Saturday, April 12, 2014

The 2014 Alabama Legislature has official adjourned. A recap of the bills

The 2014 Alabama Legislature has "Adjourned Sine Die," thus signaling the end of the regular session. I guess the crappy weather kept the legislators indoors enough to push them through the legislation. Barring any special sessions, registered citizens can rest easy until the next legislative season.

So here is a recap of what passed and what didn't:

HB14: Criminal sex offenders over age 21, sex offenses against child 12 years of age or younger, surgical castration required prior to release from custody of Corrections Department.
Status: Never left committee
Comments: I never focused on this bill despite it receiving national attention. The legislature knew this law was one they would never touch.

HB21: Sex offenders, residence, sex offender clusters, licensing by sheriff, monitoring, regulation by Mental Health Department, penalties for violations, certain local and general laws repealed, Act 2010-515, 2010 Reg. Sess., repealed; Sec. 13A-11-204 repealed
Status: Never left committee.
Comments: I worked hard to get people to fight this bill. Hopefully the barrage of letters helped get this bill stalled.

HB 133: Human trafficking, Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking, adoption, Secs. 13A-6-150 to 13A-6-160, inclusive, 13A-6-170 repealed
Status: Never left committee
Comments: I'm always wary of human trafficking laws since they are used as mules for unrelated sex offender legislation (like Prop 35 in Cali). Thankfully no action was taken on this bill.

HB 224: Rape, sodomy, burglary in the first degree, person convicted of these crimes under certain conditions sentenced to minimum of 20 yrs in prison if victim is 65 yrs old or older, Secs. 13A-6-61, 13A-6-63, 13A-7-5 am'd.
Status: Stalled in committee
Comments: I never cared for mandatory minimums or status enhancements.

HB 413: Sex Offenders, registration and community notification, technical revisions and citations update various sections, petition for relief from employment, residency living restriction, civil division of circuit courts, absconding without registering, penalty, Secs. 12-15-107, 12-15-116, 13A-5-2, 13A-5-6, 14-9-41, 15-18-8, 15-19-7, 15-20A-4 to 15-20A-7, incl., 15-20A-9, 15-20A-11, 15-20A-14, 15-20A-16, 15-20A-18, 15-20A-21 to 15-20A-26, incl., 15-20A-28, 15-20A-29, 15-20A-32, 15-20A-34, 15-20A-35, 15-20A-37, 15-20A-39, 15-20A-40, 15-20A-43, 15-20A-45, 15-20A-46, 15-22-27.3, 32-6-49.24, 36-18-24, 36-18-25, 38-13-2, 38-13-4
Status: Stalled in committee
Comments: This law would have granted the potential for relief from registration laws under certain conditions. The only bad thing I saw was adding internet provider info. That was unnecessary.

HB 426/SB 297: Sex offenders, sex offender convicted of crime with a minor prohibited within 500 feet of public school K-12 property during instructional hours, Class C felony, Sec. 15-20A-17 am'd.
Status: Stalled in committee
Comments: SB 297 passed, but not as originally written. A highly watered down version applying to trespassing on school grounds replaced the 500 foot law.

SB 151: Bestiality and possession of obscene matter depicting bestiality, crime established, penalties
Status: Passed
Comments: It was good for a laugh, but whatever keeps Alabama from passing dumber legislation like HB21, I'm all for it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HB 426 substitute bill is the same as the SB 297 substitute bill

It seems the House Judiciary has also made the same substitution of HB 426 as the Senate Bill 297. That is good news for those concerned about the proposed blanket ban. Congrats to all who helped to fight these laws.

Friday, February 28, 2014

HB 426 is the house version of the SB 297 Blanket Ban. Oppose this now!

Essentially this is the House Version of SB 297, which sought to ban registrants from being within 500 feet of schools for any reason. The same argument against SB 297 applies here as well. So if you wrote something opposing SB 297, feel free to use it here. After all, this is Same crap, different assholes.

This time it is going before the House Judiciary Committee.

Here are the House Judiciary Committee emails:

paul@pljpc.com, paulbeckmanjr@yahoo.com, mikeball@knology.net, allenfarley@bellsouth.net, cengland1@hotmail.com, Juandalynn.givan@alhouse.gov, 3007j@att.net, greeson@yahoo.com, waynejohnson259@yahoo.com, mljatty@andycable.com, john.robinson@alhouse.gov, david.standridge@alhouse.gov, bsketa@aol.com

SYNOPSIS of HB 426
Under existing law, it is a Class C felony for an adult sex offender who has been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor to loiter on or within 500 feet of school property or certain other property used for caring for, educating, or entertaining minors, without a legitimate purpose for being on the property.
This bill would make it a Class C felony for a convicted sex offender, after having been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor, to enter or remain within 500 feet of school property or certain other property used for caring for, educating, or entertaining minors. This bill would also make it a Class C felony for a convicted sex offender, after having been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor, to enter or remain within 500 feet of the property line of any property on which there is a public K-12 school or to actively participate in any public K-12 school activity when or where students are present.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Who would have guessed "barnyard sodomy" was legal in Alabama? Well, until SB 151 passes

I simply assumed bestiality was illegal in Alabama but apparently not. SB 151 will change that, making bestiality and possession bestiality porn a crime. Damn, the stuff I have to read as a legislative analyst. Feel free to comment away on this new bill, but ReFORM-AL will refrain from making an official statement.

After all, while I could write a MOOving statement, I don't think I'll crow about it. That would be b-a-a-a-d humor.

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 
AN ACT

To provide for the crime of bestiality; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:  

Section 1. For purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) SEXUAL CONDUCT. Any touching or fondling by a person, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs or anus of an animal or any transfer or transmission of semen by the person upon any part of the animal for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person.
(2) SEXUAL CONTACT. Any contact, however slight, between the mouth, sex organ, or anus of a person and the sex organ or anus of an animal, any penetration, however slight,
of any part of the body of the person into the sex organ or anus of an animal, or any penetration of the sex organ or anus of the person into the mouth of the animal for the purpose of sexual gratification or sexual arousal of the person.

Section 2. 
(a) A person commits the crime of bestiality if he or she:
(1) Knowingly engages in or submits to any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.
(2) Knowingly causes, aids, or abets another in engaging in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.
(3) Knowingly permits any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal upon premises under his or her control.
(4) Knowingly organizes, promotes, conducts, advertises, aids, abets, observes, or performs any service furthering an act involving sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose.
(b) Bestiality is a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) This act shall not apply to accepted animal husbandry practices, conformation judging practices, or accepted veterinary medicine practices.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Update on SB 297, the "blanket ban" bill: First Substitution Offered offers more reasonable bill

I cannot say for certain that ReFORM-AL's call to action had anything to do with this latest development, but there was a great substitution made for SB 297. As it was originally written (as stated in my previous article), the language of SB 297 made it illegal for registrants with offenses involving a minor from even being within 500 feet for any reason. But now there is a big substitution of the bill, which ReFORM-AL finds more reasonable than the original version.

