Sunday, July 29, 2018

Chantel Eldridge hires registered citizen to help win a judge's seat in Texas and is getting attacked for it

She deserves props for hiring a registered person for her campaign. She probably understands what registrants face because she's been the target of a dubious prosecution against her, which is currently ongoing. It seems any politician willing to give second chances to registered persons faces attacks like this one.

Contentious 331st District race pits longtime judge against attorney
POLITICS By Ryan Autullo and Tony Plohetski - American-Statesman Staff

Posted: 3:16 p.m. Sunday, February 18, 2018

Eldridge said she’ll probably hire a registered sex offender to be her judicial aide.

Crain disposed of the fewest criminal cases in 2017 among the eight criminal court district judges.

The only contested judicial race in Travis County’s criminal district courts has gotten contentious, with challenger Chantal Eldridge saying taxpayers have been underserved by the incumbent while Eldridge faces questions of her own about the registered sex offender she employs in her law firm and intends to bring on as a judicial aide if she wins.

Eldridge, a 53-year-old career defense lawyer who narrowly lost a judicial race in 2016, is running against state District Judge David Crain, who has presided over the felony 331st District Court since 2010 and has been a judge in Travis County for 32 years. He said his experience sets him apart in this race, suggesting “you wouldn’t want a novice to sit and try to conduct a jury trial for a murder case, child sexual assault, bank robbery or something like that.”

On the campaign trail, Eldridge has characterized Crain as inefficient, pointing to statistics from Dec. 8 that show defendants awaiting resolution of their cases in Crain’s court had averaged 129 days in jail — the most of the county’s eight felony courts.

Those numbers are misleading, Crain said, noting that the total days spent in jail fluctuate as cases are resolved and that he’s “always in the middle” among his peers for the number of pending cases in his court and jury trials. The average time a defendant sits in jail is not among the standards included in an analysis the county did last year to assess judicial efficiency. Neither are jury trials; Crain had eight in 2017, tied for fifth among the eight judges in felony courts.

The county does keep an eye on the number of cases a judge disposes. Crain ranked last in 2017.

“I don’t think he’s doing enough for Travis County,” Eldridge said.

Sex offender on staff

Eldridge faces questions related to the criminal history of a staff member.

Shortly after losing to now-state District Judge Brad Urrutia in 2016, Eldridge hired John Gerard Zamarripa, who had volunteered on her campaign, to be her legal assistant. Zamarripa, 53, pleaded guilty in 1990 to sexual assault of a child after an incident with a family member at a South Austin home. According to a March 1988 arrest affidavit, a 14-year-old girl said she was watching TV with Zamarripa when he began began to kiss her and had sex with her.

Zamarripa was 24 at the time. Under the terms of his plea deal, the conviction was dismissed from his record in 2000 after he successfully completed 10 years of probation. He was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Eldridge said Zamarripa will probably be her court coordinator if she’s elected, “unless there is some legal reason he shouldn’t, or new allegations come up.” He has been involved in the campaign, coordinating the placement of yard signs and handling media requests.

Refusing employment to a past felon would run counter to her faith in criminal justice rehabilitation, Eldridge said. She called Zamarripa a conscientious worker.

“I just don’t think a criminal history — after somebody has successfully completed their punishment — should bar someone from getting a job, or at least being considered,” she said.

Eldridge’s campaign website addresses Zamarripa’s past — “True to her belief in criminal justice reform, Chantal knows that if she were not willing to offer an ex-felon a second chance, an opportunity to show he was rehabilitated, then she would be a hypocrite.”

If Eldridge wins, Zamarripa’s role in her office could be complicated, as a criminal history might impede his access to certain court documents, according to court administrative director Debra Hale. However, nothing stands in the way of Eldridge hiring him, Hale said.

Zamarripa worked on Mike Martinez’s 2014 mayoral campaign, first as a volunteer and then as a paid staff member. Zamarripa disclosed his criminal history to the campaign before taking the paid position, Martinez said.

