"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." ~Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Florida Orlando WFTV: The truth about the Media????



FAC President Letter to WPTV Reporters and Producers


http://floridaactioncommittee.org/fac-president-letter-to-wptv-reporters-and-producers/

Below is a letter sent on behalf of the Florida Action Committee by our president, Gail Colletta to WPTV, a local Palm Beach County station. The letter asks why the station keeps spewing out unbalanced, sensationalized stories when it comes to sex offender issues. Let’s see if they have the courage to respond.
WPTV Reporters and Producers,
 
As a long time viewer of your station I am growing more and more concerned regarding the lack of impartiality I am hearing in your reporting, especially when it comes to sex offender stories. I have been a viewer since 1994 when John and Roxanne just got there. I get the sensationalism which goes along with getting folks to tune in, what I don’t get is why you’re not reporting the whole story and the facts as are reported through empirical evidence on this population.
 
Not all “offenders” pose a public safety risk. Not all registered citizens are a danger nor are all those labeled any different than anyone else who has made a mistake.
Once someone has paid their debt to society they should be given the opportunity to be restored to the community.
 
Residency restrictions do not increase public safety, they in fact increase potential risk.
Research is very clear that stable housing, employment, connection to community and family lower risk.
 
This holds true for anyone, it’s a basic human need.
So if we continue to isolate former “offenders” and push them either to homelessness or to go underground we are setting us all up to fail.
 
Why are you not telling the entire story?
 
I commend Palm Beach County Commissioners for being courageous and taking a step in the right direction and changing the current ordinance to eliminate some of the homelessness in our county.
 
Facts :
6.7% of offenses against a victim under the age of 18 is by a stranger. (all of our legislation is targeted at this)
93%+ of all offenders are known to their victim.
48.7% are in positions of authority or are friends or acquaintances of their victims of which 46.8% are under the age of 18.
35.7% are in the victims family, either a blood relation or related through marriage. Of which 46.5% are victims under the age of 18.
15.6% are strangers to their victims of which 6.7% of the victims are under the age of 18.
And even more concerning is 24.6% of all sex offenders are they themselves under the age of 18.
95% of offenders are first time offenders, they are not on the registry, they are not subject to residency restriction and they will not show up as a “bad guy” on a back ground check.
So how do we protect our children?
 
Educate the families as to what to look for, provide additional services to at risk families and act as a community. Until we have a real public conversation about this issue the cycle of abuse will not be broken. Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, is the definition of “insanity”.
 
It seems to me there is so much more to the news worthiness of this issue and there are so many real experts on the subject that doing “man on the street” interviews with uninformed citizens and legislators who use this issue to drive public fear and self-promote themselves, is just continuing the fear factor.  You should be reporting on the truth and make a real difference.
 
The entire sex offender management scheme is based on flawed assumptions and is actually creating less safe communities placing our children and citizens at greater risk, spending huge sums of tax payer dollars without getting a return on our investment.
 
It’s time to discuss prevention and breaking the cycle of abuse. Stop vengeful legislation, support victims to survivors and restore citizens and families, as well as sentence and punish people based on real culpability and actual risk. We have the tools. The public should demand their legislators get the experts involved and stop listening to all of the emotional lobbying, stop allowing isolated, yet heinous events drive our society and policy.
 
Fact:
 
For every $1 spent on prevention we save $34 in criminal justice.
Fact:
For every 1% reduction in recidivism we save $8 million…
 
I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the facts.
 
Gail Colletta
info@floridaactioncommittee.org

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans.

Does Miami-Dade Really Care About Children?

Posted by on July 23, 2014

http://floridaactioncommittee.org/does-miami-dade-really-care-about-children/

Do Miami-Dade politicians really care about children or are they more about pandering to voters and punishing sex offenders? We are about to find out…

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving; in 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes, teen alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year and about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.

According to the  National Center on Child Abuse Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, over 1600 children die each year from parental abuse or neglect.

Injuries from firearms send an estimated 7,000 kids to the ER every year, and an additional 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds before they can get to a hospital, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Every day we hear about children killed from gang-related violence and over three quarter of a million children in the US are involved in a gang.

Then there’s the threat which the Miami Herald, just three months ago, called “the most prolific killers of children in Florida”. In 2013, more high school seniors regularly used marijuana than cigarettes as 22.7% smoked pot in the last month, compared to 16.3% who smoked cigarettes!

Florida has a history of passing laws in the name of children killed by sex offenders; the Jessica Lunsford Act and Megan’s Law to name a couple. These laws impose draconian restrictions on where former offenders can live or be present, it shames them by having their pictures on publicly indexed websites and isolates them from family, living or employment opportunities.

But as heinous and tragic as the underlying crimes were, these are extremely rare occurrences. Children are exponentially more likely to get killed by a DUI offender, gun offender, from gang violence or drugs. In fact, sex offenders have the second lowest rates of recidivism among all crimes!

Even after experts in sex offender management have studied the effectiveness of these laws and found them to be ineffective, these laws get passed and draconian punishments get imposed on the platform of, “…if it saves one child…”

Well, if the policy of “if it saves one child” is the justification for the restrictions on sex offenders, why don’t we establish a registry for those convicted of drug offenses, gang members, gun offenders, domestic abusers or people who’ve gotten DUIs? After all, our children are all more likely to get killed from these crimes and shouldn’t parents know if their neighbor had a DUI before they let their children ride their bikes outside? Why don’t we have them identified by a map along with their picture and address? Why would they be permitted to live within 2500 feet of a bar or establishment that serves alcohol and why don’t we brand their  licenses with ‘Drunk Driver”?

If it’s being done to sex offenders, we should implement the same to all offenders, especially where our children are more susceptible to harm. We should implement them immediately! We should impose the restrictions against anyone who ever got a DUI, no matter how long ago it was. We should name the law after a child killed by a drunk driver. They may not have been covered so prominently in the news, so you may not know their names, but there are hundreds of prospective names to chose from yearly.

