New Blogs Part 3 Updated
If you believe it is ok to deny registered sex offenders human rights or U.S. Constitutional rights. If you do not believe registered sex offenders are denied their human and constitutional rights or if you are against free speech.
Please leave this web page now. Thank you.
By remaining on this web page you here by acknowledge that you support human rights and United States constitutional rights for registered sex offenders and that you support freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is understood to be fundamental in a democracy.
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.
This blog is not for people to be critical of what is posted here and if the reader is critical of anything here than that means they did not read the disclaimer on the top of each of the pages here and are not welcome here and should stop reading and leave this blog upon my request and in the name of freedom of speech, and my rights as a American citizen.
No sexual abuse is ever acceptable. Sex offense laws and policies should be based on sound research and common sense, not fear, panic or paranoia. Current laws and policies that paint all sex offenders with one broad brush are counter- productive, wasteful, and cause needless harm. Each offense must be judged on its own merits with a punishment that fits the crime and does not waste taxpayer dollars. The public sex offender registry and residency restriction laws do not protect children but instead ostracize and dehumanize individuals and their families. Money spent on purely punitive measures would be better used for prevention, healing, and rehabilitation.
The author of SO FAQ does not affiliate with any other organization or people on the internet or the world for that matter. I have been saying this since I first logged on to the internet. Just because I like organizations like the ACLU; does not mean I believe in everything they believe in or stand for. Just like in our great country when we vote; we will never believe in everything the candidate we vote for; believes in or stands for. That doe not mean we are should not vote.
This is such a sensitive and over the top responsibility of us all; all I can do is let this article speak for itself:
|Cory Sessions, whose brother Timothy Cole died while wrongfully imprisoned, is among several urging lawmakers to pass a bill that establishes a commission to review cases of exonerations.
New innocence project leader arrives at crucial time for reform
What happens when a once-insurgent idea to free wrongfully convicted Texans is diluted as it enters the mainstream of legislative consciousness? The answer is House Bill 48, the law that created the Tim Cole Exoneration Review Commission to examine the causes of wrongful conviction in the state and suggest policy changes.
That’s a big win – and poses a major challenge – to the small but dogged group of the state’s innocence-focused organizations. At the front of the pack is the Innocence Project of Texas, the Lubbock-based outfit that began about a decade ago and has had the largest impact on lawmakers and advocates.
The backdrop of all this is arguably the biggest legislative win for the coalition of criminal justice reform advocates, especially the Innocence Project of Texas, in the last decade. They have led the effort to get the state to recognize and correct several Texas-sized travesties of justice – from Tim Cole to Tulia to Michael Morton to Anthony Graves.
|Timothy Cole died while wrongfully imprisoned.
With a new exoneration review commission – though severely watered down compared to previous efforts – the Innocence Project of Texas effectively will lead other innocence groups in an advisory role on the 11-member board whose voting members consist only of state officials, both elected and appointed. They have just about a year and a half to finish their work because the commission folds on Dec. 1, 2016.
In light of that, the group got a new chief on Monday, when the organization announced on its website that Scott Henson, founder of the widely read GritsforBreakfast.org blog, is now executive director. He is the group’s former policy director and has written about Texas criminal justice reform for years, and Henson will supervise the group’s move to Austin.
“I know the group well and have a pretty good sense of the job,” Henson wrote on his blog Monday.
“And it presents an exciting opportunity at an historical moment when the state is about to (re)study the causes of false convictions and recommend solutions through a formal innocence commission.”
The new hire comes weeks after co-founder Jeff Blackburn, the organization’s longtime chief counsel, resigned from the project’s board. In a letter to his colleagues, he said the Texas organization has become too close with a national innocence organization based in New York, diverting its attention from its initial work of reforming the Texas criminal justice system and freeing the wrongfully convicted.
“When we founded this project 10 years ago, we were part of a movement,” Blackburn wrote. “We have become something else. A big multi-million dollar-organization holding $100,000 dinners… that’s just not my idea of a civil rights organization.”
The board’s remaining members, notably Gary Udashen, said in a joint statement that they were not in favor of Blackburn’s proposal to disassociate from the out-of-state groups.
The board “believed that the work of freeing the wrongfully convicted from Texas prisons and reforming the Texas criminal justice system was best served by continuing to be a part of the national innocence movement, which has made considerable progress in Texas.”
As Blackburn told me Monday, he is not bitter about the decision to leave, while noting that it was the hardest thing he has had to do.
“What I predict will happen is that they will be some ineffective, really silly governmental body that can’t really do that much, and then proclaim that we either have solved the problem of wrongful convictions in Texas or we’re on the way to it,” Blackburn said.
Still, he does not think a commission will reveal a new policy solution to a persistent problem that advocates have already diagnosed.
“What we need right here, right now is a good well-funded, statewide public defender system,” he said. “If we had that, we wouldn’t have a wrongful conviction problem.”
Minnesota sex offender program is ruled unconstitutional
State leaders now must craft an overhaul of the “punitive,” unconstitutional system.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) violates the U.S. Constitution by confining offenders indefinitely without giving them access to the courts and other protections of the criminal justice system.
In a scathing order, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank said a program that was designed to treat offenders for their sexual disorders had instead become punitive in nature, wrongly confining untold numbers of people behind razor wire who could be treated in less-restrictive community settings, such as halfway houses.
The ruling sets the stage for what could be a long and bruising battle between the courts and state officials over reforming a system that has been widely criticized for locking up too many sex offenders for too long. Frank called on legislators and the state’s executive leadership to “fashion suitable remedies” in time for an Aug. 10 hearing in his courtroom.
“The overwhelming evidence at trial established that Minnesota’s civil commitment scheme is a punitive system that segregates and indefinitely detains a class of potentially dangerous individuals without [legal] safeguards,” Frank wrote in his 76-page order.
Gov. Mark Dayton defended the program Wednesday, but legal scholars said his administration will probably have to adopt a series of monumental reforms to satisfy the federal judge — or face an imposed solution. These reforms likely will require the state to prove why individual offenders are locked up after they have already served their prison terms, and it could result in supervised community release for many of the 700 men now confined at high-security treatment centers in Moose Lake and St. Peter.
“The judge has tremendous power here,” said Eric Magnuson, a former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court who in 2013 chaired a state task force that recommended reforms to the program. “[Judge Frank] can basically say, ‘I don’t care if it’s going to cost a lot of money and I don’t care if it’s going to be difficult. I want you to give [offenders] all hearings and … prove that they need to be there.”
Added Magnuson: “He wields a broad sword, not a scalpel.”
The ruling follows a six-week trial last winter in which a class of sex offenders sued the state, alleging that the MSOP violated their constitutional right to due process.
Frank’s condemnation of the MSOP was sweeping; he called it an “institutional failure” with systemic flaws.
Those flaws include a lack of clear guidelines to show when offenders are progressing through treatment; an absence of periodic assessments to determine whether offenders are still dangerous enough to require confinement; a “cumbersome” discharge process plagued with bureaucratic delays, and a lack of less-restrictive community treatment options.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, no offender has ever been unconditionally discharged, and only three have been provisionally discharged.
By contrast, Wisconsin has fully discharged 118 offenders and placed about 135 on supervised release since 1994. At an annual cost of $120,000 per detainee, the Minnesota civilly commits more sex offenders per capita than any other state.
No immediate release
Frank’s ruling, however, does not mean that offenders will be released immediately into the community.
Both Dayton and Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson issued statements Wednesday saying that they disagreed with the decision and that they would continue to defend the program’s constitutionality, though they stopped short of saying they would appeal.
Even Frank appeared to favor a cautious approach; he noted that some offenders in the program “indisputably should be discharged,” but stopped short of ordering the release of individual offenders.
“The public should know that the Moose Lake and St. Peter facilities will not be immediately closed,” Frank wrote. “This case has never been about the immediate release” of any offenders.
Meanwhile, Dan Gustafson, the lead attorney representing the class of offenders suing the state, said that “no one is going to go out on a limb and agree to reforms until everyone is in agreement” on the changes.
“It’s politically unwise,” Gustafson said.
The significance of the decision, say legal experts, is that it firmly establishes federal court supervision of a program that legislators have long been loath to change. The result could be years of incremental reforms ordered by Frank and overseen by his appointees.
In Washington state, for instance, a ruling in 1994 declaring that state’s sex offender program unconstitutional touched off 13 years of court oversight and reform.
“There is no simple lever that you can switch to fix this system,” said Eric Janus, dean of the William Mitchell College of Law and author of a book on sex offender commitment laws. “You have problems with the treatment program, the absence of less-restrictive alternatives, and you need dollars to fix that. … Reform is going to take a long time.”
But offenders at Moose Lake and St. Peter are impatient. Even before the ruling came down Wednesday, some offenders were so confident of immediate release that they had packed their belongings in special bins.
Some detainees are talking openly about the possibility of suing for damages for being wrongly confined for years without periodic risk evaluations, said Benjamin Alverson, a sex offender who has been held in the program since 2005.
“There are people here with full-blown PTSD from being locked up in an institution so long,” Alverson said. “I assure you they will be seeking compensation for that.”
Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, who introduced legislation this year that would have established biennial reviews of committed sex offenders, among other reforms, urged her colleagues in the Legislature to take Frank’s ruling seriously.
Sheran said she expects key stakeholders — including legislators, Department of Human Services officials and experts on sexual behavior — to convene immediately to craft specific reforms.
“It’s really the community animosity and anxiety that is creating people’s resistance to make changes to the system,” Sheran said. “But now we have a clear statement that what we are doing here is wrong as it relates to the treatment of sex offenders. … We have no choice but to act.”
As I have stated in my New Blogs Part 1 and 2 gay rights are allot like sex offender rights and this is another example why:
Stephen Briggs and Patrick Dettling, a gay couple from Olympia, Washington, were allegedly assaulted in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood early Sunday morning while they were celebrating Pride by three men who they say came after them because they are gay.
The assault began when one of the men “high-fived” Dettling with a violent swipe. Things grew more violent after that, KOMO reports:
Dettling said he was punched in the face several times as one of the attackers yelled out a homophobic slur.
Briggs said he tackled the man to the ground and a fight broke out. The two other men started kicking and punching Briggs in the face, he said. Somehow he managed to get himself up and chase after the group, but he couldn’t keep up with them, he added.
“It’s kinda made me regress back a little bit… regress backwards in my progress of feeling comfortable with who I am. I feel like I’ve been pushed back a step,” Dettling said.
On top of a broken nose, Dettling suffered cuts and bruises and now has a hard time walking on his left leg. Half of Briggs’ front left tooth was knocked out during the attack, he said. An X-ray revealed his right ring finger is broken from his knuckle back to the joint, he added.
The couple spent five hours at the hospital and could face thousands of dollars in medical bills.
SO FAQ says
June 30, 2015 at 5:06 am
Stories like this: is a excellent example of why Towleroad.com is so vital. It is hard to believe this took place in Seattle, Washington. If something like this could happen in Seattle, Washington; can you imagine how much more dangerous it is for LGBT’s in the recesses of the south that are monopoly’s of condoned prejudices.
Also like I have stated on the blog many times like gay right’s civil right’s are also like se offender rights. Check this out:
I want to tell you about a about an important project by a friend of mine, Mary King.
Mary was a staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s. A descendent of six generations of Virginia ministers, she joined courageous young people of her generation and risked life and limb to win the right to vote for all Americans.
Recently, she came across thousands of pictures she took during the challenging days of 1964 and 1965. Working with Campaign for America’s Future’s digital director, Trevor Davis, she has painstakingly restored what may be the only color photos from that time and place.
They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring these images and the story behind them to the public. A new generation will see citizens making history up close. She will put together both a book and a traveling museum show.
Please take a moment and look at some of these important and powerful photos. You can even be among the very first to own one of the prints. And in doing so, can help hundreds of thousands of others share in the experience.
Click here to view Photographing Freedom: A Photographic Memoir of the Civil Rights Movement:
Sign this please :
Sometimes women forgo the preventive health care they need because of the cost.
But what many women don’t know is that the preventive care they need is covered by insurance with no additional costs, like co-pays or deductibles.
For a woman who doesn’t know preventive care is so affordable, the cost can mean missing her well-woman visit, which could mean she doesn’t get the screening test that will catch a life-altering illness, or not getting the counseling and education that could help her take control of her own health.
I signed up for their newsletter and you should too. :
My hat is off to the local people and this campaign; that I see commercials on the television allot for:
How Dallas Has Become a Global Leader on Stopping Domestic Violence:
Last March, Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings made headlines after hosting a major rally against domestic violence in the city. The event took place at the AT&T Stadium, where the Cowboys play, and featured major names among the speakers—Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Dez Bryant, and Brandon Carr all spoke, representing the football team, and the non-sports names included religious and political leaders from throughout the area.
The event, part of Rawlings’s Dallas Men Against Abuse initiative, came shortly after the mayor spoke to the UN about domestic violence. And his statements as part of human rights organization Breakthrough’s “Ring The Bell” campaign, which puts the onus on men to end domestic violence against women, are concise and convincing:
“Make no mistake: men’s violence against women is a men’s issue- It’s our problem. And I’m here to say we’ve had enough of women being disrespected, and we won’t tolerate it any longer. It’s not only about not being violent; it’s about changing a culture that says ‘violence is okay.’ I promise to stop laughing at jokes we’ve all participated in. I promise to speak out against domestic violence. And I’m asking men in Dallas — and everywhere — to do the same. Let’s make our homes, and our cities, safe for all.”
