Sunday, May 11, 2008

HR-5722: "International Megan's Law"

The site just mentioned below has a serious item posted on it: Bill HR-5722, "International Megan's Law" which apparently calls for notifying the destination country that an American registered sex offender is headed to, for any purpose including vacation.

The site's owner correctly notes that if this bill passes, the destination countries will prevent the registered sex offender from entering.

This cuts off the one right a lawyer friend called the one right to preserve above all else -- the right to leave. The walls are rising...

Bookmark this site

Researching some material a few days ago I ran across this very interesting site:
(http://www, "News & Noteworthy: Articles Concerning Sex Offender Issues"

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Sex Offender Hoax: America´s Screwed Up Priorities

Article by Jessica Lee. Appeared on "American Chronicle" and subsequently pulled (are they bowing to the forces of Political Correctness and practicing self-censorship? I don't know). It took some digging to find this cached version. Now I'm not a Ron Paul For President fan (I WANT him as a presidential cabinet member, though), and the link at the end of this post refers back to the posting that "American Chronicle" yanked, so beyond that point you're on your own. But Ms. Lee makes a lot of sense here.

I have voted on a lot of sex offender legislation but the latest development makes me ashamed to be an American.

At a time when most of us are struggling to put gas in our cars and food on our tables Texas has completed a 1.2 million dollar upgrade to list employers of sex offenders on registries. This is not to protect anyone but to insure that people fail. We have actually found a way to reach a new low.

Even the Mafia would not use such under handed tactics as those being used here. The government feeds this information to the public knowing full well that it will be used in the exact fashion as intended. Employers will not want nor do they deserve to be listed on a sex offender registry so this is a huge step up for increasing lawlessness. It tends to make law abiding citizens want to gag.

These efforts are due to the requirements of the Federal Adam Walsh Act and being in compliance will bring millions of dollars to the individual states. The truth is that the Feds don´t have the millions of dollars to give the states. If they did it would still not be enough to keep this program afloat. It will end up costing us millions and that is a well known fact.

We are in a hard economic crunch. Many of us don´t care where sex offenders work. We are more concerned with gas for the car, food for the table and roofs over the heads of our families. Since we have all of these extra millions why are Medicaid and Medicare constantly being cut? It is evident that that our poor and elderly are not a concern. Hot button issues are needed for reelection but that is wearing thin. We have spent fortunes for empty promises and have succeeded in creating an even bigger mess.

In England sex offender issues are not used as political brick bats. There is no law against it but the British have a code of ethics that is completely lacking in the United States. Their leaders are united in keeping children safe and it puts our system to shame. They don´t have the problems that we do and politicians aren´t trying to out-tough one another by exploiting kids. When it comes to a choice between buying food and paying for a sex offender registry I will opt for the food every time.

Four thousand solders have given their lives and many more are maimed from trying to protect their dysfunctional homeland. How demoralizing it must be to put one´s life on the line for a nation of people who fear sex offenders more than foreign terrorists and home is a corrupt place that is being gutted from within by our American brothers and sisters.

Our foreign debt has far exceeded our worst expectations and chunks of the core of America continue to be sold to the Asians and the Arabs. As America crumbles into decay there seems to be only one certainty. We are a sinking nation that will go down with a death grip on sex offender laws but some of us won´t have current information. Cable TV and Internet services are being canceled in record numbers because of reduced budgets. Those extras are useless in a vagrant society where an alarming number of families are losing their homes.

Sex crimes are serious and are committed by less than 5% of the population. Something is very wrong if authorities can´t handle this without putting out hit lists in the form of public registration. Our entire way of life has changed because of a problem that tends to originate within the home. Less than one half of one percent of these crimes includes strangers, stalking, abduction and death.

Having recently lost a child I understand the feelings of rage and horror but the rest of the world is not responsible for my loss. I would never leave a child alone in the Sears toy department and don´t know any parent who would. But, as my child´s caretaker, a couple of things done differently could have changed the outcome. That is something I have to live with and I will not be pointing fingers at people who had no involvement. Our country is incredibly short on personal responsibility.

There are many among us who will jump at the opportunity to aid and abet in making more people jobless, homeless and hopeless but I am not one of them. My soul is not for sale.

There are vigilante groups online that thrive on blaming everyone else for their personal problems. These are nasty people so if you know the identity of Stitchess77, Daydreamer of Oz, Jacey, Violet Leaves or Boycott_Amazon I would appreciate your input. There are subpoenas waiting to be served.

On April 15th there is a Take Back America Rally being held on the west lawn of the Whitehouse. Ron Paul will be leading the charge so make your voices heard! more.. by Rebecca Lee

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sex Offender Neighbors Seek Tax Breaks

SOUTHBURY, Conn. —  Neighbors of a convicted sex offender are seeking tax breaks on their homes.

