Thursday, December 29, 2011

CA - Tina Robinson talks about her son being charged with a sex crime and the laws


CA - ACTION ALERT: California Sex Offender Registry Law: New change affecting former sex offenders REMOVED from the registry

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MI - Homeless win frozen death lawsuit

Original Article

Click the "FrozenToDeath" link above for all related stories.

12/29/2011

By Ken Kolker

Thomas Pauli froze to death in 2009

GRAND RAPIDS (WOOD) - Homeless sex offenders can legally stay in overnight shelters, even if they are near schools, according to a ruling by a federal judge.

The ruling comes nearly three years after homeless sex offender Thomas Pauli froze to death next to a Grand Rapids business after he could not find a place to stay. On the night he died, the temperature was between -2 and +3 degrees.

U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist issued his ruling Wednesday after a lawsuit filed by five homeless or previously homeless sex offenders and two Grand Rapids shelters -- Degage Ministries and Mel Trotter Ministries.

The lawsuit was filed against Governor Rick Snyder, State Attorney General Bill Schuette, the Michigan State Police and Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth.

Among the plaintiffs, an unidentified 23-year-old woman with mental and emotional impairments who was convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime when she was 20 and who said she'd been raped and beaten up in the past and was afraid to live on the streets.

"Plaintiffs filed their complaint in response to the death of Thomas Pauli, a homeless man with a prior CSC conviction who froze to death on the street in Grand Rapids," Quist wrote in his 18-page ruling.

Pauli was convicted in 1991 of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child under the age of 13 in Grand Traverse County.

A business owner found the body of Pauli, 52, next to the old A to Z Radiator shop in the 600 block of South Division Avenue on Jan. 26, 2009. Pauli was crouched in a kneeling position.

"Pauli was forced into the freezing cold after an overnight shelter located within 1,000 feet of a school denied him admission because of his status as a registered sex offender," Quist wrote.

Michigan's sex offender law says offenders cannot "reside" within 1,000 feet of schools.

Both Degage and Mel Trotter are too close to schools; so is Guiding Light Mission, though that shelter was not part of the lawsuit.

But, as Quist wrote, the case revolved around the definition of "reside."

The state law does not define the word, so Quist quoted from dictionaries, which defined it as a "permanent" place to stay.

"Under the ordinary meaning of 'reside' a registrant does not violate SORA's (Sex Offender Registry Act) residency restrictions by using an emergency overnight shelter under the following conditions: 1) users are admitted to the shelter in the evening and required to leave in the morning; and (2) users have no expectation of obtaining a place in the shelter on any given night," the judge ruled.

"Therefore, registrants may sleep overnight in homeless shelters or drop-in centers located within 1,000 feet of a school and may spend multiple nights in such shelters" as long as those conditions are met.


No Place to Live

Original Article

By Elizabeth Wright

The guy living next to you may be a killer, a drug dealer, a drunk driver, a prostitute with aide, a weapons dealer, a wife-bearter, the robber of the corner store, the woman who burglarized your house or the kid who assaulted you child. Your neighbor may be a germ researcher, a lawyer, a prison guard or even (God forbid!) a cop. In other words, the person next door may be a genuine danger to you or yours.

Normal people realize that by living in a society we are exposed to dangers. Normal people don't become hysterical over such dangers. Driving the family car is a much greater risk. Normal people are simply prudently watchful and cautious.

The law doesn't try to regulate where the germ farmer, the cop or the lawyer live. The law lets the killer alone. It doesn't harass the thug or the drunk or the infected housewife.

Oddly, the law and the public treat perverts differently. Perhaps in the pervert they see much of their own sexual passion and it terrifies them.

Nothing breeds hysteria, especially among women, like sex. It seems to be a matter of shame. Since the days of Freud, people, particularly women, have been getting hysterical over sex. It frightens as well as arouses them.

During the past 10 years or so while the Republicans and conservatives have harped on fear and hatred, sexual hysteria has escalated. It's to the point of mania, irrational and unreasonable. It's like a toddler's fear of the dark or of the monster in the closet. It's unfounded and unreasonable. That doesn't stop otherwise rational persons (especially otherwise sane women) from fearing the pervert more than the gun merchant.

