Monday, November 12, 2012

RSOL creates legal fund

Original Article

In response to the recent murders of Gary Blanton and Jerry Ray (Video), and the overwhelming outcry from you, RSOL has created a legal fund. The leadership of RSOL considers this situation to be a crisis and that we cannot wait any longer for other organizations to step forward and save us.

We listen to you, and the message we consistently hear from all across the country is: “I’m just one person. What can I do?” Individually there isn’t a great deal you can do, but if we pool our resources, we can be powerful. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are more than 700,000 persons listed on sex offender registries nationwide. If only 10% of the total RSO population were to make a one-time donation of $5.00, we would have $350,000.00 for this legal fund.

A fund in that amount would provide RSOL the flexibility to support litigation efforts already underway or to selectively initiate new challenges against the various registration statutes around the country. Many have suggested that a lawsuit against Washington State should be initiated. Due to the number of deaths that have occurred there at the hands of vigilantes, that idea certainly has merit. However, the selection and prioritization process will involve input from both legal professionals and state affiliates with priority given to litigation that would provide benefit to the greatest number of registrants.

RSOL’s Executive Director Brenda Jones points out that this is hardly the first incident where a person’s name being listed on Washington's sex offender registry has led to his death. In 2005, two men on that registry were shot and killed in Bellingham by a vigilante who gained access to their home by posing as a law enforcement officer. Authorities investigating that shooting called it “one of the nation's most serious cases of vigilantism aimed at sex offenders.” (Seattle Times, August 30, 2005)

At that time, Washington State expressed concern, but what has the state done in the intervening years to prevent this from happening again? More importantly, what will they do now that two more registrants have been murdered at the hands of a vigilante using the sex offender registry as a tool? Gary Blanton's recent murder in Washington State left his young wife Leslie (Video) alone to raise their sons Gary, Jr. and Skylar, both under the age of three. The murder of Jerry Ray left his aging father alone with no assistance. News accounts have come in from as far as Maine showing that murders and other acts of vigilantism against registrants have occurred and are increasing. ***

In a recent court hearing, self-proclaimed vigilante Patrick Drum (Video) told investigators that he “planned to keep killing sex offenders until he was stopped.”

People on the registry are citizens, too,” Jones says. “The majority have completed serving their sentences. Their children, like Skylar and Gary Jr., are entitled to the same protection as any other citizen. They certainly do not deserve to have their parents marked as helpless targets for vigilantes.”

Please make your one-time donation to the legal fund now. If you want to support RSOL’s ongoing work, consider making a $5.00 monthly donation. Together we can make a difference.

Again, please understand that any legal case RSOL undertakes must deal with registration itself and potentially impact a significant number of similarly situated persons. With its limited resources, RSOL cannot undertake any case where an individual simply wishes to challenge his/her conviction.

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OH - Convicted dealers featured on Web

Bradford W. Bailey
Original Article

This is another prime example of why criminal records should be offline, because people will exploit those records for their own benefit. Pretty soon, everybody will be on some form of registry, and people will continue to make money from those records, until enough people and the so called "organizations" out there who claim to fight for our rights, start actually doing so.

11/11/2012

By Holly Zachariah

KENTON - The faces of the drug dealers go scrolling by with the click of a mouse.

There’s a girl with a nose ring as big as a quarter, dudes with neck tattoos, an old man in glasses, and moms with frosted-tip hair. There’s even a father-son duo.

Some sold marijuana in front of a school; others trafficked heroin from their homes. One cooked meth in his kitchen.

Their stories differ, but the 192 faces on the website of Hardin County Prosecutor Bradford Bailey have one thing in common: Each sold drugs, and each has been convicted of a felony because of it.

Bailey said people should know who these dealers are. He compiles his drug-trafficking cases and posts them on his website for anyone to see.

Would you not want to know if somebody’s a drug dealer? Would you not want to know if you were about to hire them, or they move in next door to you, or they starting hanging out with your teenage kids?” he asked. “You don’t want to be the one saying, ‘If only I had known ...’  
- Then drug users know where to go to get their next fix, and I wonder what kind of skeletons are in this prosecutors closet?

Although Bailey has been publishing the list since soon after he took office in 2005, only now is it gaining much attention. Several defense attorneys said they didn’t know it existed until local radio station WKTN recently posted an online link.

John Murphy, the executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, didn’t know, either. He said he’s unaware of any other prosecutors doing anything similar, but he likes it: “ Sounds like a great idea, if you ask me. It’s all a matter of public record anyway.”

Bailey likened his list to the sex-offender registry and said he sees it as both a public service and a crime-prevention tool.

If (dealers) are selling, they are also using, and if they are using, then they’re probably out there breaking into your garages and homes,” he said.Some people see that another way. The characteristics of each case are different, and so, too, is each defendant, said Barry Wilford, a Columbus lawyer and public-policy director for the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.“ This policy makes no attempt to sort out those offenders who may actually pose a threat to the community from those who do not,” Wilford said. “It seems incongruent to accept that an offender for whom the court imposed a term of probation constituted a threat to the public.”He said the list seems, at best, bent on public shaming, and he likened it to modern-day wearing of a scarlet letter. Bailey, though, said he has heard few objections, except from the relatives or friends of a few people on the list saying that the convicts had turned their lives around.
- This is a myth, as usual.  Just because someone might be selling drugs, doesn't mean they are also using and committing other crimes.


