Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Appeals court reverses judge's ruling that teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional

From AL.com

https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/07/teacher-student_sex_law_ala.html

Appeals court reverses judge's ruling that teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional

Updated Jul 18; Posted Jul 18

By Ashley Remkus aremkus@al.com

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has reversed a local judge's ruling that called the state's teacher-student sex law unconstitutional.

The criminal cases against Carrie Witt and David Solomon have been sent back to Morgan County Circuit Court. Both were school employees accused of having sex with students.

Their cases recently were reviewed by the appeals court after Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson declared Alabama's teacher-student sex law unconstitutional nearly a year ago.

In his ruling, Thompson dismissed the charges against Witt, a former Decatur High School teacher, and David Solomon, an ex-aide at Falkville High.

"The Court finds this statute unconstitutional as applied to these defendants," Thompson wrote in an August 2017 order.

Judge: AL's teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional
Judge: AL's teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional

Charges have been dismissed against two school employees accused of sex with students.


"Because Solomon and Witt failed to present any evidence regarding the facts that led to their indictments, they failed to meet their burden of establishing that their conduct was constitutionally protected or that (the statute) was being unconstitutionally applied as to them," the appellate court wrote in an opinion issued Friday.

Witt's attorneys Robert Tuten and Nick Heatherly said they will ask the Supreme Court of Alabama to consider the case and rule on the constitutionality of the teacher-student sex law.

The law in question prohibits any school employees from having sex with students who are younger than 19. If teachers or other school employees violate the law, they can be charged with a Class B felony that carries a punishment up to 20 years imprisonment. The law also requires they register as sex offenders if convicted. Consent is not a defense.

Tuten said they believe the law is too vague and broad to be considered constitutional.

Witt was arrested in March 2016 after police said she had sex with two teenagers when they were her students at Decatur High. Witt was a history, psychology and social studies teacher, who also coached girls' golf and junior varsity cheer.

Solomon was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student while he was working as an aide at Falkville High. Police said the two met at school, but the sexual contact happened in nearby Hartselle.

Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson's office was prosecuting Solomon and Witt before the law charges were dismissed by Thompson. Anderson said he's not surprised by the appellate court's ruling.

"I would have been shocked if they held it unconstitutional," he said. "They decided the state had an interest to protect these children and that the legislature can design the criteria by which to protect them."

Defense attorneys have argued teachers' 14th Amendment equal protection rights are violated by the law that was created in 2010. The law treats teachers and other school employees differently from other citizens, the attorneys argue in court records. Other adults having consensual sex with 16-year-olds do not face criminal prosecution, defense attorneys argued.

Prosecutors have argued Alabama law also prohibits jailers and probation officers from having sex with people under their care. The Attorney General's Office handled the appeal.

In his order Thompson wrote that the law is problematic because it doesn't consider whether the school employee and student are in the same class, school or school system. He said the law is written in a way that doesn't let the court determine:


  • whether the parties were consenting adults
  • whether the school employees were in positions of authority over the students
  • whether the employees abused their power to coerce or groom the students, or to obtain illegitimate consent

"This court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the defendants," Thompson wrote at the time. "Moreover, the court does not encourage any similarly situated party to engage with impunity in what may very well be criminal behavior."

Thompson cited student-teacher sex laws in other states that he believes are constitutional. Those include laws in Texas, Arkansas and Kansas. Those laws either implicitly address sex between students and employees who exercise power over them, or students and employees at the same school.

"...this Court has recently rejected the circuit court's rationale for holding (the statute) unconstitutional -- that students who have reached the age of 16 have the ability to consent to sexual activity; thus, the State may not proscribe sex acts between a teacher and a student without requiring the State to show that the teacher used his or her position to unduly influence the student's decision to consent," the appellate justices wrote.

Thompson's decision was reversed and remanded.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Senile governor has ceremony to pass bad juvenile legislation

Do we really need a ceremony complete with a victim photoshoot? Senile governor Kay Poison-Ivey must actually want to stay in office. Any time you see a photo op like this, you can be assured some pile of BS is getting signed.

http://www.wsfa.com/story/38242552/governor-ceremonially-signs-juvenile-sex-offender-bill#

Governor ceremonially signs juvenile sex offender bill
Monday, May 21st 2018, 7:53 pm EDT
Monday, May 21st 2018, 7:53 pm EDT
By Michael Doudna, Reporter

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey put her signature on a score of legislation. Although the signing was just for the camera (the laws were already signed in private about a month ago), it still had a special meaning for the Cook family.

“Amazing, it was the biggest blessing for us to experience this today,” Kristina Cook said.

Ivey put her signature on a bill that will require each school district to come up with rules on how to deal with juvenile sex offenders. The bill came after the Cooks’ first grade daughter was sexually assaulted by an eighth grader. The eighth grader was convicted of a sex crime, but, according to the Cooks, was back in class one year later without much oversight, because of a lack of school district policy.

“I just hope that no one has to go through the experience that we did to get a law in place to get people to do the right thing,” Cook said.

Some of the policies from school districts will be determined based on how likely the court deems the offender is to re-offend.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Will state legislators render teachers 'improper' sex cops?

OpEd in last week's paper

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/03/will_state_legislators_render.html

Will state legislators render teachers 'improper' sex cops?

Updated Mar 19; Posted Mar 19

By Cameron Smith cameron@smithstrategies.org

We want schools to be educational safe havens for our children. At the same time, public policies designed to make schools safer may carry unintended consequences. Legislation making teachers liable for policing "improper sexual conduct" is winding its way through the Alabama Legislature, and it shouldn't become law without serious vetting by legislators.

Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Autauga County) introduced SB26 responding to a constituent family's preference that juvenile sexual offenders (JSOs) not be "mainstreamed" in Alabama's public schools. At the beginning of this school year, the family's son spotted the JSO who had abused his sister attending Autauga County high school.

Cambliss's legislation kicks moderate and high-risk juvenile sex offenders out of public schools entirely. Those students would move to alternative education programs, homeschooling or virtual schools. Such changes create budgetary and logistical challenges in their own right, but also make redirecting those JSOs away from poor behavioral choices that much harder.

The bigger problem with SB26 is what happens with "low-risk" juveniles who remain in public school classrooms.

The recidivism rate of youth adjudicated for sexual offenses is already extremely low. Research by Dr. Michael Caldwell at the University of Wisconsin suggests, "[T]he most current sexual recidivism rate is likely to be below 3%." When we're talking about the "low-risk" contingency of this entire population, it's an even smaller number.

SB26 shares information about low-risk JSOs with local law enforcement, the local superintendent of education, local board of education, principal of the school, and supervisory staff and teachers.

Improperly disclosing such information is a Class C felony--significant criminal liability.

The legislation also requires classroom teachers to report violations of a JSO's agreed-upon "individualized student safety plan" to their principals. The plans are essentially predetermined monitoring protocols for these low-risk juvenile offenders. Monitoring sounds simple enough except that the behavior scrutinized is so vague as to include "behavior that may be indicative of improper sexual activity." That standard is far broader than the criminal legal standard we expect classroom educators to understand and report.

