Friday, December 14, 2012

TX - Sex Offender Polygraph Policy Changes

Original Article

12/13/2012

By Stephanie Ando

Brazos County adult probation officers have made a significant change in how they monitor sex offenders. They're now requiring multiple lie detector tests every year from these offenders on parole.

In the past, we were probably doing them closer to a year apart. After going to some training recently and reviewing the current literature, it recommended 6 months, so that's what we've changed,” said Director of the Adult Probation Office in Brazos County.

Sexual predators are required to follow certain rules in order to live in the community. In Brazos County, that includes registering, getting treatment, and taking polygraph tests.

There are about 50 sexual predators here in Brazos County. Officials say they vast majority are required to take polygraph tests as part of their probation.

We're trying to determine if they have been violating the condition of probation by engaging in behaviors, or looking at pornography, or doing something they shouldn't be doing based on the conditions of their offense,” said McGuire

{John McGuire/Brazos County Adult Probation Director} We're doing the best that we can to protect the general public from sexual predators.

A polygraph test is usually costs $300-$600.
- So this would be $600 or $1,200 dollars per year, per person.  What if they do not have a job or home due to the unconstitutional jobs preventing them from getting a job or home?

The defendants are required to pay for it. If someone is indigent then we will find the money to pay for it. That's not going to prevent us from following court orders,” said McGuire.
- Yeah, tax payers are paying for it.  And polygraphs are not admissible in court, but they can violate someone for their junk science?

The end result could be jail time if a sex offender fails the test and officials learn they've violated the terms of their probation. But the end goal is to keep parks like this safe for children in our community.
- So you see, they cannot admit the results into court, but they can throw you in prison for hocus pocus?



WA - Washington abandons Internet sex trafficking bill following federal court ruling

Original Article

12/10/2012

By Brandon Gatto

The US District Court for the Western District of Washington on Thursday ruled (PDF) that the state's most comprehensive underage sex trafficking law is unconstitutional, prompting legislators to drop their defense of the law. In particular, Judge Ricardo Martinez found that Senate Bill 6251, which required Washington Internet websites to document that advertised escorts were at least 18 years of age, violates several provisions of both the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. Since then, the state has seemingly accepted that the bill's language went too far in criminalizing the dissemination of advertisements with "an explicit or implicit offer for a commercial sex act to occur in Washington." In addition to violating free speech, being unconstitutionally vague, being overly broad, and violating the Commerce Clause, Martinez also found that the law violates and is preempted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which declares that Internet service operators are not to be construed as publishers, and are thus not legally liable for third-party speech used via their services. The state was consequently ordered to pay $200,000 in attorney's fees to plaintiffs Backpage.com, LLC and The Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library.

Senate Bill 6251's intention was to prohibit anyone from "advertising [the] commercial sexual abuse of a minor if he or she knowingly publishes, disseminates, or displays, or causes directly or indirectly, to be published, disseminated, or displayed, any advertisement for a commercial sex act." Though the goal is commendable, its language has been received with skepticism by the courts. In July Martinez granted a preliminary injunction (PDF) for the plaintiffs in an opinion that foreshadowed the law's ultimate invalidation. Backpage.com initially filed the lawsuit (PDF) in June.


IL - Teens confess to crimes they didn't commit

Original Article

12/07/2012

The Chicago Police Department is now the subject of a federal Justice Department investigation into its interrogation practices in at least one case that dates back more than 25 years, 60 Minutes has learned. The case involves juveniles who were as young as 14 years old. Now, after serving lengthy jail times, they tell Byron Pitts they were picked up on the streets, isolated from their parents and in some cases held for days by the police, who they say forced false confessions from them under harsh interrogations. Pitts' report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.

"Everything in that confession was fed to us, and myself and my co-defendants by the police," [name withheld] tells Pitts. He signed a 21-page confession in 1994 admitting to a murder and rape of a 30-year-old prostitute that resulted in a 30-year sentence.

"You are being cuffed up and beat on by the police...they can get you to do what they want you to do,'' says [name withheld], who would sign a confession in another case that resulted in being jailed for more than 19 years.

Defense attorneys point out that Chicago has had twice as many false confession cases that have been documented than any other city in the country. This year seven men, including [name withheld] and [name withheld], were exonerated by a Chicago court of murder and rape charges. It was charged that Chicago police may have coerced confessions out of some of them when they were teenagers. Those men are now free and were given certificates of innocence, but not before they had spent nearly 20 years in jail for crimes they did not commit.

This happens all too often in Chicago, says Peter Neufeld, the co-founder of the Innocence Project. "Quite simply, what Cooperstown is to baseball, Chicago is to false confessions. It is the Hall of Fame," Neufeld says. "There are more juvenile confessions in Chicago than anyplace else in the United States...It's not because the kids are different...it's because of the way the police keep pounding and pounding and pounding away in those interrogation rooms," he tells Pitts.

Former Cook County Prosecutor Bob Milan says for the first time that he is now convinced some of the convictions his office made were based on false confessions obtained by Chicago Police. "I didn't believe people would confess to rape and murder of a woman. You know, just didn't believe it," Milan tells Pitts. "But based on my experiences, I found it did happen."

It happened in [name withheld]'s case, one Milan was involved in as a young prosecutor. [name withheld] and his teenage defendants, [name withheld] and [name withheld], were convicted and sentenced to life in prison based on false confessions obtained by the police.

Milan says it still haunts him that he did not examine the confessions given by some of the defendants at the time -- confessions that resulted in their convictions.

"These young men lost a lot of good lives. I was part of it, I didn't mean it, I never would have done that intentionally, but it doesn't make it any easier," he tells Pitts. "There's nothing worse as a prosecutor than playing a role in sending an innocent person or people to prison for many years. There's nothing worse."

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez tells Pitts that she is aware of the federal investigation into one of the cases and is cooperating with their probe. Recently she has established a new unit within her office to re-examine questionable prosecutions, but defends the action of the police in these cases. "We have not uncovered any evidence of any misconduct, by the police officers or the state's Attorneys, that took the statements in these cases,'' she says.