Some two dozen homeowners in the Fox Run Drive area believe their property values dropped last fall when David Pollitt moved to his sister's home in their neighborhood.

They tried but can't force Pollitt to move out, so they have asked the town to reduce their property tax assessments by as much as 17 percent.

They argue the presence of a registered sex offender has lowered the sale price of their homes.

Pollitt, 54, was released in October after more than 24 years in prison for a series of rapes.

Carolyn Nadeau, president of the Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers, said the request may be the first of its kind in the state.

"I've never had an instance like this," she said. "Any number of times there are distractions that people feel negatively impact their property values, such as unsightly blight, but we haven't seen this."

The company that revalued all properties in Southbury last fall rejected the residents' plea for help. The new values took effect Oct. 1 and Pollitt didn't move to the neighborhood until Oct. 12.

Residents plan to take their case to the Board of Assessment Appeals in March.

Mark Lynch, who lives next door to Pollitt's sister in a house assessed at $243,080, believes residents deserve a break.

"If I wanted to sell my house tomorrow morning, how many people would want to buy it?" Lynch said.

Homes are assessed at 70 percent of their fair market value for tax purposes.

Woodbury real estate agency owner Joyce Drakeley said her agents would tell a client if a house was in a neighborhood with a sex offender, but the issue has not come up. Sex offenders must register with the state and the registry, including addresses, is available online.

"Buyers are not coming in and saying, 'Tell us if there are sex offenders in the area,"' she said. "I think it would affect the housing price if the buyers knew who was in the area. [The seller] has fewer people to sell to."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US

Human Rights Watch has published an interesting report called No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US. I've only read the summary and not the entire report (yet), but it points out the many problems with sex offender laws in this country.

I'm not sure that the report adequately observes the fact that the laws were originally sold to the public along with a completely false premise that for its longevity puts the Energizer Bunny to shame. But the conclusion in the summary, "...legislators will have to show that they have the intelligence and courage to create a society that is safe yet still protects the human rights of everyone" is laughably and incredibly naive.

Legislators are sheep -- if they're not following the herd they're trying to see where the herd is going so they can look like they're leaders. And, as they have and continue to do with sex offender laws in this country they run right over cliffs without a thought to what they're doing. This blog has long since noted the moral cowardice of the Iowa legislators too fearful to undo the nasty mess they created, yet other legislatores continue to propose running over the very same cliff -- how's that for intelligence?

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).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ohio to pay more for less safety [Adam Walsh Act strikes]

Early adopters take the arrows... and expenses. Good luck Ohio, you bought that pig in a poke.

Sex-offender law may task sheriff’s offices
NEWARK — Changes to Ohio’s sex-offender laws likely will expedite the judicial process, but they could bog down law enforcement, local officials said.

On Jan. 1, the labels of sexually oriented, habitual and predator will be gone and replaced with a three-tiered system. Classification hearings will be a thing of the past because offenders will be designated as Tier I, II or III — Tier III has the strongest notification requirements — depending on the crime they are convicted of.

The legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly this summer will be retroactive, meaning all 33,000 sex offenders in Ohio could be affected, said Jennifer Brindisi, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Although the switch to tiers will remove an additional hearing from the prosecutor’s schedule, it could require many more visits with offenders for those in charge of the registry, said Detective Brock Harmon, of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are anticipating it’s going to be a lot busier because of the new laws,” he said.

Harmon, who is the sole detective in the office charged with keeping up sex-offender records, said with the changes he potentially could have a rapist now classified as a sexually oriented offender, the lowest level under the active tags, automatically become a Tier III offender. This adjustment would, among other changes including lifetime registration, require the offender, who checked in annually as a sexually oriented offender, to meet with Harmon every three months, he said.

More responsibility could lead to increased infractions, Harmon said.


He added that it is possible that defendants facing a lifetime of registration as a sex offender might choose to fight the charges instead of working with the prosecution and pleading guilty.


Oswalt said he does expect to see the law challenged in higher and local courts, but added he does not have much sympathy for those affected by the modifications.

“If you don’t think you should be a Tier III offender, you shouldn’t have committed the crime,” he said.

This is so pathetic, but then again it seems Ohio has yet to see a "sex-offender" law not worthy of passage.

I hope Ohioans will be happy when somebody who appears to authorities to be truly dangerous and likely to re-offend gets labeled a "Tier 1" due to his prior conviction. And then re-offends.

Or when their limited law enforcement resources get eaten up tracking the very large number of new "Tier 3s" who were formerly determined to be "Level 1", least likely to re-offend.

