Wednesday, May 23, 2007

BIG TROUBLE AHEAD (action needed)

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

Department of Justice Announces Proposed National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today released proposed National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification, as required by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.

These proposed Guidelines detail the minimum national standards and offer key guidance to the states, the District of Columbia, territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes, as they implement their sex offender registration and notification policies. By providing an effective and comprehensive national system, the proposed Guidelines will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to track and monitor sex offenders. Complementing the release of the proposed Guidelines, the Attorney General also announced $25 million in assistance for communities to implement these proposed Guidelines and take other steps to guard against sex offenders.

“Too often, sex offenders continue to harm children even after a previous conviction,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “By establishing minimum national standards, these proposed Guidelines will assist all levels of government in working together to more effectively monitor sex offenders, and will equip parents to better protect their children from unwittingly interacting with sex offenders.”

Today’s announcement comes as the Department marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. ...

Okay. We have politicians weighing in on The Easy Issue, deluding parents into thinking they'll somehow be safer so they can let down their guard. (It will be a hard awakening for some.)

The bad news is here. It's long and complex, but a necessary read. This is a MAJOR expansion of Megan's law. A few selected points ("SORNA" by the way, is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006):

As noted in the rulemaking document for the cited regulations, the application of the SORNA standards to sex offenders whose convictions predate SORNA creates no ex post facto problem “because the SORNA sex offender registration and notification requirements are intended to be non-punitive, regulatory measures adopted for public safety purposes, and hence may validly be applied (and enforced by criminal sanctions) against sex offenders whose predicate convictions occurred prior to the creation of these requirements. See Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003).” 72 FR 8894, 8896 (Feb. 28, 2007).

Very nicely done. "Intended to be non-punitive" translates directly to "non-punitive" (George Orwell, you were so visionary!), and it's for "public safety purposes" (hmmm... where have I heard that before? A few times back in the 20th century?) so it's okay.

Now note in the following a rather extreme increase in the jacking up of offense levels. No longer is it tied to ANY measure of likelihood of re-offense, it is tied directly to the conviction. This isn't about public safety, it's about punishment.


Section 111(2)-(4) of SORNA defines three “tiers” of sex offenders. The tier classifications have implications in three areas: (i) under section 115, the required duration of registration depends primarily on the tier; (ii) under section 116, the required frequency of in-person appearances by sex offenders to verify registration information depends on the tier; (iii) under section 118(c)(1), information about tier I sex offenders convicted of offenses other than specified offenses against a minor may be exempted from website disclosure. ...

Registration information is another cute element. They're wanting pretty much everything except your bank account and credit card numbers (and how long until they demand that too?). And look at the really specious reasons they want for various things: "may help in investigating crimes", "may help to discourage them", "to facilitate communication between registration personnel and a sex offender in case issues arise relating to the sex offender’s registration" (that's for *requiring* cellphone numbers), "it is valuable to have information about other places in which sex offenders are staying, even if only temporarily."


Section 114 of SORNA defines the required minimum informational content of sex offender registries. It is divided into two lists. The first list, set forth in subsection (a) of section 114, describes information that the registrant will normally be in a position to provide. The second list, set forth in subsection (b), describes information that is likely to require some affirmative action by the jurisdiction to obtain, beyond asking the sex offender for the information. Supplementary to the information that the statute explicitly describes, section 114(a)(7) and (b)(8) authorize the Attorney General to specify additional information that must be obtained and included in the registry. This expansion authority is utilized to require including in the registries a number of additional types of information, such as information about registrants’ e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and the like, information concerning the whereabouts of registrants who lack fixed abodes or definite places of employment, and information about temporary lodging, as discussed below.

And there's more. Professional licenses?!?

# EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION (§ 114(a)(4), (a)(7)):

* EMPLOYER NAME AND ADDRESS (§ 114(a)(4)): ...


* PROFESSIONAL LICENSES (§ 114(a)(7)): ...

VEHICLE INFORMATION (§ 114(a)(6), (a)(7)): ...

Every single vehicle a registered sex offender might ever drive today or in the future. Oh yes. This includes boats and aircraft. I guess if you're a registered sex offender and an airline captain, you're out of a job and out of luck. But let's look on the bright side; you'll have a whole better access to children flipping burgers in that burger joint than you will sitting in an airplane cockpit in front of a whole planeload of people.

For the next item, talk about a total waste of time and money. You have these already. Even if the photo taken in the "registration" environment is older than 102.3 hours, you already have drivers' license or state ID photos. Dragging these folks down for renewals will be immensely destructive of any rehabilitative efforts (meaning you're encouraging them to go straight and be productive and law-abiding citizens).