A Texas Organization; Family Action Network (no affiliation with the Florida Action Committee) sent an email to every district in Miami-Dade County yesterday, challenging legislators to close the gaping loopholes in the Lauren Book Act by applying the same restrictions and 2500 buffer zones to those convicted of drug crimes, DUI, assault, gang offenses, domestic violence and more. After all, if children are exponentially more likely to die because of these monsters, wouldn’t it make sense to include them in the Act? If it saves one child it would be worth it!

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans.




Friday, July 11, 2014

Rhode Island Governor Signs Law Restricting Offender Employment


Posted on July 11, 2014 in Articles

http://floridaactioncommittee.org/rhode-island-governor-signs-law-restricting-offender-employment/

The latest trend in “sex offender management” seems to be bills that punish individuals or businesses who try to help offenders get on with their lives.

This past legislative session, the Florida Senate tried to pass SB 562, a ridiculous bill which criminalized allowing a registrant to use ones car. The text of the bill stated:
A person may not knowingly authorize or allow a motor vehicle owned by him or her or under his or her dominion or control to be operated on a highway or public street by an individual who is required to register as a sexual predator under s. 775.21 or as a sexual offender under s. 943.0435, s. 944.606, or s. 944.607, except for the sole purpose of the sexual predator’s or sexual offender’s driving to and from work, public service, or treatment. A person who violates this  subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree,  punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
So, in other words, if a mother allows her registrant son to use her car to drive his children to school, pick up groceries, or go to church, she can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor (60 days in Jail)!

This past Wednesday, the governor of Rhode Island actually signed one of these ridiculous bills into law! The new law punishes companies that service “child safe zones” who hire registrants. The zones are not limited to schools or day cares, but include places that don’t cater specifically to minors, such as movie theaters and beaches. The law further punishes companies who hire or use third-party contractors who employ registrants, even if they work off-site.

In other words; a movie theater who retains a third party plumber who employs a registrant to work in their warehouse and who will never be present at the theater, is subjected to punishment.

The fine is $1000 per day that the registrant is employed.

Legislators, realizing that they have beaten registrants so low that their financial means are non-existent, have decided to now go after their family, friends and employers by threatening them with criminal or financial sanctions if they try to help a registrant.

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Virginia authorities want photo of teenage child porn suspect’s erect penis: “Who does this?”


Posted on  July 10, 2014 in Articles
SOURCE:  NY Daily News

http://floridaactioncommittee.org/virginia-authorities-want-photo-of-teenage-child-porn-suspects-erect-penis/

Manassas police and prosecutors file a search warrant seeking photographs of teen’s aroused sexual organ. Boy is accused of sexting a video to his underage girlfriend.

A 17-year-old boy charged with felony sexting counts now faces a search warrant demanding that he submit to having photographs taken of his engorged penis.
The order includes the possibility of being given an injection to stimulate an erection, his attorney said.
The teen is charged with two felony counts of possessing child pornography and manufacturing child pornography. The boy’s guardian, who is his aunt, says she is outraged by the warrant and says authorities have gone too far in pursuing the juvenile court case.
Defense attorney Jessica Harbeson Foster questioned the integrity of those involved in securing the warrant.
“The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice,” said the teen’s lawyer, “What is just about this? How does this advance the interest of the Commonwealth? This is a 17-year-old who goes to school every day, plays football, has never been in trouble with the law before.
“Now he’s saddled with two felonies and the implication that he’s a sexual predator. I don’t mind trying the case. My goal is to stop the search warrant. I don’t want him to go through that. Taking him down to the hospital so he can get an erection in front of all those cops, that’s traumatizing,” Foster said.
If convicted, the boy could face imprisonment until he is 21, and it’s possible he could be listed on the state’s sex offender database for the rest of his life.
The case began with the boy’s 15-year-old girlfriend sending him explicit photos, Foster said. 

The teen responded with a video of his penis. The girl’s mother filed a police complaint over the naked video and the boy was arrested.
Authorities said they wanted to take images of the teen’s penis so they can use computer software to compare their video with the footage sent to the girl.
“Who does this?” said attorney Foster. “It’s just crazy.”

Criminal Accusation: Innocence Legal Team





http://innocencelegalteam.com/criminal-accusations/

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Do Residency Bans Drive Sex Offenders Underground?

Posted on July 8, 2014 in Articles
http://floridaactioncommittee.org/do-residency-bans-drive-sex-offenders-underground/

The very important question in the title of this post is the headline of this discussion (with lots of links) by Steven Yoder at The Crime Report. Here is an excerpt:

California hasn’t been alone in its tough approach to ensuring that formerly incarcerated sex offenders pose no danger after they are released. As part of a wave of new sex offender laws starting in the mid-1990s, about 30 states and thousands of cities and towns passed such residency restrictions — prompting in turn a pushback from civil liberties advocates, state legislators and registrants themselves who argued the restrictions were not only unduly harsh but counterproductive.

But a court decision in Colorado last year could mark a shift in momentum. In the Colorado case, Stephen Ryals, a high school soccer coach convicted in 2001 for a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, was sentenced to seven years’ probation and put on the state sex offender registry.   Eleven years later, in 2012, he and his wife bought a house in the city of Englewood. But the police department told him he couldn’t live there because of a city ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds — a law that effectively made 99 percent of its homes and rentals off limits to offenders. Englewood police also warned offenders that even in the open one percent, if they contacted a homeowner whose property wasn’t for rent or for sale, they could be charged with trespassing.

Ryals sued, and last August a federal court concluded that the city’s ban went too far. The judge ruled that it conflicted with the state’s existing system for managing and reintegrating sex offenders and could encourage other towns and cities to do the same, effectively barring offenders from the entire state. Englewood has appealed, but two of the state’s five other cities that have residence bans have softened their restrictions since the decision….
In California, scores of cities are rolling back their restrictions after an Orange County court ruled last April in favor of registrant Hugo Godinez, who challenged the county over its ordinance barring sex offenders from entering parks.  Godinez, convicted for a misdemeanor sex offense in 2010, was arrested the following year for what he said was mandatory attendance at a company picnic in a county park.  In that case too, a state appeals court decided that the county’s ordinance usurped the state’s authority.  The appeals court ruling was upheld by the state’s highest court.