Since the rally, Rawlings has remained involved in these efforts. This month, he returned to using football as a pathway to approach men about domestic violence, calling on men at all Dallas high school football games to take a pledge at halftime to never hit a woman. Much of Rawlings’s focus on the issue has centered around the idea of masculinity and challenging the notion that violence is strength. That can be a muddy point in stadiums where violence and strength are so directly intertwined on the field, but reaching men in an environment where machismo runs high has its advantages too. At the very least, it’s interesting to see a civic leader address the larger cultural issues surrounding certain ideas about masculinity when advocating for social change.
The latest part of Dallas’s efforts, meanwhile, are more traditional: Attempting to shift the dialogue is admirable and may, ultimately, be the only real way to address these issues—but domestic violence is also a law enforcement issue. To that end, the Dallas Morning News reported this week about DPD’s plan for ongoing home visits in cases where authorities have found previously-reported cases to be at high-risk for another incident:
Police are considering a home-visit program where officers would personally check on the most vulnerable victims. They hope that strategy would help victims feel supported and prevent abusers from escalating the violence.
“Just the knocking on the door … is going to send a message to both the victim and the perpetrator,” said Lt. Miguel Sarmiento, who oversees the family violence unit.
Home visits are already part of the approach taken in New York, where 450 officers are assigned to check in with “children, elderly, and people police suspect will be abused again,” according to the paper. In Dallas, meanwhile, the city is struggling with the idea of adding the program without hiring additional officers. That’s something that criminal justice blog Grits For Breakfast suspects isn’t viable, citing the resources DPD expends on false home burglar alarm check-ins:
You can’t get something for nothing in this world and that includes extra police resources, even if it’s to implement a good idea. Policing, like every other government function, involves trade-offs. Not everything can get done in a world of limited resources. I’d rather see officers following up on high-risk domestic violence cases than chasing after thousands of false burglar alarms, but between the public’s ignorance and the alarm industry’s political clout, in the near term the trade-off will almost certainly continue to prioritize the latter over the former.
Manpower issues may just be part of the territory when you talk about increased awareness on this issue, though. The statistics since Rawlings’ began the initiative are certainly impressive: Victims are taking their abusers to court fourteen percent more frequently than they did a year ago, while aggravated assault charges in such cases are down by six percent, which Dallas Police Chief Deputy Sherryl Scott attributes to the mayor’s campaign:
“Not just our victims, but our abusers are paying attention,” she said.
With more domestic violence victims willing to prosecute, there’s more pressure on the district attorney’s office. Prosecutors already handle about 2,000 felony cases, and up to 4,500 misdemeanor cases each year, said Tammy Kemp, who oversees the family violence division.
Kemp said the best way to speed those cases through the system would be more manpower — and that costs money. A Rawlings spokesman said the mayor offered to speak with leaders in Dallas County — which funds the district attorney’s office — to advocate for additional funding.
Also, increased awareness may have resulted in more victims seeking help from local shelters. Through September of this year, shelters reported hotline calls are up more than 20 percent.
Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter, attributes that increase to the mayor’s work. “Victims saw that and thought maybe someone’s going to listen to me,” she said.
All of this is encouraging—if it does speak to the next challenge that Rawlings and the city seem likely to face. Having decidedly masculine figures like star Cowboys players directly challenge the idea that violence is strength, and calling on men and boys directly to pledge not to hit women, are significant. Ultimately, long-term change will only come through a cultural shift, and the early returns here suggest that this is all having an effect. For Dallas to continue to earn its leadership role here, though, they’ll have to figure out how to increase the resources that come at the next level.
And say what you will about McKinney, Texas and Collin County:
Frisco ranked 4th, Plano ranked 20th and Richardson ranked 36th when all city populations are combined, but Plano ranked the third safest city in America when only including those cities with a population of more than 200,000. McKinney’s population was 138,000 at the time of the analysis.
Dec 4, 2013
Next Data: McKinney One of Safest Cities in America
Check this out too from USA Today:
McKinney (mckinneytexas.org) is 30 miles north of Dallas. It ranks seventh for Texas and 51st overall. While it’s centered around a historic downtown, McKinney also is growing fast. The city’s population is around 133,500. According to “CNN Money Magazine,” McKinney was the fifth-best small city to live in the United States in 2010 — CNN liked the small-town flavor of this rapidly growing community.
Sex offenders sue, cite Indiana’s religious objections law
A lawsuit filed on behalf of two registered sex offenders cites Indiana’s new religious objections law in arguing they’ve been wrongly prohibited from worshipping at churches that have schools on the same property.
unjustified burden on the men’s religious liberties under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Some TDCJ treatment programs increase recidivism
A friend forwarded me a copy of this recidivism analysis from Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison rehabilitation programs, lamenting that “some of the TDCJ rehabilitation programs demonstrably make people worse.”
TDCJ-Evaluation of Rehabilitation Programs – April 2015.pdf :
Which ones? Four of nine programs showed participants’ recidivism increased after two years in the free world, though after three years only two programs – specifically the Sex Offender Treatment Program and the Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program, the latter of which has consistently increased recidivism since the agency began studying it – displayed higher recidivism rates.
The two programs with worse outcomes after two years that came out slightly better after three were the Sex Offender Education Program and the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative.
The SAFP program is the TDCJ rehab program with the best results and was the only one to make a double-digit difference.
|I made this, this morning. I have made about fifty graphic designs like this with a pro President Barack Obama theme; many before he was elected: to help get him elected. I have never felt so satisfied politically and artistically do create such things.
July 29, 2015
I wanted to take this opportunity to bring to your attention my latest tax bill to stop the IRS from targeting the wrongfully convicted.
As you may know Texas has been working over the years to reform its criminal justice system. One important part of that effort has been to provide restitution to those who have been wrongfully convicted and thrown behind bars. And yet did you know that while Texas is trying to do right by those wrongfully imprisoned the IRS is going after these very same folks? You see while these folks have already paid with years of their lives, the IRS is making these folks pay taxes on their restitutions. In short, the IRS says so long as a wrongfully convicted individual hasn’t been physically harmed while in prison then the restitutions are taxable. I would argue that such individual has indeed been harmed – has suffered – even if they haven’t been physically injured.
Make no mistake about it, the fact that IRS is taxing these restitution awards isn’t just morally wrong but outrageous. Here is what I’m doing about this: On July 16, I introduced H.R. 3086, the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act. As the name of the bill suggests, this bill would stop the IRS from taxing restitutions awards. Plainly put, it would STOP the IRS from TARGETING the wrongfully convicted. As a former Prisoner of War for nearly seven years I can personally relate to the lost years experienced by those wrongfully imprisoned. And while they will never be able to get those years back the very last thing they should have to endure is the additional injustice of the IRS taxing their restitution.
In closing as a senior member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee I will fight the IRS until this stops. I am proud to have Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks and Right on Crime support my fight. Thank you for taking the time to read about this important effort of mine. It is an honor to represent you. I encourage you to visit my website and sign up for my monthly e-newsletter at www.samjohnson.house.gov
to learn more about other issues impacting the Third Congressional District of Texas. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.
Member of Congress
Sex offender says lifetime registration is unconstitutional
nwitimes.com-2 hours ago
The Kansas attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review three recent decisions that overturned convictions or sentences in Kansas criminal cases – including one in Sedgwick County.
In June the state’s high court said it was unconstitutional and “cruel and unusual punishment” to impose lifetime parole on a juvenile convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The ruling stemmed from the case of Bryce Dull, who pleaded guilty to a 2009 sexual assault on a 13-year-old committed when he was 17, and was sentenced to 45 months in prison on the charge, as well as lifetime supervision after his release.
The post-release term means, among sanctions, that Dull would have to register as a sex offender and report to a parole officer for life and could go back to prison for the rest of his life if convicted of a new crime.
In an e-mail Wednesday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced his intention to seek a review of the case by the nation’s high court.
He also will ask for a review of a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that vacated Kimberly
Sharp’s murder conviction in the 2006 killing of David Owens in Topeka, and of a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that overturned Luis Aguirre’s capital murder conviction in the 2009 deaths of Tanya and Juan Maldonado in Riley County.
Schmidt, in his announcement, said he is “unsure the correct legal conclusion was reached under the applicable principles of federal law, so we are requesting review.”
Kansas now has three cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.
Oral arguments are expected in October in the death penalty cases of brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr, who killed five Wichitans during a multi-day crime spree in 2000, and of Sidney Gleason, who was convicted of killing a couple in Great Bend in 2004. Death sentences for the three men were struck down by the Kansas Supreme Court last year.
The U.S. Supreme Court grants only about 1 percent of requests it receives to review lower-court decisions, Schmidt said.
From: Austin Daily Herald
judge’s sex offender ruling
Published 10:21am Monday, August 17, 2015
The judge could not be more clear. He is going to force the state into a solution that requires the release some of these patients, who are in reality inmates imprisoned unlawfully at the sex offender facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake. The judge makes clear he believes these are serious and egregious violations of the inmates’ civil rights.
August 25, 2015
The ‘It’s On Us’ ad featuring Jon Hamm, Connie Britton, Kevin Love, Kerry Washington and Questlove.
The White House has enlisted Hollywood stars including Jon Hamm of Mad Men and Connie Britton of Nashville to help fight campus sexual assault.
President Barack Obama and Vice-president Joe Biden are unveiling the “It’s On Us” campaign Friday at a White House event.
A website that went live Friday morning, ItsOnUs.org, features a public service announcement with Obama, Biden and other familiar faces telling viewers it’s their responsibility to stop sexual assault. The star power also includes NBA all-star Kevin Love, actresses Kerry Washington, Rose Byrne and Mayim Bialik, comedian Joel McHale and musicians Randy Jackson and Questlove.
With an estimated one in five college women attacked, the campaign encourages everyone on campus to make sure friends are safe and to intervene before an assault happens. The message is particularly targeted at men, with the White House pointing to research that shows that men are often reluctant to speak out against violence against women because they believe other men accept it.
“It’s on us to stop sexual assault,” Hamm says in a close-up shot that opens the video.
“To get in the way before it happens,” Washington continues.
Others chime in to encourage viewers to make sure friends get home safe and not to blame the victim or look the other way. Obama closes the video by referring to the pledge and the website.
The campaign is being supported by partners who plan to help spread the message, including the NCAA, several collegiate athletic conferences and media companies with reach among students. The NCAA plans to promote anti-assault messages on screens at their championship events. Video game maker Electronic Arts will encourage fans to sign up to pledge to support the campaign through its online platforms. And media giant Viacom will promote the messages on websites, including for music channels MTV, VH1, BET and CMT.
Visitors to the website are asked to turn their social media profile pictures into the shape of the campaign logo. They are asked to use their name, email address and zip code to pledge “not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution”. The information is collected by Generation Progress, the youth arm of the liberal Center for American Progress advocacy organization with close ties to the White House.
The event comes as students are settling in for a new year on campus and follows other White House efforts that have been helping raise awareness about the problem that typically remained in the shadows. Research has shown most victims know their attackers, alcohol or drugs are often involved and only 12 percent of college women attacked report it to police.
Obama decried the statistics as “totally unacceptable” in a January speech and launched the White House Task Force to Prevent Students from Sexual Assault. The task force recommended actions campuses could take to protect victims, such as identifying confidential victim’s advocates and conducting surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses. The US Department of Education for the first time publicly exposed the list of colleges under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault complaints.
Please sign this only 81 more signatures needed.
How does the sex offender registry protect society and children?
In a nutshell, it doesn’t.
The sex offender registry protects no one, and takes rights away from tax paying citizens who have paid their debt to society as defined by the courts. People can say what they want about the registry not being punitive, but in reality it is punitive. A person on the registry cannot work, cannot live in most areas, cannot use the internet, cannot travel without notifying the police in person and in writing, cannot have an email address unless they register it with the police in person and in writing, have to register anywhere they are located for more than 3 days consecutively, or visits more than 6 times in a 6 month period, is not allowed into any public parks or pools, cannot attend schools, cannot obtain a visa for travel, must register phone numbers in person and writing to the police, and must register any changes of any of the above in person and in writing, and the list goes on, along with ignorant and angry citizens taking vigilante violence against these ex-offenders who have paid for their crimes. What happens if the registered EX-sex offenders fail to abide by any of the above? 15 years to life in prison.
Okay, okay, okay…. What are the benefits of having the registry? None. When a person is charged with a sex offense the police take DNA samples, photographs and fingerprints and put them in a nice little file. Now, it is proven that less than 6% of the registered EX-offenders will commit a new sex crime; in fact, people who commit a sex offense have the second lowest recidivism rate. The lowest being murder. This is the same now with the registry as it was 25 years ago before the registry. More than 80% of all sex offenses are committed by people who are not on the registry. Not one sex offense was averted by the registry.
I heard one reporter make a statement that a sex offender is like an alcoholic… once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Once a sex offender, always a sex offender. That is the most absurd statement I have ever heard. Unless your definition of an alcoholic includes a person who takes one drink and never touches alcohol again.
Two examples of how a person who had previously committed a sex offense gets arrested for a new sex crime. First we will take an ex-offender from 25 years ago, before the registry. He knows that the police has that little file with all his goodies in it, so to avoid being an automatic suspect, he drives an hour away, roughly 60 miles from where he lives, and then commits the crime. The victim then calls the police. The police will perform the obvious tests, first by asking if the victim knew the suspect or if the victim got a good look at the suspect or saw any identifying marks. If yes, the police look through their little files and show them to the victim. When the victim sees the suspect, the police go and arrest the suspect. If the victim didn’t see anything, they continue to a rape kit and get DNA samples. If a DNA sample is found, the police look back into their little files until they find a match, and then go and arrest the suspect. If no DNA sample is found, the suspect gets away with it.
