August 30, 2008

IL- Police Using G.P.S. Units as Evidence in Crimes

8-30-2008 Illinois:

Like millions of motorists, Eric Hanson used a Global Positioning System device in his Chevrolet TrailBlazer to find his way around. He probably did not expect that prosecutors would use it, too — to help convict him of killing four family members.

Prosecutors in suburban Chicago analyzed data from the Garmin G.P.S. device to pinpoint where Mr. Hanson had been on the morning after his parents were fatally shot and his sister and brother-in-law bludgeoned to death in 2005. He was convicted of the killings this year and sentenced to death.

Mr. Hanson’s trial was among recent criminal cases in which the authorities used such navigation devices to help establish a defendant’s whereabouts. Experts say such evidence will almost certainly become more common in court as the systems become more affordable and show up in more vehicles.

“There’s no real doubt,” said Alan Brill, a computer forensics expert in Minnesota who has worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service. “This follows every other technology that turns out to have information of forensic value. I think what we’re seeing is evolutionary.”

Using technology to track a person’s location is nothing new, but the popularity of the Global Positioning System — in cars, cellphones and other handheld devices — gives the authorities a powerful tool to track suspects.

In September, a man in Butte, Mont., pleaded guilty to rape shortly after a judge ruled that evidence from the global positioning unit in his car could be used against him at trial. Prosecutors planned to use it to show that the man, Brian D. Adolf, “prowled” through town looking for a victim.

In New Brighton, Pa., a trucker’s system led the police to charge him with setting his own home on fire. The system’s records showed his rig was parked about 100 yards from his house at the time of the fire.

Critics, however, say the police should be allowed to acquire global positioning data only by getting a warrant.

Renée Hutchins, a University of Maryland law professor, wrote an article recently suggesting Global Positioning System data was protected under the Fourth Amendment.

“I think that in the last couple of years,” Ms. Hutchins said, “people are starting to be aware that if they have these units in their car, people can keep track of you. I think it’s a growing public awareness. The problem is that most people feel like, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong, so who cares?’ But I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it.”

Developed for the military, the navigation devices started showing up in cars in the 1990s. Prices have dropped sharply in the past few years, and many units cost less than $150. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that 20 percent of American households own a portable Global Positioning System unit and that 9 percent have vehicles equipped with in-dash systems.

A global positioning unit receives signals from satellites to determine its position on the ground. That data can be used by mapping software to display the device’s location.

Detectives are often able to extract map searches and desired destinations that have been entered by users. Some devices are equipped with a “track back” feature that can show where the unit was at a particular time.

“What we’re dealing with here is a use of the technology that I don’t think the good people at Magellan or Garmin or TomTom really thought about when they were developing it,” said Mr. Brill, referring to manufacturers of the devices.

Law enforcement officials sometimes use secretly planted devices to monitor suspects. The practice, often done without a warrant or court order, has been criticized as unconstitutional by privacy advocates.

The global positioning feature on a cellphone has helped solve at least one crime. In 2006, the police in Virginia Beach used the feature on a homicide victim’s cellphone to find the phone and her purse in a garbage can behind a home. The home was linked to the man who was eventually charged with killing her. ..News Source.. by NY Times

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NJ- State studies how to keep ex-inmates out of prison

8-30-2008 New Jersey:

TRENTON -- New Jersey is in the midst of an ambitious pilot program to find out what combination of services works best at keeping ex-inmates from returning to state prisons after they're released.

The $2 million program, called "Another Chance," is part of the state's stepped-up efforts to lessen the percentage of ex-cons who re-enter state prison. It's also a key component of Gov. Jon S. Corzine's strategy to combat gang and gun violence.

The pilot program offers a range of social, job and medical services to 1,300 people with criminal convictions, then tracks the results.

Shavar Jeffries, who is overseeing the state's re-entry programs until a permanent director comes on board next month, said data is being collected from newly admitted prisoners, those about to leave prison and some already on parole.

Every year in New Jersey, 14,000 adult inmates and 1,600 juvenile offenders are released from correctional facilities. As many as 65 percent of the adults will be re-arrested within five years, and 37 percent of juveniles will return to correctional facilities within two years.

The pilot program is limited to four prisons -- Northern State, Garden State Youth Correctional Facility, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women and Riverfront State -- and to releasees returning to Newark, Trenton and Camden.

Inmates and parolees in the program can receive an array of services, including job training to behavioral therapy, anger management and parenting classes.

It begins with a diagnostic assessment, so services are customized to each person's needs. Those in the pilot are divided into three components: newly admitted prisoners, who receive a full range of services; those who will be released within nine months, who get a discharge plan and are lined up to receive services once they are released; and those already on parole, who receive only post-release services.

The idea is to collect data on all groups "so we can connect with what really works to reduce recidivism," said Jeffries.

New Jersey is "ahead of the curve" when it comes to reducing recidivism, said Jeffries, who named only Michigan and Kansas as addressing the problem as comprehensively as New Jersey.

Wanda Moore, a lawyer who previously oversaw Newark's re-entry programs, will oversee Another Chance and the state's other, ongoing re-entry efforts, which total about $185 million a year. She starts Sept. 10.

"A lot of folks are talking about re-entry across the country, but we're making a complete paradigm shift in making sure people get the services they need, and continuing this from corrections to community," Moore said.

Asked about the allocation of scarce financial resources to such programs, Moore asked, "Do we spend the money on the back end and incarcerate people, or do we intervene and try to move people into a place where they have the support system and connections they need? So, really, we are looking at the reallocation of dollars. We need to be smart about how we are spending our existing dollars."

..News Source.. by ANGELA DELLI SANTI

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TN- Registry Of Meth Offenders Criticized

8-30-2008 Tennessee:

Task Force Director Defends Position

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- The director of Tennessee's methamphetamine task force disagrees with complaints that keeping an online registry of felony meth offenders is unfair punishment.

Task force director Tommy Farmer said the addictive stimulant differs from other illegal drugs because making it endangers people other than the user, including children. Meth is made from heating chemicals that emit toxic vapors and sometimes explode.

-Yup, raise the "children" defense, that justifies everything!

Farmer told the Kingsport Times-News that if you blow up your house, or dump toxic chemicals in a waterway "that is going to have an impact on the entire community."

-So if what one does has an effect on the entire community, then anything can be done to those folks. What about politicians that enact "sounds good laws" what should be done about that?

Monica Pratt-Raffanel, a spokeswoman for Families Against Mandatory Minimums that advocates "fair and proportionate" sentencing laws, said the meth registries in Tennessee and Kansas are unfair.

Tennessee's meth registry that is part of a 2005 law displays the names of meth offenders for seven years. Kansas has since created an online database of meth offenders and also requires that they have "offender" stamped on their driver's licenses.

At least three other states - Montana, Minnesota and Illinois - have adopted similar offender registries since 2005.

Tennessee's Meth Registry shows the name, offense, date of birth, date of conviction and county of conviction of the offender. Unlike the state's sex offender registry, does not include photographs. Also meth offenders do not register annually.

Instead of building a unique database of meth-related offenses, Kansas added meth offenders - and almost all other drug offenders - to an existing registry of violent and sex offenders.

Pictures, current addresses and quarterly updates are required of all those in the Kansas database. First-time offenders remain on the registry for 10 years, not including time served in prison. Repeat offenders remain on the registry for life. The penalties for failing to keep up with the administrative tasks of the registry are the same for all offenders, regardless of the crime that landed them there.

"It's a person-level crime (a violent felony) not to register, or failing to follow one of the rules of the registry," said Jennifer Roth, the legislative chair of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "It's the same for everyone, regardless of whether your underlying offense was a violent crime or not."

Roth said when someone is "looking at your driver's license, they don't know what kind of offender you are."