Since the Godinez decision, 28 California cities that have similar “presence” restrictions, which ban offenders from entering places like libraries and parks, have repealed those rules.  Another 24 say they are revising their ordinances, according to Janice Bellucci, a California attorney.

Since the April decision, Bellucci, who represents the advocacy group California Reform Sex Offender Laws, has sent letters demanding repeal to cities with presence restrictions. She also has sued a dozen other cities that haven’t changed their rules since the decision.

And this year, California’s Supreme Court could make an even bigger ruling — whether to toss the state’s 2,000-foot law itself.  A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge found it unconstitutional in 2010, but the city appealed.  The judge cited an increase in homelessness among registrants as a key reason.  Statewide, the number of homeless registrants has doubled since the law passed in 2006, according to the 2011 Sex Offender Management Board report.

At least two other states — Rhode Island and New York — have been sued since 2012 over their own residency laws.

One finding in the Ryals’ case in Colorado case could resonate in other states. The judge found compelling a 2009 white paper by Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board concluding that residency bans don’t lower recidivism and could actually increase the risk to the public. According to the paper, that’s because they drive offenders underground or toward homelessness, making them harder for police and probation officers to track….

Those 2009 findings led the Colorado board to go further in a report this January, which recommended that state lawmakers consider legislation prohibiting cities and towns from enacting their own offender residency rules.

Two other states have moved in that direction. The Kansas legislature banned local residency restrictions in 2010.  And in New Hampshire, the state House of Representatives has twice approved a bill that would bar local ordinances, though it’s died both times in the state Senate.  Bellucci argues that there’s more to come in other states.  The “pendulum of punishment,” she claims, is starting to swing the other way.

“For a long time, ever-harsher sex offender laws were being passed and there was no one opposing them,” she told The Crime Report. “After more than a few lawsuits, elected officials are realizing that there’s a downside to this.”

Rita Finley

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 

Editorial: County sex offender rules so harsh they’re counterproductive

Posted on July 8, 2014 in Articles
Source: The Palm Beach Post

http://floridaactioncommittee.org/editorial-county-sex-offender-rules-so-harsh-theyre-counterproductive/

When Palm Beach County commissioners clamped down on sex offenders in 2006, they made little effort to conceal their punitive aim. From the public dais, one county commissioner referred to sex offenders as “animals.” Another urged her fellow commissioners to be “as tough as we possibly can be.”

By a unanimous vote, commissioners decided to more than double the restrictions on where in the unincorporated county registered sex offenders can live. State law already banned them from residing within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, park or school bus stop. Under the county ordinance, that ban was now extended to 2,500 feet, driving many into homelessness or isolation in the county’s rural stretches.
+ Editorial: County sex offender rules so harsh they’re counterproductive photo
CHARLES TRAINOR JR
In Miami-Dade County, similar restrictions to those in Palm Beach County left dozens of sex offenders living under a bridge on … read more

Eight years later, county commissioners are looking to undo this counterproductive measure, at a time when court decisions around the country are highlighting the flaws of overly restrictive bans on sex offenders. Palm Beach County cities with similar restrictions should bring them in line with the state’s 1,000-foot standard as well.

Commissioners gave preliminary approval to the repeal last week, heeding the advice of the county’s attorney. As The Post’s Jennifer Sorentrue reported, the county’s prohibition had been challenged by William Mattern, a 63-year-old homeless sex offender, who claimed that the restriction unconstitutionally discriminated against him and the county’s other 1,015 registered sex offenders.

Because of the restriction, Mattern, who was convicted 35 years ago of raping a woman, claimed he ended up on the streets, where he said he was beaten and robbed.
The county’s move to clamp down on where sex offenders live was part of an emotionally charged movement across the country after the 2005 rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sex offender in Citrus County.

The supposed purpose of these restrictions is to keep communities safer. Yet these rules are ineffective and often the cause of more harm than good. Criminals further marginalized by society too often face a higher risk of repeat criminal behavior.

Mattern’s is hardly the only story of sex offenders pushed into desperation by overly restrictive residency laws. In 2008, a Lake Worth pastor said he had to locate an apartment complex for sex offenders in a rural stretch of Pahokee because it was the only place in the county he could find where they could legally reside. In Miami-Dade County, similar restrictions in 2009 left dozens of sex offenders living under a bridge on Biscayne Bay.

While some sex offenders pose a real risk to children they don’t know, most have no history of preying on strange youths. Instead, many were arrested for possessing child pornography or having sexual contact with an underage relative. These are gruesome acts, but they are not the sorts of attacks that residential restrictions would prevent.

Sex offenders also are far less likely than typical criminals to be re-arrested for the same crime. A 2012 Lynn University study found that less than 14 percent of Florida’s sex offenders commit another sex crime within 10 years of their arrest, far below the recidivism rates for prisoners nationwide.

This is still too high, but it shows that most sex offenders can be rehabilitated. The best way to do this is through prudent monitoring and regular access to therapy and other services, not by pushing them to society’s fringes.

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Palm Beach County may change sex offender residency restrictions

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Articles


http://floridaactioncommittee.org/palm-beach-county-may-change-sex-offender-residency-restrictions/


For a long time FAC has been reporting of the unintended consequences residency restrictions have created.


Little to no housing options for registered sex offenders has led to homelessness. It has separated families; husbands not being able to live with their wives, fathers not being able to parent their children. Housing instability is a trigger for recidivism. It has caused registrants to go undeground rather than live homeless or separated from their loved ones. Transient sex offenders are more difficult to track… all this without any evidence that registration requirements make our communities safer.


