Henry Rollins (Wikipedia) narrates the Prison Profiteers video series profiling the powerful institutions benefiting from locking up too many people for too long. See all the vids and take action here.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
By ELIZABETH DONALD
EDWARDSVILLE - Former police officer Michael Collins will not draw a pension from the Edwardsville Police Pension fund.
Collins pleaded guilty to a felony count of unauthorized video recording, after having been caught videotaping women at a tanning salon using his department cellphone in April 2012. He was sentenced Monday to two years of probation.
Collins, a 15-year veteran police officer, had resigned from the Edwardsville Police Department after his arrest. As a convicted felon, he cannot work in law enforcement, according to City Administrator Ben Dickmann, who was police chief when Collins was hired.
But the only way for a police officer to lose his pension is to commit a felony related to the performance of his duties, Dickmann said. The Edwardsville pension fund is locally controlled, and the pension board would have had to decide whether using his department phone while off-duty constituted a relationship to performance of his duties.
But Dickmann said Collins withdrew his own contributions to the pension system and thus exited the pension system of his own accord. Collins had been vested with 15 years of service, and could have been eligible for a partial pension, pending the decision of the pension board, Dickmann said.
But Dickmann confirmed that by withdrawing from the pension program, there is no longer any eligibility and Collins will not draw any pension from the city.
Collins served as D.A.R.E. officer in Edwardsville District 7 schools and held the rank of senior patrol officer with a salary of $62,800 at the time of his charges.
- Michael Collins sentenced for secretly filming women (Video Below)
A teenager has spoken of his nine-month hell in jail awaiting trial after being accused of rape and kidnap.
_____ was freed on Tuesday after being cleared by a jury of tying a 16-year-old girl to his bed and attacking her.
The jury took just 30 minutes to clear him of four charges of rape, one of kidnap and another of imprisonment.
The 19-year-old, from Revidge Road, Blackburn, said he was abused by other prisoners and put in isolation for his own safety during his stay in HM Prison Preston.
He had been told no bail hostel could be found for him.
He said: “It was horrible. I wasn’t treated like I was innocent, I was treated like any other prisoner.”
“I got put in isolation because my name was in the paper. I was treated like I had done something wrong.”
“On the way to court I was separated in the van. The other prisoners were shouting out ‘where’s that nonce, where’s the rapist?’ I’m just happy to be out of there.”
Mr _____ was arrested last November and initially bailed to his mum’s home in Bournemouth, but he was re-arrested when it was discovered he was living with his 14-year-old sister.
He said: “The judge apologized for remanding me and said if they could find a bail hostel outside Lancashire I could stay there, but they couldn't. I’m not sure how hard they looked.”
“I can understand why the police were worried because my accuser said she was scared of me, but they could have put me somewhere in the south. I was crushed. The whole world was put on my shoulders.”
During his trial, the court heard Mr _____ stopped his motorbike when he saw the alleged victim walking near the Raj restaurant in Bolton Road, Blackburn, with two friends.
He took her to the house where his father was staying and was alleged to have attacked her. The defence said the girl had gone willingly.
Mr _____ said: “It only took the jury half an hour to call a verdict. When I heard ‘not guilty’ I was shaking and crying with relief.”
“When they said it, a few members of the jury looked at me and nodded, as if to say, ‘you’re welcome’.”
Mr _____’s grandmother, _____, called for defendants accused of sex offences to be granted anonymity until they are proven guilty, and is worried whether her grandson would ever be able to return to Blackburn.
The 60-year-old said: “The alleged victim has to remain anonymous, which is right, but so should the accused. But we got him home, and that’s the main thing.”
By ERIN FUCHS
A federal appeals court is getting ready to hear the case of a boy who was prosecuted for engaging in sex acts with other boys when he was just 10 years old, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Experimenting with sex is, or was, a normal part of growing up. Now it's a crime that can ruin your life!
Lawyers for the unnamed boy are appealing a court's ruling that found him "delinquent" — the juvenile equivalent of guilty — for having sex with other young boys on an Arizona Army base.
That boy was sentenced to five years of probation, and he's being forced to register as a sex offender. A federal prosecutor told the Journal that the government decided to prosecute the boy because of the "severity of the conduct" involving five boys between the ages of 5 and 7.
The boy's public defender, Keith Hilzendeger, told the Journal he'd never heard of a federal case involving a 10-year-old. "I think this is really overreaching on the part of the government," he said.
Perhaps the worst part of the case involving Hilzendeger's client is his placement on the sex offender registry. In 2007, The New York Times Magazine had a moving story about the stigma and trauma inflicted on young people who were officially registered as "sex offenders."
One boy profiled in that story, Johnnie, had molested his half-sister when he was 11 and she was 4. Four years later, he started the eighth grade at his Delaware middle school and noticed the other kids pointing at him and laughing.
“Hey, aren’t you a sex offender?" one boy asked.
The latest case involving the Arizona Army base being heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit could force the government to justify putting kids on sex offender registries. In the end, the benefit to public safety may not outweigh the harm to the young children on that list, many of whom may be victims of sexual abuse themselves.
