Friday, December 28, 2012

SWEDEN - "Potential Prostitutes" site lets users label women as prostitutes, charges "removal" fees (Just another extortion web site)

Original Article

This is no different than the Offendex extortion web site for ex-sex offenders, and is yet another reason online records should not be online for anybody!

12/27/2012

By Rob Beschizza

Potential Prostitutes is only the latest sleazy site to wed personal photos to public humiliation. Its offer to publicize anonymous claims of sex crimes, however, is a novelty: any woman may be be anonymously tagged as a prostitute.

The site accepts anonymous submissions through an online form and promises to post uploads in a browsable "offender" database seeded with mugshots of convicted prostitutes. Entries may be removed by those listed—so long as they pay a hefty removal fee.

Along with Predators Watch, a nearly-identical sister site aimed at "potential" sex predators, it's part of a growing fad for shakedowns that exploit public records, police mugshots, compromising Facebook photos and other embarrassing personal information.

This one differs in how closely it resembles official sex offender registries—and the aggressiveness with which it targets women.

But like other operators, it claims that U.S. laws indemnify it for the actions of its users. Though it solicits material it knows could be libelous or defamatory, it says it has no obligation to remove claims, even when they are proven to be false. It even reports that it's been sued -- and that it has won every case.

"That’s a lie," writes Kenneth White, a lawyer who regularly debunks legal falsity at his popular blog, Popehat. "The site was registered in October 2012. It’s part of the stock language such sites use."

According to their domain name records, the sites were registered to a P.O. Box in Stockholm, Sweden, in the last few weeks. The named registrant might well be a red herring—any information can be entered into the records, and no-one from the site has yet replied to inquiries placed earlier today.

Its Twitter feed consists only of a burst of links to prostitution stings and scandals from early November. Status People reports that only 6 percent of its followers are "good", the rest being fake or inactive accounts.

The site's Facebook page -- itself suspiciously close to exactly 10,000 likes -- is already plastered with removal demands and accusations of fraud.

"You're pathetic for posting just anyone on your website. You even post pictures of kids?", wrote one annoyed Facebook user.

"If my 11 year old son gets one more text from someone looking to hook up I will sue you," claims another.

When the site's owners come forward or are tracked down, White writes that Section 230—the part of the law referred to by the site's operators—might not be as strong a defense as they expect.

"Courts are still determining application of Section 230 to extortion sites, [but] even the most generous application of Section 230 wouldn’t apply if the 'user submission' was a hoax – if the purveyors of the site were themselves the ones populating it with pictures under the guise of users doing it. That’s something that would come out in discovery in any case. There’s reason to question whether the content is actually user-submitted, or whether the purveyors put it in themselves, when a brand-new site appears already populated with content."

"Moreover, Section 230 is not a defense to criminal charges. Extortion is a crime in many states, and a federal crime to the extent it uses interstate communication. Similarly, to the extent the site makes deliberately false statements of fact to extort money, its purveyors may have committed fraud, which is both a state and federal crime."


NE - State told to pay $292K to firm that challenged sex offender laws

Original Article

12/26/2012

By LORI PILGER

A federal judge has ordered Nebraska to pay more than $292,000 in attorneys' fees in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of changes to the state's sex offender registry laws.

But it was a fraction of the amount sought by the attorneys who represented the sex offenders who sued.

The laws, the most recent changes to the state's Sex Offender Registration Act, were passed in 2009 but put on hold as a result of the lawsuit before they were to go into effect in 2010.

Later that year, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a ruling leaving much of the laws intact -- including publication of the names of all adult, convicted sex offenders -- but said a trial was needed to determine whether the three statutes violated the U.S. Constitution.

At a trial before Kopf in July, experts and convicted sex offenders testified one after another about how the changes would affect them and, in many cases, their work.

In October, the judge struck down the parts of the laws that would have made it a crime for some sex offenders to use social networking sites and require them all to notify the state whenever they posted on the Internet.

Federal law authorizes district courts to award reasonable attorneys' fees to prevailing parties in civil rights litigation.

Following the ruling in October, Stuart Mills, whose law firm Dornan, Lustgarten & Troia of Omaha represented the John and Jane Does, requested an award of $751,947.67 in attorneys' fees, $13,111.88 for preparing the application for attorneys' fees and $26,182.56 in costs.

Deputy Nebraska Attorney General Katherine Spohn, who represented the state, argued the amount was unreasonable and should be reduced substantially.

She proposed a total award of $248,207.81.

In an order Friday, the judge approved $292,564.88, the sum of $279,453 in attorneys' fees, plus $13,111.88 in fees to prepare the application.

In the order, Kopf pointed out the case started in 2009 and resulted in 534 filings and the preparation of at least 15 briefs by plaintiffs' counsel.