"Just the mere presence on the registry means that a lot of people won't give you the chance to explain yourself," she said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it has received numerous inquiries from other states interested in adopting a meth offender registry.

State Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, who co-sponsored the Meth-Free Tennessee Act with state Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, said registries are a positive way to protect Volunteer State communities.

McNally said the "purpose of warning the public certainly outweighs the individual privacy concerns, or that type of thing."

He said, "If they didn't want to make the registry, they shouldn't have sold methamphetamine." ..News Source.. by

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HI- Felon in landmark case out of prison

Remember to read earlier reports on this landmark case.

8-30-2008 Hawaii:

Judge overruled federal attempts to keep sex offender in institution

Federal prison inmate Jay Abregana, held behind bars for more than a year beyond his release date, is now a free man after the government abandoned efforts to involuntarily commit him to a mental institution for sex offender treatment and evaluation.

The U.S. attorney's office invoked a new federal law — for the first time in Hawai'i, and just the second time nationally — in trying to brand Abregana as a sexually dangerous offender unable to control his desire to have sex with minors.

But federal District Chief Judge Helen Gillmor ruled last week that the government had not proved its case against Abregana, 38, and she ordered him released from custody.

Abregana was convicted in 2002 of sending child pornography through the mail. He was also convicted the same year of a state charge of misdemeanor sex assault against a 12-year-old boy in Hilo.

He finished serving his prison and parole terms in July 2007 but stayed in custody while the Justice Department pursued its claim that Abregana should be held in a mental facility indefinitely — perhaps for the rest of his life.

The U.S. attorney's office last week asked Gillmor to delay Abregana's release until it decided whether to appeal the judge's release order.

Yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Tong filed papers in court saying the Solicitor General's office had decided not to appeal.

-It would be interesting to know why they decided not to appeal this case.

Gillmor ordered Abregana released from the Federal Detention Center. ..News Source.. by Advertiser Staff

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VT- Top cops confront sex crimes challenge

This is a perfect article to show how foolish "Top Cops" are in their thinking. They are stuck in the "trackum" mentality as being the way to prevent new sex offenses. Tracking former offenders has statistically been proven to be the wrong way to prevent over 90% of new sex crimes. The Dep't of Justice reviewed over 73,000 sex crimes and found that 93% of them were accomplished by someone close to the victim, someone in the daily lives of the victim (Note: Brooke was killed by her UNCLE). The Dep't of Justice also tells us that the recidivism rate of former sex offenders is around 3.3% as to minors. Michael Jacques (Brooke's uncle) was registered and tracked and still offended, admittedly he was a serious former offender likely a true pedophile. So is tracking the answer? No. The 90% of new sex crimes shows one must look into the lives of victims, so to speak, follow that trail to look for answers. Tracking former sex offenders will not prevent new sex crimes. These "Top Cops" need to change their thinking if they are going to be effective in preventing new sex crimes.

8-30-2008 Vermont:

MONTPELIER — Law enforcement agencies across Vermont need to work together to prevent sex crimes and to track offenders outside prison, four top officials told a legislative panel on Friday.

Detectives investigating sex crimes need special training and understanding of the different ways many sex offenders think, the participants said. The best way to keep them from re-offending is to monitor them closely, said Col. James Baker, the commander of the Vermont State Police.

Constant manipulation

"These folks are always, always, always manipulating (and) thinking about their next move and the only way you can keep them off guard is to supervise them to the point where they have to worry about the next time they're going to be checked," Baker said.

And a number of special law enforcement units being contemplated for the state to combat sex crimes should include probation and parole officers from the Department of Corrections, Baker said.

The officers testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating how the state manages sex offenders.

The meetings were prompted by the disappearance and death 12-year-old Brooke Bennett of Braintree.

Brooke disappeared June 25 and was found dead a week later. Her uncle Michael Jacques, a 42-year-old convicted sex offender who had been released from prison before serving his minimum sentence, has been charged with her kidnapping.

The panel is looking for the best way to update Vermont's laws governing sex offenders. The lawmakers are supposed to have their report completed by the middle of November.
The Friday afternoon session was billed as a "round-table" between the officers and the panel. Besides Baker, the participants from law enforcement were Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling, Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux and Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Ingrid Jonas, who specializes in sex crimes.

Schirling, who spent five years with the Chittenden Unit For Special Investigations and has studied child sexual exploitation, said it can be impossible to determine if someone who commits a relatively minor sex crime will go on to commit more serious crimes.

"Their thought process is different than the average person. They have a single minded nature about the way they think about things," Schirling said. "They have a need driven, underlying fantasy to offend in a sexual way... It's almost like an addiction."

Baker said an entirely different thought process was needed to deal with sex offenders.

"You can't look at these people like you can save them. I can't be any blunter than that," Baker said. "It's not that they can't be controlled and it's not like they can't function in society, but that's going to have to be with a high level of supervision."

To minimize the risk posed by sex offenders law enforcement in Vermont is going to have to change the way it does business, the participants said.

Baker said the state police was willing to lead, but it would have to be given the resources to focus on the highest profile crimes. ..News Source.. by WILSON RING

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VA- In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time

Taking the man's word, that he was unaware of the law, and the fact that, the news report says nothing about the state previously notifiying him of the law, this man is innocent. All RSOs must be notified of laws before being prosecuted for violating them. Assuming the state did not notify him, this is a form of entrapment.

A review of the law covering school property, in subsection (B), indicates "after notice" the news article makes no mention that he was given any notice.

8-30-2008 Virginia:

Sex Offender Pleads Guilty To Entering School Property In Broadway

HARRISONBURG - A violent registered sex offender accused of violating a new Virginia law banning sex offenders from school grounds pleaded guilty Friday in Rockingham County Circuit Court.

Robert Breighner, 43, of 182 Church St. in Broadway, pleaded guilty to entering school property after being convicted of a violent sexual act, which is a felony. Breighner, who is facing up to five years in prison, will be sentenced on Oct. 30.

Breighner was charged after Rockingham County sheriff's deputies say he showed up at Broadway High School in April.

In 1993, Breighner pleaded guilty to felony aggravated sexual battery on a child and was sentenced to five years in prison, with three years suspended.

Prosecutors say this is the first case in Rockingham County to be prosecuted since a new law banning violent sex offenders from schools went into effect in July 2007.

"It's a fairly new law that clearly states that violent sex offenders are not to be on school property," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Clark Ritchie at the time of Breighner's indictment. "The reason for the statute is pretty clear: to protect children. We're going to have a zero-tolerance policy."

The Case

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Louis Nagy told Circuit Court Judge T.J. Wilson that Breighner entered the high school on April 14 to help his adult daughter enroll at the school.

He said Breighner signed in at 9 a.m. and left a short time later after he was told that his daughter would need proof of residency.

The next day, Nagy said, Breighner went back to the school, when he was spotted.

"A staff member almost immediately recognized the defendant as a violent sex offender and notified school authorities," Nagy said. "Mr. Breighner cooperated and left immediately after being confronted."

He was arrested April 22 and indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury on May 9.

Breighner's attorney, William Wentz, said his client wasn't aware of the new law.

Breighner remains free on $1,000 unsecured bond until his sentencing date.

Broadway High School Assistant Principal Kelly Troxell said the school's staff keeps an eye out for sex offenders.

"Rockingham County Public Schools employees strive to provide the safest school environment possible for our children," Troxell said. "We are proactive in familiarizing ourselves with individuals on the [sex offender] registry. I commend our clerical staff for their alertness in this situation." ..News Source.. by Pete DeLea

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MO- Jury awards man from Aurora $16 million for false sex abuse case

8-30-2008 Missouri:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A federal jury awarded a man who was acquitted of molesting his adopted daughter $16 million on Friday. The verdict came in Theodore W. White Jr.’s lawsuit against his ex-wife and a Lee's Summit police officer.

