Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MD - Maryland Court of Appeals: Retroactive Sex Offender Law is Unconstitutional

Video Description:
On March 4, 2013 the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that retroactively requiring a person to register as a sex offender in accordance with laws created in 2009 and 2010 violates the prohibition against ex post facto laws contained in Article 17 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. The video shows the oral argument that took place prior to this decision - the oral argument was held 09-07-12.

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ME - Court upholds sex offender registration for those convicted before 1999

Original Article

03/05/2013

By Judy Harrison

PORTLAND - The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday upheld the law that requires information about people convicted of sex crimes before 1999 to be listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry.

In a rare 4-3 decision, Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley and Associate Justices Jon Levy, Andrew Mead and Susan Gorman agreed that the law is constitutional. Associate Justices Donald Alexander, Warren Silver and Joseph Jabar dissented.

We conclude that SORNA [Maine's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act] of 1999 is nonpunitive,” Mead wrote for the majority in a 39-page opinion (PDF).
- It's ex post facto punishment, which is a violation of the US Constitution and Maine's Constitution!  If you had to live by your own draconian laws you'd see it that way as well.

Silver in the 13-page dissent said that the requirements of the law “are punishment to those who have completed their sentences and paid back society long ago.”

More than a dozen sex offenders appealed a 2011 decision by Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy. The men, identified only as John Does in court documents, were seeking to have their names removed from the registry because they had completed their sentences prior to 1999.

The case the justices ruled on Tuesday dates back to 2006, when the plaintiffs filed suit in Kennebec County Superior Court challenging the state’s 1999 sex offender registry law and seeking to remove their names from the registry. Lawmakers amended the law in 2005 so it would apply retroactively and require all sex offenders to register who had committed crimes after Jan. 1, 1982.

The chief plaintiff, known in court documents as John Doe I, was convicted in 1985 of unlawful sexual contact with a family member and was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 60 days suspended and two years’ probation. He has not been convicted of any sex offenses since. He argued that the retroactive application of the sex offender registration law violated his constitutional rights.

This was the second time Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices heard arguments related to the case.

The primary challenge to Maine’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act was that it violated the rights of plaintiffs who were convicted before the law requiring them to register as sex offenders existed.

Maine’s sex offender registry has gone through a number of changes since it was created in 1992. It attracted national attention when, on April 16, 2006, a 20-year-old Canadian man killed two sex offenders in Maine before killing himself after getting their names from the state’s online registry.

The current case stems from a court case filed less than two weeks later challenging the law. Over time, several dozen John Does joined the case, but a number of them later dropped out after the Legislature amended the law in 2009 to allow some sex offenders to be removed from the registry if they had completed their sentences, committed no additional crimes and met other standards.


Remarkable experiment proves pull of adversarial allegiance

Original Article

This just goes to show you that corruption is indeed part of the "justice" system.

03/05/2013

By Karen Franklin, Ph.D.

Psychologists' scoring of forensic tools depends on which side they believe has hired them

A brilliant experiment has proven that adversarial pressures skew forensic psychologists' scoring of supposedly objective risk assessment tests, and that this "adversarial allegiance" is not due to selection bias, or preexisting differences among evaluators.

The researchers duped about 100 experienced forensic psychologists into believing they were part of a large-scale forensic case consultation at the behest of either a public defender service or a specialized prosecution unit. After two days of formal training by recognized experts on two widely used forensic instruments -- the Psychopathy Checklist-R (PCL-R) and the Static-99R -- the psychologists were paid $400 to spend a third day reviewing cases and scoring subjects. The National Science Foundation picked up the $40,000 tab.

Unbeknownst to them, the psychologists were all looking at the same set of four cases. But they were "primed" to consider the case from either a defense or prosecution point of view by a research confederate, an actual attorney who pretended to work on a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) unit. In his defense attorney guise, the confederate made mildly partisan but realistic statements such as "We try to help the court understand that ... not every sex offender really poses a high risk of reoffending." In his prosecutor role, he said, "We try to help the court understand that the offenders we bring to trial are a select group [who] are more likely than other sex offenders to reoffend." In both conditions, he hinted at future work opportunities if the consultation went well.

The deception was so cunning that only four astute participants smelled a rat; their data were discarded.


AR - How Arkansas SB653 Will Ruin the Lives of Innocent Children

NOTE: At the end of the video it mentions SB-12 which is incorrect. It's SB-653 that is the problem.

Video Description:
This little girl's father will be eligible to be removed from the Arkansas Sex Offender Registry this June. Arkansas is proposing a bill, SB653 (PDF), that will remove eligibility for her father (and thousands of others) forever.

This is a video recording her reaction to the news that her daddy might be on the registry for life. She was not aware that she was being recorded. This was not scripted or acted in any way. This is very, very real.

This law will only ruin the lives of innocent family members, many of whom have already waited fifteen years for their loved one to have a chance to be removed from the registry.

This law will in no way, protect anyone from anything. The Dept. of Justice says the reoffense rate of registered sex offenders in the US is approximately 5%, and most that do reoffend do so within 3 years of release. After 15 years, if an offender has not reoffended, the likelihood that they ever will is virtually non-existent.

Everyone makes mistakes, but people deserve a second chance. Even sex offenders!

And this child is no less deserving of a normal life than any other child in America. Passing this law will ruin her life because it will mean she will never be able to have a normal childhood. She will never be able to have friends over or sleepovers like her friends do and will always live in fear as a target for bullying because her daddy will be seen on the public registry. She is only in the 5th grade. She has a long road ahead of her.

Please Vote NO on SB653!!! Please give this girl, her father, and her family a CHANCE at a normal life. She is an innocent child. She has never committed any crime. Continuing punishing HER for something her daddy did is JUST PLAIN WRONG!

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