Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IN - LaPorte County Sheriffs Deputy David Oldham Arrested on Child Porn Charges

David Oldham
Original Article

07/27/2011

LaPorte - Northwest Indiana sheriff’s deputy David Oldham is on administrative leave after being charged with possession of child pornography.

Detectives from the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigation Division on Wednesday arrested Oldham, 42 of LaPorte, Ind., who was charged with eight counts of possession of child pornography, a Class D felony, according to a release from ISP.

Oldham was arrested without incident and was being held in the LaPorte County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

In June 2011, LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer contacted state police for assistance in investigating “questionable actions” by Oldham which were brought to the sheriff’s attention, the release said.

Oldham, a deputy since 1996, has been placed on administrative leave from the sheriff’s department pending a merit board hearing scheduled in August, the release said.


DE - Operation focuses on sex offender compliance

Original Article

Once again, another compliance (grandstanding) check, that proves sex offenders have a low recidivism rate, like the studies show, but here, the police and everyone else is trying to take credit for it, and saying basically, that because of the laws, that is why the compliance rate is high. I disagree. Ex-offenders have been known to follow the laws, even if they are cruel, unusual and extreme.

07/27/2011

Wednesday July 27, 2011 is the 5th year anniversary of the signing of the Adam Walsh Act and the 30th year anniversary of the kidnapping and death of Adam Walsh back in 1981.
- True, but, Adam's death had nothing to do with sex, yet sex offenders are the only people punished for his death. Why? Why aren't all people who abuse their kids, like mothers, fathers, etc? Why do you not see them on the so-called "crimes against children" registry? Abuse is a crime against a child, right? So why aren't they on the registry for life as well?

Operation Grand Slam was the result of a collaborative effort of numerous Law Enforcement organizations throughout Delaware, Maryland and also in conjunction with three districts in the State of Pennsylvania.
- Just curious, how do they pick these names?  And what does "grand slam" insinuate?  Why not call it, "Operation Gestapo?"  That would be more appropriate, IMO.

The joint compliance initiative combined approximately 40 Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Officers and began on June 27, 2011 in Sussex County Delaware, followed by Kent County the week of July 4th, and New Castle County the week of July 11th. A fourth and final week culminated in a sex offender wanted persons round up the week of July 18, 2011.

During Operation Grand Slam, 355 compliance checks were conducted statewide of Tier 3 High Risk Sex Offenders throughout Delaware. A total of nine offenders were found to be non-compliant for a compliance rate of over 97%. The focus of the enforcement phase of the operation included any wanted sex offender in the state of Delaware.
- Yes, proving my point.  Sex offender recidivism is low despite what the biased media and politicians tell you.  Only 9 were non-compliant, but, did they commit another sex crime?  No, so the recidivism rate here is 0%.  Many people do not comply with the laws, because if they did, then they basically could not survive.  No job, no home, forced into homelessness, etc, so you are forcing people to disobey the law by the draconian nature of the laws.

As a result of these enforcement efforts, 27 sex offenders were arrested including 25 for failure to re-register or verify. The number arrested included eight Tier 3 offenders, 14 tier 2 offenders and five Tier 1 offenders.
- What?  I'm confused!  Above you said 9 tier 3 were arrested for non-compliance, but here you say something completely different.  So what is the truth here?  But you will notice, none were arrested for a new sex crime, making the recidivism rate 0%, like we said above.

The Marshals service for the District of Delaware opened eight federal cases under provision of the Adam Walsh Act for ongoing investigation and potential prosecution based on information obtained during this operation.

Operation Grand Slam demonstrates how through the collaborative efforts of all Law Enforcement agencies, when working together can assist in making Delaware a safer place for our children to live and grow.
- I disagree.  You are taking credit for ex-offenders obeying the law, which most always do in the first place, even with the draconian laws were not in place at all.

This is part of the Delaware State Police’s Sex Offender Apprehension and Registration Unit's (SOAR) ongoing effort to ensure our sex offender population is doing what they are legally required to do.