White, who now lives in Aurora, spent more than five years in prison after a jury convicted him in 1999 of molesting the girl between 1995 and 1998. He got a new trial on appeal in 2002 after prosecutors revealed the lead detective, Richard McKinley, was dating White’s wife during the investigation. The ex-wife, Tina, is the mother of the girl and is now married to McKinley.

White’s second trial ended with a hung jury, which was split 11-1 in White’s favor. His acquittal in his third trial came in February 2005, and White left jail and moved to Aurora to be near his family, who supported him and raised money for his defense.

A month after returning to Aurora, family and friends held a party for him. Some of the jurors from the second trial attended the party. Those jurors sat through the third trial to show their support, and even travelled around Missouri to lobby on White's behalf.

White sued the McKinleys, the City of Lee’s Summit, and the city’s former police chief a month after his acquittal. He sought $100 million in damages.

The lawsuit charged McKinley made up the molestation charges and violated White’s rights. White says McKinley destroyed evidence and covered up and lied about having an affair with White’s wife, who was estranged from him at the time.

The jury awarded White $14 million in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages. A judge dropped the city and the ex-chief from the lawsuit when the city agreed to pay any damages resulting from the lawsuit. McKinley now is a patrol officer in the Lee’s Summit Police Department. ..News Source.. by

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August 29, 2008

KY- Ky. governor restores partial rights to convicted molester

8-29-2008 Kentucky:

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gov. Steve Beshear has restored some rights to a Lexington man convicted of child molestation charges.

Beshear gave back the right to vote and to hold office to Ron Berry, who served three years in prison after being convicted in 2002 on 12 counts of sodomy involving teenage boys.

Berry, 64, formerly headed the Micro-City Government youth program, which is now defunct.

Attorney Gayle Slaughter, who represents several people who accused Berry of molesting them, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she doesn’t mind Berry being allowed to vote, but was surprised that the governor would allow him to hold office.

“I’m legitimately at a loss for words on this one,” Slaughter said. “I guess it is good to know which side of the fence the governor is on in this battle against this scourge on society.”

Beshear spokesman Jay Blanton said the governor routinely approves the partial restoration of civil rights if applicants have served their sentence, paid restitution and have no further charges against them. Blanton said allowing Berry to vote automatically gave him the right to run for office. A full pardon would have restored all his civil rights, including the right to carry a firearm and sit on a jury, and would have wiped away his convictions.

“We apply the same standard for everyone,” Blanton said.

The partial pardon was signed on Aug. 20 and filed Wednesday in Fayette County court.

Blanton said Berry’s application for a partial pardon was sent to Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson, who prosecuted the case. He said the governor’s office did not receive any objections to the request.

Larson said he didn’t object to it because he didn’t see it.

“We object to people who kill people, and people who are sex offenders,” Larson said. “And I just obviously didn’t see it.”

Blanton said the governor had refused to restore the civil rights of felons in each of the 56 instances when prosecutors have objected. ..News Source.. by Hearld Dispatch

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August 28, 2008

MA- Family ties

8-28-2008 Massachusetts:

For mothers in prison, children can be key to rehabilitation, with parenting classes and visits paving way to self-improvement

Four years ago, Jacquelyn Pedranti had served only eight months of her prison sentence, and didn't know what to do about her son. He was acting up, demanding to know why he couldn't sleep in the same house as his mother.

Pedranti didn't know what to tell him. She was struggling to come to terms with her own situation. In an interview at the time, she couldn't even bring herself to discuss the crime for which she had been convicted: drug trafficking.

Now, still incarcerated, the 32-year-old appears to have undergone a remarkable transformation. In a recent interview at MCI-Framingham, Pedranti was upbeat, open about her mistakes, excited about the future, and, she said, closer than ever to her son.

"Coming here was a blessing. I could have ended up dead," she said. "I had to better myself in here for him."

Pedranti said she has just finished her last class for a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies at Boston University, and expects to graduate in May. She is looking forward to moving, perhaps within a month, to a minimum-security facility where she can have extended visits with her son - up to 48 hours, instead of just a few hours at a time. She hopes to be paroled next year.

She credits much of her progress to her connection with her 12-year-old son, Jerry, maintained over the past few years through regular visits and daily phone calls, as well as several programs at the prison, including ones that specifically promote family ties.

Most American women in prison are mothers. Advocates say efforts at rehabilitating members of the fast-growing population of women in prison must be specific to their gender and to their roles as mothers, and an inmate like Pedranti demonstrates just how important - and effective - specialized programs can be.

The University of Massachusetts at Boston's Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy released a study this summer that reported a lack of support nationwide for mothers behind bars, despite the overwhelming share of incarcerated women that are poor, single mothers.

Although the report, "Parenting from Prison: Family Relationships of Incarcerated Women in Massachusetts," found that progress has been made in recent years, it also defined a number of areas in which improvement is badly needed.

Pedranti's story is the goal, not the norm.

"It sounds like her situation is fairly functional compared to some of the stories that we heard," said Paige Ransford, the study's project director. "It's what some of these women who we talk to strive for or hope to get to."

The report relied partly on interviews with 48 women, chosen at random, largely from MCI-Framingham, the state's only prison for women. ..For the rest of the story.. by Lisa Kocian

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SmartWatch: News From the Smart Office

The Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) announces the launch of SMART Watch.

This online newsletter highlights ongoing activities, news, resources, funding opportunities, and upcoming events relevant to those in the field of sex offender management.
(NCJ 223557)

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August 27, 2008

TX- Tyler City Marshals using new camera technology to catch offenders

Starting today, Tyler City Marshals are using some new high tech toys. It's a program that uses cameras to scan and record your license plates, even when you're not driving.

Today, KLTV 7's Layron Livingston hitched a ride with the City Marshals to find out if the city is getting a little too intrusive.

After more than 26 years of law enforcement, deputy City Marshal David Decur has seen lots of things added to the dashboard of a patrol car.

"This is by far the most advanced yet."

He and his fellow Marshals are the first to use 'plate-scan,' software which uses wireless technology to automatically record and photograph license plates.

"Think of it as having 4 very observant officers, with really good memories, always keeping a watch out on the roadways. Plate-scan uses 3 cameras mounted on top of the patrol car with another mounted in the back window."

"This thing has eyes for us, all around the vehicle now."

The system is connected to city and statewide license plate databases.

As officers drive, 'plate-scan' chirps, beeps and snaps photos.

It's seeking out warrants, outstanding parking tickets, stolen vehicles, and even registered sex offenders.

"If an officer is near a school and they hit a sex offender, they're going to know that they're near a school, or parked near a school and they're not supposed to be," said David Decur.

Officers have no problem spotting vehicles of interest. The system lets them know.

Violators literally get the boot, or more. We saw a driver today picked up for more than 950 dollars in outstanding warrants.

But what about the law abiding? Is this new technology an invasion of your privacy?

Municipal Court Administrator Cam McCabe doesn't think so.

"Anybody on the road is already deemed to be public. It's the same things the officers were doing manually - typing in your license plate without you knowing.

Marshals say the overall goal is to deny law breakers access to your roadways.

The municipal court says it hopes to cover the $125,000 price for the new technology with the outstanding warrants it will help bring in.

This afternoon, about $2,000 were collected. ..News Source.. by Layron Livingston

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IN- Judge to rule on park ban ordinance

While it is likely true that use of a park is not a fundamental right, it is not true that constitutional protections do not apply. A park is a place that is made available to the general public and restrictions on its use or entry into them are probably valid. However, there is a constitutional right to equal access to the park on grounds that are applied equally to everyone that uses them. The court denies Dowell based on criminal record but there is nothing posted in the park which makes that known to anyone, nor does the city strive to find out if anyone else has a criminal record and therefore should also be banned. Hopefully the ACLU will take such a tack when arguing this case. See earlier articles.

