Friday, June 22, 2012

AL - DA Chris Connolly admits the sex offender registry is punishment!

Original Article


LAUDERDALE COUNTY (WAFF) - [name withheld] pleaded guilty before a Lauderdale County court Thursday to second degree rape.

[name withheld] was charged with one count of rape for sex with a 14-year-old boy. She was arrested in January after officials received tips from parents.

[name withheld] admitted to having sex with multiple teenagers, but only one was under the age of 16 which is the age of consent in Alabama.

Chris Connolly
Officials said [name withheld] volunteered with the junior high basketball team, but was not serving in that capacity or any other role with Wilson School during the time these incidents happened.

[name withheld]'s plea deal came with a recommended sentence of 36 months. She will also have to register as a sex offender.

"She will have to register as a sex offender and that's a big ticket item obviously because that's a life sentence," said Chris Connolly, Lauderdale County District Attorney. "That's the community notification; that's quarterly registration; that's restrictions about employment and where she can live so that's a huge part of this agreement."

Her sentencing date will be July 26 at 1:30 p.m.

IL - You can have sex with a 17 year old legally, but photograph them naked and it's child porn?

Original Article


SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – In a case that highlights one of the unusual incongruities of state laws, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a downstate man didn’t commit a crime when he had sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend, but he did break the law when he took pictures of them in the act.

[name withheld] was arrested in downstate Freeport in March 2009, and charged with three counts of child pornography after photographing himself having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend, but he was not charged with statutory rape, since the age of consent for sex in Illinois is 17. But, in Illinois, it is illegal to photograph anyone under the age of 18 engaged in a sexual act.

After a bench trial later that year, [name withheld] — who was 32 at the time — was convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison, but he appealed his conviction.

In a 5-2 ruling on Thursday, the high court upheld his conviction and sentence.

Police began investigating [name withheld] after the girl’s mother complained about [name withheld] having sex with the girl. [name withheld] was 32 at the time and already a registered sex offender. She also showed police four or five pictures that [name withheld] had emailed to her daughter, showing them having sex.

[name withheld] admitted taking the pictures of himself having sex with the girl, using his cell phone, and acknowledged he knew the girl was 17 when they had sex.

[name withheld]’ attorneys argued the state’s child pornography statute is unconstitutional, claiming that applying the law to someone old enough to legally consent to sex does nothing to protect them from exploitation or abuse.

But prosecutors argued the child pornography statute was designed to protect children from the psychological and emotional harm that could result from distributing photos of their sexual activity.

Writing for the majority, Justice Rita Garman said the majority of the high court agreed with prosecutors, holding “there are rational, reasonable arguments in support of having a higher age threshold for appearance in pornography than for consent to sexual activity.”

They further argued that the consequences for sex are more concrete and apparent to teenagers than the dangers of appearing in pornographic photos or videos.

Memorialization of the sexual act makes permanent an intimate encounter that can then be distributed to third parties. These concerns are exacerbated in the modern digital age, where once a picture or video is uploaded to the Internet, it can never be completely erased or eradicated,” the court wrote. “It will always be out there, hanging over the head of the person depicted performing the sexual act.”

[name withheld] had argued the photos were meant to be kept private, but the court noted that there is no guarantee the photos would always remain private.

Two justices – Anne Burke and Charles Freeman – dissented, arguing that, since the sex itself was consensual and legal, the photographs [name withheld] took were also legal.

Scarlet Letter

Original Article


By Ann Sattley

It’s no secret that I’m against sex offender registries. In fact, it’s one of the more controversial stands I’ve taken.

As a libertarian, I oppose sex offender registries because they intrinsically restrict freedom while not actually doing anything to protect anyone.

As a Christian, I oppose sex offender registries because they intrinsically assume nobody can change. I obviously believe that people can change through the power of Jesus Christ.

