Wednesday, March 30, 2011

California Sex Offender Law 2011

eAdvocate - Bills in Congress: New Bill in Congress: To Require Background Checks...

eAdvocate - Bills in Congress: New Bill in Congress: To Require Background Checks...: "3-23-2011 National: S 581 'Child Care Protection Act of 2011' was introduced by Sen Burr, Richard [NC] (introduced 3/15/2011) 3/15/2011 Ref..."

"Constitutional Authority Statement (CAS): This bill is missing a Constitutional Authority statement and therefore should not be considered by Congress."

Judge threatens to jail parole officials over child killer Raul Meza

Judge threatens to jail parole officials over child killer Raul Meza

DOJ Programs Office Faces Budget Pressure

DOJ Programs Office Faces Budget Pressure

Dr. Phil - Sex Offender Recidivism - LOWER than any other criminal!

Did you all miss me?

Hopkinton selectmen sign off on TM warrant

The restrictions, if passed at May 2 annual Town Meeting, would bar sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers, parks, recreational facilities and elderly housing.

Exemptions are included for offenders already owning or renting within the zones and for cases when a new, protected site opens nearby. Those exemptions are rescinded for offenders who get convicted of new sex crimes.

Violators face a $150 fine and a 30-day window to move for a first offense, and a $300 fine and notification of parole and probation officers and the offender registry board for a second.
Sex offenders would also not be allowed into day care centers, elderly housing, recreational facilities, parks and centers for those with mental disabilities without permission."

It's probably not because they love him

It's probably not because they love him

By Karen Brooks

Rep. Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat who is easily one of the most liberal members of the House, approached the dais in a House committee hearing and threw everyone into chuckles.

"I'm not trying to improve my conservative voting record," 
Burnam said, causing gales of laughter in the room, "but I'm pleased to understand that I have the support of the Texas Association of Business on this bill."

The conservative TAB is not known for its love of liberals, as they're often on completely opposite sides of issues such as taxes and tort reform. No doubt TAB has cursed Burnam on more than one occasion, and he has given them the legislative middle finger more than a few times himself.

But on this, they appear to be on the same page.
Burnam's bill would wipe from public sex offender registries the names and addresses of people who employ sex offenders.

The information was made public in 2009 after a media outlet asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to release it. The DPS asked the Texas AG if they had to, the Texas AG said yes, and it went onto the registry.

Now, places of business are on a public listing of sex offenders and the people who hire them.

The bill would keep the information available to probation officers and DPS, but not to the general public.

Proponents of the bill say that it prevents businesses from hiring registered sex offenders, which increases their chances of offending again.

Nobody stepped up to oppose the bill. TAB didn't show up at all.

Understandably, businesses would want this bill to pass because employers get harassed and boycotted and punished for hiring people they believed in hiring, and this would protect them from that.

Hence, TAB's reported support of the bill. It's likely not because they want to help Lon shore up his conservative credentials - not that anyone would have the delusion otherwise. But lawmakers will take support where they can get it, and TAB is a powerful ally to have. Usually.

Police: Dad Placed $3K Bounty On Daughter's Boyfriend

An East County man who allegedly offered a $3,000 bounty for the "dead or alive" capture of his teenage daughter's sex-offender boyfriend was jailed Friday on suspicion of solicitation of murder.

Detectives arrested Domingos Jose Oliveira, 50, at his Spring Valley home about 9 a.m., several hours after serving a search warrant at the Roadside Place residence, according to police.Oliveira's 19-year-old daughter and her 33-year-old boyfriend, a registered sex offender, reported him to authorities after he allegedly posted several home-made "reward" signs at Grossmont College in La Mesa, Lt. Dan Willis said.


10News learned Oliveira's daughter's boyfriend is a registered sex offender after being convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on a child 14-15 years old.Police said about a dozen flyers were posted on the Grossmont College campus two weeks ago, and the posters read: "Reward, $3,000 for the body of convicted sex offender."According to police, the poster lists the man's name and has his picture. It also said he's a "resident of El Cajon, California 92019 and currently enrolled at Grossmont College" and that "he's friends with a 19-year-old student at the college." At the bottom it says the reward will go to "anyone who can deliver his body dead or alive to us," followed by a personal email address.The placards bore the boyfriend's name and photo and offered the cash bounty "for the (man's) body ... dead or alive," according to Willis."It's fairly blatant and pretty specific what he wanted done," Willis added.Oliveira was booked into county jail and was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.Oliveira could face up to nine years in state prison if he's convicted.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The False Rape Society: Prosecutor's Conduct in Vladek Filler Case Both He...