Now the same scenario from today with the ex-offender who is on the registry. He knows that the police have that little file with all his goodies in it, and he knows he is on the registry, so to avoid being an automatic suspect; he drives an hour away, roughly 60 miles from where he lives, and then commits the crime. The victim then calls the police. The police will perform the obvious tests, first by asking if the victim knew the suspect or if the victim got a good look at the suspect or saw any identifying marks. If yes, the police look through their little files and show them to the victim. When the victim sees the suspect, the police go and arrest the suspect. If the victim didn’t see anything, they continue to a rape kit and get DNA samples. If a DNA sample is found, the police look back into their little files until they find a match, and then go and arrest the suspect. If no DNA sample is found, the suspect gets away with it.
Did the registry save this victim from having the crime committed against them? No. Did the registry help this victim identify the suspect? No, the little file did.
The registry doesn’t work. Never has, and never will. If all these ex-offenders are so dangerous, why didn’t the judge or court sentence the ex-offender to more time? They give excuses like they don’t have room, or cost too much money to keep them locked up. But the truth of it is, it is much, much cheaper to keep the less than 6% of the ex-offenders who are actually dangerous locked up, than it is to put all 100% on a registry that is so blatantly unconstitutional and ineffective.
Here are some facts. ALL people who commint a sex offense have their DNA on file. If a person decides to re-offend, the registry is not going to change that. The registry protects no one. An example would be that the very few people on the sex offender registry that did re-offend was not stopped from offending. They were not caught because they were recognized on the public shaming system. They were caught because of DNA or mugshots of offenders on file.
Regardless of it’s intent, the registry offers real punishment for the sole purpose that someone may commit a crime, and that IS unconstitutional… No matter how you try to justify it. Government is praying on the fear and hate of the people to fuel their goals. Something that happened not all that long ago in Germany to thier Jewish citizens. And I’m not saying being Jewish is a crime, just showing how another government used these tactics.
Another straight out lie is that the registry is to help protect our children… And like I stated above, the registry protects no one. If the registry truly is civil and not punitive, then it can be applied retroactivily to anyone. And if the goal is to protect our citizens and children, then there should be a national DWI/DUI registry.
Sex offenses vs alcohol traffic Deaths in 2009
Forcible rapes for 2009 = 88,097(Charged not convicted)
DEATHs from alcohol related traffic offenses = 10,839 (This is excluding those maimed and injured) – 181 of those DEATHS were children 0 to 14 years of age, and of those 181, about 92 of those children were in the car of the drunk driver. Another 1.4 million drivers were arrested for drunk driving, which each could have resulted in injury and Death. And another 147 million people admitted to drinking and driving.
recidivism for related crime: Sex offenses roughly 5%(The majority of this 5% had multiple charges and were strangers to the victim
DUI/DWI nearly 60%
Then you would hear the people who drink say things like:
You only drove while under the influence one time? You don’t consider yourself an alcoholic?
Sounds the same as 95% of the ‘Sex Offenders’ on the registry. If they have paid their debt to society, then society should stop punishing them more and more. They are no longer Sex offenders. They are citizens of the United States, who should have their rights protected. But unfortunately society as a whole is hateful and ignorant. Only when you talk to these people who have committed the sex offense can you get the feel of who they are. Not to judge by a label. Not to neglect them work. Not to make them and their families endure hell on earth. The courts know who the dangerous people are, but they choose to ignore that. If a Judge gives a person probabtion for a sex offense, how dangerous does that judge believe that person to be? If the judge really thought that person was a threat to society, he would have sentenced him or her to prison, in some cases life without parole.
I could list tons of sites that have studies and court cases proving my point, but I don’t see a reason, anyone can see how wrong these laws are… anyone with common sense. So I request, as a citizen, a taxpayer, a voter, and someone who served his country, that the sex offender registry come to an end for those who have paid their debt to society.
Retroactive sex offender laws challenged in Alabama and rightfully so. Laws should not be aloud to be perverted just to be used against sex offenders. Our justice system should not be influenced by overly judgmental paranoid mob mentality. The internet and the media continues to promote popularity conditional on pointing fingers at sex offenders as the scapegoat of all of our society’s woes even though it is not true at all. If our justice system continues to be changed by desperate grabs at media ratings by people that crave acceptance no matter what; it is only a matter of time before it will become completely ineffective.
Alabama Sex Offender Law Challenged
Courthouse News Service-Aug 26, 2015
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CN) – Sex offenders in Alabama must comply with debilitating restrictions that encompass “virtually every facet of their lives,” eight men claim in a class action.
Eight John Doe plaintiffs sued General Luther Strange III and Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency John Richardson in Federal Court.
The Aug. 20 complaint seeks court relief to prevent application of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act, or ASORCNA, claiming the law is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit argues that the act violates due process by denying sex offender registrants certain fundamental rights. It also claims that the law is vague and should be declared void.
“The plaintiffs ask this court to recognize what other courts across the country have increasingly found: that the nature of sex offender registration has fundamentally changed since 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a registration scheme that imposed registration and Internet notification only with effects that were ‘minor and indirect’ restraints on registrants,” the complaint states.
Alabama first passed a sex offender registration law in 1967, according to the complaint. The law at the time called for a one-time registration with the sheriff of the offender’s home county, and the registration information was only available to law enforcement.
The state passed its Community Notification Act in 1996, which “was not retroactively applied, and required only written notification upon an offenders change in address,” as opposed to in-person registration, the complaint states.
And in 2011, Alabama passed the current version of its sex offender law, which is retroactively applied to all adult sex offenders in the state and requires quarterly, in-person registration.
The law places restrictions on where registered sex offenders are allowed to live and work and “requires the distribution of community-notification flyers to those living near a registrant’s residence,” according to the complaint. It also requires registrants to carry a driver’s license or ID card that “enables law enforcement officers to identify the licensee as a sex offender.”
In addition, registered sex offenders are required to report their travel plans whenever they intend to be away from their home county for three or more consecutive days, the lawsuit states.
“ASORCNA violates the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights to travel, to work, to speak and to be free from arbitrary and oppressive laws without being lawfully tailored in a manner to meet Alabama’s interest,” the complaint states.
The law’s provisions are applied “for life and without regard to the nature of the offense, the age of the victim, or the passage of time since the underlying sex offense,” according to the complaint.
The anonymous plaintiffs claim Alabama imposes an unprecedented number of “obligations, disabilities, and restraints” on registered sex offenders, making its law the most restrictive of its kind in the country.
“ASORCNA severely limits registrants’ ability to: maintain intimate associations with family; find housing and employment; travel; engage in free speech activities or refrain from speaking; be free from shame, embarrassment, humiliation and stigma; and understand what is required of them under the statute,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Alabama’s current sex offender law is unconstitutional and void. The eight plaintiffs are represented by J. Mitch McGuire in Montgomery, Ala.
LAS VEGAS (CN) – Nevada’s lifetime supervision of sex offenders is unconstitutional double jeopardy, often making it impossible for them to find work and comply with terms of their punishments, 16 John Does claim in Federal Court.
Sex offenders sentenced to prison in Nevada are also sentenced to a lifetime of state supervision. Attorney General Adam Laxalt and seven other top officials are defendants in the Aug. 25 lawsuit.
The 16 John Does served their time and now are subject to lifetime supervision. They make 10 constitutional claims for themselves and another 1,000 unknown Does.
Attorney Robert Draskovich said his clients seek to nullify the lifetime supervision provisions that make it virtually impossible for many to find jobs, go to school, see their children, or even abide by the terms of their supervision.
“The big thing is the constitutional violations,” Draskovich said. “They were already punished. Lifetime supervision is a second punishment.”
Nevada in 2007 enacted a law that created the “special sentence of lifetime supervision,” including restrictions on residence and movement – and applied the law retroactively, the Does say.
A legal challenge to the retroactive application failed in 2012 at the Ninth Circuit, which found that the “retroactive application is constitutionally sound” and overturned a district court ruling that retroactive lifetime supervision is the “equivalent of a new punishment tacked on to the original sentence,” according to the complaint.
But Draskovich said the additional punishment violates due process by subjecting his clients to 21 special provisions, including being home by 6 p.m., attending and paying for monthly rehabilitation sessions, obtaining permission to move, staying away from computers and other devices capable of accessing the Internet, among others.
These provisions make it hard for his clients to attend and pay for mandatory sessions, get a job, or move on with their lives. To top it off, Draskovich says, many of his clients are innocent.
“A lot of them passed polygraph tests that said they didn’t do it, but wound up settling to get it over with,” Draskovich said.
He said that in most cases, the offenders were convicted of relatively minor violations or were falsely accused, but did not have the means to defend themselves in court and settled to end it.
The hardcore pedophiles are “few and far between,” Draskovich said – but sex offenders are not a group that generates public sympathy.
Most people find the subject distasteful. Even attempts to study it have met with resounding denunciations, though the topic is a widespread public safety concern. There were 604,550 registered sex offenders in the United States and its territories in 2012, according to Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center.
Without drawing hard lines, psychologists sometimes classify child sex offenders as either fixated or regressed. Fixated offenders are preoccupied with children, and are considered a greater risk of re-offending. Regressed offenders have “normal” sexual impulses but may resort to children or other victims during times of stress. Their behavior is characterized as situational, opportunistic and impulsive, rather than fixated.
Rapists are another category, whose violent predilections may be characterized as primarily motivated by anger, power or sadism.
The 16 John Does want enforcement of lifetime supervision enjoined as unconstitutional: violating due process, equal protection, free speech, cruel and unusual punishment, double jeopardy, ex post facto prohibitions, the Contract Clause, the separation of powers, and bill of attainder prohibitions. They also call it fraudulent misrepresentation.
Officials with the Nevada Department of Public Safety did not respond to a request for comment.
The defendants are Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Public Safety Director Chris Perry, Parole and Probation Chief Natalie Wood, Records and Technology Chief Patrick Conmay, Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, North Las Vegas Police Chief Alexander Perez, Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfenson and Henderson Police Chief Patrick Moers.
Lynn sex-offender ordinance struck down
Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2015 3:00 am
LYNN — The city lost its second legal battle in nine months with a Supreme Judicial Court ruling striking down a city ordinance banning Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living near schools, parks and playgrounds.
City Solicitor Michael Barry quickly noted the ordinance, with its 1,000-foot residential exclusionary zone for sex offenders and $300-a-day fine, has sat on the books since its 2011 passage.
“We never enforced the ordinance — no one suffered any damages — we didn’t displace anybody,” Barry said.
But City Council President Daniel Cahill said city officials must sift through Thursday’s court decision and sort out its implications, including the possibility the city may have to pay upwards of $200,000 in legal bills stemming from the American Civil Liberty Union lawsuit filed against the ordinance.
“We’re trying to figure out the financial impacts. The court is quite clear that this is unenforceable from a legal standpoint,” Cahill said.
The SJC last December ruled state law superseded a 2013 city foreclosure-prevention ordinance, effectively stripping that ordinance down to a provision aimed at preventing foreclosed owners from being evicted.
The high court in its 23-page decision on the sex-offender ordinance ruled that the local law “effects a wholesale displacement of sex offenders from their residences,” making it inconsistent with the state Sex Offender Registry Law.
“The ordinance is inconsistent with the comprehensive statutory scheme governing the oversight of convicted sex offenders,” the court concluded.
The SJC decision stated that the ordinance’s residency restrictions “effectively prohibits all Level 2 and Level 3 offenders from establishing residence, or even spending the night in a shelter, in 95 percent of the residential properties in Lynn.”
The ordinance’s purpose, noted the court decision, was to “reduce the potential risk of harm to children of the community by impacting the ability of registered sex offenders to be in contact with unsuspecting children.”
Convicted sex offenders must register under state law with the registry. Level 2 offenders are classified as having a moderate likelihood of reoffending, while Level 3 offenders are classified as likely to reoffend.
In April 2014, 212 Level 2 and Level 3 offenders lived in Lynn, according to the SJC decision.
The ACLU filed its lawsuit in 2012 on behalf of five sex offenders with the plaintiffs’ names collectively listed as “John Doe.”
A Superior Court decision siding with the ACLU set the stage for an appeal through the SJC. Barry said the city is insured against damages in certain types of legal cases and was represented in the sex-offender-residency case by an insurance attorney.
He said any cost to the city resulting from the high court decision will be covered by city insurance.
Cahill said it is too early to say if the SJC decision will require the council to rescind the sex offender residency law. He said the court’s decision does not eliminate the concern parents, including himself, have about living near sex offenders.
“Every parent is concerned about something happening to their child,” he said.
Town’s sex offender bylaw unconstitutional
Posted: 09/04/2015 07:32:12 AM EDT
AYER — Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand delivered bad news to selectmen Tuesday night, stating that due to a recent ruling by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, Ayer’s sex offender bylaw has been made unconstitutional.
At issue is a town bylaw that restricts where sex offenders may live in Ayer.
Like some 40 other Massachusetts communities, Ayer had adopted a bylaw that prevents Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from living anywhere within 1,000 feet of parks or schools, which effectively cuts off about 95 percent of municipalities to offenders.
That, decided the high court in a case involving the city of Lynn, violated the state’s constitution.
Lynn had no legal authority to adopt such an ordinance because it was inconsistent with state laws governing the oversight of sex offenders.
Furthermore, the high court said laws passed by the state’s legislature in 1999 established clear policies for monitoring sex offenders and notifying the public where they live. The court found that were “grave societal and constitutional implications” in segregating sex offenders.
