Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Media Coverage is Lacking on Bill Switching Some 17-Year-Old Offenders to Juvenile System | MacIver Institute

Media Coverage is Lacking on Bill Switching Some 17-Year-Old Offenders to Juvenile System | MacIver Institute



Policymakers and members of the media should ask more questions before accepting county officials' estimates for the price tag of the changes
December 22, 2015
By Ola Lisowski
MacIver Institute Research Associate
[Madison, Wisc...] A recent Journal Times article covers a bill currently circulating in the Wisconsin Legislature. Unfortunately for the readers of that publication, by failing to question county officials' cost estimates, the article fails to fully examine the problem.
The bill in question would move first-time nonviolent 17-year-old offenders off the adult system and into the juvenile justice system. It has more than 70 bipartisan cosponsors, some of whom have introduced similar versions of the bill in the past. A committee hearing has been forthcoming for months, and even though more than half of the legislature's sitting members have their name on the bill, it has yet to get a public hearing.
Why? More often than not, in politics, the answer for why a bill doesn't move forward can simply be that "it's complicated." We have grown sadly accustomed to this. But we shouldn't grow complacent: let's call out statements that fail to tell the whole truth.
The State of Wisconsin pays for adult correctional facilities. The state sends approximately $90 million to the counties to help pay for the juvenile justice system, the rest of which is covered by county property tax levies. Should this change happen, the counties would pay for the estimated 3,600 or so 17-year-olds who would in the future be processed through the juvenile system. In a recent Journal Times article, Racine County officials estimate that their costs would reach as high as $1.2 million. Unfortunately, the newspaper failed to ask how they arrived at that number.
Framed this way, the reader feels sympathetic for the poor county officials who are surely already wringing their bone-dry budgets.
What the reader doesn't learn is the fact that the number of juvenile arrests fell by more than half from 2006 to 2014 while the amount of youth aid funding that counties received rose by more than $2 million overall. In short, the amount of money that counties receive per juvenile arrest has increased 47 percent since 2009.
And yet Racine County officials demand $1.2 million for the change.
The counties have successfully framed their sympathetic argument by constantly saying they agree with the policy change, if only they could afford it. It makes us, the public, feel bad for them. "They would do the right thing," we think, "if only they could afford it."
The fact of the matter is that the state has increased funding to counties for this very purpose. The WCA position that counties simply have no capacity to absorb any additional costs is not supported by data provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
While we debate the immediate costs, it's also important to note that the policy change is likely to have long-term savings for taxpayers. Handling youth in juvenile court reduces reoffending by 34 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The counties have successfully set themselves up as the poor players who will suffer from an unfunded state mandate. With local coverage, such as Racine's, failing to question county officials' estimates, we're letting them get away with it.
Editor's Note: The MacIver Institute asked the Journal Times for an opportunity to directly respond to the article referenced here, but did not receive a response.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sex offender placement in small town draws fire | Regional news | wiscnews.com

Sex offender placement in small town draws fire | Regional news | wiscnews.com

Former sex offenders left out in the cold by city residency restrictions | Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Former sex offenders left out in the cold by city residency restrictions | Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service



The preamble to the city ordinance that restricts where sex offenders can live calls them “an extreme threat to the public safety” who are “extremely likely to use physical violence and to repeat their offenses.” It says the cost to society is, “while incalculable, clearly exorbitant” and claims the intent of the ordinance is “not to impose a criminal penalty” but to improve the health, safety and welfare of citizens.
“That’s an awfully broad brush to be painting all sex offenders [with],” said Larry Dupuis, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin. “People who have been convicted of sex offenses are quite variable. Unfortunately, most of these laws treat them all as identical.”
In fact, nationwide, only 5.3 percent of sex offenders re-offend within three years of their release. More than nine out of 10 had not previously been convicted of a sex crime; most victims are known to the perpetrator; and treatment can have a significant effect on whether or not a sex offender will reoffend. In Wisconsin, sex offenders deemed to be at high risk of reoffending are confined to sex offender treatment facilities under a 1994 law.
Dupuis, who was involved in an unsuccessful challenge to a similar South Milwaukee ordinance, said residency restrictions on sex offenders “are largely driven by misconceptions.” Among them is the idea of the “lurking sex offender,” which Dupuis called “fiction,” and the assumption that sex offenders are more likely to commit an offense closer to their homes.
All 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County have some type of residency ordinance that restricts where sex offenders can live. “The biggest problem with many of them is that they’re actually counterproductive. They make people’s lives less stable,” said Dupuis.
Dupuis added, “They have to live somewhere.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-entry (HBO)