One South Florida County is finally paying attention to all the evidence, studies and testimony from experts, including law enforcement and prosecutors and doing something that will actually make our communities SAFER. Palm Beach County is considering rolling back it’s sex offender residency restrictions to what the state mandates; from 2500 feet to 1000 feet.
 
An ADD ON to the July 1st  Board of County Commissioners agenda read as follows:

ADD-ON: Staff recommends motion to approve on preliminary reading and advertise for public hearing on July 22, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.: an Ordinance of the Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County, Florida, amending Chapter 18, Article II of the Palm Beach County Code (Ordinance No. 2006-012, amended by Ordinance No. 2011-033); relating to Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Prohibition, to be known as “the Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Prohibition Ordinance of Palm Beach County, Florida”; amending Section 18-34 (Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Prohibition; Exceptions); providing for repeal of laws in conflict; providing for a savings clause; providing for severability; providing for inclusion in the Code of Laws and Ordinances; providing for captions; and providing for an effective date.

SUMMARY: The State of Florida sexual offender and sexual predator residence prohibition laws preclude sexual offenders and sexual predators from establishing a permanent or temporary residence within one thousand (1000) feet from specified locations where children regularly congregate. The current County Ordinance provides for a more restrictive distance, prohibiting sexual offenders and sexual predators from establishing a permanent or temporary residence within twenty-five hundred (2500) feet from certain defined areas where children regularly congregate. The proposed amendment reduces the number of feet to 1000 and eliminates a designated public school bus stop from the list of specified locations, making the Ordinance consistent with Florida law. Additionally, the proposed amendment is responsive to current federal and state law evolving in other jurisdictions that suggests a County’s imposition of residency prohibitions on sexual offenders and sexual predators may not be more restrictive than the residency prohibitions mandated by the State. It is anticipated that the League of Cities will have no opposition to the proposed Ordinance amendment, as this Ordinance is applicable only in the unincorporated areas of the County. Unincorporated (PGE)
We ask residents of Palm Beach County and all those impacted by these laws to write their legislators and encourage them to repeal the 2500 foot restriction.
 
The local CBS affiliate reported on the change, which can be seen here: http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_17322.shtml

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 

Sex Offenders Cannot Even Be Garbage Men?

Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Articles, Featured Articles | 0 comments


http://floridaactioncommittee.org/sex-offenders-cannot-even-be-garbagemen/

Anyone that is a registered citizen or has a loved one or friend who is, knows first-hand how difficult it is for a registrant to find employment. First, there are restrictions on where a registrant can work; not only geographically but also in which positions. Second, there is the stigma of hiring a registrant and the potential social and economic backlash that might come when clients or customers of that business learn of the employee’s history.
Now, some recent articles have exposed a third challenge… employers can be liable for hiring sex offenders.


Last week the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a bill that would fine certain businesses from hiring a sex offender (see: http://wpri.com/2014/06/22/bill-would-make-businesses-rethink-hiring-sex-offenders/). The same week, in an even more absurd scenario, a Massachusets garbage hauling company is in jeopardy of losing a multi-million dollar contract with the City of Quincy because they employed a registered sex offender. (see: http://www.tauntongazette.com/article/20140618/NEWS/306199996/11160/NEWS)


Quincy City Councilor Brian Palmucci, who called the employment of the registrant a “public safety issue”  contributed the following; “It’s important because these employees come in contact with children at school and with elderly populations.”


From my observation, most people (including children) are repelled by sitting trash rather than attracted to it. Also, garbage men generally work in teams and are usually too busy running after the garbage truck and dumping bins than hanging out with kids. If the most looked down upon member of society can’t engage in the most looked down upon job in society, what is left to do?


Also, if businesses are exposed to liability in being fined or losing contracts because they chose to give a human being a second chance, how many more opportunities will be left for former sex offenders to support their families?

I would understand if a registrants career aspiration to become a day care worker, clown or ice cream man were curtailed… that would make sense, but come on… a garbage man!?!?!

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 

Maryland Appeals Ct. Declares Retroactive Application of SORNA Unconstitutional



The Maryland Appeals Court has declared the retroactive application of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) unconstitutional in that State.

The State had previously ruled that the retroactive application of SORNA was punitive and that someone who was previously not required to register or who had completed their “term” of registration must be removed.Doe v. Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services, 430 Md. 535, 62 A.3d 123 (2013)

In addition to the affirmation of the prior ruling, the Appeals court clarified that the ruling also applies to the Federal SORNA as well.

Here are some highlights from the appeals court decision:
  • “the retroactive application of the provisions we deemed punitive violated the ex post factoprohibition contained in Article 17of the Maryland Declaration of Rights”.
  • “[p]ursuant to our determination that [Doe] may not be compelled to register, his name and likeness shall be removed from the Maryland Sex Offender Registry.”
  • “This Court, the highest court of the State of Maryland, has declared that a portion of Maryland’s legislation implementing SORNA’s “minimum national standards” violates the Maryland Declaration of Rights.”
  • “We are not the only state appellate court to have declared the retroactive or retrospective application of sex offender registration laws to be in violation of the state’s constitution. See Starkey v. Oklahoma Dep’t of Corr.,305 P.3d 1004 (Okla. 2013) (holdingthat the retroactive application of state’s sex offender registration law violated ex post facto prohibition in state constitution); State v. Williams, 952 N.E.2d 1108, 1113 (Ohio 2011); Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371 (Ind. 2009) (same); State v. Letalien, 985 A.2d 4 (Me.2009) (same); Doe v. State, 189 P.3d 999 (Alaska 2008) (same); Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833 (Mo. 2006) (holding that Missouri’s sex offender registration law violated the state constitutional ban on laws retrospective in operation).”
  • “[S]o long as Appellees are in Maryland, they cannot be required to register as sex offenders in Maryland, notwithstanding the registration requirements imposed directly on individualsby SORNA.”
You can read the full opinion here: http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2014/1a13m.pdf
This Appeals Court decision can still be brought before the State Supreme Court, but in light of this second round victory, it is unlikely to yield a different outcome.