Consider just one example. Should a low-risk offender be reported for asking a peer for his or her phone number? Under normal circumstances, it's innocuous. Is it an indicator of problematic conduct for an adjudicated juvenile? Even if it's not an actual indicator, might it be?

Teachers shouldn't be forced to agonize over that sort of decision.

They're trying to instruct a classroom full of children--a tall order without any new legislative burdens. Now they're liable for a felony if they disclose the JSO's status and expected to monitor low-risk JSOs with excruciating attention to detail according to standards that don't currently exist. They're teachers, not classroom sex cops or juvenile probation officers.

JSO's ought to face the consequences of their actions, and we should make every effort to ensure that victims are made whole and protected. The goal of having a juvenile system in the first place is giving children the opportunity to get their lives on a better path that doesn't end up in a perpetual life of crime--with many future victims.

We're right to focus on school safety, but legislators should carefully consider SB26's unintended impacts on Alabama's classrooms before it becomes law.

Cameron Smith is a regular columnist for AL.com and vice president for the R Street Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Shoals area Sheriff catching heat for outreach ministry

When are idiots in the Shoals area going to educate themselves instead of constantly attacking anything successful?

http://www.timesdaily.com/news/sheriff-catching-heat-for-outreach-ministry/article_4a269541-f4b2-5622-a7aa-458bb3a0d3c2.html

Sheriff catching heat for outreach ministry

By Russ Corey Staff Writer 22 hrs ago

TUSCUMBIA — Chester McKinney said he's not ashamed of what he's doing with a new faith-based Outreach Re-entry Ministry designed to help criminal offenders return to society after being released from prison.

McKinney, the owner of McVantage Packaging, which many people know as McKinney Lumber Co. on U.S. 43, said he simply "wants a chance to fail."

"But what if we succeed?" he asked.

The program is designed to help inmates transition back into the community through a strict program that requires participants to give up their old life, embrace God, and learn an array of life skills.

Inmates can sign up for the program while they are still in prison, said Rev. Willie Simpson, the executive director of the program. Simpson said he himself is a former inmate who has been out of prison for 30 years.

"This isn't a job," he said. "This is a calling for me."

McKinney called the ministry a pilot program that, if successful, could be a model for similar programs in other areas.

"It's faith-based and I'm not apologizing for that," McKinney said.

He said participants are vetted before they can enter the program, and they must sign an agreement to abide by all rules. They must pay $220 per week to participate, and they live at the old Four Way Inn on U.S. 43, which is surrounded by McVantage Products.

At present, there are only two people in the program. They are both sex offenders, but McKinney said they were convicted of "non-contact" sex offenses, which are offenses where the defendant did not have actual contact with a victim.

Both are from outside the Shoals, which causes some concern for Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson.

The sheriff said the county does not need criminal offenders from outside the Shoals.

McKinney, however, said the newly released inmates need to be "taken out of their comfort zone," meaning, they need to put distance between themselves and those who could influence them and lead them back to alcohol abuse, drugs or crime, and possibly back to prison.

He said the program is not for local offenders.

Williamson said both sex offenders involved in McKinney's program have registered with the sheriff's office as they're required to do by law. Sex offenders cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school, or a Department of Human Resources certified day care center.

In other words, they're complying with the law.

While he may not like their presence in Colbert County, Williamson said there isn't anything legally he can do about it.

However, Williamson said he researching what can be done about inmates from outside the area coming into Colbert County.

"I have a problem with them bringing sex offenders in here," he said. "We have our own sex offenders. I have a problem with bringing violent offenders in here."

The sheriff said there are 122 sex offenders living in Colbert County.

McKinney said he would not allow any "sexual predators" on his property. He said the motel is not owned by McVantage Products, but by a company that is affiliated with McVantage.

Williamson said he has received numerous phone calls about the situation. McKinney said he has also heard complaints, but he's not deterred by the criticism. He just wants to have an opportunity to see if the program can be successful.

According to the agenda for Tuesday's Colbert County Commission meeting, one person has asked to address the commission on the topic.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SB 26 will ban juvenile registrants they deem moderate or high risk from attending public schools

Whereas many states are lessening restrictions on juvenile offenders, Alabama is still going the other way.

http://www.decaturdaily.com/news/other_news/state_capital/bill-would-change-school-reporting-enrollment-for-juvenile-sex-offenders/article_6b66ddc3-755b-574e-9122-c8f1d506d425.html

Bill would change school reporting, enrollment for juvenile sex offenders
By Mary Sell Montgomery Bureau Feb 28, 2018

MONTGOMERY — Juvenile sex offenders who are considered high or moderate risks for repeating such crimes would not be allowed to attend traditional public schools under proposed legislation in the Statehouse.

Senate Bill 26 also would require the State Board of Education to develop by next year a policy for the supervision and monitoring of juvenile sex offender students considered by courts to be low risk for offending again.

“Essentially, we’re trying to give those who are responsible for the care of children all the information that they need,” bill sponsor Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, said Tuesday. “We had a situation in my district where that was not done.”

Senate Bill 26 has passed in the Senate. It is on the agenda Thursday in the House Education Policy Committee. It’s unclear how much money finding alternative education options for juvenile offenders could cost local school districts.

Chambliss’ bill says a moderate- or high-risk juvenile sex offender “poses a potential threat to the safety of other students and teachers that is detrimental to the educational process and not in the best interests of the other students.”

The school system would have to assist parents and guardians to determine “appropriate alternative educational placement.”

“They would have to have an alternative-type school, a virtual school, home school, that sort of thing,” Chambliss said.

As of January, there were 1,305 juvenile sex offenders in the state, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Locally, there were 22 in Morgan County, 16 in Limestone County and 12 in Lawrence County.

The data is not broken down by offenders’ risk levels.

Information about how many of those offenders might be enrolled in public school wasn’t available Tuesday.

Juvenile offenders who are deemed by the court a high risk to offend again are put on the state’s public registry of sex offenders.

The bill also requires that school superintendents and school board members be notified when a low-risk offender is enrolled in a system. Chambliss said the bill may be amended to remove school board members from the notification.

“We’ve gotten some pushback on that,” he said.

Current law only requires principals to be notified and information shared with teachers and staff with supervision over the juvenile.

Alabama State Department of Education spokesman Michael Sibley said the department is watching the legislation.

“We are monitoring the bill, and if enacted, will work to develop a model policy to ensure a safe and secure environment for all students and staff, as the law instructs, to be implemented by (local systems) with regard to juvenile sex offenders in our school settings,” Sibley said.

Offenders also would be required to notify local law enforcement if they change school systems. Failure to do so would be a Class C felony.

Also on Thursday’s Education Policy agenda is House Bill 447. It creates an Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security that would make recommendations annually to the Legislature. Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, is the bill sponsor.

A similar task force existed a few years ago.

