By Laura Maggi
Lawyers for the state on Wednesday continued their push to defend a Louisiana law that requires some people convicted of selling sex for money to register as sex offenders, but not others.
During oral arguments, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman continually pressed Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Glazer on why the law does not require all people convicted of selling sex to register as sex offenders.
"How is that not a violation of the equal protection clause?" Feldman asked, referring to the constitutional requirement that laws be applied equally to all people.
- I agree, and the draconian sex offender registry and residency restrictions, should also be applied to other criminals as well. If it's fair for one group, it's fair for all.
Glazer responded that the state requires all people convicted of soliciting "crimes against nature" to register regardless of their race, gender or religion.
Historically under Louisiana law, people convicted of selling oral or anal sex could be prosecuted either under prostitution laws or the state's unique "crimes against nature by solicitation" statute. If convicted under that law, the defendant would be required to register as a sex offender. People convicted of prostitution, which can involve the same sex acts, were never required to register.
In February, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the law, arguing it is unconstitutional. During the recent legislative session, the state lawmakers agreed, removing the registration requirement for anyone convicted of crimes against nature in the future.
The new law, which goes into effect on Tuesday, only applies prospectively. Attorneys supporting the challenge say about 400 people will remain on the sex offender registry because of their previous convictions for soliciting crimes against nature.
- Yep, the sex offender registry is about to get larger.
In New Orleans, almost 40 percent of people registered as sex offenders are there because of crimes against nature convictions. About 75 percent of these people are women, according to the original lawsuit against the law.
Feldman asked Glazer, who filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the state, about why there isn't an equal protection issue raised by the fact that people convicted of a crime against nature in the past will be treated differently than those who are convicted of the same acts after the new law goes into effect on Aug. 15.
- Um, you are a lawyer, and that would be an unconstitutional ex post facto law.
"The August 15th date to me seems pivotal," Feldman said.
Glazer responded that the Legislature simply didn't have enough money to make the law retroactive. It would be expensive for Louisiana State Police to review the cases of any people on the sex offender registry to ensure they were solely convicted of crimes against nature by solicitation, she said.
- And like mentioned above, anything done to retroactively punish people, is unconstitutional!
A fiscal note attached to the original version of the bill, which did make the law retroactive, estimated it would cost about $37,000 annually to hire an analyst to review the files. The note also said the Department of Public Safety and Corrections indicated that the department could have current personnel perform the work, but it might slow them down on other tasks.
Alexis Agathocleous, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said his clients want Feldman to issue an injunction requiring the state to remove them from the registry.
Feldman ordered both sides to submit further written briefs about the issues, saying he will rule at a later date.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
LA - Federal judge hears arguments about sex offender registration for people convicted of crimes against nature
This is nothing but child exploitation and propaganda to push your own agenda. And it's from the Van Jones group. I thought child exploitation was a crime? Guess it only depends on who is doing the exploitation.
I think this is a great idea, and should be mandatory for all schools. Will they also be teaching cyber security? If not, they should be.
By Todd Starnes
Students in New York City will be required to take sex education classes that include lessons on how to use a condom – a curriculum that the head of the school system said is long overdue.
It’s the first time in nearly two decades that middle and high school students will be forced to take the mandatory classes, according to a report first published in The New York Times.
One of the lessons includes instruction on how to properly use a condom.
“We must be committed to ensuring that both middle school and high school students are exposed to this valuable information so they can learn to keep themselves safe before, and when, they decide to have sex,” NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott wrote in a letter to principals and obtained by Fox News Radio.
Children as young as 11 years old will take part in discussions on a variety of topics ranging from the risks of unprotected sex to the appropriate age for sexual activity, the newspaper reported.
- I was wondering if the age of consent would be taught, and this is important, especially today, it could land you on the sex offender registry for life if you have sex with someone who is underage.
“I believe the school system has an important role to play with regard to educating our children about sex and the potential consequences of engaging in risky behavior,” he said. But there are concerns about the mandatory classes among New York City’s religious community.
Ray Parascando, pastor of Crossroads Church, called the news “disheartening.”
“Children are being forced to learn about this away from home,” he told Fox News Radio. “There’s nothing wrong with learning about the human body, but when you start going into discourses on sexuality, I worry that we’re opening students up to other agendas.”
