Sunday, June 27, 2010

Decatur Police hires private citizens for passing out registry fliers

I know it is perfectly legal to allow private citizens to do some police work, but I still have my concerns. First off, Sheriff Greg Bartlett runs quite an array of fear-mongering messages. Maybe it is Bartlett's way of trying to make people forget about the fact he neglected the dietary needs of inmates awaiting trial while he pocketed over $100k in taxpayer money, and ended up locked up in his own jail. Given that fact, I have my doubts as to the training given to thise private citizens.

Since Greg Bartlett is facing a very close runoff election soon, I'm sure he's pulling out all the stops.

On to the story now:

The Decatur Police Department will accept applications for the 2010 Citizens Police Academy until Sept. 7. The program acquaints residents with the operation of the police department. The class is free, but class size is limited to 25 participants....
Members of this organization help with duties such as working the front desk at the Police Department, maintaining the Community Resource Center, registering convicted sex offenders, notifying the community of convicted sex offenders living in the Decatur area and assisting the Criminal Investigations Division.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lack of ID Card sends SO back to jail

There is more to this story than what is written. In case anyone does not know this, Alabama is one of the few states that mark state-issued identification cards for sex offenders-- here it says "Criminal Sex Offender" in red letters around the bottom of the card. It is nothing more than a literal scarlet letter. Note the three year age difference between him and his "victim," who willingly participated in the "crime." Even the Adam Walsh Act sets a four year age difference.

Lack of ID card sends sex offender back to jail

— An Athens man who had to register as a sexual offender for having a consensual sexual relationship with an underage girl has been arrested for failing to have an ID card identifying him as a registered offender, an official said.

Bernardo Ocampo Sanchez, 22, of 19575 Looney Road is being held in the Limestone County Jail for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents because he is in the country illegally, said Limestone County Chief Investigator Capt. Stanley McNatt.

Sanchez was arrested in 2006 and convicted of second-degree rape for having a consensual sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He was 18 at the time.

He registered as a sex offender in February 2008.

In accordance with the federal Community Notification Act, also known as Megan’s Law, sex offenders are required to have a valid driver’s license or state ID card that identifies him or her as a convicted sex offender, McNatt said.

He said Sanchez had been given an opportunity to obtain a card.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Calhoun Co. gets iris scan technology

Do we NEED Iris scans? Honestly? Of course, that it will be used on sex offenders is the selling point.

Calhoun Co. Gets New Technology
Reported by: Al Ratcliffe
Last Update: 6/22 9:34 pm

Lawmen in East Alabama now have new tool in their arsenal. They don't shoot it, throw it, or use it for cuffs. They use it to take pictures. Very high resolution pictures of very tiny things.

It's called the IRIS, or Inmate Recognition and Identification System. And it's used to map the tiny points of the iris in the human eye. Sean Mullin is training members of the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office on how to use it. Mullin says no two irises are alike. So they're just as good or better than fingerprints as a way to identify people.

The main use in Calhoun County will be in the jail. Adding to the database of known criminals. Using the IRIS, it will be a lot more difficult to let the wrong person out of jail. It will also be used to help keep track of sex offenders. Sheriff Larry Amerson says even if someone gives a false name or identification, one quick picture of the suspect's iris will let cops know who the person is.

The system is currently in 47 different departments across the nation. And Calhoun County is the only agency in Alabama with it.

Besides keeping track of criminals, the IRIS system is also a good tool to use in the case of kidnapped or missing children

Monday, June 14, 2010

US Congress: Stop HR 5072

Yet another federal law targeting sex offenders. HR 5072, the FHA (Fed. Housing Authority) Reform Act of 2010 will ban registrants from getting housing assistance fro the FHA. Contact your FEDERAL congressman today and oppose this asinine law!

Commentary on this bill, courtesy of eAdvocate:

Richard Shelby slams Census Bureau for hiring RSOs

I don't like Richard Shelby these days. Not every sex offender is a threat, nor will background checks guarantee anything if a person either has no record or lies to get in. Thanks for showing more stupidity in Alabama politics!

Sen. Shelby Slams Census Bureau for Allowing Sex Offenders to Go Door-to-Door

After two cases of alleged criminals going door-to-door to take surveys, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said Monday that the U.S. Census Bureau must do more to prevent hiring census takers with a criminal background.

After two cases of alleged criminals going door-to-door to take surveys, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said Monday that the U.S. Census Bureau must do more to prevent hiring census takers with a criminal background.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke sent Monday, Shelby wrote that when he asked Locke during a Senate hearing last year about guidelines to disqualify applicants, including sex offenders and people who've committed crimes against children, he was told the measures would ensure "each applicant is an acceptable risk to collect census information from residents of a community as a representative of our government."

