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



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vigilante scumbag Jay Maynor receives 40 years for cold-blooded murder of registered citizen

Looks like Jaybird will be a JAYLBIRD for the next 40 years.

http://www.cullmantimes.com/news/man-pleads-guilty-for-murder-of-sex-offender/article_705d8706-aa94-11e6-9a88-e303172f4272.html

Man pleads guilty for murder of sex offender
David Palmer  Nov 14, 2016

A man charged with murder and shooting into a Berlin convenience store in 2014 pleaded guilty today in Cullman County Circuit Court.

Jay Maynor, 43, of Cullman, was arrested and charged with the June 2014 murder of 59-year-old Berlin resident Raymond Earl Brooks, who was a convicted sex offender. He was arrested by Alabama State Troopers shortly after the shooting occurred. Brooks was a convicted sex offender.

Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock said Maynor was given a 40-year sentence for the killing of Brooks. He also received 20 years for attempted murder for shooting into the Berlin Plaza Quick Stop.

The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office initially responded to a call regarding gunfire at the Berlin Plaza Quick Stop on U.S. Highway 278 shortly before the shooting death. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alabama quietly repeals Chilton County's anti-clustering laws in light of Triumph Church's lawsuit

Earlier, I posted a news article on the push to repeal Chilton County's ordinance which forced registered citizens to live at least 500 feet away from each other. In light of a lawsuit by Triumph Church, the legislature repealed the law, so now it is possible for Triumph Church to resume its ministry. 


SB10 (2016 Special Session)

By Senator Chambliss

ENROLLED, An Act,

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.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Alabama's 2000 foot work restriction laws are so absurd, even responding to a fire too close to a school is a violation

Alabama's 2000 work restriction laws are very absurd. I've been told stories by many individuals that the work restrictions are so vague, I've been told delivery or truck drivers could not deliver within 2000 feet of restricted zones nor could registrants work day labor or make house calls in restricted zones. Yet, until I didn't have much in the way of definitive proof that the law was this absurd until I was sent this news story and it makes me sick just thinking about it. 

Personally, I think EVERY registrant in Alabama should collect welfare. To hell with work! I would just let these houses burn, if the law is this absurd. 


Sex offender working at Alabama fire department arrested for being near school, daycare

By Ashley Remkus | aremkus@al.com 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on October 05, 2016 at 2:34 PM, updated October 05, 2016 at 2:55 PM

A convicted sex offender working at an Alabama volunteer fire department has been arrested because he responded to emergency calls that were located too close to a school and daycare.

Bobby Wayne Crow, 54, of Athens, was working for the Oak-Grove Thach Volunteer Fire Department when he responded to calls near Ardmore High School and the daycare program at Ardmore First Baptist Church in Limestone County, sheriff's spokesman Stephen Young said.

Crow was convicted of second-degree rape in Athens in 1987 because two years earlier he had sex with a girl younger than 16, Young said.

Young said Alabama's sex offender registration laws allow Crow to work for the fire department, but he's not allowed to be within 2,000 feet of schools or daycare centers.

"And he knew that," Young said. "He registered in April of this year, so he had signed the papers."

John Pritchard, vice president of the Limestone County Volunteer Fire Departments Association board, said he wasn't aware there was a convicted sex offender working at Oak-Grove.

"Whether they knew or not, I'm not sure," Pritchard said. "Each department carries their own set of bylaws and how they discipline things. Most departments do not allow convicted felons, but I can't speak for any one department."

Pritchard said the board doesn't oversee the 13 volunteer fire departments in the county, but rather works primarily to get funding for the organizations.

It isn't immediately clear whether Crow will be allowed to keeping volunteering.

The fire chief at Oak-Grove wasn't immediately available for comment.

The calls Crow responded to were on First Avenue East and Ardmore Avenue. The school is on Ardmore Avenue, and the daycare is on Fifth Street, Young said.

Authorities got warrants for Crow's arrest after the District Attorney's Office reviewed a list of calls he responded to.

Crow was released from Limestone County Jail a few hours after his arrest Tuesday on $30,000 bail. He is charged with two Class C felony counts of violating Alabama's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on each charge.

Further details about his prior conviction weren't immediately available.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Triumph Church could triumph if legislature passes special bill to undo Chilton Co. Anti-clustering ordinance

They should repeal Jefferson County's ordinance while they are at it.