- Well, the parents are not doing their jobs, and if they don't want to do it, then it should be taught in school, as much as I hate the government intruding in on peoples lives. So it should be mandatory, unless the parent can prove they are teaching their own kids and sign a release form.
Until now, sex education classes had been left to the discretion of local principals, but Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg said now the city is trying to “impose a mandatory, top-down curriculum.”
“I think there’s a lot of virtue in allowing the local principals to make decisions based on the needs of their students,” Sprigg told Fox News Radio, noting that parents would have a lot of concern about the “explicit nature” of the lessons.
Walcott said New York City students are having sex before they turn 13 and others have had multiple sexual partners. He said it’s imperative that children know how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.
- And this is illegal and can land you on the sex offender registry for life, possibly, and ruined.
Parents will have the option to pull their kids out of “certain sex education lessons” including birth control methods, Walcott said.
“But I also feel we have a responsibility to offer our students access to information that will keep them safe and healthy,” Walcott told principals.
The New York Times reported that condoms have been distributed in public schools for more than 20 years – but now, teachers will describe how to use them. Pastor Parascando said the lessons on condom usage send the wrong message to students.
- How? Why don't they just burn all the information to a CD or DVD, and pass those out, instead of condoms? I do not have kids, but if I did, I would not want someone handing my kid condoms, which is basically encouraging sex, IMO.
“We’re saying to children it’s okay to have sex outside of marriage,” he said. “In essence for the sake of looking like we are education children, we are sacrificing their innocence.” Sprigg agreed and questioned the effectiveness of condom instruction.
“I’ve never seen good evidence that teaching kids about condoms is actually effective at getting them to use condoms,” he said.
“It may be more effective at communicating to them, however, that we expect you to have sex. What we need to be communicating is we expect you to abstain from sexual behavior until marriage if you want to protect your health and well-being.”
I believe the law states you cannot loiter near these places, and just walking by is not loitering. But I could be wrong.
If you are personally effected by the ordinance that bans all sex offenders, even if they pose no risk to children, from anywhere children congregate send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you.
Remember, if you are a registrant who has a job in Lebanon this really impacts you. You could be arrested for making a job related delivery or walking too near a bus stop, park, daycare, school, skate rink or pool. Pretty much you cannot walk anywhere in Lebanon and cannot conduct your business. You could be arrested for attending a meeting any where near minors.
If you live in Lebanon, you are effectively on house arrest. You cannot move freely in your own town as you may not come within 300 feet of a place children hang out.
If you are a student this ban effects your ability to do college related research in a library. Registrants are banned from Lebanon libraries anytime children are present (which is all hours).
Employers, this impacts your ability to keep and hire reliable people willing to take lower paying jobs. If you have a registrant on your staff, let us know. We want to help.
By Kyle Martin
An Augusta man is asking to have his name removed from Georgia's sex offender registry, 18 years after pleading guilty to two sex offenses, court records show.
In a lengthy petition filed Aug. 1, [name withheld] makes the case for his removal based on several factors, including his community involvement and family life.
His attorney, C. Scott Connell, writes that [name withheld] is a "very different person in 2011 than he was in 1993" and calls him a "model citizen."
[name withheld] "... has done everything imaginable to demonstrate that the offenses of nearly two decades ago will never happen again," the petition reads.
Connell declined to comment Tuesday before the case is closed.
More than a year has passed since Georgia eased restrictions on its 20,000 sex offenders and made it easier to be removed from the registry. Since the law was signed in May 2010, 107 sex offenders have been removed from the sex offender registry, with 42 other applications pending before the Sex Offender Registration Review Board, according to The Associated Press.
- Not sure how this is true, since I've been monitoring the registry for a year now, and the number of offenders continues to grow, instead of going down. See here.
The law removes the 10-year waiting period for low-level sex offenders and makes it possible to immediately petition for a removal from the list. These include the so-called "Romeo and Juliet" offenders who had sex with an underage girlfriend, for instance, or were convicted of a nonsexual offense involving a minor, such as false imprisonment.
Because the law is relatively new, little precedent has been established for these cases, said attorney Page Pate, whose law firm handles sex offender petitions across the state.
