corrections, in 2007, the state referred charges against 14 sex offenders in Brown County for not complying with the registry. Each year, that number has gone up. Last year, 41 cases were referred to the Brown County District Attorney's Office. So far this year, 10 cases have been referred and another 30 are under investigation.

We asked Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt if he's troubled that more sex offenders are not complying with the registry.

"I think there always were," Schmitt replied. "Those things, yeah, they trouble me that people aren't abiding by the law. That troubles me on a lot of different levels. But I do think what we're doing is having more benefit than not."

Coming up tonight on FOX 11 News at Nine we'll take a closer look at the numbers. We'll also tell you about the rise in the number of sex offenders who are homeless.

IL - Registry of freed killers proposed for Illinois

Original Article

I am all for it, but why only 10 years? Why not life like sex offenders? I think we should put all criminals on an online registry. After all, once a murderer, always a murderer, right?


By Cynthia Dizikes

Since [name withheld] finished his prison sentence in October, he has enrolled in college courses and has begun training for the Chicago marathon. Later this year, he will become a first-time father. .

But if recently passed legislation receives the governor's signature, he will also have to publicly identify himself for the next decade by another, far less noble distinction: convicted murderer.
- Good, if it's legal and constitutional for sex offenders, then like I said, it should be done for all criminals, and for life, just like sex offenders.

A proposed Illinois murderer registry would require people convicted of the first-degree murder of an adult to register with authorities for at least 10 years after leaving prison. The bill, which was presented to Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday after passing the state Legislature last month with almost unanimous approval, would apply retroactively, affecting people released from 2002 onward.

For [name withheld], 38, who served 20 years in prison after killing his mother during a 1991 dispute, that would mean having personal information posted on a searchable online database for the next decade, including his address, physical descriptors like weight and race, his date of birth, and the nature of his crime.

"I'm trying to do the best I can," [name withheld] said. "But if all that information is out there, after I have done my time and completed my parole, people will just see me as a murderer, not a citizen, or a running captain, or a father."
- Exactly, and you will never be able to get a job, you will also be harassed, along with your family.

Supporters of what would be dubbed "Andrea's Law" — named after murder victim Andrea Will — say that Illinois residents have a right to know those details. They hailed the legislation's approval as a responsible step toward tracking and notifying the public of potentially dangerous individuals.
- They also "have a right" to know about all other criminals as well.  Drunk drivers, drug users/dealers, gang members, thieves, etc.  Like I've said before, name a law after some child, or even an adult, and the sheeple will pass it without hesitation, because it puts a face to the law and humanizes it.  Sooner or later, some law will be passed in a child or adults name, that will affect you as well, just wait and see.

When the bill passed, Will's mother, Patricia Rosenberg, said it was one of the few moments of peace she had felt since 1998, when her 18-year-old daughter was found strangled inside an apartment near the Eastern Illinois University campus.

"I still have nightmares of her fighting for her life, and I couldn't do anything to stop it," said Rosenberg, her voice shaking over the phone. "This was my way of fighting back. If you know who is living next door to you, you have more power — power to protect your family."
- In the old days, people would go door to door, get to know their neighbors, now they want them on an online shaming/hit-list.  I'm sure if you knew everything about the people around you, even your own family, you'd be very nervous.

But opponents of the legislation have argued that the move is part of a disturbing, costly and unstudied nationwide trend toward publicly identifying an increasing variety of criminals, long after they've served their time in prison.
- Amen!  They don't care about facts, or how it hurts people, they care about "looking" like they are being "tough" on crime.  The people get what they ask for, and eventually, it will affect you as well.

Every state has a sex offender database, and a handful of states now maintain registries for violent offenders, ranging from murderers to barroom fighters. Illinois already keeps registries for child murderers, sex offenders and arsonists. Tennessee hosts a methamphetamine offender database. State legislators in Maine this year proposed a drunken driver registry. And the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services even maintains a list of dangerous dogs that includes such offenders as Buddy, a black and brown sheep dog who killed a neighborhood cat.
- Why don't you just have one registry for all criminals, instead of many.  When you have many, you make it impossible to find information, and it becomes overkill.

"We live in this day and age of technology where there is no longer an expectation of privacy and there is almost this sense of entitlement to know," said Jill Levenson, an associate professor at Lynn University in Florida and a nationally recognized expert on criminal registries. "But is it worth it from a public policy point of view? Does it prevent enough future crimes?"
- Yeah, kind of like the right we have to know about government corruption, how they are spending our money, etc, etc, but you see how they prevent that, right?  Why not open up all government records, and all records of all people.  If you have nothing to hide, then what's the problem, right?

A 2008 Minnesota study showed that the state's sex offender registry appeared to significantly reduce recidivism rates for "high risk" sex offenders. Most studies, however, have been unable to prove a connection between public registries and reduced sex crimes, said Levenson, adding that she was not aware of studies that had looked at other types of registries.

Compared with robbers, burglars and those convicted of drug-related crimes, sex offenders and murderers have some of the lowest re-offense rates in the country, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. Only 1.2 percent of people who had served time for homicide were rearrested for another homicide within three years of release, the agency found.
- Exactly, that is what I've said for years, but when the ignorant people hear that, they don't even look it up, they just immediately assume it's wrong.