Lawsuit: California breaks the law on sex offender website - Washington Times

Lawsuit: California breaks the law on sex offender website - Washington Times



- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 10, 2015
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California is breaking the law by failing to include updates about sex offenders on its Megan’s Law website, leading some offenders to be targeted by vigilantes, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The suit filed by two offenders says the California Department of Justice has not updated the sex offender registry to include the dates offenders were convicted and released from prison. That has been required under state law since 2010.
“Most people jump to the conclusion that it must have happened recently,” she said. “We have people who have been on the registry for 50 years or more.”
The law says the department must have the date of conviction and the date of release before it can post either detail. It also must say if the offender was later imprisoned for any other felony, or say it doesn’t know of any subsequent incarcerations.
“The statute requires all three items before any date can be posted,” department spokeswoman Kristin Ford said in an email, but there is no requirement that local law enforcement tell the department when an offender is released.
The information is lacking in 92 percent of Megan’s Law profiles, the suit says. It asks a judge to order the state to update the website immediately or take it down entirely.
The suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court says the lack of information can lead to vigilante violence, as was the case recently in Shasta County, according to the sheriff’s department there.
Roy Anthony Matagora, 62, of Shasta Lake was shot twice and wounded as he opened his door in mid-September. The suspects heard he was a sex offender and confirmed it on the Megan’s Law website, the sheriff’s department said in announcing two arrests.
However, his conviction was in 1997, 18 years ago, according to the lawsuit.
Another sex offender, Frank Lindsay, 62, of Grover Beach was released in 1982, 33 years ago. The lawsuit says he was attacked in his home in 2010 by a stranger whose goal was to kill a sex offender and who had previously attacked another offender.
The suit lists five other offenders it contends were attacked, and some killed, because of incomplete information on the website.
“He was taking the law into his own hands,” Lindsay said of his attacker. “Unfortunately when you have a current photo and the rest of the information is blank it makes it seems like it happened yesterday.”

Thursday, October 29, 2015

United States Sentencing Commission

Please read and digest the IMMEDIATE RELEASE below and then follow through in sending your letter to the United States Sentencing Commission. As many of you know the child pornography issue is the government's new 'cash cow' which was confirmed by this article a few years back:  http://www.komonews.com/news/national/115381304.html

The length of federal child pornography sentences has increased 500 percent in the last 15 years. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is currently reviewing the guidelines for child pornography offenses and determining how they can be improved. http://famm.org/affected-families/child-pornography-sentences/
IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Deadline to submit letters November 12, 2015)

INSIDER’S OPPOSITION TO THE United States Sentencing Commission’s Amendment Proposal to 4B1.2(a)(2)

On August 7, 2015, the United States Sentencing Commission introduced a proposed Amendment to the definition of “crime of violence,” to include the non-contact, Child Pornography offenders.

The Commission is currently reviewing criminal research data, and federal sentencing statistics.  The proposed Amendment would then be promulgated to amend Section 4B1.2(a)(2) of the Sentencing Guidelines, which would then be submitted to Congress for approval NO later than May 1, 2016.

We must make every effort possible to block this proposed amendment.

Should this pass, it would have the most detrimental impact on otherwise low-level offenders; ie: possession, receipt, transportation, distribution, and other computer related activities involving child pornography.

With the looming Prison Reform Bill that will most likely be passed later this year, one of the provisions of the bill would include increased good-time credits for programming for the non-violent offenders.  Right now, non-contact CP crimes are deemed as non-violent through the Department of Justice. However, should the amendment pass through Congress, ALL CP offenders would be excluded from receiving the extra good-time earnings.

In addition, the measure could possibly increase or stiffen the terms and conditions for offenders who are placed on supervised release.  It would also make all non-violent offenders be placed as a Tier 3 or VIOLENT offender on the Sex Offender Registry.

Should this Amendment pass, it would become retroactive and have some effect on the offenders regardless if you are incarcerated or out on supervised release.

The Sentencing Commission is currently accepting public comment on this issue until November 12, 2015.  Our friends at Caution Click have launched a campaign through letters to challenge this proposed Amendment.

WE ALL need to get involved in this campaign and start sending in letters, and insisting that your family members, loved ones and friends also send in letters, rejecting this proposal.