“We saw no reason to cut ties with him for something that had happened several decades ago that he disclosed to us,” Martinez said. “He continued to serve on the campaign until the campaign ended.”

A sheriff’s report shows Zamarripa has a pending Class C misdemeanor assault by physical contact charge stemming from multiple incidents last fall in Travis County.

Two female clients at the Travis County Correctional Complex at Del Valle made complaints against Zamarripa, with one saying he grabbed her breast while placing business cards into her pocket, the report says. The woman told deputies that Zamarripa also asked inappropriate questions about her sex life and discussed with her a tattoo on her breast that he saw while looking her up on Facebook.

The second woman said Zamarripa asked inappropriate questions about her sexual history and grabbed her hands, the report says. Eldridge said Zamarripa was checking for markings that would indicate whether she had been cutting herself — a past concern with the woman. That assessment was needed to get the woman approved for outpatient services, Eldridge said.

Zamarripa’s attorney, Charlie Baird, called the allegations frivolous.

“We intend to proceed with the case and have a jury trial if necessary, and we expect him to be fully vindicated,” Baird said.

Zamarripa pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 29 before a justice of the peace. The maximum punishment for a Class C misdemeanor is a $500 fine.

Zamarripa did not return a message for comment.

It came out in her previous campaign that Eldridge has a criminal past of her own, a 1995 charge for obstruction of process in Putnam County, Tenn. A grand jury indicted her on the misdemeanor charge, which is described in the state statute as intentionally obstructing a law enforcement officer from effecting a stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search by using force against the officer. Eldridge denied that there was any physical contact between herself and the officer, who she said made the arrest in retaliation after Eldridge filed a complaint against him for excessive force against her elderly mother, who was injured while being arrested for a loose dog.

The charge against Eldridge was dismissed in January 1996 — 10 months after the incident. Later that year, Eldridge filed a petition to have the charge expunged from her record.

She moved to Austin with her mother in 2003 and began a criminal defense practice.

Bar association favors Crain

Since mid-December, Crain has secured $45,280 in campaign donations to Eldridge’s $4,451. Of endorsements, Crain has 12 and Eldridge three. The local bar weighed in on the race, with 72 percent of participants siding with Crain.

Eldridge was the only woman in 2016 to lose to a man in a Travis County race, when she got 47 percent of the vote against fellow defense lawyer Urrutia.

Championing fresh ideas, she said she’d like to expand the misdemeanor Phoenix Court — which provides alternatives to jail for defendants charged with prostitution — by bringing it to her felony court. She’d also like to discontinue any conditions that require a person charged with a crime to have permanent housing to qualify for a personal bond.

She also wants to take over a docket that caters to defendants with mental health needs — something Crain developed years ago as a County Court-at-Law judge. The docket is currently handled by Magistrate Judge Leon Grizzard.

While Eldridge has questioned Crain’s record, he’s taken shots of his own, saying Eldridge is not known to take cases to trial.

“She will tell you she’s done some, but no judge I know of has ever heard of them or seen them,” he said.

Crain, 65, said he wants another four-year term and will then probably retire.

Early voting in the Democratic primary gets underway Tuesday. Election day is March 6.

This story has been updated with details of John Zamarippa’s most recent criminal charge, based on documents obtained by the Statesman on Feb. 22.

David Crain, 65, has presided over felony criminal cases as the judge of Texas’ 331st DistrictCourt since 2010. He previously was a County Court-at-Law judge for 19 years and a justice of peace for six years. He earned undergraduate law degrees from the University of Texas.
Civic participation: Has been a judge in Travis County for 32 years.

Chantal Eldridge, 53, has defended people charged with criminal offenses for most of her 29 years as a lawyer. She practiced law in California and Tennessee before moving to Austin in 2003. Much of her practice focuses on defendants with mental health needs.

Civic participation: Has volunteered at voter registration events and fundraisers for Democratic groups.