8-27-2008 Indiana:

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — An ordinance that prevents a convicted sex offender from watching his son play baseball in a city park is unconstitutional, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union argued.

But the attorney who wrote Jeffersonville's sex offender ordinance said that use of parks is not a fundamental right and constitutional protections don't apply.

Eric Dowdell, 36, is contesting the ordinance in Clark Superior Court. He twice has been denied exemptions from the ordinance to allow him to watch his son play baseball in a park in the Ohio River city near Louisville, Ky.

Dowdell was put on the state sex-offender registry after admitting that he engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl when he was 21, according to court records. He was given a three-year suspended sentence. He completed a 10-year term on the registry in 2006.

Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, argued during a hearing Monday that the park rule "bans people who have had no offense in a park" and violates Dowdell's "rights to personal autonomy." He also told Judge Vicki Carmichael there is no evidence that Dowdell presents a particular risk to children in the park.

Attorney Larry Wilder, who wrote the ordinance, argued that cities have the authority to make laws protecting their citizens in city parks.

Carmichael said she would issue a decision after Sept. 12, the deadline for both sides to submit final documents.

Dowdell has previously sought exemptions from the ordinance. In 2007, a waiver was denied because he had not provided all the required documents. A judge denied an exemption earlier this year due to three battery charges against Dowdell since his 1996 sex offense.

Falk said those offenses have no bearing on whether the parks ordinance is constitutional. ..News Source.. by Fort Mills Times

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Naming, shaming won't help child sex offenders - prosecutor

8-27-2008 New Zealand:

Naming and shaming child sex offenders who are released into the community risks creating further outcasts, and is not the answer, says a legal ethics expert.

Christchurch-based crown prosecutor Kathryn Dalziel told a privacy issues forum in Wellington today the reality was that "the child sex offender is a person in our neighbourhood, and so are children and the police".

Ms Dalziel teaches legal ethics at Canterbury University and is the sister of Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel, who opened the forum.

Parents needed information to manage the risk for their children, but they did not need to know the detail, Ms Dalziel said.

"If we victimise one person and create them as outcasts, we aren't addressing the risk." Ms Dalziel cited the case of convicted paedophile Barry Brown, who was awarded $25,000 damages after suing police over a 2001 pamphlet drop advising residents of his release into the Wellington suburb of Strathmore. The pamphlet included his photo.

He was verbally and physically assaulted, and eventually forced into hiding.

"In that case the judge found there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, particularly of his photo and home address," Ms Dalziel said.

"The judge took the strong view that if you share information along these lines you create more likelihood that the person goes on to reoffend."

That was backed up by research from Canterbury University , she said.

There were also issues around the accuracy of the information. In Brown's case it was assumed he was a high risk of reoffending, which wasn't true, Ms Dalziel said.

"The experts' evidence was that if he was managed properly the risk would be reduced. There was no evidence he was reverting to risky behaviour."

Ms Dalziel said the simple solution of the death penalty, or imprisoning them away from the community for good, were not practical solutions.

It often happened that during treatment offenders revealed other offences that were not detected.

"If we rely on convictions solely, we do not have a strategy as a community to protect our community," she said.

There would also be no strategy for those offenders who had not yet been caught, she said. ..News Source.. by

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NV- Upcoming court challenge sparks debate between sex offenders and neighbors

8-27-2008 Nevada:

Two high-risk sex offenders have recently registered with Reno police and it's sparked debate on an upcoming court challenge between neighbors and the offenders and their rights.

Nevada was among the first to pass laws that would allow the state to post on the internet the names, photos, home and work addresses and vehicle descriptions of offenders who've served probation or prison sentences on convictions as far back as 1956.

Some advocates say sex offenders have rights too and it's wrong to lump those guilty of minor offenses with the worst offenders.

The advocates say the laws don't provide public safety and only demonize a particular group but the Deputy State Attorney General says the system is based on convictions. He says informing the public of a true fact is not considered punishment.

"Having the knowledge and knowing how to protect your children is of the utmost importance by notifying the community of who lives in their area that has potential to reoffend which tier 3 offenders do,"

Sex offender laws in Nevada are set to face a court challenge Sept., 20. ..News Source.. by News 4

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August 26, 2008

MI- Officer facing felony charges

8-26-2008 Michigan:

Allegedly, illegally accessed jail computer

ESCANABA - A former corrections officer at the Delta County Jail has been charged with illegally accessing jail computers and possession of child pornography, according to Delta County District Court records.

William James Johnson, 33, of 127 Michigan Ave., Gladstone, was arrested two weeks ago on three felony counts of unauthorized access to computers and a fourth felony count of possession of child sexually abusive material, according to court records.

The computer incidents occurred from 2004-07 at the Delta County Jail and carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The fourth count (possession of child sexually abusive material) relates to an incident in December 2007 at his home and carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Following authorization of a warrant for his arrest, Johnson turned himself in at the Michigan State Police post in Gladstone on Aug. 13. He posted a $500 bond. On Aug. 18, he waived his 14-day right to a preliminary examination. A preliminary hearing has not been scheduled in district court yet, said court officials.

According to State Police Det. Sgt. Greg Cunningham from the Gladstone Post, the illegal use of the jail computers was discovered during an update of the county computer system in December.

It was found that spyware had been installed on the computers, allowing each keystroke to be recorded, he said. Further investigation revealed Johnson had allegedly installed the spyware allowing access to booking information, employee passwords, Internet use, and other information.

Investigators initiated a search warrant to determine if department information was transferred to Johnson's home computer, Cunningham said. It was during this computer forensic examination when officials discovered the child pornography, he explained.

Cunningham said there was no loss of department information and there was no security breached.

-I wonder what their definition of "security breach" is?

Johnson was hired as a corrections officer at the county jail on Oct. 1, 1998. After the initial investigation into the case, he was suspended with pay from his job. Following further investigation revealing child pornography on his home computer, Johnson was fired from his position in January.

The specific charges against Johnson are:

Count 1 - Unauthorized access to computers in the front office computer for dispatch 1.

Count 2 - Unauthorized access to computers in the lower booking computer.

Count 3 - Unauthorized access to computers in the front office computer for dispatch 2.

Count 3 - Possession of child sexually abusive material.

According to court records, the investigation includes more than 100 pages of computer examination materials. ..News Source.. by Jenny Lancour

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TX- Ankle Monitors Make the Grade in Texas

8-26-2008 Texas:

It began in Midland as a successful way of keeping kids in school, and now its spreading across the state.

A program in Midland uses ankle montiors to track truant kids, and that has court authorities all over Texas sitting up and taking notice.

The latest city to sign up is San Antonio.

On Monday morning, the Midland County Commissioners Court re-approved the grant of about $200,000 for the tenth year in a row.

With a 95 percent success rate, their phone has been ringing from counties from all over Texas, wanting to know how they can start a similar program.

"If we're getting our kids in school, then everybody benefits," James R. Henry, Program Director of the Alternative Sentencing Program in Midland, said.

Juvenile offenders from 10-17 years of age qualify for the monitors, but so far, Midland has only used these monitors on Jr. High and High School students.

"We had kids who were not going to school, in the front door, out the back door type situations; wouldn't come home in the evenings, or even gone overnight or even two or three days," Henry said.

Depending on their sentencing, students wear the tracking device between 30-180 days.

"The student keeps the monitor on for as long as we feel like they need it. If they can show a pattern that they've gotten themselves back in order and attending as required, then we'll take the monitor off," Henry said.

They're water proof, light-weight, and virtually indestructable.

"It's an extreme step to take, but for the outcome, I think it overwhelms the actual, in tandum, what it may look like," Henry said.