“Except for the incarceration of persons under the criminal law and the civil commitment of mentally ill or dangerous persons, the days are long since past when whole communities of persons, such (as) Native Americans and Japanese-Americans may be lawfully banished from our midst,” Justice Geraldine Hines wrote for the court.
Faced with a bylaw with no legal force behind it, Pontbriand told selectmen that he intended to discuss the matter with the town’s legal counsel. But in the meantime, the law will stay on the books but not enforced.
Registering dismay at the court’s action, selectmen urged the town administrator to speak with the area’s representatives in the legislature to see if anything can be done to salvage the bylaw.
Grover Beach moves to lessen rules on where sex offenders can live
The San Luis Obispo Tribune-September 9 2015
I lived in The San Luis Obispo County for almost 5 years. I also worked for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. The more I keep reading about stories like this coming out of California the more I want to move back there.
The city of Grover Beach is taking steps to repeal its law limiting where registered sex offenders can live, though state law restricting residency in specific circumstances will remain in effect.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously voted to introduce an ordinance repealing its residency restrictions for registered sex offenders, as part of a settlement agreement with Grover Beach resident Frank Lindsay, who sued the city in June claiming the restrictions were unconstitutional.
Lindsay was convicted in 1979 for lewd acts involving a victim younger than 14, for which he was required to register with the state Megan’s Law sex offender registry.
“It is not something we are thrilled to be doing, but it is bringing us into compliance with state law,” Mayor John Shoals said at the meeting. “Our police force and other agencies will continue to track this and be vigilant.”
The city currently prohibits offenders whose offense was with a minor under 18 from setting up a temporary or permanent residence within 2,000 feet of protected locations such as schools, parks and day care centers. The council expanded the rules in March 2014 from a 1,000-foot restriction it set in 2007.
In June, Lindsay, 62, and his legal counsel sued the city, claiming the city’s restrictions prevented Lindsay from moving to a new residence in the city after a break-in at his current Grover Beach home made him “uncomfortable” continuing to live there.
At the meeting Tuesday, Assistant City Attorney David Hale said it was advisable for the council to repeal the restrictions in light of a March 2015 ruling by the California Supreme Court that “residency restrictions may not be imposed upon sex offenders in a manner that deprives them of their constitutional rights and liberty interests, including their right to be free from arbitrary, oppressive, and unreasonable laws.”
The state does place restrictions on where some registered sex offenders can live: Jessica’s Law forbids high-risk sex offenders and those whose offense was with a minor younger than 14 from living within a half-mile of a school or place where children gather. The law does allow those offenders to petition the cities they reside in if the restriction prevents them from finding a suitable place to live within the city.
State law no longer places residency restrictions on sex offenders whose offenses were with individuals older than 14.
Hale said repealing the ordinance would satisfy conditions of the settlement agreement with Lindsay. Further details of the settlement were not available Tuesday night.
Lindsay did not speak at the meeting.
I just got this email and wanted to post it. I imagine many sex offenders in our country can relate to Tariq. Our great country has put more human beings in prison than any other country in the history of the world; making gay marriage a absolute must. I am still a patriotic person to my very soul. Never the less it is never too late too change and put the constitutional rights of Americans back in our stars and stripes.
“I have become a body without a soul. I breathe, eat and drink, but I don’t belong to the world of living creatures. I rather belong to another world, a world that is buried in a grave called Guantánamo.”
I got the email from “Center for Constitutional Rights” on September 14 2015.
Here are some more links to the story:
The fight for Tariq’s life — and his freedom — continues
Last week CCR yet again urged the court to release Tariq Ba Odah, filing a reply brief and supplemental expert declarations renewing our argument that Tariq – who has been hunger striking to protest his unjust detention since 2007 and is “on the precipice of death” according to three medical experts – must be released on humanitarian grounds. Tariq has been detained at Guantánamo for over 13 years, despite never having been charged with any crime and having been cleared for release more than five years ago. And despite being brutally force fed 2,600 calories a day, he weighs just 74 pounds now. In its opposition to our June motion for Tariq’s release, the Department of Justice, shockingly, trotted out Bush administration arguments about how he was not covered under the Geneva Convention and does not have prisoner-of-war status. Tariq’s case has come to epitomize the incoherence and dysfunction of the Obama administration’s Guantánamo policy and has garnered major media attention as a result.
Meanwhile, for CCR client Zaher Hamdoun, who like Tariq has been detained at Guantánamo for over 13 years, it is his soul rather than his body that has been crushed nearly to death by injustice.
Pardiss and Bertha Justice Institute fellow Omar Shakir are in Guantánamo this week to visit Zaher and to prepare for his upcoming Periodic Review Board hearing. In our commitment to do whatever we can to close GITMO, CCR has taken on several cases of prisoners in the “indefinite detention” category who are seeking clearance through the administrative process; Zaher, like Mohammed Kamin, is one of those.
Sign this: http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/dp-tx-ecpa/
Our Fourth Amendment protections should be upheld online and off. Please support S.356, the Lee-Leahy bill — an important piece of bipartisan legislation that protects citizens’ privacy and ensures the government can’t access our email without a warrant.
We do not share your email address without your permission. We may send you updates on this and other important campaigns by email. If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from our email list, you may do so.
Of all the outdated privacy laws on the books, one of the most absurd is the law known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA.
Passed in 1986, the law defies the Constitution and commonsense — it says the government can access emails without a warrant just because they’re over 180 days old. In fact, one court has said this is in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Good news: the Senate is scheduled to hold a critical hearing on this issue WEDNESDAY — and could move S.356, the ECPA Amendments Act — which would fix this outdated policy.
Take action: send a message to your Senators to let them know they should support S.356 — the Lee-Leahy bill!
The Troubling Case of Richard Glossip
The Atlantic – 26 minutes ago September 16 2015
This is such a high profile case. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate it. I have been supporting the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty for almost 20 years now online; since my notoriously’ Nazi like, probation officer, aloud me to use the internet.
click here: http://www.ncadp.org/
The death penalty like sex offender registration is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment and in direct conflict with The Constitution of the United States.
Oklahoma’s highest criminal-appeals court granted Richard Glossip an eleventh-hour stay of execution Wednesday afternoon to hear new evidence that he may have been framed. The Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals stayed Glossip’s execution until September 30 so it could consider his petition. Glossip had been scheduled for lethal injection at 5 p.m. local time.
Glossip’s name is already synonymous with the problems plaguing American capital punishment. After the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma last year, he and three other death-row inmates sued the state department of corrections to prevent their own executions with the controversial sedative midazolam. In Glossip v. Gross, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s lethal-injection protocol in a sharply divided 5-4 opinion.
Now, Glossip is challenging his conviction itself on grounds of innocence. A number of excellent reporters have written extensively about the case and the questions swirling around it. Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith at The Intercept first wrote about Glossip’s case in July, just days after the Supreme Court ruled against him and the other death-row inmates.
All sides agree that Justin Sneed fatally bludgeoned motel owner Barry Van Treese to death in January of 1998. But the stories diverge on whether Glossip commissioned Sneed to commit their boss’s murder. Murder-for-hire can make the conspirator eligible for the death penalty in many states, even if he or she was not present at the murder. But Segura and Smith reported that Sneed’s daughter tried to alert Oklahoma officials last October that her father’s testimony about Glossip’s role in the murder could be inaccurate:
In a letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, she wrote that, based on her many communications with her dad, she “strongly believe[s]” that Richard Glossip is an innocent man. “For a couple of years now, my father has been talking to me about recanting his original testimony,” she wrote. “I feel his conscious [sic] is getting to him.”
The case for Glossip’s innocence hinges solely on whether or not Sneed lied. His motive would be obvious: Prosecutors spared Sneed the death penalty in exchange for his testimony against Glossip. In a recent interview with Cary Aspinwall at The Frontier, Sneed refused to recant his earlier testimony that Glossip paid him to commit murder. According to Aspinwall, Sneed’s family members suggest his daughter was manipulated into sending the letter, which didn’t reach the parole board in time to be considered.
As concerns about Glossip’s possible innocence grew over the summer, a broad array of public figures urged Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to stay Glossip’s execution for 60 days to allow new evidence to be heard, including Sister Helen Prejean, former Senator Tom Coburn, and former University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer. Oklahoma City District Attorney David Prater dismissed their efforts a “bullshit P.R. campaign” on Monday.
Fallin announced Tuesday she saw “no reason to cast doubt on the guilty verdict reached by the jury or to delay Glossip’s sentence of death” and ruled out a temporary reprieve. Glossip’s legal team then petitioned the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to intervene. The court granted the stay less than eight hours before his scheduled execution.
Here is a graphic I made years ago against the death penalty:
Imagine for a minute the United States Post Office not being the United States Post Office. How about Joe’s Post Office delivering your mail? I do not know about you; but to me the local postal worker is like a solder in the Army and always has been since I was a kid. It’s the republicans again.
Got this email today September 30, 2015:
Warning: Another Attack On Our Postal Service
There are some conservative ideologues who just can’t stand that the USPS demonstrates government doing its job of helping make our lives better. As with Social Security, they attack it relentlessly and endlessly. The latest push to privatize the USPS came from the Elaine Kamarck at Brookings, in “Delaying the Inevitable: Political Stalemate and the U.S. Postal Service.” … If the USPS is partially or completely privatized, employees will be moved into low-wage positions with little or no benefits, working longer hours. Their communities would suffer as they cut back from spending and paying taxes, homes are foreclosed, public assistance is needed and problems of poverty start to appear.
Got this email too:
Last year, 35 million Americans – nearly 1 in 5 people – did not fill a prescription because they couldn’t afford it. Meanwhile the top three pharmaceutical companies raked in $45 billion in profits. This must stop!
Stand with the Alliance for Retired Americans and call on Congress to pass the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015, which reins in prices and holds Big Pharma accountable for fraud and price manipulation.
It’s time to put people before profits! Stand with us today.
As I have mentioned many times online and in this bog; my father who I loved; was a great police officer, well liked in the community. I know this kind of stuff is just the kind of stuff he would support in a New York minute. Brought to us caring people online by the great: Grits for Breakfast.
Texas will comply with PREA, and other stories
Here are a few items which merit Grits readers’ attention even if I don’t have time this week to fully adumbrate them:
Closing the loop on a story first broken on this blog, the Houston Chronicle reported that Gov. Greg Abbott has reversed Rick Perry’s decision to defy the federal government over implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Good for Gov. Abbott, Perry’s position on this bordered on insensible.
The University of North Texas Health Science Center has received numerous large grants from the National Institute of Justice, including for research on DNA mixture protocols and multi-million grants to support a National Missing and Unidentified Persons database.
Following up on this story on the Harris County Jail, here are several complaints filed in federal court over deaths and a 2009 letter from the Justice Department detailing similar problems, via the Texas Legislative Research Library.
Austin is moving closer to creating a sobriety center/drunk tank separate from the county jail.
See coverage in the Houston Chronicle of new HPD bodycams and a copy of the departmental policy governing them.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown looks like he’ll survive a no-confidence vote by the department’s largest union. Grits just finished reading a telling discussion of that time-honored tactic in this book by Texas unionists and may return to their analysis later.
“Counties across Texas increasingly are sending teenage lawbreakers to out-of-state rehabilitation programs instead of state-run lockups that have been plagued by reports of violence,” reported Mike Ward at the Houston Chronicle. “In all, 226 youthful offenders have been sent to 13 out-of-state treatment programs for at-risk youths in the past two years from Harris and 20 other counties.”
At the risk of indulging anti-intellectualism, and with apologies to my friends in the academy, as a frequent consumer of academic social-science products, I’ve laughed at this all morning.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s landmark juvenile sentencing rulings establishing that youth should be treated differently than adults have had effects beyond the death penalty and juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences, says a recent report.
The court’s sentencing framework, based on adolescent development, also has affected how states think about issues such as mandatory minimums, parole regulations, record expungement, enhanced sentencing, transfer laws and the correctional environment adolescents are placed in, according to the new Models for Change report.
Elizabeth Scott, a law professor at Columbia University and co-author of the report, said the court’s opinions have caused a shift in juvenile justice unlike any she has seen in recent decades. The change is particularly interesting because the opinions have resonated beyond the sentences the Supreme Court considered, she said.
“It became clear that the Supreme Court opinions were having a broader impact and there was quite a bit of reform going on, some of it directly based on the opinions and some of it influenced by them,” she said.
In the report, the authors examine three key opinions since 2005 in which the Supreme Court prohibited the death penalty for juveniles (Roper v. Simmons), barred LWOP sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide (Graham v. Florida) and banned the use of mandatory juvenile LWOP sentences, including for homicide (Miller v. Alabama).
[Related: Supreme Court to Weigh Retroactivity of Mandatory JLWOP]
Those opinions are grounded in behavioral and brain science that finds adolescents are still developing and therefore less culpable than adults and primed for rehabilitation.
Because of that framework, states are thinking about other juvenile issues differently as well, the report said.
For example, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected giving lengthy sentences if they would function as life without parole and found all mandatory minimum adult sentences to be unconstitutional for juveniles. Other courts have rejected lifetime parole or lifetime registration on sex offender registries for juveniles, and some states have limited their use of automatic transfer laws, which move juveniles to adult criminal courts.
Although the opinions have transformed the constitutional landscape for juvenile justice, the authors cautioned that acceptance and implementation of a developmental framework are not inevitable.
Some prosecutors and courts likely will resist the framework, as could the public and lawmakers, the report said. More broadly, should crime rates rise, public attitudes may favor punitive approaches and influence policy. Or, if states find themselves with fewer fiscal restraints, they may not look as carefully at less expensive, developmentally-based reforms.