I wish I could see Kurt Wallace's face when he read this :)

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/08/law_that_ended_alabama_ministr.html#incart_river_home

Law that stopped Alabama ministry for sex offenders could be repealed

By  Mike Cason | mcason@al.com
Email the author  Follow on Twitter
on August 23, 2016 at 12:57 PM, updated August 23, 2016 at 1:40 PM

The Alabama House of Representatives could pass a bill today to repeal a law that ended a Chilton County pastor's ministry for sex offenders.

Pastor Ricky Martin provided transitional housing for sex offenders released from prison in trailers behind his church, Triumph Church, which is next door to his house.

The church is on a two-lane highway on the outskirts of Clanton.

A total of about 60 men lived on the property during the several years Martin operated the ministry, with generally 10 to 12 living there at any one time.

Chilton County officials said some residents in the area were concerned about having a group of sex offenders living together near them and began pursuing legislation to address that.

In 2014, the Legislature passed a law, pertaining only to Chilton County, prohibiting sex offenders who are not related from living on the same property unless their residences are at least 300 feet apart.

The law said that violations constituted a public nuisance subject to civil fines of $500 to $5,000.

Martin closed his ministry after the law passed. He filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the law violated his First Amendment right to practice his religion.

He also claimed the law violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which says governments need a compelling reason for regulations that place a burden on the exercise of religion.

The state asked the court to dismiss Martin's lawsuit. But U.S District Judge W. Keith Watkins has denied those requests, most recently in a July 25 order.

Last Wednesday, during the first week of a special legislative session, the Alabama Senate passed a bill to repeal the 2014 law that Martin challenges in his lawsuit.

The bill is on a proposed agenda the House is expected to consider today.

"It's quite clear, given the timing, that the legislative act to repeal it is a direct result of Pastor Martin's lawsuit," said attorney Randall Marshall of the ACLU of Alabama, who represents Martin.

Marshall said Martin plans to resume his ministry if the law is repealed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Court rules Martin's lawsuit against Chilton Co. over anti-clustering law can continue

CLICK HERE to read the actual court ruling. The short answer is that the Court has denied the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. This court determined that the

https://www.rluipa-defense.com/2016/08/federal-court-rules-alabama-sex-offender-law-is-land-use-regulation-under-rluipa/

Federal Court Rules Alabama Sex Offender Law is “Land Use Regulation” Under RLUIPA
BY EVAN SEEMAN, KARLA CHAFFEE AND DWIGHT MERRIAM ON AUGUST 4, 2016
POSTED IN LAND USE REGULATION, SUBSTANTIAL BURDEN

We previously reported on the case Martin v. Houston,  CASE NO. 2:14-CV-905-WKW [WO] (M.D. Alabama 2016), in which the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama considered a pastor’s religious discrimination claims involving the state legislature’s enactment and enforcement of a sex offender law that prevented the pastor’s transitional housing program.  The law in question (Alabama Code § 45-11-82) (the “Act”) prohibited individuals whose names are listed on the Alabama sex offender list from living together in the same home, and further provides that offenders cannot live on the same property as another offender unless the homes are at least 300 feet apart.  In response to the threatened enforcement of the Act, the pastor discontinued his transitional housing program.  Read or prior post about the case here.

Previously, in considering the defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims, the court ruled that the pastor had to “show cause” why the court had jurisdiction to consider his RLUIPA substantial burden claim.

Last week, the court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the RLUIPA substantial burden claim.  What is particularly interesting about the court’s decision is that it finds that the Act is a “land use regulation” under RLUIPA.  Recall, RLUIPA applies only to land use regulations.  The Court stated:

It first bears noting that the precise definition of “zoning” is difficult to delineate….  In general terms, zoning refers to the “legislative division of a region, esp[ecially] a municipality, into separate districts with different regulations within the districts for land use, building size, and the like….”

The Act makes territorial divisions in the same way.  It divides the state of Alabama into two districts: one where sex offenders may not live within 300 feet of each other, and one where they may.  The former includes the entirety of Chilton County, and the latter comprises all other counties within the state.  Rather than imposing in personam restrictions on adult sex offenders themselves, the legislature opted to limit the acceptable uses of property within the Chilton County zone.  In this sense, for purposes of applying the individualized assessments prerequisite, the Act qualifies as a zoning law, and thus constitutes a land use regulation.  (citations omitted)

The court also found that the allegations supported the finding at this point in the proceedings that the enactment and threatened enforcement of the Act against the pastor’s property was an individualized assessment for the proposed use of his property.  Further, the court concluded that the RLUIPA claim was adequately pled, based on the pastor’s allegation that the Act “applied sufficient pressure … such that it coerced him to cease his settlement ministry, which he maintained in furtherance of his religious beliefs.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Free Jonathan! Man states he is falsely accused of a sex crime and needs our help

http://freejonathan.weebly.com/

Recently, I was approached by the family of a man who says he was falsely accused of a sex crime, and shared his story and website with me (see the link.).