The False Rape Society: Prosecutor's Conduct in Vladek Filler Case Both He...

Bill would decriminalize sexting among minors - Legislature -

Meetings should bring an end to lawsuit over sex offender facility

Meetings should bring an end to lawsuit over sex offender facility

Observers, friends describe woman's decline

Original Article:|newswell|text|Special%20Reports|s
Written by Kathryn Wall 12:00 AM, Mar. 26, 2011  |  
Family, friends and counselors who knew Alison Peck said in court Friday she was working hard to get her life back on track in the year after pleading guilty to statutory rape.

Peck, formerly a teacher at Greenfield, admitted to a sexual relationship with a student. She was given five years' probation, with a suspended sentence of five years in prison, but that suspension was revoked Friday in a hearing prompted by Peck's failure to register as a sex offender during her probation.

Peck says she's now pregnant with her boyfriend's child. She has not received any kind of prenatal care but thinks she's about three months along.

The child will likely be born behind bars, a fact that upset her former counselor, Kris Hamilton.

Hamilton, the licensed professional counselor who directed the sex offender program Peck was ordered to complete, said during the hearing Friday that the former teacher spent the first year of the program making good strides and seemed active in the program.

"It was the little things I started to notice," Hamilton said about Peck's slow backslide.

Hamilton said Peck had previously always been well-kept and attentive, but she began avoiding eye contact and her clothes appeared worn and dirty.

Soon after, Hamilton said, Peck's mother and stepfather met with the counselor because they were concerned that Peck was depressed. They described horrible living conditions and character differences that were a strong contrast to the girl they knew who had excelled at music and was in the top of her class at Drury University.

Peck was terminated from Hamilton's program because of her lack of progress, said the counselor, who recommended prison time for Peck because prison programs would be mandatory.

At the end of August, Peck was referred to a psychiatrist, who prescribed four different medications.

That's when Peck's friends -- and Hamilton -- say she changed entirely.

Her friends said she was "like a zombie," that they couldn't speak to her normally and that Peck was lethargic and different.

Several friends and family members testified in the hearing that Peck wasn't herself during the months she failed to register as a sex offender and had two drug tests that came back positive for methamphetamine.

They said the medications she was on changed her personality entirely and made her lazy and lethargic. According to reports from the probation officer, Peck said she took methamphetamine on one occasion to counteract the effects of the drugs.

Peck's attorney, Anissa Bluebaum, said Peck's financial problems were already causing her stress, but problems with Peck's parole officer put her into severe depression.

On Tuesday, Bluebaum filed a civil complaint against the probation officer, Rebecca Martin.

Peck said Martin and the probation officer's brother -- who is referred to in the civil complaint as John Doe -- would go to bars where Peck's band was playing and harass and publicly humiliate her.

"During these times where defendants were intoxicated and patronizing the establishments where Plaintiff performed with her band, the defendants made crude and unwelcome sexual advances toward the Plaintiff," the complaint alleges.

The brother and sister would inform other patrons that Peck was a sex offender, the complaint said.

"Rebecca Martin's brother "John Doe" went so far as to yell out in the crowd that Plaintiff should stop messing around with boys and have sex with him, 'a real man,'" the complaint said.

Martin did not appear in court on Friday.

Two of the people who testified for Peck -- a fellow member of the band she was in and a longtime family friend -- said they heard the comment and were horrified by it.
That's when things "fell apart" for Peck, Bluebaum said.

In fear of retaliation, Peck's stress worsened to the point that she was prescribed medications and was ordered by her probation officer to take them.

Peck now faces five years in prison for the probation violation and will have to complete sex offender programs there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

SF 1026 - a bill that includes numerous provisions relating to sex offenders

On March 24, introduced as chief-author, SF 1026, a bill that includes numerous provisions relating to sex offenders. Specifically the bill would establish a sex offender civil commitment petition screening panel for purposes of determining whether the civil commitment of certain sex offenders is appropriate.
To see a detailed summary of all the legislation that Sen. Hann has sponsored as a chief-author, click here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Muñoz and Allen Join Mark Lunsford Calling for Passage of Jessica Lunsford Act |

Muñoz and Allen Join Mark Lunsford Calling for Passage of Jessica Lunsford Act |

They know not what they do. Three words says it very sad.