Before I add the text of the substitution, I wish to thank Will B from SOSEN and Dolley & James Madison from Ohio RSOL, as well as anyone else who took the time to write our Alabama legislators, for helping to bring about awareness of the perils of SB 297.

This is no guarantee the substitution will stand, but at least it is on the table. I have no issues with the substitute bill, personally, though I am sure my readers could tell me of any potential problems. I think the "field trip" provision is also an issue that must be addressed. After all, who posts field trips

I will only add the section of importance. It seems many Alabama bills always add sections on expenditures and the section that it will take effect once signed into law. No need to read that part. By the way, for those who don't read bills, when a bill is read, they tend to rewrite the code to show how the Code of Alabama will read once the bill passes. Underlined sections means that is the parts to be added, and lines mean this is what to be removed or stricken from the book. I added the bill synopsis for those who just want the short version.

___________________________________________________________-

SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, it is a Class C felony for an adult sex offender who has been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor to loiter on or within 500 feet of school property or certain other property used for caring for, educating, or entertaining minors, without a legitimate purpose for being on the property. This bill would also make it a Class C felony for an adult sex offender, after having been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor, to enter onto the property of a K-12 school while school is in session or attend any K-12 school activity without first notifying and reporting to the principal and complying with school rules regarding the visit.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. Section 15-20A-17 of the Code of Alabama 1975, is amended to read as follows:

 "§15-20A-17. "

(a)(1) No adult sex offender, after having been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor, shall loiter on or within 500 feet of the property line of any property on which there is a school, childcare facility, playground, park, athletic field or facility, school bus stop, college or university, or any other business or facility having a principal purpose of caring for, educating, or entertaining minors. 
(b)(2) Under this section subsection, loiter means to enter or remain on property while having no legitimate purpose or, if a legitimate purpose exists, remaining on that property beyond the time necessary to fulfill that purpose. An adult sex offender does not violate this section subsection unless he or she has first been asked to leave a prohibited location by a person authorized to exclude the adult sex offender from the premises. An authorized person includes, but is not limited to, any law enforcement officer, security officer, any owner or manager of the premises, a principal, teacher, or school bus driver if the premises is a school, childcare facility, or bus stop, a coach, if the premises is an athletic field or facility, or any person designated with that authority. 
(c)(3) For purposes of this section subsection, a school bus stop is any location where a motor vehicle owned or operated by or on behalf of a public or private school stops on a regular basis for the purpose of transporting children to and from school.
(b)(1) No adult sex offender, after having been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor, shall enter onto the property of a K-12 school while school is in session or attend any K-12 school activity unless the adult sex offender does all of the following:
a. Notifies the principal of the school, or his or her designee, before entering onto the property or attending the K-12 school activity.
b. Immediately reports to the principal of the school, or his or her designee, upon entering the property or arriving at the K-12 school activity. 
c. Complies with any procedures established by the school to monitor the whereabouts of the sex offender for the duration of his or her presence on the school property or attendance at the K-12 school activity. For a public K-12 school, the local school board shall adopt a policy to effectuate this section.
(2) Procedures established to effectuate this subsection are limited to rules that allow the principal of the school, or his or her designee, to discreetly monitor the adult sex offender.
(3) For the purposes of this subsection, a K-12 school activity is an activity sponsored by a school in which students in grades K-12 are the primary intended participants or for whom students in grades K-12 are the primary intended audience including, but not limited to, school instructional time, after school care, after school tutoring, athletic events, field trips, school plays, or assemblies.
(d)(c) Any person who violates this section subsection (a) or subsection (b) shall be guilty of a Class C felony."

Friday, February 7, 2014

SB 297 will prohibit registrants an offense involving a minor from being within 500 feet of schools or school events

Is the Senate Judiciary is trying to place more needless bills in legislature? There is already a prohibition against LOITERING within 500 feet of a school or day care, but this bill takes it too far by making an outright prohibition for a registrant with an offense involving a minor from even being within 500 feet of these locations. That is excessive.

In case anyone doesn't understand the difference, loitering means being in a place without a legitimate purpose. For example, I could go to a store 400 feet away to buy lunch and go to a park 200 feet away to meet a friend for lunch, "legitimate" purposes for being within the 500 foot zone, and thus legal. Under SB 297, those same actions are completely illegal. This bill is bad news.

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets Wednesday, Feb. 12 @ 1pm, if anyone can attend. But it is not slated to be a public hearing.

See my page on the Senate Judiciary Committee for contact info on the individual committee members.

To amend Section 15-20A-17, Code of Alabama 1975; to provide that it is a Class C felony for a sex offender convicted of a sex offense involving a minor to enter or remain within 500 feet of school property or certain other property used for caring for, educating, or entertaining minors, without a legitimate purpose for being on the property; to provide that it is a Class C felony for a sex offender convicted of a sex offense involving a minor to be present on or within 500 feet of public K-12 school property or to actively participate in any public K-12 school activity when or where students are present; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Two sex offender-related bills in the House Judiciary committee Wed. 2/12/14 at 1:00pm

The House Judiciary committee has two bills up for discussion next week related to sex offenders:

HB 224: Rape, sodomy, burglary in the first degree, person convicted of these crimes under certain conditions sentenced to minimum of 20 yrs in prison if victim is 65 yrs old or older, Secs. 13A-6-61, 13A-6-63, 13A-7-5 am'd.

I am not fond of mandatory minimum sentences, but there is little here that should concern anyone unless you commit a crime. 

