Thursday, December 8, 2011
By Bill Wellock
Edwardsville Borough Council will vote tonight on repealing an ordinance that restricts where sex offenders can live in the borough.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. in the borough building.
A similar ordinance in Allegheny County was challenged in 2009 and ruled unconstitutional, said Edwardsville solicitor William T. Finnegan, Jr.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project filed the original challenge in federal court on behalf of six sex offenders, according to an ACLU press release. The 2009 case was appealed, and this year, the state supreme court confirmed Allegheny County's ordinance was unconstitutional.
"The point of the opinion was that this is something within the purview of parole officials and not something that should be administered by local municipalities," Finnegan said.
Even though local law won't determine where sex offenders cannot reside, state laws will still pose restrictions, Finnegan said.
"There are different ways to come to the same result," Finnegan said. "The obvious concern the borough had when it was enacted was we wanted to ensure you didn't have sex offenders living within a certain number of feet from places where children would frequent. There are other ways to do that."
Enforcing the borough's current ordinance could be problematic, Finnegan said.
"I think there's a legal precedent out there now. If someone were to raise a challenge, you would likely not win as far as trying to enforce it goes," he said.
Councilman Luke Sowcik said the council plans to repeal its current ordinance and will consider adopting a new ordinance that falls within the boundaries of the law.
"They said that it's unconstitutional," Sowcik said of the current ordinance. "We're not going to play around with it."
Sowcik said if the state law offers enough protection, then council probably won't move any further with a new ordinance.
Police Chief David Souchick asked the council to repeal the ordinance to avoid any potential lawsuits, said Councilman Gary Mack, chairman of the police committee.
There are no registered sex offenders currently living in the borough, Mack said.
"It's not that we want to (do this), but all ours did was strengthen what the state had done, not that the state had a bad one. We just made sure we had stronger wording in ours, but now we have to abide by what the state does," he said.
By Brian Haynes
A pair of Nevada laws that toughened sex offender registration requirements are unconstitutional, a civil rights lawyer told a federal appeals court panel Wednesday.
Maggie McLetchie, a lawyer arguing for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, told judges with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the new laws re-punish sex offenders by upping their tier classifications, in some cases forcing them to move because they lived too close to a school or other place prohibited under the laws.
"It was being applied retroactively," McLetchie said. "We needed an injunction because parole and probation officers were telling our clients they had to move."
Deputy Nevada Attorney General Binu Palal countered that the law as written does not require offender tiers to be changed and that state officers who said as much were wrong.
"They never should be applied retroactively," Palal said.
The case rises from the two state laws passed in the 2007 Legislature to comply with the Adam Walsh Act passed by Congress in 2006. The federal law required states to comply or risk losing 10 percent of a federal criminal justice grant.
- Basically bribery.
The ACLU said Nevada's would have lost about $300,000 a year.
- And it will cost more than that to implement.
A key part of the state laws reclassified sex offenders based on their original crimes, not their likelihood to reoffend. The laws also imposed stricter travel and residency requirements on the most serious tier 3 offenders. For example, they would be barred from knowingly being within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.
The ACLU and lawyer Robert Langford filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of sex offenders to stop the laws from taking effect. In the suit filed in June 2008 just before the laws were to take effect, the lawyers argued that the laws unconstitutionally re-punished sex offenders years, and in some cases decades, after they had completed their sentences and probation.
The laws would reclassify many tier 1 offenders as tier 3 offenders, subjecting them to stricter registration and living requirements. Extreme residency requirements would make "it impossible for offenders to live or go anywhere," they said in the lawsuit.
In October 2008, U.S. District Judge James Mahan issued an injunction to stop the new laws from going into action.
"The application of these laws retroactively is the equivalent of a new punishment tacked on to the original sentence," the judge wrote in the injunction.
The Nevada attorney general's office appealed the injunction, which led to Wednesday's hearing.
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It's about time. This is something we have needed for a very long time, IMO.
