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. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Daily Beast's take on Hurst's 'Wurst slicing bill is the best i've read so far.

The Daily Beast makes a few valid points, especially regarding wrongful convictions.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/04/alabama-lawmaker-wants-sex-offenders-to-pay-for-their-own-castration.html

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
03.04.16 3:40 PM ET
By: Brandy Zadrozny
Alabama Lawmaker Wants Sex Offenders To Pay For Their Own Castration

Only one small problem—Alabama has wrongfully convicted at least nine men of the kind of sex offenses that would qualify for this lawmaker’s bill.

An Alabama lawmaker known for parading around on a giant gun-shaped barbecue grill has once again taken up his pet project: the surgical castration of sex offenders.

“This bill would provide that any person over the age of 21 years who is convicted of certain sex offenses against a child 12 years of age or younger would be surgically castrated before his or her release from the custody of the Department of Corrections,” HB 365 reads. “This bill would require that the cost of the procedure be paid by the adult criminal sex offender.”

The point of such a bill is clear. The sexual abuse of a young child is horrific, and who wouldn’t want to prevent a repeated attack?

But castration—whether by surgically removing a man’s testicles or chemically diminishing his libido with injections of synthetic female hormone Depo-Provera—has never been proven as an effective means to curb such violent sexual abuse. Despite popular belief, neither forms of castration are guaranteed to cause impotence. Up to 10 percent of surgically castrated men are able to regain sexual function after the procedure.

What’s more, sexual abuse experts say a one-cut-fixes-all strategy does nothing to address the underlying disorder that leads an abuser to commit such a heinous crime. Still, at least seven states have some law on the books for the chemical castration of sex offenders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“It’s naive to think this is a panacea,” Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of The Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, told The Washington Post decades ago, a position he has maintained every subsequent time a reporter has called asking for his opinion on the matter. Not only is it wrong to use a medical treatment as punishment, he has said, but there’s no reason to believe it will have the intended effect.

And then there’s the problem of wrongful convictions, a thing Alabama knows a bit about.
Since 1989, 476 people wrongfully convicted of sexual assault or child sex abuse have been exonerated across the U.S., according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project run by the University of Michigan. Nine of those have come from Alabama.

Antonio Williams spent over four years in an Alabama prison serving a life sentence for the rape of a 7-year-old girl, who was interviewed by investigators after it was discovered she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Williams was vindicated in 2011 after the girl told a social worker a different man—not Williams—had raped her, but threatened to hurt her if she said anything.

In 2006, 24-year-old Birmingham man Zachary Noah Smith denied, but was ultimately convicted of, sexually molesting his 3-year-old daughter. Six years later, his daughter came forward and told a counselor that no abuse had occurred, but that she had been pressured to lie by her great-grandmother. Smith’s conviction was reversed by a new trial.

Convictions can be reversed, surgical castration cannot.

Luckily, Hurst’s castration bill is unlikely to see the light of day, as similar bills proposed in previous sessions died in committee.

In 2013, Hurst told a local paper, The Anniston Star, “I’ll introduce it every year until it gets passed.”
An email requesting comment was not returned and no one answered Hurst’s phone.

Hurst was elected to Alabama’s House of Representatives in 1998 as a Democrat (he switched parties in 2010). He is also the owner of a Talladega pawn and gun shop, and has sponsored legislation including a successful “Stand Your Ground” bill in 2006 that codified a gun owner’s right to shoot almost anyone, and a bill that would require public school students to read the Congressional Record (with the prayer) for 15 minutes each day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Looks like Hurst has been pushing this castration issue longer than I thought.

The Montgomery Advertiser has reported that Steve Hurst has pimped this silly mandatory surgical castration bill since 2005! That's longer than I first reported.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/local/alabama/2016/03/08/alabama-bill-would-require-sex-offenders-pay-castration/81481964/

Alabama bill would require sex offenders pay for castration
Melissa Brown, Associated Press 12 p.m. CST March 8, 2016

An Alabama lawmaker is calling for convicted sex offenders to pay for their own surgical castration.