“They’ll meet annually to see if we have any gaps, if any states have best practices that we want to incorporate and to make sure we’re still on the right track,” Collins said Tuesday.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Alabama schools struggle with juvenile registrants in classrooms

There are some interesting stats in the following article.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2018/02/22/alabama-schools-struggle-juvenile-sex-offenders-classrooms/301089002/

Alabama schools struggle with juvenile sex offenders in classrooms

Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser Published 10:13 a.m. CT Feb. 22, 2018

PRATTVILLE — The parents of a young Autauga County sex crime victim want something done.

Three years ago, their daughter was victimized by a then-14-year-old boy. What happened next combines the heartache of a family trying to get back to “normal,” a young man paying his debt to society, old wounds being reopened and a bureaucratic maze of board of education meetings and potential legislative action.

Juvenile criminal cases are sealed in Alabama. For this story the Montgomery Advertiser spoke with the young girl’s family and their attorney. Facts about the case were confirmed by off-the-record sources who have knowledge of what took place. The Montgomery Advertiser does not identify victims of sex crimes. The names of the victim’s parents in this story are not used, so as not to identify the victim.

More: Where do juvenile sex offenders live in Alabama?

The young man was found guilty — or “adjudicated delinquent” in juvenile court terms — of enticing a child for immoral purposes, the victim’s parents said. They attended the hearing before Autauga County District Judge Joy Booth, who handles juvenile case in the county. At the time of the incident, their daughter was younger than 12, the parents said. There are no jury trials in juvenile court; the judge makes the decisions.

Under Alabama law, the young man is considered a sex offender.

At the time, the young man was enrolled in an Autauga County high school. In the wake of the court’s action, he was expelled from Autauga County Schools for one year, the girl’s parents said.

It was time to try and put the pieces back together.

“We really don’t know what ‘normal’ is any more,” the girl’s mother said. “We tried to put it behind us, as if that could happen. Then …”

At the start of this academic year, the victim’s older brother was an incoming freshman at an Autauga County high school. When getting ready to start school, the brother spotted the convicted juvenile sex offender at the school. The young man had re-enrolled.

“You can imagine how horrified we were,” the girl’s mother said. “We had no forewarning. No one told us this was possible at all. I mean, for our son to have to go to school every day and see the person that abused his little sister?”

Having juvenile sex offenders in the classroom is a controversial subject. Children have a right to receive an education. In fact, Alabama has a mandatory attendance law. Children younger than 16 must be enrolled in school. They can attend public, private or parochial schools, or they can be home-schooled. It is the responsibility of local boards of education to ensure that children under the age of 16 in their districts are enrolled.

The girls’ parents understand that, said Stephen Perdue, their attorney.

“What we would like to see is a change in policy statewide in dealing with juvenile sex offenders in the classroom,” he said. “We understand that they have the right to receive an education. We think a better approach would be to remove any convicted juvenile sex offender from a classroom setting.

“They can complete their education in an alternative school type setting, where they can be more closely monitored and controlled than in a school situation. But we strongly believe that convicted juvenile sex offenders should not be mainstreamed with the general enrollment.”

The numbers and the registry

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is charged with maintaining the registry of juvenile sex offenders. ALEA also maintains the statewide adult sex offender registry, which is open to public view.

As of Jan. 16, there were 1,305 juvenile sex offenders on the registry, ALEA data shows. Juvenile sex offenders fall under a classification system in Alabama, separated by the likelihood of their chances to offend again.

The lowest tier, known as "Number Ones," have been deemed by the courts as the least likely to offend again. The young man in the Autauga case was declared a Number One offender. The second- and third-tiers have been judged by the courts as being of moderate or high risk to offend again.

On the ALEA juvenile sex offender registry, information on offenders deemed at a low or moderate risk to offend again is not public. Information on juvenile sex offenders deemed as having a high risk to offend again are on the public website.Information on the site for juvenile sex offenders is basically the same as adult sex offenders. The one change for juvenile sex offenders is the address of the school the offender attends, if that is applicable.

Other information on the public website for juvenile sex offenders are:

Name: Including aliases, nicknames, ethnic names or Tribal names.

A current photograph.

Home address.

Address of the school the offender attends, if applicable.

Work address.

License plate number and description of vehicle the offender uses.

Physical description.

Criminal history of the sex offender, included what crime he was adjudicated delinquent for and why the court deemed the offender as being high risk.

The juvenile registry at ALEA tracks all juvenile sex offenders in the state. Juvenile sex offenders are younger than 18 when they were adjudicated. There is no way to determine how many of the juvenile sex offenders on the ALEA registry are enrolled in schools, but the numbers do give perspective as to how many juvenile sex offenders there are in the state.

There were 13 juvenile sex offenders listed on the registry as living in Autauga County, with Elmore County having 27 and Montgomery County having 86. Jefferson County, the state’s most populous county, had 129. Henry, Perry and Wilcox counties showed no juvenile sex offenders on the registry.

State law holds that for low-risk juvenile sex offenders, local law enforcement is required to notify where the juvenile has established a residence to the principal of the school where the juvenile sex offender will attend. The information given to the principal includes the offender’s name, living address, date of birth, and a statement of the sex offense he or she has been “adjudicated delinquent.” That information is considered confidential by the school and shared only with teachers and staff with supervision over the juvenile sex offender.

Anyone else who directly or indirectly discloses that information could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

For moderate-risk juvenile sex offenders, local law enforcement is required to provide notification of where the juvenile has established a residence to all schools and childcare facilities within three miles of the juveniles declared address. High-risk juvenile sex offenders are placed on the public sex offender registry website and local law enforcement conducts notification to the public as though the juvenile were an adult sex offender.

Even after the juvenile sex offender reaches “majority,” or 19 years old, they may still have to register for a period of 10 years from their first registration or must comply with lifetime registration depending on their offense and their age at the time of the offense.

State law also holds that juvenile sex offenders aren’t allowed to work or volunteer “at any school, childcare facility, or any other business or organization that provides service primarily to children..” but may not fall under the same living and employment restrictions as an adult sex offender once the juvenile sex offender reaches 19.

But juvenile justice advocates feel that treatment may be too harsh. The Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force published its final report of the state of the state’s juvenile justice system in December. The treatment of “Low-level juvenile sex offenses lead to long-term collateral consequences,” the report reads.

“While many states, such a Georgia, do not allow juvenile sex offense registration at all, stakeholders such as (Juvenile Probation Officers) and judges reported to the Task Force that Alabama youth who have committed juvenile sex offenses for low-level behavior are in many cases statutorily mandated to register as sex offenders long into adulthood and sometimes for the remainder of their lives. In roundtables, JPOs reported juvenile sex offense registration hinders a youth’s future prospects for gainful employment and military service, among other collateral consequences.”

And youth sex offenders are “statistically” less likely than are both adult sex offenders and juveniles who committed non-sex offenses to re-offend, according to the Campaign for Youth Justice.

“More than 90 percent of arrests for youth sex offenses represent a one-time event and will never recur,” the campaign says.

Using data from the National Center on Sexual Behavior for Youth, the campaign shows “.. that only 5 to 14 percent of juvenile sex offenders offend again (compared to approximately 40 percent of adults, as reported by the Bureau of Justice). The re-offense rate for sex offenses is substantially lower than are the recidivism rates for other adolescent delinquent behavior, which range from 8 percent to 58 percent.”