AUSTRALIA - GPS plan to track arsonists

Original Article

Like we've said many times, the sex offender registry is just the "test bed" for eradicating people's rights and putting them on an online shaming list, more registries will follow, and this is yet another example, but, if an online shaming hit-list is okay for one group, then to be fair, it should be done to all criminals.

11/11/2012

By Farrah Tomazin

Convicted arsonists will be monitored using GPS tracking devices for the first time in Australia under a state government push to crack down on firebugs.

Legislation will be drafted early next year, allowing courts to order post-release monitoring for people caught deliberately lighting dangerous fires - a provision that is restricted to serious sex offenders.

This would mean that, once the system is operating, an offender released from jail would be fitted with an electronic monitoring device, alerting authorities if they get close to a designated exclusion zone, such as a forest or national park.

But despite months of planning and trials, the government admits the system won't be ready for this fire season, because it is still attempting to appoint a company to develop the technology required to track offenders over large distances.

The government says there are about five offenders in the Victorian corrections system who could be subject to electronic monitoring in future.

But as the state prepares for another hot summer, some are questioning why the project - which was put out to tender months ago - is taking so long.

Some experts have also questioned the policy, warning that the number of arsonists who are actually caught represents a very small proportion of people who deliberately light fires.

''They may as well be playing darts in the dark,'' said Paul Read, a research fellow at Monash University's Sustainability Institute. ''It's a very bold and brave precedent, but if they're serious about it, they should trial it first to find how much impact the policy would have.'' Figures from the Sentencing Advisory Council show that between 2005 and 2010, 140 people were sentenced for arson in Victoria, of which 56 went to jail.


Introducing USA FAIR

Visit the web site | Facebook

Today we begin an important journey. I hope you will join us.

We are USA FAIR, Inc., which stands for USA Families Advocating an Intelligent Registry. We have been founded by loving parents and partners of people required to register.

USA FAIR will not duplicate the fine work of the many state organizations working to reform sex offender laws. Our focus will be on the national news media and our number one goal is to expose the myth of high sex offender recidivism - the foundational falsehood that has been used to justify the one-size-fits-all registry.

The research and facts are on our side. What has been missing is our place at the table. So we plan to show up and have our voices heard.

We will tell the success stories of the vast majority of registrants who are leading law-abiding lives as good citizens and providers for their families. We witness this every day – as we have witnessed how the registry has caused devastating harm to the families of registrants – the hidden victims of these laws. We’ll tell those stories too.

And one more thing… we will no longer sit silently by as our loved ones are painted with the broad brush of the worst offenders and defamed as being “predators” or “monsters.”

It’s time to end the “hate speech” against law-abiding former offenders.

We at USA FAIR are willing to take the risks of putting ourselves out there publicly – but quite frankly we need to know that you have our backs!

Please explore our site… see what we’re about… and then sign up and make a donation, because we can’t do this without your financial support.

We start working for you today. Are you with us?

Shana Rowan

Executive Director


NEW ZEALAND - Govt aims for 2014 sex offender register

Anne Tolley
Original Article

11/12/2012

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley is off to Britain to discuss how a register of sex offenders would work, hopeful one could be established here before the next election.

The Government first signalled it was looking at such a register back in April, after a convicted child sex offender was found to have worked in several schools.

Over the weekend, Mrs Tolley told TV3's The Nation she will take a proposal to cabinet next year, and is hopeful it will be in place by 2014.

Following her recent visit to Europe, Mrs Tolley said she found Britain's system of managing violent and sexual offenders "very strong".

"What made me have a look at it in New Zealand was the fact that ... at the end of their sentence, [offenders] disappear off into our communities and we really lose track of them."

Mrs Tolley says setting up a register is a "big piece of work", because it involves looking at the entire Corrections regime, but "it's the right thing to do".

"I know there's huge community concern that these people are living out in our communities and we don't know where they are."

The proposed register would be accessible only to government departments, who would be able to monitor where offers are and "any major changes in their life that may trigger more offending".

"It is a long term management regime for these really very difficult people who cause considerable grief to members of our community. This keeps track of them, this keeps a management regime in place for as long as you need to."

However, some offenders may still be able to get around the register, such as [name withheld], 40, who earlier this year admitted using a false CV and birth certificate to get work in six schools, despite a conviction for indecently assaulting a 14-year-old.

He was arrested for breaching an extended supervision order after a person recognised him driving a van-load of children and admitted to using a friend's identity to gain work.