The story is rather long, but is very detailed, so please visit his website and read it for yourself.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Decatur attorney teaches teens about juvenile laws and their consequences

I'd like to learn more about this program.

http://www.decaturdaily.com/news/morgan_county/hartselle/decatur-attorney-teaches-teens-about-juvenile-laws-and-their-consequences/article_e8b3e5d0-97dc-5db3-b1dc-2426beeae3b5.html

Decatur attorney teaches teens about juvenile laws and their consequences

By Keith Clines Staff Writer

If you're interested

Patrick Caver said he would like to take his presentation about state law to schools, churches, civic groups and other interested parties. He can be reached at 256-751-5991 or patrickcaveresq@hotmail.com

Until recently, The Beacon House female juvenile group home in Jasper was having problems with some of the girls using cellphones to send nude photos of themselves and photos of themselves having sex to people outside the facility.

Joann Pickett, the home’s assistant director, said those practices may have stopped after Decatur attorney Patrick Caver spoke to the girls about state laws governing sending and receiving such photos and about how those photos could spread across the internet.

“They actually responded very well,” Pickett said last week. “The subject of cellphones comes up every day.”

Caver, who represents juveniles in Morgan County District Court, said he goes to classrooms and group homes to talk to youngsters about the legal aspects of some of the things that teens might be tempted to do.

“They teach the biology of sex,” Caver said of schools. “And they teach not to have sex. But they don’t teach what the law says about sex.”

Caver has spoken to Hartselle Junior High School civics teacher Dana Sharp’s seventh-grade classes for the past eight years about the state’s juvenile laws.

Caver uses humor to build a rapport with the students before transitioning into heavier matters such as juvenile drug and sex laws, Sharp said.

“I really don’t think that they think a lot about the consequences of these things,” she said. “I think it’s a real eye-opener for them.”

Sharp said she would like Caver to give the same presentation at a teacher workshop to help teachers recognize signs of improper behavior by students.

Caver said advancing technology has provided teenagers more avenues to get in trouble with the law. Their parents, he said, are not keeping up with the technology that their children have at their disposal and the dangers that accompany new technology.

Caver said he has found that teens sending nude photos of themselves by cellphone or receiving nude photos of someone by cellphone is a common practice. Sending, receiving or possessing those photos is a Class A felony, he said.

“That’s the same as shooting somebody,” he said.

Other aspects of juvenile sex laws that Caver said teens and some of their parents don’t understand are that a 17-year-old who has sex with a 15-year-old can be charged with second-degree rape, and that a 16-year-old who has oral sex with a 15-year-old can be charged with sodomy. Both charges are a Class B felony.

The age of consent in Alabama is 16.

“I don’t think parents know what sodomy is,” he said. “I think it’s probably the parents who don’t know the laws.”

Possibly the most critical aspect of a youth convicted of a sex crime is that person will be a registered sex offender the remainder of his or her life.

“Having to register as a sex offender affects your entire life — where you live, what you have to do, what you can’t do, where you can’t go and who you have to stay away from,” Caver said.

Pickett said counselors at The Beacon House, which is a transitional home for girls ages 12 to 18, also benefited from Caver’s presentation to the girls.

“There were several things that we didn’t know,” she said. “We had spoken to them in broad terms about these things, but Patrick was more definitive.”

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alabama's registry laws have registrants fleeing to that state up north

Alabama Crimson Tide football fans know to find their way to Knoxville, they go north until they smell it then east until they step in it. So, moving to Tennessee is NOT an ideal place for an Alabamian. I say Tennessee isn't far enough away.

http://wkrn.com/2016/06/15/tenn-law-enforcement-concerned-by-increase-in-sex-offenders-from-alabama/

Tenn. law enforcement concerned by increase in sex offenders from Alabama

By Andy Cordan
Published: June 15, 2016, 5:06 pm  Updated: June 15, 2016, 7:59 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Law enforcement officers are concerned about an increase in the number of sex offenders moving to Tennessee from Alabama.