A 97 percent compliance rate is indicative that the system and its inherent safeguards/checks and balances are lending themselves to knowing where the population of Sex Offenders is residing within our community.
- Again, I disagree!  The registry, residency restrictions, gestapo knocking down doors, etc, has nothing to do with people complying or not.  They already do comply, like I said, even when the laws did not exist!

U. S. Marshals Office Comments:“The Marshals Service for the District of Delaware was glad to be a participant in this operation with our State and Local Law Enforcement partners, in making sure that all provisions of laws regarding sex offender’s registration compliance were being met. We will continue to assist our law enforcement partners with apprehending those non-compliant and wanted sex offenders so they will be held accountable for their actions. The Marshals Service is committed to making our communities and neighborhoods safer places to live”.

Comments from Attorney General Beau Biden: "Sex offenders are predators that have lost the right to disappear back into society,” said Attorney General Beau Biden, who worked to create Delaware's Child Predator Task Force in 2007 and last year announced that Delaware was the second state in the nation to implement the Federal Adam Walsh Act. "The Adam Walsh Act and Delaware's tough child predator laws are powerful and effective tools that we're using to keep our kids safe. I want to thank the Delaware State Police, the U.S. Marshal's Service, and the dozens of law enforcement agencies statewide for their work on this effort."
- No sir, not all sex offenders are predators!  You are just exploiting sex offenders and fear to attempt to justify the draconian laws.  It is a known fact that DUI, gangs, and other criminals harm children more than ex-sex offenders, but why do we not see them on an online shaming list for life?  Think about it.  It's called exploitation so they can appear "tough" while actually doing nothing!


Why we should protect those accused of rape

Original Article

This is something I have said in the past. Anybody accused of ANY crime, should not be splashed on the news, TV, etc. All reporters, etc, should be banned from reporting on any of it, until after the case has been through court. These men, and many others who are innocent of the crime they were falsely accused of, will never get their reputations back. See here, or here, for more examples.

07/27/2011

By Roy Black

DSK, Kobe, Assange, Flatley: Did they deserve to be smeared before a verdict? A legendary trial attorney argues no

As the Dominique Strauss-Kahn media circus continues, we stopped to consider some of the complaints about U.S. criminal justice bubbling up across the pond. Were charges too hastily filed before Strauss-Kahn was forced to make his perp walk? Has the legal system so far let everyone -- the alleged victim, DSK, and the public -- down? We asked famed trial lawyer Roy Black, possibly best known for his successful defense of William Kennedy Smith on rape charges, for his views, and he offers the bold proposal that follows. We'll be following it with other views as well.

What do David Copperfield, Michael Flatley, the Duke lacrosse team, the four Hofstra students, Rene Angelil (Celine Dion’s manager-husband), Rick Pitino, Kobe Bryant, KBR/Halliburton and Julian Assange have in common? All were accused off rape, and will, in all likelihood, be remembered for that association, regardless of what ultimately happens (Assange's case is ongoing; none of the cases have led to a conviction). It is time for a modest reform in rape jurisprudence; the accused should be granted anonymity unless and until found guilty.

Ray Donovan, Reagan’s treasury secretary, after he was acquitted of trumped-up corruption charges, famously asked: "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" Before Dominique Strauss-Kahn knocks on that door, the short answer is: Nowhere, not possible, it is a permanent stain. President of France? Forget it. Even the French cringe at a man with a damaged reputation representing their country.

Why should we be surprised? We did all we could to make a public spectacle of him. Dragged him off his Paris flight; interrogated him all night to look suitably haggard; paraded him, handcuffed between two beefy cops, through a scrum of tabloid cameras; then plastered the seedy photographs worldwide. He was hounded out of his apartment; shuttled from place to place like nuclear waste; an electronic nanny clamped on his ankle and suffered the ignominy of paying $200,000 a month for his own prison guards.

We are relentless at public shaming and humiliation.

This type of abuse is routinely suffered by lesser-known rape defendants. They are terrorized by the media circus, and turned into carnival freaks. Unruly crowds rally in front of their home. They are followed, spat on, chased through the streets, forced to move, lose their sanity and some even commit suicide to end the abuse. They are the new victims of modern technology: Google, Twitter, Facebook and cable news. The accusation is forever imprinted in cyberspace, only a keystroke away. Reputations are smeared, finances eviscerated, careers destroyed; jobs, businesses, friends, wives and children lost forever. All of this regardless of the verdict.