The ankle monitors track where you are and where you've been, but the most surprising thing about this technology isn't the affect is has on the one who wears it, it's the affect that it has on other students.

"One monitor afffects 15-20 other students because the students see the monitor on, and they're like, 'Oh, I don't want that. What do I have to do to stay out of Judge Cobo's court?'" Henry said.

But then officials got an unexpected result.

"The parent/child relationship was an unseen success for the program, because when we put the child on the monitor, it also requires the parents to have a certain level of accountability," Henry said.

Parents have some added responsibility too. They're required to notify staff members if the child goes out of the allowed zone.

"We saw families, parents, and kids coming closer together after they've been wearing the monitor," Henry said. "And parents have been extremely receptive to the idea. They like it, they see it as something they need in order to get their kids back on track like they should."

NewsWest 9 also spoke with Judge Cobos on Monday and he tells us they can track the student's whereabouts every thirty seconds just by checking their cell phones or computers.

Now that Midland has helped San Antonio get their program underway, officials are hoping it will continue spreading around Texas and even across the U.S. ..News Source.. by Sarah Snyder

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PA- Attempt to help sex offenders offends town

The world needs more folks like Tom Armstrong, who is willing to put beliefs ahead of prejudicies and biases to make society a better place to live. Yet, if it were not for prejudices and biases we couldn't tell who the good folks are; strange.

8-26-2008 Pennsylvania:

MARIETTA, Pa. - It was bad enough when Tom Armstrong brought goats and chickens onto his property in this impeccably restored mill town on the Susquehanna River, his neighbors say. But this summer, they say, he went too far when he moved in three sex offenders.
The former tough-on-crime state legislator quietly opened his doors to the men in June, shattering the serenity of the borough of 2,700 and scattering his own family.

"I'm not happy having sex offenders living next to my children," said Wendy Alkinburgh, a mother of four children younger than 7. "I used to let them play in the backyard, with me at the kitchen window. I can't do that anymore."

After residents packed community meetings, circulated flyers with the men's pictures, and pressed officials for action, the borough zoning board ruled that Armstrong had violated an ordinance limiting the number of unrelated people who can live together.

He said he planned to appeal and was convinced that once the community "is educated about who sex offenders are," neighbors would be more welcoming.

"These are fantastic guys," Armstrong, 49, a genial Republican who was voted out of office in 2002, said in his Victorian-decorated living room with two of his tenants.

Now an insurance salesman who has held a number of jobs, including landlord, controller, janitorial service owner, commercial property developer, Amish buggy operator, and goat-meat salesman, Armstrong said he was motivated by faith to help sex offenders who are struggling to find housing as cities across the country adopt tougher laws to keep them out.

"There are 160 men in state prisons that are able to come home, but they can't because they don't have anywhere to go," said Armstrong. "Ultimately, we need to find more homes for them in Lancaster County."

During his 12 years as a state representative, Armstrong adopted tough stands on abortion, taxes and crime, but took up the issue of prisoners' rights about eight years ago, after his brother was arrested for exposing himself.

Armstrong began mentoring prisoners through Justice and Mercy, a local volunteer program, and saw sex offenders sitting in jail because they had nowhere to go. Last spring, he helped four of them move into a rented home in Conestoga that he planned to expand to accommodate 30, but they were driven out by angry neighbors.

So, in the "What-would-Jesus-do?" spirit, he decided to take three of the men - convicted of rape, molesting a 15-year-old girl, and downloading child pornography - into his 15-room, century-old home. They each pay $100 a week in rent.

The move is temporary, while he makes another stab at a group setting, this one three miles away in Columbia, if he can get state approval and funding.

In the past, he has taken in veterans, and Marietta's zoning law, which states that up to four unrelated people may live together, was never an issue, he said. The key word, apparently, is may.

"The decision of the borough is that may means may or may not," said Armstrong's attorney, Jim Clymer. "In this case, the zoning officer decided that may means may not."

Borough officials did not respond to calls for interviews.

Opening his home to sex offenders has split up Armstrong's own family. His 16-year-old daughter cannot live there because one of the men, convicted rapist Richard Owen, is not permitted to reside with minors.

Armstrong said she and his wife, Janice, moved out in June to care for Janice Armstrong's critically ill mother in Lancaster, not because of the boarders. "I didn't tear apart my family," he said

The mother and daughter, who are still in Lancaster, say they are happy to help out.

"I'm fine with the guys being there," Janice Armstrong said. Her mother died Aug. 12, but she will remain at the home to sell it.

Christine Armstrong, who is home-schooled, said that her father "wouldn't bring anyone he wouldn't trust into his home," and that she liked living in Lancaster.

"They're good men," she said. On Saturday nights, she sleeps at a neighbor's house in Marietta because she has a Sunday-morning paper route.

Armstrong's son, Tom, 19, recently moved to a nearby apartment and is attending college.

After his brother's conviction, for which he served five years in jail, Armstrong decided that restrictive housing laws, which generally bar sex offenders from living near schools, playgrounds or day-care centers, were doing more harm than good.

In Pennsylvania, about 130 municipalities have passed residency restrictions for sex violators and many more are considering it, state parole board officials said. Opponents say that those laws do nothing to increase public safety and that prisoners end up spending more time in jail because they can't find housing.

Lauren Taylor, executive director of the state's Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, said even halfway houses shun sex offenders because they don't want to deal with community opposition. "We really need to get our arms around the issue, so we're looking at what really impacts public safety, not what makes us feel better," she said.

There are almost 13,000 sex offenders in the state registered with Megan's Law, which requires them to give their whereabouts to police, who notify the public through an online registry.

That's how Marietta neighbors found out about the town's newest residents. They say they're angrier at Armstrong, for not warning them, than at the men.

"It's like putting 10 overweight people in a grocery store and saying, 'Don't go near the doughnuts,' " said Lauren Hughes, 18, who lives across the street from Armstrong with her parents and 19-year-old sister.

Her mother, Mary Jo Hughes, called Armstrong "sanctimonious."

She said she had planned to move but didn't think she could sell her house after all the publicity. It's not the first time Armstrong has riled neighbors, she said, mentioning the goats and chickens.

"I don't lock my doors. I don't lock my cars. We don't have to. But he's making it that kind of place, and that bothers me," she said.

"Why can't they find an older home in Lancaster County farmland, rehab it, grow tomatoes, whatever?" she said.

Though Eric Umholtz, a father of four down the street, believes everyone deserves a second chance, he's not taking any chances with his own children. He showed them the men's pictures and told them to stay away.

That kind of scrutiny should ease people's fears, the men said. After all, there are two other Megan's Law offenders in Marietta whom nobody knew about until the controversy erupted.

"Would they rather have me living on my own in an isolated area or in a mentored, faith-based home where I'm being monitored?" asked Owen, 51, who has also served time for armed robbery and simple and indecent assault.

In May 2007, he was free to leave Lancaster County prison but had to stay an extra year because he didn't have housing.

"I've paid my debt, but society keeps footing the bill. How is that beneficial for anyone?" he asked.

His roommates are Paul Studdard, a former science librarian at Millersville University who was convicted of possessing child pornography, and Richard Barker, 68, who assaulted the minor.

Barker, who likes to walk his dog and attend the nearby Mennonite church - which has welcomed him as long as he has an escort - said he just wanted to live in peace. "We're crying out for people to help us," said the divorced father. "I want to become a part of the community and help the community."

And while they may sympathize, many neighbors would rather the men start over someplace else.

"They have a right to construct new lives," said Alkinburgh, whose children are barred from going into Armstrong's backyard. "But the crimes that they committed are inexcusable." ..News Source.. by Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer

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IA- Thoughtless? Yes. A sex offender? No

8-26-2008 Iowa:

High school student Andy Dougherty of Moville doesn't belong on the state's sex-offender registry with rapists and child molesters. But the absurdity of this state's sex-offender laws put him at risk for landing there.