Sex offenders are telling Giles County law enforcement that they are moving over the state line because Alabama sex offender registry requirements are too tough, especially when it comes to offenders who want to live with their own biological children.

Lt. Shane Hunter with Giles County told News 2 his agency and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department noticed a major influx 8 to 9 months ago.

The case really came into focus however with the arrest of Joshua Mark Hendon, who is charged with rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery and 45 counts of violation of the sex offender registry.

Giles County authorities arrested the Alabama sex offender on June 3 after the 31-year-old reportedly sexually assaulted a Giles County child that he lived near.

“Allegedly he had contact with a minor under the age of 13 close proximity where he lives in the south part of the county,” said Lt. Hunter.

According to Lt. Shane Hunter, Hendon was arrested in Alabama in 2009 when he was a skating rink manager and accused of exposing himself to four teenage girls there.

According to Lt. Hunter, Hendon has two biological children.

Because he is a convicted sex offender, Alabama law prohibits Hendon from living with his children.

But in Tennessee, Hendon can live with his children because he didn’t commit a crime against them.

Lt. Hunter says that’s why Hendon claims he and many other Alabama sex offenders are now moving in droves over the border to Tennessee.

“Yes, it troubles me, and it troubles the neighboring counties as well,” said Lt. Hunter. “They realize that and word of mouth gets out and one sex offender tells another one that the laws are less stringent, and move up there, because there are less hoops to jump through and that is why they are moving to Tennessee and we have probably seen a 50 percent increase in our sex offenders from Alabama coming to Tennessee.”

Lt. Hunter says law enforcement agencies would like for state legislators to look at the laws in Tennessee and make them comparable with the state of Alabama so people are not jumping across the state line.

In addition, Alabama sex offender requirements are also more demanding when it comes to how far a sex offender must remain from a day care or school.

In Alabama it is 2,000 feet. In Tennessee it is only 1,000 feet.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Residency restrictions cause problems finding help for homeless registrants in Mobile

I wrote a far better headline than this reporter did.

http://wkrg.com/2016/04/24/tent-city-poses-dangers-to-the-community/

Tent City Poses Dangers To The Community
Alison Spann
By Alison Spann
Published: April 24, 2016, 9:48 pm  Updated: April 24, 2016, 10:40 pm

Tent city is a homeless camp located less than a mile from downtown Mobile. Several tents are dispersed in a wooded area off of Conception Street Road. Police have identified 28 people who live at the camp, 8 of which are registered sex offenders.

According to Lt. Rowland, Mobile Police Department, the 8 sex offenders have a registered address of “Tent City.”


The camp is littered with human waste and  a ton of trash. Three Mile Creek runs through the homeless camp which makes way for feces and other trash to trickle into Mobile Bay, and in some cases even Mobile’s Water Supply.


Lt. Rowland said, “All of this trash and human waste ends up in the river, which ends up in the bay, which ends up- some of it in the water supply.”


These are just a few of the issues that prompted MPD to shut the camp down. On May 6th, everyone must go.


There are several volunteer organizations working with MPD to aid the homeless in finding housing. Rowland said, “we’re trying to facilitate the different agencies, get these people in touch with 15 Place, the Salvation Army, etc.”


Jennifer Greene, with Delta Dogs, even helps with the care of the animals that live in tent city. They provide the dogs with healthcare as well as provide them with access to food and water.


However, Lt. Rowland says that finding housing for sex offenders is difficult. Sex offenders don’t qualify for many of the housing options that other homeless do.


There are two weeks left until the area has to be cleared out. Officials are actively working to shut tent city down and find real housing for those that live there.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Take the Once Fallen Police Compliance Check Survey

https://eSurv.org?s=LCHKFH_2a407aff -- Take the Once Fallen Police/ Compliance Check Survey

Dear registrant or loved one of a registrant,

Perhaps one of the most stressful experiences we face as those forced to register as “sex offenders” is having a uniformed member of law enforcement coming to your house to perform a “compliance check” or “address verification” operation. This survey is designed to gauge the experiences of registered citizens or their loved ones while subjected to one of these “random” compliance/ address checks. (For purposes of this survey, I prefer to use the term “registered citizens” or “registrants” as opposed to the term “registered sex offender.”)

QUALIFICATIONS: You must be either a registered citizen OR someone living with a registered citizen AND experienced an at-home or at-work compliance check at least once since being forced to register or, if you are the loved one of a registrant, have personally witnessed the check of the registrant. If you have NOT experienced an in-home or at-work compliance check, then DO NOT complete this survey.