“Thus, adhering to the Court’s developmental framework and limiting the impact of punitive impulses toward juvenile offenders generally poses an ongoing challenge. But as the framework becomes more firmly entrenched over time, courts and legislatures may be less inclined to abandon policies that are sound on both social welfare and constitutional grounds,” the report said.
Models for Change is a multistate initiative for reform of the juvenile justice system funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Thomas Grisso, Marsha Levick, Laurence Steinberg and Scott wrote the report, “The Supreme Court and the Transformation of Juvenile Sentencing.” Three accompanying briefs offer an overview of the report, a discussion of the role of the courts in a developmental framework and a guide for practitioners.
The other side of incarceration: What happens to children left behind?
One in 14 American children have experienced a parent serving time
Three years ago, the little girl would hide under a table when confronted with reminders that both her parents were in prison.
Now almost 10, she’s a confident, popular student, and ace recruiter for the program that helped her, says Daniel Howell, a case manager for New Hope Oklahoma. It offers after-school programs, weekend retreats and summer camps for about 500 Oklahoma children annually who have parents behind bars.
Nationwide, there are few comparable programs, despite a vast pool of children who might benefit.
Child Trends, a research organization, released a report Tuesday estimating that 5 million U.S. children have had at least one parent imprisoned — about one in every 14 children under 18. For black children, the rate was one in nine, the report said.
The report was based on data from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health — a phone survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that collected input from parents and other caregivers.
Experts who study these children, or work with them, say parental incarceration is distinguished from other childhood woes by a mix of shame, stigma and trauma. Research indicates that many of the children face increased risk of problems with behavior, academics, self-esteem and substance abuse — in some cases resulting in criminality passed from one generation to the next.
Echoing recommendations by other groups, Child Trends said prison systems, schools and communities could do more to support these children. Suggestions include improving communications between parent and child, making prison visits less stressful, and educating school teachers on how they can help affected children overcome stigma.
“Progress has been slow,” said Child Trends researcher David Murphey, the report’s lead author. “This is a vulnerable group of kids that is often hidden from public view. We need to pay more attention.”
In some places, that’s happening. Washington state has won plaudits for establishing child-friendly visiting areas in all its prisons; so has a program in southeast Michigan that facilitates playful, 2-hour visits between imprisoned parents and their kids.
As for New Hope Oklahoma, it has grown steadily over two decades while relying entirely on private donations, and there’s now a waiting list for its programs. Oklahoma has one of the nation’s highest incarceration rates; a task force calculated that on any given day, 26,000 Oklahoma children have a parent in prison.
“These children face ostracism among their peers because of it — despite the fact that the child is totally not at fault,” said New Hope’s executive director, Clayton Smith. “They don’t speak about it. They don’t want anyone to know.”
The program seeks to foster a camaraderie among the children that encourages them to share experiences and emotions.
Daniel Howell, the case manager who works with after-school programs in Tulsa, recalled his encounters with some of the children, whom he could not identify due to privacy policies.
“I really want to live with my mom,” one boy told him sadly, “and I can’t right now.”
Then there was the girl who entered the program as a 7-year-old and would hide when discomfited.
“We’d have to go sit under the table with her to talk to her,” Howell said.
“Now, she’s able to identify her feelings, talk about it really openly with other students,” he added. “She’s been a top recruiter, telling friends about New Hope and what we do.”
While New Hope works with children at a distance from prison facilities, Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency’s program in Michigan unites children with their incarcerated fathers in jails in Oakland and Wayne counties, plus three state prisons. Visiting areas are decorated and stocked with playthings, and music is provided for twice-monthly play-oriented visits for perhaps a half-dozen families at a time.
Linda VanderWaal, the agency’s associate director for family re-entry, noted that some jails in Michigan don’t allow contact visits, while other facilities insist that child visitors remain seated.
“We move the chairs back so there’s room to throw a ball,” VanderWaal said. “It’s fine if a dad wants to toss his kid in the air or wrestle on the floor. It’s a true play date.”
When the program started 12 years ago, some corrections officials were hesitant, she said, but the wariness dissipated as they saw how participating parents adjusted more positively after they were released.
According to federal statistics, only about 42 percent of incarcerated parents with children under 18 get visits from those children. Long distances are a deterrent: A new report by the Prison Policy Initiative calculates that 63 percent of state prison inmates are confined more than 100 miles from their families, often requiring a full day just to make a brief visit.
The issue of children’s visits is complicated. Some children are frightened by the prison setting and rigorous security procedures, yet there’s also a wealth of evidence that many are reassured when they can see and hug an incarcerated parent.
Groups advocating for these children urge corrections officials to ensure that visiting protocols, including processing and searches, are child-friendly.
In Maryland, a veteran advocate says it’s a challenge bracing children for the visitation policy at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. They talk to their jailed parent by phone from behind a glass partition.
“For a number of children, there’s anxiety waiting to go into the jail — some are scared,” said Shari Ostrow Scher, president of the Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership. “The lack of physical contact with your parents is hard.”
After 14 years of advocacy work, Ostrow Scher remains struck by the plight of the children she serves.
“If your parent is a soldier overseas, everyone says, ‘Oh, you’re brave,'” she said. “When your parent is in prison, it’s the same issue of loss and separation, and in neither case did the kid sign up for this. But you’re not viewed in the same heroic way.”
Among the states, Washington has been at the forefront of efforts to enhance bonds between incarcerated parents and their children.
Jody Becker-Green, a deputy secretary of Washington’s corrections department, says one goal is to break the intergenerational cycle by minimizing the emotional damage to children whose parents are imprisoned.
“These kids are overlooked and invisible in our society,” Becker-Green said. “They feel shame, they feel guilt in having a parent incarcerated.”
Unlike most states, Washington has a child-friendly visiting area in each of its 12 state prisons — supplied with books and games, cartoon characters painted on the walls.
In another innovation, the corrections department inaugurated a three-day summer camp in June for children of inmates, with department personnel serving as counselors.
Applications for spots at the camp were submitted by the imprisoned parents themselves, and Becker-Green said there were plenty of tears at the camp’s closing ceremony when children read portions of those applications in which the mothers and fathers expressed devotion to their kids.
One of the camp staffers, Bea Giron, recounted how a camper said she wouldn’t want people to know she had a parent in prison. The girl was asked why.
“Because they’d think I’m a killer,” she replied.
Once again we see how our country has become a shame and a repulsion to the world because of our bazar, and inhuman treatment of those labeled by us as sex offenders. Here are two recent examples of other country’s actually refusing to extradite people to our country, because our church and state controlled country is hung up dementedly sexually. :
Oct. 29, 2015 Updated Oct. 30, 2015 8:45 a.m.
Jonathan Roberts has been working as a public relations executive in the central English countryside, in the quiet village of Broughton.
It’s a relatively new life for Roberts, a fugitive from Orange County whose real name is Roger Alan Giese.
In March 2007, Giese failed to appear in Orange County Superior Court, just as a jury was being seated in his trial on charges that he molested a teenage choirboy while working as a voice coach in Buena Park.
He turned up in England last year, but British authorities have refused to return him for trial.
That’s because English and American authorities are battling over what might happen to Giese after he serves a potential prison sentence.
The dispute has reached the point that usually American-friendly British authorities suggest Giese’s human rights will be at risk if he’s extradited to the United States.
At the center of the argument is a controversial body of American law known as civil commitment, which says that after a convicted sex offender has served his prison sentence he can be forcibly committed to a mental hospital for an unspecified period in the interest of public safety.
British judges have characterized these U.S. laws as draconian. This month, two judges in England’s High Court refused to extradite Giese, ruling that he could suffer a “flagrant denial” of his human rights if he returns to Orange County to face charges and – if convicted – possible civil commitment.
U.S. federal attorneys have until today to assure the High Court that Giese will not be subject to civil commitment if he is convicted. The U.S. also might appeal the case to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court.
It’s unclear what might happen after that. If the High Court does not return him to the United States it has not said whether Giese will be permitted to stay in England. Efforts to contact Giese in England were not successful.
The British courts, relying in part on testimony from experts on civil commitment in California, said there is a “real risk” that, if convicted, the nature of the charges against him suggest Giese could face additional civil commitment.
Prosecutors in Orange County disagree. They say the British courts have misinterpreted the laws and that Giese probably wouldn’t be a candidate for civil commitment.
They also say Giese, now 40, should be extradited to Orange County to face trial.
“The people of Orange County deserve justice,” said Susan Kang Schroeder, the Orange County District Attorney’s chief of staff.
The Giese case highlights ongoing controversy over civil commitment laws.
Under civil commitment, a convicted sex offender who has served his sentence can be committed to a state mental hospital indefinitely if medical experts believe that person is likely to reoffend. The law exists in 19 other states.
Proponents, like the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, say civil commitment keeps the community safe from serial predators.
Critics, including the British courts – and some legal experts in the United States – say the law is a violation of human rights because it keeps people in custody after they have served their sentence.
Giese’s case marks the third time British judges have refused to extradite an accused American sex offender due to civil commitment laws. In 2012, the High Court blocked extradition proceedings for Shawn Sullivan, who is wanted on child molestation charges in Minnesota. In January, judges dropped extradition for Tobias Bowen, a doctor who is accused of child rape in New York.
In all, an estimated 5,000 sex offenders in the United States are confined under civil commitment, about double the number of people held a decade ago, according to a 2014 survey from the San Diego-based Sex Offender Civil Commitment Programs Network.
The sex offender programs, formed in the 1980s after a series of high-profile sex crimes, have been challenged in some states over the years for failing to move people toward treatment and release.
A federal judge in Minnesota ruled this year that the state’s program is unconstitutional. Programs in Missouri and Washington state also have come under scrutiny.
In California, more than 900 people are confined at Coalinga State Hospital in the Central Valley under the state’s Sexually Violent Predator program. About 140 have been released from the program since 2005, according to the state.
Committed sex offenders can petition for their release before a civil court jury. While the procedure is civil, it mirrors some aspects of a criminal trial, requiring a unanimous jury decision ruled beyond reasonable doubt.
But unlike other forms of criminal justice in the United States, the onus is on the accused to prove they won’t reoffend, essentially turning on its head the concept of presumption of innocence.
Nicholas Scurich, a UC Irvine professor specializing in psychology and criminal justice, said courts largely have upheld the laws on the grounds that civil commitment is a form of treatment rather than punishment.
But Scurich noted that less than half of patients at Coalinga participate in the sex offender treatment program.
The program, he said, is more about easing the public’s mind than it is about treatment.
“They don’t participate in the treatment programs because they know it’s a farce; they know they’re never getting out,” Scurich said.
“The fundamental issue is that people don’t want sex offenders living next door to them, and the law has been used as any means to reach that end.”
While civil commitment may be unconstitutional, he said, California likely won’t see many challenges.
“It’s not politically smart for anyone to side with sex offenders,” he said.
Under California’s program, a convicted sex offender with certain qualifying offenses will be referred for evaluation by state mental health experts as he nears the end of his sentence. Multiple evaluators will review the person’s offense and social, criminal and institutional history.
If the experts determine that a sex offender meets the criteria for a sexually violent predator, the case is referred to county prosecutors, who have the discretion to file a petition for civil commitment.
In Orange County, prosecutors review the cases of offenders who are nearing release. They’ll provide the state with additional information, such as case files and police reports, to help experts make their decision, said Orange County Deputy District Attorney Peter Finnerty, one of four prosecutors in the office’s Sexually Violent Predator division.
“We go forward with these petitions because we think these are dangerous sexual predators who will reoffend given the opportunity,” Finnerty said. “The goal is to protect the community.”
Of the 23 cases tried since 2012 in Orange County, jurors found in 16 cases that the individual is a predator who is likely to reoffend, Finnerty said. Four cases resulted in mistrial and, in three, jurors found that the individual was no longer a risk and could be released.
Finnerty said there is a rigorous process for designating an individual as a sexually violent predator, with multiple levels of review by state experts. And even then, civil commitment is reserved for only a small percentage of the “worst of the worst” offenders, he said.
Giese, he said, would likely not be a candidate for civil commitment because there is only one victim of the alleged crime and Giese has no criminal history. Finnerty said the British courts “made a leap” to assume that any sex offender with a qualifying offense would be deemed a sexually violent predator.
NEW LIFE IN ENGLAND
As for Giese, the Daily Mirror tabloid in July tracked him to the town of Broughton, estimated population 2,200.
I have blogged to help this genius who has taken our breath away with movies that are irreplaceable gifts to all human kind like:
Oct 30 2015, 8:40 am ET
The next chapter in Roman Polanski’s decades-long extradition saga will play out Friday in a Polish courtroom — but it’s not quite the Academy-Award winning director’s day of reckoning.
A court is expected to rule Friday on a U.S. request for the filmmaker’s extradition over a 1977 child sex-crime conviction. It’s the latest in an epic international battle in which Polanski has been accused of portraying himself as the victim — and U.S. authorities have refused to let the case drop.
Polanski was accused of plying his then-13-year-old victim with champagne and drugs at a photoshoot, taking topless photos and having sex with her. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and served 42 days in prison as part of a 90-day plea bargain.
“What I did was wrong, otherwise I wouldn’t have pled guilty,” he said of his conviction in a 2013 Vanity Fair interview. “I should have had my day in court, and the thing would probably be forgotten.”
However, Polanski fled the U.S. for Europe on the eve of his formal sentencing in January 1978 out of fear a judge would overrule the initial deal and send him back to prison. He’s been a fugitive ever since — though living mostly freely and famously, thanks to his iconic status.
