March 12, 2014
TWIN FALLS - A man convicted of felony aggravated battery for beating a 69-year-old man was sentenced Monday in Twin Falls County District Court.
Bradley Houser, 35, was sentenced to the state's retained jurisdiction program. He will attend the Correctional Alternative Placement Program through the Idaho Department of Correction.
After the program, a judge can either put Houser on probation or send him to prison for an underlying sentence of three to 15 years.
Houser was also ordered to reimburse the county public defender's office for $500 and was ordered to pay victim's restitution of $1,257.44.
Police said Houser beat the man because he is a registered sex offender.
A police report by Twin Falls police officer Samir Smriko gives this account:
Just before 10:30 p.m. Aug. 23, police went to the Super 7 Motel at 320 Main Ave. E. following a battery call.
As police entered the hotel room they saw Rick Perkins, 69, washing blood off his head and arms. Perkins had a 2-inch gash on his forehead and multiple cuts in other places.
Perkins told police that at about 10 p.m., two men came to his door and threatened him. Perkins recognized one from a previous encounter. The men said they were going to beat him up because of a past child sex abuse case.
In 2008, Perkins was convicted on six counts of lewd conduct with a minor younger than 16. He was sentenced to three years in prison and made parole in November 2011.
Perkins told police two men who smelled of alcohol initially left his room because other people were around but soon returned, closed the door behind them and started beating him.
The beating lasted for about 10 minutes. As he spoke to officers, Perkins grabbed his side in pain several times.
Paramedics arrived, and Perkins declined to be taken to a hospital but was informed he would need stitches on his head.
Police later found Houser in the 200 block of Alexander Street but couldn't locate the other man.
Houser was extremely intoxicated and had to use a fence to hold himself up, police said. He told them he and another man whom he didn't know went to the hotel and Perkins swung at them. ..Source.. by Alison Gene Smith
March 11, 2014
Putting more registrants online will not solve or prevent further crimes; the registry is a failure when it comes to public safety. Its only purpose is to help politicians stay in office with their false claims of public safety.3-11-2014 Massachusetts:
Lawmakers said tougher sex offender laws are still needed after the apparent suicide of a Level 1 offender who was accused of abusing more than a dozen infants and toddlers in his wife’s unlicensed day care.
“Anybody who sexually assaults a child should be put online immediately if they are convicted of it. There should be no secrecy,” state Rep. Carlo P. Basile (D-East Boston).
Basile co-sponsored a bill last year to bar classifying offenders like John Burbine — convicted of a sex crime on a child — as Level 1. Sex offenders are classified based on their likelihood of re-offending — not the crime committed.
Burbine died Friday after apparently hanging himself in his cell as he awaited trial.
A new law last year put Level 2 sex offenders online along with Level 3 offenders. But Level 1 offenders, like Burbine, still remain secret from the public. Bills aimed at revealing more information on Level 1 offenders remain stalled in committee.
“There’s more we should and can do, but given the legislative clock, I’m not as optimistic,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, who sponsored a bill last year to let the public know about all sex offenders. “His death shouldn’t remove the impetus for looking at this and saying more information is appropriate.” ..Source.. by Erin Smith
March 10, 2014
Rep. Peter G. Palumbo (D-Dist. 16, Cranston) has introduced legislation, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, to replace existing sex offender laws with a more comprehensive statute, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which implements provisions of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
The bill proposes a new mechanism for “tiering” sex offenders and places control of the registry under the State Police. The bill (2014-H 7425) is before the House Committee on Finance. ..Source..
March 9, 2014
A Philadelphia judge has ordered the owner of philly.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News to reveal the name of a person who's being sued over a comment posted online.
The ruling came in a defamation suit filed by John Dougherty, the head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. Dougherty sued the anonymous poster over a comment on a Daily News blog, and his lawyers subpoenaed Philadelphia Media Network, demanding the person's identity.
A lawyer for the media company said it would not do so without a court order.
Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline Allen ordered Philadelphia Media Network to turn over the name, along with any comments he or she posted from Aug. 10, 2012, through this January, the Inquirer reported Saturday.
Philip L. Blackman, a lawyer for the individual who posted the comment, had argued in court filings that his client's statements were protected by the First Amendment. Blackman said the description of Dougherty was not "defamatory per se."
Dougherty's lawyer, Joseph R. Podraza Jr., called Allen's ruling "absolutely appropriate."
"I think it does bring accountability back to people who post things online, and I hope it disposes of the notion that just because you're anonymous, you can say defamatory things about other people and not be held accountable for it," he said. ..Source.. by The Republic
March 8, 2014
See earlier post3-8-2014 New Hampshire:
A bill prohibiting residency restrictions for registered sex offenders and offenders against children which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month is causing concern among some legislators, who say the bill would strip communities of their ability to protect children.
