Monday, May 13, 2013

UK - Sex Offenders and the Human Rights Act

Original Article

06/15/2011

By Tim Worstall

Sex offenders will be able to apply, under the Human Rights Act, to get off the sex offenders register.

This has caused the usual amount of huffing and puffing from those who don’t understand the whole point of human rights. The basic story:

A Supreme Court ruling has forced the Government reluctantly to draw up new rules allowing serious sex offenders put on the register for life to have their place on the list reconsidered.
The Home Office plans were opposed by child protection campaigners and Conservative MPs, who said some offenders could never be considered completely “safe”. The new rules were drawn up because the Supreme Court ruled that automatic lifetime inclusion on the register breached the Human Rights Act.

What the Supreme Court is really saying here is that one law passed by MPs conflicts with another law passed by MPs. And in a country that is under the rule of law this cannot be allowed to happen. The law must be possible to follow after all: we can’t have it that you both must do something and cannot do something at the same time. Similarly, we cannot have it that we’ve a system of protecting people from politicians (which is what human rights are all about) and at the same time allow politicians to breach those rights for people they don’t like very much.

As usual, at least one MP decides to grandstand instead of grasping the point:

Priti Patel, a Tory MP, said the court ruling added to the case for reform of the Human Rights Act.

“Sex offenders are vile criminals,” she said. “Why are these people allowed to use human rights laws to protect themselves? What about their victims?”

Because human rights are for everyone, not just those you think are not vile criminals. They accrue by virtue of being human, thus the name. It really is a very basic point and slightly worrying that those who would make the law in our name don’t get it.

This Human Rights Act, Ms. Pratel, is to protect us from you. That’s why everyone gets those rights, not just the people you approve of.


False reports outpace sex assaults in the military

Original Article

And let's not forget all the child porn being downloaded and shared by the Pentagon, FBI and other agencies as well.

05/12/2013

By Rowan Scarborough

False complaints of sexual abuse in the military are rising at a faster rate than overall reports of sexual assault, a trend that could harm combat readiness, analysts say.

Virtually all media attention on a Pentagon report last week focused on an increase in service members’ claims of sexual abuse in an anonymous survey, but unmentioned were statistics showing that a significant percentage of such actually investigated cases were baseless.

From 2009 to 2012, the number of sexual abuse reports rose from 3,244 to 3,374 — a 4 percent increase.

During the same period, the number of what the Pentagon calls “unfounded allegations” based on completed investigations of those reports rose from 331 to 444 — a 35 percent increase.

In 2012, there were 2,661 completed investigations, meaning that the 444 false complaints accounted for about 17 percent of all closed cases last year. False reports accounted for about 13 percent of closed cases in 2009.

Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and analyst at the Family Research Council, is writing a book for Regnery Publishing Inc. about the Pentagon’s push to put women in direct ground combat in the infantry, armor and special operations.

In the course of conducting interviews with commanders, I heard time and again complaints about female service members making sex-related allegations which proved unfounded,” Mr. Maginnis said. “Not only do some women abuse the truth, but it also robs their commanders from more important, mission-related tasks.”

Female service members told me that some women invite problems which lead men on and then result in advances the woman can’t turn off. Too often, such female culpability leads to allegations of sexual contact, assault and then the women feign innocence.”

The annual Pentagon report on sexual assault noted the numbers of false complaints but included no analysis. The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment.

Elaine Donnelly, who runs the Center for Military Readiness, said the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office (SAPRO) is ignoring the problem of false reports.

Unsubstantiated accusations remain a significant problem, but the SAPRO is doing nothing about it,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “I went through both volumes and found no evidence of concern about the significant 17 percent of ‘unfounded accusations.’ Something should be done to reduce the numbers of false accusations, the first step being an admission that the problem exists.”

The number of sex abuse reports has risen from 1,700 a decade ago to 3,374 last year.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have pushed male and female personnel into close living conditions at a sprawling network of bases.

The existence of unwanted and wanted sexual contact in the war zone is not disputed.

For example, a group of Army physicians in 2010 studied one brigade combat team deployed to Iraq in 2007.


MI - Legislation would create animal abuse registry in Michigan

Original Article

05/12/2013

By CAROL HOPKINS

Animal Care Network volunteers found starved dogs lying dead at the end of chains in Pontiac during the winter.

There are so many repeat offenders who let animals starve in their backyard,” said Pam Porteous, the organization’s manager. “There should be a database of these people.”
- We should have an online registry for all criminals, not just some.

Lawmakers have revamped bills that would establish a registry — similar to a sex offender registry — that would track animal abusers, and they are urging people to write to their legislators.

House Bill 4534 (PDF) is sponsored by Republican Rep. Paul Muxlow, from the 83rd District. The district includes Sanilac County and Burtchville Township, Fort Gratiot Township and the city of Port Huron. House Bill 4535 (PDF) is sponsored by Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Northwest Detroit. A third bill in the works would make it illegal for a person on the abuser registry to purchase an animal.

The grouping of bills is referred to as Logan’s Law, a reference to a beloved pet husky from Goodells, Mich., that was attacked by a stranger with acid and died.
- So we've went from naming laws using the HB-xxxx or SB-xxxx form, to naming them after dead children, and now dead dogs.  So who will have a law named after them next?

Both legislators introduced similar measures last year.

Together, the bills would establish a statewide registry to protect animals from abuse and neglect.
- That may be the intent, but we all know it won't prevent abuse and I'm sure people who don't belong on the registry will also be swept up into it, but only time will tell.

Any person convicted of a crime against an animal would have to register for a five-year period. All citizens would have access to the registry and could make sure that no pet they are selling or offering for adoption would go to a convicted animal abuser.
- Why not register for life?

Animal shelters would be mandated to use the registry before allowing their animals to be adopted. Offenders’ names would remain on the registry five years after they serve their sentence.

The registry would be paid for by the fees attached to the penalties for those convicted of animal abuse or neglect.


See Also:


OK - Federal Ruling Could Change Restrictions for Oklahoma Sex Offenders

Original Article (Video Available)

05/12/2013

By Mark Taylor

A recent ruling in Federal Court could change the way sex offenders are punished. The May 8th ruling decided in favor of the defendant, [name withheld], who was convicted back in 1994 of lewd acts in Illinois. [name withheld] challenged his probationary restrictions that barred him from internet use and won, "He was saying, I shouldn't have to do all of these things," Fox 25 Legal analyst David Slane said. "I think it's the first step in what may be a trend," added Slane. Right now sex offenders are often given blanket restrictions and rules on where they can live, work and spend time. Slane believes this may soon change, so that the punishment will fit the crime, "If a sex offender did not do something related to the internet for example, you're probably not going to be able to restrict his access to the internet," Slane added, "The courts seem to be saying, in the future, there needs to be a connection between the two, or they are not going to be able to restrict his (or her) access." Slane said this is only applies in federal cases, but unless the Supreme court overturns it, it may soon spread to lower courts.