You may write your own letter, or use the one provided, but be sure to send in your letters through standard mail.  The numbers DO matter on this issue, so we need to make every effort to flood the Commission with our letters rejecting this Amendment.  It is time for us to start taking control of our futures, and this is a good place to begin.


Send letters to:
United States Sentencing Commission
% Public Affairs
One Columbus Circle N.E.  Suite 2-500
Washington DC 20002-8002
  
Date:   ______________________
  
United States Sentencing Commission
% Public Affairs
One Columbus Circle N.E.   Suite 2-500
Washington DC 20002-8002

     RE:  Proposed Amendment to Section 4B1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines definition of “Crime of Violence.”

Dear Members of the Commission:

This letter is in response to the Commission’s request for public comment on the above styled issue.  It is my personal belief that possession of child pornography should be EXCLUDED from the definition of a “forcible sex offense.”  Non-production offenses, such as possession, receipt, transportation or distribution of child pornography does not meet the criteria of being a Sexual Act or of having actual hands-on physical contact with a minor.  Therefore, it needs to be excluded as a violent offense.

Not all Sentencing Guidelines are tied to empirical evidence.  GALL v. UNITED STATES, 552 U.S., 128 S. Ct. at 594 n.2.    There is no research or data that indicates that these non-production offenses are deemed “violent.”  In fact, in deciding a criminal case, a district judge may not presume that the guideline sentence is a correct one.  See RITA v. UNITED STATES, 551 U.S. 338, 127 S.Ct. 2456, 2465 (599 F. Supp. 2d 1039) 168 L.Ed. 2d 203 (2007).

Using the classification of “violent offender” for the non-contact offender is the same as labeling that offender who has had actual physical contact with a child.  This distorts the truth and is very misleading to the Courts and to the public.

It has been noted by several Courts across the United States that the Guidelines for these types of offenses are NOT based on Commission study or expertise, and that they are directly contrary to the Commission’s original, studied approach, and to several of its subsequent recommendations and reports. Therefore, as they are, the guidelines range are worthy of little respect or deference.  UNITES STATES v PHINNEY 599 F. Supp 2d., 1037 (7th Cir. 2009).

The non-contact child pornography offenses are not violent in nature and should not be classified as such.

We are all passionate about protecting our children.  However, we have taken this passion to an unforgeable level of applying a definition that does not relate to the actual crime committed, and using this term to perpetuate a life time of punishment.

Therefore, I would like this letter to be entered as public comment to item 4(D) in the “Issues for Comment” section of the United States Sentencing Commission proposal to amend section 4B1.2(a)(2) of the Sentencing Guidelines.

Name:

Address:

City:                                           State:                                          Zip Code:

Phone:                                                  Email:


WAR Admin

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wisconsin Legislature: AB290: Bill Text

Wisconsin Legislature: AB290: Bill Text



time to call your legislator!!!



This is not the route we want the state to go... any offender that is released from prison, regardless of crime, is far more likely to reoffend if they are unable to find a place to live and live in a community that will hold them accountable and support them.  NOT banish them.



This law must be halted...

Monday, July 20, 2015

President Obama: “The Internet Is Not A Luxury, It Is A Necessity” | TechCrunch

President Obama: “The Internet Is Not A Luxury, It Is A Necessity” | TechCrunch



If the president says it... It is time for the probation/supervision officers to LISTEN....  You can't integrate someone back into society without allowing internet access.  Period.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Products - Western Sugar Cooperative

http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20150715/NEWS08/150719912?tags=|304|92#main-disqussion-cci 



Products - Western Sugar Cooperative



Above are two links... one is to the article, the second to the items we should no longer support or purchase... They didn't want to protect an employee, so they don't need the money from any RSO or their family either.   They don't seem to think we are worth much and I say, then they don't need any of our hard earned money... I will be making purchasing changes in my future.

Judd Apatow continues his crusade against Bill Cosby - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Ok, I have to say something about this.... At the PREMIER of a movie he made, he chooses then to 'show his outrage'.  Sounds like a media/PR grab, using Cosby as an attention getter.   If he had done this when he didn't have a movie coming out at that moment it might have meant something.  Since he didn't do that, all he looks like is PR whore.





