Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WI - Assembly majority leader (Scott Suder) hopes CA court tosses Halloween sex offender suit

Original Article

10/17/2012

MADISON (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Assembly’s majority leader hopes the courts will throw out a lawsuit in California that seeks to let sex offenders take part in Halloween.

A reform group filed the lawsuit. It claims that local ordinances in the Golden State deprive sex offenders of free speech rights, as well as their right to celebrate the holiday.

In Wisconsin, the Corrections’ Department prohibits sex convicts from taking part in all Halloween activities. That includes trick or treating, handing out candy, putting up decorations, and wearing costumes.

Scott Suder
Assembly Republican Scott Suder of Abbotsford says any effort to change that policy will be, “dead on arrival.”
- Why is someone from Wisconsin worried about a law suit in California?

Some people argue that criminals who’ve served their sentences have paid their debts to society – but Suder says it’s more important that kids be protected. He tells the Wisconsin Radio Network, “We should have zero tolerance for sex offenders when it comes to them going out and trick or treating, or people go their house … The fact is, it’s too dangerous.”
- Well actually it's not "dangerous," if you review the facts.  Name one child, besides the one mentioned below, who has been harmed by a known sex offender on Halloween.  Just one!

The law also affects violators’ families – and Suder said that maybe the offenders should apologize to their families.

In the past, the state approved bills from Suder that requires minimum sentences of 25 years to life for first-time child sex offenders – and GPS monitoring of sex convicts. Suder also says he’ll keep working on laws that make Wisconsin a, “absolute nightmare” for sex criminals.

See Also:

Our Comments:
The fact is, not a single child has ever been sexually abused or killed on Halloween by a known or unknown sex offender (except one in 1973). This is nothing more than a moral panic (like the poisoned candy scare) not based on facts but emotions and perceived danger, which doesn't exist. Oh, and an issues that is exploited over and over by politicians who are looking for brownie points for the sheeple, or to help him/her get re-elected or to pad his/her resume for the future.

It doesn't protect children. They are more at risk of being killed by a vehicle, or cutting their hands carving a pumpkin, than being sexually abused by someone.



Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)


LA - Former DOC officer (Aaron J. Jewell) pleads to sex crime, won't have to be on the sex offender registry, gets no jail time?

Original Article

10/16/2012

A Pineville resident and former state Department of Corrections officer pleaded to a lesser sex crime charge Tuesday morning and avoided a trial.

Aaron J. Jewell, a former Probation and Parole employee, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Pleading to the misdemeanor means Jewell is not required to register as a sex offender.

Judge Patricia Koch sentenced Jewell, 36, to six months in jail, then the judge suspended the sentence. He was placed on six months unsupervised probation, and ordered to stay away from bars, alcohol and illegal drugs. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney W.T. Armitage. Jewell's attorney was Tiffany Sanders.


JAMAICA - Sex-offender registry an overreach

Original Article

10/17/2012

By Maurice Tomlinson

Below is an open letter to Justice Minister Mark Golding.

I write to urge reconsideration of the proposed sex-offender registry in Jamaica. In the words of Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, "In a country as small and retributive as Jamaica, a sex offender registry can be the same as a vigilante directory. And women and children will still be sexually abused if we continue to focus on punishment rather than prevention."

Honourable Minister, as an attorney, I am sure you are aware that such a registry, even if private, violates a central legal tenet, which is that once an individual has paid for a crime, he should no longer continue to face sanctions.

A sex offender registry will expose a released sex offender to potential violations of his right to privacy. In Jamaica's small, close-knit society, which is highly motivated by vigilante justice (as seen from recent incidents surrounding alleged sexual offenders in western Jamaica), it is illogical to assume that the data on the registry will NOT be leaked to citizens. This will have disastrous consequences for alleged offenders AND their families.

I need not remind you of the recent incident in Zion, Trelawny, where an innocent heterosexual man was hacked to death, his home firebombed and his daughter savagely chopped up because a young gay relative (who had, in fact, left the community four months prior) was accused of sodomising and drowning two youngsters. The pathologist's report found no evidence of sodomy; however, this young man and his mother are now on the run for their lives.

The registry would also violate the principle of equality before the law, as there is no registry for even more egregious crimes, such as murder.