Does this have to happen? Newsrooms self-regulate to cloak the identity of a rape accuser. Editors understand that the potential harm of naming putative victims outweighs any journalistic reason to publish. But apparently journalist ethics don't extend to the presumptively innocent. We grant the accuser name suppression due to the stigma attached to rape but, after a gradual, and justifiable shift in our collective consciousness, there now is a far greater stigma for men accused of rape. The Supreme Court called rape "highly reprehensible, both in a moral sense and in its almost total contempt for the personal integrity and autonomy of the female victim." It is a powerful and repulsive charge, and the accused should have their identities protected by law.

Critics will assert that democracy demands that all defendants be equal before the law, and there is no reason rape defendants should get a pass. It would create a double standard. So why take that step? Simple -- equality. The person who levels an accusation is sheltered through anonymity. Doesn’t it violate equality to treat the accused differently?

For decades, there has been a unique, growing disparity between the way we treat accused rapists and their accusers. It's grown because of a relentless pressure to manipulate the rules to increase arrests and convictions in rape cases. The protections against false accusations have been whittled away one by one to make it easier to charge and easier to convict, with the unintended consequence of making it easier to make a false accusation.

In order to more easily file criminal charges, these basic protections have been eliminated:
  • A required corroboration of a rape taking place; now, the accusation alone is sufficient
  • Evidence of a clear element of force or the threat of force
  • The classic element of mens rea (guilty mind)

And in pursuit of convictions, rolled back protections have included:
  • The ability to cross-examine accusers about past conduct. Rape shield laws insulate an accuser's past while creating rules to greatly broaden evidence of the accused's past conduct. (see Fed. Rule Evid. 413 for the most outrageous example.) Even evidence of the accuser’s prior false allegations of rape is inadmissible because it is considered sexual conduct within the meaning of the shield statute.
  • Intoxication as a defense -- while consent by an allegedly intoxicated victim doesn't matter.
  • The cautionary jury instruction that rape is a charge easily made but not easily defended.

We need a modest reform to mitigate these changes. This is not a zero-sum game where a benefit to the accused is detrimental to the accuser. There is an obvious benefit to discouraging false charges and denying the ability to use them as blackmail or as a weapon in domestic disputes.

False accusations of rape appear far higher than false accusations of other crimes. One study, conducted over nine years in one Midwest city, found that 41 percent were false; a study of two state universities over three years found 50 percent to be false. Meanwhile, the FBI reports the number of unfounded rape accusations at 8 percent, while the average rate of all unfounded crime reports is at 2 percent. We don’t know the precise figures because rape statistics are unreliable or misleading, and much depends on how police categorize false, unfounded, insufficient evidence, etc., but we know the rate is high.

There are legitimate objections to anonymity. An argument could be made that a grand jury, whose proceedings are private, should offer innocent suspects some protection. But there is a lot of truth in the legal cliché that any prosecutor worth his salt can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. And it certainly appears that the woman who accused DSK convincingly lied under oath at the grand jury about at least part of her story.

It is also against the public’s interest for anonymous trials. As Judge Damon Keith observed: "Democracy dies behind closed doors." The public has a right to know what goes on in its courts. The open administration of justice is fundamental to democracy. An ancient legal maxim commands that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done. The press should therefore continue to have access to rape cases. But the identities of the accused should, by law, be granted the same rights as those of the accusers, and their identities should be kept private unless there is a conviction.

The British twice tried this remedy. There were reporting restrictions for both the claimant and defendant in rape cases in the 1976 Sexual Offences Act but this was abolished in 1988. In 2010 they tried again with a modest provision granting anonymity only between arrest and charge but it was abandoned because of vigorous objection from feminists, who worry that women are less likely to accuse if the suspect is not named. I don’t think that is true and there is no evidence of it. In fact, I think there's a more logical case to be made that a reduction in publicity might raise the number or actual rape cases being reported.