Dougherty did something stupid. At the age of 17, he sent a friend a 10-second video that showed Dougherty with his pants down, engaged in a sex act with his teenage girlfriend. Dougherty sent the video after the couple had a fight, apparently trying to get revenge on his girlfriend for spreading rumors about him.

A Woodbury County prosecutor charged Dougherty with telephone dissemination of obscene material to a minor, a sex crime. Since then, the teen pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree harassment and will spend time in jail, do community service and pay fines.

But had he not pleaded guilty to lesser offenses, he faced having his entire life turned upside down. If convicted and placed on the registry, he would have been banned from living certain places, prohibited from doing certain jobs and labeled a sex offender for life.

Dougherty's story is, we suppose, a cautionary tale to teens: Don't send racy cell-phone videos.

But more than a lesson for teens, the case should serve to educate Iowa lawmakers. It calls into question this state's extreme and unreasonable laws on sex offenders.

First, there's something wrong with the law when a teen who sends pornography to another teen could be placed on the sex-offender registry. That list should be reserved for those who are a threat to society - the people Iowans need to know to watch out for.

Second, the case underscores the ridiculousness of residency restrictions on sex offenders in this state. If convicted, Dougherty would not have been able to live within 2,000 feet of a school or child-care center. Since state universities don't allow sex offenders to live on campus, a conviction would have meant he couldn't live in most residence halls at the three state universities.

As this page has noted repeatedly, restricting where sex offenders can live doesn't make anyone safer. It soaks up thousands of hours of law enforcement officers' time and continues to punish one group of criminals long after their sentences have been served.

In Dougherty's case, society wouldn't be better off if his entire life had been disrupted and derailed. The teen didn't rape anyone. There's no evidence he's a threat to other Iowans.

Some good may come out of this case, however. Some Iowa lawmakers are apparently questioning why a law intended to target pedophiles is ensnaring teenagers angry at ex-girlfriends.

Even Rep. Christopher Rants of Sioux City, who has repeatedly defended the residency restrictions and getting tough on sex offenders, seems to recognize there's something wrong when current law could impose such harsh punishments on, in his words, a teenager's "stupid mistake."

If Rants is willing to question the reasonableness of this state's sex-offender laws, there may be hope lawmakers could revisit those laws with an eye to common sense. ..News Source.. by The Register's editorial

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IN- Convicted sex offender challenges ordinance, wants to see son play sports

There is no doubt this is a confusing case because of all the courts Dowell has gone through, so I am going to gather the chronological articles and post all here (bottom up). Recap, he started in City Court then moved to Circuit Court trying to get waivers from the ordinance. Now he is back in Clark Circuit Court challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance

Clark Circuit Court Challenging Constitutionality
of the Ordinance

8-26-2008 Indiana:

(WHAS11) - A Clark County sex offender ordinance was challenged in a Jeffersonville court Monday afternoon.

It involves the case of Eric Dowdell, a convicted sex offender who wants to be allowed to visit city parks.

Eric Dowdell’s son plays sports, and he wanted to be allowed to go to games.

Earlier this month a judge ruled that based on his past convictions, Dowdell continues to be a threat to the community and his request to go to local parks was denied.

Now the ACLU is involved.

“Myself, I feel more comfortable without those types around” says Al Thompson, a grandfather.

By “those types”, Al Thompson means sex offenders.

Currently, Jeffersonville prohibits sex offenders from entering public parks. But that could change. The ACLU argued in court Monday that any ordinance to keep anyone out of public place is unconstitutional.

”Why not keep people out who have prior convictions of littering,” said ACLU Attorney Ken Falk, who is representing Eric Dowdell.

Ken Falk argues that Eric Dowdell, the man at the root of this debate, is no longer required to register as a sex offender, so the state of Indiana must not consider him dangerous.

But Dowdell has a criminal record that includes domestic battery. Most recently he’s charged with domestic battery and strangulation. Falk says that has no relevance in this case. But Circuit Court Judge Abe Navarro ruled that his criminal history proves he’s a threat, and he shouldn’t be allowed into city parks.

”We believe the city ordinance has what’s required to pass constitutional muster,” says Larry Wilder, representation for the City of Jeffersonville.

”As far as parents and grandparents go, I don’t want to worry about whether this is a safe place for my kids to be,” says Grandfather Al Thompson.

”I’m sure Falk and I will be arguing this in Indianapolis in front of a different set of judges,” says Wilder. ..News Source.. by WHAS11

Jeff parks ordinance challenged

Prohibiting a man convicted of sexual battery 10 years ago from going to a Jeffersonville park to watch his son play baseball is irrational and unconstitutional, a Clark Superior Court judge was told today.

The park ban imposed on Eric Dowdell and others by a city ordinance enacted last year “bans people who have had no offense in a park” and violates Dowdell’s “rights to personal autonomy,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.

Falk also told Judge Vicki Carmichael there is nothing to support an argument that Dowdell presents a particular risk to children in the park.

But Larry Wilder, the lawyer who wrote Jeffersonville’s sex offender ordinance, argued that cities have the authority to make laws protecting their citizens in city parks. Use of parks “is not a fundamental right and constitutional protections don’t apply,” Wilder said.

Dowdell, 36, lives in Clarksville but his son plays baseball in Jeffersonville. Dowdell also wants to use city parks to play basketball and baseball himself, watch Thunder Over Louisville and take part in other lawful activities, Falk said in a court filing.

Dowdell has twice sought court waivers from the city’s sex offender ordinance. A waiver was denied in 2007 because he didn’t provide all the required documents. It was denied earlier this year because of Dowdell’s police record since his 1996 sex offense.

Carmichael, whose hearing was to consider the constitutional claims in the case, said she would issue a decision after Sept. 12, the deadline for the lawyers to submit final documents.

Dowdell pleaded guilty to domestic battery and battery in separate incidents in 1999 and 2001 involving his son’s mother. He also has agreed to plead guilty to domestic battery involving an incident earlier this year with a different woman.

But Falk said today the more recent offenses have no bearing on whether the parks ordinance is constitutional. The ACLU is concerned because the ordinance is one of several in Indiana and around the country that erode the rights of sexual offenders after they have completed their sentences, he said.

While it is important for cities to protect their children, Falk said in an interview, the problems with such ordinances is “where do you stop?”

Wilder, in an interview, said if the Jeffersonville ordinance is struck down, it will raise a question about “where do you stop” in limiting a city’s authority to protect its citizens.

Ultimately, he said, cities could be unable to control their parks. ..News Source.. by The Courier-Journal

----- Clark Circuit Court Denies Request for Exemption-----

Clark County judge denies sex offender’s request for exemption

8-8-2008 Indiana:

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A judge has rejected a request from a convicted sex offender who wanted to watch his son play baseball despite a city ordinance banning sex offenders from parks.

Eric Dowdell, 36, had requested the exemption at a hearing Thursday, saying he wanted to enter parks to watch his 11-year-old son’s baseball and football games.

Clark Circuit Judge Abe Navarro denied the request. In his written ruling, he cited three battery charges against Dowdell since his 1996 sex offense. Navarro said Dowdell still presents a danger to the community.

Attorney Gavin Rose of the American Civil Liberties Union, who represented Dowdell at the hearing, has indicated that the ACLU could consider an appeal. He said previous battery incidents have no bearing on whether his client would pose a danger to the community in a park.

Dowdell in 2006 completed a 10-year term on the Indiana sex-offender registry, Rose said, and satisfied conditions in the ordinance that allow consideration for an exemption to the ban.

