Wednesday, March 27, 2013

IL - Former cop (Jamie Bell) sentenced in sex abuse case

Jamie Bell
Original Article

Tell us, why is it that when a police officer is convicted of a sex crime, in many cases, they get a small sentence compared to the average citizen, as in this case?


By Melissa Shriver

QUINCY - A former Canton, Missouri police officer will spend nearly the next year in jail for sex crimes against a minor.

Jamie Bell, 25, pleaded guilty last August to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 16-year-old minor.

Tuesday a judge sentenced him to 360 days in the Adams County Jail and 36 months probation for the crime.

Bell was arrested February 2012 for the alleged abuse.

Bell has been free on bond since March.

NH - Former Rindge cop (John Vargas-Cifrino) sentenced to one year in sex assault

John Vargas-Cifrino
Original Article

Tell us, why is it that when a police officer is convicted of a sex crime, in many cases, they get a small sentence compared to the average citizen, as in this case?


By Ashley Saari

KEENE - A former Rindge police officer and ConVal High School employee was sentenced to a year in jail today after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl.

John Vargas-Cifrino, 35, of Harrisville will serve a 12-month sentence for the charge of misdemeanor sexual assault. Another 12-month sentence for a second misdemeanor sexual assault charge has been suspended for three years, pending good behavior. Vargas-Cifrino pled guilty to both charges today (March 26) in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene, as part of a plea deal in which the charges were reduced from one felony count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault to just two misdemeanors.

Although Vargas-Cifrino’s attorney Adam Cook requested a shorter incarceration time, Judge James Peale went with the state’s recommendation of a full year of jail time.

I think from my standpoint with a child victim, a sentence anything less than what the state has recommended would not be appropriate,” Peale said.

TX - Trooper (Kelley Helleson) charged with sexual assault after roadside cavity search

Kelley Helleson
Original Article


DALLAS (KTVT/KTXA/CNN) - Experts say the stakes couldn't be higher for the female state trooper who conducted a roadside cavity search of two women captured on dashcam video.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted trooper Kelley Helleson on two counts of sexual assault and two counts of official oppression.

She has also been fired, a decision she is appealing.

The grand jury also indicted trooper David Farrell on a theft charge after one of the women complained her prescription bottle of painkillers went missing after the search.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Farrell remains suspended pending the outcome of an administrative investigation.

"In the course of doing her job, by going beyond of what the law allowed her to do, she could find herself as a registered sex offender for the rest of her life if she's convicted," said Peter Schulte, a Dallas attorney and a reserve police officer. "It's all going to come down to who does the jury believe?"

Helleson's attorney says his client passed a tough lie detector test, and neither assaulted nor fondled Angela and Ashley Dobbs.

Experts say the cavity search conducted on the side of the road raises the question of how the trooper was trained in the first place.

The Texas DPS regulations state, "Any search that unreasonably invades the bodily integrity of a citizen is in violation of the Fourth Amendment and is therefore in violation of DPS policy."

Schulte says the indictments against both troopers in this case may place other investigations in jeopardy.

"Any cases that are set for trial involving these two troopers are going to have to get disposed of because the DA's office can't sponsor their testimony," he said.

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TX - Senate approves rules on sex offender prosecution

Sen. Joan Huffman
Original Article



AUSTIN (AP) - New tools for prosecutors in cases of sexual assault against children are advancing through the state Capitol.

Under a bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday, evidence of prior similar offenses would become admissible in court.

Current rules allow prosecutors to introduce only evidence of prior assaults against the same victim.

The new rules would allow evidence of prior attacks on other victims. But the rules would apply only when the victim is under 17.

Republican Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston said her bill would align state rules with policies used in federal court. She is a former judge in felony criminal cases.

Democratic Sen. Royce West of Dallas noted that the new rules would still leave some discretion to judges. He has served as a prosecutor and defense lawyer.

AUSTRALIA - Sex Offender law gives AG power over liberty

Original Article


By Phoebe Stewart

Attorney General John Elferink has denied claims that the Northern Territory Government's new sex offenders law could be used to political advantage.

The Serious Sex Offenders Act was passed in the Legislative Assembly last night after several hours of debate.

The law allows the Attorney-General to apply to the courts to keep sex offenders in jail beyond their original sentence period if they're seen as a danger to the community.

The Opposition, Independent MLA Gerry Wood and lawyers have all expressed concern about the inclusion of the Attorney-General's role in the legislation and the possible breach of separation of powers.

Mr Elferink detailed to parliament a case of the rape of a three-year-old girl, which, he said demonstrated the need for a bill to extend jail terms for recidivist sex offenders.

He said that if the law been passed when he first tabled a bill while in Opposition, a recidivist offender would probably have remained in jail and the child might not have been molested.

"(We) cannot come into this place and bang on about the rights of offenders, and the rights of people to be at liberty, and all those sorts of things, and say we agree with the philosophy of this bill," he said.

"This is the sort of nonsense which meant that this legislation was not in place to protect children."

The president of the Northern Territory's Criminal Lawyers Association president Russell Goldflam says politicians should keep their noses out of courtrooms.

He says the Attorney-General should not be involved in making decisions on who should be freed and when.

"We have an independent statutory authority, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, established to just do that," he said.

Nhulunbuy MLA Lynne Walker told parliament the Opposition wanted the Government to defer the bill and strengthen sex offender laws by amending the Sentencing Act.

She said that research on detaining prisoners for crimes they haven't yet committed, or predicting a "person's dangerousness", showed that that it often resulted in errors.

The Independent Member for Nelson, Gerry Wood, said other jurisdictions that have introduced similar laws have not included the Attorney-General in the process.

"In this Act, the Attorney General is mentioned at least 38 times," he said.

"Why do we need that?"

"We don't need what could be seen to be interference from the Attorney-General when it is the role of the Supreme Court and the DPP."

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