- ACLU - Prosecution Is Not the Way to Save a 10-Year-Old Child
- Public Defender Says Putting Minors On Sex Offender Registry Increases Recidivism (Audio below)
The police will have greater powers to restrict the freedom of any individual they suspect of being a potential sex offender, under government proposals.
The restrictions - which could be used against a person never convicted - include limiting internet use and preventing travel abroad.
Breaching a sexual risk order could lead to a five-year jail sentence.
The government said the police will have greater powers to restrict "any person they judge to be a risk".
A second type of order, for those convicted of or cautioned about sexual offences, is also proposed.
The sexual harm prevention order - which would replace sexual offences prevention orders and foreign travel orders - would last a minimum of five years and have no maximum duration. It would apply to those convicted of sexual or violent offences either in the UK or overseas.
A sexual risk order would last a minimum of two years and also have no maximum duration. It would replace the risk of sexual harm order.
Both proposed orders have wider remits and lower risk requirements than the current measures in place.
"Of course, a great deal of stigma is attached to anyone who has such an order made and if the process of obtaining these orders is less than that is needed for a conviction then that's a very worrying departure from our normal standards," he said.
The orders will be granted if a court agrees that an individual has engaged in an act of a sexual nature that could pose a sexual risk to the public.
Previous orders have been granted if a defendant meets more specific criteria.
A report commissioned by Peter Davies from the Association of Chief Police Officers and obtained by the BBC earlier this year said the use of orders was "grossly disproportionately low" compared to the total number of child sex offenders.
This was because the legal test that had to be satisfied was too high and measures "over-complicated", the report said.
The new orders were tabled in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which is expected to be given Royal Assent next spring.
Police and National Crime Agency (NCA) officers could apply for either type of order through a magistrates' court.
A sexual harm prevention order could also be made by a court when a person is convicted.
Individuals will be able to appeal against the orders and either the police or person subject to the order will be able to apply for it to be varied, renewed or discharged.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said: "The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders."
"Today, we are going even further by giving police and National Crime Agency officers the power to place greater restrictions on any person they judge to be a risk."
"Our proposals support the Childhood Lost campaign to tighten the law on sex offenders and make it easier for police to monitor them."
‘A picture lasts forever’ is likely not the thought going through a person’s head when he or she is being booked at the clink (well, unless that person is Lindsay Lohan). Yet mugshots have over the last few years taken on an Internet permanence thanks to a host of sites that use liberal public records laws to get their hands on mugshots and make them part of people’s Google footprints. The industry first started getting scrutiny two years ago when Wired highlighted a Florida mugshot site that made its money by publishing slammer shots and running ads alongside them, or worse, charging people to have them taken down.
The practice has only thrived and expanded since then, according to a piece in the New York Times this weekend that looks at the rise of the embarrassment extortion industry and attempts by individuals and lawmakers to curb the practice while not impeding on freedom of information. Legislators in Utah have, for example, forbidden sheriff’s offices from giving mugshots to sites that will charge to take them down. A lawyer in Ohio has filed a class-action lawsuit against some of the sites accusing them of extortion and violating people’s “right of publicity,” a state statute similar to the one that got Facebook sued for using people’s profile pics in ‘Sponsored Stories.’
But rather than a legal fix, New York Times reporter David Segal’s investigation may be the fix. His inquiries to Google, Paypal, Visa, American Express, Discover and others about their role in promoting and monetizing these sites has led to a serious backlash. Google has changed its algorithms to rank these sites lower — under the premise that they run afoul of an unspecified Google guideline. Via the NYTimes:
[Google introduced] that algorithm change sometime on Thursday. The effects were immediate: on Friday, two mug shots of Janese Trimaldi, which had appeared prominently in an image search, were no longer on the first page. For owners of these sites, this is very bad news.
And in a move that resembles the Wikileaks payment blockade, every payment provider contacted by Segal said they had plans to cut off funding to the sites. “We looked at the activity and found it repugnant,” Mastercard general counsel Noah Hanft told Segal.
MasterCard executives contacted the merchant bank that handles all of its largest mug-shot site accounts and urged it to drop them as customers. “They are in the process of terminating them,” Mr. Hanft said.
PayPal came back with a similar response after being contacted for this article.
“When mug-shot removal services were brought to our attention and we made a careful review,” said John Pluhowski, a spokesman for PayPal, “we decided to discontinue support for mug-shot removal payments.”
American Express and Discover were contacted on Monday and, two days later, both companies said they were severing relationships with mug-shot sites.
Segal writes that Visa is also reexamining its payment processing for these sites. One of the mugshot site owners expressed dismay at the drop in site traffic and losing his ability to collect money telling Segal they’re “trying to wrap our heads around this.” Notably, when Wikileaks faced a similar problem, it turned to Bitcoin — a system of finance that isn’t controlled by intermediaries that can pass this kind of judgment.
Private industry may wind up doing what lawmakers are constitutionally forbidden to do: killing an ugly information practice by both burying it in search results and cutting off its funding sources. If we’re all on board with locking up the mugshot industry, it’s great. But it’s also a kind of scary display of the power of private industry to control speech on the Internet.