HB 413: Sex Offenders, registration and community notification, technical revisions and citations update various sections, petition for relief from employment, residency living restriction, civil division of circuit courts, absconding without registering, penalty, Secs. 12-15-107, 12-15-116, 13A-5-2, 13A-5-6, 14-9-41, 15-18-8, 15-19-7, 15-20A-4 to 15-20A-7, incl., 15-20A-9, 15-20A-11, 15-20A-14, 15-20A-16, 15-20A-18, 15-20A-21 to 15-20A-26, incl., 15-20A-28, 15-20A-29, 15-20A-32, 15-20A-34, 15-20A-35, 15-20A-37, 15-20A-39, 15-20A-40, 15-20A-43, 15-20A-45, 15-20A-46, 15-22-27.3, 32-6-49.24, 36-18-24, 36-18-25, 38-13-2, 38-13-4

Of these two bills, HB 413 may be of a bigger concern. The bill is over 100 pages long and adds more regulation of registrants. Below is a brief breakdown of a few key points of HB413:

1. Amends §15-20A-16 to add an exemption to the no victim contact order under certain circumstances (under "Romeo and Juliet" offenses once the victim is age 19) This is a good thing.
2. This provision sounds bad to me (p.48): "(d) When an adult sex offender declares that he or she is homeless, notification shall be provided by posting a copy of the notice in a prominent place at the office of the sheriff and at the police station closest to the declared residence of the released adult sex offender, publicizing the notice in a local newspaper, or posting the notice electronically, including the Internet or other means available." I see some potential problems with this.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Alabama allowed the rape of female inmates

The US DoJ has determined there were a number of abuses at Tutwiler Women's Prison.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/January/14-crt-061.html

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Justice Department Releases Findings Showing That the Alabama Department of Corrections Fails to Protect Prisoners from Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women

Today the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced its letter of findings determining that prison officials at the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women (Tutwiler) violate women prisoners’ constitutional rights by failing to take reasonable steps to protect them from harm due to sexual abuse and sexual harassment caused by correctional staff.  Specifically, the Justice Department found that prison officials have long been on notice of the risks to women prisoners and have chosen to ignore them.  The findings also included a notice that the investigation will be expanded to examine allegations of additional constitutional violations.

The department found that women prisoners at Tutwiler live in a toxic environment with repeated and open sexual behavior.  The conduct to which women are exposed includes:  officers forcing women to engage in sexual acts with officers in exchange for basic sanitary supplies; male officers openly watching women shower or use the toilet; a staff facilitated “strip show”; a constant barrage of sexually offensive language; punishment of prisoners who report improper conduct; and encouraging improper sexual contact between prisoners.  The sexual abuse and harassment is grossly underreported due to insufficient staffing and supervision, inadequate policies and procedures, a heightened fear of retaliation and an inadequate investigative process. 

“Our investigation has revealed serious systemic operational deficiencies at Tutwiler that have exposed women prisoners to harm and serious risk of harm from staff-on-prisoner sexual abuse and sexual harassment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “These problems have been festering for years, and are well known to Alabama prison officials.  Remedying these deficiencies is critical to ensuring constitutionally protected treatment of women prisoners at Tutwiler and will promote public safety.” 

The department’s comprehensive investigation involved an in-depth review and analysis of documents, including policies and procedures, incident reports, investigative reports, orientation materials and staff training materials.  The department also interviewed prison officials and administrative and security staff, as well as current and former women prisoners. 

The expanded investigation will examine allegations of excessive use of force, constitutionally inadequate conditions of confinement, constitutionally inadequate medical and mental health care and discriminatory treatment based on national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.  The department’s decision to expand its investigation of conditions at Tutwiler stemmed from the department’s review of information suggesting that the systemic deficiencies at Tutwiler that facilitated staff sexual misconduct may also lead to constitutionally inadequate conditions of confinement. 

“The department stands ready to work with the state of Alabama on solving the problems at Tutwiler,” said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama.  “The report has identified a very serious and troubling situation at the facility.  Action needs to be taken immediately.  I am certain that Commissioner Thomas and the governor’s office will continue to cooperate in eradicating these deplorable conditions.”

The department commends Commissioner Kim Thomas and his staff for the cooperation they have shown, and for their receptivity to concerns raised, and looks forward to continuing to work with ADOC and Tutwiler officials in a collaborative manner on the expanded investigation and to resolve the existing findings expeditiously and under mutually agreeable terms. 

For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt .

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ACTION ALERT! -- How to help ReFORM-AL fight HB 21

Legislative sessions have begun, so now is the time to fight HB 21, the anti-clustering law. ReFORM-AL is in the process of analyzing HB 21. This bill is more complex than the prior bill. Below is a brief summary of HB 21:
  1. HB 21 will prevent more than one registrant from living at the same address unless the two are related. This may potentially cause problems at apartment complexes, because the bill defines a "cluster" as two or more registrants in any location;
  2. HB 21 will place strict limitations on transitional housing: high yearly fees, restrictions on the number of registrants, and constant renewal of  licenses for running transitional housing; and
  3. HB 21 will give Sheriffs great discretion in allowing transitional housing in the community. If a sheriff does not approve, there will be no grievance procedure or court remedy. In addition, this bill gives the sheriff the power to conduct warrantless searches even if the registrants are not on probation or parole.

It is obvious Wallace's intent is to make the establishment of traditional housing an impossible task. 

The bad news is I will only be given about a 48 hours notice to prepare once the public hearing is set. It could be next week, it could be May. Last year, it was at the end of February. But because it COULD be next week, we need to act now. Here is how you can help. 

IF YOU DON'T LIVE IN THE MONTGOMERY AREA: If you are an activist who cannot come to Montgomery AL on a moment's notice, I suggest writing the legislators on the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. I have created a page containing the contact info for each of the NINE committee members.

If you live out of state you should not have to state you don't live in Alabama. Just state you're a concerned citizen. Or, pick a city and claim you live there. 

Click on the link to view the Committee contact info: http://reformalabama.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

IF YOU LIVE IN MONTGOMERY OR CAN TRAVEL TO ATTEND THE COMMITTEE HEARING:

If you can attend, I could really use people willing to attend and testify before the committee. As soon as I am given a date, I will post another action alert. Remember, I will likely be given about two or three days' notice. So check back often. Please call me at 513-238-2873 and tell me you wish to be there in person. You don't have to know all the stats, I need people who can give testimony on how these laws can affect you. Emotional testimony is needed. 

