April 29, 2008

NC- Judge rules in favor of sex offenders' rights

4-29-2008 North Carolina:

RALEIGH --Four sex offenders hooked up to satellite tracking systems had ankle bracelets and signal boxes removed after a Wake Superior judge ruled they couldn't be subject to the lifetime monitoring.

The recent ruling by Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand was the latest court decision to reject the state's attempts to track sex offenders who have finished their prison or probation sentences. Across the state, 122 people are under the tracking systems and many are contesting the satellite monitoring.

Ultimately, these court decisions in North Carolina and other states may result in a more definitive ruling by a higher court, experts and lawyers say.

"The courts, us, everybody is a little confused," said Hannah Rowland, who manages the monitoring program for the state Corrections Department in North Carolina. "We're all trying to work this out as best as we can."

The four men - David Wayne Rudder, 46, of Knightdale, N.C.; Ricky Coe, 44, of Wendell, N.C.; and Bruce A. McKoy, 38, and Kyle A. Cornelius, 35, both of Raleigh - had ankle devices and the transmitters that hung around their waist removed after Rand's decision. They joined 21 sex offenders who have fought North Carolina and had judges side with them.

The state legislature passed laws in 2006 and 2007 requiring lifetime satellite monitoring for sex offenders classified as repeat offenders, aggravated offenders, sexually violent predators, or who victimized children. The N.C. Department of Correction was assigned to attach the $1,400 units to the ankles of offenders who fell under those criteria. The Corrections Department spends nearly $3,000 a year tracking a single offender.

Defense attorneys around the state have raised questions about the constitutionality of the program, with the latest round of petitions aired in Wake County after an earlier ruling in Cumberland County. They argue that the sex offenders have served their punishments and shouldn't be subject to the close monitoring.

North Carolina started its sex offender registry in 1996, requiring people convicted of certain sex crimes - particularly repeat or violent offenders - to register their address and have their image and conviction data available to the public. Since then, the legislature has steadily created more oversight as public concerns about sex offenders increased, said John Rubin, a University of North Carolina professor who has studied the programs.

The Corrections Department and district attorney's offices around the state have asked for clarification from the N.C. Attorney General's Office, said Julia White, a spokeswoman for that office.

In his recent ruling, Rand skirted constitutional issues brought up by Charles Caldwell, a Wake public defender. Caldwell had said the monitoring violated the four men's constitutional rights.

Caldwell also questioned why the Corrections Department purchased a system that required daily charging, forcing an offender to stay home at least six hours a day.

Rand ruled that the state couldn't force the sex offenders to be monitored because their offenses occurred before the law took effect Dec. 1.

Rowland said the Corrections Department will continue to screen offenders to see which ones should be subject to the monitoring.

After that, it's up to judges to decide if those offenders should be subject to satellite monitoring. ..more.. by Sarah Ovaska - McClatchy Newspapers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sex Offenders are the other form of terrorist according to the government, because you don't know who they are or where they are. So the government says to protect us and our children they will implant V Chips, not only in us, but in our cars, passports, identification, and run surveillance on our streets, homes, friends, and conversations. 96.5% of sex offenders are family members or friends to the victim, 97% are male, and only 3.5% of convicted sex offenders reoffend...

Therefore the odds are YOU (the general public) are more of a threat to commit a sex offense than a "sex offender". Mull over that for a moment.

What will the next set of laws be? Will they treat us more like criminals than they currently are over statistics like these? Will we again support them for the reasons or justifications of good intentions?

How can we prosecute people for life knowing how easy it is to be charged and convicted of a sex offense? Do you realize how many death row inmates have been found innocent due to D.N.A.? They convict sex offenders every day with merely ones word against anothers, today, a simple lie can wreck your life! How do V Chips, satellites, surveillance, and treating us like criminals stop our children from having a sexual encounter, or save us from terrorists that our government antagonizes?

There are now about 600,000 registered sex offenders, that is about the same number of truly patriotic men who died for those rights that you are ignoring. Anyone who would support breaking them is NOT patriotic Americans!!! As Americans how can we allow the government strip rights because they feel it's (justified)?