If you have questions about this survey, contact me at iamthefallen1@yahoo.com or call me at 513-238-2873.

Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hb 245: Restoring voting rights to disenfranchised people

ReFORM-AL strongly supports this bill. It restores voting rights for everyone convicted of a crime.

HB 245 summary

Under existing law, a person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude is prohibited from voting until he or she has been released upon completion of a sentence, has been pardoned, has completed probation or parole, and has paid any victim restitution. Restoration of voting rights is made through an application to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

  •   This bill would provide for the automatic restoration of voting rights of a person who has been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude when he or she is discharged from incarceration.
  •   This bill would specify responsibilities of the Secretary of State concerning such voter restoration.
  •   This bill would provide for absentee voting for persons who are eligible to vote and are incarcerated.
  •   This bill would repeal the provisions of state law that provide the procedure for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to restore the voting rights of a convicted felon.
  •   This bill would also establish a temporary legislative oversight committee and a task force to monitor the restoration of voting rights.

Alabama pastor wins round in freedom of religion lawsuit

Triumph Church

It is a small victory. The battle is far from over.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/04/alabama_pastor_wins_round_in_f.html

Alabama pastor wins round in freedom of religion lawsuit

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on April 07, 2016 at 8:38 AM
A Chilton County pastor has won a round in his federal lawsuit challenging a state law that ended his residential ministry for sex offenders.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Wednesday denied the state's requests to dismiss the claims by Ricky Martin, who sued in 2014.

Martin, pastor of the Triumph Church, provided housing for sex offenders who were released from prison in campers on property he owned behind the church.

Martin and his wife live next door to the church, which is on the outskirts of Clanton.

About a dozen men normally lived there at one time, a total of about 60 during the whole time Martin operated the settlement, according to Watkins' order.

State law restricts where sex offenders can live. For example, they cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or child care facility.

Two years ago, the Legislature passed a bill, pertaining only to Chilton County, that prohibited two or more registered sex offenders from living on the same property unless the homes were at least 300 feet apart.

That forced Martin to evict the men living on his property.

In his lawsuit, Martin claimed the law infringed upon his right to freely practice his religion under the First Amendment, among other claims.

Chilton County District Attorney Randall Houston, named as defendant in the case, asked the court to dismiss it.

But Watkins ruled on Wednesday that Martin had sufficiently made a claim that the law "creates a burden on his sincerely held religious beliefs," allowing the case to proceed.

Watkins also allowed Martin to proceed on claims that the law is a "bill of attainder" because it singled him out and that the law violates his due process rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama is representing Martin in the case.

"We're really quite encouraged by the judge's opinion," ALCU of Alabama Legal Director Randall Marshall said Wednesday.

The attorney general's office, which represents Houston, declined comment.

C.J. Robinson, a prosecutor with the Chilton County district attorney's office, told the Associated Press two years ago that he did not doubt the sincerity of Martin's ministry, but said it was not safe having that many sex offenders in one place.

Former state Rep. Kurt Wallace of Maplesville said at the time he sponsored the bill that families who lived near the church were worried about the safety.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Petition: STOP CRIMINALIZING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ENGAGE IN CONSENSUAL SEX OR SEXTING

As mentioned recently on this blog, Alabama is pushing a bill that would exclude teen sexting from the growing list of registerable offenses. However, it does not go far enough. So Lenore Skenazy of the "Free Range Kids" website (a good website that is among the growing skeptics of the sex offender registry) has created an online petition to compel the state legislature to change the laws to stop criminalizing teens for engaging in behavior best addressed by parents, not police. Take a few moments to sign this petition today. Click the link below to access it. 

https://www.change.org/p/alabama-state-house-stop-criminalizing-young-people-who-engage-in-consensual-sex-or-sexting

STOP CRIMINALIZING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ENGAGE IN CONSENSUAL SEX OR SEXTING

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 14 is the most common age of sex offenders. 

That stat shocks most people, but it shouldn't.  Young people have sex with other young people. That can be against the law in America, even when it is consensual.

This has led to over 200,000 minors being placed on the Sex Offender Registry. Once on it, their lives become a nightmare. They can't live near a school, find work, or even go online. Often they face death threats.

Criminalizing consensual sex or sexting is not making our children any safer. In fact, our kids have a better chance of ending up ON the registry than of being harmed BY someone on it.

For these reasons, we urge you to decriminalize consensual sex or sexting between young people past puberty.