Monday, August 6, 2012

NJ - Social networking and sex offenders: Pennsylvania and New Jersey approach bans differently

Original Article

Once again we have a politician, who took an oath to defend the Constitution and the rights it guarantees, but once elected, they ignore that oath of office.


By Kathryn Brenzel

The worth of a Facebook picture hinges on what it says. For a Phillipsburg man, one picture spoke volumes.

It was worth six months in the Warren County jail.

A picture of [name withheld], 31, holding a beer on the other side of the Delaware River revealed that he broke three rules of his parole: no Facebook, no leaving the state without permission and no alcohol. [name withheld] was sentenced in June for violating the conditions of a community supervision for a life sentence imposed for a 2001 sexual assault conviction, according to court documents.

Social network requirements in New Jersey, for the most part, stop there, but some lawmakers are seeking to expand restrictions to other offenders. Assemblywoman Donna Simon, D-Hunterdon, announced earlier this month plans to propose an identical version of Louisiana's recently passed law that requires Megan's Law offenders to identify themselves as such in their social networking profiles. Simon said the law would serve as an additional protection against offenders veiling their identity to prey on children.
- Well, not all ex-sex offender "prey or children," like this idiot and most other politicians who do not have the balls to stand up for what they believe in, and stick to their oaths, but who just go along with the crowd, seem to think. When are you "protectors of children" going to also put all other criminals, who have harmed children, onto a public registry so we can "protect" our children? Like drug dealers, gang members, murderers, DUI offenders, abusive parents, bullies, etc? Where is the registry for them? Hell, why not just one registry for all sinners, including yourselves? You do that, and I'll vote for it!

"Anybody who's ever watched, 'To Catch a Predator' knows they don't come to the door anymore," she said.
- So, neither do drug dealers who sell your kids meth that kills them, stores that sell them alcohol, or gang members who initiate them into a gang where they wind up dead. But they are not on an online public hit-list. Why not? Fair is fair, right?

The question of a sex offender's right to social networking sites has saturated national discussion in the past few months. The Supreme Court recently upheld an Indiana law banning registered offenders from the sites entirely, and Louisiana's law went live Aug.1. State laws tread in varying degrees of prohibition, which is changing as lawmakers address social networks as tools of supervision.
- Just because one state violates the Constitutional rights of others, doesn't mean other states have to follow the corruption!

In New Jersey, lifelong parole is imposed on offenders convicted of aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and kidnapping. A ban on social networks or the Internet as a whole is sometimes a condition of probation but is rarely applied in Warren County, said Assistant Chief Probation Officer Brenda Beacham. It's a special condition considered in cases where a computer was used to commit the crime, she said.

The sites can also be useful tools for probation officers to monitor those in their care.
- That is called spying, which is illegal without a warrant, even for someone who is on probation or parole, or it was at one time, now, since the Constitution isn't worth the paper and ink it's written with, anything is possible!

"There are times when it is helpful because you can see something that you can talk to them about," she said.

However, checking sites like Facebook and Twitter isn't, at this point, a major component of an officer's job, she said.

A Web search by officials led to the discovery of [name withheld]'s violations. He was granted 99 days in jail credit, to be applied to his six-month sentence.

[name withheld] called the actions leading up to the sentence "foolish." His attorney, John McGuigan, said at the time that his client had started "the process of turning things around."
Facebook and other social networking sites often extend beyond the screen, sometimes permeating professional spheres. Simon said the impact of a person listing "sex offender" in his status is a consideration but ultimately one that is overshadowed by the person's actions.
- It's basically putting a bulls-eye on them, opening them up for harassment, or worse.

"The way I look at it, and the way parents look at it, is 'I guess they should have considered that before they committed such a heinous act against a child,'" she said.
- Does anybody ever consider all the insane laws they might have to be forced to obey if found guilty? And what are you saying exactly, that just because someone committed a crime, you can do whatever you want and increase the punishment anytime you wish? Sure sounds like that to me. Oh and again, not all ex-sex offenders have harmed children, so stop making it appear as if all ex-sex offenders are child molesting, pedophile predators just so it hits a nerve and the sheeple will pass your draconian law, which in the long run, will help eradicate their rights as well.

If passed in New Jersey, Simon's law would require offenders to identify themselves beyond the online presence currently provided by the state. The state police Megan's Law online registry lists those ruled by the court to be at a high to moderate risk of re-offending. The Pennsylvania State Police registry isn't all-encompassing either but only specifically excludes offenders who are currently incarcerated.

Simon said that because the potential for deceit is boundless on the Internet, requirements for publicizing the offender's Internet identity should exceed the notification provided by authorities.
"There's really no neighborhood standards on the Internet," she said
- And no law will prevent someone who is intent on harming someone from doing so. All they have to do is create a new email in a matter of minutes, create a new Facebook or other profile, and go about committing their crime, so it's nothing more than smoke and mirrors to make you feel safe while doing nothing except helping a politician look good to the sheeple who cannot see their nonsense.

Pennsylvania's approach to social networks has evolved in the past decade. Like New Jersey probation, crimes that employed a computer are more likely to call for an Internet or social network ban.

The state's parole board, however, applies the condition on a case-by-case basis. Board spokesman Leo Dunn credited the changing role of technology.

"Because the Internet is so much a part of getting a job and living, we don't do a blanket prohibition anymore," said Leo Dunn, board spokesman.

Dunn recalled a time when a drug-related offense meant a confiscated cellphone. Policies have changed gradually in the past eight years, he said.

"Society's changed so much," he said. "Can you imagine not having a cellphone?"
- Society hasn't changed that much, the amount of government BS has!