OTHER SUPPORTERS: If you can support my efforts by making a donation to offset the costs of traveling to Montgomery, please do so. Donations can be sent here:

By Paypal: iamthefallen1@yahoo.com

By Mail: Derek Logue
2559 Eden Ave. #14
Cincinnati, OH 45219

NOTE: From what was explained to me, committee hearings are posted every day on "ALISON" (Alabama Legislation Information System On-Line). So Alison should be seen on  a weekly basis until the session ends around mid-May. Click on the link below, then on the next screen (It will say ALISON in giant letters), look on the left side of the screen and click on "Committee Meetings." On the next screen, select "House" then "Get Results" and scroll down until you see the "PS&HS." When HB 21 comes up it will be listed there.

http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/ACASLoginMac.asp

The schedule for the upcoming week is typically posted on a Friday. Thus, I will literally only have the weekend and maybe one extra day to schedule my trip. So at beat I get 3 day's notice. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

ACLU Stops Suspicionless Home Searches in Etowah County, Alabama

Some small changes will be made to compliance checks in Etowah county. Not much of a change, really-- the main change would be sheriff's deputies cannot demand to be let indoors without written consent, except in certain circumstances.

https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/aclu-stops-suspicionless-home-searches-etowah-county-alabama

ACLU Stops Suspicionless Home Searches in Etowah County, Alabama

January 13, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, and the law firm Jaffe & Drennan reached a unique settlement Friday in Doe v. Entrekin with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office, stopping its officers from conducting unannounced, suspicionless, and warrantless searches of a family’s home. The sheriff’s office had been performing such searches at the homes of everyone registered for a sexual offense, without exception, ostensibly to verify their residence. Similar programs exist across Alabama and the nation. Under the terms of the settlement, the sheriff’s office will conduct all in-person residence verifications outside a registrant’s home. Officers may not enter the home without the registrant’s written consent at the time of the verification, unless the officers have a warrant or an emergency makes entry necessary.

"The officers had absolutely no authority for these traumatic invasions of their privacy," said Brandon Buskey, ACLU attorney. "Our plaintiffs’ home had been searched numerous times. The registrant has always complied with the state law, and there has never been any reason to believe otherwise. Through this settlement, we have placed important limits on the sheriff’s office’s power in Etowah County that we hope to see throughout the state."

The ACLU’s clients, a family living in Etowah County, were subjected to the sheriff’s office searches because one family member is a registrant. The sheriff’s office conducted these searches even though this plaintiff registers in person at the sheriff’s office four times a year in accordance with state law – a requirement he must fulfill for the rest of his life; the offense occurred when he was 14 years old; he is not on probation or parole; and the state of Alabama determined he is at low risk of reoffending.

The settlement requires the sheriff’s office to make additional changes for registrants who, like the plaintiff, committed their offenses as juveniles, who are no longer on probation or parole, and whom the state has determined to be low risk. For these registrants, the sheriff’s office will be limited to quarterly phone verifications after an initial in-person interview. Officers may conduct subsequent in-person verifications outside the home only if they cannot reach the registrant by phone within the quarter after leaving a message, or if there is reason to believe the registrant is not complying with state law. To protect registrants’ privacy, officers conducting such in-person verifications must be wearing civilian clothing and using an unmarked car.

"For low-risk juveniles, our settlement requires officers to contact the person by phone first, and only if that proves unsuccessful over the course of three months can the officers talk to the person outside the home," Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, explained. "The settlement is a significant improvement over the old way: demanding entry into a family’s house and threatening arrest if they don’t comply."

Additional information about the case is available at:
aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/john-doe-jane-doe-and-james-doe-v-todd-entrekin

Additional information about the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project is available at:
aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/aclu-criminal-law-reform-project

Additional information about the ACLU of Alabama is available at:
aclualabama.org

The full complaint can be found HERE: 
https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/complaint_final_and_exhibits.pdf

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blogger’s Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions

This isn't often I discuss issues not directly related to "sex offender" topics. But this story is unique and it concerns our 1st Amendment Rights in general.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/us/bloggers-incarceration-raises-first-amendment-questions.html

Blogger’s Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSONJAN. 11, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For over six years, Roger Shuler has hounded figures of the state legal and political establishment on his blog, Legal Schnauzer, a hothouse of furious but often fuzzily sourced allegations of deep corruption and wide-ranging conspiracy. Some of these allegations he has tested in court, having sued his neighbor, his neighbor’s lawyer, his former employer, the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama State Bar and two county circuit judges, among others. Mostly, he has lost.

But even those who longed for his muzzling, and there are many, did not see it coming like this: with Mr. Shuler sitting in jail indefinitely, and now on the list of imprisoned journalists worldwide kept by the Committee to Protect Journalists. There, in the company of jailed reporters in China, Iran and Egypt, is Mr. Shuler, the only person on the list in the Western Hemisphere.

A former sports reporter and a former employee in a university’s publications department, Mr. Shuler, 57, was arrested in late October on a contempt charge in connection with a defamation lawsuit filed by the son of a former governor. The circumstances surrounding that arrest, including a judge’s order that many legal experts described as unconstitutional and behavior by Mr. Shuler that some of the same experts described as self-defeating posturing, have made for an exceptionally messy test of constitutional law.

Launch media viewer
Posts on Roger Shuler’s blog, Legal Schnauzer, have prompted many defamation suits. His refusal to cooperate in one recent case has led to his being jailed since October and has drawn international attention. Shelby County Jail
“You’ve got a situation where sometimes there’s no good guys,” said Ken White, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who writes about and practices First Amendment law.

Mr. Shuler is no stranger to defamation suits, as one might surmise from reading his blog. He started it in 2007 to document a property dispute with his neighbor that blew up into a legal war and ended with the neighbor’s lawyer becoming a part-owner of Mr. Shuler’s house, which is in Birmingham. Later, the blog branched out to expose what he alleged were the corrupt machinations of powerful figures, mostly Republicans, and with a particular animus toward former Gov. Bob Riley.

His allegations are frequently salacious, including a recent assertion that a federal judge had appeared in a gay pornographic magazine and a theory that several suicides were actually a string of politically motivated murders. Starting in January 2013, Mr. Shuler, citing unidentified sources, began writing that Robert Riley Jr., the son of the former governor, had impregnated a lobbyist named Liberty Duke and secretly paid for an abortion. Both denied it, and Ms. Duke swore in an affidavit that they had never even been alone in the same room.

In July, Mr. Riley and Ms. Duke sought an injunction in state court against such posts, citing Mr. Shuler and his wife, Carol, in defamation suits. A judge issued a temporary restraining order in September barring the Shulers from publishing “any defamatory statement” about Mr. Riley and Ms. Duke and demanding that the offending posts be immediately removed.

Such a sweeping order struck some lawyers as far too broad, and Mr. Shuler says he did not even know about it.

The Shulers refused to answer the door when officials came to serve court papers, stating their suspicions in blog posts that the visits were part of an “intimidation and harassment campaign” stemming from the reporting on another topic.

One afternoon as the Shulers drove to the local library, where Mr. Shuler had been writing his blog since they could no longer pay for their Internet connection, a member of the Sheriff’s Department pulled them over, saying they had run a stop sign. The officer then served them the papers, which the Shulers refused to accept, contending that service under such a pretext was improper.