# CURRENT PHOTOGRAPH (§ 114(b)(4)): ...

Finally, there is the information REQUIRED to be published on websites:

* The name of the sex offender, including any aliases.
* The address of each residence at which the sex offender resides or will reside and, if the sex offender does not have any (present or expected) residence address, other information about where the sex offender has his or her home or habitually lives. If current information of this type is not available because the sex offender is in violation of the requirement to register or unlocatable, the website must so note.
* The address of any place where the sex offender is an employee or will be an employee and, if the sex offender is employed but does not have a definite employment address, other information about where the sex offender works.
* The address of any place where the sex offender is a student or will be a student.
* The license plate number and a description of any vehicle owned or operated by the sex offender.
* A physical description of the sex offender.
* The sex offense for which the sex offender is registered and any other sex offense for which the sex offender has been convicted.
* A current photograph of the sex offender.

It goes on and on. My prediction: If this passes you will see formerly-registered sex offenders go underground en masse, turning to "predatory behaviors" (robbery and murder) in order simply to survive.

This may sound really good to John Walsh, who exploits the death of his murdered son (nobody knows who or why)for financial andpublicity gains, and for politicians looking for an easy boost in the polls but it's a bad, bad deal for the American public. The latter will pay the penalty for this law.

But there is good news. One can act:

The proposed Guidelines and a frequently asked questions sheet about them are now available at This posting will soon be announced in the Federal Register, and the public will have until Aug. 1, 2007, to comment on the proposed Guidelines. The Department urges all interested parties to consider the proposed Guidelines carefully and submit comments to assist in the release of final Guidelines. Comments may be submitted to

Read it, digest it, pass it on and respond.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Banned from the Internet. Totally!

As with the preceding post (below), I suspect I have to say "My bad" again. The predominant provisions of this bill apply to those under supervision or who used the Internet as an element of their crime ("luring", or worse).

New Jersey moves closer to banning sex offenders from Internet

RENTON, N.J. - New Jersey is closer to barring released sex offenders from using the Internet.

An Assembly committee on Monday approved the proposal along with others to combat sex offenders. The Internet ban was approved by the Senate in March and can now be weighed by the full Assembly.

"Every day we see reports on television of sick people taking advantage of the Internet to prey on our children," said Senate President Richard J. Codey, the bill's sponsor. "The time has come to pull the plug on these criminals."

Under the plan, convicted sex offenders would have to submit to periodic, unannounced examinations of their computer equipment, install equipment on their computer so its use could be monitored and inform law enforcement if they have access to a computer. Those caught using the Internet would face 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Sex offenders caught using the Internet to solicit a child would face a mandatory five years in jail, rather than three years imposed under current law.

Also, online dating sites would also have to notify New Jersey residents whether they do background checks, a proposal opposed by Internet companies such as Yahoo!, AOL, eHarmony and ...

The plan might pass muster if it's not applied retroactively, that is, to those whose offense (real or alleged) predated the law. Otherwise it's really difficult to see this one as surviving a court challenge, but in today's environment where even the Bill of Rights apparently doesn't apply to certain citizens, er, subjects anymore, anything could happen.

The rest of it, I'm in favor! Increase the penalties for "luring", by all means. And if ANY website is going to do background checks of any kind, it ought to notify those about to sign up.

Note to self: the media are increasingly unreliable reporters of news. Check the bills first!

What Constitution? (warrantless searches)

My bad, I think. The only bill I could on this indicates that this is for sex offenders on parole, and thus under supervision, where the rules are different. It just surprises me that they need warrants to search a parolee's premises, but what do I know? I guess they do.

In any event I now understand the ACLU's position.

It seems there is no depth to which lawmakers will not descend when it comes to sex offender legislation. Not even the Constitution will stand in their way -- and when lawmakers are brazen enough to attempt to violate the Bill of Rights all I can say is, "America, it was nice knowing you."

N.C. lawmakers rush to pass sex-offender bills

RALEIGH — Grier Weeks has scorn for politicians who go after sex offenders with what he describes as trendy gimmicks.

“Given the choice of say, putting a GPS gadget on them and putting them on the Internet, and actually doing something,” the Asheville child advocate said, politicians “will go for the gadget every time.”


[Rep. Bruce Goforth, D-Buncombe] last year succeeded in banning sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care center, and requiring repeat offenders to be monitored with an ankle bracelet linked to the Global Positioning System.

This year he’s supported efforts to make those rules more strict, including writing warrantless searches of sex offenders into law.

“We’re going to tighten the law on them,” he said. “I have no mercy on sex offenders.”

The state American Civil Liberties Union chapter said it’s satisfied with the version of that bill that passed the House. ...