By Daniel Ionescu
More than 100,000 porn websites sporting the .XXX domain went live today. The public launch of the .XXX domain is a culmination of years of struggle between the adult entertainment industry, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers and ICM Registry, now the official registry of the new domain.
All available .XXX domain names will be released for registration later today, and they can only be purchased via accredited registrars on a first-come, first-serve basis. The new domain names start at around $80 per year and each site will be scanned daily for malware with McAfee tools -- a first for any domain names so far.
In theory, the .XXX domain is meant to safely filter adult content on the Web under one domain name that would also give users an advanced heads-up over what they will find once the website has loaded. "While adult entertainment is enjoyable to many adults, it is not appropriate for all audiences,” said Stuart Lawley, chief executive of ICM Registry. “We created .XXX to address the unique needs of the online adult entertainment industry.”
All .XXX registrants are also obliged to follow a set of self-regulation practices drawn up by the adult industry, which include safeguarding children from being marketed or targeted online and accurate labeling and meta-tagging so that .XXX domains can be blocked more easily by parental controls filters.
As you would expect, anti-porn and religious groups have been against the .XXX top-level domain, arguing this will make porn sites more visible and would be an endorsement for the adult entertainment industry. Plus, it’s not a requirement for .XXX domain owners to ditch their .com or .net domains in favor of the new domain. But it’s not only these groups that are against .XXX.
Movers and shakers in the porn industry are against it, as well as businesses worried about domain squatting. “We oppose the .XXX domain and all it stands for,” reportedly said Fabian Thylmann, managing partner of Manwin, which runs Playboy sites as a licensee. “It is my opinion that .XXX domain is an anticompetitive business practice that works a disservice to all companies that do business on the Internet.” Manwin announced last week that it has banned all activity between its brands and .XXX websites (including advertising), on top of an antitrust lawsuit it filed last month.
- Of course they are against it, it would be easier for everyone to filter out their smut, and they'd lose business. It's all about money, IMO, and should be required for anyone selling porn.
Businesses are seeing themselves forced to buy .XXX porn domains in order to protect their trademarks. One of the UK’s largest registrars, Easyspace, said four out of five businesses that have preregistered .XXX domain names this year have no direct connection to the adult entertainment industry. Instead, it’s argued the .XXX domain is a burden for businesses that wish to protect trademarks against domain squatters, as large companies would pay thousands per year to domain registrars (the winners in this case) just to keep their .XXX domains safe.
ICM is now offering a service where companies can pay a one-off fee to have their domains permanently excluded from .XXX registration, but the fees can be significant, as they vary between registrars. Meanwhile, an arbitration program has been launched in order to help resolve complaints over the new .XXX domains, which is similar to the policies applied to most domains under ICANN. The .XXX's Rapid Evaluation Service is meant to result in a takedown of an infringing domain name in just two business days.
FRANKFORT (WDRB) - A Madison County grand jury has indicted a former Richmond police officer on child pornography charges.
According to a news release from the Kentucky Attorney General's office, 36-year-old James Rogers, is now charged with 10 counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.
The indictment followed an investigation by Attorney General Jack Conway's Cybercrimes Unit.
Rogers was arrested by Cybercrimes investigators and Kentucky State Police on December 6 at his home in Richmond, Kentucky after police searched his home.
Rogers is being held in the Madison County Detention Center in lieu of $100,000 bond.
The Cybercrimes unit began its undercover investigation on November 19, 2011. Utilizing a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, investigators were able to locate a computer in Madison County that contained child pornography.
Rogers was set for arraignment in Madison Circuit Court on January 12, 2012.
Since its creation in June of 2008, General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit has launched more than 230 child pornography investigations and seized more than 300,000 child pornographic images and videos from the Internet. The unit is also a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
For additional information on cybersafety in Kentucky, visit General Conway's Cybersafety Page at http://ag.ky.gov/cybersafety. To report cyber abuse, visit the CyberTipline or call 1-800-843-5678.
