Monday, July 9, 2012

MA - Retrial begins for former Rutland police officer (Jason D. Briddon) charged with rape

Jason D. Briddon
Original Article

07/09/2012

By Gary V. Murray

WORCESTER — Jury selection got under way today in Worcester Superior Court for the retrial of a former police officer charged with raping and assaulting a woman five years ago after offering her a ride home from a bar.

Jason D. Briddon, 39, a former part-time Rutland police officer, has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the alleged May 1, 2007, sexual assault.

The alleged victim told authorities Mr. Briddon raped and assaulted her after offering her a ride home from Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner on Grove Street. She said she accepted Mr. Briddon's offer for a ride after she drank from a beer he had given her and began feeling sick and dizzy.

Instead of driving her directly home, she said, Mr. Briddon drove her to a building in the William Street area, carried her inside, threw her down on a box spring and raped her.

Mr. Briddon, of Westminster, denied the allegations.

The first trial ended in a mistrial on March 13, 2009, after a 12-member jury was unable to render a unanimous verdict in the case.

In February 2010, Mr. Briddon was convicted of unrelated charges of raping and beating a prostitute in Worcester in 2008 and was sentenced to 10 to 12 years' imprisonment. He is seeking a new trial on grounds that his family was excluded from the courtroom when the jury was being chosen for the 2010 trial.


CA - Simi Valley set to restrict sex offenders on Halloween

Original Article

Year after year the fear mongering continues.  If parents would be parents and go a long with their children on Halloween, then eradicating someone else's rights wouldn't be necessary.  This also shows you that the online registry is useless!  Because if it were, then they'd leave it up to the sheeple to check the registry and not visit the scary sex offenders who are hiding behind their doors just waiting to pounce on little kids!

07/03/2012

By Mike Harris

Simi Valley is on track to become the first city in Ventura County to ban registered sex offenders from having contact with children who are trick-or-treating on Halloween.

An ordinance was introduced at Monday night's City Council meeting that would forbid the 119 registered sex offenders living in the city from opening their doors to children on the holiday. Each offender would be required to post a sign stating, "No candy or treats at this residence." They also would be prohibited from displaying Halloween decorations or having exterior lighting on their property from 5 p.m. until midnight.

Council members voiced support for the measure, which will be brought back for adoption at their July 16 meeting.

City Attorney Marjorie Baxter said Simi Valley would become the first city in the county to enact such a law, though other cities in the state, including Orange, Ontario and Riverside, have similar ordinances.

Catherine Voelker, a prosecutor with the Ventura County District Attorney's Sexual Assault Unit, said convicted child molesters are frequently — but not automatically — prohibited from associating with children as a condition of probation unless authorized by the probation officer. Simi Valley's ordinance would ban such contact on Halloween night and also would apply to the city's registered sex offenders who were convicted of sex crimes against adults.

The measure was proposed by Mayor Bob Huber in January. He said Tuesday that while he's not aware of any instances of improper contact between a registered sex offender and a child on past Halloweens in Simi Valley, "this is a proactive approach to protect our most important treasure, our children."

Of the 119 registered sex offenders living in Simi, 86 percent of them have convictions involving minors, and only 67 of them are visible to the public on the Megan's Law website, Baxter wrote in a memo to the council.

According to Megan's Law, most registered sex offenders are required to update their information on the site annually, within five working days of their birthday. Some sex offenders must update more often.

The U.S. Justice Department notes that recidivism rates for sex offenders can be as high as 45 percent, the memo states.
- Wrong!  The Bureau of Justice shows it's around 3.5% to 5.3%, which can be seen in the MANY studies we have here.

"The traditional 'trick or treat' activities associated with Halloween can provide significant opportunities for sex offenders to victimize minors," Baxter wrote. "Many minors who participate in 'trick or treat' activities on Halloween approach residences without knowing the resident."
- So is any other day as well, and whose fault is that?  THE PARENTS!

Although police recommend children be accompanied by an adult or "trick or treat" in large groups, "some minors could become separated from their friends or parents and visit residences seeking candy," she wrote.