“We were both throwing the papers out of the windows as we were driving off,” Ms. Shuler said in an interview.

The Shulers missed a hearing the next day, and the restraining order was superseded by a similarly worded preliminary injunction, which some free-speech advocates saw as a clear violation of Mr. Shuler’s First Amendment rights.

“It seems to me that the judge’s order was really way out of bounds,” said David Gespass, a civil rights lawyer in Birmingham, who was further troubled by the judge’s initial decision to keep the case under seal.

Launch media viewer
Carol Shuler in the basement of her home in Birmingham, Ala. She is facing the same defamation suit that has her husband, Roger, in jail on a contempt charge. Cary Norton for The New York Times
Mr. Shuler continued blogging. On Oct. 23, the police followed Mr. Shuler as he pulled into his driveway, arrested him in his garage and took him to jail on charges of contempt and resisting arrest.

In the hyperpartisan corners of the blogosphere where Mr. Shuler was already known, there was shock. Even some of his dedicated foes were alarmed.

The National Bloggers Club, a group led by the Republican activist Ali Akbar, who has also threatened to sue Mr. Shuler for defamation, released a statement condemning Mr. Shuler’s “rumormonger cyberbullying” but also criticizing the injunction as creating a potential chilling effect on blogging.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a “friend of the court” brief, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sent a letter to the judge.

On Nov. 14, the judge held a hearing, and Mr. Shuler, who was representing himself, took the stand, insisting that the court had no jurisdiction over him and calling the court a joke. The judge decided that the hearing had “served as a trial on the merits” and made his final ruling: Mr. Shuler was forbidden to publish anything about Mr. Riley or Ms. Duke involving an affair, an abortion or payoffs; was to pay them nearly $34,000 for legal fees; and was to remove the offending posts or remain in jail.

Mr. Riley said Mr. Shuler’s refusal to engage with the legal process had given the judge the leeway to make a final ruling.

“If someone can continually ignore the judge just by saying, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction over me,’ then the whole system breaks down,” Mr. Riley said, adding that Mr. Shuler could not plead ignorance of the legal process. “This is not the first time Roger Shuler has been in court.”

But Mr. White and others say that before a judge can take the step of banning speech, libel must be proved at trial, or at least over a litigation process more involved than a quick succession of hearings, with the only evidence presented by the plaintiffs.

“Idiocy is not a zero-sum game,” Mr. White said. “I think you can say that what the court is doing is unconstitutional and troublesome and also that Shuler is his own worst enemy.”

So while the furor has all but dissipated, Mr. Shuler remains in jail, unwilling to take down his posts but also unwilling to hire a lawyer and contest his incarceration in the state courts.

“This is flat-out court corruption, and it’s criminal,” he said in an interview from prison.

His wife spoke of collecting damages when this is over, but Mr. Shuler is thinking beyond civil remedies this time: He is planning to bring federal criminal charges against the judge.

A version of this article appears in print on January 12, 2014, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Blogger’s Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New pre-filed bills in the House. Session begins Jan. 14



There are a couple of bills that were recently prefiled. One bill we should strongly support-- HB 134, which will put a muzzle on mugshot extortion publications. I haven't read the Trafficking bill in its entirety but I am concerned anytime I see civil forfeiture in any bill.

For now, our efforts should focus on stopping HB 21.

HB 133: Wallace Judiciary -- 1/10/2014
Human trafficking, Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking, adoption, Secs. 13A-6-150 to 13A-6-160, inclusive, 13A-6-170 repealed

About HB 133:It mainly discusses rules for laws dealing with "human trafficking."

Verdict: ReFORM-AL offers no opinion at this time, though civil forfeiture laws are always a concern due to potential for abuse.


HB 134:  England Public Safety and Homeland Security-- 1/10/2014
Websites containing personal information of persons convicted of crimes, required to remove information at no charge upon request, civil penalties, presumption of defamation

About HB 134: This bill will prevent mugshot websites or magazines from extorting people through posting their information publicly and demanding a fee to remove the offending mugshots.

VERDICT: ReFORM-AL strongly supports this bill

Monday, January 6, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: Voting for the 2013 Shiitake Awards has begun!

The finalists have been announced and it is time to start voting for the 2013 Shiitake Awards.

For those unfamiliar with the Shiitake Awards, this is a Once Fallen project that spotlights the dumbest and worst sex offender-related stories of the year, and each year I host an awards show in the spirit of the "Razzies" to showcase the worst news story, journalist, politician, law, and state of the year. It is a fun project, voting only takes a minute, and it showcases the worst 2013 had to offer.

To cast your vote for the 2013 Shiitake Awards, go here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/R3K98V5

If you want to see the list of candidates for the 2013 Shiitake Awards before you vote, go here:
http://shiitakeawards.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-2013-shiitake-awards-has-arrived.html

To listen to or download the podcast of the Selection Show from ReFORM-Radio, go here:
http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=29032&cmd=tc

Voting ends January 31, 2014.

Alabama candidates include Randy Christian of the Jefferson Co. Sheriff's office for Dumbest Quote, and Alabama is in the running for worst state of 2013.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

ACTION ALERT: Madison County registrants, take notice of this important development



In light of this recent event, if you were involved in a case that involved Officer Shawn McClure of the Madison Co. Sheriff's Office, your case may have be affected by this development.

http://www.waff.com/story/24218086/hundreds-of-sex-offender-cases-led-by-former-deputy-at-risk

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -
The indictment of a former Madison County Sheriff's deputy is putting hundreds of sex offender cases in jeopardy, according to the District Attorney's office.

A Madison County grand jury recently indicted Shawn McClure for theft and receiving stolen property. McClure's job at the Sheriff's Department was to check on all registered sex offenders in the county. Now, the DA's office said his arrest compromises every single one of those cases.

This month, about 20 cases involving sex offender violations were ‘no-billed' by a grand jury. DA Tim Gann said those cases were thrown out because of McClure's arrest and indictment, which could also threaten hundreds of other cases. McClure is the key witness, and often the only witness, in all of his cases.

This poses a problem for prosecutors because they can no longer call him as a witness. Gann said they are now in salvage mode as they try to re-open the cases that were thrown out.

"Some of those cases are gone and that is just the harsh reality when something like this happens. It is something that nobody likes, but it is something we have to deal with. The people investigating the cases now and our office are doing our best to make it right as best we can," Gann said.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sex offender speaks out against Alabama bill that would regulate sex offender clusters

ReFORM-AL was not specifically mentioned in the article, but I was gratuitously mentioned in this article. Mike Cason wrote a very good article, and brought up many good questions.

http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/10/advocate_speaks_out_against_al.html

Sex offender speaks out against Alabama bill that would regulate sex offender clusters
By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com 
on October 28, 2013 at 11:33 AM
I WANT YOU!
To Fight HB 21

MONTGOMERY, Alabama --- A registered sex offender is doing what he says few other offenders will do, speaking out against a bill that would further restrict where they can live.