About the job

State district judges preside over felony criminal cases, such as murder, aggravated assault and burglary of a habitation. They serve four-year terms and make $158,000 a year.

Double whammy against the city of Coalinga CA as it failed to invalidate votes from civilly committed registrants

I meant to post this two months ago. Sorry.

May 9, 2018 ·22 Comments

Patients at Coalinga State Hospital scored two victories today — one in court and the other in the state legislature. As a result of the victories, the patients’ past votes as well as future votes in City of Coalinga elections are valid.

Specifically, a Fresno Superior Court judge ruled today against the City of Coalinga which had attempted to invalidate the patients’ votes in November 2017 which contributed to the defeat of a one cent sales tax. In its decision, the Court noted that the patients’ votes were valid because the patients both live in the City as well as registered to vote there.

Also in its decision, the Court disagreed with the City’s argument that patients could not register to vote there because they had been involuntarily committed to the state hospital. Further, the Court disagreed with the City’s argument that patients, if released, will move to a different location. The Court noted that the “Elections Code does not require, as far as residency for voting purposes goes, that the residence be the place from which the voter will never move. Residence can and does change.”

In the state legislature today, the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting, stopped Assembly Bill 2839 (AB 2839) which would have required patients to vote at their last known address before commitment.

Committee Chair Marc Berman criticized the bill as attacking a fundamental right, that is, voting. He said voters shouldn’t be forced to vote where they no longer live.

Vice Chair Matthew Harper noted that the City of Coalinga has benefited from its annexation of the state hospital for more than 10 years and questioned the motives of the City’s decision to challenge election results after the City failed at its attempt to increase the City’s sales tax.
Committee member Ian Calderon, whose district includes a large state hospital, noted that the Coalinga patients would be”directly affected” by a sales tax increase because they purchase food, clothing and electronics at the state hospital.

Committee member Dr.Shirley Weber stated that people should have the right to vote where they choose to vote. She criticized the City for its attempt to gerrymander votes due to the outcome of one election.

In addition to the committee members, a total of 12 people spoke in opposition to the bill. This total includes registrants, family members and representatives of the ACLU, CA Public Defenders Association, Disability Rights California and the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws.

“Today’s victory is due, in large part, to the efforts of registrants and family members who wrote letters and testified in opposition to a bill that would have disenfranchised hundreds of California voters,” stated Bellucci. “We thank them for their significant contributions.”

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Jim DeFede of CBS Miami's "Facing South Florida" completely DESTROYS Ron Book on the air

Want to watch 20 minutes of Ron Book get completely OWNED on TV and struggle to keep up with his lies? Well, today's your lucky day. Jim DeFede takes Ron Book to task over Ron's claims of the efficacy of residency restriction laws, Ron Book's bogus claims of "plenty of housing in Miami," and even Ron Book's denial of referring to everyone on the list as predators and monsters.

To top it off, Ron Book's intent is becoming crystal clear.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Registered citizen Kicked Out of Meeting Sues Stafford County VA School Board

Sue the bastards!

Sex Offender Kicked Out of Meeting Sues Stafford County School Board
By Julie Carey
Published at 6:45 PM EDT on May 10, 2018

A registered sex offender has filed a lawsuit against the school board and a deputy in Stafford, County, Virginia, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated when he was kicked out of a meeting.

Melvin Allen was convicted in 2004 of attempting to take indecent liberties with children in an online chat room. He served 30 days in jail. As a registered sex offender, Allen is prohibited from being on a school campus.

In 2016, a school in Stafford County asked Allen to pick up his sick grandson from school. A deputy issued a no trespass order soon after and reminded Allen he was barred from school property.

A short time after that incident, Allen attended a school board meeting. Allen, a member of the local NAACP chapter, wanted to speak out at the meeting about a student disciplinary issue. A deputy at the meeting confronted Allen and kicked him out of the meeting.

