Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CO - Colorado law allows sex offenders to remove name from State’s registry

Off the list
Original Article (Video available)

04/06/2014

By Eric Ross

If you believe a sex offender remains on the State's registry for life, think again.

News 5 learned by simply filing a petition, offenders can ask a judge to have his or her name removed.
- As it should be!

Marilyn Spittler is upset, and angry after learning her ex-husband and convicted sex offender, _____, filed a petition in Douglas County Court to have his offender status wiped away.

"We need to do something about this law," Spittler said.

Spittler is referring to a Colorado law that allows sex offenders to erase their name from the registry. Her ex-husband was accused of assaulting not one, but two of her daughters back in the 1990's. For their protection and at Spittler's request, we are not releasing their names.

The abuse was alleged to have been going on for 8 years. After one of Spittler's daughters came forward, _____ was arrested and charged with a laundry list of sex crimes.

It's important to note _____ was not convicted on all the sex crimes he was originally charged with committing.

_____ was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He served time in prison through the Colorado Department of Corrections from Aug. 27, 1996 until Nov. 12, 1996.

He was not released on parole.

His sentence was converted by a judge to a community corrections sentence.

After being released from prison, _____ registered as a sex offender.

Now, he wants his name removed.

Spittler says as long as she's living, she'll be fighting to make sure he remains on the list for life.

"His victims have permanent memories and permanent damage," she said. "They can't go petition the court to remove those memories. It's permanent in their lives and it should be permanent in his life as well."
- As long as someone sees themselves as damaged goods, then so shall they be!

Since 2006, more than 2,300 hundred convicted sex offenders were able to remove their name from the registry.

Below are statistics provided to News 5 by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation regarding the number of sex offenders across the state who have successfully removed his/her name from the registry:
  • 2006: 152
  • 2007: 221
  • 2008: 261
  • 2009: 314
  • 2010: 321
  • 2011: 469
  • 2012: 508
  • 2013: 459
  • 2014: 102 through March, 14, 2014

"The overall theory of our criminal justice system is that you do your time, you should be able to move on with life," attorney Christopher Braddock said.

Braddock has helped a handful of sex offenders win their case.

"I think you have to look at if they (the offender) has done their time, you have to consider how much time is enough," Braddock said.

Susan Walker, executive director for Coalition For Sexual Offense Restoration, an advocacy group for sex offenders, says the public doesn't understand the life-long harmful effects this list creates.

"People are kept from housing and jobs," she said. "They are sometimes persecuted."

The registry removal law was created as a second chance opportunity, rewarding those who have served their time and haven't re-offended.

Laws like this are fairly common.

Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri are just a few states that allow offenders to get off the registry.

However, Spittler refuses to be sympathetic with offenders, especially ones who prey on children.

While _____ hasn't been in trouble with the law since serving his time, Spittler believes he is still a risk.

"This particular offender works in an industry where he needs access to buildings," she said. "If you remove him from the list, there's nothing stopping him from applying for computer and technology installation contracts at schools, civic centers or daycares."

Sex offenders convicted of molesting children can no longer petition the courts to have his or her name removed. In _____'s case, he's eligible to appeal his registry requirement since his conviction took place two years before that law was changed.

There was legislation drafted last year to make it harder for offenders to remove their names. That ultimately failed due to a discrepancy. It was not reintroduced this legislative session.

_____'s case will be reviewed on April 10.

A judge will likely decide at that time whether to allow _____'s name to be removed.

Calls placed to _____ for comment were not returned.


CO - Boulder sex offender stabbed a second time

This happens all the time and is proof why the online registry needs to be taken offline to prevent this type of crime, and community notifications need to be done by unmarked police vehicles in plain clothes as well.


Sex Offender Intimidation & Extortion


TX - Midland Man (Joe Garza) Addresses City Council For New Sex Offender Ordinance

Joe Garza
Joe Garza
Original Article

04/09/2014

By Justin Kree

MIDLAND - It's a story NewsWest 9 has been following since the beginning. A registered sex offender caught twice masturbating in a Midland neighborhood, in front of the same family.

"I want a law to pass, or something to pass for all these sexual predators to have a sign posted in front of their house, or if they live in an apartment complex to put in front of the door. We need to protect our children," Joe Garza said.

Joe Garza is on a mission to make sex offenders like _____, more visible in the community.

On March 10th, _____ was arrested for masturbating across the street from Garza's home, in plain sight of his 5 year old daughter.

NewsWest 9 has been following this story, we first spoke to Joe and his wife, Sandra a few weeks ago when this happened.

_____ was arrested again on April 3 committing the same act.

Mayor Jerry Morales addressed Garza's concerns at Tuesday's meeting.

"What will happen is legal will do the research on that and give us an opinion on if we have any jurisdiction on that, creating those types of ordinances. There still a lot of research to do on that law. We definitely want to take the seriousness of that issue and see what legal has to say about it." Mayor, Morales said.

"I'm glad that he recognized what was going on and that I brought it to their attention. Hopefully the city council can see that we need to change something for the children," Garza said.

So what are the restrictions placed on sex offenders living near a school zone?

"They cannot be within a 1000 feet. If they live within a 1000 feet of the time of their offense, they can live there but under severe restrictions," Sheriff, Painter said.

Midland County's Sheriff, Gary Painter says if sex offenders are allowed free they must fill out this pre-release notification form which goes into extensive detail.

Authorities keep an even closer eye on sex offenders when Halloween rolls around.