Where to from here?

State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, is sponsoring a bill that would change the way notification and enrollment of juvenile sex offenders is handled. The bill has passed out of the Senate. Chambliss’ bill would expand the pool of people notified of low-risk juvenile sex offenders to include the superintendent of education and each individual board of education member.

That’s a start, but not good enough, said Perdue, the Prattville lawyer.

“My clients went to several Autauga Board of Education meetings to express their concerns,” Perdue said. “They were told that (Superintendent) Spence (Agee) and the board members knew nothing about the situation.

“Oh, really? This is the same board and superintendent that expelled the young man for a year after he was adjudicated. We’ve been getting a runaround from the school system since this whole thing began.”

Montgomery County Schools have no policy in place addressing juvenile sex offenders in the classroom, said Scott Johnson, a spokesman for the school system. Elmore County Schools also do not have a policy on juvenile sex offenders in the classroom, said Superintendent Richard Dennis.

Autauga County Superintendent Spence Agee referred all questions to Spud Seale, the school system’s attorney. Seale expressed concerns about giving too much information, given the juvenile status of the case. He would not confirm if the Autauga County schools has a policy in place for handling juvenile sex offenders in the classroom.

“I will say this, in this particular situation, the board followed the letter of the law,” Seale said. “We were in close contact with District Attorney Randall Houston and his investigators every step of the way. R.H. said we handled this thing properly.”

And as to the treatment of the victim’s family?

“I really don’t know how to address that,” he said. “Parents and students of both parties were treated fairly and equitably.”

Seale declined to confirm if the young man in question received a one-year expulsion.

“We won’t comment on student discipline matters,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know of no school board that will comment on student discipline matters.”

Chambliss’ bill also addresses enrollment of convicted juvenile sex offenders. It calls for the Alabama Department of Education to craft an enrollment policy that addresses a statewide framework. But the bill leaves it up to local boards of education as if juvenile sex offenders are allowed in a classroom setting.

“In my district, the schools in Autauga, Elmore and Coosa counties are very different,” he said. “Coosa County only has one school. I feel the local boards are best able to modify and fine tune any enrollment policies.

“I’m sponsoring this bill because constituents came forward and asked me to do something. As I did my initial research, and as the process has moved forward, I quickly realized just how broad and complex this problem is statewide.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Signs in Yards & Chemical Castration: Bad Legislation to oppose during the 2018 Alabama legislative season

The following bills MUST BE opposed during this legislative season.

SB195
By Senators Ward and Shelnutt
RFD Judiciary
Rd 1 18-JAN-18

Under existing law, community notification of sex offenders requires a flyer be mailed or hand delivered to required residences. The existing law also provides any other method reasonably expected to provide notification may be utilized. This bill would further authorize local law enforcement to post public notices on the property where adult sex offenders who are subject to community notification reside.

Reason this is bad: This means the state will allow local sheriffs to place signs in the yards of registered citizens. This would further ostracize registered citizens and make them targets of vigilantes.

HB116
By Representative Hurst
RFD Judiciary
Rd 1 09-JAN-18

Under existing law, there is no provision for the castration of certain convicted sex offenders. This bill would provide that any person over the age of 21 years who is convicted of certain sex offenses against a child 12 years of age or younger be chemically castrated before his or her release from the custody of the Department of Corrections. This bill would require that the cost of the procedure be paid by the adult criminal sex offender.

Reason this is bad: Castration. This time, Hurst removed the surgical part in hopes that this time, it will pass. That means some folks might take this bill seriously.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

If you are a freezing registrant, even churches are willing to leave you out in the cold

Who would Jesus leave out in the cold? This news story is a miserable story to start the new year.

ADDENDUM: The church in the story published a FB post, [see later post HERE] where they stated, "We do not make the law, but we do have to abide by it. We will give them a hot meal, a hot shower, warm clothes, coats and blankets. We will also find the somewhere they can go. There are numerous other shelters available. They simply cannot reside in our facility, we are a family shelter, a great deal of our clients and children are under safety plans through DHR and the court system. Jesus would not kick them out into the cold and neither do we. We do the very best we can do within the limits of the law we must abide by. Perhaps if more people would get involved something could be done to rectify the situation and open a facility that will allow these individuals more help and resources. God Bless you and Happy New Year!"

Quite frankly, I'm skeptical of this church. Before they deleted a thread started by OnceFallen, they also stated Waterfront rescue mission and The City of Refuge as alternative shelters for those in Mobile Co. I'll contact them to see if they do accept registrants.

http://www.wbrc.com/story/37165403/church-offering-shelter-from-the-cold-ahead-of-tomorrows-freezing-temperatures

Christ N Us ministry in Bayou La Batre wants to make sure no one is without shelter Sunday. It already houses more than 30 people on a daily basis. While their doors are always open to any and everyone, they're especially urging those with no where to stay to come tomorrow.

Those who need shelter from the cold, a hot shower, warm clothes, a coat and something to eat can get it at Christ N Us....

Folks trying to escape the cold can start coming in Sunday around 3 pm. There will be some exceptions. For instance, sex offenders will not be allowed to stay because of children. Christ N Us also wants people to know that anyone in need is always welcome and anyone feeling the need to give is welcome to do that also.

For more information, contact Christ N Us on Facebook or by calling (251) 824-4003.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

As suspected, a Lessley family member was arrested in the arson of registrant's home in Robinwood


Jessie Lessley

The relationship between Jessie, Jeb and Jessica Lessley aren't mentioned but I did call it, I said a member of the Lessleys were involved, and lo and behold, here's a member of the Lessley family arrested for arson.

https://jeffcosheriff.net/news/robinwood-man-arrested-for-arson/

18 AUGUST
Robinwood Man Arrested for Arson
By Sheriff's Office | Posted in Arrest News Update

Birmingham, AL 08/18/2017

35-year-old Jessie Lessley of Robinwood was arrested for arson.

Just after 6:00 pm on July 31, deputies responded to a report of a house fire in the 400 block of 10th Street in Robinwood. It was reported that Lessley had been seen running from the rear of the home shortly before the fire broke out. No one was home at the time of the fire and the home appeared to have been vacant for some time. There was no natural gas or power service to the home.

Sheriff’s detectives requested the State Fire Marshall conduct a determination of the cause and origin of the fire. It was learned that the fire had been intentionally set.

On August 14, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Jessie Lessley charging him with Arson 2nd Degree. A deputy familiar with the case spotted Lessley walking in Robinwood on August 16 and arrested him.

Lessley posted $15,000 bond for the charge of Arson 2nd Degree and was released pending court proceedings.

Friday, August 4, 2017

It's deja vu all over again: Suspicious fire at same home of registered citizen in Robinwood



That's two times in less than a year. If I was a cop, Jeb and Jessica Lessley would be at the top of my list of suspects.

http://www.wvtm13.com/article/fire-at-home-of-local-sex-offender-raises-suspicion/11430886

Fire at home of local sex offender raises suspicion
Sheriff’s office and fire department investigating fire at sex offender’s house
Updated: 5:25 AM CDT Aug 4, 2017


Sarah Killian  
Reporter

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. —
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Center Point Fire Department are investigating the second fire in less than a year at the local home of a sex offender.