State budget problems irk Dakota County

"Among the proposals that concern Dakota County officials are a push to make counties pick up a larger share of the tab for sex offender treatment. The county currently pays about $500,000 a year, but could face a bill three times that large going forward."

Sex Sting Nabs 22, Including Universal Worker, Couple - News Story - WFTV Orlando

Are officials trying to go out of their way to make the SO hysteria even worse. Strange how after Governor Rick Scott considered cutting the budget with the Cybercrime Unit that there just happened to be a incredible, deluging problem dealing with internet chat which eventually led to a multitude of arrests at the front door of some decoy house. Come on, seriously...a sex offender around every corner. Or maybe it was merely entrapment. You decide.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Father Accused of Murder For Hire Plot

Father Accused of Murder For Hire Plot

California Sex Offender Law 2011

Interesting Discourse about AWA...
Retroactive (AWA Expo Facto craziness)??

Defendant Keith Lee Burns was convicted of traveling interstate and knowingly failing to update his sex offender registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"). 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a) (2006) ("failure-to-register statute"); 42 U.S.C. §§ 16913 (2006). On appeal, Burns challenges his conviction on constitutional delegation, ex post facto, and venue grounds. After careful review, we reject each challenge and affirm Burns's conviction. On January 9, 2004, Burns was convicted in a Virginia state court of possession of obscene material. Following that conviction, Burns registered as a sex offender in Virginia on January 23, 2004. - Sex Offender Issues

Sex Offender Park Ban Gets Initial Approval

See comments for this article at Updated 3:15 PM PDT, Tue, Mar 22, 2011 
Orange County supervisors gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would ban registered sex offenders from county parks, but several issues must be resolved before final approval.

The proposed law would make it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter county recreational areas where children regularly gather, and it would cover any county-owned, leased, operated or maintained land, including harbors, beaches, parks or recreational areas.
Supervisor Shawn Nelson proposed the ordinance after one of his constituents complained that a registered sex offender inherited a home in Fullerton, across from Laguna Lake Park.

"We found there were few tools to keep this person away from children in the park," Nelson said.

Fullerton City Council members have approved similar ordinances barring sex offenders from parks, Nelson said.

"About a year ago it really came to our attention that there's an area of the law that's not covered with respect to sexual predators -- whether we could stop or prohibit registered sex offenders from using parks where kids regularly gather and play and what we learned is in most cases you cannot," said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

"While the law may control where a registered sex offender lives it doesn't control where they go," he said.

So the ordinance aims to create "safety zones" for children who play in the parks, Rackauckas said.

Eric Knight of the Sex Offenders Solutions and Education Network warned supervisors that the ordinance would not pass constitutional muster.

"I guarantee this law will be taken down," Knight said.

But Rackauckas said he was confident the ordinance could survive any legal challenge.

Still, the supervisors said the ordinance needs tweaking.

For instance, Supervisor Patricia Bates asked about registered sex offenders on staff who have to do work in the county's parks.

"The enforcement is key to having this work," Bates said, adding not all sex offenders are considered dangerous.

Nelson suggested the Orange County sheriff be in charge of granting waivers from the law, and the supervisors agreed.

Anyone violating the law could face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, Rackauckas said.
The supervisors will consider final approval of the ordinance at their April 5 meeting.

Sex offenders moved out of motel near Fairfax High School

Lawrence Taylor, Giants great, sees legacy go from Hall-of-Fame defender to sex offender -

Lawrence Taylor, Giants great, sees legacy go from Hall-of-Fame defender to sex offender -

More Homeowners Associations Banning Sexual Offenders

By Dean Narciso, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

March 21--Homeowners associations increasingly are seeking to ban sexual offenders and predators in an attempt to improve safety and maintain property values.

"There's an explosion in Franklin County," said David W. Kaman, a lawyer with Kaman and Cusimano, which specializes in association law.

A 2003 state law and more-restrictive municipal laws already prohibit Tier 3 sexual predators -- those convicted of the most-serious sex crimes -- from living within 1,000 feet of sensitive areas such as schools, playgrounds and day-care centers.

The association laws are far more restrictive, however, and are considered outright bans intended to protect higher-density areas, such as condominium communities, said Kaman. He recently met with 40 associations in Delaware County's Genoa Township to discuss the issue and has meetings scheduled with 40 more in Springfield and nine in Westerville in late April.

In the past six years, 30 Tier 3 sexual offenders have been denied entry to association-run communities in Ohio, without a single legal challenge, Kaman said.

