February 20, 2008

Missouri Court Rules Sex Offenders Cannot Be Forced To Move

2-19-2008 Missouri:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of Missouri sex offenders can continue living near schools or child care centers as a result of a state Supreme Court decision.

In a unanimous ruling Tuesday, Missouri's high court upheld a decision in May by a circuit judge striking down a portion of Missouri's sex offender statutes that could have forced the sex offenders to move.

Missouri, like many other states, has enacted progressively tougher laws targeting its roughly 7,200 registered sex offenders.

Since 2004, Missouri has prohibited sex offenders from moving into a home within 1,000 feet of a school or day care. A 2006 law expanded that ban to cover sex offenders who already lived near a school or child care center before the law took effect.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce declared that portion of the law unconstitutional because of its retroactive application. The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments on a state appeal Jan. 31 and ruled Tuesday -- an unusually speedy decision.

St. Louis attorney Chet Pleban, who represented the sex offender who sued, said the court's quick action affirms his contention that the law "clearly was unconstitutional."

"The reality of this is that this was an ill-conceived piece of legislation, because it was a vote for apple pie, motherhood and the American flag," Pleban said. "The fact of the matter is sex offenders are not popular people in this state."

The provision was part a broad bill targeting sex offenders that passed the House 157-0 and the Senate 33-0 with the backing of Republican Gov. Matt Blunt. The main portions of that bill required 30-year prison sentences for raping or sodomizing children younger than 12 and life prison sentences for certain repeat sex offenders.

Blunt defended the stricken law, which he said barred "deviants from living close to where our children learn and play."

"Every decent society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens," Blunt said Tuesday in a written statement, "and it is an outrage that our state's highest court has ruled in favor of sex offenders who want to continue living near schools and child care facilities."

After the law took, the state Department of Corrections identified 69 sex offenders on probation or parole who in fall 2006 were living within 1,000 feet of a school of child care facility, said spokesman Brian Hauswirth. Each of them was sent a letter asking them to relocate.

The actual number of sex offenders affected by Tuesday's ruling could be significantly higher, because only about 1,600 of the state's roughly 7,200 registered sex offenders are under state supervision. The rest have completed their sentences.

Hauswirth said the department stopped enforcing the provision requiring sex offenders with previously established residences to move away from schools after the Cole County court decision. The portion covering new residents remains in effect.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a St. Louis County offender identified in court documents only as "R.L." Pleban said his client lived near a private school, which he did not identify, and that school officials are aware of his presence.

The man pleaded guilty in December 2005 to attempted enticement of a child and was placed on five years probation. At the time of his plea, there was no law that would have required a sex offender to move away from a school.

Missouri's 2006 law contained an exception from the school-area ban for sex offenders who had lived in their homes before the schools or child-care centers opened. But that exception did not cover the man who sued, because the school had existed since 1988 and the man had lived there since 1997.

"The fact of the matter is that the constitution was set up to protect people like that, and it worked in this case," Pleban said. ..more.. by David A. Lieb, The Assocaited Press

Case is R.L. v. State of Missouri Department of Corrections, SC88644.


Anonymous said...

"and it is an outrage that our state's highest court has ruled in favor of sex offenders who want to continue living near schools and child care facilities."
Does he really mean "continue living near" or just the fact that they are still living?

eAdvocate said...

The real outrage is, there are people who cannot see that lawmakers are leading them around by the nose with these residency laws. The true political goal is to get votes to keep the politician in office so they don't have to face the unemployment lines. Children are a lawmaker's ruse, a pretext and registered sex offenders are the lawmaker's pawns.

Residency laws protect no one but they sound good. In fact, there isn't a lawmaker in the nation that has shown ONE sexually related crime committed in the proscribed zone by a registered sex offender living in that proscribed zone, the crime having relationtionship to the proscribed place (i.e., school, day care, etc.) that would have been prevented if the registered sex offender did not live in the proscribed zone.

The true outrage we face today is, lawmakers refuse to look at the evidence, because if they did and it was a requirement before passing such a law, no such laws would ever be passed, the lawmakers simply could not justify their claims. Sounds good laws protect no one and harm many, even those who think these laws do not affect them TODAY.

Today the pawns are registered sex offenders, tomorrow domestic violence offender, then alcohol related offenses, then some other group. As long as the public remains blind to what lawmakers are really doing, and their goals not their ruses, the closer the lawmakers gets to your front door, through these evolving laws, and one day he will knock telling you to get out. Stop the lawmaker today, and your door will never knock. Wake up and smell the roses before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

Truer words were never spoken...

However then, folks must stop voting for Big Brother! Put him/her out of office and on the employment line... "but let's be reasonable... that wouldn't happen since lawmakers have a pile of money stolen from us in the form of pork pies.

Here's an idea, Try petitioning your voice, reasoning and cause that you don't want to be led around like little sheep! Just as today's status quo! Here's a suggestion, introduce and petition a bill that requires lawmakers to take polygraphs before and during they are in such "high and moral" office jobs. After all they work for the people, by the people... Really? Public servants?

In the bill, introduce a law that requires some other form brain teasing device (fMRI) "to get inside their heads" to get to the "truth" of their agenda. HUM... Isn't this what they want to eventually do to all of us? Further, the bill could include requiring the use of their own so-called "Body Language Experts" to detect any policy-making deception.

Or dear little sheep just sleep on it another night, remain complacent and just allow them to brush off our forefathers constitutional and lawmaking intentions of "liberty and justice for all" . Ah Gee, let's just continue to allow today’s lawmakers start their own ideology of how our nation changes apply to "JUST US" first "Them next". That is to say when a law sounds or "feels" goods. Toss us a bone. Yea. After all, we need them to make us feel safe and cozy in our homes. Are they really your homes?

This stuff works marvelous for them. They get a giant paycheck ,take vacations, golf, drive expensive vehicle and fly anywhere they want in private jets. While the real issues they don't want to talk about, like guarding our nation from illegals, dirty bombs and terrorist massive murders of children, women and men, "you and me".

Or let us just have a wait and see attitude until we are overthrown by another dictatorship. Then we will all have all kinds of brand news laws!

Really folks stop fearing your neighbors and get to know your acquaintances… Ramping up fear and hate mongering will not get the job done.

Proactive or reactive?