Steve Hurst, a Republican from Munford, has introduced a bill that would require sex offenders older than 21 to pay for their own surgical castration before being released from state custody.

The bill would limit the procedure to people convicted of "certain sex offenses" against victims 12 years old or younger.

Hurst has attempted to pass similar legislation for more than a decade, introducing nearly identical bills seven times since 2006, most of which never made it out of committee. He said he was moved to begin pushing for the legislation after a foster parent advocacy group visited his office some years ago and relayed a "horrible" story of abuse.

"I've often wondered what that child went through, physically and mentally, and what kind of shape he's in now," Hurst said Monday. "They (sex offenders) have marked these children for life. They will never get over it. And if they've marked children for life, they need to be marked for life."

Hurst in 2005 agreed to remove castration requirements from legislation setting tougher sentences for sex offenders. Several House members at the time told The Associated Press they feared the castration language would have made the bill unconstitutional. In 2011, Hurst co-sponsored a bill that classified the sexual abuse of a child 6 years or younger as a capital offense, allowing courts to sentence offenders to life without parole.

Several states already have laws mandating chemical or voluntary surgical castration, though it's unclear how often the procedures are used. No states have mandatory surgical castration laws.

Chemical castrations allow sex offenders to receive regular injections of a drug that lowers testosterone to pre-puberty levels and reduces libido.

Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union argue that castration is a "cruel and unusual punishment."

"Some people have said it's inhumane," Hurst said. "But what's more inhumane than molesting a child?"

Dr. Frederick Berlin, founder of a sexual disorders clinic at John Hopkins University, said lowering testosterone levels reduces libido and combats sexual urges, which could possibly reduce recidivism in some cases.

But not all sex offenses are sexually motivated, Berlin said. Offenders may be motivated by drug and alcohol abuse, anger or a fundamental lack of conscience.

"There are many sex offenders who aren't driven by intense sexual urges," Berlin said. "Some of these folks have other mental health issues, so it could just lull us into a false sense of security."

In addition, if not closely monitored, offenders could possibly reverse the procedure by taking testosterone, which can be procured online. Mandated chemical castration can be monitored more closely because doctors can notify authorities if a patient doesn't show up for a regular treatment.

"Just to do it as a one-glove-fits-all is very unlikely to be helpful," Berlin said. "I do think there is a role for medicines that lower sexual drive and enable people to be in better control. But this should be through a collaborative effort between the criminal justice and the scientific medical community."

Hurst has considered chemical castration legislation, and might again in the future, but he worries the drugs to induce chemical castration could become less effective over time. He realizes surgical castration may not stop offenders in all cases, but it makes a strong statement.

"If you take one step forward, it's better than taking no steps at all," Hurst said.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

After trying and failing eight times to get surgical castration bill passed, Steve Hurst thinks the 9th time is the charm

How many times am I going to have to waste space on this bad bill? He's been pushing this since 2007, and the legislature won't bother to act on it.

http://wiat.com/2016/03/04/alabama-lawmaker-introduces-sex-offender-castration-bill/

Alabama lawmaker introduces sex offender castration bill
By Matt Fernandez
Published: March 4, 2016, 10:26 pm  Updated: March 4, 2016, 10:29 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — An Alabama lawmaker has a plan to permanently and physically punish someone convicted of certain sex offenses against children.


The bill, known as HB 365, would make those sex offenders have to get surgically castrated before they leave prison.


HB 365 was introduced by State Representative Steve Hurst, R-Calhoun County.


He said the bill will be for sex offenders over the age of 21 that committed sex offenses against children 12 years old and younger.


“They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime,” said Hurst.


This is not Hurst’s first time introducing the bill.


“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said don’t you think this is inhumane? I asked them what’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through. If you want to talk about inhumane–that’s inhumane,” said Hurst.


Hurst is hoping this would make sex offenders think twice.


“If we do something of this nature it would deter something like this happening again in Alabama and maybe reduce the numbers,” said Hurst.


Residents have some mixed emotions about it.