Los federales insist that the states alter their sex offender notification laws. Pennsylvania's notification and registration regime would become more punitive, including adding juveniles to the registration list for the first time. Learn more about HB-1958 and SB-1183, the state bills to implement AWA.
Yet another example of why the online hit-list needs to be taken offline and used by police only.
By Alissa Irei
MISSOULA - Workers' compensation lawyer Leslae Dalpiaz doesn't work with sex offenders. She doesn't practice criminal law. So when she heard several registered sexual and violent offenders had received letters of warning -- bearing her name and contact information -- she was shocked.
"I am not sending these letters," Dalpiaz said. "I don't mean any ill will to the recipients."
The letters list Dalpiaz as heading Montanans for Family Safety and Women for Justice. Neither group seems to exist.
"During the next twelve months, you may be followed, photographed or otherwise checked for compliance with your sentence..." the letters read. "Considering your record, you have no one to blame but yourself for your deviant behavior."
Dalpiaz says she has no known enemies and doesn't belong to any controversial groups.
"I can't imagine who would want to do something like this," she said.
Dalpiaz is working with police to find out who's sending the letters. She says the fact that the writer included her home address and phone number, as well as her work address, makes them believes she's not a random victim.
- So have you checked the letter for fingerprints?
"They think it's a personal vendetta," she said. "And that's maybe what scares me the most ... I cannot imagine why someone would want to do this to me."
Some experts on sex offender rehabilitation say it's not unheard of for people -- perhaps fed up with the justice system's approach -- to target those listed in the online public registry.
- And this is exactly why the registry needs to be taken offline, used by police only.
"It was somebody's idea on how to shake up a system that they probably think is broken. And I understand that," said the University of Montana's Dr. Timothy Conley. "I think for those who would like to see harsher, longer, ongoing punishment of offenders, they need to work through the legislative system to legislate those changes, rather than take it upon themselves to [use] a vigilante punishment approach."
Dalpiaz says the men who received the letters have little in common -- charges vary, conviction dates range from the 1970s to 2000, and none live in the same neighborhood.
She does say that none are repeat offenders, and all have completed their sentences and served the terms of their probation.
"I feel as sorry for the recipients of these letters as I do for myself," she said. "They are targeted randomly, as best we can tell. They are victims, just as I am, of this cruel stalking hoax."
Dalpiaz says she suspects there are more letters out there. She worries someone could receive one, and lash out at her before she has a chance to explain that she didn't write it.
Anyone who has any information is asked to call Missoula Police at (406) 552-6300.
The person who sent the messages could be accused of a criminal act. Delpiaz says mail fraud or stalking charges are possible. And according to the Montana Department of Justice, anyone who uses the online sex offender registry "to injure, harass or commit a criminal act against any person may be subject to criminal prosecution."
- The sex offender registry clearly states: "Anyone who uses this information to injure, harass or commit a criminal act against any person may be subject to criminal prosecution." This is a crime, and threatening people, using false names, etc, is also a crime.
Lake County sheriff wants tougher sentence for deputy charged with underage sex
By GLENDA ANDERSON
A former Lake County sheriff's deputy has pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old who was working as his nanny, according to the state Attorney General's Office.
Derik Navarro, 39, faces up to three years formal probation and three months in the county jail after pleading guilty Wednesday to one count of unlawful intercourse with a child under the age of 16, said Becca MacLaren, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office. The Lake County District Attorney's Office handed the case to the Attorney General's Office to avoid a possible conflict of interest, officials said.
Navarro is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 in Lake County Superior Court, MacLaren said.
The sexual misconduct occurred in 2005 and 2006, officials said. Navarro was fired in 2007 after five years with the department following an investigation into the allegations. County prosecutors initially charged him with 18 felony counts involving two victims. One was dropped from the case.
The incidents did not take place while Navarro was on duty, Sheriff's officials have said.