Dowdell was put on the sex-offender registry after admitting that he engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl when he was 21, according to court records. He was given a three-year suspended sentence, the records show.

Dowdell has said that there should be a distinction between someone like him, who made a mistake years ago and has been a good parent, and someone who might harm children.

But city attorneys have argued that the park ban on sex offenders is constitutional because there is no fundamental right to go to parks. ..News Source.. by AP

---- First Step in Clark Circuit Court asking for an Exemption ----

Sex offender renews effort to enter Jeffersonville parks

8-7-2008 Indiana:

A convicted sex offender who was turned down twice by Jeffersonville City Court when he asked to be an exception to an ordinance banning sex offenders from city parks took his case to Clark Circuit Court today.

Eric Dowdell, 36, who completed his required 10-year listing on Indiana’s sex offender registry in 2006, wants to attend his son’s baseball games at the city’s Little League complex.

Dowdell was convicted in 1996 of sexual battery.

Dowdell’s lawyer, Gavin Rose of the American Civil Liberties Union, argued this morning that Dowdell has satisfied all the conditions of the city ordinance to get an exception and is not a danger to the community.

But Jeffersonville lawyer Larry Wilder disagreed, citing domestic violence convictions against Dowdell from 1999 and 2001 as well as a pending case from this year.

The ban on sex offenders in city parks, adopted in 2006, allows offenders who have completed their legal obligations to petition the City Court for an exception. But City Court Judge Ken Pierce denied Dowdell’s petition in April, just as his predecessor R. Scott Lewis did last year.

Parties to City Court rulings may ask a state court to take a fresh look at the matter, and Dowdell did so.

Circuit Judge Abe Navarro said he will issue a ruling tomorrow. ..News Source.. by The Courier-Journal

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August 25, 2008

OH- Former police chief doesn’t have to register pending appeal

See earlier story:

8-25-2008 Ohio:

COLUMBUS - David L. Harrison does not have to register as a sex offender while he's out of prison.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday granted a motion by the former police chief to stop local prosecutors from imposing sex offender registration and relocation requirements while he's out of prison awaiting an appeal to the high court.

Harrison, police chief in Wapakoneta from 1988 to 2002, sought the emergency motion with the high court on Friday. Harrison sought the motion, through his attorneys Dean Boland and Brandie Swickrath, two days after the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office sent him a letter threatening to seek an indictment for failure to register if he did not schedule an appointment to register as a tier II sex offender.

"It's fairly unprecedented that the Supreme Court would release someone to begin with and then secondly that they would stay all proceedings against that person as they're out in the community," Boland said. "The Supreme Court usually doesn't take this active a role in these cases."

Harrison was released from Chillicothe Correctional Institution on Aug. 18. Harrison, 55, had been incarcerated for two years on a six-year sentence for child pornography-related charges. The Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in its ruling granting the appeals bond did not specify that Harrison would be required to register, Boland noted in his argument seeking the stay.

Boland argued that Auglaize County Prosecutor Edwin Pierce was trying to force Harrison to register quickly in order to prevent Harrison from challenging the registration requirements. Pierce had set a deadline for this morning, Boland said in court records.

The Ohio Supreme Court in May agreed to hear Harrison's appeal of his conviction. On Friday, the court set oral arguments in the case for Nov. 19. Justice Robert Cupp, who previously served on the 3rd Ohio District Court of Appeals in Lima, recused himself from the case on Monday.

"If I was the state of Ohio I do think I would be interpreting this as the case is trending toward the Supreme Court looking favorably on our arguments," Boland said. "These are favorable rulings. He's encouraged by that. We like the way it's going, he's out with his family again."

Harrison was convicted in March 2006 in Madison County on 15 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, two counts of unauthorized use of property and one count of theft in office.

Harrison appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court in February. The 12th Ohio District Court of Appeals in Middletown denied a similar appeal in December. The high court in May agreed to hear Harrison's case.

As part of the appeal, Harrison is seeking a reversal of his conviction citing double jeopardy violations. ..News Source.. by Bob Blake

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August 24, 2008

PA- Man picks prison over freedom

8-24-2008 Pennsylvania:

Defendant in child-pornography case volunteers to return to cell

A Girard Township couple volunteered to house a former Erie medical student while he awaited federal trial on child-pornography charges.

But neither the couple nor the defendant, Jeremy Noyes, were prepared for the storm of controversy surrounding the Noyes case -- stemming largely from writings in which, the FBI said, Noyes plotted to breed a colony of child sex slaves.

Noyes volunteered to return to the Erie County Prison late Friday after the friends he was staying with, 60-year-old Jerome Lynch and his wife, Barbara, received threats, Noyes' lawyer, Thomas Patton, said Saturday. Patton said he did not know the nature of the threats or whether police were investigating them.

"They indicated they were no longer in a position" to house Noyes, said Patton, an assistant federal public defender. Noyes did not want to place his friends in danger, Patton said.

Patton informed Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter of Noyes' decision Friday, and she issued a warrant for Noyes' arrest.

Agents from the U.S. Marshals Service then went to where Noyes, 30, was staying on Gudgeonville Road in rural Girard Township and took him into custody, Patton said. He was incarcerated late Friday night, the Erie County Prison said.

Patton said Noyes' return to prison did not mean the defense was conceding that Noyes should be held in prison pending trial. Patton said the defense would be looking for other housing options for Noyes.

Baxter had freed Noyes on Thursday after finding the government had not presented enough evidence to prove that Noyes was a danger to the community. Noyes had been in prison since his arrest on the child-pornography charges on Monday. Baxter prohibited him from using a computer during his release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Trabold argued on Thursday that whether Noyes intended to carry out the sex-slave plot described in his computer records did not matter. He said the writings gave Baxter a window into Noyes' mind-set.

"I am extremely pleased that Mr. Noyes has been detained," Trabold said Saturday.

On Thursday, Trabold told Baxter in court, "You have a laundry list of chats that reveal his innermost thoughts, and they unquestionably center around the rape, torture, mutilation and humiliation of little kids over an extended period of time."

On Friday, Trabold appealed Baxter's decision to release Noyes. U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin is expected to rule on that appeal.

Patton maintained on Thursday that the FBI had uncovered no evidence that Noyes' plot was real or fantasy. He said the only evidence obtained so far indicated that the case was "unfortunately, a run-of-the-mill child-pornography-case."

Jerome Lynch, Noyes' friend in Girard, testified on Thursday that he and his wife did not approve of the material found in Noyes' possession. However, Lynch said they had known him for five years and had never experienced problems with him.

The FBI arrested Noyes at his residence in the 700 block of Brown Avenue in Erie on Monday. Special Agent Thomas Brenneis said he found exchanges of child pornography in Noyes' e-mail account.

Noyes was a student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine at the time of his arrest. The school has since dismissed him.

The FBI investigated Noyes after a fellow LECOM student, who sought Noyes out on a hardcore bondage Web site, www.collar, contacted them using a pseudonym. The woman, Noyes' former girlfriend, told the FBI Noyes was planning to bring a New Zealand woman and her 4-year-old daughter to the United States so that Noyes could begin breeding a colony of sex slaves on a farm or an island.

At Thursday's hearing, Brenneis said agents found writings on Noyes' laptop that praised Hitler and the notion of a super race. In his musings about his family of sex slaves, the writer spoke of obtaining superior DNA from Germany and Sweden. He also repeatedly talked of violent methods to discipline the children in the colony, including throwing them in a pit for disobedience, and methods of sexualizing infants and toddlers by exposing them to pornography and sexual abuse.

Testimony also has indicated that Noyes was stockpiling silver and owned vacant land in New Hampshire. ..News Source.. by LISA THOMPSON

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Internet child-porn crackdown: Federal prosecutions soar

8-24-2008 National:

Just a few mouse clicks into the forbidden world of Internet child porn can transform an apparently upstanding individual into a federal prison inmate - doing a long sentence.