Further, if the registry is private, it will serve the same purpose of a police report, and is, therefore, unnecessary. Most employers in sensitive industries, such as childcare, already require police reports, which would capture the sort of information in a sex-offender registry.

Not by strangers

Finally, the registry will be futile, as evidence proves that most sexual offences are committed by close relatives and friends, and not complete strangers moving into the community.

There are many other arguments against a sex-offender registry, as found in the link below to a report on the subject produced by Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/09/11/no-easy-answers-0

I would, therefore, urge that instead of the Band-Aid approach being pursued in setting up a registry (giving the public a false sense of security that something is being done to address the horrendous cases of sexual abuse in Jamaica), rather serious consideration be given to the following recommendations proposed by Mrs McCalla-Sobers to prevent the sexual abuse of women and children:

  1. Identifying the rape 'hot spots' (such as unlit streets and uncleared lots) and putting protective measures in place.
  2. Identifying women and children who are vulnerable to rape and putting protective measures in place for them.
  3. Studying those convicted of sex crimes, to identify what steps need to be taken to help youth to be socially responsible.
  4. Educating parents, teachers, and the general public so they can recognise signs that a child is being sexually molested.
  5. Providing help and support for sexually abused children and their families.
  6. Educating children, parents, and the general public on sex and sexuality, and on appropriate and inappropriate touches.
  7. Providing safe spaces where children and youth can be supervised out of school by caring and responsible adults.
  8. Providing resources for trauma and grief counselling for rape survivors: boys and girls, men and women.
  9. Implementing laws and international conventions to protect the rights of women and children.
  10. Enabling the public to understand their contribution to justice as jurors and witnesses.
  11. Ensuring the rights of victims and witnesses are protected before, during, and after trial.
  12. Providing the police with the resources they need to enable speedy and effective collection of evidence.
  13. Ensuring prosecutors have time and resources to provide the courts with evidence that can lead to conviction.
  14. Organising court space, time, and personnel so trials can be prompt.
  15. Ensuring that lockups and prisons return males to society rehabilitated rather than enraged and further damaged.

Maurice Tomlinson is legal adviser, Marginalized Groups, AIDS-Free World. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.


AUSTRALIA - Dangerous sex offenders to wear GPS trackers - under tough new laws

Original Article

10/17/2012

By Phil Hickey

Dangerous WA sex offenders will face mandatory jail terms if they interfere with their high tech GPS tracking devices under proposed new laws to be introduced to State Parliament today.

The Dangerous Sexual Offenders Amendment Bill 2012 will also make electronic monitoring a compulsory condition as part of a dangerous sex offender’s release.

New state of the art GPS tracking devices will be rolled out as part of the proposed changes.

Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper said the changes will provide an "additional tool" in the protection of the community from serious and repeat sex offenders.

A dedicated Department of Corrective Services staff member, to be based at the Midland Police Operations Centre, will monitor all sex offenders with the tracking devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week, under the new laws.

Mr Cowper said the changes would work well alongside the online WA sex offender register, which went live this week.

This is another compliment to that notion that this government is serious about protecting our community,” he said.

The Bill ensures those offenders can be monitored, in real-time 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

While that does not mean they are under constant visual surveillance it does mean there is the capacity to know where they are at any given point in time.”

Mr Cowper said the rollout of the new electronic monitoring devices will also apply to the 18 dangerous sex offenders who have already been released into the community and are currently on supervision orders in WA.

He said the State Government had put out a tender for various GPS tracking devices, adding they should not hinder an offender's rehabilitation in any way.

The devices are somewhat inconspicuous and there is no reason to believe it will cause them any problems,” he said.

Funding to the tune of $6 million has been set aside in the State budget for the proposed changes.

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AUSTRALIA - Isolating sex offenders doesn't make us safer

Original Article

10/17/2012

By Greg Barns

Ostracism and fear of violence only makes registered sex offenders more likely to reoffend, writes Greg Barns.

Sex offenders are a political hot button and the Western Australian Liberal Government of Colin Barnett pressed it this week when it launched the first Australian register of sex offenders that allows people to seek photos and address details of offenders.

This is an undesirable precedent; it will not reduce sex offending rates, but instead lead to vigilantism, violence and insecurity within communities.