It's an issue associations are considering now because a new state law requires them to file their bylaws with county recorders or lose their ability to enforce them.

"It opened up some eyes," Diana Howell, president of the 47-home Lake of the Woods homeowners association in Genoa Township, said of the law change and Kaman's presentation.

"The Realtors check the neighborhoods for offenders. And that's an issue if you have one living next door to you," she said, citing a study showing that property values can drop about 17 percent in neighborhoods where sexual offenders live.

"I know I would not move in next door to a sexual predator. And I'm assuming that as a member of society, that there are other people a lot like me," she said.

"I think we're going to see more of this," said Charles T. Williams, a partner in Williams & Strohm, which also represents homeowners associations. "I think people are very, very concerned about personal safety and their security."

Critics of the bans say they violate offenders' civil rights and amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
"It's an understandable outflow from the notification provisions, where you get a postcard if you're living within 1,000 feet of a registered sex offender," said Stephen Johnson Grove, deputy director for policy at the Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice and Policy Center, an advocate for prisoners' rights.

But eliminating housing or jobs from offenders "is really a damage to our communities," he said. "If people can't get housing, none of us are safer."

He said the vast majority of sex offenders know their victims. Often they're related, or are in a position of trust, such as a teacher, coach, clergy member or youth leader.
Howell isn't sympathetic.

"It's also cruel what they've done to be labeled what they are," she said of offenders. "They've got rights; we have rights."

The 2,400 homes in Dublin's Muirfield Association don't have restrictions against people convicted of sex crimes, but residents have discussed them, said Walter Zeier, general manager of the association. "It's a huge concern."

Association members have been told that 100 percent of the voting residents would need to approve a rule change. "Our deed doesn't have provisions to change it," he said.
Zeier also worries about potential legal challenges.

"It shocks me that no one has challenged it here," he said, when told that such laws have been challenged, unsuccessfully, only in New Jersey.

Johnson Grove said he thinks that courts would uphold the restrictions.

Constitutional laws are "a limit on the powers of government, not on (homeowners associations)," he said.

Ex-minister Spencer Gilchrist gets probation over images

Court statue 
A former Church of Ireland minister who admitted downloading child abuse images, has been given three years probation.

Spencer Gilchrist, who admitted 22 charges of making indecent photographs, or pseudo photos of a child, must take part in a special treatment programme.

Gilchrist, 45, formerly of Church Road, Kells, has resigned as a minister.
Antrim Crown Court Judge Corinne Philpott said the sentence would allow him to "address his problems".

As part of his sentence Gilchrist was put on the Sex Offenders' Register for the next five years.

He was also banned from using a computer without consent of the authorities over the same period and communicating with under 18-year-olds or undertaking any academic studies away from home.

The offences occurred on various dates between 2006 and 2009.

Judge Philpott said she did not accept Gilchrist's job was an aggravating feature in law.

However, she added that given "his standing and his obvious educational achievements" one would have "expected better" of Gilchrist, whose "heavy drinking also played a part in the commission of these offences".

It was also accepted by the prosecution that the material had not been copied or saved or distributed to any other person, nor had he an account or special passwords from the sites.

"They accept the defence case that he found the sites from surfing the web, that is going from legal adult pornographc sites of a hard porographic nature until links to these sites appeared," said Judge Philpott.

At an earlier court hearing a prosecution lawyer said police initially took away a lap-top computer during a planned search of Gilchrist's home in June 2009.

However, the cleric later told police of a second computer which was being stored in his garage.

Lawrence Taylor's Agent Hopes LT Can Do 'Productive Things' - Around the Empire - SB Nation New York

Lawrence Taylor's Agent Hopes LT Can Do 'Productive Things' - Around the Empire - SB Nation New York

National and State Sex Offender RegistriesCost of Implementing SORNA

Sen. Claire McCaskill
Rep. Russ Carnahan

December 12, 2010

National and State Sex Offender RegistriesCost of Implementing SORNA

There are 716,750 registered sex offenders on the registries and that number increases daily. What started out as 39 original offenses requiring registration has now blossomed to 189 which include urinating in public, streaking, possession of child pornography, sexting, exposure, molestation, Romeo & Juliet teen relationships, false accusations by an angry ex-wife or girlfriend, rape, solicitation, on-line sexual chat, etc.

The states are now mandated by Congress to implement Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Act, SORNA (Sex Offender Registration & Notification Act) or lose 10% Byrne Fund Money. Two states and two tribal nations are the only ones that have complied.