Crews responded Monday afternoon to a fire at a home in the 400 block of 10th Street in the Robinwood neighborhood. The fire caused significant damage to the front of the house. Center Point Fire Marshal Captain Brandon Self said investigators don’t know what started the fire.

Last Thanksgiving, Center Point fire crews responded to a fire at the same Robinwood house. At the time, the cause of the fire was unknown. Self said nearly nine months later investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire.

Sgt. Jack Self with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said if anything the history of the house makes investigators take a second look at the fire.

The house in Robinwood is home to **** , a registered sex offender. Last fall, Martin’s neighbor posted a large sign notifying the neighborhood of ***'s sex offender status.

Investigators are not calling this fire arson, but there was no power to the house and *** said he was out of town when the fire started.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Time for Alabama to join the 21st century and reform their backwards registry law

First off, what purpose does your interactive map serve? Someone in Bullock County might believe their county is a "sex offender haven," but in reality, few actually live there-- it is home to a state prison.

Second, Cam Ward has proven he is completely incompetent in regards to this topic. There aren't any legitimate studies claiming high recidivism rates, so it is obvious he is lying or just plain ignorant.

Third, Krystena Shuler's opinion means nothing. Her label as "victim" makes her in expert in nothing. And, if she feels the registry is a slap on the wrist, then she's even dumber than Ward. Her comments that fair laws increase recidivism are simply asinine, and simply shows not only her extremely low IQ, but her personal bias as well. Rep. Wood, you need to update your maps too, because most everyone else knows recidivism rates are low. We're in the 21st century, not the Antebellum era.

The reason these backwater bumpkins running the state haven't heard of facts like low recidivism rates is because these Trump loving hillbillies go home every night dreaming "the South will rise again" and these laws are the closest they can get to resurrecting Jim Crow laws.

As far as "mirroring" the federal law, Alabama's law doesn't resemble the federal law much because the federal law suggests a tiered registry.

Unfortunately, the registered citizens in Alabama lack the guts to stand up to the good ole boys like SCAM Ward in Montgomery, so it will be business as usual for the only booming industry down in Alabama, the ever-growing prison industry. Yee-haw!


https://www.annistonstar.com/free/as-some-states-reconsider-sex-offender-registries-an-alabama-resident/article_d8f12a3c-699a-11e7-a777-d71fa6cbf90b.html

As some states reconsider sex-offender registries, an Alabama resident argues the state’s for-life requirements are too much
Cameron Kiszla  7 hrs ago

A lawsuit before a federal appeals court may have broad implications for Alabama’s sex offender laws, which some critics claim are the harshest in the United States.

Montgomery resident Michael McGuire is suing the state of Alabama for relief from the residency restrictions, travel limits, sex offender registration and other punishments that accompany a conviction of a sexual offense. The case is before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

McGuire was convicted of sexual assault in Colorado more than 30 years ago, before many of the modern punishments around sexual crimes were enacted into law, and his argument hinges on constitutional protections against punishments created after a crime is committed.

After serving three years in prison and another on parole, he was released in 1989. He did not find himself in trouble with the law again until 2010, when he moved back to his native Montgomery to be closer to his mother and family.

Upon returning to Alabama, McGuire went to a Montgomery police station to confirm if, as a convicted felon, he was in breach of any state laws. It was at the station he learned he had to register as a sex offender.

He couldn’t live with his wife, mother or brother in Montgomery, because the state required him to stay away from kids, schools and daycares. Soon he was jobless and living under a bridge, with “Criminal Sex Offender” stamped in red letters on his driver’s license.

“He feels like he’s in prison again, a prison without bars,”  said Phil Telfeyan, McGuire’s lawyer. “He is restricted where he can live, where he can take jobs. It’s like being a permanent prisoner.”

‘Feel-Good Laws’

Alabama’s sex offender laws are among the most stringent in the nation. Home to more than 11,000 registered sex offenders, Alabama is among four states that put sex offenders on a mandatory registry for life and the only state that puts the sex offender stamp on a driver’s license.

And while there’s little sign the state’s voters want to ease up on those restrictions, policymakers in other states are beginning to question whether their registries are doing what they’re intended to do: make the public safer.

“Very few people on the registry are going to commit another offense, and it has nothing to do with the public knowing where they are,” Sandy Rozek, communications director for National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws, an organization that supports making sex offender registries accessible only to law enforcement.

Critics of registries say they’re based on a flawed perception of how often sex offenders reoffend and where they come into contact with their victims.

“They’re kind of ‘feel good’ laws,” said Emily Horowitz, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College in New York. “We’re all deeply disturbed when harm is done, especially sexual harm, and they came out of emotionally charged, high profile instances.”

She pointed specifically to a study by Ira Mark Ellman, a professor of psychology and law at Arizona State University, and Tara Ellman, who looked at sex offender recidivism in their 2015 study “Frightening and High.” They found the most common statistic, that up to 80 percent of sex offenders reoffend, is a baseless accusation that has been repeated to the point of being held as fact, even by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The likelihood of re-offense declines for each year after release without a new sex offense, even for offenders initially considered at the highest risk to re-offend,” the Ellmans wrote in their study.

Horowitz said that 95 percent of children who are sexually abused are hurt by someone they already know, making these lists highly unnecessary.

“They also destroy lives of people who served their time, were sentenced and are trying to get their lives together,”Horowitz said. “I’m not against punishment, but registries are like banishment, it’s beyond punishment. It’s forever.”

Only California, South Carolina and Florida also require permanent registry for every sex offense, and California is moving towards a tiered system that would allow those at a low risk for recidivism to have their names removed from the public registry if they remain offense-free for 10 or 20 years, depending on their crime.

“The state’s sex offender registry has lost significant value over time because it contains so many low-risk offenders with decades-old offenses,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in an emailed statement. “Our bill will improve public safety by creating a tiered system that will allow investigators to focus on those offenders who pose the greatest risk.”

Protecting victims

Lawmakers in California may be looking to change their state regulations regarding sex crimes, their counterparts in Alabama are not pushing for similar reforms in most cases. Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said that Alabama’s policy makers created the state’s statutes to mirror the federal guidelines, and while they have created a path for people convicted of consensual statutory rape to be removed from the registry, he doesn’t see any support for removing Alabama’s lifetime registration requirement for most sex offenders.

“For every statistic that points one way, you can get a statistic and point the other way,” Ward said. “From what I can tell from people I talk to around Alabama, they are sympathetic to things like expungement on property crimes and they want to reduce recidivism, but for the most part, I haven’t heard anyone saying I wish sex offenders would catch a break.”

Ohatchee resident Krystena Shuler, who in 2009 encountered the man who pleaded guilty to raping her eight years earlier, agreed with Ward and said that the criminal justice system in Alabama is already too lax on sex offenders.

“He admitted his guilt and they slapped him on his hand, and that didn’t do any good,” Shuler said. “I have horrible complex PTSD, and it affects not just me, but my family.”