Allen was criminally charged with trespassing and violating the statute that bars sex offender from school grounds.

"That's an incorrect reading of the statute. The statute prohibits him from being on a school campus," said Maxwelle Sokol, Allen's attorney.

The charges were later dropped.

Allen's lawsuit argues his civil rights were violated.

"You have a registered sex offender who has totally changed his life around... for him to have his freedom of speech chilled that's a big deal," Sokol said.

Allen and his attorneys underscored his NAACP membership, but the organization's leaders in Stafford stressed that they are not involved in the case.

Allen has since been allowed to attend school board meetings.

A spokesperson for the school system said they could not comment on legal matters.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

After 11 years of this, the courts need to drop the hammer on Lauren's law.

Legal Services Moves to Block Miami-Dade's Tent City Ordinance
Legal Services of Greater Miami (LSGM) is seeking to enjoin Miami-Dade from enforcing an ordinance, scheduled to go into effect Thursday, that would force the homeless sex offenders out of their dwellings. The recently enacted ordinance prohibits overnight camping on county property.
By Michael Booth | May 08, 2018 at 05:38 PM

A lawsuit against Miami-Dade County seeks to block officials from closing what paroled sex offenders claim is one of the few places where they are allowed to live.

Legal Services of Greater Miami (LSGM) is seeking to enjoin Miami-Dade from enforcing an ordinance, scheduled to go into effect Thursday, that would force the homeless sex offenders out of their dwellings. The recently enacted ordinance prohibits overnight camping on county property.

The encampment, comprising about 200 individuals, is located in the northeast section of the county, near Hialeah, in an industrial zone.

Miami-Dade officials had intended to close down the encampment last Sunday, but agreed to the temporary delay after LSGM and the American Civil Liberties Union announced their intention to file a lawsuit blocking the move.

“The county wants to banish them to the edge of the Everglades,” said LSGM Senior Staff Attorney Jeffrey Hearne in the complaint. “Plaintiffs live in the encampment because they have not been able to find anywhere else to live and are involuntarily homeless.”

If the restrictions go into effect, the residents of the tent city could face trespassing charges and then be charged with violating the terms of their parole.

Miami-Dade has one of the most restrictive laws in the country limiting where paroled sex offenders may live, the suit claims. Paroled sex offenders are barred from living within 2,500 feet of any school, park or bus stop, or any location where children may gather. They are also barred from seeking housing in any county-run homeless shelter.

For years, until 2010, most of those sex offenders lived in an encampment underneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which connects Interstate 95 with Miami Beach. Miami-Dade closed that settlement down, and most of  the residents moved to the Hialeah area.

Advocates for the current tent-city dwellers say law governing sex offenders effectively bars them from living almost everywhere in Miami-Dade.

“This encampment is obviously not an acceptable housing situation for anyone, but to further violate our client’s constitutional rights to solve a problem that the county created in the first place is cruel,” said Hearne in a statement.

“Since the housing ban lasts for life, many of these people are elderly, infirm, or incapacitated,” said Valerie Jonas, counsel with the ACLU of Florida. “If the hundreds of individuals are banished to the border of the Everglades, they will be forced to live out their lives on the literal margins of society without any cover from the elements. The county created this problem by restricting areas in which our clients can and cannot live, and the county can solve this problem now by repealing the residence restriction.”

Miami-Dade Assistant County Attorney Michael Valdez said the government would not comment on pending litigation.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Colorado House Judiciary Committee advances HB 18-1427 to prevent SOMB from profiteering from polygraphs

This bill needs to pass completely, but it is off to a good start.

Bill bans conflicts of interest on sex offender management board after Contact7 investigation
Tony Kovaleski, Brittany Freeman
5:02 PM, May 1, 2018
7:55 PM, May 1, 2018

DENVER -- The Colorado House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to move forward with legislation that would ban members of the state’s sex offender management board from profiting from the treatment requirements they set.