There are three immediate problems with going forward:

Ohio, the first state to come into compliance now has several thousand lawsuits to deal with as a result, the states do not have the money needed for the equipment, personnel, etc. so they have concluded they can better afford to lose the Byrne Fund money and
the last problem has do to with the registry itself.

There are many documented studies by credible sources showing that the registry is a failed system and in no way protects one child or adult.
Most of these folks are not recidivist and the low percentage indicates proves this. As John Walsh said, "The registry is not being used as it was intended so let's get rid of it and focus on the 10,000 violent offenders and track them. 

Why not take the 10% Byrne Fund Money and use it instead to help registrants find jobs, find housing, get meaningful counseling to get them reunited with their families in the same home. The collateral damage to the wives, children and parents of the registrants causes other families to refrain from reporting sexual offenses. Who wants to have to post a sign in their yard or have their address made public across the nation? 

Missouri Citizens for Reform

deSoto , MO

Sex offender changes to head to Snyder's desk

School visitors must show photo ID

Green Bay sex offender home called model for other communities|head

Texas Legislature Considers New Sexting Bill - U.S. Politics Today - News Media Monitoring

Texas Legislature Considers New Sexting Bill - U.S. Politics Today - News Media Monitoring

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Minnesota Sex Offender Program still plagued with problems, according to a new report

 Bill Klotz)
Eric Janus, dean of the William Mitchell College of Law and a critic of the sex offender civil commitment program, said, “We finally have official acknowledgement that the program is substandard.” (Staff file photo: Bill Klotz)

The fundamental flaws of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program have long been known. Despite operating for nearly two decades and spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, the program has never successfully rehabilitated and released a civilly committed sex offender.

Consequently, the number of individuals involuntarily enrolled in the program has skyrocketed over the last decade. In 2003 there were just 199 civilly committed sex offenders in Minnesota. As of Jan, 1, that number had ballooned to 656 - a more than 300 percent increase. The population of the program is expected to double again in the next decade. The timing of that dramatic growth is not coincidental. In November 2003, 22-year-old Dru Sjodin was abducted and murdered by a sex offender who had been released from a Minnesota prison earlier that year.

In the wake of that high-profile crime, then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed an executive order stating that no civilly committed sex offender could be released unless ordered to do so by the courts. The result? Minnesota now has by far the highest per capita sex offender civil commitment rate in the country.

That fact alone might not elicit much interest, since violent sex offenders do not rank very high on the list of folks whose well-being society worries about. But the escalating costs associated with detaining so many individuals for an indeterminate period of time have attracted increased scrutiny in recent years. It costs $120,000 annually to house and treat civilly committed sex offenders. That is roughly four times the cost of keeping them locked up in prison. Overall costs for the MSOP peaked at $75 million in 2008 and have since retreated slightly, primarily because of staffing reductions.

That does not even take into account capital costs. Last year Pawlenty requested $89 million in bonding dollars to expand the MSOP’s Moose Lake facility, but the Legislature appropriated only about half that amount. Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, referred to the facility as “Pawlenty’s pervert palace.” The MSOP anticipates running out of beds in 2013.

But a damning report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor released earlier this month shines new light on why the civil commitment program has failed to deliver on its mission of rehabilitating sex offenders. “We finally have official acknowledgement that the program is substandard coming from an authoritative arm of the state government,” said Eric Janus, dean of the William Mitchell College of Law and a longtime critic of the MSOP. “I think it’s a picture of a program that is broken at the most fundamental levels.”

Personnel issues

Arguably the most revealing details in the report concern personnel problems in the MSOP and their likely detrimental effect on treatment. The program has had three executive directors and four executive clinical directors over the past seven years. For a 14-month period in 2007-08, the top clinical post was vacant. Staffing issues are particularly pronounced at the Moose Lake facility. As of January, half of the eight supervisory clinical positions were vacant, according to the auditor’s report. That’s actually an improvement over the recent past, when as few as two of the positions were filled. As of November, 17 of 68 nonsupervisory clinical positions were vacant. All but one of the unfilled posts was at the Moose Lake operation. By January the number of vacancies there had dropped to five.
It is inherently difficult to find qualified sex therapists who want to devote their professional lives to working with violent offenders in a remote part of Minnesota, the auditor’s report notes. But it also points out that “clinicians may not want to work for MSOP because of its reputation for program instability and not releasing any clients.”