That's the harsh reality former KGO radio host Bernie Ward will encounter this week. The popular and prominent liberal voice on Bay Area radio for decades is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in San Francisco federal court for distributing sexual images of young children. The best the 57-year-old Ward can hope for is five years in prison.

Setting aside his celebrity status, Ward's case is no aberration.

Ward is ensnared in what is becoming one of the U.S. Justice Department's fastest-growing areas of prosecution. Child-porn crimes have gone from a rarity on federal court dockets to a phenomenon, with prosecutions jumping nationally from a scant 30 in 1995 to more than 2,100 last year, according to a Mercury News analysis of Justice Department data maintained by Syracuse University.

In the Bay Area, dozens of federal cases are being filed every year and the U.S. Attorney's Office is on pace to file a record number of child-porn prosecutions in 2008. There were just two child-porn cases filed in the region's federal courts in 1995 - an era when child pornography just began to proliferate on the Web.

Aggressive law enforcement teams - nationally and in the Bay Area - are policing the Internet. Typically, they are catching successful people - engineers, businessmen,
professors and lawyers - who are under the false impression that their habit is personal, harmless and anonymous.

But by downloading or sharing sexual images of pre-pubescent children, those who do so find out they are not sequestered by the privacy of their own computers and are shocked when they suddenly find themselves facing the law's wrath.

"Almost without exception, I find these defendants to be honestly amazed at the seriousness of their conduct as far as the system is concerned," said Alan Baum, a Studio City defense attorney who specializes in child-porn cases.

For some of those caught by the legal system, the consequences and public humiliation have been too much to bear. In the Bay Area alone, five defendants facing child-porn charges have committed suicide over the past two years. This year, on the eve of a court appearance on child-porn charges in the spring, one of the defendants, Los Gatos businessman George Halldin was found dead in his car inside a burning warehouse. Authorities ruled it a suicide.

Court papers show the alarming trend prompted the U.S. Attorney's Office to push for child-porn defendants awaiting trial to be put on electronic monitoring or even kept in jail to prevent more suicides.

This as prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers and others expect the number of child-porn cases to continue to swell. San Francisco U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello has made child-porn cases a priority, saying that catching people who favor such images is one way to stop potential pedophiles from doing worse.

The Justice Department generally has emphasized the child-porn crackdown, unveiling "Project Safe Childhood" two years ago and setting up a national child-exploitation unit that prosecuted Ward's case.

For the federal courts, child-porn cases are raising a host of issues, from concerns in the defense bar that prosecutors are casting too broad a net to questions about the severity of the prison sentences, which often carry mandatory minimum terms ordinarily reserved for violent felons in gun cases and major drug dealers.

"These cases are difficult," said San Jose U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, who just this summer sent several child-porn defendants to prison. "Many of the defendants have no previous criminal history and have been productive members of the community, and often there are complex psychological reasons why (they) are interested in child pornography.

"At the same time," Fogel added, "the images themselves are truly horrible. Even passive viewers of such material help to make its production profitable."

On July 2, Christopher Burt Wiltsee's family and friends, including his wife, filed into Fogel's courtroom to show support as he faced sentencing for possessing child porn, found on his government computer at NASA/Ames Research Center in Mountain View. The case was a paradigm of child-porn prosecutions unfolding in courts across the country.

Under sentencing guidelines, Wiltsee, a 57-year-old Morgan Hill man, confronted as much as eight years in prison - and federal prosecutors were urging the judge to come down hard. "The practical effect of possessing child pornography is to stimulate the market in child pornography, which encourages things such as child torture and rape," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Fazioli told Fogel.

But as in most of these cases, Wiltsee's defense pointed to his clean record and family support, depicting him as a depressed man who'd get drunk and download some child porn in the midst of hundreds of images that for the most part were adult pornography. An apologetic Wiltsee told the judge the child porn streamed into his computer with so many other images he did not always know what he was doing.

'I'm horrified by those images," he said, "and I didn't look at them or dwell on them very much."

Fogel, however, noted that some of the images of children being "essentially tortured" were "at the extreme end of the scale."

The judge sent Wiltsee away for five years in federal prison. In meting out the punishment, he said he was puzzled why someone like Wiltsee would want to download such images, calling it a "great mystery."

That mystery is at the heart of most child-porn possession cases. There is little agreement whether defendants like Wiltsee are predators-in-waiting, or merely troubled souls taking a peek into the dark underbelly of cyberspace. Even psychiatrists, now frequently being asked to evaluate defendants for sentencing, haven't reached a conclusive answer. In some cases, psychiatrists describe the conduct as "pathologically voyeuristic" instead of pedophilia.

'It's a big, big question," said Dr. Humberto Temporini, a psychiatry professor and expert on child-porn cases at the University of California-Davis. "What we know is very limited to a very skewed sample because these are just the guys who get caught."

Federal prosecutors insist there is a connection between downloading child porn and preying on children.

"As a prosecutor, I don't really need to know why," Russoniello said. "For every one of these people we take down, we're intervening in preventing child abuse."

Experts say there isn't much variance in the profiles of child-porn defendants. They tend to be middle-aged, educated white males with no criminal history and seldom a history of being sexually abused. They get caught in a variety of ways - child-abuse groups monitor the Web for child porn, reporting some to the FBI. Federal agents also conduct stings.

Ward was nabbed when he e-mailed child porn to an online dominatrix, who reported the image to local police in Oakdale.

Once caught, however, there isn't much of a defense. The computer hard drive is all federal prosecutors need to gain a conviction, and child-porn cases seldom reach trial. "The elements are very easy for the government to prove," said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor.

In Ward's case, his lawyer, Doron Weinberg, argues the radio celebrity was downloading child porn and entering chat rooms as part of a journalism project to explore the issue. But Ward pleaded guilty in May to one count of distributing child porn, admitting he sent dozens of illicit images via e-mail, some of children as young as 3.

To defense lawyers, the case underscores an overarching problem: The government may be coming down too severely on those who view the material while the producers of it, many in foreign countries, elude law enforcement's grasp.

"There is nothing about prosecuting the Bernie Wards of the world that is going to stop the East European exploiters from marketing this stuff," said Weinberg, who believes his client should be facing six months of home detention. "And I'm going to be begging for five years."

But federal prosecutors are urging a San Francisco judge to lock the father of four up for nine years, calling his conduct "amoral" in court papers filed last week. And that type of punishment is warranted to those who fight child abuse.

"The bottom line is that possession of child pornography is a crime," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "These are crime scene photos. Our hope is these prosecutions will be a deterrent and people will think twice about accessing this stuff." ..News Source.. by Howard Mintz

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OH- Former police chief fights order to register as sex offender

Apparently this man is appealing his conviction, and as part of that appeal has asked the court to enjoin the local police from enforcing sex offender registration. Or, it could also be he has filed a "Certified Question" with the Ohio Supreme court. Hard to tell with these skimpy facts.

8-24-2008 Ohio:

WAPAKONETA, Ohio (AP) -- A former Ohio police chief who was convicted of downloading photographs of nude children on his computer at work is fighting a requirement that he register as a sex offender now that he's out of prison.

David Harrison was police chief of Wapakoneta in northwest Ohio from 1988 to 2002. The 55-year-old served two years of a six-year sentence and was released Monday.

Harrison's attorney on Friday filed a motion with the Ohio Supreme Court to stop Auglaize County from ordering Harrison to register.

The county sheriff's office sent Harrison a letter on Wednesday threatening to seek an indictment if he did not schedule an appointment to register as a tier II sex offender.

Harrison's appeal of his conviction is scheduled to be heard by the state Supreme Court in May. ..News Source.. by WTTE FOX 28

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