Judd Apatow continues his crusade against Bill Cosby - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sheboygan abduction and sex assault case dismissed

Sheboygan abduction and sex assault case dismissed

Freakonomics » Making Sex Offenders Pay — and Pay and Pay and Pay: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Freakonomics » Making Sex Offenders Pay — and Pay and Pay and Pay: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

www.idiotsregistry.info/uploads/Registry_Avoidance_Guide.pdf

How to Legally Avoid Being Placed on the Sex Offender Registry by the Research and Legal Staff of Safe Streets Arts Foundation

Grady v. North Carolina | The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Grady v. North Carolina | The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Viewpoints

Is It Time to Revisit Sex Offender Supervision for Life? 

May 26, 2015 08:26:42 am



In the mid-1990s, Americans were shocked by several high-profile child victim sex offenses. In New Jersey, the abduction, rape and murder of seven-year-oldMegan Kanka by a paroled sex offender who lived across the street horrified the state and spurred action by elected officials and state agencies.
In less than four months (warp speed for legislative processes), a package of bills was drafted, passed and signed into law.
These bills, known collectively as Megan’s Law, included sex offender registration, community notification based on risk level, DNA testing, exclusionary zones, enhanced sentences, post-incarceration civil confinement, and probation/parole supervision for life. As the technology developed, GPS monitoring was added to the community supervision for life in New Jersey and many other states.
With the exception of DNA testing, none of these provisions had any empirical evidence to support their effectiveness as public policy. This was, however, no deterrent to the rapid and widespread adoption of similar legislation by states, with the active encouragement of the federal government. It was clear that citizens, legislators and governors felt the urgent need to do something to protect vulnerable children from sexual predators.
These laws had intuitive appeal, and that was sufficient to justify their enactment..
While a few legal and policy advocates objected to some of the laws, citing the negative impact of exclusionary zones on the ability to find appropriate housing, of community notification on the ability to find and maintain employment, and the unfairness of civil commitment after a sentence of incarceration had been served, their objections had little impact—especially for civil commitment after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act in 1997 in Kansas v. Hendricks.
Subsequent research has called into question the effectiveness of other aspects of Megan’s Law, including registration and notification, residence restrictions, enhanced sentences, and revised parole polices. (But as is so often the case, the evidence or lack thereof for the efficacy of a particular public policy has little impact on the longevity of that policy.
One popular policy is lifetime supervision with GPS monitoring. There is some indication that the Supreme Court may join the debate on this issue. The Court recently sent a request for appeal back to the North Carolina Supreme Court with instructions for further consideration and development of a detailed legal record about the case and the issues raised.
The case deals with an appeal to the Supreme Court by a sex offender who was placed under lifetime GPS supervision. The North Carolina courts rejected the sex offender’s appeals that the GPS monitoring was an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.
The Supreme Court’s per curium opinion in that case, Grady v. North Carolina (seems to indicate that the Court thinks that GPS monitoring is a search, and thus governed by the case law related to the Fourth Amendment and the prohibition on unreasonable searches. The Court recently ruled in U.S. v. Jones that the police practice of attaching a GPS monitoring device to a car without a warrant constituted a “search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.”
The Court noted that the State of North Carolina argues that “non-consensual satellite-based monitoring does not entail a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That theory is inconsistent with this Court’s precedents.”
The Court continued “(i)n light of these decisions, it follows that a State also conducts a search when it attaches a device to a person’s body, without consent, for the purposes of tracking that individual’s movements”.
Although I am not a lawyer, it appears to me that the Supreme Court may be leaning in the direction of declaring that GPS monitoring is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. If the Court rules that way, it still remains to be seen how it crafts the remedy and how the opinion sets forth the case law.
While we await the Court’s ruling, the practice of lifetime supervision of sex offenders, with or without GPS or other electronic monitoring, deserves further examination and discussion. As noted above, the issue of protecting children from sex offenders is emotional and powerful. At some point, however, we need to test our assumptions and examine our practices.
Are they achieving our goals? At what cost?
Reviewing the research and practice of GPS and lifetime supervision, I see a series of issues that should be examined and researched and the results incorporated into an open dialogue about the efficacy of this practice.
Recidivism Rates
While there is generally agreement that sex offenses are under-reported, and that officially reported recidivism rates for sex offenders are thus not truly accurate or fully reliable, this is the evidence that we have. And thatevidence suggests that for both five-year and ten-year follow-ups of a sex offender, rates are far below that of other criminal offenders. Do these rates of reoffending justify lifetime monitoring?
Time
As with most offenders, the The research of Blumstein and Nakamura with criminal offenders suggests that within eight to ten years, the risk level of the offender for committing a new offense approximates that of the general population.
Place of Offending