That lack of stability and staffing appears to have limited the opportunities for patients to receive effective, sustained treatment. Clients participating in treatment at Moose Lake, for instance, were receiving six hours of group therapy a week in 2010, according to the auditor’s report. By contrast, inmates participating in sex offender programs run by the Department of Corrections receive an average of 12 hours of treatment each week. And in-patient clients at Alpha Human Services, the state’s only private, residential sex offender treatment program, receive 20.5 hours of group therapy per week. The void left by this paucity of treatment is sometimes filled in rather dubious ways by MSOP residents. One client participating in treatment reported watching 77 hours of television in one week.

The auditor’s report also noted that some security measures used by MSOP staff members could be hindering advances in treatment, particularly at Moose Lake. For instance, because of concerns about inappropriate touching, clients are no longer allowed to shake hands with staff members or each other. Investigators with the auditor’s office were told that such policies create an “us versus them” attitude between clients and staff that is counterproductive.

There is no doubt that the MSOP is dealing with an exceedingly difficult population, many of whom have no hope of ever advancing through treatment. A random survey of clients by MSOP staff in 2010 found that the median number of victims per resident was 11.5 (although many of these incidents were never criminally prosecuted). Twenty percent of clients refuse to participate in treatment. In addition, about one-sixth of those civilly committed are believed to have IQs below 80 and cannot participate in standard group therapy.

Constitutional issues

But if the program cannot eventually establish some record of success in providing effective treatment to sex offenders, the courts could intervene. That is because such civil commitment programs were deemed constitutionally sound by the courts only because their primary purpose is therapeutic rather than punitive. “The courts accepted those promises and, on the basis of those promises, upheld the constitutionality,” Janus said. “What we know now is that there is a 15- to 20-year pattern of inadequate executive implementation that belies the veracity of the promises that were made by the state.”

If the courts do ultimately intervene, there are two likely courses that could play out. A judge could demand that changes be made to the program and monitor the results. That is how it worked in Washington, with the state’s civil commitment program operating in receivership for 13 years. The other possibility is that a judge could simply determine that the state statute is unconstitutional. “If they strike the law down, then of course the whole thing goes away,” Janus said.

But there is little evidence that the judiciary is anxious to strike a legal blow in favor of the state’s worst sex offenders. Olmsted County District Court Judge Kevin Lund has repeatedly raised questions about the constitutionality of the MSOP given its lack of therapeutic success in recent years. “These facilities are simply detention facilities,” the judge said in 2007. But his is a lonely stance. A case from Lund’s courtroom challenging the constitutionality of the civil commitment program went before the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2008, but was rejected.

The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is also litigating a civil case on behalf of six MSOP clients challenging confinement conditions at the Moose Lake facility. 
Basically the lawsuit argues that practices like strip searches and transporting clients in shackles are unnecessarily punitive. “The more punitive you become, the less of a therapeutic environment you have,” said Teresa Nelson, legal counsel for the ACLU, “and really you’re betraying the whole legitimate basis of the program.”

But last month a federal magistrate judge recommended that summary judgment be granted in favor of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections and that the case be dismissed. The ACLU is appealing that determination to U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank.

The auditor’s report offers 16 recommendations for how the DHS can improve the civil commitment program in hopes of avoiding judicial intervention. Even before the report was released, the agency had begun to adopt some of the changes suggested. For instance, the MSOP is under a directive to provide more hours of therapy for participants in the program. Quarterly reports now must be filed with the DHS showing how many hours of treatment are being provided. In addition, a psychiatrist has been hired to ensure that patients at the facility have access to psychiatric care.

The Legislature is also taking steps to implement changes recommended in the auditor’s report. Rep. Tony Cornish, chairman of the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee, introduced legislation this month that would implement indeterminate sentences for some sex offenders. It would apply to individuals who have a pattern of harmful sexual conduct, including at least one conviction for felony criminal sexual conduct. Under Cornish’s proposal, such individuals would receive a sentence of up to 60 years, but the commissioner of corrections would have the authority to release them sooner.

“If you go into Joe’s Bar back home and you ask people what you should do with [violent] sex offenders, you’ll end up probably with a range anywhere from life without parole to castration to the death penalty,” said Cornish, R-Good Thunder, at a hearing on the bill on Wednesday. “I don’t say that to sensationalize, but overwhelmingly the public expects us to do something drastic with the people we’re talking about in these categories of sex offenses.”