Shuler also said the current punishments for sex crimes are not deterring all sex offenders, and she fears that sex crimes will increase if the punishments are lowered further.

“I think more than them trying to bring forth things to make it — however they’re saying it — fair or whatever, I think it makes them far more likely to reoffend,” Shuler said. “These people are raping people knowing that they’re going to have to register as a sex offender, and if that doesn’t scare them, they shouldn’t be mad about the punishment.”

Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade said that he believes the sex offender registry to be a valuable resource in protecting victims of sexual assault.

“Most people I know of on the sex offender registration are truly sex offenders, and they need to be on it,” Wade said. “I’m not willing to do away with tracking sex offenders in my community. I want to know where they are to protect the people of Calhoun County as best I can. If I can help to protect just one citizen, I call that a success.”

Former state Sen. Bill Armistead was the sponsor of the original bill to create a sex offender registry in Alabama. He said that while unintended consequences must be addressed, the focus on sex offender registry laws should be on the victims and their families.

“If we err, we need to err on the side of innocent families and make sure they’re aware of the dangers of a pedophile living close to a school, for instance,” Armistead said. “We should always continue to look to improve that legislation on behalf of the families, but we also need to look at unintended consequences going forward.”

Rep. Randy Wood, R-Saks, agreed with Armistead and said that some sex crimes, like the so-called “Romeo and Juliet” cases of teenaged couples having consensual sex when one partner is old enough to be charged with statutory rape, might warrant some leniency when it comes to lifetime stays on the registry.

“If some young person made a mistake and it was a one-time deal, I think they need to be held accountable for several years and make sure they’re not going to do it again, but I would always keep an open mind and look at the situation,” he said.

However, Wood believes that a permanent listing on the sex offender registry is in Alabama’s best interests when it comes to most sex offenders.

“If there’s any way to rehabilitate anyone on any crime, they need to be rehabilitated, but our information shows us that they can’t be rehabilitated,” he said.

A way forward

Michael McGuire’s attorney Phil Telfeyan said his client is still homeless, still jobless and still must walk miles to his wife's house for visits, which are limited in duration by residency laws.

Telfeyan doesn’t believe Alabama is moving in the right direction, which is why McGuire is suing the state for retroactive punishment. Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits both Congress and individual states from changing the punishments of crimes that were committed before the laws were enacted, which McGuire and Telfeyan feel apply to this case.

“Alabama sought to punish folks, and the theory doesn’t work,” Telfeyan said. “The surest way is to get people to turn their life around, get into a stable job and stable housing, and the Legislature has actually made those things harder.”

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The unemployment rate for registered citizens across Alabama is 57.1% (Also, SB301 signed into law)

A count of every non-incarcerated Alabama registrant listed on the public registry of legal working age is an astounding 57.1%. ReFORM-AL counted every registrant listed with a job, removing any registrant listed as incarcerated, in jail or prison, leaving 6101 registrants. Of those remaining registrants, only 2620 (42.9% have jobs, while the remaining 3453 (57.1%) were unemployed. 

Among counties with larger populations, Montgomery (69.9%), Calhoun (64.2%), Colbert (62.6%), Talledega (61.4%), St. Clair (61.1%), Mobile (61.1%), Cullman (58.6%), 

There are two reasons for this high level of unemployment rate. First, employers are publicly listed (and shamed) on the registry. Second (and more importantly), Alabama registrants cannot work within 2000 feet of a school or day care center. In 2016, a registrant volunteering as a firefighter was arrested for taking service calls too close to a school. Many registrants are too afraid to even look for work out of fear of violating this law! 

ReFORM-AL is leading the effort to reform Alabama’s severe work restrictions. We will be pushing for repeal of these restrictions. Stay tuned for upcoming events from ReFORM-AL. 

For a complete chart, CLICK HERE. It is in Microsoft Excel format.

In other news, HB 301 was signed into law. Read more about that HERE




Friday, April 28, 2017

Fearmongering abounds in report on Chilton Co. home reopening for registrants

This article was not well written, and there are stupid comments from both CJ Robinson and Debra Morrison. I have contacted the reporter but I don't expect miracles here.

At any rate, I'm glad to see that the home is up and running again!

http://abc3340.com/news/fighting-for-you/sex-offender-sanctuary-back-open-in-chilton-county

"Sex offender sanctuary" back open in Chilton County
by Cynthia Gould
Thursday, April 27th 2017

They fear their community has become a sanctuary for rapists and child molesters. Their efforts to fight back have been shot down by a federal judge. ABC3340's Fighting For You investigated the situation in Chilton County, where residents say the law is not on their side.

Debra Morrison says she expected peace and quiet working her catering business from her home outside Clanton. Instead those dreams were shattered when she started getting sex offender notifications, lots of them.

"We figured it out; the preacher never told us," explains Morrison. Triumph Church Preacher Ricky Martin was setting up a half way house of sorts. The cluster of trailers behind his church and home are now home to convicted rapists and molesters.

"Nobody wants to be here now; it's too unsettling," says Morrison. The trailers are just yards from her backyard, where her grandchildren play. Morrison says she believes in second chances and knows they have to live somewhere, but so many and so close she questions. "We're stuck. It destroyed our community," explains Morrison.

She tells us of a scary incident: a man knocking on her granddaughter's window saying he "wanted the baby." Deputies were called.

Prosecutor CJ Robinson became alarmed seeing all the released prisoners coming from all over Alabama, even other states moving to the church property. The majority of their victims.. young children.

"Just two out of fifty were from Chilton County. It's alarming this has become a sanctuary for sex offenders," worries Robinson. He pushed legislation preventing such clustering of sex offenders. Pastor Martin sued and the ACLU took his case arguing his religious rights were being violated.
"We saw the handwriting on the wall. The law was repealed," recalls Robinson. He says the county couldn't afford a million dollar court fight they would not win. "It's a good example of an overreaching federal government that thinks it knows better how to run a local community," says Robinson. Late last year the lawsuit was dropped in federal court. Not long after, the sex offenders started moving in again.

ABC3340 News tried to speak with Pastor Martin. He referred us to his ACLU attorney. But repeated calls and emails were not returned..

In published reports Pastor Martin has said he is trying to help the men. Some though question his motives. They ask is he really helping them or just taking their money renting out the small trailers so they have an address as required by law? They do not see any rehabilitation or counseling efforts.
Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon says his deputies will continue to work to make sure the sex offenders abide by the law. The total number of sex offenders in Chilton County now stands at 154. ABC3340 News saw three on the church property during our recent visit.

"We're gonna buy a gun and have discussed a security system," says Morrison. But even with that, she says she'll never really feel safe again in her own home.

If Christ is truly Melanie's king, then you'd think she'd remember "Thou Shalt Not Kill!"

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ACTION ALERT! SB 301 is up before the AL House Judiciary tomorrow @ 1:30pm. We must oppose this bill!

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Subcommittee meets at 1:30 PM to discuss a number of bills, including SB 301. While it is too late to request a public hearing on the matter, we can still contact the members of the subcommittee to put a stop to SB 301’s progress.