As a regular person with common sense, I already know that most sex crimes occur by someone who knows the victim. I also realize, using my brain, that these registries serve to increase paranoia. Additionally, the crimes listed on the registry may not correspond to what we think they do. We hear legal terms like “criminal sexual conduct” and we have no idea about the corresponding offense. I also know that people have no tolerance for anyone suspected of a sexual crime. They presume guilt because they don’t want to upset the person who is alleging the crime (see Duke lacrosse scandal). I’m not saying that all people on the sex offender registry are innocent. But, I at least reserve the option that some of them are due to our societal perception of sex crimes. And, that’s not all. There are people on the registry who have committed a “crime,” but the definition of crime is too strict (as I often point out). Here’s Lenore Skenazy’s take on the issue:

There are now commercially available mobile phone apps that map out their addresses. Looking at a map with lots of red dots makes people terrified of their neighbourhoods. It also ruins the lives of many of the ‘red dots’ – a lot of whom are no threat to children at all. They may be a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend (that’s considered statutory rape), or a guy who was convicted for peeing in public. So what we need is a law that identifies where DANGEROUS people are living, not just anyone who ran afoul of our increasingly draconian — and sometimes ridiculous — sex offender laws. Policy must change, and that begins (once again) with a reality check! (Source)

Instead of our society implying the common sense reasoning that I have detailed above, we continue to get more and more totalitarian about sex offender registries. Today, I found out that Louisiana passed a law mandating that all registered sex offenders have to list their status on social networking websites! Nevermind the fact that the Louisiana sex offender registry is already online. That’s not good enough for us anymore! We need to see these people hanged.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the vast amassing of government for which it stands, one nation, under siege, with indignity and paranoia for all.

MO - Task force hearing on child sexual abuse

WI - Green Bay's sex offender rules will stay the same, for now

Chris Voss talks about Sex Offender Laws

Only the first portion of this video is them discussing the sex offender laws, the rest is about Microsoft Windows and other unrelated stuff.

NY - Senate Passes Avella's Sexual Predator Bill

Original Article


By Nathan Duke

Legislature unanimously passes bill that would speed up risk level determination process.

The state Senate has passed a bill proposed by Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, that would speed up the risk level determination timetable for convicted sex offenders.

The legislation would ensure that offenders are officially categorized under the state's Sex Offender Registration Act prior to their sentencing or release from incarceration.

The state Senate unanimously voted in favor of the bill on Wednesday, but the state Assembly has yet to act on the legislation.

"There is no reason that known sex offenders should be residing in our neighborhoods without [communities] knowing the danger they present," Avella said.

Current laws stipulate that risk level determination hearings for sex offenders must take place at least 45 days after notice of the hearing that is provided upping sentencing.

Avella's bill would require that notice of a risk level hearing be given to the offender and district attorney within five days of the conviction for those who are expected to be released on probation or discharged.

The legislation calls for the hearing to be held within 20 days of the notice and prior to sentencing.

Avella proposed the bill following the 2011 arrest of convicted sex offender [name withheld], who violated probation by volunteering at northeast Queens Catholic schools, including St. Mel's in Whitestone.

State Assemblyman Michael Miller, D-Woodhaven, is carrying the bill in the Assembly.

LA - Louisiana Sex Offender Ban Could Backfire

Jeff Thompson
Original Article


By Robert McGarvey

When Louisiana state representative Jeff Thompson failed in his effort to banish sex offenders from the Internet -- he had a Plan B.

Even though a state law he had pushed for was tossed by federal courts, which said the ban was too broad, the revised bill (PDF) becomes law in Louisiana effective August 1.

The new Thompson act requires convicted sex offenders to disclose the details of any past convictions on any profile on Facebook, MySpace, and similar social networks.
- So when is this draconian plan going to be put into place for all other criminals, like the politicians, celebrities and everyone else who has committed a felony?

The law mandates that any offender who is active on social media "include in his profile for the networking website an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics... and his residential address."

Do note: Facebook, for its part, already bans sex offenders. Per the TOS: "You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender." MySpace, too, bans sex offenders and in 2009 purged thousands who had set up pages regardless.
- And with Bobby "The Exorcist" Jindal mandating that people announce they are a sex offender, he is basically denying all ex-offenders from being on social networks, which was ruled unconstitutional a month or so back, so he's pretty much getting what he wanted in the first place just by re-wording it.

So Louisiana is in effect demanding self-incrimination of sex offenders, who would set themselves up for immediate exclusion from social networks.

But just maybe this whole effort will wind up backfiring. Before examining why, follow this Bayou logic, which has more tangled strands than boiled okra: Thompson expects his notification requirement to withstand constitutional challenges because, as he told multiple news outlets, it is an extension of existing state laws requiring convicted offenders to notify police, neighbors, and school officials when they change address. He's probably right on that score.

