Friday, March 15, 2013

AZ - Retired Mesa PD Sgt. (Russell Dean Millsaps) arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor

Russell Dean Millsaps
Original Article


MESA (AP) -- A retired Mesa police sergeant has been arrested on suspicion of sexual exploitation of minor.

Mesa police say 66-year-old Russell Dean Millsaps was taken into custody Thursday afternoon after a search warrant was served at his home.

They say the arrest was part of an interstate federal child-pornography investigation.

Details of the case against Millsaps weren't immediately released.

Authorities say Millsaps was a longtime patrol sergeant who retired from the Mesa Police Department in 1995 after working for more than 25 years as an officer.

Police didn't immediately know Thursday night if Millsaps had an attorney yet.

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CA - 'Pocket parks' aim to drop sex offender rate in LA neighborhoods

Original Article


By Leanne Suter

LOS ANGELES (KABC) - A sliver of land in Harbor Gateway South is about to be transformed in to Los Angeles' first "pocket park." It's just 1,000 square feet, but it's having a big impact on the community's sense of safety.

"It takes care of the sex offenders and keeps the kids off the street gives them somewhere to play," said resident Janet Shour.

Until now there was no green space in the 13-block neighborhood, but there was an unusually high number of registered sex offenders - more than 130 of them at its peak.

"Our big concern was student safety, our children were afraid," said Marcia Reed, principal at 186th Street Elementary. "I had to actually call the police in one incident where one of the sex offender chased a few of our children and they were so afraid."

The community turned to their senior lead LAPD Officer Brian Cook for help. His idea was to use a tiny piece of city-owned property and the law to take back the streets.

"Jessica's Law is out there and says registered sex offenders on parole or probation can't live within 2,000 feet of a park or school, that's where the idea came from," he said.

Once the park is built at the corner of Torrance Boulevard and Denker Avenue, the number of registered sex offenders in the area is expected to drop more than 95 percent, giving residents some relief and kids some hope.
- It's just another ex post facto law that is punishing ex-offenders for the sake of punishment, nothing else.

"There's not that many parks around the area so kids don't have anywhere to play so I think it's a great idea," said 9-year-old Savannah Marmolejo.

The park is expected to be completed in June and will be the smallest park in the city.

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MN - Park fee bill stumbles over sex offender amendment

Sen. Dan Hall
Original Article


By Eric Roper

A bill allowing Minneapolis to charge developers a fee for parks stalled Wednesday in the Senate after a Republican senator tried to link it with sex offenders.

An amendment proposed by Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, would have prevented the city from charging developers a fee for parks built within 1,500 feet of a registered sex offender. Republicans successfully added that same amendment to the House version of the bill two weeks ago.

About 70 communities in the area already impose the fees. The sex offender restriction would only apply in Minneapolis, however.

Sen. Scott Dibble, the sponsor of the bill, moved to table the legislation after Hall proposed the amendment.

"We need to move on with the business of the day," said Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis. "We can come back to this amendment at another time. I will speak against it. I think it's ridiculous and accomplishes nothing."

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board attorney, Brian Rice, told the Southwest Journal that the the provision was a "deal killer." Fifteen-hundred feet is about five to seven blocks, which could effectively prevent building new parks with developer fees in many parts of North Minneapolis.

Taxpayer dollars, incidentally, could still be used to build parks near sex offenders under the language of the amendment.

"We don't want to entice level 3 sex offenders with our children," Hall said. He later added that, "You can hear, you can be distracted by the kids playing. I can hear kids playing over a mile from my house. This is less than half of that. So members I would like you to consider the children of the City of Minneapolis, especially, and St. Paul."

Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, said in an interview last month that "they’re hoping that that can be used in a political campaign. And it’s gutter politics. It’s the worst of politics."

MN - Committees Hear Testimony on Sex Offender Legislation

Original Article


By Zach Vavricka

St. Paul (NNCNOW) - It's an expensive solution to a difficult problem that could be deemed unconstitutional.

Since 1994, the Minnesota Sex Offender Treatment Program has grown to a population of close to 700 clients.

With locations in Moose Lake and St. Peter, the treatment facilities house those who are still deemed dangerous to the public, but who have finished their prison time.

"They are committed because they are deemed to be dangerous to the public and in need of treatment," said Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL 26A.

Minnesota legislators are hoping to fix the program following a class action lawsuit, prompting a federal order to reform.

A pair of bills are making their way through the legislative process, hoping to offer alternatives.

"It is impermissible to incarcerate people, simply because you are afraid they will do something bad in the future," said Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, the leader of a task force attempting to gather data and information about the M.S.O.P.

The legislation would have the same standard to commit someone to a treatment center, but would create alternatives as to where that treatment could occur.

"Maybe in a secure setting, or maybe in a less secure setting if that can become constant with public long," said Liebling.

A request of information was sent out to several facilitates in Minnesota. 21 of them sent back their perspective of what an alternative setting could be, and how much it would cost.

Rep. Liebling said that GPS monitoring devices are one of the options on the table.

Also, those in treatment would receive regular reviews, in which the court system could decide to grant a provisional discharge.

The bill in the House was laid over for more debate. The Senate bill was advanced to the finance committee.

Third Circuit panel discusses at length all the problems with SORNA

Original Article


The start of the Third Circuit panel's lengthy opinion today in US v. Reynolds, No. 08-4747 (3d Cir. Mar. 14, 2013) (PDF available here), explains the current mess that is certain federal sex offender registration laws better than I could. Here goes (with footnotes removed):

This case returns to us after the Supreme Court’s review in Reynolds v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 975 (2012). Remand requires that we reach the merits of Reynolds’s claim that the regulatory rule upon which his indictment was based was promulgated in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). This claim gives rise to three questions:

  • (1) What is the appropriate standard of review of an agency’s assertion of good cause in waiving the APA’s notice and comment requirements?
  • (2) Did the Attorney General have good cause to waive these requirements in promulgating a rule governing the retroactivity of the Sex Offender and Registration Notification Act’s (“SORNA”) registration requirements?
  • (3) If the Attorney General lacked good cause to waive the requirements, was Reynolds prejudiced by the failure to comply with the APA’s notice and comment requirements?

The courts of appeals are divided on each of these questions. On the first question, the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits have determined that the arbitrary and capricious standard is the appropriate standard for reviewing the Attorney General’s actions, the Fourth and Sixth Circuits have not stated a standard but appear to use de novo review, and the Ninth Circuit has explicitly avoided the question. On the second question, the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits have held that the Attorney General had good cause to waive notice and comment, while the Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Circuits have held that he did not. On the final question, the Fifth Circuit has held that the Attorney General’s lack of good cause does not prejudice defendants, while the Sixth Circuit has held that it is prejudicial.

We conclude that we need not decide the appropriate standard of review today because the Attorney General’s assertion of good cause cannot withstand review even under the most deferential standard available. We also conclude that the Attorney General’s lack of good cause is prejudicial to Reynolds. Accordingly, we will vacate Reynolds’ conviction.