It also involved about 50 John and Jane Doe clients and more than 200 defendants, including the state of Nebraska, Nebraska attorney general, the Nebraska State Patrol, local prosecutors and various law enforcement officers.

The state still could appeal Kopf's October ruling.


OK - New Push For Tougher Oklahoma Sex Offender Laws

Original Article

12/27/2012

By Michael Konopasek

OKLAHOMA CITY - More restrictions are in the works right now for Oklahoma sex offenders. One lawmaker is pushing to make it happen, and he's focusing on schools and daycares.

Right now in Oklahoma, only certain sex offenders are not allowed to loiter near a school or daycare. In fact, 500 feet is the limit. Soon, the restriction could be mandated to include more offenders.

"It will pass 100 to nothing because nobody is ever going to challenge a law like this," criminal defense attorney David Slane said.

Currently, people on the sex offender's registry whose victims are 13 years old or younger are forbidden from loitering within 500 feet of a school or daycare. State Sen. John Ford of Bartlesville wants the age of the victim expanded to 18, to ban even more sex offenders.

"I've absolutely heard nothing against this legislation at all," Ford said. "The only thing [I've heard was] from a couple [saying] 'Goodness! Why wasn't it 18 earlier?'"

A registered sex offender shared his thoughts with News 9 while concealing his identity. He's been on the sex offender registry since 2004, convicted of rape. But he says he never committed the crime.

"They make it impossible for us to live anywhere," the registered sex offender said. "Every time we turn around, it's something else…adding a new law…make it harder."

Supporters of the bill say it's a no brainer. The legislation was suggested by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, but not everyone thinks it's the best idea.

"No one should loiter around a school," Slane said. "We shouldn't limit this to sex offenders. Nobody has business going around kids in the school."

Slane represents numerous sex offenders. He believes the bill will give parents a false sense of security, but admits many parents, teachers and politicians will support the new restriction.

The bill will be assigned to a committee once the legislature begins a new session in February.


WI - Sex offender is long out of prison, but virtually locked out of housing

Original Article

12/27/2012

By STEVEN ELBOW

Finding a place to live can be hard for most people, but nothing like it is if you happen to be a sex offender on the Special Notification Bulletin, which requires that neighbors be informed when you move in.

Granted, such offenders are probably at or near the bottom of the sympathy list for most people, but those who work with them raise a legitimate question about how offenders are supposed to rejoin society after prison if housing is an enormous barrier.

Consider the case for a man who recently contacted me. I'll call him “Tony” because he wants to remain anonymous. He's one of the 30 offenders who have been “notified” over the past year that if they offend again, the combined force of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will see that they be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Tony was labeled one of the city's "worst of the worst" despite the fact that he committed his offenses nearly 20 years ago, while still in high school. To protect his identity, I won't go into detail, but I will say his offenses don't appear to be anywhere near as hair-raising as most of the others in the program. He hasn't been charged with anything since.

Now Tony's gainfully employed, and he’s keeping his nose clean, according to online court records. But he was recently told by a community corrections agent that he needs to move. Tony wasn't told why, but he thinks it's because his roommate will have visitation rights with his daughters, and officials don’t want Tony to be anywhere near them.

But Tony can’t find anyone to rent to him.

Nobody wants to rent to a person who has a sex offense and is SBN (Special Notification Bulletin),” he says.

He’s been looking for months, and so have others. The serious offender program offers those on it an array of services to help keep them out of trouble. And one of those services is Jerome Dillard, president of Voices Beyond Bars, who helps offenders find places to live.

Dillard says the problem exists for anyone who is listed as a sex offender. But the fact that Tony is on the community notification list ratchets things up considerably.

This makes it a little more complicated because they want to inform the community that this individual’s moving in,” Dillard says. “I’ve had landlords that have done it in the past that just can’t deal with the scrutiny of the notification.”


The best predictor of future behavior is …

Original Article

12/27/2012

… past behavior.

Past as prelude. So neat, so clean. So full of certitude. Like a fortune cookie Confucianism. Or something you might hear on CSI: Special Victims Unit, or from pop psychologist "Dr. Phil" McGraw. Actually, McGraw does cite it, in one of his many self-help books.

I'm sure you have heard the mantra. It's creeping into risk assessment reports and court testimony by forensic psychologists. Sometimes, it's augmented with incendiary metaphors: The subject is "a ticking time bomb"; he is "carrying a hand grenade and it's just a matter of when he pulls the pin."

One current case of mine involves a guy with a cluster of several violent offenses a few years ago, when he was in his 20s. He was using drugs back then, and hanging around with a bad crowd. Plus, he is chronically psychotic. Not a good combination.

But if you predict future violence based on a set of risk factors like his, you will be wrong more often than not. Only about four out of ten of those individuals judged to be at moderate to high risk of future violence go on to reoffend violently, according to research. The low base rates of violent recidivism will be working against you.