Generally, judges will consider the type of offense, whether any threats were made against the victim, the risk of re-offending and any psychological evaluations of the offender, Pate said.
"It depends on the judge," Pate said, because removing someone from the registry is not a politically popular decision.
[name withheld]'s petition addresses all of those issues. He pleaded guilty in 1994 to two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in Greenville, S.C. His concurrent sentence of 15 years was suspended after two years of confinement, followed by five years' probation.
He was released on probation on Nov. 1, 1995, and registered with the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry. For several months after returning home to Augusta, he reported to Augusta and Greenville probation offices, then only Richmond County probation.
He was removed from the South Carolina registry one year after his release, but it wasn't until three years later, in 1999, that authorities told him to register in Georgia, court records said.
The petition said that [name withheld] has been "fully compliant" with the conditions of his release for the past 11 years. He also has been evaluated by four psychologists, who agree he is at a low risk of offending, the petition states.
The petition described [name withheld] as a husband, father and "successful businessman." His children's application at a private school was rejected because of [name withheld]'s name on the registry, the petition alleges.
"This is yet another source of great pain which has been brought about by his status on the Registry," the petition said. "If there ever was a person for whom the removal portion of the Registry statute was made for it is surely this man."
This is an invasion of privacy, and also searching without warrants. They will continue to do stuff like this, in the name of "protecting" people, in order to erode our rights. What is next? Will they be bugging peoples homes and cars to also listen in to "protect" people and "prevent" crime? Where does it stop?
The NYPD has formed a new social media unit, The New York Daily News reports, to catch criminals who use Facebook and Twitter to announce law-breaking plans or to brag about their latest crime.
In June, an overcrowded house party in East New York, Brooklyn that was advertised on Facebook as "Freaky Friday" ended in a shooting that left one man dead and seven injured.
After that incident Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters "We look at social networking. We’re very much focused on weekend parties, the type of parties that happened last weekend, and we visit them ahead of time. But not every one of these parties happen at a place we can readily identify... Our gang division, our borough personnel look at party advertisements. A lot of these things are at peoples’ apartments."
In March, 18-year-old Anthony Collao was killed in an anti-gay attack at a Woodhaven, Queens, house party advertised on Facebook. Calvin Pietri, one of six later arrested, bragged about the murder on Facebook.
NY1 asked New Yorkers in June what they thought of cops snooping around on Facebook and Twitter. One said, "If it is going to help cut down on the homicides, then I guess I’m for it," while another lamented, "I really do think it is an invasion of privacy."
The relationship between mayhem and social media was brought into focus this week as violent riots spreading across London were coordinated via Twitter and Blackberry messages.
GPS should not be used to track people like animals in the first place. If someone is so dangerous they need monitoring 24/7, they should be locked up longer, but only after a panel of experts evaluate the person to deem them dangerous.
By Beth Kuhles
The use of GPS technology to monitor sex offenders should be viewed as a tool rather than a control mechanism, a team of researchers at Sam Houston State University found in a recent study.
In "Examining GPS Monitoring Alerts Triggered by Sex Offenders: The Divergence of Legislative Goals and Practical Applications in Community Corrections," Dr. Gaylene Armstrong and Beth Freeman examined the affects of a state law in Arizona that required the lifelong GPS monitoring of adult sex offenders convicted of dangerous crimes against children and placed on community supervision. The study monitored sex offenders in Maricopa County, AZ over a two-year period.
"A divergence between legislative goals and practical application of mandated GPS monitoring programs exists," said Dr. Armstrong, Research Director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas at the College of Criminal Justice. "GPS technology is far more limited than anticipated and should be viewed as a tool rather than depended upon as a control mechanism."
The study found that a significant number of equipment-related alerts were triggered by a loss of a satellite signal, rather than offender violations. Those alerts resulted in a significant increase in the workload of probation officers.
"While it is expected that GPS technology provides the capability for near real-time tracking of an offender's location and movement in the community and that alerts would primarily indicate non-compliance with geographical and temporal restrictions, findings demonstrated that the responses to non-violation alerts consumed an inordinate amount of an agency's resources – resources that could be better directed to other case management activities," the study found.
A secondary impact is the possibility of complacency by probation officers because of an overload of non-violation alerts, which may result in a failure to act and liability for offender actions, the report concluded.