Or when a whole bunch of those formerly Level 1s, now Tier 3s, decide to drop off the map because it's way too much "in your face" and law enforcement has to go looking for them -- and remember, it's roughly $25000/year to incarcerate each one of those you catch, over and above the expense for prosecution. Money that won't be spent on prosecuting those whose crimes actually hurt people, as opposed to evading registration. (Which is not to say that evading registration doesn't create a danger in itself -- it can, so why encourage it?)

But the most pathetic remark in this article belongs to Oswalt: “If you don’t think you should be a Tier III offender, you shouldn’t have committed the crime,” he said.
Has he ever heard about the antiquated, archaic, irrelevant notion of ex post facto law? Guess not because he, and many others, haven't.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Homeless sex offenders' isolation can add to problem

Elliott Bloom, a convicted sex offender, lived in his car for nine months this year, parked on a street corner in Miami.

"I just pulled the chair back to sleep," says Bloom, 30, a chef-in-training who was convicted two years ago for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

He had a tough time finding an apartment because state law bars him from living within 1,000 feet of places children gather, putting most of Miami off-limits. He listed his address on the mandatory registry of sex offenders as "transient.

In Richmond, Va., Keith Francis registered his address as "under Canal Bridge." Francis, 51, convicted in Florida in 2001 of luring a minor he met online, says, "I put plastic down and have a few blankets."

Francis works temporary jobs but says he doesn't have enough money for an apartment. He says he could probably go to a homeless shelter, but, "I used to be a Boy Scout. I like to camp outside."

Nationwide, thousands of sex offenders like Bloom and Francis are registering as homeless or giving police vague addresses such as highway mile markers.

Some blame the residency restrictions that keep offenders away from youngsters. Others cite lack of money or rejection by landlords after background checks reveal their criminal record. "As sex offenders are more and more in the media, people are starting to think twice before renting to them," says Patty Morris, supervisor of sex offender compliance at the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

'The modern-day lepers'

Many sex offenders lack jobs or family support, says Jo Ellyn Rackleff, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections. She sees more of them becoming homeless, and that worries police.

"A homeless sex offender is a much more dangerous sex offender," says Elizabeth Bartholomew of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation.

They are less likely to receive mental health care and substance abuse treatment and are more difficult to monitor, says Jill Levenson, a sex-crimes policy analyst at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

"Being homeless is also demoralizing," Levenson says.

Sex offenders are likely to behave better if they have a stake in their community and "something to live for," says psychiatrist Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic. Sex offenders are increasingly being shunned and isolated. "They are the modern-day lepers," he says.

David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, says research on criminals suggests that having an unstable home makes them more likely to commit another crime.

"How much it increases the risk is hard to say," says Finkelhor, who questions the value of residency restrictions. "Homelessness and all the stresses that go along with it is more of a risk factor than being in a neighborhood with children."

At least 27 states and hundreds of cities have passed laws in the past decade to restrict where sex offenders live.

The laws don't necessarily keep sex offenders away from kids, says Florida's Rackleff. "What people don't realize is these offenders are in our communities," riding buses and walking around, she says.

"It's a waste of resources to check where they're sleeping," says Corwin Ritchie, executive director of the Iowa County Attorneys Association. He says sex offenders may sleep in one place and spend their days elsewhere. He says it is better to monitor where they go.

States are increasing their use of electronic devices, often attached to an ankle or belt, to monitor sex offenders. California has 2,300 Global Positioning System units for paroled sex offenders but plans to have10,000 for all parolees by June 2009, says Bill Sessa of the California Department of Corrections.

Housing in Washington, D.C., is so expensive that a third of parolees lack permanent housing, and many homeless sex offenders considered high-risk are tracked with GPS devices, says Leonard Sipes, spokesman for the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency.

Keeping track by satellite

"We need to know where these offenders are," says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He says the effect of residency restrictions has varied nationwide, but states are putting more resources into tracking sex offenders.

States report widely varied information on online sex offender registries. Many states allow sex offenders to be homeless but require them to report a location, even if it's a shelter or "under a bridge."

"People will use homelessness as a way to evade monitoring," says Melissa Roberts of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Several states see a rising number of homeless sex offenders. In Connecticut, 46 are registered as homeless or at shelters, up from fewer than a dozen three years ago, says Sam Izarelli of the state's sex offender registry.

"I've seen an increase in homelessness," says Paula Stitz, manager of Arkansas' registry. "It's difficult for a lot of these sex offenders to find a place to live." She says one person lived in a van under the Broadway Bridge in Little Rock for two years.

In Miami, Bloom says he and his pregnant girlfriend finally found an apartment that complied with state and local residency restrictions and moved in last week. He may not be staying long. Unless the therapist he sees as a condition of his probation gives approval, he will have to move out once the baby is born.

But isn't the boost politicians get for passing such laws, saying they're making us all much safer, worth it all?