Those who violate the ordinance would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in county jail. Those on probation could be subject to additional penalties and those on parole could be returned to state prison.

Interim Police Chief Ron Chambers told the council that officers would hand-deliver printed copies of the measure to all 119 registered sex offenders before Halloween.

Criminal defense attorney Elia Naqvi, who represents sex offenders, called the Halloween rules "outrageous."

"They are putting the burden on people who are living peaceably in these communities, who committed crimes 20, 30 years ago and who now are rehabilitated," she said. "They are telling law-abiding people they cannot participate in societal celebrations."

"What is it going to be next? At Christmas time, they cannot decorate their houses? It's going too far," said Naqvi, a mother of two children. "The obligation should be on the parent to make sure their children are safe."

Naqvi, whose practice is based in Orange County, said she knows of no instances in which a registered sex offender has molested a trick-or-treating child.

"So I don't know what is triggering these laws," she said.
- They are triggered by mass hysteria and a moral panic spread by the media and other organizations to drum up support to get donations, or by politicians who want to make a name for themselves at the expense of exploiting others, that is what is triggering it!

Simi Valley's Halloween ordinance would be the latest sex-related law spearheaded by Huber and enacted by the City Council this year. The council previously adopted a mandatory condom ordinance to keep the porn industry out of town, as well as a measure to curtail illicit massage businesses, which Huber and police say are fronts for prostitution.


NJ - Lawmaker seeks to have sex offenders identify themselves on social networking sites

Original Article

First Louisiana, then Indiana, now New Jersey. Whose next?

07/09/2012

By Matt Friedman

TRENTON — Facebook users would know if "friends" of theirs — or of their children — were convicted sex offenders under a measure put forward today by state Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman.

While some social networking websites, including Facebook, ban sex offenders, Bateman (R-Somerset) wants to clamp down even more by making them disclose their convictions as part of their profiles or face a possible prison sentence and a steep fine.

The bill essentially applies Megan’s Law, which requires convicted sex offenders to register and for authorities to notify neighbors, to an online world nearly impossible to envision when it was enacted in 1994.

"In many ways, sex offenders can use the Internet as a venue and a means to plot and begin to carry out their crimes against vulnerable and unsuspecting victims," Bateman said. "This legislation supplements Megan’s Law to assist law enforcement agencies in stepping up their increasingly successful efforts targeting and fighting Internet sex crimes."

Under Bateman’s bill, convicts would have to provide their e-mail address, where their crimes took place, what they look like, and a link to their entries on the state’s online sex offender registry.

In its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook already requires users to affirm that they have not been convicted. It also instructs users to let the site know if they see profiles of known sex offenders, and a spokesman for the company said it works with state attorneys general to run their lists of sex offenders through their user base.

Bateman and other lawmakers were still not completely satisfied with the safeguards.

"It is not guaranteed that convicts who have committed such heinous acts will read and adhere to a website’s terms of service," said Jeremy Rosen, a spokesman for Senate Republicans. "Also, some social networking accounts and profiles could have been legitimately established by sex offenders prior to any convictions."

Under the terms of the bill, which Bateman said was based on a measure recently enacted in Louisiana, violators would face up to 18 months in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine.

Indiana took a different approach than Louisiana by placing a total ban on convicted sex offenders from using social networking websites, though the American Civil Liberties Union is appealing a federal judge’s decision upholding the law.

Katie Wang, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey ACLU, said the organization had no comment on Bateman’s bill.

Megan’s law was named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl from Hamilton who was raped and murdered by a neighbor who had been convicted of molesting one child and trying to molest another.

Maureen Kanka, Megan’s mother, said she agreed with the intent of Bateman’s bill, but questioned whether it would be adequately enforced.

Kanka said many offenders who fail to register under the current version of Megan’s Law often simply get a "slap on the wrist."