After reading the entirety of SB 301, there are numerous problems with this bill:

1. Residency definition redefined: The definition of residency will be redefined in a vague way; if you spend time at a specific place for over 4 hours a day for 3 straight days or 10 days out of the month, then that counts as a residence. If you spend ANY amount of time in a specific place and act or speak in a way that makes a cop think you'll be there for at least 4 hours a day for 3 straight days or for 10 days out of a month, then that is a residence. If you visit someone between 10:30pm and 6am, that's establishing a residence.
2. Volunteer work restricted: SP 301 also includes volunteer work among the 2000 feet restrictions on employment and residency. As with defining residency, the definition for volunteer work is extremely vague. Last year, a man was arrested for volunteering as a firefighter and answering a distress call within 2000 feet of a school. Obviously, limiting the ability of registered citizens to even volunteer has a detrimental effect on the ability to become productive members of society.
3. Many new “crimes” added to the registry: SP 301 creates new registerable offenses for the crimes of distributing a private image, sexting, sexual extortion, assault with bodily fluids, and directing a child to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse, and to provide further for the crime of electronic solicitation of a child. I believe that at the very least, a number of juveniles will likely be forced to register by virtue of these laws.

At this point, we have until tomorrow to make our voices heard. SB 301 must be vehemently opposed. This bill has already passed the Senate, but we still have time to at least influence his progress in the House. Below, I have listed all current emails of House Judiciary Subcommittee members as well as the clerk of the subcommittee’s phone number. We need to flood them with letters and phone calls.

Cut and paste to your email: mljatty@andycable.com, jim.hill@alhouse.gov, mikeball@knology.net, paulbeckmanjr@yahoo.com, merika.coleman@alhouse.gov, ddrake1080@aol.com, cengland1@hotmail.com, allenfarley@bellsouth.net, david.faulkner@alhouse.gov, mdfridy@gmail.com, juandalynn.givan@alhouse.gov, mike.holmes@alhouse.gov, thadmcclammy@aol.com, phillip.pettus@alhouse.gov, brandy.allen@alhouse.gov

Judiciary Committee Clerk Brandy Allen’s Phone # -- 334-353-3944

Full text of SB 301 -- http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/searchableinstruments/2017RS/bills/SB301.htm

Sunday, April 16, 2017

SB301 is going to change the definition of "residence," and the results will be catastrophic


I have a huge problem with SB 301. The definition of "reside" is being changed by this bill, and not for the better. Most residence definitions deal with where a person sleeps, but this law impacts even where a person spends his time during the day. Below is the relevant text of the bill:

http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/searchableinstruments/2017RS/bills/SB301.htm

"(20) RESIDE. To be habitually or systematically present at a place. Whether a person is residing at a place shall be determined by the totality of the circumstances, including the amount of time the person spends at the place and the nature of the person's conduct at the place. The term reside includes, but is not limited to, spending more than four hours a day at the place on three or more consecutive days; spending more than four hours a day at the place on 10 or more aggregate days during a calendar month; or spending any amount of time at the place coupled with statements or actions that indicate an intent to live at the place or to remain at the place for the periods specified in this sentence. A person does not have to conduct an overnight visit to reside at a place.

("(14) OVERNIGHT VISIT. Any presence between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.)

"(20) (21) RESIDENCE. Each fixed residence or other place where a person resides, sleeps, or habitually lives or will reside, sleep, or habitually live. If a person does not reside, sleep, or habitually live in a fixed residence, residence means a description of the locations where the person is stationed regularly, day or night, including any mobile or transitory living quarters or locations that have no specific mailing or street address. Residence shall be construed to refer to the places where a person resides, sleeps, habitually lives, or is stationed with regularity, A fixed residence as defined by Section 15-20A-4 or other place where the person resides, regardless of whether the person declares or characterizes such place as a residence.

To clarify, if you spend time at a specific place for over 4 hours a day for 3 straight days or 10 days out of the month, then that counts as a residence.

If you spend ANY amount of time in a specific place and act or speak in a way that makes a cop think you'll be there for at least 4 hours a day for 3 straight days or for 10 days out of a month, then that is a residence.

If you visit someone between 10:30pm and 6am, that's establishing a residence.

Can you see the problem here? Lets say you are homeless. You sleep under a bridge but hang out at your mom's house part of the day to bathe, eat, and do laundry. You don't do it but every 3rd day. Guess what? Your mom's house is a "residence" under SB 301. What if you go fishing often? (Seeing as how so few of us have jobs thanks to the law, I can imagine lots of time in rural areas revolve around fishing holes.) I imagine hundreds, even thousands of registered citizens will be arrested for violating residence restrictions simply by spending time hanging out a place too long.

This law is bad news. As of this week, it has been read three times in the Senate. This bill must be stopped ASAP.

UPDATE 4/24: It is now before the House Judiciary Committee. Here are all active emails:

mljatty@andycable.com, jim.hill@alhouse.gov, mikeball@knology.net, paulbeckmanjr@yahoo.com, merika.coleman@alhouse.gov, ddrake1080@aol.com, cengland1@hotmail.com, allenfarley@bellsouth.net, david.faulkner@alhouse.gov, mdfridy@gmail.com, juandalynn.givan@alhouse.gov, mike.holmes@alhouse.gov, thadmcclammy@aol.com, phillip.pettus@alhouse.gov, brandy.allen@alhouse.gov,

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Apparently the Parole Board can renege on previously granted pardons. I did not know that.

I am really on the fence with this case. This was the man who sent me away for six years for a petty offense, and he was convicted for doing more than me, got less time than me, and received a pardon all since my own arrest and my time on the registry.

On the other hand, I'm not crazy about the idea that the Pardon board can just take back a pardon. Why did they do it? I included the AG's office release below, but it does not resolve the question as to WHY. Why bother obtaining a pardon if they can take it back on a whim?

http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/02/former_alabama_da_will_go_back.html

Former Alabama DA will go back on sex offender registry for fondling male defendants

By Ashley Remkus | aremkus@al.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 21, 2017 at 5:56 PM, updated February 21, 2017 at 6:21 PM

The former Franklin County District Attorney who was convicted of civil rights violations for sexually fondling male defendants will be back on the sex offender registry, the Alabama Pardons and Paroles Board decided today.

Former DA John Pilati was convicted in federal court and sentenced in 2008 to 42 months in prison for five civil rights violations that stemmed from his fondling defendants after making them strip for searches or to take urine tests years earlier. The victims were between the ages of 17-20.

The Pardons and Paroles Board during a hearing today decided to reverse Pilati's 2012 and 2015 pardons, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced.

That decision will add Pilati back on the sex offender registry.

"John Pilati violated a solemn oath to protect and defend the people when he violated the civil rights through sexual contact with five different men while he was the district attorney," Marshall said in a news release, in which the AG praised the Board's decision.

Pilati was released from prison in 2011.