The sex offender management board, also known as the SOMB, sets the standards and procedures for supervision and treatment of convicted sex offenders in the state.

Last year, Contact7 Investigates explored allegations of a conflict of interest within the board when it comes to polygraph testing mandated for offenders.

Public records show the polygraph company owned by board member Jeff Jenks consistently receives the largest share of public money spent on the testing. Jenks denies having a conflict of interest, saying his seat on the SOMB actually costs him business because of the time the volunteer position demands.

House Bill 18-1427 would prevent members of the board from entering into contracts with the state for sex offender management and treatment. Jenks’ company, Amich and Jenks, is one of two private polygraph companies which currently hold contracts with the Colorado Department of Corrections.

The sex offender management board is designed by statute to be made up of stakeholders who are involved in sex offender treatment, prosecution, defense, and supervision, as well as victim advocates.

Opponents of the bill testified they believe if it passes it could make it difficult for the board to find qualified experts to serve in those seats. They also speculated the legislation is targeted specifically at the polygraph examiner seat on the board.

“The conversation around financial gain does seem to be focused around the polygraph examiner position and I fear this is an attempt to remove the polygraph stakeholder from the SOMB,” testified Allison Boyd, who serves as a victim’s representative on the SOMB. “I will tell you that offender accountability is so important for victims, for them to feel like this isn’t going to happen to someone else… that’s what we really gain from the polygraph.”

Reached for comment after the hearing, Jenks said his company did business with the state long before he sat on the board and it has not increased his business.

"It’s unfortunate the therapists on the board as well myself and and anyone else who might be affected by this bill are not going to be part of the sex offender management board to lend our knowledge on matters of dealing with what can be a very high risk population of offenders. None of us on this board are there to obtain contracts or business," Jenks said. "We have recently voted on new standards that has cut the number required polygraphs and have increased the length of time between polygraphs for many of these individuals. A bill likes this screams that we are somehow unethical by being on the board and we are not."

Judiciary committee members said they have asked the board numerous times over the years to address the conflict of interest questions without seeing any changes.

“As this bill moved forward we found that there are multiple providers who receive various contracts from the state in the millions of dollars and they have a direct financial conflict of interest in keeping the standards the same,” bill sponsor Rep. Leslie Herod said. “That’s a problem, members.”

The committee voted 11-0 to move the legislation forward to the House floor.

Friday, April 27, 2018

NJ OpEd declares Dead Kids Make Bad Laws, and I agree with that notion

Judi Franco is apparently a pseudonym, but the OpEd is a damned good one.

Hey, NJ — 'Dead Kids Make Bad Laws'
New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio


"Dead kids make bad laws"

The above quote isn’t mine, and I would give attribution except that I don’t know who originally said it, but it is so true. Dead kids usually make for emotional, broad brush laws that do more harm than good. I know that in NJ we feel proud of ourselves that we are the state that pioneered the sex-offender registry called Megan’s Law, the law that arose from tragedy in 1994, when 7-year-old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township was raped and killed by Jesse Timmendeques, a neighbor. But anytime tragedy befalls a child, we have to think very carefully before we come up with some law that might potentially save “just one child” but also might potentially ruin many, many lives (as has happened in the case of the Megan’s law registry).

So why do you hear so many bad laws named after children who have passed away? Because these laws are generally an emotional knee-jerk reaction when people are distraught and desperate. Many times they are rushed through the legislature and have not been thought through. This is why the New Jersey Supreme Court seems to be backpedaling a little bit by allowing some people who committed sex offenses as youths to be removed from the list.

So some people convicted of sex crimes as youths will thankfully no longer be on the offender list for life. The state Supreme Court has ruled that people convicted of aggravated sexual assault and related crimes before their 18th birthday can now petition a court to be removed from the state's registry of about 16,000 sex offenders. About 4,300 people convicted of the most serious sex crimes are in the public Megan's Law database.