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TX - The San Antonio Four Show the Injustice of Sex Abuse Witch-hunts

Original Article

11/12/2012

By Harvey Silverglate

Americans of a certain age will remember the day-care sex abuse hysteria that swept the nation during the 1980s and early 1990s. It began with bizarre allegations in California that children were being sexually abused and tortured by day-care workers in Satanic rituals. The hysteria resulted in a rash of trials, including the McMartin Preschool trial, several prosecutions in California and Florida, and the infamous Fells Acres/Amirault and Bernard Baran cases in Massachusetts, in both of which co-author Harvey Silverglate served as co-counsel. Over the years, new evidence has emerged that the alleged abuse was planted in the young accusers’ minds by terrified parents, unprofessional social workers and often-corrupt prosecutors. All but a few of the accused have been exonerated or had their verdicts overturned in post-conviction legal proceedings. Even the mainstream press, early cheerleaders for the witch-hunts, has finally come around to realizing the enormity of the injustice. Dorothy Rabinowitz, the leading Fourth Estate investigative columnist who showed that the prosecutorial emperor had no clothes, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 in large part for her work in exposing the fraud of these prosecutions.

Not every case involved day care centers. There were many lesser-known accusations of sexual and ritual abuse of young children that resulted in unjust convictions, many of which remain uncorrected today. Among those still in prison are Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vasquez and Cassandra Rivera, who have come to be known as the “San Antonio Four.” Accused in 1994 of repeatedly raping Ramirez’s two nieces, then 7 and 9 years old, when the girls spent the week at Ramirez’s apartment, Mayhugh, Vasquez and Rivera are twelve years into a 15-year sentence. Ramirez was accused of being the ringleader, so she received 37 ½ years. All four of the women refused pretrial plea deals that would have greatly reduced their sentences, three have passed polygraph tests on their claims of innocence, and three have refused parole offers conditioned on an admission of guilt and completion of a “rehabilitation” course for sex offenders. (It is one of the ironies of this area of criminal law that many innocent convicts remain in prison precisely because their consciences do not allow them to engage in the ritual mea culpa demanded by parole boards before release can even be contemplated.)

Now, almost twenty years after the accusations, there are signs of progress in this case long thought to be closed. On November 2nd, Anna Vasquez was released on parole—likely because the parole board came to trust the veracity of a polygraph she submitted to them attesting to her innocence. In September, one of the accusers recanted, saying she now seems to recall a quiet, even boring, weekend with her aunt, her sister and her aunt’s friends. She has vowed to do everything in her power to help exonerate the four women still imprisoned as a result of her earlier false accusations.

The injustices of this case are glaring, and the whole sordid situation bears remarkable similarities to other now-disproven crimes.

Like numerous other cases, the girls’ stories changed each time they told them to investigators. There were two trials, one for Ramirez and one for her three friends, and both of the girls told different stories at each trial. One of the girls said she had two guns held to her head while talking on the phone to her parents so that she wouldn’t ask them for help. At the next trial, she testified that there was only one gun. Her sister testified that there was no gun, only verbal threats, until a prosecutor suggestively asked her about weapons. A police search of Ramirez’s apartment did not find any guns, nor was there any record of her ever having owned one. Indeed, police found absolutely no physical evidence to corroborate any of the girls’ claims about weapons, nor anything else.



When accused sex-criminals are exonerated, the media too often goes silent

Original Article

11/12/2012

By Jonathan Kay

Last month, The New York Times ran a headline that sums up the frustration of those who are victimized by trumped up criminal charges: “An arrest in the news, an exoneration in silence.”

The article focused on [name withheld], a Brooklyn man who was accused of killing a 52-year-old man named [name withheld] in a botched 2006 armed robbery. Four months after his arrest, the charges were dismissed. Prosecutors admitted that [name withheld] had a solid alibi.

Yet on Google, [name withheld] remains a killer. Or at least he did until the Times’ “Crime Scene” correspondent, Michael Wilson, published the above-described article on October 19. The story leapfrogged straight to the top of the search results — which formerly were dominated by headlines such as “Man Charged in Killing After Brooklyn Robbery.”

[name withheld] was one of the lucky ones: Thanks to a random meeting with a Times photographer, a prominent columnist ended up publishing an article setting the record straight. But in the vast majority of cases, that never happens. Unless you’re someone on the scale of Lord McAlpine — the retired British politician falsely accused of pedophilic crimes in recent weeks — there’s no systematic way to clear one’s name on the Internet, or even in the same mass media outlets that originally aired the accusations against you.

Try getting a job when the first Google hit that lands on your name tells the world you’re a criminal — even if you’re not. It’s kafkaesque.

Why was an article about [name withheld]'s exoneration never written [before Oct. 19]?” Wilson asks. “Pick a reason. There is no indication it was announced by the prosecution or the police, and neither Mr. [name withheld] nor his family or lawyer called reporters with the news. The homicide was not the sort of high-profile case that led newspapers to routinely update its status. It went unnoticed.”

This is a problem I’ve been thinking about since June, when I published a column detailing the experiences of those falsely accused of sex crimes. As I noted at the time, “police have a vested interest in making arrests, laying charges, and putting out press releases — even in weak cases that just ruin lives and clog up the courts.”

We lazy journalists often act as unwitting collaborators in this cruel drama. In our reporting, we will cite police accusations when an alleged criminal is arrested — and then ignore the story thereafter, even when the original accusations are shown to be bogus.

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