“Somebody that wants to mess with a little girl or little boy that age should be castrated, and they should not be able to mess with any other kids,” said Keith Dison.


“I understand prison and going to prison for a long time for some kind of crime like that, but to physical mutilate someone…that’s a little out there…it’s crazy,” Jessica George said.


The bill will have to pass the judiciary committee before it’s heard by the Alabama House and Senate.




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 SB 179 -- If passed, would exclude teen sexting from registerable offenses.

This seems to be a good bill for juveniles since it would exempt teens for sexting-related issues. Not perfect, but at least it will add Alabama to the list of states that are excluding teen sexting from the public registry. I think the sentences should be lower, quite frankly.

_______________________________________________________________________

SB179
By Senator Ward
RFD Judiciary
Rd 1 09-FEB-16


SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, it is a crime to disseminate, publicly display, possess, or possess with the intent to disseminate obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age.
  This bill would further clarify the definition of disseminate by removing the requirement of monetary consideration and would include in the definition sharing or trading such visual depictions.
  This bill would include under the crime of possession of obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age a visual depiction of breast nudity.
  This bill would distinguish between adult and juvenile offenders for the offense of dissemination of obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age and would provide different penalties for each.
  This bill would exempt offenders under 19 years of age convicted of disseminating or publicly displaying obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age from the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act on the first or second offense.
  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, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.
  The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment.

A BILL
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

To amend Sections 13A-12-190, 13A-12-191, and 13A-12-192 of the Code of Alabama 1975, relating to disseminating, publicly displaying, possessing, or possessing with the intent to disseminate obscene materials containing visual depictions of persons under 17 years of age; to further define terms; to include under the crime of possession a visual depiction of breast nudity; to distinguish between adult and juvenile offenders for the crime of dissemination and to provide different penalties; to exempt offenders under 19 years of age convicted of disseminating or publicly displaying obscene materials from the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act on the first or second offense; and in connection therewith to 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. Sections 13A-12-190, 13A-12-191, and 13A-12-192 of the Code of Alabama 1975, are amended to read as follows:
§13A-12-190.

"For the purposes of this division, the following terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

"(1) DISSEMINATE. To sell, lend or show for monetary consideration, show, share, or trade or to offer or agree to do the same.

"(2) DISPLAY PUBLICLY. The exposing, placing, posting, exhibiting or in any fashion displaying in any location, whether public or private, an item in such a manner that it may be readily seen and its content or character distinguished by normal unaided vision viewing it from a public thoroughfare, depot or vehicle.

"(3) PUBLIC THOROUGHFARE, DEPOT or VEHICLE. Any street, highway, park, depot or transportation platform or other place, whether indoors or out, or any vehicle for public transportation, owned or operated by government, either directly or through a public corporation or authority, or owned or operated by any agency of public transportation that is designed for the use, enjoyment or transportation of the general public.

"(4) KNOWINGLY. A person knowingly disseminates or publicly displays obscene matter when the person knows the nature of the matter. A person knows the nature of the matter when either of the following circumstances exist:

"a. The person is aware of the character and content of the matter; or

"b. The person recklessly disregards circumstances suggesting the character and content of the matter.

"(5) SADO-MASOCHISTIC ABUSE. Such term means either of the following:

"a. Flagellation or torture, for the purpose of sexual stimulation, by or upon a person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in a revealing or bizarre costume; or

"b. The condition of a person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in a revealing or bizarre costume being fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

"(6) SEXUAL EXCITEMENT. The condition of human male or female genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation.

"(7) SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Intercourse, real or simulated, whether genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between a human and an animal.

"(8) MASTURBATION. Manipulation, by hand or instrument, of the human genitals, whether one's own or another's for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

"(9) OTHER SEXUAL CONDUCT. Any touching of the genitals, pubic areas or buttocks of the human male or female, or the breasts of the female, whether alone or between members of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.

"(10) BREAST NUDITY. The lewd showing of the post-pubertal human female breasts below a point immediately above the top of the areola.