HB 1237 is based upon two court decisions where judges found local ordinances restricting residency for offenders to be unconstitutional.
One of the cases cited came out of Dover District Court. In August of 2009, Dover's ordinance that prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school or day care center was deemed unconstitutional by Judge Mark Weaver after a challenge by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. Weaver found the city did not show a substantial relationship between the ordinance and the protection of children.
Judge Larry Smukler cited the same reason when he overturned Franklin's ordinance in 2012 at Merrimack County Superior Court. New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union also challenged that ordinance.
Rep. Jim Webb, R-Derry, contacted Foster's Daily Democrat to voice his concerns this week. He said the bill would force the 11 cities and towns with residency restrictions to allow sex offenders and offenders against children to live wherever they want, even if it is in an apartment above a day care. Webb said this strips local governments of their ability to protect children as they see fit.
Derry does not have residency restrictions for offenders.
Rep. Laura Jones, R-Rochester, said she also believes in local control.
“Because I support local control, I decided to vote against HB 1237,” Jones said.
Jones has a friend that lives in a town where there is such an ordinance and she said her friend reports it is effective and has protected children.
The Rochester representative said she performed her own research on court rulings in this area and found decisions made by judges are mixed.
Rep. Steve Beaudoin, R-Rochester, echoed Webb's concerns about the proximity of sex offenders to children and loss of local control.
“Though the courts have ruled that no town or city can restrict where a sex offender lives, I believe that if a city or town wants to challenge that they should be able to. As I see it, this law will prohibit that challenge,” Beaudoin said.
Supporters of the bill say that residency restrictions deprive registrants of their fundamental property rights and drive them underground.
“The research explains why banning offenders from most areas of a town forces them into homelessness, destabilizes them and concentrates them in the outskirts of town, far away from buses, services, jobs and mediators,” the bill's sponsor, Timothy Robertson, D-Keene, wrote on behalf of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for representatives to review when preparing to vote.
In an interview Wednesday, Robertson said that every molester is not the same.
“There are lots of cases where a 21-year-old didn't know the other person was 15,” Robertson said. “They simply came upon each other and got what they wanted.”
When asked if the bill would, in effect, allow an offender against children to rent an apartment above a day care center, Robertson said he doubts very much that a person with a day care center on their property would rent to anyone without checking the free public sex offender list which is posted online.
Robertson cited cases of people who are legitimate and successful business owners who are considered sex offenders and others who, even 30 years after the crime, have a hard time finding a job due to the discrimination they face.
Robertson pointed out that judges do have the discretion in individual cases to limit where a sex offender or offender against children can live.
HB 1237 will now go to the Senate, where a similar bill was tabled in 2010. ..Source.. by Kimberley Haas
The State Assembly is actively considering a bill, AB 1640, that would eliminate the registration requirement for sexual offenses that the California Supreme Court and several Courts of Appeal have ruled violate the equal protection rights of registered citizens. The bill was introduced by Assembly member Jones-Sawyer (Democrat, Los Angeles) and is sponsored by Los Angeles District Attorney Lacey.
“Assembly Bill 1640, if passed, would be an important step toward restoring the civil rights of registered citizens,” stated CA RSOL President Janice Bellucci. “The bill would ensure that courts throughout the state of California consistently enforce recent court decisions.”
Recent court decisions to which the bill refer are based upon the case People v. Hofsheier in which the California Supreme Court ruled that mandatory lifetime sex registration was unconstitutional for those convicted of Penal Code Section 288a(b)(1). Since that case, the Hofsheier ruling has been applied to additional Penal Code Sections including 286(b)(1), 286(b)(2), 288a(b)(2), 288.7, 289(h) and 289(I).
California RSOL supports AB 1640 and will devote resources to its passage. Registered citizens and family members can help to support the bill by contacting their Assembly members by phone, by E-mail and/or by letter. ..Source.. by CA-RSOL
Sex offenders who committed crimes against children will have a hard time finding a place to live in Grover Beach if the City Council gives final approval to an ordinance amendment increasing the size of protected areas.
The council unanimously approved the revisions on a first reading Monday. The amendment must come back for a final vote, likely at the next meeting March 17, before it can be enforced.
Currently, child sex offenders are prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of the city’s 13 designated parks, schools and day care center.
The revised ordinance introduced this week would increase the prohibition zones to 2,000 feet.
Those overlapping zones will cover almost the entire city except three small pockets at the far southern, northeastern and northern ends.