"I think the thought behind it is wonderful," she said. "Do I think it’s going to be effective? I don’t think they have the manpower to see that they’re putting the information out there, that they’re doing it, and actually prosecute, fine and imprison them if they don’t."


NM - 4th Annual RSOL National Conference (September 6-9, 2012)

Original Article

Let me be clear and emphatic,” asserted Lloyd Swartz, President of the New Mexico affiliate of the national Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) organization. “Our primary mission is to improve public safety by reforming laws that threaten the safety of families and children.”

Recognizing the unintended yet socially devastating consequences of "ill-conceived laws wasting billions of tax payer dollars,” seasoned advocates began a grassroots movement in the late-1990s. A dialog surrounding the ineffectiveness of these mandates and the monumental level of the public sex-crime panic developed into a call for change! In 2007 long-time peace and social justice educator Paul Shannon published "It's Time to Reform Sex Offender Laws: An Urgent Call to Support the Well-Being of Children," and co-founded RSOL.

The first RSOL national conference, held in 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts, brought together activists from as far away as Oklahoma, Florida and Maine, and came with its own list of challenges. Organizers and attendees of the conference, most of whom were not registrants themselves, nevertheless were very concerned about the safety of participants, fearing vigilante action.

Since many of the registered persons and family members had never participated openly in such a public forum and because of the level of hatred and stigma around this issue, we wanted to create as safe an atmosphere as possible for those in attendance,” reflected Paul Shannon. “As a result, publicity for the conference was carefully limited, and there was a great deal of focus around security. Fortunately – except for some of the technology – the conference ran very smoothly and everyone got to hear the latest research on sex offenses and to share their experiences. A sense of validation and community developed among those present as offenders came to see that there was no contradiction between preventing the sexual violation of children and insisting on the humanity of those who had committed violations in the past.”

This stigma and the vigilantism driven by the registry pose serious consequences to the whole community,” elaborated Robert Combs, executive director of RSOL affiliate Arkansas Time After Time and chair of the 2012 RSOL National Conference Planning Committee.

According to Combs, nearly all leading experts in the field of post-release sex-offender management agree that current ‘punishment and containment’ policies do nothing to ensure anyone’s safety, and yet the public and lawmakers continue to press for more of these ineffective laws, unwittingly increasing public safety risk.

The September conference, “Catching the Dream of Reform,” is being held at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in Albuquerque with a mission to “empower citizen-driven law reform groups to better understand the complexity of current thinking on sex-offender registration issues and explore workable options for change.”

Sixteen distinguished speakers, including California civil rights attorney Janice Bellucci (Video), Ohio Public Defender’s Office Information Officer Amy Borror (Video, Facebook), esteemed sexual behavior and risk assessment psychologists Dr. George Geysen and Dr. Eric A. Imhof, and Senator Cisco McSorley, Chair of the NM Senate Judiciary Committee, will present what the RSOL website describes as “a collaborative think-tank of proven ideas and best approaches to making all communities safe and abuse-free.”

In addition to 3 days of educational forums and workshops, several informal social events will serve the conference objective to enhance advocate networking in a relaxed social environment,” said RSOL Executive Director, Brenda Jones.

Saturday night features a banquet with tickets costing $20 per person in addition to the $50 per person (early bird) conference registration fee. The banquet menu features chili con queso, cheese enchiladas with green chili, chicken tacos, beef fajitas with guacamole and sour cream, beans and potatoes.

After dinner entertainment includes a magic show, live music and a charity auction. "Everyone is encouraged to donate auction items such as jewelry, gift certificates, books, nick-knacks, oddities, and gag-gifts. Then participants can join the fun by bidding on all the items," Jones elaborated. Proceeds will be split between the hosting affiliate and the RSOL National Legal Fund.

We feel this advocacy movement is close to a major turning point,” Jones summarized. “We are hopeful that our 2012 conference will lift reform efforts to a whole new level.”



For more information on the 4th Annual Reform Sex Offender Laws national conference, visit reformsexoffenderlaws.org or contact the committee by calling 505-252-0915, or email conference@reformsexoffenderlaws.org.