Also notable is the Court’s reference to other State’s decisions. Although they do not serve as precedence in this case, they demonstrate (a) the influential impact other states have and (b) a trend in state courts finding the retroactive application of enhanced sex offender registration requirements unconstitutional.

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Are Florida Stings Entrapment?


Posted on June 30, 2014 in Articles, Featured Articles


Please read through the following Op-Ed piece submitted by Martin Dyckman to ContextFlorida and share your thoughts below.

Do you think Police engaging in contact with individuals in ADULT sex ads and then introducing them to the concept of sex with a minor is entrapment or do you think they are going after people who would otherwise be predators?

There are few things worse than a 24-year-old man seeking sex from a 13-year-old girl, or so it would seem.

They should lock him up and throw away the key, or so it would seem.
But sometimes, things aren’t what they seem.

This is about a young man we’ll call by his initials, JFD. His identity is a public record available to the curious, but I would rather not compound the misery and stigma he’ll bear the rest of his life.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and eight years of probation, which he’s on now. He’s also on the state’s sex offender registry for life.

The following facts are from a recent split decision of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. 

It rebuffed Attorney General Pam Bondi, who sought a harsher sentence for JFD.
JFD was trolling on an adult website that boasts, “Find sex by contacting fellow…members and get laid tonight.”

He responded to an ad from a woman, 32, who said her “little sister” was in town and they were “looking for a friend to have fun with tonight.”

The little sister’s age wasn’t stated.

The contact led to a two-hour dialogue, on line and then on the telephone. At some point, JFD learned how old the “little sister” was.

The older woman told him that “the little sister was a youngster who wanted to learn new things…

“His conversations directly with the purported thirteen-year-old were limited to a few (maybe two) awkward minutes on the telephone, and to about twenty lines on ‘instant messenger,’” the court said.

JFD turned up at a Gainesville location where, as a wiser man might have suspected, the police were waiting for him.

The “big sister” was a Citrus County deputy. The voice purportedly of a 13-year old was that of an Alachua County deputy in her early 30s.

They were part of a week-long sting in early 2012 by Gainesville police and the Alachua sheriff’s department called “Operation Tail Feather.”

It bagged more than 20 men from 19 to 65 years old.

JFD was charged and convicted of three counts involving use of a computer and cell phone and traveling for unlawful sexual conduct with a child.

Assistant Public Defender Rachael J. Morris pleaded on JFD’s behalf that he was a victim of entrapment. Circuit Judge Mark W. Moseley wasn’t persuaded. Neither was the jury.

But Moseley did agree that the offense “was committed in an unsophisticated manner and was an isolated incident for which the defendant has shown remorse.” He ruled also that the “victim” had initiated the crime.

In such cases, the law allows a judge to impose less than the state guidelines minimum, which would have been three and a half years.

The state appealed that. JFD appealed also on the entrapment issue.

Each side won and lost, although JFD won less and lost more.

Writing for the district court, Judge Robert T. Benton II disagreed that the “victim” had initiated the crime, but he upheld the lighter sentence on the other two grounds.

On the most important issue, entrapment, Benton held that JFD said enough to convict him when he remarked that “actually, it’s kind of been on my mind to do something like that.”

A second judge concurred in the result–but not necessarily in Benton’s reasoning–and a third dissented in favor of sending JFD back to prison.

According to Morris, JFD was a student, accomplished in music and sports, when he went online for sex. All that is gone for him now.

We can suppose that at least some, if not most of the trophies in Operation Tail Feather, were serial pederasts who deserved to be caught and punished severely. Stings may be the only way to put a stop to them.

But in JFD’s case, there’s a tarnish on that trophy.

It would have been no crime to keep a sex date with a 32-year-old woman. It’s undisputed that the idea of a threesome involving a child came from her, after JFD had already taken her bait. The cop reeled him in like a starving trout. There was no evidence that he had ever done or attempted anything like that before.

In a famous 1928 dissent, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once remarked, “…I think it a less evil than that some criminals should escape than that the Government should play an ignoble part.”

It was the government that made a criminal out of JFD. If that isn’t ignoble, what is?

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the St. Petersburg Times. He lives near Waynesville, North Carolina. Column courtesy of Context Florida.



Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 

Florida Registrant Challenges Restriction on Access to His Own Child


Posted  on June 26, 2014 in Articles, Featured Articles 

http://floridaactioncommittee.org/florida-registrant-challenges-restriction-on-access-to-his-own-child/

The Supreme Court Press “Petition of the Month”TM for June 2014 is Kyle E. McClamma v. Josepha Michele Remon, Supreme Court Dkt. No. TBD, an appeal coming out of the Eleventh Circuit. The petition was filed pro se by the petitioner Kyle E. McClamma, a resident of the Tampa, Florida Region.
Question Presented:

Whether a probation officer has the power to forbid a person from living in his own home, despite there being no residency restriction in the sentencing order. (paraphrasing three questions)
tiny lion Supervised release conditions are often contained on a “check the box” form where a judge can tick off the conditions applicable to an offense. In a case of possession of child pornography, one check the box item is a restriction on contact with minors or frequenting a place where minors congregate. However, when such a check box item becomes artfully interpreted by a zealous probation officer, it can lead to absurd consequences as it did for petitioner Kyle McClamma. McClamma, a first time offender convicted of a single count of possession of child pornography, was deemed by the sentencing judge to be a low risk to the community and given a downward departure in sentencing. When he returned home from incarceration, his creative probation officer informed him that, since he had a newborn child at home, could not be at that home since it contained a minor (his child). She demanded he evict himself from his home and not see his baby without a supervising adult present. Nowhere in the sentencing order was mention made of a ban on contact with his baby or that he could not live in his own house. Predictable mayhem ensued – lack of stable housing, financial woes, and divorce – hardly the stated goals of supervised release.
McClamma filed a 2255 petition to challenge these conditions, which stand in conflict to the majority of circuits that have found a ban on familial contact to be an unconstitutional infringement upon the home. This petition has stagnated for 2.5 years without action by the court. McClamma also filed a Bivens action, the subject of this petition, claiming damages for his forced homelessnes and other damages. The lower court stood by the probation officer and granted her conditional immunity. The petition McClamma v. Remon, Supreme Court Dkt. TBD, takes on this issue, asking the fundamental question – who is in charge of sentencing – judges or probation officers?
My wife and I were stunned at the probation officer’s enforcement of a boilerplate condition that prohibited contact with anyone under 18 without written approval to include our daughter.  [w]hile awaiting sentencing, the district court made it clear, at the government’s request, that my child would be excluded from any contact restrictions it enforced.                                                                                                                                         - Kyle McClamma
tiny lion Kyle –Thank you for sitting down with us and discussing your Supreme Court filing.Let’s get the tough part of the conversation out of the way first. You were convicted in federal court of a single count of possession of child pornography – but that’s it. Essentially the lowest grade offense in this category and you received a downward departure from the judge, who deemed you to be a low risk, correct?
tiny lion I was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison, a downward departure of 17 months, followed by a life term of supervised release.  The district judge commented that he had never sentenced anyone lower for this charge.  In his words, the decision for the downward departure was because I had no previous criminal record, had never produced or distributed the prohibited images, and enjoyed community and family support.  Additionally, evaluations and risk assessments were conducted by 4 mental health providers and sex addiction specialists which concluded that I displayed a long standing addictive behavior to pornography.  All determined that I was low risk to re-offend or to commit a contact offense. I make no excuses for the legal boundaries that I crossed or the damage I have caused through my participation as a possessor of illegal internet pornography.  I have never denied what I have done and I have fully cooperated with the authorities.
tiny lion As you were preparing for re-entry, a very unpleasant surprise was waiting for you. The probation officer unilaterally decided that you should have no unsupervised interaction with your own child. How did the probation officer justify this?
tiny lion My wife and I were stunned at the probation officer’s enforcement of a boilerplate condition that prohibited contact with anyone under 18 without written approval to include our daughter.  First, while awaiting sentencing, the district court made it clear, at the government’s request, that my child would be excluded from any contact restrictions it enforced.  Second, the probation officer conducting the pre-sentence report did not recommend any contact restrictions.  Lastly, the district judge at sentencing made no mention of contact restrictions with minors, especially one that would include my child. I actually had no idea that the judge included this restriction in his written order nearly 10 days after the sentencing.  I was whisked away to prison and did not see the order until my release 31 months later.  The probation officer offered no explanation as to why she chose to verbally enforce this condition the way she did; only permitting contact with my daughter provided that my wife was present.  Throughout the Bivens litigation process, the probation officer has maintained that she was interpreting and executing the district court’s directive which she asserts was left to her discretion.
tiny lion Are probation officers allowed to do that? To prevent you from spending time with your own flesh and blood without a court order?
tiny lion While the right to maintain an unfettered relationship with one’s child is not guaranteed, the vast majority of the circuit courts hold the lower court to an extremely high threshold of inquiry before subjecting the defendant to any condition requiring supervision with their own children.  It is clear and evident in my case that the district court did not provide notice that a contact restriction would even be imposed or conduct any kind of inquiry as to whether my daughter should be included in that restriction.   Even in cases where the defendant has committed a contact offense, unless their own child was involved, the majority of circuit courts have reversed the lower court’s inclusion of the defendant’s children in a boilerplate no-contact-with-minors restriction.
tiny lion Editor’s Note: See United States v. Myers, 426 F.3d 117 (2nd Cir. 2005), United States v. Wolf Child, 699 F.3d 1082 (9th Cir. 2012), United States v. Doyle, No. 12-5516, decided April 3, 2013 (6th Cir.), United States v. Perazza-Mercado, 553 F.3d 65 (1st Cir. 2009),   United States v. Voelker, 489 F.3d 139 (3rd Cir. 2007),  United States v. Smith, 606 F.3d 1270 (10th Cir. 2010), United States v. Malenya, No. 12-3069 decided on December 3, 2013 (D.C. Circuit).
tiny lion Interestingly, the circuit case most analogous to mine was decided one day before I was sentenced in 2006.  United States v. Davis, 452 F.3d 991 (8th Cir. 2006).  Davis was convicted of possessing child pornography without having any history of inappropriate conduct with a minor.  On plain error review, the Davis court concluded that his daughter be excluded from any condition restricting contact with minors as the condition was not reasonably related to his offense. “We believe that not to correct the error at hand would undermine the fairness and integrity of our judicial proceedings.”   “The public expects the courts to exercise that discretion, not to impose a special condition as a matter of course.” Id at 995.
The real shock of the probation officer’s enforcement of the boilerplate condition was that she prohibited me from residing in my own home with my wife and daughter.                                                                                                                                               - Kyle McClamma
tiny lion But there were more surprises in store, correct?
tiny lion The real shock of the probation officer’s enforcement of the boilerplate condition was that she prohibited me from residing in my own home with my wife and daughter.  I was forced to secure alternative housing arrangements which exhausted valuable funds that were already limited from my time in prison.  The frustration from not being able to fulfill my role as a father and husband took its toll on the marriage, and with no end in sight, my wife filed for divorce six months later.
tiny lion And thus you filed the Bivens claim?
tiny lion Initially, I had no idea or reason to believe that what the probation officer was doing was wrong.  I simply thought that this was a part of my sentence that I foolishly overlooked, or that it was some kind of protocol required by the court.  After all, I have no legal background, and when you are released from prison, the last thing you want to do is ruffle the feathers of your probation officer by challenging their authority. But as time passed and I became embroiled in a costly divorce and spoke with various attorneys, I realized that the probation officer had violated my constitutional due process rights to property (my home), and familial association (my wife and daughter) by verbally enforcing a residency restriction not imposed by the sentencing court.
After a few failed attempts to interest law firms in taking my Bivens claim on a pro bono basis, I decided to file the claim pro se as the four year filing limit was rapidly approaching.  Through limited research capabilities due to my restrictions, I found case law involving qualified immunity defenses and discretionary actions performed by federal officers.  Put quite simply, case law, statutory law, and probationary policy does not authorize her verbal directive to enforce a condition not imposed by the court.  Therefore, her actions cannot be permitted as a discretionary function.  A finding to the contrary exposes the court to an improper delegation of judicial power in violation of Article III of the constitution.    However, the district court dismissed the Bivens claim by granting her qualified immunity on grounds that she was performing a job-related goal and that her actions were authorized.  The circuit court affirmed the district court’s order.
tiny lion It seems like they are doing everything in the power to make absolutely sure that you are completely unable to return to civil society. They don’t want to live in your house, be with your family, or communicate with the outside world. How have you survived so long after your release?
tiny lion While I had the support of my parents, church members, and surrounding neighbors, this counselor really helped me to remain focused throughout the divorce.  He also helped me navigate through the probation officer’s strict enforcement of my supervised release conditions. Finding employment was nothing short of a miracle.  I had worked in television broadcasting for 15 years, but was pretty much blacklisted after my conviction.  I took a correspondence course in medical coding when I was in prison, and 10 months after my release I passed the professional coding certification exam.  I had applied for numerous jobs, but with my criminal record, supervised release conditions, high unemployment, and an unsupportive probation officer, no one was interested.  I had even scored high enough on the 2010 census bureau exam to be considered for hire by an agency that touts itself as an equal opportunity employer, but my conviction promptly ended that effort.  Finally, in April 2010, I landed an interview with a medical billing company owned by two women.  The interview became really emotional as I laid out my criminal past and restrictions, but they hired me.
Even then, there were obstacles that remained.  My probation officer had a negative and discouraging conversation with my employer in an attempt to persuade them to reconsider their offer because this position required the probation office to grant permission for me to use a computer with internet access.  Four years later, it still remains a sore topic with probation, but those ladies have provided me a safe sanctuary of stable employment to which I am very grateful.
A year after my divorce, I began dating a woman in the church and two years later, we were married.  Last January, we discovered that we were expecting our first child.  My wife is an incredible woman who supports my legal efforts and believes in me.  She is a determined wife and soon-to-be mother who refuses to allow our family to be disrupted by the inappropriate and unnecessary actions of the court and its probation officers.
tiny lion You had mentioned your family’s advocacy on your behalf. Describe the organization they started and what it is trying to accomplish.
tiny lion Upon my arrest in 2005, my family began immediately to research the area of child pornography and related legal implications.  While we shared in the regret of my actions, we were also in response mode as best we could be!  The first eye opener was a book written by Pamela Paul title Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our relationships, and Our Families.  While my family was not necessarily prudish about pornography in general, the fact that it had led me to the point of being arrested for illegal viewing was shattering.  There were several  research articles found,  and eventually, even while I was awaiting sentencing, through research and study, they began seeking organizations that were involved in the sex offender ‘world’.  The first organization was the national Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) http://nationalrsol.org/  and a state affiliate that has come to be known as the Florida Action Committee. http://floridaactioncommittee.org/ When the RSOL national conferences began in 2009, my mother attended in Boston, going alone not knowing what to expect. This is where she began to meet others who had a loved one caught up in the sex offender’ industry’.  She has attended each annual conference since that time, often facilitating and/or presenting at breakout sessions and serving on the organizing committees. She also became an affiliate member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) http://www.atsa.com/  after coming across several articles written by members of the group.  (Incidentally she hates that organization’s title and sat in on a committee report at one of their national conferences where a name change was being discussed. To this date no change has been made but there is hope for a future change.) The organization’s membership includes top level national and international professional researchers, as well as treatment providers, some of whom fill dual roles as both researcher and treatment providers. The current  research reveals that there is little connection between possession of CP and hands on offending which is impetus for working to inform law makers to make some changes.  This is no way intended to minimize or disregard the seriousness of child pornography but given that public safety is given as the ultimate reason for sentences and subsequent probationary situations, this is significant and needs to become a considerate factor in the sentences and conditions required.   This year will be the 4th National ATSA conference my mom has attended!
Through RSOL involvement, my mom became acquainted with several who had family members, typically sons or husbands, who were charged with what the US Sentencing Commission terms as simple possession, which indicates a low risk and non-production or distribution charge.  So it came as no surprise when we found an article in Feb. 2011 with the headline Prosecution of child Porn Soaring in which the FBI stated “No other crime is growing at the 2500 percent rate.”
Out of a common need, the organization known as Cautionclick National Campaign for Reform (CCNCR) was formed.  My mom serves on the board as an advisory member.