While the primary fear is that of “stranger danger,” the abduction of a child from a playground or bus stop, the evidence suggests that far more child-victim sex offenses occur in places familiar to the child— home, school, gym—than result from the “creepy stranger in a van” snatching a child from the street.
Unfortunately, the abduction (in 1991) and subsequent long term confinement (she was released in 2009) ofJaycee Dugard in California fed into the “stranger danger” fears of parents and policy-makers. Exclusionary zone laws prohibit sex offenders form being near school yards, where few sex offenses occur and encourage or require them to be at home, where the actual risk (as opposed to the perceived risk) is in fact greater.
Relationship to the Victim
Related to the prior point, the sex offender in most child victim cases are routinely not strangers, but rather are individuals that the victim knows and trusts. Are we tracking the right people?
Reliability of GPS
Any electronic/digital technology has reliability issues and GPS is no different. The units are battery powered and the battery needs to be kept charged. If not an alert will be sent. The technology relies on cell phone service to send alerts and in some parts of the US, cellular coverage is spotty. Even in the best coverage areas, cell calls are occasionally dropped for no apparent reason.
Effectiveness of GPS
We have a love affair with all things technological and a faith that they can make things better. But once again, we are operating with little to no evidence. There is precious little research on the effectiveness of GPS. Arecently published study of GPS with high risk sex offenders in California showed that sex offenders on GS were less likely to fail to register as a sex offender, marginally less likely to abscond from supervision and less likely to commit a new offense.
There was no significant difference in the type of offense committed, so sex offenses were not affected any more than other criminal offenses. This is one study with a small number of subjects. More research needs to be done.
Limitations of GPS
The GPS monitors report the whereabouts of the offender, but that is all. We do not know what the offender is doing. It is one tool of many that a supervising officer must use to keep tabs on the sex offenders and ensure their compliance with the law.
Workload
GPS systems operate 24/7/365. They generate alerts all the time. Someone has to review the alerts, make a decision and take action. Some of the alerts can be screened by the vendor providing the service, but many have to be handled by the person responsible for the case, most often a probation/parole officer (PPO).
In an environment where probation and parole caseloads across the US are routinely too large, addition of high priority and high visibility cases which generate proportionately much greater demands than a regular criminal cases places added stress on the system.
This point bears repeating because responding to the alerts from the GPS units in a timely and effective manner is critical to the integrity of the monitoring process. Offenders will test the system and if there is no response, they will be emboldened to violate the conditions of their supervision.
Caseload
With lifetime supervision, the sex offender caseload continues to grow with no relief in sight. In New Jersey, the State Parole Board’s supervision caseload is becoming dominated by the community supervision for life(CSL) cases. In 2011, there were 5,067 CSL cases, representing 32.3% of the total supervision caseload. By 2014, the CSL cases number 7,031 or 46% of the caseload. (NJSPB Annual Report) That is an increase of 39% in just three years.
Even where the law may provide for discharge from lifetime supervision, it is typically only after many years. In New Jersey, an offender on CSL must wait 15 years after discharge from incarceration before seeking release from supervision. With the heightened perception of risk and the overall risk aversion that affects decision-making with sex offenders, it is unlikely that many courts or supervision agencies will be removing very many sex offenders from lifetime supervision
Staff Capabilities
The Dugard case provides many critical lessons for GPS monitoring of sex offenders. For a portion of the time that the offender had Dugard in captivity, the offender was on GPS monitoring. The reports indicated that he was at home, so the parole officers were satisfied and investigated no further.
In reality, Duggard was confined in a building on the offender’s property for more than a decade. The fact that a sex offender is at home should not be an “all clear signal.” Again, we may know where the offender is, but what is he doing?
Costs
The direct cost of monitoring is usually paid by the offender. In this current fiscal environment, that is seen as good thing. However, the indirect or hidden costs of monitoring the GPS alerts, responding to alerts, managing the equipment and the myriad other responsibilities related to GPS use are rarely discussed. They can be a significant burden to already financially strapped community corrections agencies.
If the Supreme Court rules that GPS monitoring is a search and thus subject to the protections of the Fourth Amendment, then states will have to adjust their practices to conform. Such a ruling will not, however answer the question of whether lifetime GPS monitoring is effective, for whom, under what circumstances and for how long.
I have long felt that many of the provisions of Megan’s Law provide a false sense of security because the sex offender complies with all of the requirements of the law. Additional examination and research is essential to determine which elements of sex offender policy are effective.
Those which are effective should be supported and continued. Those elements which are not effective or cause additional harm (think of the sex offender encampments under the highway bridge in Florida) should be carefully and courageously reviewed.
William D. Burrell is a regular blogger for The Crime Report. An independent corrections management consultant specializing in community corrections and evidence-based practices, he spent 19 years as chief of adult probation services for the New Jersey state court system, and taught (2003-2007) in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University in Philadelphia. He welcomes readers’ comments.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wis State Supreme Court is So Bad that The New Yorker has Noticed