The person living next to you is a pervert, at least he or she is a sexual being. That doesn't make the person dangerous. It makes the person normal. If we're alive and "normal," we're sexual being. It's nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to fear and certainly nothing over which to become hysterical. And in the normal male, at least, there's an element of the sexual hunter looking for satisfaction.

Right-wing political hacks have used terror, fear, in order to gain and hold power. The Republican extremists make you afraid. Then you'll think you need them and give them power. It's unamerican, even neurotic, but for the past 10 years it's created an irrational situation controlling even where people are allowed to live.

People convicted of certain sexual crimes are not allowed to reside within half a mile of a school. That's unfair and unreasonable. Almost everyplace is within half a mile of a school or playground or church. How are the former sex offenders to rehabilitate themselves? How are they to earn a living or become assets to the society? They can never get over paying for their offenses.

We've heard of at least 20 cases of men, former sexual offenders, being held indefinitely in the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The men won't be released because there's no place in the community for them to live. In one case, a man has been in the jail for 14 months beyond the expiration of his prison sentence because Jeffrey Ayres, an Allegheny County probation agent, won't approve anyplace for him to live. That's illogical, even cruel. It harms the community. It doesn't protect anybody.

Joe, one of the men who can't win released, seems to have committed a rather minor offense. He's a young fellow with a fiancee who wants to build a life with him. He wants to become a productive asset to society. But because his offense was sexual instead of really violent or really dangerous like drunk driving, he can't be released. He's caught in the mindless mania.

Once our society discriminated against "Negroes." We were taught to fear and hate them. Then we discriminated against "Orientals".

The conservatives and Republican's have used the same kind of prejudice to whip up hatred of "aliens," queers and sex offenders. Why do some people have such an unnatural need to hate?

Sexuality or nationality isn't contagious.

It should be obvious to any rational person that a pervert is no more dangerous to you than a cop. The worst pervert I ever knew was a CPA who lived in a gated community. He stuffed pool balls up his rump while peeping on the teen who lived across the street. It made for a lot of brown billiard balls, but it was no great danger to the neighborhood.

Putting your kid in the car is far, far more dangerous than living next to a pervert. More children die from shopping carts than from penis!


UT - Bill may let some sex offenders off registry 5 years early

Original Article

12/28/2011

By Ladd Brubaker

SALT LAKE CITY — About 10 years ago, a 19-year-old man had sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend was convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The couple has since married and has four children. And he has otherwise been a law abiding citizen.

But, he is still required to be listed on the Utah Sex Offender and Kidnap Offender Registry, and banned from going to a public park with his children. His family may not live in certain areas, and his employment has been also been affected.

The man, whose name has been kept confidential, contacted his Utah state legislator about the problem. HB13, sponsored by Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Logan, is the result. If passed during the 2012 legislative session, the change would allow people convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, or unlawful sexual activity with a minor, or misdemeanor voyeurism to petition a judge to be removed from the registry after five years.

"They are the three least egregious offenses," that require registration, Draxler said. "We're trying to bring some sense to it. We need a registry, but we need the people on it who are truly threats, not those that are no longer a threat to society."

Offenders who've committed the three crimes listed are currently required to be on the registry for 10 years after conviction. Other offenses require a lifelong listing.

As well, the bill requires the offender to have no convictions for other crimes, other than certain traffic offenses, and gives the court the discretion to decide each case.

"They have to really show that they've changed their lives," Draxler said.

The married father of four is only one example of several constituents Draxler said he has heard from who face similar circumstances — and he's heard other lawmakers tell similar stories from people in their districts.

"Frankly, I've been surprised at the lack of opposition (to the bill) and overwhelmed by the support it's gotten," he said. More than 100 people — offenders and their family members — have emailed him to thank him, he said.

The bill passed the Legislature's Interim Judiciary Committee unanimously in September, so it now goes directly to the House floor after the general session convenes Jan. 23.

As of July 15, the sex offender registry listed 47 offenders who've been convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, and 218 convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor (ages 14 or 15). For all offenses, around 2,900 offenders were registered in July, according to Department of Corrections statistics.

Not all would qualify under Draxler's proposal. Eligible offenders must have completed any treatment the court may have ordered and must have no subsequent convictions, except for traffic offenses.