The Western Australian experiment consists of a website which shows photos and last known addresses of repeat sex offenders whom the authorities can no longer locate. The site also allows members of the community to request photos of sex offenders they think are living in their area, and for parents to inquire whether a person who has unsupervised access to their child is on the register.

Until now, Australian governments, despite lobbying from some in the media and among victims groups, have resisted the establishment for US-style sex offender registers which allow the public to find out where offenders are living. There is a good reason for doing so, and that is because the US experience has shown that this type of register is counterproductive.

In Washington State, one of the first US jurisdictions to introduce a public sex offender registry, there have been two men go to jail for vigilante killings of individuals on the register in the past decade, including as recently as June this year.

Vigilantism and harassment of sex offenders in the US is commonplace since the introduction of public registers in 1990. In Virginia last year, a man was charged after trying to run over a person on that state's register. In Massachusetts last year, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the house where a registered sex offender lived. There are also numerous cases of registered sex offenders having their homes and front lawns graffitied by nearby residents who want the world to know that a convicted sex offender lives there.

Mr Barnett and his government will no doubt argue that unlike most of the US registers, which are open to all members of the public, in Western Australia, access will be on a needs to know basis and this will reduce the chances of violence and vigilantism.

Such a claim is simply wrong. There would be nothing stopping a person getting information about a registered sex offender living in their area passing on that information to all and sundry.

We ought to go back a step here and ask ourselves why it is that we have sex offender registers, but not registers for people who commit burglaries or assaults. One rejoinder is that sex offenders, particularly those who commit crimes against children, cannot be rehabilitated as easily as the individual who has a drug habit and commits crime to feed that habit.
- Which is false of course.

The nature of sex offending, it could be argued, means that the public has a right to know if such an individual is living in their neighbourhood, and that the rights of sex offenders to live their lives peacefully and without being harassed is secondary to the rights of parents with young children.

While there is a superficial attractiveness about this argument, it ignores the fact that sex offenders, including child sex offenders, are less likely to reoffend if the environment in which they live in the community is a supportive one.

A recently published paper by Heather Cucolo and Michael Perlin from the New York Law School has concluded that, "Only through therapeutic jurisprudence, a focus on rehabilitation, and a dedication to authentically treating individuals who have committed sexual offenses with humanity, will it be possible to reduce recidivism and foster successful community reintegration."

This is not a controversial finding. As a lawyer who has worked with child and adult sex offenders over the past decade, it is self-evident that if the environment in which offenders live outside of jail is one where they are welcomed, not ostracised, and supported, not shunned, then the risk of recidivism is much reduced.

It is stress, born of isolation and fear of violence, which increases the risk for would-be victims of sex offences.

The right of children and their families to be protected from sex offending is undermined by WA-style sex offender registers because of their negative impact on offenders and the communities in which they live.

Allowing the public to have details of where sex offenders live is simply a recipe for violence and hatred. This is the American experience.

Why is the Barnett Government inflicting this failed policy tool on Western Australians? To garner support ahead of a forthcoming state election seems to be the only answer given that there is little or no empirical support for their venture.

Greg Barns is a barrister and Criminal Law Spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance. View his full profile here.

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Animals are increasingly committing serious crimes. We need a Dangerous Dog registry!

 


MO - Ridgeway Murder Shows Problems with Sex Offender Tracking Laws

Original Article

No amount of laws, nor an online registry will ever prevent crimes like this.

And they are saying that this is why there are problems with the Missouri sex offender laws, when the crime occurred in Colorado? Come on, it has not been proven, yet, that the person(s) who killed this child are sex offenders, or even if sexual abuse was part of the crime, yet they are using this case as means to justify passing more unconstitutional laws? The police do not know who did this. Talk about knee-jerk reactions! This is a murder, not a sex crime, at least not yet, so stop jumping to conclusions!


10/16/2012

By John Pepitone (Facebook) and Jason M. Vaughn

PLATTE CITY - The murder of 10-year-old Colorado girl Jessica Ridgeway has focused new attention on a federal law that requires states to register and track sex offenders, but which nearly three-dozen states have failed to join.