Wis State Supreme Court is So Bad that The New Yorker has Noticed

Appeals court: Ex-cop should get more prison time for sex assaults - TwinCities.com

Appeals court: Ex-cop should get more prison time for sex assaults - TwinCities.com

FAC Submits Formal Complaint to UN Human Rights Council Regarding Treatment of Sex Offenders | Florida Action Committee

FAC Submits Formal Complaint to UN Human Rights Council Regarding Treatment of Sex Offenders | Florida Action Committee

Six questions before we have a sex offender registry | Khairie Hisyam Aliman | Opinion | Malay Mail Online

Six questions before we have a sex offender registry | Khairie Hisyam Aliman | Opinion | Malay Mail Online

Bob Dyer: Sex offender statistics surprising - Local - Ohio

Bob Dyer: Sex offender statistics surprising - Local - Ohio

Bob Dyer: Sex-crime punishments incredibly inconsistent - Local - Ohio

Bob Dyer: Sex-crime punishments incredibly inconsistent - Local - Ohio

Bob Dyer: Are sex offenders ruined for life? - Local - Ohio

Bob Dyer: Are sex offenders ruined for life? - Local - Ohio

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

School safety zones unconstitutionally barred sex offenders from half of Grand Rapids | MLive.com

School safety zones unconstitutionally barred sex offenders from half of Grand Rapids | MLive.com

Ruling could impact local sex offender law enforcement

Ruling could impact local sex offender law enforcement



A federal judge’s ruling on a civil lawsuit found certain parts of Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry law are unconstitutional, but how that ruling will affect local enforcement is not yet clear.
U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland, a former St. Clair County prosecutor, issued a 72-page ruling that strikes down laws requiring registered sex offenders to keep at least 1,000 feet away from schools and report new email and instant messaging addresses and telephone numbers.
The ruling was made in response to a 2012 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan against Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan State Police Director Kriste Etue. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six convicted sex offenders.
The ACLU argued the law was vague and the borders of school zones were not clearly marked.
The judge agreed, at least in part, writing the law “leaves law enforcement without adequate guidance to enforce the law and leaves registrants of ordinary intelligence unable to determine when the reporting requirements are triggered.”
Some of Cleland’s ruling affects only those plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. It’s unclear how the ruling would affect Port Huron’s more than 200 sex offenders, or other offenders throughout the county and state.
“This is a significant and important ruling because it recognizes that the law isn’t doing what it’s intended to do, which is keep people safe,” said Miriam Aukerman, a lawyer for the ACLU of Michigan.
“In order to preserve public safety, people need to know what the law is so that they can follow it.”
Tom Konik, chief of the Marysville Department of Public Safety, said he received word of the possible change in the law Monday from the Michigan State Police.
Konik said he’s waiting to see what the changes mean for enforcement and whether there will be an appeal of the decision.
“That poses concerns for us and our ability to enforce and keep sex offenders away from areas where kids congregate,” Konik said.
He said Marysville officers have not had issues enforcing the existing law in the past. Eight sex offenders have addresses in Marysville, according to the state’s online registry.
“We have made arrests in school zones in the past,” Konik said. “We’ve never had any issues with enforcing it or with the people not knowing where they’re at.”
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said the law hasn’t been a source of confusion for deputies either.
“We haven’t had problems with enforcing it,” Donnellon said. “It’s pretty straight forward.”
Croswell Police Chief Dave Hall said certain parts of the law are difficult to enforce, such as those parts requiring offenders to report their email or online addresses.
“That’s very hard to verify because, if they’re living in a house with other people, how can you tell which computer or which account they’re using?” Hall said.
“The law’s vague and, in some cases, it’s hard to enforce.”
Hall said he’s waiting for a clearer description of Cleland’s ruling to know what officers can and cannot enforce now.
Michael Reaves, director for the Port Huron Department of Public Safety, said Port Huron police also are waiting for a clearer interpretation of Cleland’s ruling.
Tiffany Brown, a spokeswoman for the Michigan State Police, said the department has reviewed the ruling to determine what its impact will be on enforcement.
“We are currently working to make necessary changes to come into compliance,” Brown said in a an email. “We will also be working with the legislature to clarify portions of the act that need addressing.”
Sydney Allen, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office, said Schuette’s office still is reviewing the ruling.
“We have 30 days from the decision to decide whether we’ll appeal,” Allen said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Legislator drafting new statewide sex offender residency requirements | FOX 11 Online | WLUK-TV

