February 5, 2016

Indiana Senate approves bill that would create child abuse registry

2-4-16 Indiana:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Senate has passed a bill that would create a public registry of people convicted of child abuse or neglect.

The bill that would create a list similar to online sex-offender registries was passed by the Senate on Wednesday on a 49-0 vote. The bill was inspired by the death of 19-month-old Kirk Coleman who died of a brain injury in 2014 while being cared for by a baby-sitter who had previously pleaded guilty to child neglect. She is awaiting trial on a charge of felony battery resulting in death.

State Sen. Carlin Yoder authored the bill. The Republican from Middlebury calls it one more tool for parents to help assure the safety of their children.

The bill now goes to the House. ..Source.. by WHAS11.com

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February 2, 2016

Statute of limitations could be eliminated for some sex crimes

2-2-16 Mississippi:

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Sex crime victims could soon have more options to pursue charges. The amount of time that passes before they go to the cops can make a difference.

It doesn't matter how severe the crime, some victims don't see justice if they don't speak up soon enough. Senate Bill 2063 would give victims more protection and prosecutors more flexibility.

"It is limited to crimes which are sexual in nature which again are some of our more heinous crimes," said Madison and Rankin Counties District Attorney Michael Guest.

Obscene electronic communications via things like social media and text messages are also common. But as it stands, there's a two year statute of limitations.

"We don't want people who are walking the streets and the only reason that they're not in jail is because they've been time barred by the prosecution and are left to remain out and potentially commit additional crimes," explained Guest.

There are already some crimes like murder and rape that don't have a time limit for prosecution in Mississippi. But about half the crimes that would require someone to register as a sex offender, aren't included.

There is currently a two year statute of limitations if someone films you without permission where there's the expectation of privacy. That would be eliminated if the bill passes.

Sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult is another that would no longer be limited. The statute of limitations for that is five years under current law. ..Source.. by Courtney Ann Jackson

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NY Bill Would Require Advance Notice of Sex Offender Relocation

2-2-16 New York:

The New York Senate passed a bill requiring the state to notify government officials and school leaders when sex offenders are transferred from a state facility to a community program or residence in their municipality.

According to the bill, it would require notification to take place no later then 10 calendar days prior to the transfer.

Community leaders should not find out about the transfer of potentially dangerous sex offenders after they have been moved into a neighborhood, which has been the case in my district and elsewhere," Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) said. "The state has an obligation to notify local officials about the transfer of sex offenders into a community program so that they have ample time to properly address public concerns and potential security issues. The only way to do that is for the state to share this information with local officials.”

The bill has been sent to the Assembly. ..Source.. by Joe Gullo

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January 30, 2016

ACTION ALERT: Challenging International Megan's Law in Federal Court

1-29-16 Washington DC:

From: Galen Baughman
To: Peter Romer-Friedman
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2016 12:58 PM
Subject: Challenging International Megan's Law in Federal Court

Dear Leaders in Sex Offender Policy:

If you're getting this message it's because I believe you can help me. A number of lawyers are working with me to lay the foundations for a legal challenge to International Megan's Law if it is signed into law. We expect H.R. 515 to pass on a suspension vote in the House this Monday (2-1-16) and be sent to President Obama's desk.

We're looking for ideal plaintiffs and we need your help to find people who meet one of these criteria:
  • 1- Does not have a passport, but wants one
  • 2- Has a passport about to expire
  • 3- Travels internationally a number of times per year (especially for work)
  • 4- Has been harassed while traveling in or out of the US based on registration status
If you think you fit any of these four categories, please write to me with the following information:
  • 1-Name
  • 2-Age
  • 3-Age at time of offense
  • 4-Offense(s)
  • 5-Which of the four (4) categories you fit into
  • 6-Would you be willing to be a name plaintiff to challenge this law?
  • 7-State you live in
All responses will be treated as confidential by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs and Human Rights Defense Center.

Time is of the essence. Please respond soon and share this with your networks.

Warmly yours,

Galen Baughman
Soros Justice Fellow
Human Rights Defense Center
11 Dupont Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 681-8121
gbaughman@humanrightsdefensecenter.org

"Are We All Sex Offenders?" | TEDx Talk
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January 28, 2016

Virginia Senate Approves Eliminating Employer Names from Sex Offender Registry

1-28-16 Virginia:

The General Assembly was back in session today (1/25) after taking a snow day on Friday.

The Virginia Senate passed a bill 22 to 17 that would remove a requirement that businesses who employ sex offenders have their name included in the sex offender registry. Democratic Senator Janet Howell of Northern Fairfax, the bill’s patron, says the current requirement serves as a barrier to hiring those who have served their time, and making it harder for them to get on with their lives.

Senator Tom Garrett of Buckinham says you can’t go too far to protect children.

The bill now goes to the House of Delegates. ..Source.. by Craig Carper

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January 26, 2016

Lawmakers consider bill to address sex offender registry removals

1-26-16 New Hampshire:

Supreme Court rules that some offenders can petition for removal

CONCORD, N.H. —A landmark New Hampshire Supreme Court decision has opened the door for more than 800 registered sex offenders to petition to be removed from the list.

In March, the court ruled that the lifetime registry requirement for crimes committed before 1994 was "overly punitive" but the ruling left it up to the Legislature to determine the process.

