Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another Megan's Law murder

Once again, Megan's Law has facilitated a murder.

Megan's Law, which allows the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders to be listed on the Internet, is often criticized for its theoretical ability to facilitate vigilante violence.

The Los Angeles Times reports on a killing in Lake County, Calif., in which prosecutors are investigating the possibility that this very fear may have come true for the first time in the state.

Convicted rapist Michael Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead from stab wounds last month in his mobile home. They quickly arrested his neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," police said.

Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse on Nov. 30.

A neighbor of Oliver's said that two days before the killing, he "told every house" in the trailer park that he found Dodele's name listed on the Web site of convicted sexual offenders, and was uncomfortable living near him.

... Oliver said he had a son who was molested in the past and he took action to protect the child.

"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

As it turned out, Dodele was not actually a child molester. His records show he sexually assaulted adult women. ...

Charlene Steen, a psychologist who examined Dodele ... blamed the messenger. "I think [Oliver and Dodele] are both victims of the Internet," she said.

Steen needs to get a grip... or maybe she has a good point. If Oliver is a "victim of the Internet," then perhaps Megan's Law should be repealed to prevent further such innocent victims.

But in reality, Oliver has taken Megan's Law to the point desired by many Americans, as evidenced by many a comment on sex-offender news articles online using the very same justification Oliver used. A lot of people would turn Oliver loose with a commendation; to them the end justifies the means. They should pray they don't live long enough to see their philosophy become predominant (if it isn't already).