And in that scenario, the parties who deserve to benefit, do: The victims, the public and the falsely accused. The bigger question, though, is whether the country even has an elected official with sufficient backbone to suggest this be done.


TX - He’s labeled a sex offender — for sleeping with his own wife

Original Article
Vote: Should Frankie Rodriguez be labeled a sex offender?

07/27/2011

By Scott Stump

When Frank Rodriguez and his future wife first starting having sex, they considered themselves just two of millions of teenagers who were in love.

However, their love was against the law in Texas, so Rodriguez soon joined a more exclusive group, one in which no one seeks membership: He became one of more than 650,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.

And today, after 15 years and four daughters with his high school sweetheart, the 34-year-old suburban father still wears the modern-day equivalent of the Scarlet Letter. Friends, neighbors or parents in his hometown of Caldwell, Texas, can go online to view the public sex offender registry and see his name alongside those of rapists, child molesters and child pornographers. His teenage love for his future wife, Nikki, is classified in a much less romantic way — sexual assault of a child.

When Frank and Nikki slept together as teens, he was unaware it would haunt him well into adulthood. “I figured I would go through a probation period [of a] few years,’’ Frank told Matt Lauer in a TODAY interview Wednesday. “I had no idea it would follow me for the rest of my life.’’

I understand punishment, breaking the law,’’ Nikki told NBC News. “You have to be punished for it. But for the rest of your life? I think we’ve suffered long enough.’’


Forbidden love
When the two first fell in love, the Texas football star was 19 years old, his cheerleader girlfriend was 15, and her mother was not happy about it. One trip to the local police station in 1996 by his future mother-in-law, and Rodriguez’s life was irrevocably altered in a state where the legal age of consent is 17. A list created to protect children from predators soon included a man who would go on to become the proud father of four daughters.

Following an article detailing their saga in the latest issue of Marie Claire, Rodriguez and his wife spoke exclusively with Lauer on Wednesday about the stigma of still being on the list despite not being a violent or dangerous criminal. They were joined by Robin Sax, a criminal defense attorney and former sex crimes prosecutor, who offered her perspective on Rodriguez’s situation.
- So where are the REAL experts who treat sex offenders?

Having been on the sex offender list for nearly half his life, Frank is unable to secure a job with a major corporation or leave the state without notifying local law enforcement. He cannot coach soccer for any of his daughters, who range in age from 4 to 11 years old. While the Rodriguezes admittedly broke the law as teenagers, “It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all,’’ Nikki told Lauer.

The future couple met at a mutual friend’s house when Frank was a senior and Nikki was a freshman, and a relationship quickly blossomed. It soon became sexual, a fact that Nikki eventually admitted to her mother. After ongoing arguments with her daughter over her relationship with Frank moving too fast, Melissa Ostman took her daughter to the local police station and reported Frank for having sex with a minor in an attempt to throw a scare into him.

A day later, Ostman returned to rescind her complaint, but it was too late. Her daughter told the police interrogator that the sex was consensual, but was taken to the hospital to be examined for rape. The case was now in the hands of the state, which charged Frank with statutory rape. In order to avoid jail time, he pleaded guilty and accepted seven years of probation, which also required having to register as a sex offender.

Scarlet letter
I would say this is a mom who’s trying to use the legal system to parent instead of having a conversation,’’ Sax said. “Once you open that Pandora’s box of the legal system, there are consequences, and the consequence here has been a scarlet letter that’s following him and a case where no one would expect someone in this situation to be registered.’’

During his probation, Rodriguez was not allowed to talk to Nikki or go to public places like swimming pools or football games where children might be present. He also was not allowed to vote and had to perform 350 hours of community service while also attending regular counseling sessions for convicted sex offenders.

But the biggest blow may have been being forced to move out of his home because he was not allowed to be under the same roof as his 12-year-old sister. “If I had known the implications,’’ Ostman told Marie Claire, “I wouldn’t have done it.’’

Despite the limitations of Frank’s probation, the couple eventually reconnected, married and started a family. When they had their first daughter, Rodriguez was not allowed to live in the house because he was on probation, so he lived there illegally, engulfed by paranoia and fear until his probation ended in 2003.