"It is inconceivable that the Census Bureau could be so poorly managed as to hire a convicted sex offender to go door-to-door to collect personal information," Shelby said. "Clearly, Mr. Secretary, your guidelines are not working."

The letter followed news last week that a sex offender in New Jersey had spent two weeks in May interviewing residents while carrying around an official Census badge, bag and list of residents who hadn't returned their surveys.

Frank Kuni reportedly had used fake documents under the name Jamie Shephard to pass an initial name check and receive four days of training.

But an alert resident recognized the 47-year-old from the state's Internet sex offender registry.

Kuni, who was charged with using a fraudulent document to get government ID, was fingerprinted during his first day of training but when Census officials learned on the last day of training that Kuni had been flagged for a previous arrest, he was already out the door with his assignment, Fernando E. Armstrong, director of the U.S. Census Bureau's Philadelphia region, told the Courier News.

He was arrested four days later.

"From our perspective, the process that was put in place and has been used across the country worked in this case," Armstrong told the newspaper, acknowledging that an earlier return of the background check would've prevented Kuni from reaching the street.

In a separate case in Indiana, a volunteer census worker named Daniel Miller allegedly raped and beat a 21-year-old physically handicapped woman after returning to her home in the middle of the night following an interview earlier in the day.

Shelby said that during the 2000 Census, one in four of the 930,000 applicants for the temporary jobs were flagged by the FBI and prevented from working.

"The Census Bureau spent $2.5 million on a Super Bowl advertisement to encourage participation in the Census and has gone to great lengths to assure Americans that they should open their doors to Census workers. The lack of adequate oversight is unacceptable," Shelby wrote.

"What is even more objectionable is that it does not appear from public statements on the incident that the Census Bureau admits fault or even acknowledges that their screening procedures are not working," he wrote.

Monday, June 7, 2010

WHNT- Myric Hotel Demolished

What I see happening in Alabama (and many other places) is the news prompts fear and hysteria and a call to shut down low-income housing, which is the best many ex-felons struggling to obtain jobs and housing can afford. Sad. Stable housing and employment reduces recidivism among ex-felons.,0,5525914.story

WHNT Myric Motel Demolished Amber Stuart WHNT Reporter 5:13 PM CDT, June 7, 2010 HUNTSVILLE [Image] A motel that's been a Huntsville landmark and later became home to sex offenders is being leveled.

Demolition crews started tearing up the Myric Motel last week.

Huntsville Police have kept up with sex offenders who have lived there over the years. Before the demolition nine registered sex offenders called the motel home. The number of registered sex offenders fluctuated at the Myric Motel. But the last count was nine men. "By law they have to register with us when they move," said Madison County Sheriff Investigator Brent Patterson. That way, law enforcement can warn people when they are moving into their neighborhood. "We let the community know when they are living in that area, when they are moving to that area, and they want to establish residency there," said Patterson.
Of the registered sex offenders who were living at the Myric Motel, Huntsville Police say one man has moved out of town. Two men are in Alabama prisons on parole violations, and two are missing. They say one man is living in Madison County. Three of them are living in Huntsville on Knight Road.

Brent Patterson with the Madison County Sheriff's Department says they aren't just watching the Myric Motel sex offenders. "It's not just them, we have sex offenders all over the place. It's our job. It's not anything we like or dislike. It's our job to maintain where they're at what they're around: schools, daycares, my kids, your kids anybody's kids and make sure they don't violate the law again," said Patterson. The two men Huntsville Police are looking for, Federico Camacho-Serna and Robert Townsend. It's a felony crime for failing to register as a sex offender. Right now, it's unclear what the land will be used for once it's cleared.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Say goodbye, Troy King, Tim James

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham lawyer Luther Strange has defeated incumbent Troy King for the Republican nomination for Alabama attorney general. With about three-fourths of the votes counted Tuesday night, Strange had about 60 percent of the vote to King's 40 percent. Strange had the backing of Republican Gov. Bob Riley and other top GOP figures in a bitter, closely watched race. Riley appointed King in 2004, but the two have since split in a heated dispute over electronic bingo.

Sorry Troy, I won't miss you. Maybe if you didn't rely so much on sex offender issues you would not have lost. People are getting sick of Predator Panic.

By the way, the other politico exploiting sex offender issues, Republican Tim James, ALSO lost last night.

This reminds me of my Sex Offender Issue theory. Politicians relying on sex offender issues to get votes usually means one of the following:

1. They are severely deficient in other areas of concern to voters, such as views on taxes, education, health care, or the economy.
2. They are desperate for attention, and/ or
3. They are closet sex offenders a la Mark Foley.

Alabama politics may be a joke, but at least with two clowns out of the running, it may not be so bad.