Derek Logue opposes a bill that would make it illegal for sex offenders to live at the same residence without a live-in monitor and a license from the sheriff. Legislators and a prosecutor in Autauga and Chilton counties say the licensing and monitoring are needed to protect the public from having large numbers of offenders in one place.

Logue says it’s already hard enough for them to rejoin society after leaving prison. They can’t live or work within 2,000 feet of a school or daycare.

“There’s not a lot of hope for us,” Logue said. “But transitional housing at least gives people some stability. What you want is to have a chance to reintegrate back into society.”


Logue said they need stability during the first couple of years after prison and said that's when they are more likely to commit another crime. He said the bill would effectively block halfway houses and group homes that could help offenders and reduce recidivism.


Officials in Chilton and Autauga counties say their priority is public safety.

C.J. Robinson, chief deputy district attorney for Autauga, Elmore and Chilton counties, said 49 sex offenders have lived at the same Chilton County address since 2010. An average of about 10 live there on most days, Sheriff Kevin Davis said. They live in trailers behind a small church. It’s not in a dense neighborhood, but there are houses scattered along the two-lane highway near Triumph Church, which is outside Clanton.

Robinson said nothing in state law prohibits such a concentration of sex offenders. Laws pertaining only to Birmingham and Jefferson County restrict sex offenders from living together there.

Robinson compiled his numbers from notices the district attorney's office receives when a registered sex offender moves into the county. He points out that only two of the 49 men committed their crimes in Chilton County.  

More than half of the 49 were convicted of rape. Most of their victims were minors, including many who were children.

Sheriff Davis said the men have not caused a problem. Robinson said he doesn’t want to wait until they do.

“I don't have the luxury to morally sit and wait until we have a child or a woman victimized by one of these men,” Robinson said in an email. “They have no ties to Chilton County and I would like to see them return to from where they came. We will take our troubled souls back, other counties should tend to their own as well. This community wants to send a message that we are not a landfill for the rest of the state to dump their sexual predators on.”

Ricky Martin, pastor of Triumph Church, declined an interview request from AL.com.
Logue said he doesn't know Martin or know about the program, but says the fact that the men haven't caused a problem seems noteworthy.

"Despite how they may feel about this group of people, it seems like the program is pretty successful," Logue said.


Bill pre-filed for January

Reps. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville and Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, are sponsoring House Bill 21, pre-filed for the legislative session that starts in January. It would define a lot where two or more unrelated sex offenders live as a “residential sex offender cluster.” It would make it illegal for a sex offender to live in a cluster that was not licensed by the sheriff. It would make it illegal for a person to own or operate an unlicensed cluster.

In addition to the place in Chilton County, Beckman said multiple sex offenders live in trailers on a piece of land in Autauga County.

“We’re right now trying to protect the public,” Beckman said. “And the public is saying to us right now in Chilton County and in Autauga County, ‘We don’t want to take care of other people’s sex offenders.’”
Wallace proposed a similar bill during this year’s legislative session, but it failed.

Logue spoke against that bill at a public hearing. He plans to return to speak against the new bill next year. “Most registered citizens are too afraid to speak out,” Logue said. “Somebody has to be a voice because so few of us are willing to speak out.”

Logue operates a website called Once Fallen.com and advocates for reforms of laws that limit where sex offenders can live and work. He supports punishment for sex crimes but says punishment should not continue after an offender has served his time.


Proponents of HB21 say sex offenders living together could negatively influence each other and make it more likely they will commit another crime.

"I don't like the idea that like minds are all together," Beckman said.

Logue takes issue with that and says sex offenders are not a homogenous group.
“We’re not all pedophiles,” Logue said. “We’re not all rapists.”

Proponents of HB21 say they would not oppose sex offenders living in facilities  that effectively counsel or treat them, although they say they know of no such program. The bill would authorize the Alabama Department of Mental Health to promulgate rules for residential sex offender clusters.

David Jackson, chief operating officer for the department, said it does not certify treatment programs for sex offenders.

Concern about unintended consequences

A lawyer for a nonprofit organization that advocates for criminal justice reforms said there could be unintended consequences of restrictive laws that make it hard for sex offenders to find homes and jobs.

“First and foremost, I don’t think anyone disagrees that our first priority as a society should be to protect our children,” said Ateeyah Hollie, who works for the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. “While I appreciate the lawmakers attempt at doing so, my main concern is that they do so in a practical manner that won’t further endanger our community.

"The more restrictive we get with these residency and employment restrictions, the more likely we’re going to increase recidivism, which I don’t think is the lawmakers’ intent.” Hollie said instability in residency and employment are key factors in recidivism. Hollie spoke against the bill Wallace proposed during this year’s legislative session. She has not read the new bill.

Registration and residency restrictions on sex offenders gained national attention in the 1990s. Congress and states passed what were called Megan's Law, named after a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was assaulted and murdered by a neighbor who was a convicted sex offender.

A 2012 report funded by the National Institute of Justice, "Sex Offenders: Recidivism and Collateral Consequences," examined the effect of sex offender registration and notification laws on recidivism.
The researchers found that the laws had limited effect on recidivism. The report said sex offenders have an overall low rate of recidivism but that some are high-risk, and that laws would be more effective if they targeted the high-risk offenders instead of all sex offenders.

Logue said some of the restrictions on residency and work amount to continual punishment after a prison sentence ends.

“When a person has served his time and they get out they should be given an opportunity to become a productive member of society,” Logue said. “We don’t treat murderers the same way. We don’t say murderers can’t live within 2,000 feet of another human being. That would be silly.”


Logue said there are effective rehabilitation programs.


"If we're really serious about trying to prevent reoffending, we should be doing things that we know work," Logue said. "Rehabilitation is not popular, but it's the right thing to do."


Wallace and Beckman said their bill would allow Alabama counties flexibility on how to handle sex offender clusters because it would be up to sheriffs to decide whether to license them.

"Until somebody comes up with a program that can be sanctioned by the state that proves we can improve the frequency of these guys reoffending, I'm just going with what I say is common sense," Wallace said.