The director — who won Oscars for the 2002 film “The Pianist” and was nominated for 1974’s “Chinatown” and 1979’s “Tess” — was not in the Krakow district court on Friday morning, according to The Associated Press.
His lawyer Jan Olszewski expressed confidence the ruling would go in his favor.
“We are totally convinced about the groundlessness of the extradition request,” Polanski’s lawyer Jan Olszewski told NBC News this week.
Polanski — a Holocaust survivor — garnered fame for his films but also for personal tragedy: his first wife Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson’s followers in 1969.
The 82-year-old’s dual nationality — French and Polish — has complicated extradition efforts over the years. France, where Polanski has spent most of his time in exile, does not extradite its own citizens.
Polanski’s attorneys sought to dismiss the case in 2008, alleging prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. A judge denied that request, and an appeals court later affirmed the decision.
He was arrested on a U.S. warrant as he arrived to receive a lifetime achievement award at a Zurich film festival in 2009.
After serving a short time in jail — during which one of his lawyer’s suggested for the first time Polanski might voluntarily return to the U.S. to face justice in California — the director was released on bail and confined to house arrest in a posh Alpine villa. However, Polanski was freed a year later once Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him to America.
Swiss officials at the time cited a possible fault in the extradition request as the grounds, saying the U.S. had failed to provide confidential testimony to refute defense arguments Polanski had actually served his sentence before fleeing Los Angeles.
U.S. officials rejected the suggestion of technical errors in the extradition request, with the State Department making a rare move to weigh in on a California case.
“The United States believes that the rape of a 13-year-old child by an adult is a crime. And we continue to pursue justice in this case,” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said at the time. “The city of Los Angeles hasn’t forgotten about this case. We have not forgotten about this case. And we think it sends a very important message regarding how women and girls are treated around the world.”
In October 2014, U.S. authorities tried — and failed — to have Polanski arrested and extradited during a visit to Poland.
A month later, lawyers for Polanski tried to request an evidentiary hearing in Los Angeles in hopes of having the charges against him dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct. Court documents contended that the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office withheld facts from Swiss and Polish authorities during extradition attempts that would have shown Polanski’s punishment had already been served, according to the L.A. Times.
A judge rejected the request for the hearing, ruling that Polanski wasn’t entitled to it because he remains a fugitive.
U.S. authorities took another shot at Poland for an extradition in early 2015 once Polanski started traveling to Krakow to prepare for a new film based on the Dreyfus Affair scandal.
Polanski testified before the Krakow district court in February 2015 in the extradition case, and his lawyers have presented more than 408 pages of documents, according to Poland’s TVN24.
If the court rules against the extradition request on Friday, the decision will be final. However, if it rules in favor the minister of justice will then decide on whether to uphold or reject the decision — and Polanski will have an opportunity to appeal.
The L.A. County District Attorney’s office declined to comment pending the ruling, but said no one from the office would be present in court on Friday.
Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, suggested in a series of Facebook posts that officials were pursuing the case to “cover up their own misconduct” and using “a teenage rape victim until their dying breath” to get press.
“Justice is NOT something they seek for victims,” she wrote. “If they were smart, they’d stop trying to bring him back. If they ever do, the truth about the corruption in the DA’s office and court will finally be known.”
This story reminds me of the local lady here that is probably still in prison in Texas:
on October 29, 2015 at 3:29 PM, updated October 29, 2015 at 5:37 PM
A former Pennsylvania teacher’s aide who admitted to repeatedly having sex with a student has failed to persuade a state Superior Court panel that her conviction for institutional sexual assault is unconstitutional.
Jennifer L. Merklinger, who was sentenced to 5 years of probation and must register as a sex offender, had argued that she was unjustly prosecuted for having consensual sex with another adult.
Merklinger, a former aide at Hamburg High School in Berks County, was 40 when she had sex with an 18-year-old male student of the school in December 2013 and January 2014. The sexual encounters did not occur on school grounds.
The Hamburg woman appealed to the state court after a Berks County judge convicted her during a nonjury trial in November 2014. Superior Court Judge Victor P. Stabile rejected all her constitutionality arguments in an opinion issued Thursday.
On appeal, Merklinger contended the institutional sexual assault law was “unconstitutionally vague as it applied to women” because it used the pronoun “he” in describing the prohibitions against sex acts between school officials and students. Also, she argued the law was “unconstitutionally broad” because in her case it criminalized sex between consenting adults.
Stabile noted that the use of “he” in the law applies to males and females. And, he found, “the statute’s plain language reveals that the Legislature intended to prohibit sexual contact between school employees and students.” There is good reason that the age of those engaging in sex under such circumstances is considered to be legally irrelevant, the judge concluded.
“In a school setting, it is safe to assume that sexual contact between school employees, including teacher aides, and students ‘is rife with the possibility of coercion, both subtle and overt,’ given the extensive power school employees exercise over students,” Stabile wrote.
This proves what I suspected and blogged about earlier on this page. I have nothing against police at all, in fact my dad was a officer. My dad was a well liked police officer in my home town. I loved my dad and his police officer friends were my friends too. I found this while searching Google News for new stories about the repression and oppression of our citizens in a kind of self destruction of our country from within. Only time will tell if all of our country’s citizens are entitled to constitutional rights as the should be or if mob mentality will run us all into the dirt. This I think is a great lesson for our police officers not to point their fingers at all them inhumanly labeled sex offenders; because 3 fingers always point back.
In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.
“Academics, treatment professionals, and law reform groups such as Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc. and Women Against Registry criticize current sex offender laws as based on media-driven moral panic and “public emotion”, rather than a real attempt to protect society.”
Added two new inks to my links page.
I want to share a recent email I sent to Womens Law Center:
I was just thinking of my sisters of nwlc.org . If you ever met my real life sister ( I was her hero once; you would understand the meaning of this term; if you knew of our family history) I am so disgusted by the planned parenthood scam. How dare they scam women’s health. I am glad the outcome proved it was a set up. It reminds me of all the men in prison for the set ups perpetrated by people like http://perverted-justice.com/
It makes me sick that women’s rights are along side such low people; but such is the way of the media. The media is the problem; it seems in our country. (A leading department store) commercials are so sexist in my opinion; yet it seems so mainstream. Why is bigotry mainstream? If you ask me the greatest threat to freedom and the American way is bigots. Bigotry seems to be the norm around here.
U-Va. fraternity files $25 million lawsuit against Rolling Stone
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter at the University of Virginia filed a $25 million lawsuit Monday against Rolling Stone magazine, which published an article in 2014 that alleged a freshman was gang raped at the house during a party.
The lawsuit focuses on a Rolling Stone article titled “A Rape on Campus,” which detailed a harrowing attack on a freshman named Jackie at the Phi Psi house on Sept. 28, 2012. The article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, described how Jackie was raped by seven men while two others watched in a second floor bedroom while a fraternity party raged downstairs. The article alleged that the attack was part of a hazing ritual at the long-time U-Va. fraternity.
The Washington Post found significant discrepancies in the Rolling Stone account, including that the fraternity did not host a party that night in 2012 and that a student identified by Jackie as her main attacker was never a member of the fraternity and did not attend U-Va.
[U-Va. students challenge Rolling Stone account of attack]
Two investigations — by the Columbia University journalism school and the Charlottesville Police Department — later confirmed that there was no gang rape at the fraternity.
“The fraternity chapter and its student and alumni members suffered extreme damage to their reputations in the aftermath of the article’s publication and continue to suffer despite the ultimate unraveling of the story,” the Phi Psi chapter said in a statement Monday. “The article also subjected the student members and their families to danger and immense stress while jeopardizing the future existence of the chapter.”
Rolling Stone retracted the story in April, and the magazine’s editor, Will Dana, later resigned.
A spokesperson for Rolling Stone declined to comment Monday.
In July, three U-Va. alumni members of the Phi Psi fraternity filed a federal lawsuit in New York against Rolling Stone. One of the fraternity members, George Elias, wrote in the lawsuit that he lived in a second floor bedroom of the house in 2012, which led members of the U-Va. community to assume he possibly took part in the alleged gang rape.
[Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members sue Rolling Stone over retracted story]
The magazine also faces a $7.5 million federal lawsuit filed by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. associate dean who assists sexual assault survivors on campus and who alleges that she was vilified in the Rolling Stone account.
In the wake of the Rolling Stone article’s publication, the Phi Psi house was vandalized, windows were broken and anonymous activists scrawled “UVA Center for Rape Studies,” on the building.
“In the most scurrilous traditions of yellow tabloid journalism, Rolling Stone published a devastating story it knowingly failed to verify, in reckless disregard for truth or falsity, or the essential safety, dignity, and welfare of the organization or of those lives it was willing to crush with its defamatory article,” the fraternity contends in the lawsuit. “The story was simply too tempting, too sensational, to let facts get in the way.”
In the complaint, filed in state court in Charlottesville, the 54 undergraduate members of the fraternity describe living through the backlash of the article’s publication in November 2014.
The fraternity brothers say they faced vicious threats online, taunts in classrooms and suffered in recruiting new prospects to join the house. While in past years the fraternity typically hosted about 800 students during recruiting events, Phi Psi saw just 300 participants during rush as a result of the article, according to the lawsuit. Of those who did take part in the events, a number of the students had “no intention of pledging, but who rather were attending rush out of a curiosity to walk into the ‘rape house,’ ” one Phi Psi member wrote in the lawsuit.
Many alumni removed their affiliation with the fraternity from their résumés out of concern that Phi Psi membership could hurt their job prospects.
According to the fraternity’s complaint filed in state court: “This defamation action is brought to seek redress for the wanton destruction caused to Phi Kappa Psi by Rolling Stone’s intentional, reckless, and unethical behavior.”
November 16, 2015
Can you imagine what our forefathers would have said when our citizens are unable to go to church or college? That is what it is like to be a registered sex offender in our country. Can you say cruel and unusual punishment?
I feel redeemed because I blogged about this very same thing about 5 years ago on Democrat.org and it seemed like everyone ignored me. I paid my dues getting actual accredited college credits for 8 years and I maintained a 4.0 grade average even though most of my teachers hated me; because they knew I was a registered sex offender; for 8 years of college. I road a fancy Ninja Sport bike to school every day that go vandalized one time. I used to think what if one of these right wingers from Collin County Texas; try to hit me on my bike? Back then you would have to go to the campus police who were pistol packing real police officers with a chip on their shoulders and report yourself to them as a sex offender. So when I see the barrage of commercials I see every day from colleges that do not really give college credits and cost a fortune to go to like Art’s Institute and University of Phoenix it upsets me. Especially like I said over 5 years ago these fake colleges actually aim their target audiences at the Veterans of our great country. My wife had the GI Bill and she paid her dues for it. Can you imagine what a waste it is to spend this at a college just because they have scam like commercials and know real transferable credits? When I read this I had to post it. Check it out:
November 16, 2015 10:35am
For-profit college will pay $95.5 million to settle ‘boiler room’ recruiting case
Federal and state authorities announced a $95.5-million settlement Monday with the nation’s second-largest chain of for-profit colleges.
The settlement with Education Management Corp. resolves a long-running federal whistleblower case in which former employees alleged the company was illegally paying recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. The U.S Justice Department intervened in the case in 2011, along with several state attorneys general.
By fostering a high-pressure sales operation for its recruiters, Education Management Corp. violated a ban on such compensation and was able to tap into billions of dollars in federal student aid, officials said.
“Instead of caring about whether a student would be successful in EDMC’s programs, the company seemed to only care about revenue,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The practices came “at a significant cost, both to students and taxpayers.”
Duncan announced the settlement alongside U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney David Hickton of Western Pennsylvania and Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller, who is leading a multi-state probe of the for-profit college industry.
Pittsburgh-based EDMC operates more than 100 campuses across the U.S. and Canada. The company owns the Art Institutes, Brown-Mackie College, Argosy University and South University.
The company operates more than a dozen campuses in California, including four Art Institute locations in the Southland.
EDMC Chief Executive Mark McEachen said the company continues to believe the allegations were “without merit.”
“Putting these matters behind us returns our focus to educating students,” he said.
The for-profit college industry has faced mounting scrutiny for years amid complaints of high student loan defaults and poor job prospects for graduates. Corinthian Colleges Inc., based in Santa Ana, filed for bankruptcy protection this year after a federal investigation into inflated job-placement rates.
ITT Educational Services faces two federal lawsuits into a private lending program it offered students. And the University of Phoenix has been temporarily banned from recruiting on military bases following allegations of recruitment violations.
The violations in the EDMC case revolve around a federal rule that prohibits educational institutions from giving higher compensation to recruiters who bring in more students. To be eligible for federal student loans and grants, schools must certify that they are not paying recruiters in that way.
“EDMC pledged to the United States that it was not paying incentive compensation when, in fact, it fostered a high-pressure, boiler-room sales operation,” said David Hickton, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
In addition to the $95.5-million settlement, EDMC signed on to an agreement with 39 state attorneys general that governs recruitment practices. EDMC will be prohibited from enrolling students into programs where there are few job prospects and cannot enroll students into programs that do not qualify for state licensure in areas such as teaching.
McEachen said the company will provide students with a one-page disclosure on job-placement rates and program costs.
I posted this on October 15 2015 on my art blog and I had to take it down because it clashed with my happy artwork but it may fit here.
Even if you do not believe the Bible you can at least appreciate it for it’s proven accuracy scientifically. In the book of Revelation when all the country’s of the world are mentioned our country is nowhere to be found. It is just a matter of time before we are not here; according to the Bible. TPP would take away so many of our rights as American citizens; it would almost be like we do not exist as America any longer. This is what motivates me to do what ever I can to preserve the foundation of our country the constitution of the United States. Without the foundation of our forefathers we art not the land of the free; we are not American; we are not America.