The cost effectiveness of GPS monitoring should be considered when setting budget for technology and vendors, especially considering the workload required to implement and maintain the system. If lifelong monitoring is mandated, the number of cases will continue to grow, the study said.
Community corrections supervisors estimate that 70 percent of alerts are false alarms and are usually related to technology issues. Steps should be taken to reduce the likelihood of unintentional alarms. Probation officers also should be trained on the use of the GPS system, and written rules and policies should be implemented, the report said.
"Results demonstrated a clear difference between legislative perceptions of the level of technological advancement of GPS equipment and its actual readiness for broad based roll out in community corrections settings at this time," said the study. "Moreover, it appears from these results that GPS technology is currently too underdeveloped to recommend continued swift enactment of legislation mandating implementation and utilization of GPS in a cost-effective manner."
So, if this is allowed to pass, who is next? Blacks? Jews? Other criminals? You can call it whatever you like, but it's discrimination, pure and simple. And where the HELL is the ACLU on these draconian sex offender issues?
By Joseph Freeman
Homeowners voting on rule that would keep sex offenders from living there
Residents of a gated community in southwest Orange County are voting on whether to prevent registered sex offenders from living there — a move that attorneys are calling highly unusual.
The new homeowners-association rule would bar offenders from living in Keene's Pointe, a community of about 1,000 single-family homes just south of Windermere.
Russ Blackwell, president of the Keene's Pointe Homeowners Association, went to Windermere's Town Council meeting Tuesday night to answer questions about the proposal. Although Windermere has no say in the matter, Blackwell said he went as a courtesy because the two communities are neighbors.
The proposed rule would prevent a sex offender from living within 2,500 feet of a playground or a school bus stop — limits that would keep offenders out of the entire community. The rule would not keep offenders from owning property in Keene's Pointe, however. It would not be retroactive and would apply only to future property transactions.
The new rule would be "very rare" for homeowner associations, said Tara Lyn Barrett, who specializes in community association law for the Orlando firm Brown, Garganese, Weiss & D'Agresta.
In most cases, residency rules for sex offenders are "regulated enough by state and local ordinances," Barrett said. "We represent about 60 associations, and not one of our convenants says anything in regard to that."
Blackwell said the idea came about when residents discovered that a sex offender was living in the community, even though no incidents took place.
"There are a lot of children in Keene's Pointe — a lot of playgrounds and bus stops," he said.
Windermere officials listened with interest to Blackwell explain the proposal, and seemed willing to explore adopting one of their own. Town Council members directed Police Chief Mike McCoy to research what other municipalities have passed. McCoy said that one issue to think about is enforcement. Would there be a fine? An arrest? He did think it was a "very good thing for the city of Windermere to have on the books."
The election in Keene's Pointe began late last week, and homeowners can vote online or by mail. Results are expected at the association's annual meeting Nov. 17.
Local governments in Florida, such as Winter Park and Ormond Beach, have passed similar distance restrictions. Courts have supported them, even when the ordinances have exceeded the state law that keeps convicted sexual predators from living within 1,000 feet of any school, day-care center, park or playground.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains a database of sexual offenders that provides searchable information by name and neighborhood.
A Third District Court of Appeal ruling in May 2010 found that a Miami-Dade County ordinance prohibiting offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school was "not invalidated by Florida law and therefore remains in full force and effect."
- That is because the corrupt government is ignoring the constitution, and people's rights, so they "look tough" on crime while actually doing nothing. And where are all the so called "constitutional" experts and civil/human rights organizations? When are they going to take these draconian laws up to the Supreme Court of the US?
"The Legislature has not clearly pre-empted local regulation of the field of the post-conviction conduct of sexual predators," the ruling stated.
Although cities and counties have passed ordinances going beyond the state law, it has been virtually unheard of for homeowner associations in Florida to do the same.
"This is an emerging trend in municipal government and starting to be addressed in associations,as well," said Neal McCulloh, the attorney for Keene's Pointe who drafted the rule. "We're probably going to raise this to all of our clients."
- Yeah, if this keeps up, pretty soon grocery stores, malls, hardware stores, and everyone else will start discriminating and not allowing certain people in their businesses, and they will start screening you at the front door, to make sure you are not a thief or some other criminal.