With Frank still listed in the sex offender registry, he and his wife have had to endure whispers behind their back while also repeatedly setting the record straight to those who stumbled across Frank’s name on that stigmatizing list.

[You are] constantly feeling like you have to explain yourself to everyone that you come in contact with, always wondering if people have seen him on the registry,’’ Nikki said. “We thought that everyone knew, but once the [Marie Claire] article came out, we realized there were a lot of people in our hometown that had no idea.’’

Nikki recalled a family whose children used to come over every day to play with her daughters, then abruptly stopped coming without explanation. It was yet another instance where the couple has wondered if Frank’s status as a sex offender has caused a ripple effect.

The idea behind the list is it’s supposed to show who the worst of the worst people are out there,’’ Sax said. “It’s a tool that we as parents use to protect our kids. It’s supposed to signify ‘This person is a danger to our society, watch out.’ When someone is looking at that list, they are not expecting Mr. Rodriguez to be there.’

A light at the end of the tunnel for Rodriguez could be coming in September, when Texas is expected to modify its sex offender law. At that time, he can petition the state to be removed from the sex offender registry.


AL - New rules for sex offenders

Original Article

07/27/2011

By M.J. Ellington

MONTGOMERY - Sex offenders living in Alabama communities got an expanded set of rules to live by on July 1.

And law officers who track them got new tools to enforce those new rules.

The rules and tools are part of the state’s new sex offender law, a 96-page replacement for the state’s 2005 sex offender law and related laws passed since then.

For some groups, including sheriff offices and police departments, the law will increase the offender reporting requirements and the related paperwork they must maintain. But the law clears up some fuzzy areas of the old law, making enforcement easier.

For some offenders, especially homeless people and day laborers, the required times they must report their whereabouts increases along with reporting fees. Other offenders, primarily people convicted of statutory rape as teenagers, have a way to gain reprieve from lifelong registry as a sex offender.

Sen. Cam Ward
Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, who sponsored the Senate bill, said the main motivation for the new law is to put the state into compliance with requirements of federal sex offender law.

Changes in the new law guarantee the state will not lose $500,000 in federal justice assistance grants each year.
- But, overall, it will cost more than this to enforce the laws.

Eighty percent of it was making sure we are in compliance with the national Adam Walsh Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act,” Ward said.

He said if the state had not revised sections of the 2005 state sex offender reporting act, the state could have lost the funding permanently.

Ward said the new law eases reporting requirements on some 17-year-old offenders who had sex with a consenting, slightly younger teen. The 2005 law required people convicted of statutory rape with a consenting partner to remain on the sex offender registry for life, even if the two married later.

The 2011 law allows those offenders to petition the court to come off the registry, Ward said.

The lawmaker said the new law increases the number of times an offender has to register each year from two to four times, and it ups the fine, if convicted, by $250. Offenders living out of prison also have ongoing expenses related to the law.
- Of course, extort money from offenders, with the threat of going back to jail or prison, to help pay for the draconian laws. Isn't extortion a crime?

The Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Department of Public Safety asked him to sponsor the massive bill, Ward said. Now local law officers and district attorneys are learning key rules they need to enforce the law.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Doug Evans said people in his office believe putting all sex offense law into one section of the Alabama Code should make it easier to determine when people break the law. Evans said the law also makes it easier for a jury to convict someone charged with another crime such as stalking, if prosecutors can prove there was a sexual component to the stalking.

Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, said his organization did not oppose the law. County officials liked requirements for more frequent reporting and correct address requirements.

While the new law will mean extra paperwork, primarily for local law enforcement, Brasfield said his organization “felt like it is workable.”

Every year, lawmakers introduce new legislation on sex offenses.
- And every year, they break the law and their oath to uphold the Constitution. Adding punishment onto a persons sentence, after they have been convicted and sentenced, is an ex post facto (unconstitutional) law.

I suspect his is the most amended law in the state,” Brasfield said. “With a new comprehensive law all in one place, maybe we can remain un-amended long enough for people to learn provisions of this one.”