© 2013 AL.com. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Russell County plans to round up sex offenders on Halloween night (again)

For more on Halloween laws in general, visit my Halloween Laws page AT ONCEFALLEN.COM

Halloween laws are pointless. First off, who lets their kids go out alone? Even when I was growing up, there was supervision, so the chances of a child getting snatched by a killer is virtually nil. I guess the Levenson study that found no unique increase in sex crimes around Halloween. Also, this is only mandatory for those on supervision. The rest of the registrants can stell Sheriff Buford T Justice to stick it.

This is a bad Halloween sequel that does not deserve a series.

http://blog.al.com/wire/2011/10/russell_county_plans_to_round.html

Russell County plans to round up sex offenders on Halloween night

The Associated Press 
on October 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM, updated October 27, 2011 at 11:57 AM
halloween.JPG

PHENIX CITY, Alabama — A southeast Alabama county is trying to round up all its convicted sex offenders on Halloween night to make sure they can't come in contact with children who are out trick-or-treating.

The Russell County Sheriff's Department is requiring about 35 sex offenders who are on probation or parole to come to the county courthouse in Phenix City on Monday night for a mandatory meeting.

The county's 115 other registered sex offenders are being asked to come to the meeting voluntarily.

An aide to Sheriff Heath Thomas says offenders will get an update on the latest registration requirements. She says they might also get to watch a movie since the training won't take very long.

The sheriff's department says parents can locate registered sex offenders through its website.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Welcome to recycled failed law theater starring Steve Hurst and Kurt Wallace

The Alabama 2014 session is still about three months away but I'm already seeing the rehash of previous bills that failed to pass. I am environmentally conscious and recycle regularly, but some things should never be recycled, such as bad laws that have had multiple defeats.

HB 14: Sex Offender Castration Bill

HB 14: Hurst Crimes and Offenses H Pending Committee Action in House of Origin Judiciary 10/2/2013
Criminal sex offenders over age 21, sex offenses against child 12 years of age or younger, surgical castration required prior to release from custody of Corrections Department

House Bill 14 is very straightforward, of course. Below is the Sponsor's information:

STEVE HURST
State House: Room 627-C
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 353-9215
District: 155 Quail Run Road
Munford, AL 36268
Home Phone: (256) 761-1935

VERDICT: It should go without saying ReFORM-AL strongly opposes this bill. 

HB 21: Revised Anti-Cluster Bill

Senator Wallace's recycled "anti-clustering" bill, now known as HB 21, on the other hand, is far more complex. I'd like to think the vastly modified anti-clustering law was at least partially the result of the efforts of ReFORM-AL. This bill is about 12 pages long so I will just summarize the bill:

1. The bill defines a "sex offender cluster" as any property, including a hotel, apartment building, or multi-family unit; and it still bars two or more unrelated registrants from living in the same unit. (Unlike last year's law, the 500 foot residency restriction from other registrants is not in this provision).
2. This bill sets guidelines for the creation and regulation of "large residential sex offender clusters." No registrant or felon can run a facility; the Mental Health Dept. establishes guidelines for facilities, but the sheriff decides who gets licenses; cannot house more than 30 registrants in any one location; the facility must pay a $100 licensing fee + $20 per registrant fee.
3. Repeals the Jefferson County anti-clustering law passed in 2010

VERDICT: Wallace is still motivated by shutting down the facility in his county, and this latest attempt at getting what he wants. His loftier speech is not fooling me. There are a few parts of the bill I can agree with, such as repealing the Jefferson Co. anti-cluster law and some of the standards adoptions are good, but this bill is still a cluster of bad laws. As written, this bill is still bad and this, ReFORM-AL opposes.

Below is the contact info.

REPRESENTATIVE KURT WALLACE

State House: Room 427-J
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-7772
Home Address:  24 Maple Drive
Maplesville, AL.  36750
Work Phone: (334) 366-4211
Email: representativewallace@gmail.com

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL BECKMAN

State House: Room 427-D
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-7499

District Address:

1803 Tara Drive
Prattville, AL. 36066

P.O. Box 680155
Prattville, AL.  36068

Home: (334) 361-0977
Work: (334) 834-4808
District: (334) 323-5918
Cell: (334) 300-1780
Fax: (334) 834-4801
Email: paulbeckmanjr@yahoo.com

A visual representation on Alabama's 2014 Legislative Session
Because I want awareness of these laws, I want to keep theis post at the top, so I will include media links to coverage of this bill here:

AL.com on Kurt Wallace's anti-cluster law: http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/10/legislators_want_to_require_li.html

Clanton Advertiser on Wallace's bill:
http://www.clantonadvertiser.com/2013/10/23/sex-offender-bill-pre-filed/comment-page-1/#comment-22713

The Drs TV show discusses the castration law:
 http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videolib/init/9956


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The sex offender registry is worse than death, based on the actions of one accused of sex crime


"We've all seen escape artists risk death before, but tonight, I'm going to risk something even worse. Becoming a registered sex offender for life." -- TV Reality star/ Comedian Nathan Fielder performing a stunt on his show"Nathan For You," that, if failed, would cause him to expose himself to an audience of children and thus be charged with indecent exposure
Is the sex offender registry worse than death? The words of Nathan Fielder echoes in my mind as I read this article about the suicide of a 15 year old boy facing indecent exposure charges for streaking during a football game. 


Streaking has come a long way from the days of the infamous Ray Stevens song. What was once a silly (but bold) thing to do will now place you in danger of having to register as a sex offender. It was apparent this teen was facing legal charges, but only the UK Daily Mail dared admit the charges would have landed him on the registry.

If anyone doubts the state would have prosecuted the kid, I'd like to mention that the feds prosecuted a 10 year old kid for sex crimes on a military base. Assistant US Attorney Bruce M. Ferg stated this about that case: "My opinion is this is the best thing that could've happened to the kid..."It is not vague to say, 'If you do this kind of activity, we don't care what age you are, you are liable for prosecution.' ""

If you are a Facebook user, an associate of mine has made an unofficial memorial page for the suicide victim, Christian Adamek.

We should really reevaluate these laws.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2452030/Christian-Adamek-Boy-15-kills-facing-expulsion-sex-offender-registry-STREAKING-high-school-football-game.html

Boy, 15, kills himself after 'facing expulsion and being put on sex offender registry' for streaking prank at high school football game

Christian Adamek hanged himself on October 2 and died from his injuries two days later - a week after he streaked at his high school football game
He was arrested and school district recommended he face a court hearing
If convicted of indecent exposure, he'd have gone on sex offenders list
By Lydia Warren

PUBLISHED: 10:40 EST, 10 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:00 EST, 10 October 2013


A popular 15-year-old student has committed suicide after he reportedly faced expulsion and could have been placed on the sex offenders' register simply for streaking at a high school football game.