The new law is also par for the Baton Rouge course because Louisiana is about as inhospitable to sex offenders as any state in the union. Governor Bobby Jindal, a couple years ago, with much fanfare, signed legislation that requires sex offenders to submit to castration under certain circumstances. On a second conviction of a sex offense involving a child 12 or younger, Louisiana law now requires the judge to sentence the offender to chemical castration. The law also allows a court to order physical castration instead.

It should go without saying but I will say it anyway: Sex offenders are despicable and all the more so when their crimes involve children.
- Not all sex offenders are "despicable!"  You are, like most other people, lumping them all into one large group.

But there are also limits on how far justice ought to go.

The ACLU is adamant that laws such as Louisiana's violate basic rights. "To broadly prohibit such a large group of persons from ever using these modern forms of communication is just something the First Amendment cannot tolerate," Ken Falk, legal director of Indiana's ACLU chapter, told the AP.

Meanwhile, Louisiana lawmakers just passed HB620 (PDF), a separate bill from Thompson's that bans sex offenders from using social networks, period.
- So, it was deemed the law was unconstitutional, so they pass another law doing the same thing?

Jeff Thompson thinks HB620 is vulnerable to the ACLU challenge that is sure to come. He told CNN:

It may very well fall under scrutiny and attack. That's one of the reasons that I created the bill I did. I'm not trying to create a ban. I'm just trying to create an expansion of the existing notice requirements. I challenge you today to walk down the street to see how many people and children are checking Pinterest, Instagram, and other social networking sites. If you look at how common it is, that's 24 hours a day, seven days a week for somebody to interact with your children and your grandchildren.

Isn't that the whole point, however? The philosopher Descartes, almost 500 years ago, famously pronounced: Cogito ergo sum Now, in 2012, it may not be thinking per se that proves existence but a presence on social networks.

Daily, I check LinkedIn profiles and Facebook. If I don't find people there, they don't exist.

But sex offenders do exist and they need to be apprehended.

So, maybe, it is not Representative Thompson who is wrongheaded, so much as it is Facebook, MySpace, et al, which simply caved into demands to ban sex offenders and therefore took them off the radar of law enforcement.

I'm beginning to think Thompson is onto something. Even if it is not necessarily what he intended.
- Yeah, the total exile of ex-offenders similar to how the lepers were banished.

Related Article:

NY - Hearing set on sex offender law

Original Article


By Barbara O’Brien

Orchard Park Town Board members Wednesday night quickly scheduled a public hearing on a law on sex offenders in response to complaints from residents.

This is ridiculous. This is Orchard Park,” Gary Coviello of Berg Road told board members during Wednesday’s regular meeting.

The town has three sex offenders, he said, and he urged the town to do something about it.

These are our children we have to protect,” Coviello said.

Councilman David Kaczor said the board asked the town attorney before the meeting to research local ordinances concerning sex offenders.

The board is fully committed to establishing an ordinance and dealing with this issue,” he said.

The board took the unusual move of interrupting the “business from the floor” section of the meeting, where residents address the board, to schedule a public hearing at 7 p.m. July 18. But they did not say what kind of legislation they would propose.

A number of local municipalities adopted ordinances several years ago that prohibit child sex offenders from living close to schools, day care centers and playgrounds.

According to the sex offender registry website operated by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, there are two Level 2 convicted sex offenders and one Level 3 offender living in the town. The website does not list Level 1 offenders, who are considered the lowest risk.

The registry was set up under Megan’s Law, passed in 1996, requiring sexual offenders to register their residence.

Level 2 offenders have a moderate risk of repeating the crime, and Level 3 offenders have a high risk of repeating.

You’re not the first to come to the board in the last few days,” Supervisor Janis Colarusso told Coviello.

Also Wednesday, the board scheduled a public hearing July 18 for an ordinance governing high grass.

Building Inspector Andrew Geist said the number of properties in foreclosure has increased, and many times no one is mowing the grass.

Nation of Criminals - Selling Prisons "for profit"

Original Article

Below is only the first of many videos on this subject. Click the link above to see all the videos.

For decades, Washington has been adding to the number of federal laws and regulations that carry criminal penalties. Now the number is so high, no one is actually sure how many there are.

Experts say practically anyone could be convicted of some sort of federal crime. And it’s all too easy for anyone to violate one of these laws and never know it. One congressman tells CBN News, “We have made it dangerous just to be alive in America.”