tiny lion When we reviewed the legal writing in the final draft of your petition, we were blown away. It was equal to the quality of a good appellate lawyer. But you didn’t start that way. Tell our readers about your journey from novice (dating back to your handwritten motion) to where you are today?
tiny lion One month before my ex-wife filed for divorce, I struggled with the dilemma of taking legal action against my probation officer as I did not want to appear confrontational or uncooperative.  Additionally, my financial resources were very limited due to my incarceration and unemployment.  So, out of desperation, I carefully constructed a two-paged handwritten letter personally directed to my sentencing judge.   On a Sunday in October 2009, I drove 120 miles to the Ocala Federal Courthouse, said a quick prayer, and slid the letter through the locked lobby doors.  Four weeks later, I received a call from my defense attorney stating that my letter had been placed on the docket and construed as a motion for clarification of terms of supervised release.  Shortly thereafter, I became embroiled in divorce proceedings. Since my family law attorney had to carefully navigate my criminal charges and sentencing orders, I quickly received a crash course in the litigation process.  He recommended that I contact a federal appellate law firm in Orlando for help in filing a § 2255 motion claiming that the supervised release condition that restricts contact with my daughter is unconstitutional.  Incidentally, this motion has been pending for 2 ½ years.
I carefully observed the strategies for formulating effective arguments by using facts and case law.  From there, I familiarized myself with the federal local rules of criminal and civil procedure, and began reading articles on qualified immunity defenses and the § 1983 remedy for civil violations of constitutional rights perpetrated by federal officers.
Next, I formulated my arguments in anticipation of how the opposing side would defend their position, trying to leave open matters that I could refute in my reply brief.  Once I drafted this outline, I researched case law; first with the U.S. Supreme Court precedents, then with the 11th circuit rulings, and then persuasive opinions from other federal circuits to develop conflict.  It was also necessary to become familiar with pertinent statutory laws and policies which draw in the governing bodies of Congress and the Sentencing Commission as well.
My goal was to be able to support every argument with case law no matter how insignificant.  It’s really satisfying when you can uncover a nugget that is both analogous to your circumstance and binding to the court.  I have found it helpful to closely study how the Supreme Court and circuit courts structure their case opinions (e.g., standard of review, analysis, conclusion, dissent), so that I can narrate my argument through their citations and statements.  I believe this adds tremendous credibility to a pro se filing while also mitigating the exposure to inexperience and mistakes.
It is truly a process that takes time and practice, and while I have not reaped what one might call a victory, I have been able to address matters to the highest court in the land at a minimal cost and a satisfactory level of professionalism.
 