We are now realizing that the likelihood of sex offenders to commit new sex crimes is pretty low. Turns out that people convicted as youths have very little chance of re-offending, especially after undergoing therapy.

This stupid system incites unnecessary violence and vigilante justice and often just punishes innocent people due to a past mistake. The recidivism rate for sex offenders is 5.3%, the lowest among any type of criminal. "Sex offenders" include, but are not limited to streaking, statutory rape, sexting, hiring a prostitute, prostitution, bestiality, incest, date rape, rape, and child molestation.

Is a man who has a relationship with his 16 yr old girlfriend, at age 23, a rapist? This law also doesn't take into account lies girls tell to get boys 18, or 19 to sleep with them, claiming to be 17 when they are in fact 15. Nor does it distinguish a person guilty of sleeping with their underage by a day girlfriend in a consensual sexual relationship. Yes, he’s on the same list as a serial rapist. Yeah, different tier, but are YOU gonna really check the tier??

While I understand the zeal to protect children from true sex crimes, Megan’s Law unfortunately doesn’t do it most of the time. It does, however ruin lives, most of the time.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Emily Horowitz completely DESTOYS Victim Cultist Marci Hamilton at the SOHO Forum

Emily Howowitz soundly defeated a major player in the cult of victimhood in Marci Hamilton of CHILD USA.

Marci Hamilton got completely destroyed. She played the same tired playbook from the 1980s. The Victim Cult arguments all boil down to the same tired arguments that have been debunked:

1. High Reoffense rates/ Can't be cured
2. If it saves just one child
3. The hundreds of victims myth
4. All on the registry are pedophiles

Marci kept relying on vague claims ("social scientists say") but WHICH social scientists was she talking about? Prentky? Langevin? Those two studies that made outlandish claims were debunked. Marci didn't name an actual study during this debate. NOT. ONE. STUDY.

Should the Sex Offender Registry Be Abolished? A Live Debate.
Watch Sociologist Emily Horowitz vs. Marci Hamilton of CHILD USA at the Soho Forum.
Jim Epstein|Feb. 12, 2018 6:48 pm

Should the sex offender registry be abolished? Watch a live debate at the Soho Forum between Emily Horowitz, a sociologist at St. Francis College, and Marci Hamilton from the University of Pennsylvania and CHILD USA. Drop questions in the Facebook comments, and we'll read aloud a few of the best at the event.

The final score was 72-16. Only bigger blowout I saw recently was that 2017 Alabama-Ole Miss game

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Class-Action Lawsuit filed against Nebraska for improper treatment of out-of-state juvenile registrants

When bad laws ruin lives, the least a government can do is compensate those whose lives were ruined.

Lawsuit filed on behalf of juveniles placed on sex offender list
LORI PILGER Lincoln Journal Star Jan 31, 2018

The attorney who successfully sued to keep a 15-year-old boy's name off the state's sex offender registry now is seeking to file a class-action lawsuit for those who the Nebraska State Patrol did list.

Attorney Joshua Weir said it ruined the lives of the seven -- listed only as Johnny Doe I through VII -- and dozens of others.

"It's been devastating," one said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He's no longer on the registry. But, in his late 30s, he got a letter from the state saying he had to register. He then landed on the registry, alongside adult sexual predators, for playing doctor with a girl when he was a prepubescent, 12-year-old boy, he said.

It wreaked havoc on his life. Suddenly, he couldn't get a job working with cattle and has been made out to be a monster. One night, a stranger pulled up to his home and came to the door, intimidating his wife, yelling he had a right to talk to her husband.

"Everybody makes poor choices. Some make worse choices than others. But holding those poor choices against a child is absolutely irresponsible," he said.

In the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Omaha, his attorney, Weir, said the seven were among 74 who the State Patrol removed from the registry last August, four days after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the 15-year-old Nebraska boy, whose family sued to block the State Patrol from putting him on the list for something he did in Minnesota when he was 11.