Since that Supreme Court decision, at least five tier-three sex offenders have petitioned to get off the registry list, but their victims have not been notified because a process is still not in place. A bill being considered by lawmakers aims to change that.

"I'm not longer that little girl who's afraid," said a woman who testified before the committee considering the proposal. "I'm here to speak for myself and all victims who are still afraid or who may not even know their offender has the opportunity to go before the court and petition to get off the registry."

The woman, who is not being identified by News 9, said she was molested two or three times a week. She said the assaults went on for years, and the man responsible recently petitioned to get off the sex offender registry.

"I swore I would never let anyone hurt me again, and yet he's here hurting me again," she said.

Senate Bill 468 would establish a process for the petition that includes a risk assessment and requires the court to notify the prosecutor, the victim or the victim's family, and permit those parties to be heard on the petition.

Proponents of the bill reminded lawmakers of the crimes tier-three offenders have been convicted of.

"The offenders are convicted of the most serious crimes: homicides, aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping and any offender convicted of more than two sexual offenses," said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

In the case of the woman who testified, the child rapist fought his legal battle through a lawsuit under the name John Doe, testifying that the lifetime sex offender registry requirement prevented him from applying for subsidized housing.

Proponents said the bill would close a loophole.

"New Hampshire statutes already have provisions on the books for how tier one and tier two, those less serious offenders, go about petitioning the court to be removed," Schollett said. "That process is already laid out very clearly in the law."

John Doe is still on the sex offender registry. A Superior Court judge ruled in December that he must remain on the registry until he can prove he's not a danger to society.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is taking the bill under consideration. ..Source.. by Amy Coveno

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January 24, 2016

Son of judge, councilman acquitted of sex assault

1-24-16 Nebraska:

LINCOLN — The 32-year-old son of a Lincoln councilman and a federal judge has been acquitted of a sexual assault charge.

Online court records say Jonathan Camp was found not guilty Thursday by a Lancaster County District Court jury. The charge was felony sexual assault of an incompetent person.

Authorities say the woman reported that she was drugged at a home on Sept. 8, 2014. She reported that she fell asleep and awoke later to find Camp sexually assaulting her.

His parents are Councilman Jon Camp and U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp. ..Source.. by Omaha.com

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Appeals court: Sullivan sex offender jailed too long

1-20-16 New York:

FALLSBURG — The Sullivan County Correctional Facility imprisoned a convicted sex offender more than eight months longer than it was supposed to, according to an appellate court ruling.

The Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department said in its ruling Thursday that the maximum security prison — overseen by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision — erred in continuing to hold New York City resident William Green after his release date.

The court also overturned the decision by Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda that kept him in prison.

DOCCS spokesman Patrick Bailey said the agency is "reviewing the decision."

Green was convicted in 2013 of first-degree attempted sexual abuse, a felony; two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and public lewdness, all misdemeanors. He is classified as a level 3 sex offender, the highest risk to commit another sex crime.

Green was sentenced to three years in prison and was scheduled to be released in February. It wasn’t until October that he was released. The court said even though its decision came after Green was released, it was important to rule on his case because this situation was “likely to recur.”

DOCCS explained it continued to hold Green because he had not found “secured suitable housing,” according to the court’s ruling. Green then challenged his imprisonment. In March, LaBuda denied the challenge because he still hadn’t found proper housing.

LaBuda did not immediately return a request for comment.

The appellate court said it understands the “difficulty in finding acceptable housing for sex offenders," but it’s still up to DOCCS to “assist in the process.” It said housing aids in reducing the chances Green, or any sex offender, would commit another crime.

Jill Sanders, Green’s New York City attorney, said Green is back in NYC and is “doing well.” She said she hopes the ruling sends a message.

“Mr. Green served his sentence and he was ready to go back to his community and re-enter successfully,” Sanders said. “(DOCCS) didn’t give him the opportunity to do that.” ..Source.. by Andrew Beam

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January 22, 2016

Man who spent 22 years in prison for rape he didn't commit faces long legal battle with NYC over $18 million jury award

1-22-16 New York:

They took away his freedom — and now they keep trying to take away his money.

The city is doubling down its efforts to stop Alan Newton, who spent 22 years behind bars for a rape he didn’t commit, from collecting the $18 million verdict a jury awarded him in 2010.

“This is a journey that started in 1984, and it’s still going on because the city refuses to take any responsibility,” Newton told the Daily News on Thursday.

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin had set aside the jury verdict in 2011, arguing Newton wasn’t entitled to the money because the city didn’t violate his civil rights.

But the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Scheindlin’s decision last Feb. 26, reinstating the monumental verdict. The federal appeals court also rejected the city’s request to rehear the appeal.

The city Law Department then tried to fight that ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court declined to hear the case earlier this month, according to court documents.

But the city is still refusing to pay up.

The city Law Department claims in new court papers the Second Circuit didn't weigh “whether the amount of the damages was appropriate” and “did not address the question whether the separate verdict on damages was excessive.”

All the appeals court did was decide whether the city was at fault for Newton’s wrongful incarceration, the city lawyers argue — and they now want Scheindlin to reduce the award. ..Continued.. by Victoria Bekiempis, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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