Legislator drafting new statewide sex offender residency requirements | FOX 11 Online | WLUK-TV

Utah White Collar Crime Registry Is Useless and Inhumane | The New Republic

Utah White Collar Crime Registry Is Useless and Inhumane | The New Republic



By 
Sex offender registries have long been an American commonplace, but on Wednesday the Utah legislature made history with the creation of the nation’s first white-collar crime registry. The state has long had high rates of consumer fraud, which lawmakers believe is a function of the uniquely trusting nature of Mormons. Publicly shaming scammers would prevent such crime, the theory goes, and consumers could at last know whom to avoid.
It's a tempting approach. If sex offenders must report themselves and be monitored, why shouldn’t financial criminals? They ruin lives, too, and often on a broader scale. Those who con the elderly out of their life savings have it coming, do they not? 
In short: no. Tempting as the registry may sound, it only further expands the indefensible harshness of American “scarlet letter” punishment methods. Furthermore, the crime registry is almost certain to miss its target, leaving real financial criminals untarnished while acting mercilessly toward comparatively minor offenders. The accountability benefits will be few, the costs to liberty potentially enormous.  
Sex offender registries themselves have been a policymaking disaster, a perfect example of lawmaking based on public emotion and political grandstanding rather than real-world data. There is very little evidence that registries reduce sex crimes. In fact, there’s evidence they may actually make crimes more likely by pushing offenders to the margins of society and raising the costs of living a lawful existence. Registries make the process of rehabilitation and reacceptance impossible by ensuring that no matter how much a person tries to better himself, he will remain a pariah.
But the real problem with public registries is that they’re inhumane, turning every crime into a life sentence. In branding people with a permanent public mark of shame, registries punish the convicted long after they have served their time. Sex-offender registries have resulted in long-reformedsenior citizens being unable to use public parks, and in geographic living restrictions so exclusionary that they produce little colonies of sex offendershuddling under bridges. Registries should therefore be a cautionary tale in what happens when blind fear and hatred drives policy, not a model to be emulated for other crimes. 
Yet even for those who find public shaming just and wise, and do not find registries faintly Orwellian, there is reason to believe Utah’s database will fail. Listing individual white collar criminals doesn’t give the public much useful information. Many such criminals are simply rich people who havestolen from other rich people, or at the other end, relatively insignificant individual actors who pose a minimal ongoing general threat. 
Another problem is that most white collar crime is completely legal. Wall Street bankers avoided jail during the financial crisis not just because of the SEC's failures, but because most had committed no crimes. So many of today’s predatory financial practices are simply the way America does business. There’s not a trace of unlawfulness in the usurious student loans that sell every college graduate into lifelong indenture. Foreclosing on single mothers so that they have to live in their car is a perfectly permissibleexercise of a contractual right. Every day, millions of people are sucked dryby debt collectors, landlords, payday lenders, and rent-to-own plans, and the law remains silent
Utah's registry therefore won’t prevent the greatest harms. For the gentle, credulous Mormons, it may help them avoid a Nigerian bank scam, but it won’t tell them that the debt settlement company is trying to perpetrate aneven costlier swindle. (And it's doubtful that anyone from Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, which entered billion-dollar settlements over their massive financial crisis-related mortgage malfeasance, will appear on Utah's registry.)
There is one defensible rationale for a white collar crime registry: that it attempts to equalize punishment for crimes committed by the poor and crimes committed by the rich. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert justified the measure with an appeal to egalitarianism, saying, “It doesn’t matter what color collar a criminal wears.” But if a law is both unjust and unequally applied, the focus should not be on making sure everyone suffers the injustice equally, but that nobody suffers it at all.