Not even the ACLU can be relied upon anymore.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If this bill passes and stands, the 4th Amendment is dead.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why you DO NOT collect sex-offender e-mail addresses

Somebody left an interesting comment to the previous posting. The commenter apparently didn't read this blog's history because I did comment on this last December (to tell the truth I had to dig back into the archive to be sure). But in any event I followed the given link and found this:

Subject: Special Offer to Registered Sex Offender

Dear Registered Sex Offender,

You receive this unique, special, and valuable, offer because
when we checked our lists of email addresses against online lists
or lists held by our social networking site of registered sex
offender email addresses your address matched.

As you are registered sex offender we are certain you will be
interested in our extensive offerings of natural photography of
highest quality and art, conveniently categorised and hiding
absolutely nothing. It is all at very low price.

All transactions are handled discreetly through our offices in
Moscow. After you register with us, for low one-time fee you will
receive special software used to unwrap your previews and purchases
which arrive inside strongest encryption for your privacy.

You may choose to have your purchases e-mailed to you or for even
more privacy you choose to download them from your choice of
servers we maintain in other countries. Servers change from time
to time so we update your list upon receipt of your purchase,
wrapped similar to your purchases for your privacy.

To register for our service send us e-mail from account that you
received this note. Send it to and
give us e-mail address to contact you.

We look forward to doing business with you and in prospect of
this have attached samples for your pleasure.

Art Of Beauty

You know, the more I look at this the more I think somebody read this post and responded. "Offices in Moscow"? But if so they'd be beyond the reach of U.S. law.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Price on Their Heads

Shirley Lowery
May 6, 2007

Immaturity, drugs and alcohol use impair judgment. Reckless driving, cheating on a spouse, robbing a convenience store, hurting the feelings of a loved one, causing physical pain to someone they hold dear or acting out in a sexual inappropriate way are a few examples of impaired judgment. Most of these actions result in a victim. What separates the sick and incurable from the ones who can move on with their lives?

It is well documented in Texas that the drug task forces were paid “per head” for arrests. Guilt or innocence was not a consideration. The federal government was footing the bill.The same thing is being done with sex offenders. Arrest a “sex offender” and the government check is larger.

Florida is one of the states that keep the deceased, the deported and the incarcerated on the registry. All states require visiting sex offenders to register. Many of the “missing” sex offenders simply went home but padding the registries is a game the states play with the feds.

The feds play their own games too. They hold states hostage by depriving them of 10% of their federal funding if any of them fail to meet federal mandates on sex offender registration. States are also encouraged to be creative and add their own tweaks to the mandates.

The federal government paid for a study on sex offender recidivism that no politician seems to be aware of. It plainly states that the recidivism rate for child molesters over a 3-year follow up period is 3.3%. Out of 1000 arrests for sex crimes an average of 33 will have a previous record. Why was nothing done to prevent the 967 new offences?

The BJS did another study in 2003 that involved all crimes. The percentage per thousand per person or household is as follows:

Rape/sexual assault- 0.8

Rape/attempted rape- 0.5

Attempted rape/assault- 0.2

Sexual assault- 0.3

This information is specific and shows 98.2% of crimes committed in this nation are of a non-sexual nature.


Bureau of Justice Statistics

filename: cv0301.csv


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Study: Child sex attacks decreased before passage of Megan's Law

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Researchers conducting a study of Megan's Law have found that child sex assaults were decreasing even before the landmark legislation was passed in 1994.

The new federal study is trying to determine whether Megan's Law _ named after a suburban Trenton girl who was raped and murdered by a sex offender living in her neighborhood _ is worth the millions of dollars spent by local and county government to notify residents when a convicted sex offender moves nearby.

The law, one of the first of its kind in the nation, requires sex criminals to report to authorities where they are living. It has been a model for dozens of similar laws throughout the country.

Researchers found that sex attacks against children began to decline three years before Megan's Law took effect in 1994 and have continued downward, raising concern that the law may not have influenced the decline.

"We don't know whether Megan's Law really works," Phillip Witt, a consultant to the study, told The Philadelphia Inquirer for Sunday newspapers.

The study cost $38,252 and is being conducted by the state Department of Corrections. It is expected to be completed early next year.

According to data compiled by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, sex offenses against children fell 49 percent between 1990 and 2004.

"Megan's Law is riding the coattails of the natural downward trend," said Kristen Zgoba, a Corrections Department researcher who is heading up the study. "Is it worth the amount of money and manpower we're pouring into it?"

To maintain an Internet registry of about 11,300 sex offenders, of which about 2,190 are regarded as high risk, the state pays seven full-time employees between $35,000 and $52,000 a year. Door-to-door notifications can cost thousands as well.

But at least one person says the benefits of knowing if a sex offender lives nearby far outweighs the cost.

Maureen Kanka, Megan's mother, said she believed the law named after her daughter will outweigh the scrutiny.