The bill passed out of committee on a unanimous voice vote. If implemented, indeterminate sentencing would almost certainly result in much longer prison sentences and consequently fewer referrals for commitment to the MSOP. But given that it would not apply to all of the sex offenders currently serving prison sentences, the potential benefits would lie at some point well into the future.

“We’re facing a huge decision point right now in that we’re going to have to stick one heck of a lot of money into the sex offender program,” Cornish said at the hearing. “It doesn’t solve it by any means, and there are still some questions to be answered.”

Bay City sees jump in number of sex crimes in 2010

By Cole Waterman | The Bay City Times
BAY CITY — The city saw a marked decline in the number of most property crimes last year, with fewer complaints of theft from buildings, motor vehicles, purse snatching and retail fraud.

But the number of sexual assault complaints increased sharply in the city, according to Bay City Police Department statistics for 2010.

First- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct complaints — the most serious sex crimes, involving penetration — increased nearly 61 percent, from 38 in 2009 to 61 in 2010.
Bay City police Chief Michael J. Cecchini said most of those cases followed a pattern last year.

“The increase isn’t in offenders who don’t know their victims or vice versa,” Cecchini said Thursday. “These are family-related issues. It’s a dramatic increase.”

The number of larceny complaints in the city dropped from 784 in 2009 to 726 last year, a decline of 7 percent. Thefts of motor vehicles were down from 47 in 2009 to 39 in 2010.

“You would think with our economy, they would be up,” Cecchini said of the trend. “I would like to think it’s due to our efforts in community policing and trying to reduce property crimes by education.”

While larceny complaints were down last year in the city, they jumped substantially in outlying Bay County. Sheriff John E. Miller said final 2010 figures for the county showed 585 larcenies, plus 24 motor vehicle thefts. In 2009, the sheriff’s office handled 459 larcenies, plus 34 reports of stolen vehicles.

Miller attributed the increase to the dour economy.

“That’s it — everything is economy driven,” he said Thursday.
But Miller said he thinks the frequency of larcenies reached a plateau over the winter.

“It’s been quiet the past few months, but that’s affected by the weather. Things pick up when it warms up,” he said.

Bay City saw arson reports decline by nearly 31 percent last year, with Bay City Police investigating nine arsons in 2010, compared to 13 in 2009. Cecchini said the decline is consistent with statewide and national statistics.

Bay City Police did investigate a greater number of burglaries in 2010, however. The number of burglaries topped off at 356, compared to 333 from the year before. The number of robberies stayed even, with 45 having been reported in both 2009 and 2010.

Deaths attributed to homicide decreased, with city police investigating only one in 2010 compared to two the previous year.

Police discovered the body of Lynn M. Spicer, of Endicott, N.Y., on Nov. 12, buried in a vacant lot at 108 Curtis St. on Bay City’s West Side. Jeffrey A. Julian II, 22, and his brother Craig A. 
Julian, 19, were arrested the same day and later charged with open murder and disposal of a dead body. Spicer had been dating and living with Jeffrey Julian.

The Julians are scheduled to go to trial before Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran on May 3.

Cecchini said his department — composed of 55 officers and three civilian staff members — received 10 percent fewer calls for service in 2010, from 30,242 in 2009 to 27,144 in 2010. The chief attributed the drop to the department’s front desk only being open on Wednesdays and emergency calls being handled by 911.

He said a new clerical staff member will be hired soon, permitting the front desk once again to be open five days a week, starting in mid-April. 

Bay City Mayor Christopher Shannon said he was pleased with the dip in property crimes, though the spike in sexual crimes is a concern.

“Any time you see movement in those statistics, we’re concerned when they go up,” Shannon said

Taking Liberties » Tell Me No Lies

March 18, 2011 

Tell Me No Lies is the title of an anthology edited by John Pilger, which records instances of investigative journalism which change how a situation or conflict was represented, and still stand the test of time today. It is a mantra that perhaps we must learn to live by when discussing issues of human rights, which are often ignored, brushed under the carpet and are too far removed from our lives.

In the same way that women’s rights campaigns are often considered hyperbolic or over-sensitive, human rights campaigns are looked at with a sense of exasperation and apathetic derision. In other words, we do not want to know. This blog is an attempt at reminding people of the very famous Edmund Burke quote which features in almost every human rights related website or blog: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’. The subtleties of this quotation are debated here, however its meaning and intent remain crucial. We stand by apathetically while people all over the world are tortured, raped, oppressed, suppressed, brainwashed, ignored, forgotten, and other verbs which I have probably missed out. Mainstream media appreciates the extreme depth of our apathy to these people and thus they choose not to report violations when it does not suit their interests. Some of the best reporting on human rights issues come through new media: blogs (both specifically dedicated to human rights and not) and twitter (especially currently whilst covering the Middle East protests). This blog will cover violations that occur in both the ‘developed’ and the ‘developing’ world. These markers are themselves troubling, however they are representative of how the world is perceived, usually in those countries considered ‘developed’.

