September 29, 2010

Court: Sex offender’s carpentry job at daycare center OK

9-29-2010 Arkansas:

LITTLE ROCK — Working at a daycare center is not necessarily illegal for a convicted sex offender if the work does not involve direct contact with children, the state Court of Appeals ruled today.

The court overturned a Jefferson County circuit judge’s decision to revoke the probation of Joe A. Newman, a Level 4 sex offender.

The state asked the judge for the revocation after Newman’s probation officer learned in August 2008 that Newman was doing carpentry work at a Pine Bluff daycare center.

At a revocation hearing, Newman’s attorney argued that Newman did not violate a state law prohibiting Level 3 and 4 sex offenders from taking positions that require direct interaction with children. Although Newman was working at the center while children were present, he did not interact with them, his attorney said.

The state did not present any evidence that Newman interacted with children, but his probation officer, Lashondra Brown, testified that as she understood the law, he was “not to be around kids, period.”

Circuit Judge Berlin Jones concluded that Newman’s interpretation of the law was “downright ludicrous” and sentenced Newman to six years in prison.

Today a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals reversed Jones’ ruling, finding that the state law cited in the case — which was the only reason Jones gave for his ruling — was not violated.

The law states that it is unlawful for a Level 3 or 4 sex offender to “engage in an occupation or participate in a volunteer position that requires the sex offender to work or interact primarily and directly with a child under 16 years of age.”

The court said the law clearly is not so concerned with where a sex offender works as it is with making sure that the work does not involve direct contact with children.

“Had the Legislature intended for Level 4 sex offenders ‘not to be around kids, period,’ they could have said so, and if that was a condition of appellant’s probation, the probation office should have produced a copy of that condition at the revocation hearing,” Judge David Glover wrote in the appeals court’s opinion. ..Source.. John Lyon Arkansas News Bureau

1 comment:

unclekpm said...

This same logic could be applied to sex offenders attending church. They do NOT interact with children.

RE: NH Supreme Court Decision, prohibiting SO from attending church even while chaperoned.