Some more petitions to sign; many millions of people can not be wrong:
You could have to pay a fine for simply clicking on the wrong link.
Right now, a group of 600 industry lobbyist “advisors” and un-elected government trade representatives are scheming behind closed doors1,2 to craft an international agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Why the secrecy? We know from leaked documents3 that the TPP includes what amounts to an Internet trap that would:
1.Criminalize4 some of your everyday use of the Internet,
2.Force service providers to collect and hand over your private data without privacy safeguards5, and
3.Give media conglomerates more power to fine you for Internet use,6 remove online content—including entire websites—and even terminate7 your access to the Internet.
4.Create a parallel legal system of international tribunals that will undermine national sovereignty and allow conglomerates to sue countries for laws that infringe on their profits.
The TPP’s Internet trap is secretive, extreme, and it could criminalize your daily use of the Internet. We deserve to know what will be blocked, what we and our families will be fined for.
If enough of us speak out now, we can force participating governments to come clean. Your signature will send a message to leaders of participating countries. 8
Please sign our petition to make your objection heard.
135,820 people have signed (and counting).
One Million to Stop the Corporate Death Star
sign the petition
To all the governments negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
As concerned global citizens, we call on you to make the TPP process transparent and accountable to all, and to reject any plans that limit our governments’ power to regulate in the public interest. The TPP is a threat to democracy, undermining national sovereignty, workers’ rights, environmental protections and Internet freedom. We urge you to reject this corporate takeover.
1,599,679 have signed. Help us get to 2,000,000
Avaaz staff at the TPP talks projected the petition on the wall of the hotel where the conference is taking place, but security shut them down! Fortunately, we were able to deliver our call to US Trade Delegate Andrea Mead — pictures of our delivery are here. The pressure is working – the talks are now going to enter a 15th round of negotiations next year! Let’s reach one million to stop the Corporate Death Star — sign now and forward.
Posted: 12 September 2012
Details are leaking of a top-secret, global corporate power grab of breathtaking scope — attacking everything from a free Internet to health and environmental regulations. It’s up to us to stop it.
Big business has a new plan to fatten their pockets: a giant global pact, with an international tribunal to enforce it, that is kept top secret for years (even from our lawmakers!) and then brought down like a Death Star on our democracies. Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Walmart and almost 600 other corporate lobbyists are all in on the final draft — including limits on smoking laws, affordable medicines and free speech on the Net.
Information about the corporate Death Star has been leaking, and now outcries in each of our countries could shake the confidence of negotiators and scuttle the talks forever. Let’s get to a million against the global corporate takeover. Sign the petition on the right, then forward this campaign to help us reach one million!
*The deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is a pact that the United States is negotiating with 8 other countries including Australia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Labelled as a “free trade” agreement, much of it is written to protect investors from government regulation, even if that regulation is passed in the public interest. You can read more about it here: https://en.avaaz.org/760/tpp-secret-talks-free-trade-agreement
1,599,679 have signed.
“The Trans Pacific Partnership includes provisions that would lead to extreme Internet censorship and undermine democracy and national sovereignty. I demand that my government oppose this agreement and refuse to sign.”
Petition: Stop Another Trade Deal ‘Disaster’
Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.
The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.
Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.
The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories. These corporately backed trade agreements have significantly contributed to the race to the bottom, the collapse of the American middle class and increased wealth and income inequality. The TPP is more of the same, but even worse.
During my 23 years in Congress, I helped lead the fight against NAFTA and PNTR with China. During the coming session of Congress, I will be working with organized labor, environmentalists, religious organizations, Democrats, and Republicans against the secretive TPP trade deal.
Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.
Sign the petition to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Stop the TPP 58487 signers
Congress Must Reject Fast Track Trade Authority
Sign Our Petition Demanding Congressional Authority Over the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Some in Washington are preparing to steamroll Congress and revive an arcane procedure Richard Nixon cooked up to grab Congress’ trade authority and hand it over to unaccountable trade negotiators who want to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through.
Fast Track trade authority is the way that the public and Congress got steamrollered by trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO. In fact, since Nixon cooked it up, this procedure has only ever been used 16 times among over 500 trade agreements. Good trade agreements don’t need to be Fast Tracked. Only the most damaging ones require this extreme procedure — the deals that left millions of families slammed by job offshoring, floods of imported tainted meat, and rising medicine prices.
Now, as public and congressional opposition to TPP is growing daily, a pack of large corporations and TPP’s boosters in Congress want to revive this arcane procedure. They know Fast Track is the only way to force the TPP into effect.
The good news is that Congress would have to agree to delegate away its authority. Fast Track cannot just pop into existence on its own. So, we need to ensure that Congress retains its control of the process to avoid further trade-agreement damage to us.
Sign Our Petition to Congress Demanding Rejection of Any Attempt to Obtain Fast Track Authority
We believe in the checks and balances our Founders created in the U.S. Constitution: Congress has the authority to write our laws and set the terms of our trade agreements, while the executive branch implements those laws and negotiates with foreign countries to implement Congress’ trade policy. Fast Track Trade Authority would grab those powers from Congress, destroying Congress’ ability to safeguard the American public from damaging trade agreements.
We demand that Congress reject any attempt to revive Fast Track Trade Authority. We call on Congress to retain its constitutional authority over our trade agenda. It is totally unacceptable that unaccountable trade negotiators would be empowered to unilaterally determine the contents of U.S. trade agreements, or that agreements could be signed and entered into before Congress votes on them. But, that is exactly what Fast Track would authorize.
Previous trade agreements negotiated and implemented under Fast Track have led to widespread damage: millions of American jobs offshored, floods of unsafe imported food and products that do not meet our safety standards, and attacks on our domestic environmental and consumer protection laws in foreign tribunals.
At stake is Congress’ constitutional authority to represent our interests. We sent our members of Congress to Washington to stand up for us, not to give away their authority to do so.
We stand united calling for Congress to reject any attempt to establish Fast Track Trade Authority.
13522 total signers.
Tell Congress: Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Tell your Congressional representatives:
I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it is a threat to our climate and our democracy. Vote NO on Fast Track legislation that would allow this bad deal to move forward.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a trade deal being negotiated between the US and dozens of other countries — is the fossil fuel industry’s latest tool to shut down climate action, and today begins a huge fight to stop it.
The TPP would give foreign fossil fuel corporations the right to sue city, state and national governments if climate action hurts their profits. It would also eliminate environmental reviews of fracked gas export facilities that would make Big Oil billions of dollars.
Legislation that would allow the TPP to pass, called Fast Track, faces a close vote in Congress — if enough Members of Congress come out against this plan in the next few weeks, it stops it in its tracks.
Can you send a message to your members of Congress now to stop the TPP?
October 14 2015:
I tried to tell you all to choice Hillary Clinton to take the presidency! Now you can see how the worm has turned! Now that Hillary has won the last democrat debate :
something that you say when someone who has always been weak and obedient starts to behave more confidently or take control of a situation Yesterday, she just came in and told him to stop bossing her around. The worm has turned!
Here is some more bad news about our president:
October 14, 2015 – The sales push behind Washington’s latest “free-trade” agreement amounts to Kabuki theater.
What’s Kabuki? It’s a 17th-century form of Japanese drama, featuring elaborate sets and costuming, rhythmic dialogue, and stylized acting and dancing. That pretty much sums up the White House’s production of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Its negotiations have been set in luxury resorts around the world, covered by elaborate secrecy. Insiders wear the costumes of global corporate power, while trade officials parrot rhythmic dialogue about incredible benefits for all.
President Barack Obama himself is the main actor, dramatically proclaiming that the pact is “the most progressive” trade deal ever, and now he’s doing a stylized political dance in hopes of winning congressional approval.
What a show!
But it doesn’t seem to be selling. The latest polls indicate a range that runs from lukewarm support to staunch opposition and includes many people with no opinion at all about these trade deals. This applies not only to Democrats, but independents and Republicans, too.
Ten of the 2016 presidential contenders have criticized the agreement, led by Democratic contender Bernie Sanders, who calls it flat-out “disastrous,” and GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who dubs it “a horrible deal.”
Congressional opposition is growing, too. Even Ford Motor Co. — one of the corporate giants allowed inside the negotiations — has blasted the final version of this pact, calling on Congress to vote no.
Inexplicably, Obama views passage of this democracy-strangling corporate boondoggle as a “legacy-making” achievement, even though the only real support he has for it comes from Republican congressional leaders and the global corporate establishment.
That’s not just Kabuki, it’s kooky. As the old aphorism puts it: “Tell me with whom you walk, and I’ll tell you who you are.” To keep track and get involved, go to www.citizen.org/trade/
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board. OtherWords.org.
Obama says “We are writing the rules.” Who’s “we”?
Monday, October 12, 2015 | Posted by Jim Hightower
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Gosh, Americans don’t need enemies like China when we’ve got “protectors” like Obama.
In his pitch to get us to swallow that glob of global corporate greed known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Obama has resorted to a tacky bit of China bashing. He recently crowed that, “Under this agreement we, rather than countries like China, are writing the rules for the global economy.” This backhanded slap at a major trading partner is meant to tell us that Big Bad China would’ve written global trade rules to hurt the American people.
Aside from the fact that we and our allies would never agree to such biased rules, even if the Chinese were stupid enough to propose them, Obama’s assertion contains two self-destructive bombshells, both tucked inside the word “we.”
First, if okayed by Congress, this TPP scam would offshore a whole new round of America’s middle class jobs, hold down or even lower US wages, flood our market with unsafe imported food, free Wall Street banksters from oversight, and empower global corporations to use private “trade tribunals” of corporate lawyers to usurp our people’s sovereignty. How embarrassing that our own president would claim credit for doing such explosive damage to the American people! I’m guessing that even China would not have done worse.
Second. Obama’s entire TPP charade is blown to bits by his assertion that “we… are writing the rules.” Who’s “we”? Were you consulted? Did you even know that a tiny group of unelected people have been meeting in secret for seven years to write “rules” for us? In fact, only about 600 corporate executives and lobbyists were allowed to be at the table, writing rules to benefit themselves at our expense.
It’s a disgrace that Obama is fronting and even lying for these self-serving kleptocratic corporate powers.
“Obama begins selling trade agreement to Congress, public,” Austin American Statesman, October 7, 2015.
October 13 2015:
I heard and read many different horrific things about TTP, on the internet and on television on: https://www.freespeech.org/
. I have heard things like if you get a email saying a corporation is killing pregnant women forcing them to work till they die; and then you post it on your blog. If TPP is voted into law you will be thrown in prison without a trial; because a trail would cause too much negative publicity about the corporation accused of wrong doing. I have pasted the following from the internet and am practicing my right to free speech as a American:
Stop The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Petition by Peter Becker
To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate
We urge Congress to vote no on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). An agreement like the TPP should be negotiated in the full light of day. America must reserve the right to determine our own consumer, health, safety, labor, privacy, and environmental regulations. Do not surrender our rights to trans-national corporations.
The Administration and the U.S. Trade Representative just reached a deal with 11 other nations on the secretly negotiated, massive so-called “free-trade” agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The information available so far indicates that the agreement will greatly empower corporations by virtually eliminating consumer, health, safety, labor, privacy, and environmental regulations, enforcing corporate domination over our justice system through offshore corporate investor-state tribunals or ISDS.
Despite massive popular opposition to the TPP (despite media silence) and repeated calls to open the texts on the part of citizens of all nations, the TPP will now come up for a vote in Congress within months. Now we are in the fight of our lives to urge Congress to oppose the TPP when it comes up for a vote.
No More Job Killing Trade Agreements
Congress: Vote no on “fast-track” authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. American jobs are too important to rush through another bad trade agreement.
They’re at it again. Unelected bureaucrats are meeting behind closed doors making decisions that could cost tens of thousands of good jobs.
It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We don’t know what’s in it, but we know who wrote it: Corporate lobbyists and representatives of countries that include repressive regimes with no concern for labor or environmental standards.
We should have learned our lesson by now. Bad trade agreements create a race to the bottom which benefits only the multinationals. Now they want fast-track rules on a secretly negotiated treaty. The corporate lobbyists don’t want the public to have the chance to see what’s in this deal.
As Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, ”they have to be secret because if the American people knew what was going on, they would be opposed.”
A coalition of public interest groups wants Congress to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership. The groups sent a letter to several ranking members of Congress, asking them to deny President Obama’s request to fast-track the T.P.P., and hold on to their Constitutional authority to oversee trade deals. The letter is signed by 14 organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and the Free Press Action Fund. They argue that the massive trade deal has been negotiated in “near-total secrecy,” and say that public concerns about the agreement have been marginalized.
In addition to a massive increase in free trade, which poses a serious threat to American jobs, the TPP includes several speech-restricting provision that the public has already rejected. And, a leaked version of the trade deal indicated that corporate interests are being put ahead of public concerns. In their letter, the coalition wrote, “Corporations cannot be the only interests represented in this agreement, since they do not advocate for policies that safeguard or even represent the interests of the public at large.”
Many public interest advocates have demanded that the Trans Pacific Partnership be completely blocked. This latest coalition is simply asking that Congress keep negotiations transparent, and ensure Americans have access to the details of the plan. They wrote, “The American public has a right to know the contents of the international agreements its government is crafting.” This trade deal could have a dramatic impact on the American people, yet we’re being kept in the dark about what it contains. Thankfully, some groups are standing up for our right to know the details of the TPP.