The boy in the case was adjudicated in juvenile court there for criminal sexual conduct. A Minnesota judge ordered him to complete probation, counseling and community service, and his name went on a part of that state's predatory offender list that is visible only to police.

Nebraska's registry excludes juveniles unless they are prosecuted criminally in adult court.

But, when he moved to Nebraska to live with relatives, the State Patrol determined by a plain reading of the statute he should be on the public registry.

The attorney general's office conceded if he had done in Nebraska exactly what he did in Minnesota, he wouldn't have been required to register but interpreted the state law to mean all sex offenders who move here must register, regardless of age.

Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf disagreed, saying it made no sense to believe Nebraska statutes were intended to be more punitive to juveniles adjudicated elsewhere than those who go through the system here.

When the state appealed, the 8th Circuit agreed.

Soon after, a State Patrol attorney notified 74 people, including the seven in the civil rights lawsuit filed Monday, that they no longer were subject to the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act.

And Sen. Carol Blood has introduced a bill to make the language more clear to exclude from the registry anyone adjudicated as a juvenile.

But, Weir alleges, the damage already was done.

One of his clients, put on the list for an adjudication when he was 12, wasn't allowed to attend public school with his peers because he was on the registry. At least two were incarcerated for failing to register. Two have been homeless.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for lost earning capacity and wages, among other things, as well as punitive damages.

Asked what he hopes to come of the lawsuit, Weir's client, who is 42 now, said he's not looking for a paycheck, though he admits he'd like to get enough money so he and his family can move.

Mostly, he said, "I'm hoping that this never happens to anybody else again."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Nebraska LB 689 will extend juvenile protection against the SOR to juveniles moving to Nebraska

Nebraska has a law in place to prevent juveniles from being added to the evil government blacklist, but it does not extend to people convicted as juveniles who later move to Nebraska. This bill will change that and apply the protection to ALL juveniles regardless of play of conviction.

Bill would eliminate sex offender registry requirements for all juveniles in Nebraska
Right now, juveniles convicted of sex crimes in Nebraska do not have to register as sex offenders, while juvenile offenders who move here from other states do.

Updated: 10:19 PM CST Jan 24, 2018
Taylor Barth   

A state senator from Bellevue wants to change the rules for Nebraska's sex offender registry. Sen. Carol Blood's bill applies to juveniles convicted of sex crimes in other states who then move to Nebraska.

Blood calls her bill a "cleanup" bill, which would fix language in state law to avoid future lawsuits and treat all juveniles the same.

"It was an error in language and it needs to be corrected," Blood said.

Right now, the law reads that juveniles convicted of sex crimes in Nebraska do not have to register as sex offenders, while juvenile offenders who move here from other states do.

"All things need to be equal for all young people here in Nebraska, regardless whether they're new to the state or born and raised here," Blood said. Her bill would eliminate sex offender registry requirements for all juveniles in Nebraska, both natives and those who move in after conviction.

A Minnesota family agreed. The sued the Nebraska State Patrol in 2017 to fight to keep their 15-year-old son off the registry. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in their favor.

As a result, NSP removed 74 other juvenile names from Nebraska's list and quit requiring any juveniles to register. Blood wants to fix what's broken.

"If we don't correct the language in our state statute, we open ourselves up to additional lawsuits," Blood said.

The legislature's judiciary committee heard testimony for the bill Wednesday. Among those speaking were attorneys who said the registry exposes juveniles. Others argued listing juveniles on the registry does not promote juvenile rehabilitation.

"This public information would not only impact the juvenile, but their entire family," said proponent Margene Timm.

Jay, a registered sex offender, also spoke at the hearing Wednesday.

"(The bill) gives these kids a chance at redemption, a chance to change," he said.

Jay said removing juveniles from the registry relieves them of the stigmas that go along with it.

"Juveniles shouldn't have to deal with those things," Jay said. "They should be able to get jobs. We should be able to integrate them back into society."

Jay and one other man at Wednesday's hearing advocated for looser laws when it comes to the adult sex offender registry.