Key points of 2011 Alabama sex offender law:
  • Repeals earlier sex offender law passed in 2005, but incorporates parts of later laws.
  • Requires adult sex offenders to remain in the state sex offender registry for life but makes exceptions for some younger offenders.
  • Requires offenders to report plans to be away from home address for more than three days or any out-of-state travel.
  • Requires day laborers to report when and where they will be on the job each day. (Yep, this is just setting them up to fail and be sent back to prison.  Imagine if you had to go to the police each day, before you worked, to tell them where you will be)
  • Requires adult offenders to verify registration information every three months and pay $10 fee for updating. (So for non-homeless people, the extortion fee is $40 per year)
  • Requires homeless offenders to re-register and pay $10 updating fee every seven days. (And if you are homeless, no money, you must some how come up with $40 every month, which brings the extortion fee to $480 per year, as compared to $40 per year for non-homeless.  Something is wrong with this picture!)
  • Requires offenders defined as sexual predators or convicted of violent sexual offenses to wear a global positioning device at a cost up to $15 per day. (So, if we had 30 days in each money, this would be an additional $450 extortion fee per month, or $5,400 per year.  Not including the $40 per year for non-homeless, or the $480 per year if you are homeless.  Anybody know what extortion is?  Yes, it's a crime!)
  • Allows offender to petition court for relief from lifelong reporting requirements if the offense was a crime only because of the victim’s age (consensual sex with a minor). (So if you were not in a "Romeo & Juliet" style situation, you will be on the registry for life)
  • Requires offender to register with local law authorities within three days after moving to county and/or attending school in county.
  • Requires offender to update information within three days with every move or change in school.
  • Expands information offender must give to law enforcement to include vehicle information, telephone numbers, Internet and email addresses, palm prints, passport/immigration documents and professional licenses.


NY - Judge strikes down Saratoga County law that restricted where registered sex offenders are permitted to live and work

Original Article

07/26/2011

By LUCIAN McCARTY

BALLSTON SPA — Sex offenders can move more freely through Saratoga County now that County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano has struck down a county law restricting where registered sex offenders are permitted to live and work.

In his decision, Scarano said the county cannot enforce the law due to the “Doctrine of Pre-emption” — meaning the state has already set clear guidelines for where sex offenders can and cannot live and the county law cannot supersede them.

The county law, passed in 2006, restricted all sex offenders from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, park, playground, youth center or swimming pool.

Saratoga County Attorney Stephen Dorsey explained that the state’s law is less restrictive in terms of where offenders can live. It only limits the residences of level-3 sex offenders (the most dangerous) and level-2 sex offenders (whose victims were minors), and says they must stay 1,000 feet from schools.

Our law also applied to day-cares, playgrounds and parks,” Dorsey said, adding that it also limits employment, something the state does not address.

Scarano struck down the law because the state has “assumed full regulatory responsibility” over sex offenders, meaning it violates the Doctrine of State Pre-emption.

The New York State Legislature has enacted a comprehensive and detailed regulatory scheme pertaining to convicted sex offenders which clearly evinces its intent to occupy the entire field,” he said.

In other words, Scarano struck it down because the state has clearly assumed control of regulating sex offenders, so the local or county municipalities have no right to enact laws to that end.

Although an attorney argued in favor of the local law on behalf of the county, Dorsey said he will recommend to the county Board of Supervisors that they not appeal the judge’s decision.

The decision is consistent with decisions in Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties,” he said.

The attorney said the county initially based its law on similar laws that had held up to court challenges in other states, but “the New York state courts have taken a different approach. The pendulum is swinging the other way.”

Dorsey also pointed out that Saratoga County was “one of the last counties to have the local law struck down.”

Examination of the county law began when [name withheld] was charged under local law 5-2006 because he resided or worked within 1,000 feet of St. Mary’s Church Elementary School in Ballston Spa. He challenged the law itself as his defense, but was convicted in a local court. He then appealed to Saratoga County Court and Scarano ruled in his favor.

Dorsey said he is drafting a letter to send out to local law enforcement agencies to cease their enforcement of the law.