Alice Martin, the chief deputy who prosecuted Pilati's case, represented the state during today's hearing.

http://www.ago.state.al.us/News-999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 February 21, 2017

ATTORNEY GENERAL STEVEN T. MARSHALL:
PARDONS AND PAROLES BOARD MAKES RIGHT DECISION IN DENYING PARDONS TO FORMER FRANKLIN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CONVICTED OF CIVIL RIGHTS OFFENSES

(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall is pleased with the State Pardons and Paroles Board decision to reverse 2012 and 2015 pardons for convicted former Franklin County District Attorney John Frederick Pilati and require he be placed back on the sex offender registry.

“John Pilati violated a solemn oath to protect and defend the people when he violated the civil rights through sexual contact with five different young men while he was district attorney,” said Attorney General Steven T. Marshall. 

Pilati was convicted in federal court and sentenced in 2008 to 42 months in prison for five civil rights offenses related to sexual assaults on young men who ranged in age from 16 to 20. 

“While Pilati served his sentence and was released in 2011, the nature of his crime against his victims and the violation of his oath of office demand that he should not be granted a pardon,” Attorney General Marshall added. 

During Pilati’s pardon hearing today, Chief Deputy Alice Martin, who prosecuted the case against Pilati, was successful in voiding the earlier pardons. 


“I am pleased that the Board of Pardons and Paroles followed our recommendation to deny his pardons,” Attorney General Marshall observed.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Prefiled bills for the Alabama legislature 2017 session

There are two pre-filed bills, one good, one bad. Regular sessions begin February 7, 2017.

HB 12, Mandatory Minimums:

SYNOPSIS: Existing law does not require a person convicted of a sexual offense to serve a mandatory minimum sentence. This bill would require a person convicted of rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, sexual torture, or sexual abuse in the first degree to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of three years imprisonment without consideration of probation, parole, good time credits, or any other reduction in time. 

http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/ALISON/SearchableInstruments/2017RS/PrintFiles/HB12-int.pdf

Verdict: ReFORM-AL opposes all mandatory minimums.

SB 5: Repealing Chilton Co.'s anti-clustering law. 

Relating to Chilton County; to repeal Section 45-11-82, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to residential limitations on adult sex offenders. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA: Section 1. Section 45-11-82, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to residential limitations on adult sex offenders, is repealed. Section 2. This act shall become effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

Verdict: I thought this issue was resolved already as reported here last fall. Obvious we support this bill.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Shiitake Awards 2016 voting now until January 31

http://shiitakeawards.blogspot.com/2017/01/voting-for-2016-shiitake-awards-going.html --

It is here, the 2016 Shiitake Awards! See the finalists at the link above (Alabama is not represented this year, amazingly, though Steve Hurst put up a fight). If you want to go directly to voting, click here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F5NZN2J

The 8th Annual Shiitake Awards is here! For 8 years now, the annual Shiitake Awards spotlights the most insane and inane stories surrounding the "sex offender" topic. The Shiitakes is a parody of the infamous Golden Raspberry Awards ("Razzies"), which parodies award shows like the Oscars or Golden Globes. So we are, in essence, a parody of a parody. Our job at the Shiitakes is to spotlight and ridicule the people who use the "sex offender" issue to advance their careers in the worst way possible, as well as spotlighting and deriding their inane ideas.

This year, we open up voting on January 1st, we open up the voting for each of 8 categories plus a special category. This year, the special category pits two famous victim industry profiteers against each other in our special "Civil War" category, and of course, your chance to determine which state is the worst/ dumbest state in the USA, a.k.a., the legendary ICBS National CHUMPionship. Florida has maintained a stranglehold on this category for much of the existence of the Shiitake awards, but as always, two states have staked their claim for the title. Who was the dumbest politician, newscaster, cop, and wannabe vigilante of the year? What was the dumbest news story or new law of the year? That is up for you to decide.

Vote for one, and ONLY one, candidate in each of the nine total categories. I know that the decision is hard enough for you, but for the Shiitake Awards Selection Committee (tm), we struggled more to whittle down the candidates to three of the worthiest selections. Vote on every category, and share with your friends.

Note: This is a project that I enjoy doing because it is fun and a form of stress relief. All joking aside, it is sad to note that I've been running this award for almost a decade and there is an abundance of nominees every year. This award is "just for fun," but it is also useful for advocates because we point out the worst abuses of registered citizens, and these stories are indictments against the registry. Please vote and share, then follow & send nominations to the official Shiitake-Worthy blog at http://shiitakeweekly.blogspot.com/

-- Thanks for voting!
Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Suspicious fire" (possible arson) at home of Birmingham registrant who has been harassed by a neighbor's sign

Birmingham resident Jessica Lessley has gotten a lot of publicity for posting a giant sign in her yard with info on her neighbor, a registered citizen.

Interestingly, Jessica Lessley has been harassing a registered citizen by posting a huge sign in her yard but when her victim retaliated, HE was arrested for harassment instead. The Sheriff's Office failed to protect the registrant AND his family from harassment from a neighbor. Now, a "suspicious fire" occur at the residence. If it is anything besides Lessley trying to burn the house down, I'd be shocked.

Where has Sheriff Mike Hale an his underlings in all this? Too busy protecting the woman who likely tried to burn this house down.

http://wiat.com/2016/11/24/fire-set-at-sex-offenders-home-in-birmingham/


Fire set at sex offender’s home in Birmingham

By Austin Hasenmueller
Published: November 24, 2016, 11:03 am  Updated: November 24, 2016, 11:05 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A suspicious fire was set at the home of known sex offender Raymond Martin on 10th Street Robinwood. Investigators want to know if someone is sending him a message.

The fire call went out around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. According to the fire department, the fire started in the back of the house.

A neighbor told CBS42 that the fire started shortly after a lady, who also lives in the house with Martin, left the house with food. Martin was not home at the time of the fire because he is currently in jail on a harassment charge, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office website.

Jefferson County Sheriff Deputies said they will be on the scene and are waiting for the Center Point Fire Marshal to arrive in order to determine the cause of the fire.

We will update you with more information as we receive it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Donation Drive for Miami Homeless Camp now underway

Fellow activists,

Tomorrow officially kicks off the “holiday shopping season,” and while many of you will start shopping for your families, I’ll begin my shopping for a few total strangers at the Miami homeless camp. I am heading to the camp for Christmas, and I want to spread a little holiday cheer to those at the camp who don’t have a family to spend Christmas with at the camp. Thus, I’m reminding everyone to donate to OnceFallen.com to help send some much-needed supplies to the homeless camp. My focus is on hygiene products, socks and underwear, as suggested by my contact at the camp. Socks, underwear and laundry detergent are expensive items that don’t get donated often to programs that assist the poor.

If you want to help me spread a little holiday cheer, you can send a monetary donation to Derek Logue, 8258 Monon Ave., Apt. 3, Cincinnati, OH 45216 or through Paypal to iamthefallen1@yahoo.com (Please don’t write checks/M.O.s to “Once Fallen,” because I can’t cash them that way.) Supplies can be shipped to this address as well if you prefer to send socks, underwear and hygiene products rather than money. If you have further questions, call me at 513-238-2873 or email me at iamthefallen1@yahoo.com.

--Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com/ ReFORM-AL