March 31, 2015

Madison to consider child sex offender residency ordinance

What an absolute waste, it is well known these laws protect no one. There only purpose is to make some official look good.
3-31-15 Wisconsin:

Madison could prohibit child sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or community center under a proposal to be presented to the City Council Tuesday night.

The ordinance comes in response to community complaints over a plan to move a registered child sex offender into a building on the North Side.

The uproar started just over a week ago when Madison police distributed a flier notifying residents that the sex offender would be moving into an apartment on West Karstens Drive. Police and the state Department of Corrections held a routine informational meeting at which scores of upset parents expressed concerns about having a convicted child sex offender living in the children-dense neighborhood.

"People were very concerned about it, so I thought I would do something to protect the kids," said Ald. Anita Weier, 18th District. "I was really concerned because no one knew about it. This was a repeat sex offender of children."

Child sex offenders are already living in the community. According to the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry, of the 24 sex offenders living within a mile of Mendota Elementary School, 18 are on the registry for offenses involving children.

A similar conversation is ongoing in the town of Cottage Grove, where 50-year-old Russell Speigle faces arson charges for allegedly setting fire to a house that Howard Nyberg, convicted in 1994 of second-degree sexual assault of a child, was slated to rent. Officials are now considering restricting where sex offenders can live in the town.

Similar restrictions exist in many municipalities, although the distances vary. In the city of New Richmond, a sex offender cannot reside within 200 feet of a facility or an area frequented by children. In Sheboygan Falls, it’s 2,000 feet, and in the town of Lac du Flambeau, it’s 3,000 feet.

"I think it would be a good rule to ensure some separation," Weier said, adding that she looked at other ordinances, but decided on 2,000 feet because Mendota Elementary is within 1,300 feet of the building the sex offender planned to move into.

"I do think it's a reasonable distance," she said.

City Attorney Michael May said the impetus behind the ordinance was not only the situation on the North Side, but also a state Court of Appeals decision in 2013 that upheld a city of South Milwaukee ordinance barring child sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other place frequented by children.

In that case, child sex offender Todd Kester, who lived within 1,000 feet of an elementary school, was ordered to move but refused, prompting the city to go to court to declare him a nuisance. Kester appealed, arguing that he was denied due process, among other objections. The state appeals court ruled against him.

In that case, the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers argued in a friend-of-the-court brief that state law was the proper way to deal with issues involving sex offenders. The association also argued that municipal ordinances regulating sex offenders interfere with finding homes for sex offenders on supervision, increasing homelessness among them. That makes their rehabilitation more difficult and makes it more difficult for the state to track them, the defense attorneys argued.

May said that while Madison looked at other city ordinances, it did not specifically explore their experience with similar ordinance, and did not seek input from the state Department of Corrections.

The city does not currently have a limitation on where sex offenders can live, May said, only on whether certain activities can take place near children, such as those involving drugs and solicitation. ..Source.. by Jeff Glaze

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