"(11) GENITAL NUDITY. The lewd showing of the genitals or pubic area.

"(12) MATTER. Any book, magazine, newspaper, or other printed material, or any picture, photograph, motion picture, video cassette, tape, record, digital video disc (DVD), video compilation, or electronic depiction in a comparable format, or an image, file, download, or other content stored, or reproduced by using a computer or electronic device or other digital storage, or any other thing, articles, or materials that either are or contain a photographic or other visual depiction of a live act, performance, or event.

"(13) OBSCENE. a. When used to describe any matter that contains a visual reproduction of breast nudity, such term means matter that:

"1. Applying contemporary local community standards, on the whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and

"2. Is patently offensive; and

"3. On the whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

"b. When used to describe matter that is a depiction of an act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct, such term means matter containing such a visual reproduction that itself lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

"(14) LOCAL COMMUNITY. The judicial circuit in which the indictment is brought.

"(15) VISUAL DEPICTION. A portrayal, representation, illustration, image, likeness, or other thing that creates a sensory impression, whether an original, duplicate, or reproduction.

"(16) SEPARATE OFFENSE. The depiction of an individual less than 17 years of age that violates this division shall constitute a separate offense for each single visual depiction.

§13A-12-191.

"Any person who shall knowingly disseminate or display publicly any obscene matter containing a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 years engaged in any act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, breast nudity, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct shall be guilty of a Class B felony. punished as follows:

"(1) Any person 19 years of age or older who violates this section or who does not meet the criteria under subdivision (2), shall be guilty of a Class B felony.

"(2) Any person under 19 years of age who violates this section by dissemination or public display of obscene material depicting a person who is older than 12 years of age but under 17 years of age, shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for the second or subsequent offense.

"(3) A person convicted under subdivision (2) shall be exempt from the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act upon the first and second offense, but shall be subject to the requirements of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act upon a third or subsequent offense.

§13A-12-192.

"(a) Any person who knowingly possesses with intent to disseminate any obscene matter that contains a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 years engaged in any act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, breast nudity, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct shall be guilty of a Class B felony. Possession of three or more copies of the same visual depiction contained in obscene matter is prima facie evidence of possession with intent to disseminate the same.

"(b) Any person who knowingly possesses any obscene matter that contains a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 years engaged in any act of sado-masochistic abuse, sexual intercourse, sexual excitement, masturbation, breast nudity, genital nudity, or other sexual conduct shall be guilty of a Class C felony."

Section 2. Although this bill would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds, the bill is excluded from further requirements and application under Amendment 621, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, because the bill defines a new crime or amends the definition of an existing crime.

Section 3. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Update: international Megan's law (HR 515) passed the House, goes to Obama

http://www.oncefallen.com/internationalmeganslaw.html

Read my article on International Megan's Law to better understand it. Below is a summary o what IML means to you:

Specifically, Smith’s legislation will:

Authorize and expand the Angel Watch Center, an office within the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and authorize it to notify destination countries of intended travel by registered sex offenders;

Coordinate the work of the Angel Watch Center with the Sex Offender Targeting Center of the US Marshals Service so that the best information is getting to the right people in the shortest amount of time;

Make it a crime, for the first time, for a sex offender to travel abroad without giving 21 days advance notice so that law enforcement has adequate time to vet the traveler and warn the destination country, if needed;

Mandate that the State Department, in consultation with the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, establish, within 90 days, a program for placing a unique passport identifier on the passport of a traveling sex offender with an offense against a child and current duty to register, thereby preventing circumvention of the notification system by travelers who misreport which countries they will visit;

Collect notification response data to understand which countries are working with the U.S. on preventing re-offense by child predators;

Provide the authority for both the Angel Watch Center and the US Marshals Service to receive information from other countries about pedophiles intending to travel to the U.S.;

Clarify the receipt and sharing within U.S. law enforcement of incoming notifications on known sex offenders traveling to the U.S.; and

Direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security, to seek agreements and use technical assistance with other countries so that the United States is notified in advance of incoming foreign sex offenders.