Blood said that is not what her bill is about and said she does not support any other changes.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. The judiciary committee is expected to vote soon on whether or not to advance the bill to the floor.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

IML Battle Part 2: I suspect this lawsuit won't be dismissed for not being "ripe"

I guess the judge in the first case wanted the law to be rotten, not ripe, because this passport identifier idea is pretty rank. CLICK HERE to read the complaint.

Lawsuit Over Passport Marker For Sex Offenders Calls It Scarlet Letter
January 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A group representing sex offenders sued again Thursday to challenge a law that requires a marker to be placed in the passports of people convicted of sex offenses against children.

Attorney Janice Bellucci filed the lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles on behalf of her nonprofit organization, the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws, and two California sex offenders.

Opponents of the marker have called it a “Scarlet Letter.” Former President Barack Obama signed the law in 2016 to comply with a provision of the International Megan’s Law, which seeks to curb child sex tourism and exploitation.

“Never before has this nation stigmatized a class of individuals on a document so foundational to U.S. citizenship,” reads the lawsuit.

A San Francisco-based federal judge dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit in 2016 because the rules were not yet in place.

The State Department said in October it would start using a notice printed inside the back cover of the passport book that reads: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (U.S. law).”

The department said it does not comment on lawsuits.

Bellucci estimated that the requirement could affect more than 500,000 Americans and their families. She said it is having “a dramatic chilling effect,” causing some sex offenders to avoid traveling overseas or to avoid applying for a passport.

Her suit says the State Department violated procedures by failing to let the public comment on its plans. It says the department also exceeded its legal authority by threatening not to issue passports to some offenders.

The State Department previously said the notice will not prevent sex offenders from traveling outside the United States nor affect the validity of their passports. However, other countries may prohibit or place strict restrictions on the travel of convicted felons.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

RI: Crossroads will continue to shelter homeless registrants as lawsuit plays out

I hope you folks enjoy the newest OnceFallen project, the Duval Awards. Check out the ABOUT THE DUVAL AWARDS to get more info about this new project. Unlike he Shiitake Awards, this blog will highlight the BEST stories of those fighting back against registry laws and Predator Panic.

I am glad to see one shelter challenge residency restriction laws. The new restrictions took place on Jan. 1st. This makes for a good start to our new blog.

Lawyer: Crossroads will continue to shelter homeless sex offenders as lawsuit plays out

By Katie Mulvaney
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM
Updated Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM

By Katie Mulvaney
Journal Staff Writer

Posted Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM
Updated Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Crossroads Rhode Island will continue to take in sex offenders at a homeless shelter in Cranston under an agreement between the parties to a lawsuit challenging a new state law that limits the number of convicted sex offenders who can be housed in homeless shelters.

The parties met in chambers Wednesday afternoon with U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith.

According to Lynette Labinger, a lawyer for the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit, Judge Smith recognized that there are significant legal and factual issues that the state has not yet had a chance to address. The parties agreed that while they are developing the legal issues, no one would be turned away as a result of the new law that allows only 10 percent of shelter beds to go to sex offenders, she said.

Crossroads has not been turning anyone away since the law took effect Jan. 1, she said.

The Rhode Island ACLU is seeking to block the state from enforcing the law. The suit was filed last week on behalf of a group of registered sex offenders and the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project.

In court papers, the ACLU faults the law as being aimed at Harrington Hall in Cranston, a state-owned emergency shelter operated by Crossroads on the Pastore campus, that has become a place of last resort for sex offenders whose options for residency have been limited by restrictive residency laws. The hall has 112 beds, and the new law would limit to 11 the number of beds that could go to sex offenders.

The lawsuit charges that the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause and as well as anti-discrimination laws.

The lawsuit also claims that putting sex offenders on the street will make it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor them; decrease their access to community services and increase the risk to public safety; and, by forcing them to shelter outside during the winter, impose life-threatening conditions on them.