"If they are at home, their light cannot be on. We'll go around, we'll make contact with all of our offenders to make sure they are compliant with the law. Also make sure there are no kids at the residence or coming up to the residence," Painter said.

As far as Garza's idea for putting up signs in a sex offender's yard, Mayor Morales believes it's a good idea.

"Most definitely, if any constituents can speak their mind, we are definitely going to listen. We want to take a matter of that magnitude very seriously and so we will get some good definite answers," Morales said.


American Justice: It’s Not What You Did, It’s Who You Know

Double Standard
Original Article

04/09/2014

By WillB

You hear it all the time; a man gets caught soliciting an underage girl and the public cries out! He’s called a “monster”, a “predator”. Chances are he will spend several years in prison and live the rest of his life labeled as a pariah; a “registered sex offender”. Unless, of course, the man is politically or socially connected.

We recently saw two examples of the double standard when it comes to prosecuting individuals for sex offenses. Last week actor James Franco, 35, solicited an underage girl on vacation. The series of texts and Instagram messages were publicly broadcast when the teenager posted them online. He apologized for the incident on Live With Kelly and Michael (Video), said he learned his lesson and seemingly will be allowed to go on with his life. Two weeks ago, a former Tennessee Alderman, Richard L. Smith, was sentenced to only two years probation and only two years on the registry for also soliciting a minor through texts and social media.

What distinguished the actions of these two individuals from the thousands who serve long prison sentences and a lifetime as a sexual offender? Their political and social connections.

The most glaring examples are Joshua Lunsford and John Walsh themselves. Joshua Lunsford is the brother of Jessica Lunsford, who was abducted and killed in 2005 and after whom several sex offender laws are named. Two years after her death Joshua Lunsford was sentenced to only 10 days in jail, one year of probation and no registration requirement for fondling a 14 year old girl. John Walsh, father of Adam Walsh, another child victim and after whom the country’s most elaborate sex offender law is named, admitted to dating his wife when she was a minor. He even joked about it on a Biography Channel documentary.

Florida is not without its own double standard. In 2006, Florida Congressman Mark Foley, who was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which introduced legislation targeting sexual predators and created stricter guidelines for tracking them, himself was caught in a sexting scandal targeting an underage congressional page. He was never charged.

Apparently, in America justice is not blind. It’s not what you did that determines whether you should serve a lifetime of punishment, stigma and shame on the sex offender registry, it’s who you know.


CA - Sex offender murdered by David Barrera and Patricia Perez after a U.S. Marshals sweep outed him as a registered sex offender

Bloody Murder
Original Article (Video available)

This is exactly why the online registry needs to be taken offline and residency verification checks should be done by unmarked police in civilian clothes.

04/08/2014

By Corin Hoggard

FRESNO (KFSN) - A Fresno Army Reserve center was ground zero for a murder investigation involving drinking buddies.

_____ was stabbed to death in Sept. 2012, just days after a U.S. Marshals sweep outed him as a registered sex offender.

_____ hid the fact that he was a registered sex offender from his neighbors and landlords in Southwest Fresno. But when a sex offender sweep gave him away, he disappeared for a couple weeks. The day he came back, he turned up dead.

A trail of evidence led police from an Army Reserve center to the alleyway behind a Southwest Fresno shopping center, and then to a home.

"They confronted him and they murdered him right there," prosecutor Jeff Dupras said.

Dupras says David Barrera and Patricia Perez killed _____. He says evidence proves the murder was a two-person job.

"We know this because he had these marks on his neck," Dupras said. "While one of them was doing this, the other person stabbed him 58 times."

_____ was a convicted rapist who hid his past from many of those around him, including Perez, who rented him a detached garage.

But when U.S. Marshals conducted a sweep to make sure sex offenders were where they were supposed to be, _____ couldn't hide it any more.

With her girlfriend's two teenagers in her home, prosecutors say Perez mistakenly believed he was a pedophile, giving her a motive to kill. Her attorney disagrees.

"The only youngsters that Patricia Perez has that are close to her are her grandchildren and none of them live there," said Mark Siegel.

Surveillance video from the Army Reserve center on the night of the murder shows a pickup truck arriving a few feet from the gate, where the body was found.

Police later found _____' blood in Barrera's pickup. But his attorney says there's nothing proving Barrera committed murder.

"Maybe he wasn't even involved in the murder but let somebody use his truck," said defense attorney Gerald Schwab. "Or even say for example he was driving the truck, that doesn't put him with a murder weapon in his hand killing anybody."

A teenage girl living in Perez's home could be a key witness in a two-week trial. Prosecutors say she saw Perez and Barrera by his truck the night of the murder just before the time the body was dumped.


The Lost Daughter

User Story
The following was sent to us via the "Tell us your story" form and posted with the users permission.

By A:
All I am when I think about this is confused. Partly hurt, but mostly confused. And alone. My dad is an RSO. It's something that I don't tell my friends or talk about at all, except for my family. I do walk in fear that someone might find out because of the online registry and treat me badly because of it or ridicule my family. It would be AMAZINGLY helpful if my father could actually learn a decent living wage like most people, in order for our family to live well. And not to be defined by his societal title. I have dreams of being a classical musician and am at a loss how I'm going to pay for my Conservatory tuition or a new instrument. It hurts to see that many others can be supported by their parents and I can't explain why mine cannot.

I hope that things can change and life can get better for RSO's, and their families.