"If I had known there was a pedophile living across the street, Megan would be alive and well today," she said. "Is the law perfect? No. Does it make a difference? Absolutely."


Friday, May 04, 2007

New links

Added some new links in the sidebar.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blogger is dropping content - click thru on links

Penny-wise Yet Pound-foolish

Desperate People Do Horrific Things

Follow by Example - Britain Denies Public Outcry for Public Sex Offender Registry

Terry Brown

April 29, 2007
Earlier this month the British Government announced that it has rejected public demands for “Sarah’s Law,” a body of legislation modeled after Megan’s Law in the United States, which makes the law-enforcement accessible sex offender registry available to the general public.

Lawmakers in our Motherland decided that rather than implementing knee-jerk laws, as we have seen throughout state and federal legislative bodies here in the U.S., they would take the more intelligent approach and conduct impact studies based on leading expert opinions on the issue of sexual abuse before enacting proposed bills into law. After long and careful review they decided that the experts were right and that public access to this information would not only have little impact on public safety but what impact it would have would be counterproductive and would actually increase danger to communities.

This decision speaks volumes, and Americans would do well to take heed and demand changes in U.S. laws to reverse the social time-bomb that presently exists here at home. One U.S. lawmaker said it best when he stated that the public is simply too emotional when it comes to this issue to make rational decisions with regard to such laws and that such a mentality equated to “political impotence.”1

The overwhelming factor in the British decision to keep the sex offender registry out of the public eye has been, “the fear of vigilantism and of driving sex offenders ‘underground.’” The strongest statement in this regard was, “We cannot open the sex offenders register to the vigilantes who do not understand the difference between pediatricians and pedophiles. ”

Without question the public access to the sex offender registry not only promotes vigilantism, but it also makes it nearly impossible for those on the register to find gainful employment and stable housing accommodations. This is increasingly the case with each new mechanism dreamt up by lawmakers attempting to further their political careers by profiting from this political cash cow. Recently there have been requirements introduced forcing registrants to include their place of employment as well as their on-line identifications, and such information will inherently keep employers from hiring any person on this register.

We have reached the point that people are being court-ordered to live under bridges giving a sort of macabre symbolism to the troll under the bridge, and when these people plea to the courts to put them back in prison rather than having to live such an existence the courts have effectively told them, “No, now get back under that bridge.”

There are reasons that the bedrock principles of our justice system came into existence. These bedrock principles are what made our system the best in the world. To simply throw them out the window is not only senseless, it is dangerous. The notion that the punishment must fit the crime and the notion that once a debt has been paid to society the person be allowed to resume some sense of normalcy must be restored in the United States of America or catastrophic chaos will most certainly ensue.

I encourage every American voter to pick up a pen or a telephone and communicate with your lawmakers and demand that they introduce responsible legislation that will truly work to protect our communities. We must have balance and consideration of expert opinion in our laws in order to maximize all our safety, in order to accomplish this goal we must remove emotion from the equation.

1 'Blunkett pledges to target sex offenders,' The Guardian, October 2, 2002

The Wasp - An Allegory of Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S.

The Wasp - An Allegory of Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S.

Terry Brown

April 25, 2007

I just came in from cleaning the pool. While I was doing so a wasp flew around looking for a drink. He was minding his own business just going about his daily activities trying to survive and not bothering anyone.

Immediately I became irritated by his mere presence. Unknowingly, he carried on his back a reputation created by those few wasps of the millions in our airways who have stung a fellow human. Immediately, instinctively I wanted to stop him before he had the opportunity to inflict that same pain upon me. In my mind his mere presence represented a threat to me.

I used the long reach of my skimmer pole to cast a net over him and force him below the water. As I held him there, basking in the glory of my ability to control my own destiny by ridding the world of one more threat, I noticed several of his brethren flying around also seeking a cool and refreshing beverage. After several minutes I decided he must be dead, and even if he wasn’t it was sort of pointless as there were simply too many of them to kill them all. I pulled the skimmer up and laid it on the deck of the pool in its usual spot.

I then laid on my chaise lounge to soak up some rays and enjoy the relaxation of the music. I didn’t give that insignificant wasp a second thought.

Just when I started to doze into unconsciousness I felt a sharp pain on my foot and looked down to find a dripping wet wasp walking around with his wings raised as if in a fighting posture. This wasp had just stung me!

I said to myself, “hmmm, guess I asked for that.”

I noted this link a few days ago (I've been busy). It looks like he has more to say and I'll be checking that out, but this piece leaves me wondering. We've been quite busy "tightening up," "getting tougher," and exercising a whole lot of other euphemisms for beating up on ex-cons of the registered sex offender variety. When will things come to the breaking point, when will one say "enough is enough" and give in to the temptation to engage in some major "resistance"?