Too controversial for my art blog but this might fit here:
Saturday 10 October 2015 11.29 EDT “posted on my other blog then”
Three days after Hillary Clinton came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Barack Obama defended it in his weekly address.
“Outdated trade rules put our workers at a disadvantage. And TPP will change that.”
“Our businesses will get a fair deal,” he said. “And those who oppose passing this new trade deal are really just accepting a status quo that everyone knows puts us at a disadvantage.”
I am redeemed once again. I have been gripping about this for decades. These drug ads are unreal. They say things like are you having trouble making a decision at to make for dinner? Lol! Are you tired from time to time? The side effects are hilarious! May cause gambling? Hey this drug caused me to gamble I have to sue the drug company now for my loses.
Nov. 18, 2015 12:14 PM EST
CHICAGO (AP) — In a story Nov. 17 about the American Medical Association calling for a ban on direct-to-consumer prescription drug ads, The Associated Press misidentified PhRMA spokeswoman Tina Stow as Trish Stow. A corrected version of the story is below.
American Medical Association backs prescription drug ad ban
American Medical Association says direct-to-consumer Rx drug ads fuel costs, should be banned
By LINDSEY TANNER
AP Medical Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices, saying they contribute to rising costs and patients’ demands for inappropriate treatment.
Delegates at the influential group’s policy-making meeting in Atlanta voted to adopt that as official policy as part of an AMA effort to make prescription drugs more affordable. It means AMA will lobby for a ban.
“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.
According to data cited in an AMA news release, ad dollars spent by drugmakers have risen to $4.5 billion in the last two years, a 30 percent increase. Other data show prices on prescription drugs have climbed nearly 5 percent this year.
“Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patients’ health plan,” Harris said in the news release.
The pharmaceutical industry opposes the AMA’s stance. Direct-to-consumer ads aim to provide “scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options,” said Tina Stow of the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
The ads also encourage patients to visit their doctors’ offices “for important doctor-patient conversations about health that might otherwise not take place,” Stow said.
The AMA will evaluate the new policy in the coming weeks to determine how to proceed with seeking a ban.
Don’t believe the hype of the mob mentality of the media and the internet CNN. The lawyers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may just be the only voice of reason; verses anything for ratings driven media hysteria and paranoia. From: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/23/business/cnn-to-show-sex-assault-film-despite-legal-threat.html?_r=1 CNN said on Sunday that it would show a documentary about sexual assaults on college campuses despite the threat of legal action from a lawyer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston who said the movie is libelous. The documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” features an interview with Erica Kinsman, who accused Mr. Winston of sexually assaulting her when he was a quarterback at Florida State University. The movie, directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, had its premiere at Sundance in January. The movie received some positive reviews but was the subject of withering criticism last week from professors at Harvard Law School who argued the movie’s treatment of a rape case at Harvard was deeply flawed. Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a national championship, is expected to be a top N.F.L. draft pick. Jameis Winston Being Sued by Woman Who Accused Him of Rape in 2012APRIL 16, 2015 An attorney for Mr. Winston, John Boudet, urged CNN not to run the documentary, saying that the movie “falsely and maliciously” attacks his client, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and threatened to sue CNN if it showed the film. Mr. Winston’s case was investigated by the Tallahassee police and Florida State, and he was not charged. Mr. Boudet did not return phone calls. A CNN spokeswoman said that the documentary would run at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, opposite NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” the highest-rated program on television. (Mr. Winston and the Buccaneers played the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. on Sunday.) “CNN is proud to provide a platform for a film that has undeniably played a significant role in advancing the national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses,” a network spokeswoman said. “We are confident that both the film and our extensive associated coverage give this important issue the full and fair treatment it deserves.” After the documentary is shown on Sunday night, CNN will have a follow-up program, with Alisyn Camerota as the host, that will take a look at the issues explored in the documentary.
I am on this mailing list and so should you. This is something long over due.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Organizing Inside: Prison Justice League building prisoner base for litigation, advocacy
Erica Gammill, Prison Justice League
Recently, Grits reconnected with Erica Gammill, a long-time Texas criminal-justice reformer who’s doing some interesting work organizing prisoners inside Texas state prisons. She’s now Director of the Prison Justice League, a membership organization whose 1,000+ members are all incarcerated Texas prisoners. That number would be pretty good for some free-world organizations; for an all-prisoner group, it’s downright impressive.
A lot of the Prison Justice League’s organizing work and litigation activity has centered around the Estelle Unit, where they’re engaged in several lawsuits (and about which they produced this report last year on excessive force at the unit). But they have members at nearly all of Texas’ 109 prison units. Grits found the whole project fascinating, so I asked Erica to come tell me, and you, a little more about the group, what they’re doing, and what it’s like trying to organize prisoners. You can listen to the interview here: Click here
This is how you do it; California style:
By Greg Yee, Press-Telegram
Posted: 11/25/15, 6:49 PM PST Updated: 1 day ago
A San Luis Obispo County man is suing the city of Long Beach over restrictions that he says make it impossible to move to or even visit the area.
Frank Lindsay says in legal papers that a 2008 ordinance prevents him and other registered sex offenders from living, either temporarily or permanently, in much of the city.
Lindsay, 62, an activist on behalf of sex offenders, said he’d like to visit Long Beach to further his work in the residential and commercial water treatment industry, check out local attractions and spend the night in a hotel.
The ordinance, however, effectively bars him from doing any of this, according to the lawsuit.
The Long Beach City Clerk’s office had not been served the lawsuit as of Wednesday afternoon. Followup calls to the City Attorney’s Office were not answered.
Laws that restrict where sex offenders can live and congregate are ineffective and do not increase security for people who live near registrants, said Janice Bellucci, Lindsay’s attorney and president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws, an organization campaigning for sex offender’s civil rights.
“First people need to realize, relying solely on Megan’s Law website or the registry actually gives people a false sense of security,” Bellucci said.
Most sexual offences are carried out by a family member or someone close to the family, such as a teacher or clergy member, not a stranger, Bellucci said.
Legal and lay advocates for victims’ rights were unavailable for comment, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, while others declined to comment, such as the California Attorney General’s office.
Title 9 Section 9.66 of the Long Beach Municipal Code prohibits sex offenders from becoming a permanent or temporary resident in any residential exclusion zone — anywhere within 2,000 feet of the nearest property line of a child day care facility, public or private K-12 school or park. It also prohibits registrants from living in any home, apartment, hotel, motel or other housing if the home or room is already occupied by another sex offender.
Bellucci said that while the ordinance does not outright ban her client and other offenders from staying in Long Beach, landlords, hotel staff and others involved in housing do not allow registrants to stay.
“It’s not the letter of the law, it’s the application,” she said.
Lindsay, who was convicted in 1979 of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old, has spearheaded the movement for sex offenders’ rights in California. Records on the Megan’s Law website show he’s had no felony convictions after 1979.
Locally, he was involved in a July protest of Carson’s restrictive laws.
Bellucci said she understands people’s fears.
“I’m a parent myself,” she said. “I’d ask them a question: Where do you think [sex offenders] should live? Often you’ll get responses like rural areas, but rural areas don’t want them either. They have to live somewhere.”
Updated December 09 2015
Class Action Lawsuit Update (of which the author of SOFAQ is a participant):
Hello all RSO’s and their families. I apologize for the long overdue update; history and progression. After 10 years of battling these unconstitutional laws; with one of my cases ending up in the Supreme Court, my attorneys advised we have a better chance of real progress with a Class Action Lawsuit(s). That is when I contacted Barbara the Missouri WAR State Leader and discussed what I wanted to accomplish. She then put me in touch with Vicki Henry (WAR) where I introduced myself and went into greater depth about what I wanted to accomplish. Vicki was kind enough to post submission forms on the WAR website and asked other advocacy groups to do the same on their websites; you kindly completed the form. Although, we were initially focused on just the states which fall within the jurisdiction of the 8th Circuit Court, we decided to expand to include the entire country in hopes that other attorneys would file similar actions in their Circuit. All submissions are in a secure database for attorneys to access if they choose.
The initial target to file Petitions was this fall to early winter based on focusing on just the 8th Circuit, with a limited number of petitioners. However, as in most legal maneuvering and research these actions have become more broad and intense. This is mainly based on “bad law” rulings and opinions throughout the country. Our focus is like that of a surgeon operating on a malignant tumor. These cancerous laws, which affect all of us, have to be thoroughly researched to afford us with the best opportunity to prevail. If not we can do more harm than good and end up creating “bad law.” Moreover, in the meantime we hope positive court opinions will be handed down to add ‘fuel to the fire’ so to speak. I also took the step in filing something unusual with a state circuit court on behalf of myself. I’m seeking a declaratory judgment finding that I, myself am “rehabilitated.” Not seeking relief from statute/law. Once I receive such judgment that can be used in the class action suits. I urge anyone to attempt to do the same.
Attorneys, paralegals, and research assistants have worked to create a list of potential arguments based on case law. We are now pouring through empirical data and research to support our arguments and to help educate the court. I will continue to post updates on our progress.
Please understand that based on the information provided above I cannot, at this time give an exact filing date. We are doing our absolute best to improve the quality of life for registrants and families
Updated December 12 2015
Send email in yellow:
I support Judge P.K. Reiter in support of his plan to release Texas sex offender from civil commitment because it is unconstitutional.
Thank you for your time
Judge plans to release Texas sex offender from civil commitment
He says leaving man in program unconstitutional
Updated: December 9, 2015 9:29pm
A visiting district judge in Conroe intends to release a man from Texas’ controversial civil commitment treatment for sex offenders, on the grounds it would be unconstitutional to keep him in the program, a defense attorney and state officials confirmed Wednesday.
When the expected order is signed in the matter of Alonzo May, it will be the first time a judge has fully released someone from the program, which is based on a law that allows the state to keep those it deems violent sex offenders under supervision after their release from prison.
To date, only one person has been released from the program on a provisional basis since it was created 16 years ago. Another left the state after his civil commitment order was overturned by an appeals court.
Bill Marshall, May’s attorney, said that during a Tuesday court hearing, state District Judge P.K. Reiter told attorneys that he believed applying the statute in its current form to May would be a violation of the Texas Constitution and is ordering his release from the program.
Marshall said Reiter – who was one of first judges to preside over civil commitment trials for sex offenders in the state – asked him then to draft findings of law that would support the basis of the order releasing May.
“If he agrees with what I wrote, he can adopt all of it, some of it or none of it,” Marshall said, noting he expects the judge to sign the order.
The hearing came after May, ordered in 2013 into civil commitment, challenged his transfer from Fort Worth to a confined facility in West Texas. This year’s reforms to the civil commitment statute abolished the previous treatment program, which was supposed to operate on an outpatient model.
Marsha McLane, executive director of Texas Civil Commitment Office, which oversees the program, said the agency is awaiting a final order in the case. In the meantime, officials said, May, 56, was returned to a parole lockup in downtown Houston.
“We do not have a final order from the judge, and we can’t take any actions until we get one,” she said.
State prosecutors are also expected to file an emergency order to keep May in the program pending the outcome of an appeal they plan to file. Reiter could not be reached for comment.
Texas is one of 20 states allowing for the civil commitment of convicted sex felons believed to have a likelihood of committing new sex crimes after completing their prison sentences. Those offenders are court-ordered into confinement at facilities where they are supposed to undergo treatment until they can be reintegrated into society. A Houston Chronicle investigation found that, of the more than 350 men ordered into the civil commitment program, nearly half have been sent back to prison for violating program rules, raising questions about the constitutionality of the way the program has been operated.
In June, the Legislature made sweeping reforms to the statute, in hopes of bringing it into constitutional compliance. Under the new law, offenders in the program are supposed to be in a tiered inpatient treatment program that allows them to progress to increasing levels of freedom toward an eventual release back into the community under supervision.
State Sen. John Whitmire, the architect of the new reform law, insisted Wednesday that Reiter was “just flat wrong.”
“This is the same guy who several years ago banished one of these offenders to another state, which is clearly illegal,” Whitmire said. “He’s a visiting judge who doesn’t have to stand for re-election, so he can come up with whatever he wants to – and that’s what he’s done here. Look, we rewrote the law based on the advice of legal experts. Until a federal judge tells me it’s unconstitutional, I’m going to consider it constitutional.”
The new program is headquartered at a repurposed private prison in Littlefield, in remote West Texas, about 40 miles northwest of Lubbock. Previously offenders in the program lived in halfway houses in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and El Paso and a boarding house in Austin.
May and almost all those men in those in the civil commitment program challenged their transfer into the new program, primarily on the basis that their behavior and progress in treatment would not benefit from placement in the new tiered program.
Tuesday’s hearing was requested by the state to ask Reiter, who in September refused to order May and four other men into the new program, to reconsider his decision.
State records show May was ordered into the civil-commitment program after he was released from prison after serving a 15-year sentence connected to parole violation for a sexual assault case. According to state officials, his victims included a 16-year-old girl and 17-year-old girl.
In his argument, Marshall said he presented the judge with information by the state agency that licenses sex offender treatment providers that stated outpatient treatment was more successful than inpatient. He also showed him a picture of the Littlefield facility from the Texas Civil Commitment Office’s handbook on the program, showing him the prison-like atmosphere that appears to still exist. Because they are supposed to be in a therapeutic environment, offenders in civil commitment can not be housed in lockup or prison facilities by law.
Reiter concluded that he felt recent reforms made to the program now made it unconstitutional if applied to May, Marshall said.
All with the exception of May ordered into the new program have now been taken to the Littlefield facility.
“I think it’s a recognition that issues with the statute have not been resolved,” Marshall said. “And it’s a big step toward getting them resolved.”