Rather than waste space on the vagaries of this issue, I will move on to one that has recently been splattered all over the media. In the UK, new legislation has been released on the right for sex offenders to appeal their place on the sex offenders list. The rhetoric surrounding this is so biased that even fact-based news articles sound like they are choosing to disagree with the new ruling. The use of ‘criminals’, ‘rapists’ and ‘paedophiles’ to apply to all sex offenders is difficult, because clearly all three titles are not mutually exclusive. The sex offenders register applies to not only those accused of violent sexual crime (rape, paedophilia and parental child abuse) but even those who might have consensual sex with a partner under the legal age. The stigma of being on a public sex offenders list then becomes unfair. The tenets of the UK’s justice system are based on a ‘criminal’ serving his time in prison in order to be rehabilitated, reformed and then returned to normal life in society. The strange overreaction to this legislation works against Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to privacy and family life. All human beings have the right to appeal against a ruling that they believe is unfair, whether they are a ‘criminal’ or not.

The lack of understanding of the true nature of the act is perpetuated by articles such as this, which use popular rhetoric in order to overstate what is actually occurring. Sex offenders can only appeal their placement on the register 15 years after being released; considering the age at which most sex offenders are released, the anger at this legislation is seemingly misplaced. Most of the public seem to be assuming that every sex offender who appeals will be removed. 
A ‘delete’ button is not being created – instead, a considered and clear process of appeal is being created, to ensure that those that remain a risk are not being released. The public should perhaps then be questioning why they believe the justice system to be so flawed, as to allow those sex offenders who are still a threat free reign in society?

The public’s over-anxious outlook fails to recognise that continuing to track the movement of the innocent, harming their career prospects and private life is an unfair and clear violation of human rights. Our justice system works on the premise that those who serve their time are rehabilitated and are allowed to integrate back into society. Those who have a problem with this ruling should understand that they are critiquing a much bigger issue.

Editorial: Reform state's sex offender registry to better fit the crimes

1:54 AM, Mar. 17, 201

Politics remains the art of the possible. So sometimes, a small step forward beats standing in place, especially with an issue as onerous as the online Michigan Sex Offender Registry.

Bills sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, would at least undo one of the most egregious elements of the registry: the so-called Romeo and Juliet cases involving consenting teens. Legislators should approve them.

The bills, approved by the state Senate last week, would enable teens convicted of having sexual contact with an underage partner to avoid the virtually lifelong housing and employment restrictions and public humiliation associated with being registered as a sex offender. Nothing in the legislation would make such liaisons legal; the age of consent would remain at 16.

The bills create a three-tiered list of offenses and would put state law in compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act. Teenagers committing more serious sex crimes would remain on the registry, but those on the registry could also petition a judge to have their names removed.

"It's not perfect, but it's moving in a positive direction," said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Legislature should not stop here. The debate on these bills is an opportunity to create a legislative committee that would examine the entire registry and its costs to law enforcement agencies, and then recommend further reforms. Such changes should include giving judges more discretion over who goes on the registry, classifying convicts by their risk of reoffending instead of simply by their offenses, and placing more offenders on a private law enforcement registry instead of the public one.

Maintaining the accuracy of the burgeoning list has been a problem for the Michigan State Police. In some cases, names have remained on the list long after their convictions for misdemeanor sexual offenses have been expunged by the courts. Offenders are typically required to register for 25 years or life under Michigan law.

Child predators, the registry's original target, account for only a small slice of registrants. Michigan's sweeping 15-year-old registry, containing roughly 40,000 names, is one of the nation's largest. It's far too broad and includes people who pose little risk of reoffending. Pennsylvania, with a population 25% larger than Michigan's, lists only 10,000 people on its Internet registry for sex offenders.

"We end up putting so many people on this registry who are not going to get jobs or find places to live," said Shelli Weisberg of the ACLU of Michigan. "It spirals them back into the criminal justice system."

Getting rid of Romeo and Juliet cases should jump-start a broader debate on how to refine and improve an overreaching requirement that no longer serves its intended purpose.

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"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:
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“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:
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“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.”