Christian Adamek, from Huntsville, Alabama, hanged himself on October 2, a week after he was arrested for running naked across the Sparkman High football field during a game.

The teenager died two days later from his injuries and on Wednesday, friends and family gathered at a memorial service as they struggled to comprehend the beloved student's death.

A video of Adamek streaking during a game against a rival team was posted on YouTube hours after the event and students took to Twitter to call him a 'legend'.

'Sparkman's new slogan is gonna be "Welcome to Sparkman High School, Home of Christian Adamek",' one student wrote.

But school staff did not treat the situation so lightly.

Sparkman High Principal Michael Campbell told WHNT a day before the suicide attempt that the teen could face major repercussions because of his actions.

'There's the legal complications,' Campbell said. 'Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up.'

In Alabama, indecent exposure is linked to the state's sex offender laws, meaning that he could have found himself on the sex offenders register due to the streaking.

Campbell added that that the incident was not just a prank and needed to be treated seriously.

Sparkman High administrators even recommended that Adamek face a hearing in the Madison County court system to determine if formal charges would be filed, WHNT reported.

Adamek had also been disciplined by the school district but the details had not been made public.

The day before the suicide attempt, the principal had confirmed that Adamek was not at school and the teenager's sister suggested on Twitter that Adamek faced expulsion, AL.com reported.

Campbell declined to comment on Adamek's death but the Madison County school district issued a statement saying it had 'received word that a Sparkman High School student has passed away'.

'Our prayers and thoughts are with the family during this time of bereavement,' the statement read.

The messages on Twitter have now turned from congratulatory to somber.

'Praying for the Adamek family. Christian was so funny and nice. He will be missed by so many,' one girl wrote.

The family - Adamek leaves behind his mother, Angela, and a sister and a brother - shared photos and memories online of the fun-loving teen, who was pictured posing and grinning at the camera.

At Wednesday's memorial service, his Boy Scout Troop master, David Silvernail, said Adamek was a popular teenager who always had a smile on his face.

'There are two kinds of people in the world; ones that brighten the room when they walk in and those that don't,' he said.

'He was one that brightened the room when he walked in. That's what I'll always remember about Christian.'

His mother, Angela, thanked her son's friends and said they could learn from his life, AL.com reported.

'Remember to smile, don't be afraid to do something goofy and remember the consequences of those actions, ask for help when you need it, ask for help if you think your friends need it if you don't know what to do, be quirky, be happy, be smart,' she said.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ACLU sues Etowah Co. Sheriff over compliance checks

All I can say is it is about damned time the ACLU has finally gotten off their asses to fight these laws. If only they had done this sooner.

http://blog.al.com/east-alabama/2013/09/aclu_files_suit_against_etowah.html

ACLU files suit against Etowah County Sheriff over registered sex offender house searches
By William Thornton | wthornton@al.com 
on September 12, 2013 at 3:04 PM

GADSDEN, Alabama -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and two officers in the department over what they say are "unannounced, random, and suspicionless" searches of the home of a registered sex offender.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, does not name the three family members. They are identified in the suit as John, Jane and James Doe. The law firm of Jaffe & Drennan filed the suit today, according to a news release.

ACLU Attorney Brandon Buskey said the searches are "unconstitutional harassment."

"These officers are trampling on this family's constitutional rights, and because this is the sheriff's policy, we fear this may be happening over and over again to families around the county," Buskey said in a release.

According to the ACLU, one member of the family is a registered sex offender because of an offense committed as a child. The suit contends he has "fulfilled every requirement" under the offender registration and community notification act. He must register four times a year with the sheriff.

However, the ACLU contends the family is threatened with arrest if they fail to cooperate with random inspections of their home. The suit contends this is a violation of the family's Constitutional rights, because it takes place without a warrant or any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

The suit seeks an end to the searches and the policy of inspecting registered offenders' homes. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Natalie Barton said the department was aware of the lawsuit, but had not seen the complaint and had no comment.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FBI: Anniston man hired undercover agent to kill neighbor

Vigilante violence encouraged by the registry is very common these days. I bet this guy gets a slap on the wrist.

http://www.14news.com/story/23259716/fbi-anniston-man-hired-undercover-agent-to-kill-neighbor

FBI: Anniston man hired undercover agent to kill neighbor
Posted: Aug 26, 2013 5:38 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 02, 2013 6:27 PM EDT
By WBRC Staff - email
  
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
A disabled Army veteran from Anniston has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot against his neighbor, FBI officials said Monday.

Allen Wayne Densen Morgan, 29, is accused of hiring an undercover FBI agent to murder a man he believed raped his wife days earlier, according to court documents filed by the FBI.

The affidavit says an FBI agent called Morgan pretending to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan on Thursday, Aug. 22. The agent called to verify that Morgan wanted to hire someone to kill his neighbor.

[READ THE FULL COURT DOCUMENT HERE]

Morgan told the agent that he had just confronted his neighbor in Munford and fired several rounds at the ground to intimidate him. He said he didn't intend to kill the neighbor then because "several people were present."

According to court documents, Morgan described how he wanted his neighbor murdered by stating, "I want this man hung like a tree like an animal. I want his [expletive] cut off and I want him cut...I want him hung from a tree and gutted...that's how I want him to die. Die a slow painful death and that's it."

Morgan said he would discuss payment with the supposed hit man when they met up on Sunday, Aug. 25.

On Sunday, two undercover agents met Morgan at the Econo Lodge in Oxford around 3:30 p.m.

Morgan offered them payment in the form of a watch and a necklace and also promised to pay them with a firearm at his home. He gave the undercover agents a map to his neighbor's home and described his neighbor's physical appearance.

At the end of their meeting, the FBI agents took Morgan into custody, questioned him, and charged him murder for hire.

Morgan made a brief appearance along with U.S. Marshals at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Monday, but he is no longer in custody there, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff's office.

It's unclear where Morgan is currently being held, but the FBI confirms he is in U.S. Marshals' custody.

Morgan had an initial appearance on Monday morning. There is no word yet on his bond.

FBI spokesman Paul Daymond says Morgan could possibly also be charged with hate crime.

FOX6 News has not been able to obtain a mug shot of Morgan because he is in federal custody and the Department of Justice doesn't release such photos.

We have also learned that Morgan's neighbor, the man he wanted to be killed, does have a prior record. In 2008, he was accused of raping a 13-year-old and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Morgan told undercover agents during one of those conversations that they could pull a picture of his neighbor from the sex offender registry website.