Friday, January 11, 2013
Good, it's about time, all police departments should start doing this, for the same reason, exploitation and extortion. Offendex.com comes to mind.
By Pat Reavy
SOUTH SALT LAKE — Using words such as "bullies," "extortionists" and "trash," Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder (Facebook) on Thursday blasted tabloid magazines and websites that post mug shots from his jail and then demand money for the pictures to be removed.
"In my opinion, what we're seeing today is nothing short of extortion in our county," Winder said. "This practice must be stopped."
Because of the recent booming practice of some private companies publishing all mug shots in a single publication, Winder announced that as of Thursday, mug shots will no longer be available on the Salt Lake County Jail website.
The county, he said, had become an unwilling accomplice to these publications because of its long-standing practice to post mug shots online where they could be accessed by the public. One company alone had downloaded 520,000 mug shots from his Salt Lake County Jail, Winder said, and about 2,700 from the Davis County Jail.
- Doesn't surprise us one bit. This is what happens when records are made public, people abuse them, like Offendex.com (PDF) for example.
The problem, Winder said, is that once those mug shots are on the Internet, they never really disappear. While someone may pay money to have their picture removed from one website, it very easily could show up on another.
Another issue, he said, is that many of the people who have their pictures taken are never actually booked into jail. Some are "booked and released," meaning they are allowed to leave after their mug shot is taken. And some are never charged or are later found innocent of the crime they were accused of committing. Furthermore, Winder said some people have mug shots taken for relatively minor offenses. But to the public, "A mug shot means criminal," he said.
- That is why you should not be taking their photos until they are convicted in a court of law!
"Yes, innocent people's photographs are being put up there," he said. "Individuals whose only offense was being arrested, and subsequently the charges were dropped."
Prosecutors say woman used girl as sexual object
Lisa Biron, 43, was accused of videotaping the girl having sex with two men. Biron faced eight federal indictments on charges of child sexual exploitation, transporting a child across state lines to produce child pornography and possession of child pornography, and was convicted on all of them after the jury deliberated for less than an hour.
The trial began Wednesday, with prosecutors calling to the stand two men who said Biron videotaped them having sex with the 14-year-old.
The final witness for the prosecution was an FBI agent who specializes in computer forensics. He testified that he retrieved pornographic images from a computer that had Biron listed as the owner. He said a confiscated iPhone also had a sexually explicit video involving the girl.
"It was difficult to present because you were presenting very graphic evidence to people who aren't exposed to this on a daily basis, but in terms of putting the case together, it was relatively easy because the evidence was created by the defendant herself, and it was video evidence that really does speak for itself," said U.S. Attorney John Kacavas.
A couple of phone calls recorded while Biron was in jail led off closing arguments for the government. In one call, Biron was heard talking to her father and saying of the 14-year-old girl that "she had a part in this."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Fitzgibbon said the call is typical of Biron placing the blame for her problems on a young girl.
Fitzgibbon told the jury that this is a very straightforward case about a woman who used the girl as a sexual object and videotaped it. She said the evidence is clear that Biron took the girl to Canada to make the video and that she exploited the girl, encouraging her to drink, smoke marijuana and have sex.
"It was just very difficult, and I don't think I should say much more than that," said juror Peter Evans. "The evidence was pretty overwhelming, and the decision, I'm sure, was accurate."
The defense called no witnesses. Defense attorney James Moir told the jury things are not as clear as prosecutors claimed. He said the case is not about whether Biron is a good or bad person but rather, whether the government proved each element of the charges against her.
By Surae Chinn
WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A DC Police officer used his position as a youth choir director to sexually abuse an underage girl, police said.
Forty-four-year-old Wendel Palmer appeared in a DC courtroom Thursday afternoon where he pleaded not guilty.
He was also granted a separation order which means he will be isolated from the general jail population.
Palmer is the youth choir director at his family church, which was founded by his father and now lead by his brother.
A family member who came out of the courthouse had nothing to say, but gave one another a nod when Palmer entered the courtroom.
Court documents say Palmer sexually abused a 6th grader who was 11 years old at the time for a period of two years, between 2004 and 2006.
One of Palmer's neighbors saw a number of police officers at his Fort Washington home earlier this week.
She says she is shocked and saddened by the news. She says she feels for the girl who was allegedly victimized.
Police say most of the incidents happened during choir rehearsals in the pastor's office at Bethuel Temple Church of the Christ Apostolic Inc. in Southeast D.C.
According to court papers, the abuse happened during rehearsal breaks when Palmer would send the other children to a store, leaving them alone.
The girl, who is now 19 years old, reported the crimes back in March of last year and allegedly says there were too many sexual incidents to count.
But Palmer is charged, right now, with one count of child sex abuse.
Palmer is a 22 year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department and works in the 6th district. He is on paid administrative leave.
According to court documents the girl picked Palmer in a photo lineup of 9 different pictures of police officers.
Palmer is being held without bond until his detention hearing next Tuesday.
The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether the government can require a former federal sex offender to register a change of address even after he had served his sentence and been unconditionally freed from custody.
In a brief order, the court agreed to hear the government's appeal of a July 2012 decision overturning the conviction of Air Force veteran [name withheld] for violating the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006.
SORNA provides what the U.S. Department of Justice calls a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification, and was designed to close potential gaps and loopholes.
While in the military, [name withheld] at age 21 had consensual sex with a 15-year-old. He was sentenced in 1999 to three months in prison, which he served, and was no longer under federal control by the time SORNA was enacted.
In August 2007, he registered with authorities in El Paso, Texas, as a sex offender but never updated his registration after moving later that month to San Antonio. [name withheld] was later apprehended, and sentenced to one year in prison after a bench trial.
But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the conviction and found the registration requirement unconstitutional.
Congress, it said, was not entitled to assert "unending criminal authority" over [name withheld] because of his earlier criminal sexual activity.
The Justice Department appealed, saying Congress acted within its power in subjecting [name withheld] to the SORNA registration requirement. It also said voiding of an "important" act of Congress warranted the court's review.
A decision is expected by the end of June.
The case is U.S. v. [name withheld], U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-418 (PDF).
MOUNT PLEASANT (AP) - A former guard at a state prison in southwestern Pennsylvania has been cleared of a felony sexual assault charge for having sex with a 14-year-old girl he thought was 19.
The girl acknowledged telling 32-year-old Brian Dulkis, of Arona, that she was 19, but Westmoreland County prosecutors charged him with the felony because they say he should have known better than to believe her.
A jury deliberated just 40 minutes Wednesday before acquitting Dulkis of the felony and convicting him only of corruption of minors, a misdemeanor. He'll be sentenced in about three months.
Dulkis was a guard at the state prison in Somerset when a county park policeman found him having sex in his pickup truck on Feb. 18, 2011, near the Bridgeport Dam in Mount Pleasant Township.
His attorney was pleased with the verdict.