One pocket consists of mostly agricultural and industrial land east of South Fourth Street and south of Highland Way to the city limits.
Another pocket is made up of mostly vacant land south of El Camino Real, north of Atlantic City Avenue and east from the Laguna Court dead end across North Oak Park Boulevard to the city limits.
The third and smallest pocket is a triangular residential area near Estuary Way and North Second Street.
Police Chief Jim Copsey said when the city first adopted the ordinance in 2007, questions were swirling around the state’s recently passed Megan’s Law, which established a 2,000-foot prohibition zone around day care centers, schools and parks.
So the city chose to be less restrictive, adopting a 1,000-foot zone, until the validity of the state law had been affirmed.
Copsey said the amended ordinance will bring the city’s zones into line with the state zones but will have more teeth, because there are no penalties for violating the state law.
As a result, the state law is rarely enforced, Copsey said. But the city’s ordinance does provide penalties and therefore can be enforced.
Copsey said the ordinance still will not apply to sex offenders who were living in the prohibition zones prior to the 2007 effective date of the initial ordinance.
He also noted that while the ordinance will prevent sex offenders from living near parks, it can’t prevent them from visiting parks.
“Keep in mind, too, that our ordinance still only affects those sex offenders that have committed crimes against children, those children under 18 years of age,” he said.
The amendment also adds a provision requiring child sex offenders to obtain written permission before entering a school.
“That’s currently state law, but there are no actual penalties for that,” he said. “So if we have that in an ordinance, we can directly deal with that if there’s a violation ... where somebody shows up at a school and they’re not preauthorized, if you might say.”
Until now, the ordinance has come back to the City Council each year for review to see if any areas needed to be added or revised.
Copsey said the amended ordinance will only come back to the council if a new park is added, which isn’t likely, or there is a change in state sex offender laws.
The city’s 13 areas surrounded by prohibition zones include Grover Heights Elementary School, Grover Heights Park, Ramona Garden Park, Grover Beach Elementary School and Dandy Lion Day Care..
The rest of the list includes Mentone Basin Park, 16th Street Park, Fairgrove Elementary School, South County Skate Park, Costa Bella Park, Golden West Park and Pismo State Beach. ..Source.. by Mike Hodgson
Undersheriff: Issue not a problem at local level
By a unanimous 44-0 vote of the Oklahoma Senate, a bill that would make it more difficult for registered sex offenders to change their names has reached the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1421, authored by Kyle Loveless, Oklahoma City Republican, underwent its first reading in the House on Feb. 27.
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said he did not know of any instances, during his service with the department, of registered sex offenders evading detection with new names for any length of time.
“The way I understand it, they still need to register as sex offenders by the name under which they were convicted,” he said. “I’ve not been aware of a problem.”
Chennault said the bill may be intended to close a loophole by which offenders can deflect scrutiny from the community.
“From the perspective of law enforcement, we can still track them under their original names, and any name changes would be listed additionally as aliases,” he said. “However, a name change might make it difficult for the public to look up offenders and their convictions.”
The text of the bill would amend 12 Oklahoma Statute 2011, Section 1631 to read:
“Any natural person, who has been domiciled in this state or who has been residing upon any military reservation located in said state, for more than 30 days, and has been an actual resident of the county or such military reservation situated in said county, or county in which the military reservation is situated, for more than 30 days, next preceding the filing of action, may petition for a change of name in a civil action in the district court; provided, no person who is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act may petition for a change of name. ...”
In a press release from the Oklahoma State Senate Communications Division, Loveless stated that a sex offender initially passed a routine background check under a new name when applying as a nursery worker at the church Loveless attends. After discovering the applicant had applied under a changed name, Loveless said it was revealed the person was a sex offender.
Loveless further referenced a 2011 case where a sex offender was hired as a school bus driver in Lawton after changing his name three times. Loveless also claims there is a sex offender in Tulsa who has changed his name nine times.
If passed by the House and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, the amended language would go into effect on Nov. 1. ..Source.. by SEAN ROWLEY
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that would restrict who can access juvenile criminal records has passed the Legislature and now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.
Passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate Friday, House Bill 1651 would keep juvenile offender records confidential unless a juvenile has been convicted of certain serious and violent offenses, including a sex offense for which registration is required. The measure unanimously passed the House last month.
Also under the measure, confidential juvenile offender records could not be published, distributed or sold.
Washington is among eight states that does not have juvenile records covered by confidentiality and is one of three states that sell those juvenile records. Since 1977, juvenile offender records have been public unless sealed in accordance with statutory requirements. Non-criminal juvenile records, such as those in a dependency matter or adoption, are not open to the public. ..Source.. by MyNorthWest.com