Those studies and statistics, however, have not dampened the enthusiasm to publicly identify and track criminals — an entrenched habit in American society, according to Wayne Logan, who is a Florida State University law professor and recently wrote a book on registration and notification laws.
- Like I said, start pushing for a registry for all criminals, which would sweep up politicians, celebrities, and other rich folks, then you will see the registries come crashing down. It's easy to want something, until it affects you.

"There is no denying there is a 'Scarlet Letter'-type appeal to these laws," Logan said.

As late as the early 1800s, it was not uncommon for convicts in the United States to be physically branded, serving both as a warning to the community and a lifelong sentence, Logan said. Around the turn of the last century, "rogues' galleries," or photo displays of offenders, also enjoyed a period of popularity. Over the next several decades, a slew of registration laws were enacted nationwide but then fell out of favor under criticism about their comprehensiveness and utility, Logan said.
- Yeah, okay, so are you wanting to repeat history?  Apparently so.  And if so, what's next?  Concentration camps and firing up the ovens?

But a resurgence of interest emerged in the late 1980s and early '90s after several high-profile child victimization cases created big media headlines.
- Yes, the number of kids murdered by people who sexually assaulted and murdered them, can be counted on your hands, but they react in the typical knee-jerk reaction as if it's this major issue and needs to be fixed.  They don't get facts, they just react!

"These (registries) catch on like wildfire," Logan said. "Politicians don't want to look like they are soft on crime or disparaging the legacy of the victim."
- That is what you get when you assume someone is guilty and they must prove their innocence, and only look at the "victims" rights and not the rights of all involved.  Many innocent people have been sent to prison over false accusations, yet you rarely hear about that.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, sponsored the Illinois murderer registry bill after murder victim Andrea Will's family expressed outrage that her killer was released from a 24-year prison term after only 12 years. [name withheld], then 20, strangled Will with a phone cord while the two were students at Eastern Illinois University. He was allowed to cut one day of prison time for every day he served without disciplinary problems. After he was paroled on Nov. 16, he moved to Hawaii to live with his new wife.
- Well, he got out due to laws these idiots passed.  It's called good time.  Politicians have always been fixing their screw ups, what else is new?

"These are some of the most heinous crimes that a person can perpetrate against another human being," Reboletti said. "I think it is important that people are aware of who their neighbors are and who is living in their community."
- So can we know about your history and everyone else in congress as well?  After all, we have a right to know, right?

But because [name withheld] has left the state, he would only be required to register while on parole, which is scheduled to end in 2013. Under the bill's current language, only those convicted murderers still living in Illinois would be required to register for at least 10 years after their release. Hawaii does not currently have a murderer registry.

Reboletti estimated that Illinois' registry would initially impact about 4,300 released murderers in Illinois. If the murder was sexually motivated, the person would have to register for life, Reboletti said.
- If the murder was sexually motivated, wouldn't they be on the sex offender registry?

Those who were found in violation of the proposed law could face monetary fines and jail time, Reboletti said. Because the registry would be incorporated into current Illinois registries, state police officials said it would cost little to enact.
- Yeah, right, we've heard that before.

But Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, the only lawmaker to vote against the bill when it first passed the House, said that the burden would still fall on local agencies to track down and catalog released murderers, some of whom have been off parole for years.
- So like usual, those who have been off probation/parole for years, are now going to be twice punished for the same crime, which is an ex post facto, double jeopardy, unconstitutional law.

Noting that law enforcement has already had some problems keeping the sex offender registry current, Davis said she did not believe another registry would really address the public's concerns over murderers such as [name withheld]. Instead, Davis said, the state should be investing more resources in transition programs for released prisoners and safety education programs for the general public.
- I agree, and the same should be done for sex offenders as well.

"I think (this murderer registry) makes some legislators feel good," Davis said. "(But) it is giving people a false sense of security."
- Of course it makes them feel good, because it makes them look "tough" on crime, and of course it does nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody.  It's nothing more than a placebo exploited by politicians wishing to make a name for themselves.

[name withheld], who was recently selected as the captain of a local running program, said that his time in prison has turned him into a confident, driven adult and that he believes the registry would unfairly extend his sentence.
- Yes, it would.

"I have done everything the system asked," [name withheld] said. "(And) now they're going to change the game."
- Yep, sex offenders was the test bed, and more will come as well.

[name withheld], who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 1983 and has lived with his mother since he was released from prison a year ago, said he also has concerns over how the registry will affect her life if neighbors log on and discover that he is living next door.

"A lot of people, when they get out of prison, have no one to live with but their parents or family," said Nelson, 46, a paralegal at Uptown People's Law Center, which has lobbied against the enactment of "Andrea's Law.". "I served 28 years and did my time. Where do you draw the line?"
- Exactly, those slammed with the draconian sex offender laws have been asking these same questions for about 20 or more years now.

Nelson also questioned how the registry would really prevent people from re-offending, noting that it does not go as far as other law enforcement tracking measures like electronic monitoring.
- It won't!

"I won't hurt nobody again," Nelson said. "But how is this going to stop somebody?"

But Rosenberg, who has remarried and moved since her daughter's murder, said she believes the registry will be a useful tool for the community and law enforcement. If the database keeps even one person away from a potentially dangerous individual and saves one life, Rosenberg said it will be worth it.
- Yeah, the same BS has been said about sex offenders.  Just wait until some law affects Rosenberg, then I'm sure she'll see it differently.

"I don't think accountability should end at the prison gate," Rosenberg said.
- So why have sentencing then?  If anybody commits any crime, throw them in prison for awhile, then punish them for the rest of their lives.  That is just insane!