The 6-year-old federal law was supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to track sex offenders across the nation. But only 10 states currently meet the federal standards. Both Kansas and Missouri are on that short list of states currently complying with federal law.

But in Missouri, some lawmakers have said obeying the federal rules are too expensive and onerous.

I think what a lot of states have done is chosen to say, ‘Look, we’re going to follow our own laws and we’re not going to worry too much about what the federal government has said,’” said Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd.
- It's bribery, and laws based on emotions and not facts!

Jackson County Sheriff deputies went door-to-door earlier this year checking to make sure the addresses listed by registered sex offenders were accurate. It’s a manpower-intensive operation that required the sheriff to ask other police agencies to help out, removing officers from other duties. It’s an example of why some say federal sex offender requirements are too costly.

At the end of the day I think what folks need to know and be assured of is that we have the right people on the sex offender registry,” said Zahnd. “And that law enforcement is tracking those folks and making sure they are registered.”
- The people need to stop buying into the hysteria spread by the media (like this story), and others who run businesses to make money using fear.  And I doubt everyone on the registry are "the right people!"

Some lawmakers in Missouri say because of federal requirements, the state sex offender list has swelled to more than 12,000 names. Those who want to break away from the federal system say there may be hundreds who do not deserve to be on the list and can’t get jobs as a result.
- I'm willing to bet it's more than hundreds.

In Kansas, there also has been talk of backing out of the federal sex offender system. But in Johnson County, the sheriff’s department says it’s committed to continuing to track sex offenders.

The only thing I can really speak to is how important it is for us,” said Deputy Tom Erickson of the Johnson County Sheriff’s office. “And we’ve taken that stance for many, many years that it’s very important for us to let our neighbors know what’s happening in their neighborhood. That duty wholly relies on us. We take it very serious.”
- If that is indeed true, then where is the online registry for all the other criminals who put everyone in danger?

Missouri has already removed so-called Romeo-and-Juliet cases from the sex offender registry. Zahnd says those who had inappropriate sexual relationships as teens probably don’t pose a risk to society.
- And a vast majority of those on the registry also do not pose any further risk, based on facts.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s department says it already is planning another big sex offender sweep at the end of the month, on Halloween.
- Not a single child has ever been harmed by a known or unknown sex offender on Halloween.  It's just another moral panic like the old poisoned candy scare.

See Also:


Video Link


NY - Niagara County seeks tougher sex offender law

Original Article

10/16/2012

By Thomas Prohaska

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Legislature voted Tuesday to urge the state to pass a tougher sex offender buffer zone law instead of repealing the county’s existing law.

The Legislature passed a resolution introduced by its three Democrats calling on the Assembly and Senate to pass a law barring sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of a school, park, playground or other place where large numbers of children gather.

The resolution was brought forward in the wake of the refusal of Legislature leaders to allow a repeal of the county’s existing 1,000-foot buffer zone law to come to a vote Oct. 2.

County Attorney Claude A. Joerg had recommended the repeal in the face of a rash of court rulings statewide that invalidated numerous local buffer zone laws because they were stricter than the state’s law.

We have postponed the repeal,” said Legislator Paul B. Wojtaszek, R-North Tonawanda, who had introduced Joerg’s recommendation as a resolution at the previous meeting.

The state currently bars Level 3 sex offenders who are on probation or parole from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other place where children gather. The county passed a law in 2008 applying the 1,000-foot rule to Level 2 and Level 3 offenders whose parole or probation terms had expired.

The resolution from Niagara Falls Democrats Dennis F. Virtuoso, Owen T. Steed and Jason A. Zona calls for the state to change its law to match that already in effect in the City of Niagara Falls, whose law so far has not been challenged in court.

The City of Lockport repealed its buffer zone law in August. The City of North Tonawanda’s quarter-mile buffer zone law is currently facing a court challenge. Newfane’s 2,000-foot law was thrown out by County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III earlier this year.

Wojtaszek said the State Senate had five bills in its hopper this year, four of them sponsored by State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, to impose more restrictions on sex offenders, but none of them passed.

Wojtaszek said the state also should be asked to apply its law to all sex offenders whose parole, post-release supervision or probation had expired. Virtuoso agreed, and Wojtaszek’s suggestion was adopted.