Florida Action Committee (FAC), founded in 2006, is a state-wide consortium of concerned citizens and professionals whose purpose is to promote the prevention of sexual abuse while preserving the safety and dignity of all citizens through carefully structured laws targeting the truly violent, forced, and/or dangerous predatory acts of sex. FAC believes that many aspects of the current approach to sex offenders seriously undermine justice and actually increase the threat of sexual assault against others, particularly children. FAC opposes a publicized registry of sex offenders and seeks to bring an end to the humiliation of people who have already paid for their crimes. FAC asserts that only by supporting justice for all people—offenders and victims alike can a truly safe society be built and secured for all Americans. 

Blog Archive

FAC's Blog List

"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."
~Adlia Stevenson U.S. Vice President (1893–1897) and Congressman (1879–1881)

On a Personal Note

Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts regarding the issue of citizens’ rights, particularly addressing certain sex offenders’ crimes that do not fit the devastating, inequitable and endless punishment given.


As you know, many young men and women lives across the nation are being destroyed by incarceration, life-time registry and restrictive laws that do more harm than good. For those individuals, there is no second chance.

Below is a personal letter to President Obama:
* * * *
“Dear President Obama,

I truly agree with your sentiments that individuals, such as ex-felons, should be able to receive a second chance at life. Since we all know that one can veer off that path of life and travel along rough, rocky terrain, sometimes running off and ending up in some ditch. We all have made our fill of mistakes and sometimes those held a costly consequence that changed life forever. So we lived through it, trying harder to make things right with family, friends and those around us, but what about those who aren’t able to make things right even if they tried…because they’re labeled as too dirty, a leper, a person who is rejected from society and home.


But what if they’re a seventeen year old and had sex with a fifteen year old, consensual at that? Or they’re a teen that had gotten so enraged after a breakup that he sent out naked pictures of his girlfriend on his cell phone or email? Or an individual urinates where someone just happens to see them?


All are wrong and a travesty but do they deserve the life of no second chance with a registry that ends all. They are labeled, no jobs, no where to live…they have been deemed a menace to society, a plague. These certain circumstances, and many other situations similar to these, I believe still deserve a second change.

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution


Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


After my son’s early release and two years of prison, I thought I had handled that fact graciously knowing after serving his time he would be able to get that fresh start, that second chance. He was an exemplary inmate, GED, college courses and vocational classes. Little did I know that a second chance on the outside was the farthest from the truth? He now struggles and lives in a trailer park sharing a trailer with another and surrounded by others in the same rocking boat, one to float endlessly in shark infested waters. I see him little because of probation requirements (he couldn’t live with us because we were 800 feet near a school). My family is afraid of what would happen to them if he lived with them…vigilantism. My son has no other place to stay since others condemn him of his crime that is screamed from the highest rooftop. Sex offender, sex offender!

Not all sex offenders are pedophiles or predators but some are simply young kids that make one stupid and rash decision that eventually changes everything, and they have no idea what they’ve done until their life is never their own. Exactly, where is that second chance for those sex-offenders who are lumped together with pedophiles and predators? Now, it makes me sick to think of my son’s future and many like him that are on the registry and many with no second chance…ever. I am asking you as a mother and as another concerned citizen of the United States that these laws are looked at again and taken into serious consideration in what they are doing to the Constitution of the United States, not for sex offenders in general but the future rights of every citizen, before anymore are put into effect. They unjustly strip an offender of their rights and place them in a guillotine that can be easily set off by anyone and at anytime. Where is the second chance for ex-sex offenders in the present, pending and future laws?”
* * * *
What truly saddens me is the weakness and deterioration of what the sex offense issue is doing to our once, great nation. Across Europe, others are seeing the injustice and disregard of rights, but we ignore this problem and it makes me wonder where humanity is heading….

We have become a hysterical society in which our latest witch-hunt is a sex offender--no matter his/her crime.

Below is a email sent from a foreign advocate to a father of a sex offender:
* * * *
“The tragic story of your son's death is just so sad that it's difficult to explain how. It was very hard to read your letters. It seems almost unbelievable that this can take place in a democracy! From our point of view, there is no justice in this. Not in any way: not for you, your son, the former girl friend – or even the state.

It is an abusive legal system. It seems barbaric. And we are so very sorry that this takes place. That's why it's so important for us to try to neutralize the debate with this…, hopefully making some changes. ….. to show the every day life of the sex offenders, trying to show how they keep on being punished, even after served prison time…..But we will for sure tell the story of the injustice that your son has been exposed to.”
* * * *
I appreciate everyone's commitment and backing to protect everyone's civil rights, plainly as noted in the Constitution of the United States and is presupposed, giving ALL men are “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”